25 September 2011

The Next Batch

There is a storm blowing in. I have the living room windows and sliding glass door in the kitchen open. I've been sitting in my recliner reading as the cool air gets sucked through the house. I love this time of year. I love open windows and fresh air streams. I try to imagine what a layer of smoke would look like being drawn across my more than pudgy frame. It makes me laugh. Perhaps I am round to reduce friction loss and/or wind resistance? That's it. I am not fat. I am a science experiment in domestic aerodynamics.

I had the makings of a migraine from hell today, so I amped myself up on caffeine and gave myself my weekly vitamin B12 shot. I may never sleep again, but when I do, I will crash hard. I wish I could condense this energy into a laser like focus and actually accomplish any of the 15 or so tasks I am juggling. I am easily distractable when I am this wired. First I thought it would be great to clean out the freezer and in doing so I found some chicken that was still good but needed to be cooked. I stopped what I was doing and pulled out the crock pot to throw together what I call refrigerator stew. Whatever is in the fridge goes into the pot. Then I realized I still hadn't put away some things on the kitchen table that have been there for days. Why hadn't I just done it? Oh yeah, I started boxing them up but needed tape. Now is as good a time as any to take care of that. On the way to get the tape from the laundry room I realized I hadn't pulled the last load out of the dryer and folded it. I started folding laundry when I noticed the wastebasket was full and it reminded me that tomorrow morning is garbage day. I stopped folding laundry and started gathering up the trash to take it out to the curb. As I was gathering trash I wondered if any of the food in the freezer was beyond being edible, and, well, you get the picture. A complete cycle of incomplete tasks.

During the whole time I was doing the "too much energy and not enough focus" jig I had an interesting inner monologue going. Perhaps that's not the right term for it. I was talking to myself and praying. Sort of. Does it count as prayer if you are just thinking random thoughts and assuming God is eavesdropping? I mean, I start out talking to Him and the next thing I know I am just talking. "Oh, and I need to put together a kit so when I go out as a volunteer for disaster relief I will have things like bandages, over-the-counter drugs, and stuff. Where do you suppose I am going to come up with that money? Oh and how am I going to afford to kennel the dogs and drive myself to wherever it is? What was I thinking? I can't do this? Did You really want me involved in disaster relief? I am a walking disaster. Disaster, relieve thyself is what I should be saying...."

I wonder if we all sound like junior high school students to God. Our thoughts and hearts going in every random direction at once, kind of like a fart in a skillet. Unlike God I don't have much patience for anyone, including myself, when they are like this. That's something I should work on. Meanwhile the caffeine is wearing off.

God's mercies are new every morning. I am looking forward to my new batch of grace and grateful for this one.

21 September 2011

Odd Thoughts

I have a confession to make. I am a bit strange. I know, I know, I have a flair for the obvious. I had planned to drive to a big city and do some shopping but my body isn't up to it. That made sort of sad and then I had to find another way to look at it. I never want to be one of those old folks who do not know when to give up their keys. Today my hands are numb and I don't trust myself to drive. It's sort of an answer to prayer for me to be unable to drive because my hands are numb but my mind is not. I am still able to make good choices about the safety of others on the road with me behind the wheel. That is important to me. I don't want to be so mentally compromised that I put myself in the role of executioner by driving. Pity party postponed indefinitely, I hope.

I have to admit I have had the weirdest things pop into my head today. Like what? I am so glad you asked.

Ever notice that there is a correlation between the number of distractions you encounter and your under-estimation of the time necessary to finish a particular project?

If I tell a doctor that I am not comfortable in my body and think I am actually a cetacean trapped in a humanoid body is there a surgery for that? A group I can join? Or would they put me into therapy? Or tell me it's OK, God made me this way on porpoise? (couldn't resist that one, sorry)

20 September 2011

Confessions From Behind The Wall

You don't know me. I do everything in my power to make certain the part of me that you get to see is honest but not as vulnerable as you might think. I am an expert at dangling just enough information about myself to make you think you know me. Like a fly fisherman casting a lure, I make familiar ripples in the streams of your soul and you take the bait. My intent is to catch and release. I want to catch your attention and be released from any responsibility. I want to be recognized but not known. I want to have my cake and eat it too.

