I’ve been sick for the past six months.
I’ll spare you my laundry list of symptoms, both because it’s boring and because I’m so tired of thinking about it, but they concerned my doctor enough to order a CT, an ultrasound, and blood work, and eventually led her to send me to an oncologist. HE was concerned enough to order still more blood work – 12 vials in fact – and a whole-body PET scan.
None of the above gave us any answers. On paper, I’m the healthiest sick person that ever lived. My next step is an infectious disease doctor, not because anyone really thinks I have an infectious disease, but because they do the kind of detective work necessary to diagnose these weird and hard-to-figure-out whatever-the-heck-this-thing-is that’s been making my life miserable since last spring.
It’s frustrating feeling terrible and limited every day and not knowing why. It’s even more frustrating to feel like you’re going through it all alone. This summer was truly one of the loneliest summers of my life. And that doesn’t sound right, does it? Feeling lonely in a house full of six people? But it’s exactly how I’ve felt. And I’ve learned that feeling alone amongst other people is a far more harrowing feeling than feeling alone when you’re actually… well, alone. I never feel lonely when I’m by myself. But when I’m around other people? I’ve become an expert at it.
And I can never figure out if it’s actually real life (Is it real? Have I really created a life with so few people to support me when I need it?), or if it’s simply a product of manifestation….combined and created somewhere in the abyss of physical pain and the inevitable depression that comes with it.
Whatever the case, I’ve been resting there: Holding on tightly to the simultaneous frustration and safety of my own self-pity.
I don’t recommend it.
I have missed writing so very much (just one of many things I’ve missed in the past several months) but even when I have gotten the energy to sit at my computer, I put my fingers to the keyboard…… and there’s nothing there but a wordless, guttural whine.
Then yesterday I finally heard something that helped, if only a tiny bit. In a classic case of “the right thing at the right time,” I was watching a movie with my groom, and what was meant to be entertainment ended up being inspiration. Between me not feeling well, and him being exhausted from work, and the both of us spending all our spare minutes getting everything tied up for the conference, we’ve been desperately clinging to our lazy Saturday morning movie-while-we-drink-our-coffee dates whenever we can get them. Anyway, yesterday we were watching this movie, and there was a scene where one of the characters, an angst-ridden teenager, was standing on the precipice of a cliff, contemplating ending his life. His panicked family had all gathered around, and were literally trying to talk him down from the edge. They were delivering a fairly standard issue, “you have so much to live for” motivational speech, and eventually told him,
And in that moment, those words were the much-needed balm to my weary and battered soul. It’s temporary. It’s ALL temporary. And yes, I get that there’s nothing new or revelatory about that observation, but it was something that I’d forgotten…. and forgotten so deeply that I didn’t even remember that I’d forgotten it. I’m always the first person to reassure new moms that their toddler’s frustrating experiments with biting or throwing or shoving things into the DVD player drawer is but a season. It’s temporary. Why on earth wouldn’t that apply to adults as well?
Trials are temporary. Frustrations are temporary. LIFE is temporary. And I needed the reminder to sit tight, put on my galoshes, and get out there and dance in the storm. It’s a season, bringing whatever lessons it’s going to bring.
I feel like I’ve spent so much time chasing things. Chasing answers, chasing peace, chasing rest. And I think that sometimes you need to just stop chasing. Stop moving. Just stop. Stop and remember that it’s all just…. fleeting. I’ll feel better, or I won’t. But either way, it’s still temporary, because it’s ALL temporary.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next for me, or this blog, or all my plans that have gotten put on hold with my health issues. But for the first time in a long time, I’m pretty okay with not knowing. And the next time I’m not okay (because I do know there will be a next time), the next time I give in to the stress and the fatigue and the frustration of it all, I hope I can remember that no matter what it is… whatever negative, stagnant yuck I’m feeling…
that it’s only temporary.
*(Sorry I said shit. Sorry I said it again)