So, over a year ago my body started to swell up. I thought "oh it's pms, once I get a period it'll resolve" but it didn't resolve. Periods came and went, and the swelling continued. My fingers swelled to a point I was no longer able to remove my rings. my face swelled till I no longer recognised myself in the mirror. My ankles swelled so my ankle bone became this odd little indent amongst a pudgy cushion of flesh.
I saw doctors, lots of doctors.
Cardiologist told me my heart was fine, but my kidneys were not happy. My estimated kidney function at the time was 54%
I was referred to a nephrologist.
She ran more tests, but then my kidneys stopped spilling protein and decided to fix themselves. Kidney function became 74% and I was discharged being told "it was probably an infection that's now cleared."
Swelling didn't resolve.
Diuretics did nothing.
My blood pressure kept climbing, it was now 132/96 on average. I was put on hypertensive medication which I had an allergic reaction to. I was told not to take it.
waited... waited... waited.
Finally I saw an endochronologist, who decided it was hormonal. because everything about my body is always "hormonal". It's like saying "pixies did it", hormonal is the default "we are grasping at straws" reason for everything.
But he ran a hormone profile which came back normal. Huh? Since when were my hormones EVER normal?
Despite this, he decided my swelling was "estrogen buildup" due to my cycles being sporadic and crazy. So he put me on the lowest dose of estrogen possible.
I was told there was a risk it would raise my blood pressure, which meant monthly checkups to make sure I was ok.
I stupidly believed we'd finally found a solution.
10 days after starting the pill the headaches started. My blood pressure sky rocketed to dangerous levels. I spent a weekend in bed with a towel jammed against my throbbing temple as it was the only means of relief from the agony.
Saw the doctor monday, blood pressure was 156/120. He told me to stop taking the pill, so I did.
Went to the hospital tuesday, sat around all day. Blood pressure had dropped back into the 140/98 range so i was out of "danger" zone.
Still swollen. Still headachey. My chest hurt.
They ran bloods, checked stuff. Heart fine, liver fine, sodium levels fine.... kidney function? 66%
Now i'm yet again waiting for a referral to the nephrologist. Who'll likely take another test and magically my number will be back up.
And here I am, still grossly swollen. I now weight 71kg which is DISGUSTING for a person as short as I am. I was 61kg after having kids and that was a bit heavier than perhaps my frame should have but tolerable. 71 is unacceptable. I feel fat and ugly. I can't fit half my clothes and the stuff I can fit into makes me look awful. A kid at the school fair asked me if I was pregnant for god's sake! it's mortifying.
Now, body image is something I was always pretty comfortable with. I may have hated my body for the pain it gave me, I may have had issues with being ashamed of early puberty but as a grown woman? The one thing I always felt confident in was that I could put on a pretty dress, look in a mirror and like what I saw. I was never one to nitpick over "oh i'd change this, and this, and oo I don't like this bit" in the mirror. I may have never liked my stomach, but it was easily hidden and I could still put on an outfit and feel pretty and confident and attractive. Now? I just feel frumpy and gross.
And especially now the one glimmer of hope we had, that it was estrogen and giving me a regular cycle would ease it, is gone. I can't take anything to regulate my cycles without putting strain on my heart and risking a stroke. I can't diet because this isn't fat, it's fluid trapped between the cells. Nothing fixes it, nothing helps. I'm going to have to get my wedding ring cut off my fat sausage finger and that's mortifying.
I don't want to look like this, I want to be able to walk down the street and feel confident not worried someone will ask me when the baby if fucking due.
I know it sounds vain, but I just want to be able to feel pretty again.
When I was at my lowest, I knew I could always put on a pretty outfit and feel confidence that even though I sucked at everything I did and was a useless awful human being, at least I looked nice in this dress today. And it made me feel a little better, it gave me a little bit of an ego boost to get through the day.
Shallow or not, the attention made me feel GOOD and now the only attention I ever get is someone yelling at me for doing something wrong... again... as usual.
I just feel ugly and worthless and broken. And it just feels like it's never going to stop. The doctors ran out of ideas months ago, I just have to live like this and I don't think I want to.