Sunday, April 13, 2008

Still on sick leave

I have a twin. She's a blogging twin. I've never met her. Don't know her real name. I don't even know where she lives, and yet we are twins.

If you follow this blog you've seen her comments on mine. I'm linked to her blog. We are linked in a lot of ways. Her name is Lizard Eater. Lizard Eater is a mom, my age, studying to be a UU minister. She has Southern roots and laughs a lot. She makes me laugh a lot. Good twin to have.

Lizard Eater has four children. One of them is a cancer survivor. Her name is Little Warrior or LW. LW is sick again. Lizard Eater blogged through LW's last battle. She's not feeling great about blogging this one. But she is blogging a bit. It will rip your heart in two, but she has incredible courage to blog honestly. In that sense, we are not twins.

My last post was that I had brain laryngitis. That's a clever yet cowardly blog way of saying I am not well. I didn't want to blog it because I... I don't know. I guess I'd rather talk about other thngs that I think are more meaningful. But then I read about Lizard Eater's family and I feel like a twit. As scared as she is, she has the courage to tell the truth.

So... I am ill. I was diagnosed with arthritis at 24. Docs said it was bad, like Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or its ilk. It was bad for several years and then, at 30 or so, it calmed down. Since the diagnosis wasn't real clear, my mind went into denial during those good years.

"Maybe they were wrong," I'd think. "Maybe it's gone. Maybe I remember it worse than it was. Maybe if I exercise more. Maybe, maybe."

Besides, I felt mostly good during those years. One thing that I forgot was that "mostly good" for me is "god-awful" for someone without arthritis. I had become used to pain every day. I am used to hard winters, nerve pain, awful mornings, and early bedtimes because I don't feel good.

I also know enough people with advanced RA, cancer, MS, heart disease, diabetes, and other terrible diseases that mine has seemed more of a vain bogeyman than a real diagnosis. I've always had a small part of me that felt that everyone else had real diseases and I just had pain. There's another part of me that only acknowledges life-threatening. "Stop the bellyaching! I'm still alive," I tell myself.

Then two weeks ago I started feeling really bad. Then I could barely walk. Then depressing test results started coming in. And I started taking meds that gave me brain laryngitis. And, well, it just hasn't gotten much better. There's also the ouch face. If you've seen me in April, you've seen the ouch face. It is the face that makes people think I am angry or just not very nice.

To all the kind people in my two congregations who have sent all their sweet thoughts, thank you. I am not good at accepting help for something like this. That's about my not wanting to be the center of attention and not wanting to acknowledge the ground I've lost. It is not that I don't believe in the power of your love and community.

We are a big community - 800 of us in the two churches combined. As minister, I can't help but think about all the people among us who deserve a card, a call, a lunch date, someone to listen, someone to say something kind and supportive. I am resistant to TLC because I worry about those who aren't getting enough. That's distressingly reverend-y, but it is what is pressing on my mind.

With the therapy, the medications, and rest I'll be feeling better in a week or two. Or six. I don't know. The long-term ramifications are serious, but I will follow medical advice to do what needs to be done. I am not up for blogging much on this because I find it depressing and uncomfortable(unless it will bring Dave Grohl or Patterson Hood to my house to sing me some get well songs). On the up side, I have been having crazy funny dreams on these meds. Lots of flying and dancing.

My love and friendship go out to Lizard Eater's family. Wherever you are, whomever you are - I wish you health and happiness, strength and laughter, raucous/beautiful/healthy children and all the miracles you need. I still want us to live next door to each other. I promise I'll never call the cops when the stereo blasts and I'll invite you to my kitchen cocktail parties (only room in the house that is presentable.) Shalom, sweet sister. Shalom.


h sofia said...

I wish I could tell you a funny joke, but I'm so bad at remembering anything other than the punchlines.

ms. kitty said...

Woowee, AC, I'm so sorry to hear about the change in your health. What a lot of curves life throws at us, over time. I'm glad you're taking steps to get better and I know you will work your way out of the fog and pain. It's always hard for strong women to let others care for them; we're too used to doing the caretaking for others. But once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad! I'm keeping you and your family and congregations in my prayers.

Michael said...

My love and prayers are with you, dear one.


Lizard Eater said...

*Big kiss on the cheek.*

Hang in there, Twin. Keep laughing. And let people help, wouldja? Listen to me ... don't be a hard head like me and have to learn the hard way ... it is a gift to let people help. I truly believe that one way of ministry is to allow others to help us. It takes a lot of courage, especially when you're used to being the person bringing the casserole, sending the card, sitting and listening. It takes courage to receive.

And go here:
"Candy Gram! Land Shark!"

And then peruse this, if you're not already familiar:

If you can watch the "Turkeys Away" episode of WKRP and not laugh ... well, I just don't know.,vepisode,1

Done being bossy. Oh, and I'll bring the 'ritas to the party.