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Monday, April 24, 2017

I Stop Somewhere Waiting For You

Things have been quiet here at the Dept., I know, although I've been visiting your places and chatting here and there. I'd like to explain, take a little more time away, and then get Back To It here as soon as I possibly can.

For months and months now, I've not been well at all. I'd been losing ground at physical therapy--which had been keeping my Migraines at bay--and I could not shake this crushing fatigue. Then the deep bone pain and muscle pain started, and then lower back pain, too. And all along--for months and months--I'd been feeling so unlike myself. Confused at times, indecisive at others, still other times, I'd search for a word in the middle of a sentence while talking. (So embarrassing.)  I felt like I was in a fog all the time. Writing became such a chore; reading, an impossibility. I'd also seen my eye doctor back in December for severe dry eye and gotten on a prescription for that, with his suggestion that I get a doctor to test me for Sjogren's Syndrome once he heard the rest of my complaints.

That's where and how my Odyssey began.

I won't bore you with all of the details. My quest took me from the eye doctor to dear Dr. B., my neurologist, who ordered some labs to test for Sjogren's and a few other things. From there, I went on to a waiting list at a rheumatologist. All the while, I was losing more strength and stamina. Pain kept me from being able to sleep and carry on with my normal life. My weekly grocery store trips became my last vestige of normalcy, and they cost me dearly in terms of their aftermath of pain and exhaustion. Many times, I sat in the parking lot, waiting until I could bring myself to drive home, leaving heavy items in the car for Rick to bring in. Putting things away took forever as I rested often.

The rheumatologist's initial diagnosis was palindromic rheumatoid arthritis and possible Sjogren's, and a couple more labs were done. No results were conclusive. I had a brief respite after a steroid blast, but another try a month later when the pain roared back gave me no relief. In desperation and in debilitating pain, I contacted a friend who is a sonographer for the Cleveland Clinic. She pulled some strings and got me in to a top rheumatologist there.

In a two-hour consultation, this doctor took an extensive history and then narrative of my condition: its origin, development, symptoms, and affected areas. Then she examined me and asked me about my lifestyle, diet, and habits. Then she ordered twenty-two lab tests. And she identified at that moment what she thought it could be, something simple and, most importantly, reversible, although it would take some time.

The labs confirmed a couple things I already knew: one, that I have a lousy immune system; two, that I do not have TB or any thyroid issues. But the labs also confirmed what this doctor suspected from my symptoms and examination: my problem is not rheumatoid arthritis--those factors came back negative. So did Sjogren's. My problem is a severe and prolonged Vitamin D deficiency.

It's astonishing to me that something that seems so small and so banal-sounding can wreak such havoc. I was being tested for heavy metal poisoning, aluminum poisoning, arsenic, Lyme disease, even Parvo! They were testing my blood for markers indicating lupus, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and other frightening things. But they all have some of the selfsame symptoms in common, and let me assure you, these symptoms are frightening to endure. I am beyond grateful not to have those illnesses, and I look forward to the end of my misery, whilst sufferers of some of the aforementioned illnesses must only manage theirs.

My deficiency is such that it will take months to recover my health. I am currently megadosing twice a week (50,000 IUs) for two months, at which time I will be retested. The doctor is confident that I will recover completely from this, but has told me that I will need to supplement Vitamin D3 for the rest of my life.

I can do that.

In the meantime I have to work very hard at Being Patient. That, as many of you know, is not my gift. I want My Life back. I want Me back. I want my brain back. I am tired of being tired. I am tired of not being able to Do Anything, especially the Things I Love. And I am so very, very tired of Pain. My heart breaks for those who must live with it as a Constant Presence Lifelong.

I hope I find someone here when I can finally return.  And I hope I am finally Me when I do.


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Thursday, April 06, 2017

In Which I Wonder Why I Ever Leave The House At All, And Leave All Of You To Make The Obvious Pun Involving Eggs

ACT I.  Scene opens on Nance, standing in yet another ridiculously long line at the grocery store. Sympathetic Manager catches her eye, waves her into a new lane, just opening.

Nance: (to Manager) Oh thank you! (begins to place items on the belt)
Cashier: Hi, how are you today?
Nance: Fine. How are you?
Cashier: Good. Hey, do you have any heavy items under there?
Nance: Yes, I was just going to tell you--
Cashier: (interrupting) Okay. I'm not allowed to bend or lift anything heavy.
Nance: That's fine. I usually leave the cases under there and let the cashiers--
Cashier: (interrupting) If you push your cart up here, I'll give you the scanner and let you scan 'em.
Nance: Whatever works for you. (finishes unloading and pushes cart to cashier's station)
Cashier: Okay, here you go. Just scan the one, and I'll double it here.
Nance: Got it. All set.
Cashier: Yeah, no heavy lifting or bending for me. Found out I'm not just fat--I'm pregnant!
Nance: (not sure how to respond to this, or if it's even required, continues preparing to pay for eventual final total)
Cashier: (blithely continuing with great aplomb) Yep! Thirty-seven weeks. At first I thought it was all the holiday eating, but nope. It wasn't just fat. (looks directly at Nance, expectantly--no pun intended)
Nance: (truly stuck now) Oh...my. Well. There you go!
Cashier: Huh?
Nance: Um, did you subtract that coupon?
Cashier: Yep! Sure did.

(They are interrupted momentarily by another shopper who, upon leaving, mentions very discreetly to the Cashier that her bagger, a young man with special needs, is losing his pants. Not wanting to embarrass him then, she hopes that perhaps this Cashier might speak to him.)

Cashier: Okay. Thank you. (turns toward bagger, several lanes down, shouts) Hey! Hey! Darrin! Pull your pants up, dude! Pants!
Nance: (mouth starting to dry out from being agape, closes it)
Cashier: Okay. Here's your total. I can print that check for you. Oh, by the way, I see you got large eggs. Didn't you know that the extra large are the same price this week?
Nance: Oh, no. I didn't. Had I known, I'd have gotten the extra large.
Cashier:  ( pityingly)  Yep. They are. Okay, here's your receipt. Have a great day!

ACT II. Scene opens in living room, later that evening. Rick and Nance are on the couch. Nance is telling Rick about her grocery store adventure.

Nance: (still not over any of it) ...and then, after all that, she waits until she has rung the total and is sending me on my way to tell me about the eggs! Why?! I should have said, "I'll stand here while you go get me the extra large" or "I'll wait here while you send someone to get me the extra large" or...something!
Rick: (laughing) Really? That's what you wish you would have said?

End.

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