You don't know me. You don't know what my fears truly are- no more than you know my hopes or dreams. I would never risk telling you. You may think you know. You may think you have me all figured out but I live alone behind the door to me. The security system is in working order. You can come up to the door and look through the windows but the deadbolt is going to remain in place. No robin will come show you the hidden entrance to my secret garden. No amount of loyalty, no amount of steadfast love and acceptance will trick me into letting you in. But you won't know that. You will think that you are the exception to my rule. I want you to feel that way. I want to give you a sense of safety and calm. Solidarity. We are two peas in a pod, except that you don't really know me.

You shouldn't be offended by my telling you this. I treat God the same way. It doesn't work with Him either, but I keep deluding myself just the same. He knows when I rise and when I slumber. He knows my thoughts before they are known to me. But I try to fool Him just like I try to fool myself. I pretend I do not need the intimacy my soul longs for. I do know I need to be known but I do not want someone on the inside of my walls, then we'd both be trapped here.

A woman at bible study said it has been hard for her to make her way in to a circle of friends. She said coming into a small town of people who have all known one another for years is difficult. Three years later she still feels like an outsider. I wanted to hug her and say "It's been six for me" but unlike her I saw it as my accomplishment.

Sneaky God. Revealing my sins this way. Clever, sneaky God.

19 September 2011

The Unlucky Rabbit's Foot

My dogs do not like the rain. When the grass is wet they have no desire in the world to go outside. So on this gray and rainy day, one of my favorite combinations in the whole world by the way, imagine my surprise when the doggies I normally force to go outside in the wet weather were gone a full 15 minutes. They have a wireless fence and respect the warning sound they get before the buzz to check their forward motion kicks in. Usually vocal about wanting to come in, I assumed they were sitting on the porch waiting for me to get around to letting opening the door. Then, being an anxiety ridden clown, I began to panic thinking that they had escaped the fence and were out on the highway about to be run over. As dramatic as that sounds I live at the end of a cul-de-sac with nothing but vacant lots past my house. Not a lot of traffic there, you know? So, telling myself they were alright, I went to the door and called them. I heard nothing in response.

It is never a good thing when your kids or your dogs are too quiet, unless of course they are asleep. I called a little louder from the front door and received no response. I went to the back door and called. I heard the jingling of their ID tags and knew they would come to the front door. While silence is seldom a good thing, two dogs licking their chops as they prance to the door sort of confirms your worst fears. My neighbors have goats and chickens in the pasture behind my house. My dogs invisible fence doesn't allow them to go to the neighbors fence, but their chickens often hop over to eat the june bugs in my yard and they are welcome to them. I began to fear my dogs had killed a wayward chicken, so I put some shoes on and went on a search and recovery mission.

There are many reasons I wish I that I was a married woman. Right up there on the list is having to do things like finding the unlucky rabbit's foot and what remains of the haunch and entrails out in my back yard and having to be the one to clean it up. If ever there were man's work, that's it. I immediately began negotiating with God in interest. "If you will send me a husband, I promise to be a godly wife. I'll submit to his leadership and everything, just please don't make me have to pick up dead animals anymore. I don't want to be the one who goes to see what's wrong when the weird noises happen. I don't know jack about how to fix the garage door and don't want the responsibility any more. I can't paint the house and it needs it. There's a litany of things I need and can't do myself and half again as many things I just want because they would be nice. Someone to travel with, someone laugh with...you know, normal things like that. Please don't make me go into the crawl space to determine what that funky smell is either. It's not good for man to be alone? What about crazy aging women like me??DON'T LEAVE ME ALONE LIKE THIS ANYMORE!!"

All very selfish reasons for wanting a spouse. None of them biblical. I am sinful, but honest about it.

