Thursday, January 2, 2014

This Time Next Year

Ugh, it's almost time to fly home again and I still don't feel my absolute best.

Ever since I arrived back home, my strange and possibly heart-related condition only worsened. I can't tell if it got pretty bad due to the fact that I got a cold here (no wonder, it's like -17 outside every day) or that I am allergic to my parents' very lovable cat and need to use my inhaler frequently, hence the added palpable pressure in my chest area. But I just don't know any more.

The main thing that I thought would cure my condition is that I decided to stop drinking, like, almost completely... and here's the full story of why.

About two months ago, before any of my issues had started, I had one pretty big weekend partying. And when I say big, I mean epic.

It started with that Friday night, when my boyfriend and I attended a wine tasting at a very fancy members-only restaurant (I won a contest of some sort). The wine was fantastic and each bottle's retail price was over $1,000. And let me tell you, I took full advantage of the fact that the wine was free flow and kept motioning to the waiter to refill my wine glass the entire night until it was time to leave.

Later on, the boyfriend and I came back to my house, ready to call it a night (and we should have had), but when we walked into the house, we encountered my housemates about ready to go out to a club for a night of dancing. Being in the already tipsy state that I was in, I just couldn't refuse and decided to join them. Needless to say, a lot more drinking and mixing of different types of alcohol ensued.

Okay, fine, one big night could do no damage, right? But that was my night out numero uno.

The next day, feeling like absolute crap, I knew I had to do it once again that night as my very good friend was in town for the weekend and I had already promised to go out with him and his group of friends.

They were celebrating someone's birthday and they kept the champagne flowing non-stop. Working in oil and gas, I am postulating, basically gives you unlimited amount of money to spend on alcohol, so the guys must have bought at least 8 bottles of champagne at various clubs and lounges we went to. That on top of the already free flowing shots of jager, beer buckets and other random alcoholic drinks. Of course, that meant that I could drink for free all night and you don't want to know me when I drink for free, cause I just don't stop.

I, somehow, got a cab and got myself home that night. Woke up the next day feeling like shit again and, as the day went by, I began to realize that that was no ordinary hangover. I had never felt that particular way before and, eventually, towards about 7 o'clock that night I was curled up in a pain-induced ball in a bathtub, which is precisely where my boyfriend and my housemates found me and called an ambulance.

Well, you'd think everything would go back to normal after that, right? No such luck.

Two weeks later, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for taking it easy on the alcohol and not drinking for 14 days, so I had allowed myself to have about 5 beers at my housemate's going away party.

And guess what? The next day I woke up feeling like shit, hands shaking, head spinning. I had some Diazepam (Valium) left from the hospital visit two weeks prior, so I took that. Worked like magic.

I had began to realize that alcohol, even though maybe not the main cause of my condition, definitely exacerbated my painful hangovers. Just picture you normal hangover... no, picture one of those dreaded two-day, I-feel-like-absolute-shit hangovers and multiply that by 10. That is how I felt and it really felt like death was breathing in my ear.

So there was really no choice for me any more. I had to cut out my good ol' buddy Alcohol out of my life completely. I am not going to lie and tell you that I felt amazing once I did that. I almost instantly missed the silly nights, and the exhilarating highs and the rash decisions and hijinks that led to some epic stories of ending up at someone's pool party at 3 AM or partying with some randoms at a club that I didn't even remember the name of. I mean, when I drank, it was fun. It was never dramatic and I never made terrible decisions. I just liked being silly and carefree and young.

But I also realized that cutting out alcohol from my life was not the end of the world. Going out and remaining sober may not be a recipe for a crazy, random night out, but you know what, it's okay. I'd realized that I can still have fun and alcohol is not really that much of a social lubricant, when you are determined to have fun anyway.

The problem is that the health issues have not subsided. Almost every day I feel some sort of tightness in my chest and sometimes I need to sit down or retreat to my room to take a deep breath because I feel like I am going to pass out from the extreme light headedness.

Even though I had quit drinking, the consequences seem to have already had taken a toll on my body.

I felt better this week and decided to have three glasses of champagne for NYE. Next day, I felt death breathing in my ear the moment I woke up. I took Diazepam again and it helped for about 8 hours before I started feeling crappy again. I am down to one Diazepam now and need to go back for a refill when I return to Singapore. I have also set up an appointment with a cardiologist to get to the underlying issues that I will have to battle in this brand new year.

I feel better today but for how long? I don't know. I am scared that the condition will become an every day occurrence for me and that I will no longer be able to do things that I love doing, like socializing, going to the gym and being active. And who wants a bed-ridden friend/employee/girlfriend?

But I am not giving up on me yet. This means that I can't have any more alcohol, like ever (?!) and, as sad as this makes me feel, I know that I can't be stupid about this any more and see how many drinks I can have before my body screams at me, "No more, damn it!!"

I am not giving up. I need to get back to where I was just over two months ago. I need to be my happy and healthy self again and I need to learn my lesson. I have to make it my biggest goal and resolution in 2014. To be kind to myself and to treat my body with utmost care.

This time next year, I want to look back at this post and be proud that I was able to overcome everything that I am battling right now. I want to be able to tell my success story, even if to no one else but myself.


GirlX said...

This post hits home for me. If I had to give up alcohol, I'd be very frustrated/sad about it. I really feel for you. I hope whatever health issues you're experiencing, will be figured out and you'll be back to your fun loving self again.

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