Monday, November 28, 2016

Peace

I went to see a new doctor a couple of weeks ago, and for the first time I saw the medical record from the last year.  Seeing that huge stack of papers, gave me some perspective of what I had been through since my diagnosis.  As the doctor asked me questions, he kept glancing at the stack and finally said "it is obvious you have been through a lot in a small amount of time."   I was already nervous in this appointment and that really sent my emotions over an edge where I wasn't thinking terribly cognitively.  So when he suggested adding something to my treatment plan, I just smiled and nodded.

I didn't ask second level questions, because when I am stuck in the the limbic part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex isn't getting a lot of blood flow.  When I finally settled down and was able to give Adam a call, he asked me second level questions that I didn't have answers to.  I researched the drug online and had to make a decision.  I needed to gauge how I was feeling lately and determine if the possible side effects and my previous experience with similar prescriptions were worth an experiment.  

I feel a lot of times I live in two different worlds, two different approaches to healing the body, two different desires.  Some doctors focus on comfort and wanting quick results.  On the other side of the coin are doctors that are wanting to dig a bit deeper, take some more time and focus on the entire body.  Both sides focus on relieving the major complaints, both approaches are useful.  I tend to want to dig deeper, to change my lifestyle and see progress happen over time.  However it was time to acknowledge that I had hit a plateau, that I was getting about 4 hours of sleep a night and even though that was a huge improvement from a couple of months ago, it isn't a good amount when working to heal the body.  

I picked up the prescription with a lot of trepidation, and picked a time to take it in case I did have some bad side effects.  I needed to find a way to gain some certainty, to understand what the trepidation was about.  What was I so worried about?  

I asked Adam a simple question: "Will you take care of me?"  It seems like a silly question, maybe even slightly insulting because he has stood by me through so much.  However it is still a fear, the gremlins that whisper to me "that I am not good enough for him, that my condition makes me less valuable."  Adam is extremely patient and always lets me ask that question and talk it out with him.  He knows it is not an insult or based on previous experience.  He understands that it is something I need to be reminded of constantly, and even though it is frustrating to him, he is kind enough to listen.  

What Adam didn't realize about that conversation was that it was also addressing an experience I had when I was really sick.  It was a hard time for me, traveling and feeling like I wasn't being taken care of.  I felt like I had to keep pushing, that I had to act well, that I had to keep showing up or I would be left behind.  Because I felt left behind, my filters created this story that I wasn't good enough to travel, to accept help and to be loved.  The reality was when I first started to have flares, I didn't have language to describe how I was feeling, and most importantly I didn't know what I needed.  I was so focused on wanting the pain to stop, I didn't know what I could do.

In a year the biggest skill I have gained is when I ask Adam to take care of me, and he follows up with "what do you need?"  I generally have an answer.  Sometimes I need to sleep, sometimes I need to be left alone, sometimes I need someone to hold me while I cry, sometimes I need a break from cooking or other chores.  I am no longer stuck in that space of I don't know what helps.  That was a horrible state to be in, to be helpless, to not have language or experience to know better.  It doesn't mean I was bad then and I am good now, looking back at a year ago, six months ago I realize how many things I have learned that do help.   It doesn't help with the pain, it doesn't help me sleep at night it gives me peace to know there is always something that can be done, to know it will change and it is really okay to ask for help.  

So maybe in the end I am not stuck between two different worlds, maybe I am the peace that exists in between them.  

Question to consider:  What skill have you really made progress in, in the last year?  What do you have experience and language for that previously made you feel helpless?





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