16 September 2011

Me and Huey Lewis

Turns out Huey Lewis and I have more in common than I do with Venus Williams. I do not have Sjogren's Syndrome. it seems part of what my body wants is a new drug. I have been taking the old anti-inflammatory drug since 1990, 3 times a day, almost every day. Is it any wonder my body has had enough of it? Wednesday was rough as a Brillo pad on sunburned skin. I had to stop taking one drug to start taking another. I wasn't in withdrawals but I was cranky with pain. Yesterday I thought the new drug was going to be a failed experiment, but perhaps I needed to give it a week or two to introduce it to my body. I had a headache (no caffeine) I was dizzy (new drug) and woke up in pain (no taking old drug before bed).

Sometime in the late evening my sister called and we discussed all things sisters discuss. I told her I had reservations about the way the new drug made me feel but had to admit that in the evening the dizziness had warn off and my body hurt less to move. Not so much my neck and back with the bulging discs and pinched nerves, but the hands, knees and feet where the osteoarthritis has taken up residency. I was impressed.

I was more favorably impressed today when I got up that I had 1) managed to get 4 hours uninterrupted sleep 2) did not awake with the beginnings of headache, let alone a migraine and 3) had managed to do not one but two loads of laundry, prepare my food for the day and terrorize my online theology buddies all before 9 am. Ahhh! Who would have thought this upside down hippie from the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60s/70s would have arthritis drugs as their drug of choice? If I can string a few days like this one together I will take over the world, well, maybe just my house but even that is a drastic improvement.

In other news, At the insistence of a friend I watched Rango last night. I was fascinated by the animation, the allusions to many of my favorite movies and reads and that I sorta liked it. It's pretty typical for kid flicks to have stuff to keep adults amused, but I have to wonder how many folks caught the Hunter S Thompson meets Hitchcock meets Coen Brothers meets spaghetti westerns combo that made up the film. Anyone? Or was it just me and my new drugs?

15 September 2011

Diagnosis Failure and Perspective

What do you do when you know something is wrong with your body and yet all the tests provide no definitive answer? I can open my mouth and show you the sores in it. I can show you where my tongue has turned color. It's not cancer, it's not a stain. It's a mystery. I can show you the rash on my face. It is not lupus. It is not rosacea. What is it? Why does it accompany extreme fatigue and joint pain? You can see my eyelids are red and angry looking but antibiotics, ointments and eye drops don't make it go away. My guts aren't working properly but it's not colitis, Crohn's, not a h-pylori, but they are inflamed. Why? What do you do when you don't know what you're fighting?

You rejoice. I am a saved woman. It's all good after that.

You pray. Pray for patience. Lord, help me cope with these annoying and often debilitating symptoms as befitting a woman of God. And please, let the doctor changing my medications be a step in the right direction. I beg You for the willpower and wisdom to do the things the doctor says will help.

You change what you can. Going gluten free is a royal pain in the, well, you know, not to mention the hurt it will put to your pocket, but it has helped relieve some of my more extreme intestinal symptoms. The doctor didn't say I was imagining symptoms, he said they weren't caused by any of the diseases he suspected. So keep going gluten free, Rosemarie and learn to like it. In fact, be glad you have found some relief. He also said that my inability to get proper sleep was likely making all of my known maladies and symptoms exponentially worse. So bu-bye caffeine I love so well. Bu-bye late night TV when I can't sleep.

I need to stop doing things I know are aggravating injuries. I am proud and I am stubborn. I know my neck and back have major malfunctions and I push myself to the point of pain, so much pain that I can't sleep through it even with drugs. Less stuff to take care of equals less stuff to cause me agony. Simplify whenever possible. I know I need to lose weight and succumb to call for chocolate and ice-cream way too often. My accomplishment journal is still a wicked-smart idea for me. I just need to redefine what I consider accomplishments.

You cultivate gratitude. Thank you, Lord that I do not have any of the scary diseases the doctor was testing for and expected to find. Thank you, Lord that I have medical insurance. Thank you that my new doctor is a brother in Christ. Thank you that if he is right and all these things really are separate problems stacked one upon another, that all the doctors I have seen thus far: ophthalmologist; internist; gastroenterologist; immunologist and neurologist are all working together. Thank you that all their tests, though they have not answered this problem, have uncovered problems that could have had catastrophic results for me if left untreated. Mostly Lord, thank you that this body isn't the one I will be stuck with in eternity.

