Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 3: Ground Hog Day

the date was tuesday, august 9th.  my mother in law dropped her life and  moved into our guest bedroom.  she came to help me get around; help with the kids, get my son to school, fix meals and whatever else she could do.  i truly believe she earned her angel wings that week.

the morning began with me waking up to find that my joints had stiffened again over night.  it was still very painful to move.  the first few hours of the day were difficult.  my husband left strict orders for me to drinks "gallons" of water throughout the day and get plenty of rest.  which i did.  i knew it was difficult for him to head off to work while he watched me struggle.  he called to check on me every couple hours.  someone had to make the money to pay the bills, right?  it had been a couple of weeks since i had worked.

there were a handful of people who helped me get through these first couple weeks.  i never would have been able to get through without them.  those who showed up to help me stretch and do yoga -thank you.  those who made meals, brought over reading material and offered incredible company - thank you.  those who took care of my children and entertained them when i could not -thank you. those who helped with laundry and did my hair -thank you.  i am forever grateful for you. you know who you are and your kindness has touched me deeply.   in all honesty, i had not shared what was happening with many people.  only my family and a few close friends knew the details.  those who did know showed up. in a big way.  like i mentioned earlier, it's not easy for someone with my type-a , control-freak personality to reach out and ask for help and admit that i might be broken.  but more importantly, i didn't really know what to tell everyone.  "hey, it's amanda. i feel like crap.  i'm not sure what's wrong. can you come help me get out of bed in the morning?"  that would be weird.  i had people approach me later, saying: "why didn't you tell me?? i would've come help."  although i appreciated the gesture, that is so much easier said than done.

the second shift was taken by my mother, who had just returned from being out of town.  i know it was hard for her to be away from me and my family when all this craziness started.  my mother and i have a deep connection; one i feel in my core.  i imagined how i would've felt being so far; a feeling of helplessness. not being there.  each time i updated her on the phone i could hear the worry in her voice. 

my dear friend helped me plan my nutrition and meals for the week while loosely following the "17 day diet."  - let me clarify something, i was not hell bent on dieting to loose weight.  i was focused on cleansing my system from the inside-out in an effort to make it run more efficiently.  however, if i dropped a few pounds along the way who was i to complain?

my mother in law made a comment one afternoon while we sat and watched the kids play outside.  she said: "it's the weirdest thing to watch your progression throughout the day. i would have never understood it if i didn't see it for myself.  you wake up in the morning practically disabled and slowly, throughout the day your body loosens up.  i see your body change.  by the afternoon you are moving more fluid."   yep, that pretty much sums it up.

the first two weeks were a repeat of the same thing; groundhog day. i would go to bed feeling "almost normal" and then bam! wake up and be right back in the same situation i was the day before.  the thought of feeling better in the afternoons was what kept me focused.  my days consisted of the same routine:  HOT shower in the morning, stretching/yoga, eating clean, drinking gallons of fluids, and lots of rest.  slowly i noticed my body began to respond.  this planted a seed of hope.

friday, august 12th my general practitioner called with the results of my second blood test.  unfortunately, there wasn't much more information he could give me.  "just keep doing what you're doing and let me know what the rheumatologist says."  i know i should not get frustrated with him but i wanted more than that.  couldn't he give me any information about why my body was acting this way??  no, he couldn't.  he offered more pain medication if i was uncomfortable. i didn't want more medication.  i wanted answers.    after my conversation with him, i broke down crying.  my mother in law hugged me.  she was emotional too.  she assured me i would get through this.  i knew she was right but it was therapeutic to let my frustration out.

my mother in law had contacted her massage therapist and sent her over to see me.  on a quiet sunday morning my husband took the kids out of the house for a couple of hours while i received a 90 minute, full body massage.  i swear, the clouds parted that day and another ray of sunlight poked through.  at the beginning of our session i needed assistance lying on the table.  at the end of our session i felt like a new woman.  i felt so good that when it was over, i put on a pair of tennis shoes and headed outside to play with my kids.  i felt close to great and figured even if i woke up tomorrow with my joints locked up i had better take full advantage of today.   that massage made me feel like a million bucks.  i couldn't wait until my next appointment.

from then on, i was a focused woman on a mission: each morning i would call the rheumatology office and ask if there had been any cancellations; any way i could get an earlier appointment?  finally it happened.  they could get me in a week earlier.  great!  i'll take it!! i would be seeing the rheumatologist on august 19th.   in the mean time, i focused on what i could control: my yoga and stretching, my diet, acupuncture, massage and my attitude about all this craziness.  so that's what my days consisted of for the week.  all i could do was look ahead and hope i would get some clearer answers at my first rheumatology appointment.

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