Thank you everyone who called, commented, texted, sent words of encouragement, quick notes – it meant so much. Sometimes life just bites you in the butt, and usually I’m pretty good at rolling with the punches. Occasionally, stuff really gets to me – it’s a lot of change, and A LOT of shit happening in a very short time (June 2010-present). Most of the health stuff I’m open about, some of the personal stuff – I’m not. Life certainly doesn’t get any easier, and when another bad and permanent thing suddenly surfaces, I find myself thinking not only of the present situation, but recalling A, B, C, D, E, etc etc etc.
The doc thinks it could be one or two or all of three things: Lymphedema (from my DVT and combined with my lupus…. inflammatory disease = inflammation); Post-thrombotic syndrom (term used to describe signs and symptoms that may occur as a long term complication of DVT); or Chronic Venus Insufficiency…. meaning the valves on my veins are destroyed and there is no way for my body to keep the blood/fluid in my veins from flowing backwards towards my ankles/feet when my legs are below my heart – i.e. when I’m standing or sitting (gravity is a bitch). Most people don’t survive the kind of clot that I had, and while I was EXTREMELY lucky – my valves, veins, and body took a major hit. Sadly, there’s no redo on this one.
If left untreated, my swelling will become worse – and if remained unchecked, could result in permanent disability and disfigurement. Joy. Compression Socks really ARE my new mojo.
In the mean time, the goals are to:
a) stay as ACTIVE as possible – movement = muscles contracting = circulation = less swelling
b) don’t smoke (not a problem)
c) watch the salt intake
d) keep the weight down (usually not an issue, although given the PB cup consumption, you never know)
e) limit the number of soft drinks and diet cokes (HORRIBLE)
f) elevate elevate ELEVATE
g) compression socks, compression socks, and MORE compression socks (unless I want a foot the size of a football)
It’s another loss to mourn, something else to grieve.
Which brings me to my current stage: denial.
Friday I was a blubbery mess, spending most of it in a puddle on the couch. Rescheduled meeting with one friend, talked to my folks, fought with N on the phone (which is *great* and *productive* when he’s trapped in the Arizona desert), had a long conversation with my doctor, and met another friend for dinner/drinks. My Mom’s final words of advice were, “Make sure you put a cold compress on your eyes to reduce the puffiness.” It made me laugh, and I did.
Totally didn’t help – but I tried.
Saturday was just blah – more couch time. The Xanax (though it was appreciated) didn’t really help – initial shock and panic had worn off and was replaced by a deep sadness. Went through a box of Kleenex, and tried to read April’s book club selection Wild by Cheryl Strayed. My sister’s phone call at 4:15 pm was the kick in the pants I needed, and after getting off the phone and even though I felt like crap – I spent 2 hours at the gym. The irony of climbing the endless stair machine wasn’t lost on me: living with lupus – and it’s devastating effects – feels like a constant uphill battle.
Revelations (my favorite Belgian Gold Ale) at Pizza Port was my reward, followed by grocery store sushi for dinner and more red wine than I’d like to admit (dessert!). The buzzed late late pm/early am voice mail I left on N’s phone was full of awesomeness, I’m sure. Especially as on Friday, I angrily declared that I didn’t want to talk to him, text or email or anything until he came home – that I hated it that whenever I need his support, he’s not here…and it’s not fair that whenever he’s needed my support, I’m always there. So mature – but whatever. That’s the military life that no one talks about, I suppose. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and clearly red wine inspires creative late night phone messages. I think I pulled a Bridget Jones. Oops.
Note to self: hide the phone before opening a bottle. OR just skip the wine altogether. Whine – it’s all the same.
So here I am. It’s Sunday, and I think I’m in denial. But I’m not in tears, I’m not a mess on the couch, the Xanax is back in the drawer will all my other medications, I’ve made myself coffee and am doing laundry. The Photoshop homework is looming and I’ve got a kitty on my lap, enjoying my one-foot-on-table position. So…denial is good. I’ll take it, and hope that it lasts for a while.
At least until Thursday – when my next MAJOR Photoshop project is due.
So… this is as real as it gets. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… Love it while you live it – because you never know when or exactly how life will change. Tell your friends that you love them, give your family an extra extra hug, and refrain from leaving drunk messages on your husband’s phone. Yeah.
And always always always – eat the icing on the cake first – because you just never know.