Elizabeth's CVS Story
I've always been healthy. As a child and throughout my adolescence, I was very active. I did cross country, for crying out loud. As I moved from high school to undergrad to graduate school, my physical activity decreased a bit as my schedule changed with academics, full time work, and parenthood, but I remained healthy. In August of 2018, I started feeling intense abdominal pain. My bowel movements abruptly changed. I started vomiting. All the time. I finally got myself to a hospital when I realised I was not dealing with a stomach virus. All tests and scans came back clear, aside from a minor inflammation of my appendix. It was removed the first week of September 2018. For about 2 weeks, I thought I was okay. And then...I wasn't okay. The pain came back, worse than ever. I started vomiting more frequently. I was exhausted, more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. Doctors had no idea what to do with me. I was in and out of the ER, ruling out diagnosis after diagnosis with no answers, for 8 months before a friend of mine came across a Facebook post about CVS and shared the term with me. I immediately knew--everything matched up perfectly. After months of no answers, of missing work, of lost promotions and stress about job security, I finally had an answer. My GI ruled out absolutely everything else before agreeing and diagnosing. I know so many others who go YEARS without a diagnosis. I consider myself lucky for only waiting 8-9 months. Having a name for this horrible condition certainly helped my mental state, but otherwise it does nothing. It's still the same--but I haven't started my treatment yet. I wake up in the night, usually a few hours before dawn, drenched in an ice-cold sweat. By the time the sun rises, the pain and the nausea is unbelievable. Sometimes I can't even vomit. It's just horrible, painful retching. When I do vomit, it's uncontrollable. It's terrifying. It's dangerous. I've thrown up while driving, gripping the steering wheel for dear life as I frantically searched for a safe place to pull over, all the while violently vomiting into a discarded CVS bag (oh, the irony). CVS has infiltrated every single aspect of my life. I miss out on social events. I miss out on fun adventures, on new cuisine, on work, on EVERYTHING. As a single Mom living alone, CVS is my mortal enemy. I think it would be regardless. I pick up my daughter from school, often having to run in to vomit in the bathroom. We get home and I make dinner, usually vomiting in the kitchen sink at some point during the process. Sometimes I eat dinner, if I can manage, and it may or may not cause me to vomit. I never know what's going to make it happen. I only know that it's going to happen.