Day 86: I Am Tree

These last four days have been life changing. The combination of the new medicine and diet for my health condition, the sunshine, and the companionship of a dear friend have pulled me out of a two month-long period of deep depression. I know now the depression was more than situational. Besides an uncomfortable experience at the university I’d been attending and the death of our beloved family dog, I discovered earlier this week that my vitamin D levels are extremely low, my iron levels still below normal, and my protein levels very low too! Throwing in my new hypothyroid diagnosis, and considering any one of the before mentioned conditions can cause exhaustion, I’m surprised I could even get off of the couch.

As I am emerging from the dark tunnel of fatigue and depression, I am celebrating internally—my spirit soaring and applauding. I am applauding a renewed energy. I am applauding my strength, endurance, and patience. And I am applauding my experience.

No matter the degree of challenge, I understand the past weeks have made me stronger in spirit.

I continue to be hopeful my health will improve. Yet, I am releasing control to my higher power.

Today, through the help of my friend, I created the mantra: I am tree.

I am a tree. And in being a tree I need not worry what will land on me, break me, climb me, peck me, burrow into me, or even cut me down. I only need to be a tree and nothing more. And I am perfect in my treeness—perfect in my being. Like a tree I will not fret and will not fight against the unknown. I will be. I will live. And I will grow.

I recognize I have slipped back into old patterns, or what I call my old mold. Just as the physical body sometimes retreats back to an old set weight, the spiritual body can retreat back to a set way of living. For me this old way of living includes a fear-based mentality and many moments of over-thinking. I am visualizing a new mold that benefits my spirit.

I recognize I have been attracting to my life much of what I have been fretting about. I recognize that by focusing on beneficial thoughts, I in turn will benefit, as will those around me.  I knew this before, but today I see my journey from a new vantage point.

In the coming days my hope is to continue practices of self-care and self-love, as I release control and let the seasons of my spirit unfold without struggle. I am tree. I will be. I will live. I will grow.

 

Day 83: Blister Sister (Part Two)

 

Blister Sister (Part Two)

Ben stood up straight, his ears crimson, his voice hoarse. “Damn it! How dare you say that in front of a child! What are you thinking?  Are you an idiot? What the hell is wrong with you?”

Now, although I was completely mortified and feeling the strong urge, despite my stomach cramping, to crawl under the hospital bed and never come out, I have to say, Ben impressed me.  Not in the way a parent impresses you by throwing you a birthday party and inviting all of your friends over to stay the night, nor in the way a child feels proud when a parent attends the school’s career day and knocks the socks or your classmates.  No, it wasn’t the type of impressive behavior that summons thoughts of coolness and grandiosity.  Ben’s behavior more so brought images of a fearsome bear standing on her hind legs with claws erected to protect her cub.  It was a scary image, quite terrifying actually—though none could deny that somewhere deep inside the man who was set upon a blind-rampage, huffing and puffing away at every hospital staff member within his path, that there was at least somewhere hidden a jewel of compassion.

It didn’t take long for Ben to pack up my things, usher Mother and me out of the building, and drive thirty miles across the state to another hospital.  Sadly for Ben, by then hospital visiting hours had past and the nurses insisted Ben and Mother leave.  And thus I was made to stay in a strange place, miles from home, without a soul I knew, replaying in my head all the horrific ways my death might play out…

This story can be found in the book Everyday Aspergers

 

© Everyday Aspergers, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. https://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com

Day 80: Me in Parts

There’s a reason I didn’t go into the medical field besides the fact that I faint if I look at a needle. I don’t do well with illness, disease, or sickness of any sorts, or thoughts of being attacked by a killer species. I do fine with driving my car, walking down dark alleys, crossing bridges, and climbing high places, just can’t deal with physical health conditions—well at least not rationally. The common cold sends me into a tailspin: worse case scenario, worser case scenario, worsest case scenario.

In the course of my four decades plus of living, I was certain of my imminent death at least five times a year. Looming demise total equals 200 times, give or take a death or two. And I’m not talking a passing thought. I’m saying a good two- to three-week sickness-induced death-terror cycle. And with the invention of Google God, the all-knowing search engine, I’ve also had hours of adrenaline-pumped investigative research.

Last year, about this time, I was certain, dead certain, that my heart was going to explode from a genetic disorder. I was so convinced I had the syndrome that I was continually analyzing myself for symptoms, even in my dream state.  In fact, in a comical attempt to self-diagnose, I compared my attached earlobes to others’ attached earlobes and even wondered if my large Italian nose could feasible be considered pinched.

