• Erin Zaranec

Sick & Single

Mom - maybe don't read this post. Or do, I don't really mind - we've talked about my uterus and ovaries and vagina so much lately, a little sex doesn't make much of a difference to me.

That's the thing about being 'sick' - you suddenly have to tell people so much. Every muscle spasm, cramp, pain flare, it's all news to someone. Each physical therapy session opened with a nice little chat about my sex life - what positions worked, caused pain, same partner, different partner, describe the pain, point to it, blah blah blah. My PT basically has a little black book on my life, just floating somewhere in my medical records.

It can get exhausting, telling things for fact and not for fun. Circled around a bottle of wine laughing with your friends is a way better vibe than sitting on a medical bed staring at stir ups.

Now, my decision to write this blog certainly didn't help my cause but hey, I've never been one whose ashamed of my own dirty laundry.

A lot has changed in my life in the past year, with one of the biggest changes being becoming single. Being in a relationship is so cool, for so many reasons. You're in this cozy little safety net where that person just knows you and your body and your preferences and all the symptoms your body decides to randomly make better or worse depending on the day.

When you're in a relationship, you're not forced to ask a near-stranger to move to a booth with some padding instead of a backless barstool - oh, why, you ask? well, PT was rough today. What kind of PT? oh... just some lady manipulating muscles in and around my vagina. Sheesh - nice first date chat, huh?

I've never been shy while dating - I've shown up on first dates in leggings and cussed like a sailor and ordered greasy wings instead of a salad.

I've actually really never been shy about much of anything - until suddenly I was on a great third date.

You know the date I'm talking about, when you're realizing you like someone enough that you'll actually see the inside of their apartment. Everything was set up wonderfully - we're inside the apartment, decorated well, a Brita in the fridge (an A+ sign in my book because I refuse to drink tap water) until the "well... I want to say something first, because I don't really know how this works and I don't want to break you any more" sentence came out of my date's mouth.

I was floored - what was he talking about and why was he saying this and what about me looked broken?


Needless to say - date was over. Not on him, 100% on me because sitting down to explain a six year medical history just didn't enhance the mood in my books.

So, being sick and single kinda sucks. Because even if you don't air out your laundry like me, these are conversations that still come up. Whether it's because you have chronic pain or fatigue or bloating or problems breathing or get nauseous or any of the other millions of symptoms my chronically ill friends have, it's not really something you can avoid.

I've wanted to write this post for a while but struggled to put it all into words.

Because I do date, and I have fun dating, and I have a fairly normal experience while doing so. As Tim Gunn would say, I make it work. But there's still this nagging feeling that I always have to explain more. Explain why I run an Instagram that features posts with illustrations of the uterus and blogs about my ovaries, explain why some days I can be the most fun person in the world and other days I need to just lay on the couch.

And it can get lonely, sitting across from people at a bar and skimming the surface of your life while you're really thinking about a surgery, a new treatment option, a medical bill, a phone call to make to your doctor, and more.

It's a wild world out there - I haven't heard such rave reviews about dating as healthy person, either. There's definitely been some Sleeping Beauty type fantasies floating around my friend group, where we just wake up from a little nap and the partner of our dreams is just there. I know it's not easy for anyone, but I feel for my people who have any type of medical issue and are out and about in the dating scene.

My surgery is finally here - we're less than 24 hours away, actually. I'll definitely still be single when I wake up (unless there's a Sleeping Beauty situation in my future...) but who knows, maybe I'll be less sick.

The Invisible Illness series will be published weekly, detailing my journey with chronic pelvic pain and the various treatments I am prescribed.

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