Wednesday, February 3, 2010

When Things Just Don't Work Right

Computer Virus Spreads to HumansImage by TedRheingold via Flickr

I've been battling spy ware and malware on my computer all yesterday, trying to get rid of the viruses and restore my computer to good health. In biology there is a word for that: homeostasis. That is when all the parts of the human body work together to achieve a stable, functional state. Just like my computer, if you introduce a virus, the human stable state is disrupted. Our bodies strive to return us back to homeostasis, a process we know better as healing.

As I write this, my computer has not yet returned to normal. I can't tell you how many forum posts I have read and programs I have downloaded trying to fix this myself. I am beginning to wonder if I will need to take my computer in to be repaired.

After a visit yesterday with my neurologist, I acknowledge once again that my body has not returned to normal yet either. I really like my neurologist because she listens to me and understands how complicated things are inside my body. Yesterday we talked a lot about my dysautonomia and how it prevents me from returning to homeostasis. I told my doctor that I understand she can not fix me. I just want her to figure out ways to help me manage my symptoms better and restore some function. She agreed that this was reasonable, but would take some out-of-the-box thinking.

That's me, living my life out of the box!

Unlike my computer which will get fixed one way or another, we can't just reboot my autonomic nervous system. I walk a very thin line between feeling not good and feeling not crappy. Literally, my nerves are so sensitive that a stressful thought, a swing in my blood sugar, too much traffic on the street, too much loud noise from the neighbors or too much fatigue makes my body just start shouting. My body overreacts and my heart starts racing, my palms start sweating and my body feels shaky and faint.

As we discussed at my appointment, once my body starts shouting, no amount of meditation, visualization, guided imagery, focused breathing or positive thinking can make it stop. It's like being on a roller coaster, realizing as you pull away from the platform that you have changed your mind and want to get off and being overcome with terror as you start climbing the first incline with no escape in sight. White knuckling it, you are stuck on that roller coaster until it pulls back into the station. I constantly remind myself that I need to just breath and just wait it out. Because so far, whether it's a few minutes or a few hours, the symptoms do dissipate eventually.

My only consolation is that I have two wonderful doctors who really listen and are willing and able to help me through these episodes. They are my neurologist and my cardiologist. I hit a real low in 2007 when my dysautonomia was so bad I felt really agitated and thought I was going to have to been heavily sedated. Just out of the hospital, I was absolutely prostrated and yet I felt the need to pace the floor because I had so much nervous energy. Thank goodness I found these doctors since then and I will not have to go through that alone again. Which is a good thing because I think my Christmas present (aka menopause) is making my dysautonomia worse.

I left my appointment today hopeful that my neurologist will be struck by inspiration and new, novel treatment ideas will be born. I anticipate things we haven't tried yet and insights we hadn't considered. We both want me to achieve homeostasis again. We both feel less than happy about my current state of functioning. I like that she can empathize with my situation and not feel discouraged or defeated by it. I am rooting for her, with her education and experience, to figuratively pull a rabbit out of her hat. Maybe she will surprise me and do just that...

As for my computer, well I haven't given up on it either. I will figure out a way to get it back into an operational state. It is amazing how disruptive losing your homeostasis can be, whether you are a computer or a human being.

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