Part of "A Journey to Charis"
Scaling the Mountain
Sometimes seasons are hard. It's just the way life goes. Thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy takes a lot of extra effort during these days. Trying to be grateful feels exhausting... exhausting, but still necessary. I know that gratitude helps to change my focus, from one of misery, to one of counting my blessings. I also know that finding the humor in the midst of the crazy and the difficult can make the load a little lighter, too.
The last few weeks have been difficult, but they haven't killed me... not yet, anyway. I can be thankful for that, right? First, I'll dispense with the humor, and then I will do my best at being grateful. Don't say I didn't warn you how this would go down. Here we go...
I've had a fever every day for almost 2 months... and the chills and muscle weakness that go along with that. I have no idea why it's persisting, but this has happened on and off for about 4 years now. If I were 50, I'd think maybe it was menopausal hot flashes, but alas, I am a mere 42, and my equipment is still fully functioning. I guess I'm just too hot for my own good... I'm kidding. Well, my husband has called me a hot mama, so maybe. Yes, I'm definitely way too hot for my own good. What can I do?
I got an ultrasound on my thyroid. There is a little nodule that I'm going to have to keep a watch on, in case he wants to mutate into the "C" word. That little 5mm sucker! For Pete's sake, who told him he could set up shop it my throat? I think I should charge him rent for that. Rent and utilities and a monthly HOA fee. He could at least buy me a new pair of black pumps. Size 8, please.
I should also charge rent for his twin cousins, Tom and Dom, a couple weird nodules or ganglion (ya, I've never heard that word either) cysts on my left hand. (Don't let the rhyming names fool you, they are fraternal twins, and Dom is half Italian.) My pinkie finger won't straighten out any more (thanks, Dom). I'll be seeing a rheumatologist in the near future for those little squatters. Maybe we'll even find a secondary autoimmune disease to add to the pot. I had my blood drawn yesterday to see about that. The phlebotomist poked around in my one good vein no less than four times. I finally cringed and groaned, and she called me a "trooper." I almost called her a... oh, never mind.
Furthermore, there have been 2 mammograms and an ultrasound on my delicate chest area in the past two weeks. First, let me just say I HATE mammograms, and yes I meant to shout that, and no, I'm not exaggerating. Next, I will be following up these lovely breast procedures with a biopsy due to something "abnormal" growing in my highly sensitive, delicate chest area, duct. Please, somebody hold my hand. I'm not even kidding. I got queasy and almost threw up on the ultrasound technician while he was checking out my personal region, and now he wants me to voluntarily come back and stick a needle in it? Right. Don't worry, I will go back. I may have to be dragged and promised some very excellent European chocolates for my efforts, though. That and hearing the word benign at the end of it all would be perfect. Could that just happen??? Please? Thanks in advance.
This party is just getting started, people. You thought it couldn't get any more lively, didn't you? Well, I've been doing some neurological therapy for being insane in my membrane. I get to watch movies while I have wires and electrodes attached to my ears and my scalp. Did you know you can actually map out your brain and see just how crazy your neurons and various lobes, cortices, and hippocampus actually are? It was validating, people. Val.i.da.ting. In order to continue with these therapies, I have to wean myself off one of the meds I have become extremely fond of... not like I was abusing them or anything, at only a small dose per night, but it was my sleeping crutch, and it allows me to sleep in the same bed as my husband without my PTSD stuff going berserk. It was good for the health of my marriage, ok? Do you know what happens when you wean yourself and put the bottle back in the medicine cabinet?? Withdrawals happen, you all everybody!! (And yes, that was a LOST reference, and I know exactly how Charlie was feeling.) Try massive headaches, an inability to logically formulate thoughts, shaking from the inside out, could I get any more tired?, it's 4am and I'm still awake, are my muscles turning to Jell-O?, please don't talk... it's too much noise, my heart should not be beating quite like that, nausea... more nausea, everything bothers me, why can't I think, and whoever took my brain, please return it, no questions asked!!! Couple that with some PMS, and I know you really want to be my husband just about now. He tries to assure me that the couch is comfortable. Sorry, hon.
I've been fully weaned since Sunday, and I am so proud. Almost as proud as when I weaned my boys at 21 months and 2 1/2+ years respectively. Yes, I was that mom, and you can feel free to withhold judgment. Or you can judge. Ya, go ahead and judge me. Bring it! I'm ready to go. Let's do this! Anyway, the withdrawals are calming down bit by bit. Do I at least sound partially coherent? Feel free to lie to me if you don't think so. I don't think that lying in this case would be considered a sin... especially if I'm giving you permission. You can call it encouragement if it makes you feel better. In the meantime, I will let the neurological treatments commence to begin again.
And finally, just in case you were wondering, I still have man arms. I also have a fuller beard with my current plucking rate at about 130+ hairs. I changed my doctor, because I just know the first doctor that was messing with my hormones must have secretly wanted me to morph or something. The signs were all there. In all seriousness, that doctor helped with a lot of things... hormones were just not one of them. I had to bail, dude! See, I am turning into a man!!
To be upfront and real about the last few weeks, there have been some very ugly cries. One day, my eyes were close to being swelled shut. Have you ever had a cry quite that ugly? I had to view the world out of little slits. Everywhere I went, people asked if I was feeling ok, and I told them, "No, I'm not feeling well at all." Just back away, and then run, I'll understand.
Through it all, there is a little bit of gratitude percolating within my weird body and mind. Not a whole lot, but I have to start somewhere, don't I? I'm definitely trying, which isn't always the case, if I'm honest. I'm trying to be thankful about all the little things. A medical bill comes and it's only $15... very thankful. I was able to get to sleep before midnight last night... that's progress! Go sleep!! I can laugh at a Jimmy Fallon bit... ah, getting the old funny bone back. That's good. The washing machine is broken... no more laundry this week, right?? Yes! I'm feeling coherent enough to drive today. Yay, me!! And you can consider this your official road warning. I drive a blue van and sometimes a silver Mustang (I need to write about that car, so she doesn't get jealous of my sweet mini-van's awesomeness).
And then there are the profoundly thankful moments.
They do come.
The moments when I feel God is giving me a portion of peace and hope to get me through the day. The moments when I feel joy in the midst of the difficult and painful. The moments when I remember that Jesus knew suffering, too, but He and I also have a life beyond this one. I am thankful for the earthly grace I am given, too. For friends and family who have blessed me with their encouraging words, prayers, and their willingness to be patient and understanding. For my dad's willingness to drive me to the diagnostic center and sit with me so I don't have to be alone. For the countless times my husband has prayed over me and hugged me through the tears and frustration, made me some tea, and brought me home some extremely delicious Mediterranean food from Jaffa. He never gives up on me, although I'm sure it's been tempting. For all the conversations I've had with my mom. I know she is praying all the time, and I don't think she is going to let me give up either. I am also so thankful for all the compassion God has grown in my sons. The other day, Josh sat next to me, put his arm around me, and asked if he could pray for me. By the end of his sweet prayers, he was in tears and told me how hard it is to see his mom crying (especially the ugly cry that I couldn't hold in that day). And then there is Jason, the little healer, that surrounds me with his arms and embraces me with his waist-high hugs and doesn't let go.
Indeed, I am thankful for Jesus and the hope of heaven,
friends and family that make the good days sweeter and the bad days bearable.
What would I do without you all?