Psalm 139:13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for [j]I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

11 September 2011

Saved Again

God saved my life yesterday afternoon, which isn't really surprising because He has and will do that all day every day that He's ordained me to be here. In my sinful presumptiveness I take that for granted. Occasionally He makes it obvious that He is keeping me safe. That's what happened yesterday. My sister and I drove to Lexington and did some shopping. She goes up every week to visit her father and I go up once every couple of months. Occasionally things work out so we go together. It usually means we'll laugh, end up in tears at least once and ask each other exploratory questions. She and I were separated when she was born and reunited about 19 years ago. I moved to Kentucky as a result of her instigations. We are in many ways alike and yet very different. It's fun to find those things out.

My sister, Karen, has a fear of traveling by car. She's come by it honestly and it seems without fail, each and every time we drive somewhere Karen's very presence is a magnet to draw vehicles into our lane. I enjoy driving and am usually at the wheel. My sister's attention is everywhere. She is in high alert while in a moving automobile. I have heard it said that 80% of people asked with say they are a good driver and we all know that's impossible. I will venture to say I am a good driver. I was taught by a pro who was all about driving defensively. Now, I am not saying I am perfect but I am safe. Our bio father taught me to take the privilege of driving seriously. "Every time you get behind the wheel of a car you are taking your life and the life of everyone else out there in your hands." One of the better life lessons he gave me.

So there we were, driving home on the rural winding highway and some idiot decided to make a left turn in front of me. I sort of couldn't believe he was doing that in his big old truck. Thank the Lord that I was slowing down when I saw him stopped on the highway because it turned out that he was not my biggest problem. I had my foot on the brake and was hoping I wouldn't have to lock them up because of cars behind me. The truck made the turn and much to my surprise there was a second vehicle behind him that also turned. At that point I put my foot hard down on the brake and I think I said aloud, "We're going to hit!"

One of the things I learned working in public safety was the value of drills. We drilled every Friday night when I was at the fire department. The more you practice and drill, the more second nature the actions become. The memory of what to do actually moves to a place in the brain that stores it for more automatic responses. I was grateful for all the years of being drilled about how to drive.

In the days before anti-lock braking systems my father taught me to pump the brakes. He drilled me on things like steering into the skid, how to shift without using a clutch in a standard car. How to back up like a truck driver and to watch your mirrors. "Two things you should know, the limitations of your car and where the fool is that's going to hit you. Always be worried about the other guy." My first car with ABS he drilled me about how they require longer stopping distances and not to pump the brakes. I was grateful for all those lessons yesterday as I saw an SUV of some sort broadside in front of me.

They use sparse amounts of asphalt in Kentucky. Rural highways have nowhere for you to go but in a ditch or over the edge of a granite cliff or drive into someones home. For a brief instant I considered driving into the left lane but wasn't sure I could control the car in the skid I was in if I did that. I don't think the second vehicle turning realized I was there until he was committed to his turn. The first vehicle turning hadn't realized the second one had turned too and had slowed down once he was clear of my lane. All the things my father had taught me went through my brain. Thankfully the second person realized his/her mistake and floored his vehicle, swooping in and cutting the corner as he drove into the left side of the perpendicular road.

"Are you OK?" We both spoke at once after the necessary pause. "Can you believe they did that?!!" I was dumbstruck. "Good job keeping us alive!" I said to her, "That is a 'Thank You, Lord!' moment." My sister later confessed she had a feeling when we started out that something bad was going to happen. About 4 miles down the road she said she wanted to go back and see the skid marks. We did. Though we both know I had braked earlier the skid marks started just before the intersection and went all the way through it. The second driver probably didn't have but an inch or two total between my car and the mountain he/she had to maneuver around.

Karen said she wanted to find the driver and ask, "Was that good for you? Did you get your adrenaline rush for the day?" Or find out if they had a passenger beating them about the head and shoulders saying "You nearly killed us you fool!" We did not, of course.

