When Your Diagnosis Becomes Real

Receiving a diagnosis for a disease is a whole lot different from having a doctor tell you that you have strep throat or a sinus infection. With those, an antibiotic has you feeling better within a few day. No, a diagnosis leaves you with that feeling in your stomach (like you just ate too many pancakes). Your mind whirls and you feel flushed. Then, the gears of your brain start immediately switching to combat mode. How can I get out of this? What do I do?

While every diagnosis is uncomfortable, the worst, to me, is receiving a diagnosis of a disease that A.) has no cure and B.) is progressive. For awhile now, I have lived with the knowledge, albeit in the back of my head, that I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Because my visible tremors aren’t that bad, I often forgot I was dealing with it at all.

Most days, when pesky symptoms popped up, I blew it off as something entirely unrelated. That all ended yesterday. For the last 2 weeks, I have gotten very little sleep. On average, I’ve been getting 2 to 2-1/2 hours nightly. I sucked it up and plowed through. I pushed myself daily, refusing to nap or even sit. Instead of sleeping, I was constructive, doing things that wouldn’t wake the family or reading up to 3 books a night. The reason for my restless nights was easily explained, I thought. Each night, an hour after I fell asleep, I was awaken by full body, muscle spasms that not only constricted my body, but hurt beyond belief. One night, I even begged God to either manifest a healing in me or take me home. Home as in Heaven. I couldn’t take the pain. I’m not even embarrassed to admit it!

Buster was my rock through it all. When I broke down crying, he must have thought some ‘thing’ was hurting me. He ran literal circles around my body as I lay on the floor. Growling and barking at invisible force that was hurting his mommy, he, too, spent the last couple weeks without sleep. I so love him. But, this isn’t something Buster can chase away. No, it was time to admit that I needed serious help.

I should add that my doctor ordered a battery of tests back in January. I have found every reasonable excuse to not get the tests done. Then, I began to rationalize that some magical blood test held the cypher to my pain. Of course, they didn’t. But, on Thursday of this past week, I got the tests done. Having a lab in her office building allows my doc to get results fast- usually the same day. But, again, I procrastinated until yesterday. I called and was told that yes, she had the results and I needed to speak to her.

Initially, all was good. She called right away. My A1C has dropped to a non-diabetic level. Sweet! My cholesterol was great. Awesome! Then, she asked as she always does, how I felt. I took a deep breath and told her the whole ugly truth. Being that she has a heart of gold, she didn’t say ‘I told you so’ or ‘Duh’ or any thing even close. She simply said, ‘Are you ready for some help?’. Yes, yes I am.

She knew right away that everything I am feeling is PD-related. So, we had to take a step I hadn’t been ready for at this point. I am going to start taking meds specifically for my disease. Am I happy about it? No, no I’m not. Am I scared? Yes, yes I am. Mostly because I know that once you begin a dopamine regime, you’re stuck with it. There’s no turning back. No second thoughts. My body doesn’t do it’s job in the dopamine arena. So, now, it’s official and real to me.

I had to tell my husband, who didn’t take it well. I know he’s worried about the future. So am I. But, the sun still rose this morning. God is still on the throne. He can still manifest a miraculous healing in me. Even if I have to wait for complete healing until He calls me home, I’m holding on to that promise. I will have my weepy days and my pity parties. But, I will take one day at a time.

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May’s Firsts in My Year of Firsts

May brought another month of opportunity to try new things. While they aren’t big things whatsoever, they were firsts for me.
A weeknight with no dinner plan presented an opportunity. I searched for a recipe we hadn’t used and decided to make homemade sloppy joe’s. Usually, I’d go with Manwich from the can. But, since I had the ingredients, I went for it. While it didn’t turn out great, it wasn’t awful either. Manwich is still a better option, though. I was missing that vinegar type taste and the off brand ketchup didn’t help matters.

Two firsts involved Buster. Usually my husband & son are in charge of giving Buster a bath. He can be quite a handful and I just honestly assumed it would be too much for me. But, he’d been extra itchy lately & the hubs has been super busy. So, I geared myself up with some grubby clothes and went for it. My youngest son did help by lifting Buster into the tub. That was just a physical impossibility on my own.

