Sometimes life makes you wait.
And when it does, and everyone is busy with their life that isn't "on hold due to illness" , knitting can be your friend. This has been that kind of year for me.
And while you are waiting, being poked, prodded, questioned, given trials and so many tests for stuff that you cannot even recall most of what they were, you try and knit something with patterns. (can you hear my laughter?. I know, you say, what was she thinking?... for clearly, I wasn't).
And so it became the year of the blanket. it's proven to be a great project for the forgetful and easily distracted. It's garter stitch. Lots of it.
I've been wrestling with a mysterious illness since mid July 2009. It arrived with a bunch of fanfare, knocked me flat on my back for about three days, and resembled a bizarre food poisoning (which some professionals guess it still may have been). I bounced back fairly well, in energizer bunny fashion, and carried on. Yet it lingered.
It crept and oozed its way into larger parts of my world. The words "no thanks, I need to get some rest" fell out of my mouth in response to more and more invitations,
I found myself taking naps between client sessions, bouts of throwing up all night long were happening at least once a month (and much more frequently in these past couple months), and an increasingly bizarre set of symptoms began to emerge. hair falling out, swollen hands and feet, and while I will spare you all the details- suffice it to say that in the past twelve months I have felt less and less myself.
It slowly stole more and more of my days - Laundry went undone until it was absolutely necessary, food was barely touched (and yet my body swelled and changed daily), the house grew more desheveled, energy levels were at an all time low. Only essentials were getting done, and not much of those either. Which symptom came before which became a total blur.
Fascinatingly, all my "tests" showed that my body was functioning within "normal" ranges for everything.
I was patted on the knee by more than one medical professional, and told "You're just aging, dearie" (who me?!?)
And so, I stopped putting myself through being poked and prodded and humiliated into thinking that I was making this up.... had I imagined myself ill? could it be that I was a tad hypochondriacal,? I surely did not think so, yet this was what the pros kept saying.... and so I pushed forward.
And I waited, each morning to be curious if I might feel myself once again.
No matter what I did to distract my mind, the symptoms continued and grew worse and worse. Finally, at the urging of close friends, I found a new MD, (who is fabulous, curious, and totally agrees that "aging does not mean you must feel awful". bless. him.) We have been testing some more, trying new solutions, and some have appeared to succeed for a short time, only to end up miserably failed.
And once again, sometimes, life makes you wait. And while you are waiting, there are times when apparent 'solutions' arrive in your world, when you weren't even looking there.
Surely life is a mystery that cannot be adequately be understood and evidence continues to present itself that there are times that despite all the tests and results, something amiss is going on with our bodies . And in a time of complete surrender, we are often handed a bit of pure "grace".
truly - Grace.
a few weeks ago, while preparing for a more powerful round of experimental treatment, my MD put me on a couple of antibiotics (heavy hitters) which, fascinatingly enough gave me a substantial amount of relief within three days.
I was surprised, and called to report.... Can you believe it, I said to him (clearly elated) I am a little better!
For the first time in a year, I was not nauseated for 24 hours each day. Amazing. My voice regained a bit of its sassy old self (according to family and friends) and I was beginning to sleep more than 3 hours each night. many seemingly unrelated bizarre symptoms grew smaller.
Conferring with my Dad (who is a retired MD extraordinaire) about all the other experimental treatments they were suggesting, he said wisely "don't go looking for zebras when the horses are right there". Wise fellow. (love you Dad).
My MD here concurred, and we have stopped the future experimental plans.
I finished the course of medicines (a standard 10 days) and felt deep relief for a couple days... yet then the dreaded symptoms returned full force............ alas. I knew these nasties right away. They had been such constant companions.... I sighed deeply.
Calls back and forth to MD, and he determined to try once more. (bless him again).
Heavy hitter medicine, longer period of time. much longer.
I am waiting.
I am knitting.
I am taking strong medicine.
I am reporting in to doctors every few days.
And there have been days when I've wondered if I will ever stop observing every single small twinge of pain or weird symptom. Yes, I know that eventually I will. Returning to "normal" thoughts is a place to look forward to, and it appears to be coming closer.
For today, there was evidence that I am finding my way back to me. While I was out watering my garden, headphones on, I found myself singing out loud to an old Kenny Loggins song "It's about time" (think rowdy, strong beat, can't sit still kind of music). And it made me laugh to witness myself being so silly.. (have you ever heard someone singing loudly, in an otherwise quiet place, with headphones in their ears? it's not normally a pretty thing... giggle) Whatever the neighbors might think, I did not truly care. (those who have lived beside me for the last three years already know who I am anyway - hah. )
I was singing. Spontaneously, loudly, shaking my hips and absolutely enjoying the perfection of a semi-cloudy summer morning.
what a gift.
And while there is no certainty that this round of mega medicine will kill off what apparently is the clearly nasty-germ-monsters in my system, they are beating them back for now.
That's what it is.
But I know I'm winning for today. And that is valuable.
Sometimes life makes us wait and every now and then it hands us a lovely surprise as we live our way forward, as the poet Rilke suggests, 'living our way into the answers'..... And this is what I am doing. With gratitude.
And for those of you who have been reading along with these rambling thoughts for the last few years.... here is a powerful symbol of hope..... it's the blush hydrangea which friends dug up for me, when I had to quickly move from my huge old office after my hand injury in 2007. It has always been one of my favorite plants, and I hoped I would not lose it.
This wonderful plant sat languishing in its cramped pot for more than a year, as I was unable to lift it, nor to dig a hole large enough in the ground at my new home...... and here it is now... settled into a gentle corner of my front yard, bouncing back to its former beauty. I will try to remember to take more photos through the summer, for she is clearly a lady to behold.
Her flowers continue growing into a conical shape, each white petal sprinkled with a soft pink blush....She is beauty at every stage of her journey.
and I sang to her this morning.