Twelve Hours

19 01 2012

Twelve Hours…half the number of episodes of the series “24”.  Or in geekdom terms, the amount of time it takes to watch all three extended-edition versions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy with appropriate bathroom and snack breaks if one hurries.  At 4:00 a.m. I was thinking about shadows in the Mines of Moria. At 3:55 p.m., a phone call delivered to me the light of Elendil.

Already it has been a week since my friend was buried, and the day was similarly splendid in terms of weather.  A good start to any day.  I believe that to create change, you have to be proactive, so I was off to see a counselor. There is wisdom in the balance of body-mind-spirit; my triangle in the last year has looked more scalene than equilateral. Thomas Merton said, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

At 3:55 p.m., I received an unexpected phone call from my nephrologist. Phone calls taken between 3:50 and 4:10 p.m. with 936 area codes usually are bus drivers telling me Patrick is having a seizure somewhere along the drive home.  After a few seconds to readjust that this phone call is about me and not Patrick, I said something to the effect that I wasn’t expecting him to call (before my appointment) so this must be very bad news. I am looking at my clock thinking, “Oh crap, and Patrick is going to be walking off the bus any minute.” I put my elbows on the kitchen counter, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. On the contrary, he says. My labs came back normal and my creatinine was going way down as was my urine protein. (Can I get a “Frack yeah?”) I asked, “So is it that “minimal change disease” thing? “Minimal change disease…sort of.”

“Good God,” I think to myself. “I have yet another “disease variant.” Honestly, if I’m going to have all these “disease variants”, I DEMAND a really sexy superhero costume with a cool name.  Biohazard doesn’t have the same ring to it as say DV Girl!

To make a long story short, this is the second best possible news.

Our game plan is this: I stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. We do an allergy re-challenge of Ultram for my pain (to take if I’m desperate) and hope it doesn’t increase my intracranial pressure due to my pseudotumor cerebri issue like it did before, which after 5 years has been under decent control.  I will continue losartan to keep the protein in my urine down. I do NOT have to take immunosuppressive medications. I go back to see him in March (birthday month!).

Just 12 hours after my post I got answers I was not expecting for another 16 days, 12 hours, 30 minutes give or take a few minutes, but who’s counting?  Which begs the next question:  Is the internet God?


Shadows to Shade

18 01 2012

I’m scared.

There. I actually wrote the words down; I wasn’t sure if I could. Many know I’m grieving right now, but few know how scared I am. Not a panic that I feel when I try to sing in public; not my posttraumatic stress disorder panic and anxiety related to certain medical procedures that remind me of an assault that occurred in my 20’s and/or my recent hospitalization for whatever happened to my arm that resulted in that horrible infection I had. This is…..something else.

I’ve been in denial about it for several months, believing from head to toe that if I thought it was NOT true, it would turn out not to BE true–the power of positive thinking. Names have great power; I did not want this to have any power.

When I found out last Monday that my friend, Diane, died, it snapped me back to semi-reality and I accepted that my test results on Friday would come back positive (as my doctor had informed me they would), but the question of what it was and to what degree still lurked in the shadows.

Shadows remind me of my childhood in our tenement in Brooklyn where this spine-chillingly vicious dog lived that would lurch out and try to bite me every time I went up the stairs. Shadows were the bad things that were about to happen to me in the rooms of my home most of my so-called childhood. Wondering, when I was age 4-5, if the wife could survive the beating from her husband in the shadows under the neighbor’s door. Shadows are the terrors that torment you, the face you see in every person after you’ve been told at age 9 that your stepfather may show up one day and try to kill you. Shadows of the life you would never have had when your mother tells you she wished she had aborted you (and meant it). Shadows are the abandonment you feel at age 14 when she tells you to leave and take only what you have bought with your own money with you. And the shadows that stretched from her grave to crush my heart one last time when my sisters found their baby pictures while going through her stuff, confirming that when she laughed in my face when she said she threw mine out, that I guess she really did. The only evidence of my existence that I was in her life are in those pictures I happened to be in with my sisters. Thrown away into the shadows of garbage she felt I was.

I was about 14 months old here; the earliest picture that exists of me now. My sister, Eva, holding my hand. I was a cute baby!

After all I’ve been through and all I’ve seen, to say I’m scared now seems illogical. The tests did come back positive, but there seemed to be more questions now after the kidney biopsy than answers. A lot of blood work was drawn after that visit–more shadows.  Yet, there is a difference.  There is trust, great trust, in those caring for me that is helping to keep the shadows in their place.

On February 3, I hope we will be able to modpodge some of the puzzle.  Names have great power, even names things are not. Until then, I remain in….shade.