I'm nursing sore triceps after pushing myself too hard when I went swimming today. It reminds me of the moment I first suspected I was ill with something worse than a cold.
Boy, I'm whipped, I thought as I combed my wet hair after one of my regular hour-long swims at the YMCA. My legs are sore, even though I didn't swim as hard as usual. Swimming rarely made me sore, even after the two-hour-long swim team practices I'd done in high school. Instead, I felt physically and mentally rejuvenated by the cool and calm of the pool. That rejuvenation was one reason swimming was my favorite form of exercise.
A mild cold shouldn't have affected my physical functioning that much. I told myself if I wasn't feeling better in a few more days, I'd go to the doctor. I didn't know then that it would be the first of dozens of doctor's appointments until I received my diagnosis two and a half years later...
When did you first know you had a serious illness or disability? Let me know in a comment!
Darla Nagel is an editor and writing tutor who has an invisible chronic illness. She wants to help other patients and enlighten health care professionals about our experiences. If you’d like to be alerted whenever she writes a new post, sign up by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darla copyedits biomedical research while living with an invisible chronic illness.