I know it’s been some time since I wrote my last blog post. I thought I would take this time to explain what’s been going on in my life and why I am ready to get back to writing.
Walking Seinfeld Episode
Every time a doctor asks me what kind of trauma happened to me to start my head-to-toe joint and bone pain, I laugh first then explain that I am a walking Seinfeld episode. I can just picture Kramer explaining to a doctor how he got attacked by a rooster. I laugh every time I think about it. The trauma that began all this pain was that I was attacked by a rooster. I never knew those birds could be that aggressive. I was helping out a friend by taking care of her chickens, gathering eggs, feeding, watering and the rooster attacked me (bit me, drew blood) three times. I hit it with a broom, but it kept coming at me. When I got home, I cleaned up the wound, it was kind of deep. I put on some natural antibacterial salve made with essential oils, then thought nothing of it. Except to laugh at how insanely funny it was when I was explaining it to my husband.
That was the beginning of May. In the middle of the month, I noticed that the rooster wound (try saying that five times fast) wasn’t healing and it was still hot to the touch, plus I started having other strange symptoms too. I had started getting severe migraines, something I haven’t had since I was a teenager. But these headaches were not like any migraine I had ever had in the past. These headaches started in the back of my head and moved to the top of my head. It felt like someone was gripping my head like a basketball and everywhere the fingers were gripping my head there was shooting pain. Plus, anytime I had one of these headaches I also had a problem with my eyes. Since I needed glasses on a regular basis, when I had the headaches I could see perfectly fine without my glasses. Then a couple of days later the tops of my feet hurt so bad I couldn’t put shoes on. This lasted 3 days, that’s when I decided to make an appointment with a doctor. Since I haven’t been sick in over seven years, I didn’t have a primary care physician, so my appointment was about six weeks out. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and really couldn’t wait that long, so I went into Urgent Care.
Let’s imagine Kramer going to Urgent Care, there is nothing urgent about it, and the entire waiting room is filled with people who should be seen by their PCP but can’t into see them because they are booked up. So the urgent care facility has taken on the role of our PCP (primary care physician). What a sad situation.
Want to get an appointment with a doctor lickety split? Just go into Urgent Care three times in two weeks. The urgent care doctor sped up my appointment and got me in to see the doctor I wanted instead of whoever had an opening.
That started my medical paper trail, and the hilarity of explaining to my doctor that yes, I am a Walking Seinfeld Episode. I have had 20 different blood tests to rule out Polymyalgia, Lyme Disease, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, Mono, RA and Lupus (although those tests can come back negative and you can still have the disease.) My inflammation level fluctuates so much the doctor doesn’t understand it. Especially since all my other tests are coming back negative.
There is not a day that goes by that I am not in pain somewhere on my body. If I wake up and hands and feet are cramped up, I know what kind of day I am going to have. But if I wake up with no pain that doesn’t mean I will remain pain-free for the whole day. What this has done to my life is horrible. I can only work six hours a day and some days if I am extremely stressed I will get a migraine back and need to go lie down in my dark walk-in closet and sleep the day away.
Never in my life have I ever experienced every bone in my body all feeling like I have shin splints. Try telling this to a physical trainer who told me that it was impossible to have shin splints in your bones it only happens with physical exertion. Well, I know what a shin splint feels like, and when every bone feels like that, it’s not something that will magically go away. Every day is a challenge, how will I get dressed, how will I bathe, how will I make food for myself, how will I get up and down the stairs (I have 2 flights of 13 stairs in my home.) These are questions I am now asking myself.
But some things are surely constant in my life. I always find the time to learn from God and take direction from Him. I always find the time to exercise whether I am doing some Classical Stretch or Pilates or taking a walk with my husband. I know that if I don’t move now, I won’t be able to move later. The Classical Stretch is my favorite as it keeps me in a good posture throughout the day. Another constant is that I try to make accommodations so I can continue doing what I love. Like wearing special gloves to crochet and using special homemade crochet hooks that make it easier to grip the hook. I make special accommodations at work right now working only the allotted time the doctor says I can work, taking an hour for lunch so I can take a nap, and using a special mouse that puts my hand in a neutral position.
We still don’t know the why, the how, and for how long I will be this way. Right now the doctors don’t have any answers to those questions. More doctor and specialist appointments are to follow. Sometimes we don’t know why we are experiencing what we are going through. Maybe it’s to teach us a lesson or maybe it’s for the benefit of others. I can say that I have learned so much with this pain that I would have never known before.
1. From a good friend who is going through her own health challenges: Greeting people with “Happy to see you!” instead of “How are you?” I kind of cringe when people ask me how I am feeling because I really don’t want to think about it.
2. Even though you can’t see my illness doesn’t mean I am not sick. Many people don’t wear their illnesses on their sleeves for the world to see.
3. Even the smallest tasks mean so much. Remember the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”? Well it’s the small stuff that means so much to me. If someone offers to water my plants for me, I let them. If my husband wants to clean the kitchen, I let him. It’s those little things that speak volumes to me right now.
4. Flip Flops can go with every outfit. I have one pair of flip flops that don’t hurt my feet. I have worn them this entire summer.
5. I can’t control my pain but I can control my thoughts about my pain. When I wake up and my body is screaming at me, I have two choices stay in bed and wallow in the pain or get up, get dressed and take charge of pain focusing on the blessings in my life
6. Let people be a blessing to you. I think this is the biggest lesson I have learned so far. If someone wants to help you by doing something (washing dishes, carrying your bags, giving an encouraging word) don’t push them away by making them fit your criteria.
7. Do what you can do, when you can do it, in a way you can do it. So, I use two hands to drink my cup of coffee in the morning. It takes me about an hour to unload the dishwasher. I don’t even try making my bed anymore. No one sees my bedroom but my husband and I. If I can’t make dinner, I instruct my husband in what to make for dinner. I can’t always do what I had planned on doing for the day, no problem I do what I can do, when I can do it, in a way I can do it.
8. God is still in charge. So, I have pain now, so what? That hasn’t changed my view of God in my life. A matter of fact, I am now more focused on God than I ever was before.
9. Eat this, don’t eat that. Do this, don’t do that. You probably have… People will come of the woodwork to tell you what you should eat, not eat, how to do this cleanse, that technique. They will even tell you they know what’s wrong with you, and it’s not real it’s all in your head. Well, they don’t wake up in your body either.
10. The pain doesn’t diminish who I am. I am still me, I still do the things I love doing. I am still me!
While I am a walking Seinfeld episode, I am still me.