Not disabled, not pregnant, but less able to stand

Since yesterday there has been a photo on my phone which I have nearly posted about 6 times before bottling out. So instead of ignoring it I decided to give myself a stern talking to. Essentially it all boiled down to a good old dose of shame. The photo is of my tummy during a flare up of gastroparesis – something that happens before or during a migraine, and bizarrely sometimes randomly and without warning. This week was the first week of my final clinical placement and needless to say that can be quite stressful at the best of times. Getting tired, getting nervous and disordered eating times, plus a good dose of florescent lighting and a tight skirt are a recipe for disaster. Said disaster began on Wednesday, and by yesterday afternoon I looked like a barrage balloon. The condition also causes my feet, hands and face to swell up a bit as well, so yeah, I am looking super attractive right now.  

When I look like this I am not proud of what I look like, I spend my day trying to hold it in (painful), trying to cover it up (impossible) and trying to hold folders/books/notepads in front of myself (ridiculous). The real question is why all the embarrassment? I have lived with this for years and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The worst that can happen is that somebody sees me and thinks I have gained lots of weight or that I’m pregnant, neither of which is abnormal or something to be ashamed of.

So as of yesterday I have made the executive decision to embrace the bump, and the oedema, and style it out. If people do think I am pregnant I can only really see benefits from this: Firstly, a seat on the tube, which I 100% deserve after stabbing abdominal pain all day. Secondly, the acceptable wearing of comfortable, stretchy clothing as opposed to cinching waistbands that only make things worse. Thirdly, people looking lovingly at my tummy when I am, in fact, very angry at it, reminding me that least I have one and at least it works most of the time.

Call me Pollyanna but the most sensible thing to do in a situation like this is play the “glad game” – and this evening I am glad that I know this will end, I am glad I am healthier than many other people and most of all I am glad that I didn’t delete this photo