O is for Optimism
This is an update to my post ‘Of Doctors, Diets and Desperately Trying to Stay Positive‘.
(To everyone who commented on that post with good thoughts or sent me messages otherwise, thank you. I’m sorry I didn’t respond to all of you, but reading your responses really made me feel better.)
I last left off with starting a new diet. A diet that I have altered after firing that doctor. (My mom has always said a doctor is your employee, he works for you, and if he won’t listen, fire him. Granted that means if he isn’t listening properly, not if you just don’t want to listen to the answers you’re getting.)
I tried to stick the stringent details of the diet given. But I am also hypoglycemic, meaning if I don’t get enough sugar in me to keep my levels even(ish) through the day… I black out. On day 4 of my diet I nearly did just that. At work. I answered the phone, felt everything go very hot up my neck and watched the world tilt and knew exactly what was happening. I managed to pass the phone off to my coworker and lay myself out on the floor. This kept me from passing out, but only just barely. Apparently eating low-sugar fruits and absolutely nothing else that translates as sugar in me kept me going for 3 1/2 days before my body decided it was not going to hold out.
So what did I do? Call my doctor of course. From the floor actually, once I was sure I wouldn’t actually still black out. I asked what I could add into my diet to make this not happen again. I wasn’t asking for cookies, I was asking for complex carbs and some higher-sugared fruits. Good sugars. I was told that hypoglycemia had nothing to do with sugar and I simply wasn’t eating. This was the first of many things that resulted in my decision to never ever go back. I love my main doctor HERE. He is incredible and kind and understanding and patient. I liked him before, but this terrible experience has made me appreciate him just that much more. I now want to hug him every time I see him.
Despite me dropping this other doctor faster than a radioactive hot potato, I HAVE stuck with some key bits of the diet. I cut out gluten and started really watching and cutting out most artificial ingredients and refined sugar. I am just now, this week, starting to let some of these things back into my diet (I caved and bought mini-cupcakes) but I am still making mostly healthier choices. I’ve lost about 11-12 pounds. I feel better when I’m eating better. I can tell when I eat things not so good, I can feel it. These were good changes.
As for the shoulder pain? Apparently just my most spectacular MCTD attack yet. I had two good weeks, then apparently my immune system decided that my shoulder was the enemy and took it OUT. I never thought I’d be so happy to have an injection directly into a joint. It did wonders to kick the inflammation and pain.
Now, however, my arm has not healed from all the stress I put it through in the process. And it’s going through cycles of getting worse again. I spent a good portion of yesterday morning not being able to hold a pen. I spent a good portion of last night having difficulty making my hand respond properly; it was sluggish in a sporadic way. This morning I can’t use it really at all. I have a referral to a neurologist next Tuesday to run a nerve and muscle test to see if there is any damage. I can’t feel touch, only pressure, on about half my arm, and the pain is coming back. Time to see what else my body did to itself.
Despite all of this, some of my optimism is coming back. It’s a lie that I’m not having some rough days and rough moments, but it is what it is. I’m on new medication. We are checking new medical things. I have a GOOD doctor who is on my side 110%. This means that for the moment we are doing what we can.
I hope to some day feel properly healthy again. I’m not there yet. And a lot of people look at me and don’t understand how bad I feel. And that’s okay. I’m not trying to wear a neon sign. I still shake the hands of my customers even when it hurts to extend my arm or grasp with my hand. I still do everything I’m supposed to do at work, even if slowly, and I at least try to do things at home, even though sometimes my energy has been stolen entirely by my job. I’m so focused on needing to keep DOING things that I don’t know what point I have to hit before I realize I really do need to take a day off and stay in bed. There are days I should have, I’m sure, but I’m too darn stubborn. Honestly I would benefit highly from taking a week off and just relaxing as much as possible. But that’s hardly going to happen, so I just keep moving along instead.
I think at the moment I miss writing most. I do all of my poetry work by hand, and holding a pen comfortably for more than necessary reasons isn’t an option right now. Beyond that, even now that I am sleeping a bit better, I am still far too foggy-headed and exhausted to focus. I have ideas, can jot them down, but the moment I try to do anything more serious than that my brain logs off its local network and goes to sleep. This too has gotten a bit better, but not quite enough yet. It’s all a process. Bit by bit. Writing and studying both. I don’t have the mind for either. Honestly? I’m kind of useless right now. Good for the occasional homemade dinner, round of dishes, or load of laundry, and that’s about it. Some days don’t even include those things.
But OPTIMISM. I am better now than I was a month ago. This much is true. A month ago I was sick enough that my own boss told me, “You were so miserable at work that if you had been a dog I might have taken you out back and shot you.” Gee, thanks. (He has funny ways of expressing himself, but I knew that was his way of letting me know he’d been keeping an eye on me.) I am not in AS much pain, I have lost weight (in a good way), I am beginning to sleep better, and things are looking up!
Celebrate the small things, yes? And tackle the bigger ones when they stand in your way.