Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Saving Grace for When Everything Goes Wrong

Big Brother 2008 (UK)Image via Wikipedia

They are not moments I like to think about, now that they are securely a part of my past. What am I talking about? The great big meltdown moments that have occurred in my life...

The First Time

The first major meltdown happened a month after I was diagnosed with leukemia. I was excited about my upcoming released from the hospital after a successful first course of chemotherapy that put my cancer into remission. While visiting me in my hospital room a day or two before that big day, my boyfriend broke up with me.

I was devastated.

The Second Time

It was eight months after I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, back in 1999. I was hellbent on managing my diabetes with diet and exercise only. Part of my treatment plan was seeing a dietitian for regular consultations. Those first eight months I obsessively watched every single piece of food I put in my mouth and religiously worked out at least three times a week. I got my blood sugars under excellent control, but could not succeed in losing a single pound.

Mentioning this to the dietitian, she replied, "I guess you must have a farmer body. You have to be moving for most of your day in order for you to lose weigh."

What the heck! Well, screw this then...

The Third Time

Talk about adding insult to injury. The trip-and-fall accident that put me on my journey with chronic pain and chronic fatigue happened while I was at work. Which meant my initial medical treatment didn't come from my own personal doctor, but a contracted occupational medicine clinic. Not only did they not help, the treatments they prescribed made my pain worse. Oh yeah, and when I reported that my pain was getting worse, not better, I was accused of not wanting to go back to work.

So after three weeks, when I was discharged from medical care and told I could go back to work--the medical staff totally ignoring, disregarding, and disbelieving my very real and very disabling pain--it felt like the last straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

I was so despondent by the time I made it to my own doctor's office that I told him I couldn't take it anymore.

The Last Time

A former rheumatologist convinced me that I needed to treat my chronic Hepatitis C infection since he thought it was implicated in my fibromyalgia symptoms. I got enrolled into a clinical study in August 2007. About two weeks in, all hell broke loose. I developed multiple viral and bacterial infections: eye infection, double ear infections, sinus infection and severe upper respiratory infection.

A week later I was in the Emergency Room being evaluated for a possible heart attack.

Turns out, I was in bad shape due to a flare-up of my undiagnosed dysautonomia, with symptoms reaching a higher level of intensity. The symptoms made me feel so agitated that I honestly thought I was going to have to be sedated. After several unreturned calls to my rheumatologist, a staff member at the Cedars Sinai Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Program intervened on my behalf and got the doctor to call me back. He prescribed a beta-blocker that made a world of difference. But it was too late...

The Hepatitis C treatment, subsequent hospitalization and dysautonomia symptom overload left me bed-bound and facing a long three month climb back to my previous level of functioning.

A Saving Grace

So what helped me weather these storms and get to a better place? My saving grace can be summed up with the one amazing quote (thanks to my friend @sonjathegreat for posting this yesterday on Twitter):

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Quite honestly, it is the hope that tomorrow will be a better day that has helped me get through all these times of emotional upheaval and illness. Hope helps with all the everyday setbacks, adversities and hardships too. I've come to rely on the fact that the promise of a better tomorrow makes all my misfortunes bearable.

My saving grace is that hope heals.

What is your saving grace? Share yours with me when you leave me some comment love...
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Oh What the Fog said...

Hope is absolutely necessary for me. I just recently found this out (when I temporarily lost all hope). GREAT post!

Mara said...

If there's a problem that I can't fix I get so depressive that no hope exists for me :) Then somehow my mind makes it through my depression and shows me the beautiful world around, and I remember that nothing lasts forever...

Beth Zimmerman said...

This is wonderful! I live with chronic pain too though I feel like a whiner to even mention it compared to what you have faced! You write VERY well and I will definitely subscribe! Found you through #31dbbb

Jamee said...

Totally love that quote! I have had a rough fibro week and reading this post is just what I needed! I am taping that quote to my computer!

Rachel said...

Hope, I hate when I lose sight of it.

Even more, I love when something (like this quote) reminds me of it.

Amanda said...

Hope DOES heal, and thank God it does. I loved the quote you included in your post.

Dana Asmara Morningstar-Marton said...

I love you, Selena! I'm so glad you had/have hope! Otherwise, you wouldn't be my friend, and I'm so glad we're friends!!! I like to think that hope is one of the most powerful interventions in a person's lifetime!