How’s your summer going?
Overall, ours has been great. Hot and sunny, and mostly relaxing, just the way I like it.
In late spring I went on another pulsing dose of antibiotics. I’d been in a flare since November and it had finally gotten to the point where I was at a peak in symptoms. Very unpleasant. Prime pulsing time. So far, pulsing antibiotics rather than long-term antibiotic use works very well at keeping my symptoms at a manageable level.
So after a three week course, I was feeling pretty darn good. Summer was turning out to be gorgeous, my symptoms were manageable, and I was settling in for absorbing every ounce of heat and sun I could, and focusing on feeling good.
A few weeks into summer, I started having little blips on the radar. Like a never ending period. Or numerous ones that kept coming too early. OK, I’m no spring chicken, I know what’s happening. Not a huge deal. I’m old and my uterus is a wrinkled up almond. I get it. Now stop.
Then I started getting hit with multiple day migraines. Serious ones that left me mostly out of commission for consecutive days in a row. Then some serious neck pain.
WHAT is happeninggggggg…..I thought. I’m enjoying my summer, go away!
Then it got so bad, my “I hate to take drugs” self had a conversation with my logical writhing in pain self. Turns out several ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant will help with the neck pain and the headaches. But those muscle relaxants throw me for a loop. Thankfully, I only use those for my big guns and so far I’ve only had to use them a few times.
Then, because of the hormonal issues, the doctor suggested an ultrasound of my uterus. Externally, and internally. Fun stuff.
Turns out I have a cyst on my right ovary and fibroids in my uterus. This could mean all kinds of things. None of which is in the danger zone yet, as far as I know. But it does probably spell out ablation, or hysterectomy.
OK, deep breaths. At this point I’m still thinking…but Lyme-wise, I’m feeling decent, why ALL of this other stuff NOW? I need a break from feeling like crap and worrying about feeling like crap.
And then I broke a molar. Yep.
Oh Murphy’s Law, you are a relentless bastard.
So I had it fixed and the next day, had my teeth cleaned. The dentist even managed to numb half my face and half my tongue, but NOT my tooth. That was fun. Two unpleasant visits to the dentist killed with one stone in a matter of two days. Or so I thought.
Because now, for the last two weeks, all of my teeth have been unbelievably, painfully, sensitive. I’d also bought a new Sonicare toothbrush and started using it right at the same time. Evidently this one is a higher quality than the last one I had and my teeth are now right up there with the horror people talk about after they have their teeth whitened. Like, it hurts to breathe through my mouth.
So I’ve been living on ibuprofen which is terrible for lyme disease because it ruins your gut, and using the strongest de- sensitizing toothpaste I could find. I’m down to one tooth still hurting…the one he worked on. I foresee a dentist appointment in my near future.
Oh, except I called two days ago and the whole office is on vacation for 10 days.
Yesterday I went to have my blood taken for a hormone panel. I brought my mom so she could stay in the air conditioned car with the dogs because it’s hot here and then we would walk them after my “quick” blood draw. I arrived prior to opening, hoping to beat the crowd, but so did seven other people. There was a line outside the door. I signed in and sat out in the hallway where the air conditioning wasn’t set at 20 below zero, as I was dressed in shorts and a tank. Dog walking attire. No make up. Not even showered.
Then, the pity party began. “I can only handle so much Lord. How can you expect me to deal with Lyme, feel sick every day and deal with that, and then just keep adding stuff to my plate? I need a reprieve. I thought that’s what summer was? Clearly my hormones are a mess, do you know what it’s like to have a period 33 days in a row? Non stop. Please make this stop. And now I have to worry about what’s growing in my uterus and on my ovary and why, WHY, is my tooth still hurting? I have been in pain for two years straight with the whole infuriating Lyme thing. It’s exhausting. That dental appointment was $400! If something is really wrong and I need a crown it will be another $1,000 minimum and another visit to one of my top 5 places I hate to go. I hate to spend money on things I hate. What an incredible waste. And he can’t even figure out how to numb my ACTUAL TOOTH! How hard is it? All the xanax in the world can’t prevent fear of THAT. And now I have to see a new gynecologist this week and hope that she’s up on the latest research on bio-identical hormones and isn’t an idiot, and I can feel another Lyme flare looming in the distance. And why haven’t we heard back on the water damage in the trailer? Please, let that be good news and not thousands of dollars of damage. I need a vacation. And why won’t the infection in Romeo’s eyes go away? I’m so worried about him. I’m overwhelmed, this is too much. Lord, help me.”