When I was younger, rabies was my big fear. I never ever should have watched the depressing classic Old Yeller in third grade. Why?! Afterwards, my hamster-bit finger led me to check my mouth for foaming saliva hourly, for a month! Watching Hitchcock’s The Birds was another faux pas. Remember the killer bees? Well I do. I believed for years the bees were approaching in swarm.

Bloody noses are notorious fear-buttons, ever since I saw that character on a television show with a bloody nose bleed-out and die.

My fear of the C word started after my kindergarten teacher died; and I still can’t write the word out on paper. Which ironically-sucks because it’s my astrological zodiac sign. Four times during my life, twice as a teenager, and twice as a young mother, doctors suspected I had C or pre-C. No cause for alarm in all four cases, but the panic that ensued during the waiting period was insurmountable.

You know what really bites? Working at a homeless shelter and having a child infected with AIDS bite my leg through my jeans. The doctors assured me my chances of contracting AIDS was almost zero; still they wanted to be certain. I checked my tongue for a white-coat and my skin for sores for a good year.

My most laughable approaching-doom-fear happened when I was nursing my firstborn in the late hours of the night, and I’d stare down at the dirt in the corner of my toenail, and know I was going to die of toe fungus. If you bring in the big guns like MRSA, I so freak out. Any infection is MRSA. Hives? I’m certain I’ll suffocate from severe allergic reaction.  Menstrual cycle off a day—I have growths on my ovaries.

To make matters worse, doctors have wanted to remove my uterus and my gallbladder, and to biopsy my kidney. None of which happened. But the fact of their recommending such procedures makes me think I have bad parts to begin with.

If you’ve got your wits about you, you’ve probably gathered I have a wee bit of a phobia to illness in any form—real, made up, imagined, or non-existent.

What many do not understand about this illness phobia is that no amount of exposure makes a dang difference. With exposure therapy, if someone is afraid of bridges, you can slowly and decisively assist him or her in overcoming the bridge fear. A common therapy strategy might be first showing pictures of bridges, next playing with toy bridges, later taking photos of bridges from afar, and then crossing a small bridge over a creek. If therapy is effective, then the person eventually will cross a bridge as a passenger, then drive assisted, and later cross alone. Sounds logical.

Doesn’t apply to illness: First look at pictures of people who are sick, next play in filthy area, later… not helping! And getting sick and sick over and over again, doesn’t help either. Done that.

I haven’t been feeling myself, lately. Which is significant. Generally speaking my self, due to a host of syndromes and conditions, is relatively fatigued, a little melancholic, and a bit sore in the muscles. So, I hadn’t taken too much note of my intense fatigue, until I could barely function most of the day. My doctor had in the meanwhile sent me my annual blood test forms in the mail (twice), which I avoided like the plague (or in my case the common cold). I finally dragged myself to the doc when the heart palpitations and shortness of breath kicked in. By the day I got my stubborn self to the doc’s office, my forehead was peeling like a rattlesnake sheds.

The good news is it turns out those eight extra pounds are not my fault! And either is this depressions cloud I blamed on the Washington winter weather. Turns out I have hypothyroid.

Guess what this hypothyroid reckoning does to my mind. Here’s the conversation I had with my doctor. I kid you not.

Me: “Well, now that I know I have hypothyroid, I guess I should mention that I’ve been having trouble swallowing. I read that’s a symptom, too.”

Dr. “Oh.” She pulls out a lab slip. “Well then we better get an ultrasound for nodules.”

Me: “Nodules? Can I die from nodules?”

“No”

“I can’t?”

“No.”

“What is the worse case scenario?”

“If they find nodules, the protocol is to keep a watchful eye on them. If they grow, they’ll likely drain them. But nodules are not deadly.”

“Oh, good, but what about cancer? Could I have cancer? Or did my blood tests rule that out?”

“No. Your blood tests didn’t rule that out. But thyroid cancer is very, very rare.”

My eyes grew super big and I swallowed hard.

Dr. added: “And the cure rate for thyroid cancer is 100%.”

“Oh!” Huge sigh. “Thank you so much for adding that. How long will I have to take the pills?”

“For the rest of your life.”

Long pause.

Me: “But what if the end of the world comes? How will I get my pills?”

 

 

 

 

Side Note: (euphemism for I can’t stop babbling)

Taking into consideration the four types of thyroid cancers, I recently researched, the combined cure rate is only 95%. For better effect, in the writing above, you’ll note, I fearlessly overcame my fear of the word cancer. The title Me in Parts means I feel as if I’ve sorted myself into parts with all my constant sickness analysis. The good news is, I always live like I’m dying.