Ever been cruising along with the wind in your sails, to only suddenly learn of a hidden tear in the canvas? That you weren’t actually moving as swiftly as your optimism-biased-brain was telling you?
Well, that was me yesterday.
After a month of feeling myself, having a glow which drew “you’re looking healthy again, Jess,” I found out I had something larger than a potential hole in my sail. I was back at square one, holding a basket of undiagnosed eggs, with potentially a few rotten ones in it.
You see, I saw three different doctors who had diagnosed me with A-Woman-Age-Itis this past spring, and needed to reestablish my primary care physician. There was no way in hell I was revisiting that level of crazy again, so in an uncharted sea of many, I researched like I was Magellan, mapping my route to The Doctor.
I found someone who I felt was going to be a premium Tinder-like connection, after a string of disastrous Christian Mingle dates. My hopes were confident that she was going to be The One. Not a hookup, but a legit doctor who can help me long term. I had long term relationship level hopes, absent of The Bachelor level idiocracy.
And since I’ve been feeling top notch, and from what I've been told, looked it, my Monday morning appointment (worst time ever for a trip to the doctor’s, amiright?!), was to meet this amazingly brainy woman, shake hands, and establish her as my primary care giver.
Except it wasn’t.
When she walked into the room, it struck me how kind and sincere she was. Then as we spoke, it felt like my IQ was plummeting because she was listening to me. Listening. Actually listening. She didn’t waive off what I was experiencing, nor was she Googling on her Doctor Computer, inputting symptoms and spitting back I should see a sleep specialist or nutritionist. Or asking if I ever feel depressed? She was actually listening.
At one point, I even apologized for how randomly I was stringing together my story for her, as I wasn’t use to a doctor listening sans insta-diagnosis. Having conveyed these symptoms so many times, I felt they were frankly unworthy of mention as they have been dismissed so often.
I even joked, as I do, and apologized because I felt like I was giving her a broken vase and asking her to put it back together with very little insights as to what the vase originally looked like. But it's sincerely how I felt about myself, as I sat there for the first time in the hands of a doctor with the knowledge and ability to help me heal.
Terms like autoimmune, possibly my thyroid, hypertension, and a cacophony of not awesome things were discussed. Puzzle pieces of unwell, and now is the time to figure out how they all fit together.
As I type away at this post, I wait for all my tests to come in. Tests that are being rerun, and ones that never were. The earliest results are pinging my Inbox, and clearly my thyroid has decided to make it’s dysfunction officially known with a bum TSH result, and I’m sadly deficient in Vitamin D. And my decade long spikes of hypertension are still TBD. Is it a situation, or a symptom?
All I know is that for the first time in ten years, I am in the hands of a doctor who looked me in the eye, and said that she's not worried, we’ll figure out what’s happening, and she is happy to work with me. If that doesn’t bring tears to my dry gritty eyes, I don’t know what will.
She also made a possible autoimmune disease sound pretty badass, which can only happen when a Williams Sister has it. Her rattling off tests and possibilities, again, while not typing into a Doctor Computer, had me mesmerized. She was listening, acknowledging my symptoms … and said they were real things, and related to real issues.
Not a single mention of my age, nor my seeing a dietician. She acknowledged there was not a single lifestyle change left for me to make, so I had to put on my big girl pants and face the fact that my hypertension is something I will have to reasonably treat. Merit points for a healthful diet and exercise regime don’t apply when your blood pressure has its own genetic disposition.
So even though I bragged to her that I started to sleep without a sweatshirt in summertime (just the extra blanket), plus I lost ten pounds since my last doctor’s appoint, she wasn’t giving me a pass. And my doctor's-office-adverse-self is so very grateful for that. I met someone who wants to see me whole, and not just kinda functioning parts.
At the same time, I feel a sense of fragility I haven’t felt in awhile. The kind you feel right before delivery, when you realize the lives of a being you love and your’s, are 100% in the hands of another.
I’m a Mama Bear, and Can-Do-It Kinda Gal. I’m The Fixer, not Needing-To-Be-Fixed. I’m The Dependable, The Hostess With the Mostest. The Front Door’s Open, and We’re Always Here For You. I am not the Waiting To Hear How You’ll Fix Me, there’s Nothing More You Can Do Lady.
Having the benefit of a lifetime of health, then a decade of not-so-much, there is a lingering uncertainty of how we will proceed. I know after more tests, ultrasounds, and analysis, it won’t be without one of those days-of-the-week pill containers rattling full, or a lifetime of monitoring. Birth control pills had always been my only lifeline of must-take for decades before they weren’t. I’m not sure, going forward, how I feel about a “have to take,” versus “want to take.”
How about you?
Have you experienced that light at the end of what had been a seemingly endless tunnel, and did you too feel as much trepidation as relief?
Or have you thought your groove was on fire, to find out it was more like hot-plate-hot?