We want OurMonsters to be about so much more than just our monsters. We want them to be about your monsters as well. There are so many different battles that so many of us fight. We want to shed light on as many of them as we can. Starting today, we are going to do a weekly feature we will call Monster Mondays. Every Monday we will spotlight a monster that has been shared with us so that we can be inspired by each other’s battles and use their strength to help us fight our own.
Our first Monster Monday hits very close to home. Read Aubrey’s touching story and what has helped her stay positive along the way.
My name is Audrey. I have suffered from cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) since I can remember. I mean, I used to get really nauseous and sick after eating my lunch in first grade but my parents remember moments that I had weird vomiting spells and being nauseous even before that. I went undiagnosed until the age of 10. We always knew something was wrong, we just didn’t know what. I was always told it must just be another virus. I would go into bouts of vomiting every 10-20 minutes and my “cycles” as they call them, can last up to 18 days for me. In high school things got much worse health wise. I had to completely drop out and enroll in online school because I was constantly being admitted into the hospital for weeks at a time. I also started having very chronic migraines (20-25 days out of the month).
I woke up everyday feeling nauseous and in pain (my migraines course through my whole body and I get stomach pains with the CVS). I lost all my friends because I was always too sick to do anything and had to leave a lot of events early due to not feeling well. Sometimes my closest “friends” were my doctors/nurses and my mom.
At one point to get me out of my episodes and prevent me from continuously vomiting for over 2 weeks straight they started to admit me into the ICU and sedate me for 18 hours to basically “reset” my system. But then they said no more after doing that once a month for about 4 months because they didn’t know the long term effects it could have on my body. It took YEARS, to fight my body that wasn’t working correctly. It took years of medications, hospital visits, therapy, endoscopes, colonoscopies, labs, MRIs, CT scans… basically any test and treatment they could think of I did.
I still get nauseous and have very small episodes but I am proud to say that I have not had an actual full blown episode since October 2018. That was when my last ER visit was. It’s crazy that I’m going on 2 years when I couldn’t go 2 months at a time without having an episode. Granted I still have chronic migraines and deal with those but I have found an amazing doctor who has so many new ideas and treatments for me to try (some of which ACTUALLY give me relief!!) I have an amazing husband who helps me get through the tough days and never lets me forget how far I’ve come and fought to be where I’m at today. I’m surprisingly grateful for my “monsters” because it’s shown me how strong I can be. And it’s shown me who would really stick with me through the worst things in life.
I will never take for granted being able to eat and keep it down or something as simple as being hydrated, because I know all too well what it’s like to go 18 days without being allowed to drink or eat anything. It’s shown me to appreciate the smaller things in life like being able to go on a hike without getting too sick to finish. Or being able to last an entire day without feeling nauseous or feeling any pain. I’m grateful that I no longer have to deal with these things on a daily basis.
If you told me 6 years ago that I would be graduated, working a full time job, able to go to the gym, married, and going DAYS without feeling the least bit nauseous, I would’ve laughed in your face and said you’re dreaming. I never thought it was possible to be grateful to experience something that brought me so much loneliness and pain. But it is.
It will get better. You just have to keep fighting until you win. I’ve had my share of meltdowns, believe me, ask my mom she was there through them all. But I never actually gave up. I’m so grateful I kept fighting for a life that I deserve to have. I hope you choose to do the same. ❤