January 30, 2018
Writing has always been a tool of healing. It is cathartic for me to put thoughts on paper, even when it is most difficult to do so, either because the subject is unimaginable to comprehend, or it is very painful. Then again, sharing personal battles with others is onerous and I do not do so lightly or easily. It is even more of an uphill struggle when I am experiencing brain fog as a result of my medical conditions and medications.
I have always striven to be honest. Folks who know me have come to understand not to ask me something, unless they want to hear the truth. Many of my friends appreciate my honesty, in part because they may not get an honest answer elsewhere. I do try to make my delivery diplomatic and as pain-free as possible. I work to infuse my responses with integrity – I do not wish to rile or injure, only to speak about something of interest or/and value to me.
January 30, 2018
OF STRENGTH AND RESILIENCY
All my life, I have been called a strong person. Truth is, I do not feel strong, much or most of the time. In my heart and mind, I am faltering and wishing to flee. I do not feel secure, I feel helplessly weak; I am a banshee on the verge of shattering my mind, which will leave me lost completely.
My husband recently, prior to this last diagnosis, said that I was the most resilient person he has met. Perhaps, resilient would be the more applicable term to use, instead of strong. For me, it makes more sense.
The Dictionary definition of resilient: 1 (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions…2 (of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
The Thesaurus definition of resilient: 1 resilient materials: flexible, pliable, supple; durable, hardwearing, stout, strong, sturdy, tough.
2 young and resilient: strong, tough, hardy; quick to recover, buoyant, irrepressible.
And under resilience: 1 the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
2 the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity…
Elastic and resilient mean so much more than strictly being strong. If you can weather the storm; sway in the wind; bounce back when trounced upon… and when lucky enough, come back all the more powerful for climbing above the trials and conflicts: Then you have surpassed “being strong” and become durable. Buoyant.
You have weathered the storm and risen above the bitterest cold of a dire and delicate circumstance, that could have splintered had you not been resilient.
February 2, 2018
Wednesday night I told my mother about my situation. A difficult decision to make, as there were positives to both sides as well as negatives. But friends I asked said they would want their daughter to tell them. Or, daughters felt their mother should know, because she is their mother.
Mom said she knew something was wrong. One night, my family went out to dinner and she caught me trying to hide something (the black bruise on the back of my hand from when the tech blew a vein while trying to inject the radioactive solution prior to my PET Scan.)
Mom also “felt” something was not right for a while – a “gift” I have, my mother has and it runs on that side of our family. Call it empathy, ESP, special abilities – they all fit. But that is a telling for another post.
I wish sharing the knowledge with her did not have to leave her feeling upset, depressed and worried. I hate that telling her does that. If I had my druthers, I would not tell her, at all, unless my appearance or my outward physical proficiency changed enough to signal an alarm that all may not be well. I don’t like having anyone I care about carry that burden of my illness. I would feel best if all could continue on as it was prior to my diagnosis and those I love would live life, minus the millstone of my situation.
But, it is nice to have someone to share it with, to be truthful. When I was diagnosed twice before, and as I’m sure I will do now, I gathered my dog(s) to me and shared my darkest moments with them. The comfort they offer is unconditional and magnanimous. Plus, this go-around, my husband is being very much “there for me” and he has been a great source of solace and help.
I feel relieved having finally told my mom, but wretched at the same time.
February 2, 2018
Today I finally got in to Radiology to have my chest drained of fluid. I didn’t really have an appointment, but they said they would work me in. I was to get there at 5:00 pm to register and should be worked in at 5:30 pm. Well, they were quite busy and on a day where they would typically have eight procedures, the doctor had already done fourteen. My husband came along and we waited until 6:40 pm when the doctor came in to do the procedure.
I didn’t know what to expect, other than the fluid would be taken from my back while using ultra sound to get the best result. I thought I’d be lying down during the procedure. Nope! The male nurse had me sit in a chair and lean forward. They put a towel around my shoulders and wrapped and rolled my shirts up into the towel and curled the towel around my neck.
The doctor came in and explained the procedure and answered any questions we had. The nurse was also very helpful and he had a very calming presence. After the doctor checked my chest with the ultra sound device, he gave me a shot of Lidocaine, then stuck the needle/syringe (I’m having to guess, as I didn’t see what he used) into my chest that would draw out the fluids and drain them into a bottle designed specifically for that purpose.
The doctor was really good with the Lidocaine shot but somewhere deeper, when he was inserting the needle/syringe, he hit something that hurt enough that I involuntarily jumped. Turned out it was no problem as the doctor knew just what might happen and how to work around it. After that, I felt no pain. (Whew)
The doctor commented that he didn’t believe it would be much fluid, but enough to ease my breathing problem. While draining it, however, he commented that it turned out to be more fluid than he was expecting, but still not a great deal.
Anyway, in a short time, all the fluid that was going to come out, did. He showed me what he drained out and explained it would be ten to 20 minutes or more before I’d feel the easing in my chest and get to breathing better.
I had asked him how often this might have to be done. He commented that he sees some patients three to four times a week, and others only need it done the one time. I’m hoping I won’t be needing it again. Problem is, when my chest really fills with liquid and every breath is a labor and agonizing pain, I doubt I could get in to have my chest drained on that day. I had to wait over a week and a half for this appointment. But I did find something that helped quite a bit on the last bad day – alfalfa. It works like a diuretic and it does a great job for me. (Happy face)
Before we left, the doctor ordered an X-ray for me and we waited while he looked it over in case he wanted more done. Shortly thereafter, someone from X-ray came in and told us we could go. Another experience behind me, and forward I go…
February 3, 2018
The Silver Lining
John Milton coined the phrase ‘silver lining’ in “Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle,” 1634:
Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.
Word Origin and History for silver lining: A “bright side” which proverbially accompanies even the darkest trouble; by 1843, apparently from oft-quoted lines from Milton’s “Comus,” where the silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.
Yesterday was a silver lining day. That consoling prospect in the midst of a gloomy situation. It was there in the sunshine bouncing off buildings and shiny cars; casting a golden blanket on lawns and rich, damp soil. There in the sun’s light illuminating trees, bushes and flowers; sporting their pre-Spring green foliage. It was shimmering off rooftops and glittering like crystals tossed atop the water’s surface in ponding basins and park-side lakes. That silver lining infused the afternoon with hope, inspiration and unsullied beauty.
And when twilight neared, a cool Spring-like, slightest of breezes slipped around me, fresh on my skin in the early evening air. A caress from Mother Nature and the Creator.
Yesterday, my emotions and mind were in a dark place. Some days I wake up with a positive outlook and other days I awaken to a shadowed mental demeanor. The changes from “light” to “dark” and back again, can often occur at any hour of the day or night. So, when a day like yesterday brightens the world, I am immersed in its light.
It can be hard to let myself rest, and luxuriate in that silver-lining ambience. But it is possible to give it my best shot and that is a good thing.