This morning on the way to church I thought about the incident. I thought about how often I assume God is going to keep my head above water and how easily life is snuffed out. The thing that gets me the most is why I am here in the first place. Who am I that the Almighty is mindful of me at all let alone extends His sovereignty to save me?

10 September 2011

Relapsing Remitting Turrets

Trust me, if you can visualize what I am about to relay to you, you will laugh. I want to assure you that it's OK. I think it's funny too. Now it is funny. Earlier this morning? Maybe not so much. I suppose when you start to laugh could have some implications but I truly think if you don't laugh I would be more worried about you. I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Yesterday was a gold star day for my accomplishment journal. I pulled some of my fall and winter clothes out of the back closet, laundered them and sorted them. May not sound like much but using my hands is what aggravates my neck injury. Reaching up to hang things in the closet or to bring them down from the rack is also painful. Along with the pinched nerves in my neck that compromise the use of my arms, I have had carpal tunnel syndrome for the last 18 or so years. I have ignored the clothes in the back closet for almost 3 years so I was ever so proud of myself until about 2am.

At first I thought I was having a seizure but it didn't make sense to me that I should know I was having a seizure while I was sleeping. Was I dreaming? Was I awake? Just what in the world was happening to me? It seems along with all else that I accomplished yesterday I also managed to accomplish pain. Severe pain. The kind of pain that makes it almost impossible to keep the unsanctified words from flying off your tongue. I struggle with using some of the more colorful words. I have been trying to find suitable substitutes, but I am not very good at it. Every nerve in my neck that is angry with me decided to make protest and enlisted the nerves in my carpal tunnel as well. This resulted in a crisis of near biblical proportions for me.

Both my hands had shooting pains and tingling in them. What I call my "mom spots" (the place where you would tattoo "Mom" on your arm) were spasming, which makes the hands flop about like a crappie out of water. Of course the hands hitting the mattress made the shooting pains shoot faster and with more intensity. Each shock of pain from the nerves in my hand made my mom spots react with a spasm, which of course sent my hands flopping into the mattress which made the nerves ignite and the cycle continued. Now imagine waking from a dead sleep to find yourself in this torturous cycle.

I have mentioned on previous posts that I have sleep apnea and wear what I call a sleep snorkel. The headgear looks like this and by the way no one, and I do mean no one looks as good as these models while wearing this headgear. Which, by the way has a 7' hose that connects to the little machine that sits on my nightstand. In other words when I am in bed with my headgear on I am on a 7' tether. So imagine if you will that I am laying on my back, hands flopping, bad words flying and all I want in the entire world is for Jesus to come take me home or get up and get some drugs to make the spasms stop. The drugs are in my master bathroom 12' feet from me. I can't get there with my mask on and each time I try to raise one hand up to take the mask off the muscles cramp in my mom spot, sending my hands back flopping to the bed. If I lay perfectly still, the pain and cramping slowed down but I could feel the muscles continue to tighten down. I needed to get some drugs on board.

I tried to sit up without the benefit of using my hands to support me. I have a soft bed and only managed to look like I was in a pike position or perhaps somewhat like an over stuffed taco. Using my hands made the spasms start. Would I die in bed of muscle spasms? Surely I could get out of this predicament. I realized I could probably roll out of bed without my hands excepting that I had my headgear on. Now I just had to figure how to get the headgear off without using my hands. I started rubbing my head on the bed trying to catch the headgear and slide it off. Oddly enough they make these things to stay on your head as your head rubs on the mattress, but if you do it with some vigor and some flopping it will move. If you keep it up over a period of time it will eventually come off. Especially when the dogs are barking at you because they can't figure out if you're being attacked or about to attack them!

Picture a short, fat woman wearing the headgear pictured in the link above, rubbing her head with vigor against the mattress, hands and arms flopping and intermittent made up expletives being launched. Dogs barking and scurrying in the room trying to figure out what in the world is going on. The mental image of what I must have looked like suddenly sent me into fits of laughter. Expletive sprinkled laughter but laughter just the same. I found myself saying aloud, "Rosemarie, you aren't having seizures! You appear to be having relapsing remitting Turrets Syndrome!" Which of course made me laugh even harder.

