Sunday afternoon I was gathering the last few things to pack on my way back to Phoenix. It had snowed the day before; I felt this was a fitting sign it was time to go. After this early snowfall it is hard for people to understand that the pit in my stomach was as big as the Grand Canyon and my resolve not to get on the plane was growing deeper by the moment. I started some nervous rituals such as looking at what jewelry I should pack and the gloom and doom if something happens all my jewelry goes down with me...thus none for my nieces. I then chastise myself this is absolutely ridiculous as I put my grandma's engagement ring in and out and in and out and back out again of the case. Then I thought I will put it on my finger and that will answer my neurosis - it didn't fit. So of course it was coming with me. The sliver of a gold band was not. Then my attention turned to my slightly swollen fingers that the aforementioned ring didn't fit and the muffin that has arrived around my waist...and vanity blissfully helped my resolve to get on the 5pm flight. My doctors are there, the weather will make it easier to walk outside, perhaps I can fit more comfortably into my jeans.
Then I just sat. I sat in my bed and looked out onto the snow and I sobbed. And I sobbed and I sobbed. And then I grabbed my calendar all swollen eyes and fingers to pack and I turned the page..as if a year ago I knew I would need a sign as it turned to December; be brave and I thought of the badge a friend had sent to me that hangs in my bathroom "I am brave." I can do this again, I can do it because it is the best chance of next summer being more...living more. I reminded myself that feeling brave and being brave are two very different things. It may not sound challenging to head to sunny AZ, but it is so much more than a flight. It is a continuation of a fight; one every year feels harder to win.
I am tired of doing this trip -this trip means this illness is still in the driver's seat; and I'm so so tired of being a passenger. Yet I'm so grateful that my body doesn't have to push through a winter. Every six months I go through the same pro and con list and find the list where I am out ways the list where I am headed. There is more to write on this but for the moment I will leave it at that. I had pulled it together pretty well; knowing no matter the little voice inside my head it was a test not a sign and I would be traveling with my parents and Sophie on the 5pm flight from Milwaukee to Phoenix. Period end of story. And then my niece walked in - "no one told me you are leaving today...no one tells me anything" For the love of God stab me through the heart twist and turn it and then hit me over the head. Luckily resolve was set and I was able to comfort her rather than indulge myself.
She asked ten year old questions..."what are you doing for Thanksgiving"...oh honey nothing but that's no big deal I can't eat most of the good food anyways. "Why can't you see a doctor here"...well soon maybe I can there is more information but these are the doctors that have helped me the most and the weather is hard on me....I said I was so sorry I thought she had understood last night that I was leaving...and then realized the suitcases were in the guest room and maybe leaving to her just meant she was heading home. To be frank I was a bit surprised at her nonchalance attitude and even joked she was getting so grown up it was no big deal I was heading out. A good reminder of what we say and others hear are often not the same thing. I did the only thing I could I just held her tight, and tears silently went down my face and reminded her she would be too busy to even miss me. This is not a vacation...this is hard. It is hard to leave and it is hard to stay.
So here I am. I have arrived. My doctor has a new machine that is similar to the UV blood one that I have done before but more powerful. That is the blood is removed and taken to the machine and honestly I don't know exactly what the fuck happens but its been helping her other patients that are living in limbo walking the tight rope and she is very hopeful it will push me to the other side. The good news for me is that I am only going to her office twice a month so I do feel a bit like a snowbird on vacation. So I am scheduling "outings" in as I would a doctor appointment and seeing what can be accomplished.
I have learned over the past few years of being relatively stable in this instability that pacing is my number one best treatment option. Which is a really hard concept for those that are well to understand and very difficult to do without constantly questioning yourself could I do more - should I have done less. I am trying to look at the next 6 months as a sabbatical - being isolated from so many friends and family there is a bit where I can breathe again. I don't feel like I am constantly disappointing people or watching everyone live these full lives that mine use to parallel. Being secluded in Phoenix often is less lonely or a different kind of lonely than being back home.
I gave Sophie a bath tonight. It was a wonderful feeling that I was able to take care of her in that way. She normally isn't a huge fan, but she was quite docile I hope because her skin is a bit sore and it felt good. However the reality is that she is more fragile. Oh don't get me wrong she is feisty - ask anyone besides me that dares to try and pick her up. Our time is limited that is not in question - and I can only hope that its some mystical sign that she will leave me when I am well. It's fanciful thinking but one I've thought of a lot; this past summer I have needed to care for the ever present companion. She is tired; and I only too well can empathize. Love. I had intended this post to be completely different than what came to be...til next time. xo xo
My favorite book that helped me cope with this crazy illness is Toni Bernhard's How to Be Sick. I am just praying that soon I will re learn how to be well. How to Be Sick 2nd Edition