Friday, August 20, 2010

The week is ending..

The end of the week is here, and it's been a bit of a challenge for me. My main problem has been pain management. I checked in with some folks on a Hep C forum and while not uncommon, not all people with Hep C have pain. I got pain from day 1. My case is quite unusual.

Most people with Hep C have it and do not know it; it generally takes 20-30 years for the liver to sustain enough damage to manifest symptoms. And even when these symptoms arise, they are usually subtle and the diagnosis is an "incidental" finding as people are not routinely screened for the virus. It's highly unusual to have acute symptoms. So here I am - once again, highly unusual. Go figure. (but most people who know me would say I AM highly unusual, something I take as a compliment).

I can state the date, place and time I became ill. I was home alone with my youngest daughter - then a freshman in high school, when I suddenly felt my heart begin racing super fast. I immediately got a severe headache - the worst in my life, and felt like I was going to pass out. I checked my pulse - it was around 200. I told my daughter to call 911 if I passed out and she looked at me as though I'd gone loony, but once she saw the expression on my face she knew it was no joke. I got down on the floor and I can't explain the feeling - I thought I was dying. I never passed out, but the whole ordeal was odd and I told my husband when he got home what had happened. I still wasn't feeling well and passed it off thinking I was coming down with something. This was in December 2005, and not wanting to ruin the holidays I just kept my "weird" symptoms to myself. But I kept getting sicker with body aches, fever, abdominal pan, headaches and overwhelming fatigue. I had a job with a great deal of responsibility and kept going to work, trying to hide how I was feeling. I told my husband something was wrong, but decided to wait until after the holidays to get checked. I knew that it was serious; I could just tell by the way I was feeling this was not the flu. My diagnosis came in January 2006.

I can honestly say I have not had one day since that time in which I could say I felt well. I don't think I'd recognize it anymore.

I made 2 lists this week: one was a list of all the things I am currently struggling with. Some are within my control, but most are not. The other list are the positive things in my life, and it was really long. I am grateful for the abundance of good things in my life and I need to focus on those. Some are: my wonderful spouse, the new church I've found that feels like "home" to me, the beauty of nature which has and always will be a great source of joy and inspiration, a few great friends and my two furry dogs who make my days so fun - even when I'm struggling. Laughter is great balm for the soul.

Soon a new week will arrive. My youngest leaves for college - her last summer home. My backpacking son will return (after a 5-week, 500 mile hike). My husband and I are taking a little vacation. September is my favorite month of the whole year; it always feels like a new beginning. Time marches on and we never know what lies ahead of us....all we can do it our best and not look back. I choose to look forward with hope.