Eventually I did get up, managed to get the muscle relaxers on board and 20 minutes later it was all over. I am a little tender, but I will survive the ordeal. My accomplishment journal today will read:

Moved muscle relaxers and a bottle of water over to nightstand. Had a good laugh and a nap. That is all. That's enough!

08 September 2011

So Much for Great Ideas

Accomplishment Journal:

I made lasagna for my BFF to feed her moving crew.
I cleaned part of my kitchen.
I complained bitterly about not being able to respond to an urgent request for volunteers from the disaster relief folks I joined. Wait...that's not a positive thing.... scratch that one off the list.
I uh.... huh... I am pretty sure there was something else I did.... but I can't remember.

None of it is "refrigerator material." Well, the lasagna went in the fridge, but nothing to proudly display on the outside.

All that said, it was a good day interrupted by the occasional pity party. I'll send out invitations to the next one if you'll all agree to kick me in the backside when I start feeling sorry for myself.

07 September 2011

Tweaking Things and Other Minor Accomplishments

Back when I could work for a living, which seems like forever ago, my employer paid a long term disability insurance policy for me in lieu of paying for medical benefits. I was blessed to have good insurance through my work in public safety. God's providence in that is the only reason I have maintained an Internet connection, food in the fridge, car insurance and can purchase the gas to drive the silly thing. I am grateful for the policy. I try to remind myself of that when I have to fill out the scads of paperwork they require from me to document my disability.

It really does take an emotional toll to have to write over and over again all the things you cannot do. It also piques my sarcasm. I want to write things like, "I will never be able to participate in yak racing again" or "just the other day the pain in my neck was so severe I realized my days of being a casteller are behind me." I am not sure they would appreciate my humor. It's what I do to get by though. I like to make fun of things including myself and I am an easy target. I can screw up a one person rock fight.

Today I was trying to motivate myself to get some chores done. My body hurts and I want to simply medicate myself into oblivion, but that's no way to live. I mean, I take the drugs when I literally can't stand it one minute longer. I spend a lot of time testing that theory. Can I make it just 30 seconds? But once the pain is too severe, the medications are useless. It's a delicate balance. Anyway, I finally got up and started on my house reclamation project. My best friend has been staying with me for the last two and a half years. I loved having her. She's purchased a house and started moving out. Neither of us thought she would stay with me as long as she did, and though we love each other, we are both excited to have our own space. For her it means purchasing things and setting up house. For me it is reshuffling, reorganizing and re-purposing. It also means making many trips to Good Will so they can re-purpose my excess.

Sadly, I am twice the woman I used to be in some ways and worse than that I am half the woman I used to be in others. I tried to take the glass shades off my ceiling fan lights to bring them down and wash them. I couldn't do it. The nerves in my neck that are being pinched won't allow my hands to work if they are above my head or extended in front of me. Most the time I can only get my left one over my head anyway. You can't unscrew the the things that hold the shade in place and keep it from crashing to the ground with the same hand. Know that part of your arm where a "MOM" tattoo would go? Something in my neck makes that muscle quiver and turn to jello and if I don't pay attention to that warning and stop trying to lift my hand above my head. Next the "I tol' you not to do that" cattle prod like shock wave hits. Yeah, that one gets my attention every time ensuring I will stop. Immediately.

I pride myself in being a problem solver so I decided to go ahead with some ibuprofen, ignore the other stronger medications and see if I couldn't get some things done today. I targeted cleaning my refrigerator and began making a plan. I could put some laundry in the washing machine and while that was working I would clean the fridge. Plans made I began the execution. I stripped my bed, put the sheets in the wash, pulled out my handy dandy step thingy and got busy cleaning the fridge. I tried to think happy thoughts while I was working on changing the water filter, which requires stretching your arm out and up and then grabbing. Any one of those things can send me to fetch the muscle relaxers because of spasms. However, I am a cheap date and I know if I take one the next few hours will be spent watching bad television programs and drooling on myself. Not becoming. I thought about adding cleaning my refrigerator to the list of things I can no longer do when the next set of insurance forms come and suddenly I had an idea. "Why be so negative? Why not start an accomplishment journal?"

