Even the most optimistic person can have tough days. While I do not claim to always look at the sunny side of life, I try staying positive and happy. In many ways, my life is exactly the way I dreamed with a wonderful husband, living in the country, with dogs and a horse. But life is far from perfect and my typical attitude of making lemonade out of lemons with chronic illness simply has not worked for me lately.
The past several months have been especially difficult. Constant aching burning pain in my hips, pelvis, wrists, and fingers override the migrating sharp pains I am now so familiar with from CFS/ME and fibromyalgia. Light-headedness, exhaustion, and ongoing headaches topped the list of symptoms at my next doctor’s appointment when I told him that we needed to revise my treatment plan as I was not living well. A record number of vials are laid on the counter for my blood and I joke with the lab tech that this must be a new record. I wait in radiology forever and finally my spine and hips get x-rayed. I make it to the pharmacy just in time for them to fill my new medications. I guess I should have kept my big mouth shut.
The x-rays show wearing of my bones and the doctor orders a Dexus test to assess my bone density. Uh oh, has my ongoing vitamin d deficiency contributed to osteoporosis??
A few days later, it struck me that I was suffering from a sinus infection. I waited another week, trying homeopathic steam, Mucinex, and rest to let the virus run its course. As always, the infection settles in for a long stay and I make the call for antibiotics. Finally, my head begins to clear.
During this time, I decide that I am long overdue for an eye exam. One morning, I leave my only set of glasses on the night stand and discover a few minutes later that the kitten played soccer with them (she plays soccer with everything she can move with her front paws these days) and kicked a goal into the mouth of our youngest dog. I don’t know if she made the goal or missed but I am certain Hooch could not resist the new toy the kitty flung on the floor. Fortunately, there is only one bite mark in the left lens but that is my
good eye. Recently, my right eye has become very blurry. It was time for new glasses and contact lenses.
I make an appointment and luck out as there was a cancellation that morning. While trying to do the tests, I discover that I am effectively blind in my right eye. Everything below the center is a total blur and there is a red dot blocking my central vision. The optometrist immediately refers me to a opthamologist – do not stop for lunch, do not worry about payment, just go! Uh oh, this sounds like a real emergency. Am I going to lose my eye??
Hours later, the result is that I have what’s called a retinal occlusion – blood in my retina. I’m not in my 80’s, do not have high blood pressure, diabetes, and never had a stroke. It’s a mystery why this happened. I must wait a month to see if it improves. It does not. Last week I had the first in a series of monthly medicinal injections in my eye that dissolves the blood. It was scary, painful, but really not that big of a deal. I don’t look forward to future shots but the alternative of not seeing out of that eye is not an option if it can be saved. Eventually, this should clear up and the likelihood of it happening again are slim. Yeah!
Yesterday, I had the Dexus test and I am still awaiting the results. I want to know something definitive for a change but don’t want another diagnosis. This may not make sense for many but I lived with the ephemeral illnesses of CFS/ME and fibromyalgia for so long that I understand them. They are part of who I am. I am not the picture of health but I know my limitations, what to say to doctors, how to exercise, and best manage my life. A new diagnosis means new life adjustments. In fact, I am in limbo now worried about doing any exercise beyond walking for fear that it may cause more harm than good. Will I never be able to ride a horse again for fear of falling off and breaking a fragile bone? Have I been doing the wrong yoga moves? What is the best exercise for osteoporosis? Is my body now fragile? Is there a diet for osteoporosis? My diet of trying to eat well slipped to more comforting foods and sweets as my anxiety increased. Now my difficulty in concentration is the result of nerves instead of infection.
The good news is that while still in a holding pattern, I am moving beyond the mental paralysis that left me depressed. My concentration levels are slowly increasing. My wish to again find my footing in the world of helping others is beginning to take hold. This is a new beginning and the series that I recently wrote inspires me. My life great! I am loved and I love! For me, those are the most important things in life. My health is okay and once I better understand what is happening in my body, I will do what is necessary to feel more alive. Yeah, it’s a bumpy ride now but that’s okay. It makes the good times that much sweeter.