Right at that moment, a woman about 10 years younger than me walked into the lab, signed in, walked out and straight into the bathroom next to where I was sitting. She closed the door and immediately began sobbing hysterically. I thought, I know first hand what it’s like not to like having a needle in your arm, but this doesn’t sound like that. This sounds serious. I got up and tried the handle. Locked. Must be a single stall. So I sat back down and waited. She was in there sobbing for several minutes.
She came out, walked around the corner where I couldn’t see her and sat at a table by the vending machines.
My internal dialogue was going haywire. “What is happening, why is she so upset? Should I see if she’s OK? What if she’s crazy and I have to deal with that? What if she’s angry and mean? I have enough crazy in my life. I already have enough on my plate. Stop taking on more stuff! Mind your own business. But she sounds so incredibly sad. I want to hug her. She NEEDS a hug, I can feel it. I feel terrible for her. I can’t stand to see people upset and know they’re hurting. What if something terrible has happened? I want her to know that I don’t have to know her to care about her. What if she’s suicidal and I see her in the news tomorrow and I did absolutely nothing? My GOD April, you need to get your hormones under control. She’s all by herself. What an awful feeling. I’m going to jump out of my skin, I have to DO something! All of this thinking is making me sweat. Calm down. God equips us for things like this. If she’s crazy or she gets mad at you, so be it. Don’t turn away.”
So God said, “GO!” And I did.
I asked her if she was going to be OK. And it turned out, she was as equally confused about what to say as I was. She was in the middle of a miscarriage and was there to have her hormone levels checked. She was devastated. I told her that I did worry she’d be mad for the intrusion, but I wanted to make sure that she was going to be OK. I shared that I too had struggled with miscarriages and that I knew exactly what she was feeling and how difficult it is. We agreed that people who haven’t had that sad experience don’t know what to say, and often say the wrong things which makes it all hurt even more. She said all the things we all say to try to get us through it.” It wasn’t planned, God knows what he’s doing, if there’s something wrong with the baby, maybe it’s a good thing, we don’t want it to suffer. Even though it wasn’t planned, we were so excited. We already have two kids (as if you can’t be upset about losing one). But I have so much stress in my life right now, maybe I caused it to happen.”
And secretly, in that inner most sanctum we all have… We’ve wondered if we’re not worthy, if we’re being punished for something. I knew that was what she was thinking, because I’ve lived it. I tried very hard not to cry. And I told her that I have a healthy, 23 year old after a lot of pregnancy issues. It can happen, have faith. And the most important thing to remember: It’s not your fault.
God does have a plan, and we don’t have to understand it for it to work.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
She thanked me. She said, “I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to care about me. That’s not easy for people to do when they see someone upset. I’m so thankful that you came over to talk to me. Thank you so much for your kindness.”
Then, we were both feeling blessed. Because I was reminded that even with all the “stuff” in my life that’s going on right now, I do still have strength. My head is still above water. I’ve been through a lot, yes. But not too much. God is in control…even those of us who believe we have a solid faith need to be reminded of that. And when He says, “GO!” you go.
Love truly is the greatest commandment, because when you love Him, amazing things happen. He gives you the capacity to love back. And when you think you’re stuffed full and He fills your plate with a little more, you’ll be blessed from it. There’s always room for giving love and receiving love. And by doing that, you gain strength to jump another hurdle and face another day.
Pity Party, Averted.