I swear to you, if I could have high-fived myself, I would have. I am totally jazzed by the idea of keeping an accomplishment journal. Never mind the fact that I have failed at prayer journaling, journaling about my day or keeping a gratitude journal. This idea is pure genius. Heck, I could get so excited about documenting my accomplishments I would display it on my freshly cleaned fridge! OK, not so much that but really, what a great way to keep me motivated. With renewed vigor I finished my work in the kitchen and went to put my sheets in the dryer, I was even cocky enough to consider putting the next load in. As I was yarding out my sheets, I heard a funny clunking sound. There in the bottom of the washing machine was the remote control to the bedroom television. One of the hazards of not being able to sleep is watching TV in bed. I guess when I took the sheets off I didn't realize I had scooped up the remote at the same time.

Accomplishment Journal First Entry:

Today I cleaned the refrigerator, stripped my bed and washed my sheets. I learned that sometimes, if you're not careful, you wash your remote control. Now my fridge, bed and remote are clean and fresh smelling.

Proverbs 17:22a "A joyful heart is good medicine."

01 September 2011

What Venus and I (May) Have in Common

Yesterday I had an appointment with the autoimmune/rheumatology specialist I have been waiting to see. He played connect the dots with my symptoms. Hair falling out? Check. Eyes dry? Check. Mouth dry? Check. Skin rash? Check. Exhausted? Check. Muscles hurt? Check. Joints swollen and painful? Check. Gastrointestinal discomfort? Check.

Who have I seen? Opthamologist who diagnosed me with blepharitis. Gastroenterologist who diagnosed me with Barrett's Esophagus. Internist who has diagnosed me with 'borderline' diabetes and pernicious anemia. Oh and multiple bouts of candida infections on or in just about every part of my body. Pulmonologist who diagnosed me with sleep apnea. This is not to mention the findings of sciatica and a few bulging discs and bone spurs pinching nerves in my neck as a result of an accident.

He takes in all my complaints, looks at all my prior blood test results and says I am in the right place. My body is having autoimmune problems and all these things are related. I almost cried. Not scared or worried crying. Overjoyed. Up to that moment I thought I was the greatest hypchondriac malingerer on the planet. Then I realized that what he is telling me is that my immune system has turned Benedict Arnold on me and is attacking the good cells in my body. I am being hit by friendly fire.... covertly.... in the secrecy of my own skin. My leukocytes are turncoats.

I told the doctor to tell me what he was thinking because my imagination is far worse than whatever he was considering. He threw out a few possibilities. Autoimmune hepatitis. Sjogren's Syndrome. Lupus. And things scarier than all those combined. I told him I was going to consult Dr. Google on these and see if I wanted any of them. He assured me I don't. Never heard of Sjogren's Syndrome. That's what I Googled first. If I have to have it, I'll take primary Sjogren's thank you. I would rather not have it be a symptom of another autoimmune disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or scarier stuff. Oddly enough there wasn't a lot to read on it... until this morning.

There I was watching Good Morning America and Venus Williams is announcing that she's dropping out of tennis competition because she's been diagnosed with Sjogren's. Later in the day I Googled Sjogren's and a plethora of sites are now available to tell you all about it.

I tell you what. I would rather have something else in common with Ms. Williams. I hope the one thing we have in common is rebirth. No, not Birth of Venus by Botticelli. I hope we share spiritual rebirth. I want us to share the hope that all things work together for good for those who believe and are called according to His purpose and pleasure.

Oh, and if I do have Sjogren's, I am changing its name to Shogun Syndrome. That sounds a lot more formidable and frankly, if I am going to be kicked around I would rather it be by a Japanese "commander of force" than some Swedish doctor who got to name a syndrome after himself. Yeah, I know. Prideful even in malady. That's me.