A hard pill to swallow

Chapter Two

February 28, 2017

This is where my questions were answered. It seemed like the tides parted and all the confusing “what ifs?” of the past few months fluttered away. I had an answer as to what was wrong with me, and my rheumatologist said I had “seronegative spondylosis,” or a type of arthritis that affects the joints and spine, yet does not show up in a blood test. Basically my immune system was in a state of hyperactivity, and it was attacking my joints and spine. My doctor prescribed a couple pain-killers for my joint pain and a chemotherapy drug in pill form which would break down my immune system preventing it from attacking my joints and organs.

Kristin Priest
Priest took pills for joint pain and chemotherapy treatment to prevent her immune system from attacking her joints.

Wow, chemo. Thats a hard pill to swallow, literally. As bleak as hearing you have an illness this severe may be, I was filled with a newfound determination. The months of me sleeping my life away were gone! I finally found out what was wrong, and we were on the way to fixing me. I was almost back to my life of painting, and dancing, and spending time with friends.

If only I had known that my health troubles had only just begun.

Minutes turned into hours, which blended with days, which wove into weeks and months until I was almost unknown to each waking second. Most of these seconds I spent asleep, what else should someone do while chemotherapy destroys the inner workings of your body? I spent months in this state, sleeping in my bed, to sleeping on my couch, watching a couple Netflix shows, and then returning to my bed. I know some may say, “All you did was sleep and watch  T.V.? That sounds great.”

And my response is, it was fun not having the stress of a typical high school life. But, in this state, I didn’t have a life.

I was surviving not living.

The drugs should have just been attacking my body, but my spirit felt its assault just as much, if not more. When I got up I had nothing planned, and nothing to look forward too. The worst part was that just the thought of going back to society, to school, to life terrified me. It sent anxiety through my veins and I would exhaust myself with worry. I know I needed to go back to school, but I already missed two whole months. How was I supposed to catch up? I became so accustomed to this cadaverous state, and I couldn’t help but feel worse.


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