However, once the heavy-lifting was done, I was on my own. Surprisingly, I did a great job. I also proved a little something to myself by tackling a project I deemed too hard. But, the second Buster activity did require a partner in crime, per se.

We’ve had awful luck with vets. In fact, they’ve been so off the charts expense that we’ve utilized a local clinic for shots & routine things. But, an acquaintance of my husband’s suggested his dogs’ vet so we went. Many things concerned me. There would most definitely be other animals there. Buster does not play well with others. Plus, any new situation causes him to regress into an animal without any brain. Bottom line: he’s a bit nutty. But, I was armed with my super strong husband, a new harness and some willpower.

We had it well planned out. My husband went in first, Buster-less. With the new harness, a one better suited to my stupid Parkinson’s hands (grr), I hooked up the leash & walked Buster to the grassy area. I love this harness. It’s a God send. We’d outfitted him into it before we loaded him into the truck. Surprisingly, Buster seemed to be really enjoying himself. He wasn’t being choked by the harness because it’s really comfy. He even felt comfortable enough to plop down in the grass & watch the cars drive by.

Inside the vet’s, he was pretty good, too. I warned another Dog Mommy over my shoulder that he was dog aggressive so she’d hang on tight to her beautiful Boxer pup. Regardless, Buster waltzed right by him with barely a bark! He was perfect during the blood work and even fell for Dad’s distraction techniques. Both the ride to & from were generally drama free. I declared the whole day to be miraculous. Long story short, I proved something to myself & Buster did too. We aren’t helpless & we can get things done.

Finally, we began some home remodeling to our ancient home. So far, we have the living room completed. However, I know nothing of remodeling. As a contractor, this is as normal to my husband as brushing his teeth. While there are obviously a ton of things I can’t do due to lack of knowledge in construction, I was able to assist in carpet installation. I was also given the arduous task of pulling up old staples. Wee! So, not fun. I continued this task with breaks, frequently, because my stupid hands won’t cooperate.

The floor work was increased when I stepped in the wrong place & literally, fell through the floor. One leg went into the floor, one was up in a sort of vertical split. I am not built for splits. I picked splinters out of myself for several days. However, it was funny and I convinced the youngest to not YouTube or Snapchat it.

Looking forward to June!

My Year of Firsts

I will be 40 this year. I have no idea where the last decade went. It has NOT been an easy decade for sure. So, this year I decided that I would take every opportunity to try new things this year. It’s not a bucket list. It isn’t a wish list either. But, when an opportunity presents itself, I will jump on it. It’s a promise I made to myself.

I’ve been taking stock of things, internally, lately. I figured this would pull me out of my slump, get me moving more, & maybe, just maybe, motivate our youngest to try new things, too. Now, some things might not be big things. In fact, most won’t. I suppose my theory is to just do things. Having two debilitating diseases, one of which is progressive, makes a person re-evaluate a lot of their time and effort. The bottom line is that if my body is going to be tired anyway, I might as well give it a good reason to be tired!

A hinderance for me has always been anxiety. Whether it’s caused by or in addition to, my diseases, the doctors can’t specify. But, I do have issue with crowds, strangers, etc. Wal-Mart is a literal nightmare for me. So, some of my firsts are going to challenge me. I know that. It also takes me twice as long as my husband & son to get somewhere we’re walking to and I am usually exhausted a whole lot quicker. So, the firsts will be a physical challenge too.

So far, I have done some small things. I ate at our local VFW with a crowd of people there. It was a major step for me. However, the people were pleasant, the food was fantastic, & we had a good time. I also tried yoga for the first time. But, I did The Yoga Prayer. Basically, it’s yoga but at times when one would meditate & such, Biblical Scriptures are read along with a Christian prayer. It lasted 45 minutes. It was tasking, difficult, but motivating & I felt accomplished when I’d finished. For a few of the poses, I did have to change a bit. There a just a few things my body can’t physically do.

Win, lose or draw, I hope to accomplish a lot more as the moments arise. If nothing else, I feel like I have a goal for the year. Hopefully, I will have a much fuller list when 1/1/18 arrives!