In the spring of 2011 I started experiencing unfamiliar changes both inside and outside my body and I had no clue what was causing them. Internally I felt a number of things that affected my normal everyday life. I had excruciating nerve pains in my arms and legs. On a daily basis my heart would beat so rapidly, even while at rest. “Floaters” and “flashers” distracted my vision. Overall, I felt extremely physically tired and weak.
Unfortunately, my outside appearance didn’t hide the fact that I wasn’t feeling well. I had lost a considerable amount of weight without any diet changes. My skin color turned paler and my relaxed hair was thinning at the hairline. What used to be thick, luscious hair turned straw-like. That hair that actually was growing thicker happened to be on my face, neck, and back. I also started getting rashes and bruises easily (I’d literally put a hot plate on my lap and a few minutes later would see a red ring that wouldn’t go away for hours). After trial and error with switching out hair and beauty products for others and not seeing much improvement, I found myself cornered with the sudden onset of symptoms I was experiencing. Am I sick? Am I just being over-dramatic? What is wrong with me?
As mentioned in my previous articles, I was anticipating the arrival of my mother, who was coming into town to take me to our annual family reunion. I had no idea how she’d react. Since I was living by myself for so long, it had been months since anyone in my immediate family saw me. I just knew they would notice my physical changes and I’d be bombarded with questions accompanied by embarrassment and sadness.