Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7 Years Later: The Days of Darkness

I am not sure when I labeled this season of my life that I am writing about "The Days of Darkness," but the word picture stuck for its succinctness and fullness.  Thank goodness for Mexico, that Pocket of Hope in the black hole of the coming days and months.

Shall we bullet point through September into October?  That will make it a little more bearable:
- Return from Mexico and begin injectable medication.  Mistake liver failure for the "flu-like" symptoms that said injectable medications have as normal side-effects.  Stop injecting myself to let my liver heal.  Catastrophic liver failure averted.
- Right foot drops.  Meaning, my right lower leg stops working; Lizzy limping around.  Motor functioning lost.  (Let us rejoice when we tell our bodies to do something and it does it).  Crazy dizziness sets in; crazy.  "This is not right.  This would be a crazy fast progression of MS..."  Crazy: with great speed and recklessness.
- Lots of tests: peripheral nerve test (featuring electricity shots directly in the nerve), spinal tap (starring a needle the size of a pencil being stuck into the bodies nerve center), MRI, MRI, draw blood x20, brain wave test, shiney-lights-in-eye test (when you are upside down, left, right, and inside out).  You name the test, I had it.
- Lots of therapy: physical therapy (to learn to walk with a brace), vestibular therapy (to learn to walk a straight line), pruden-myo therapy (what the?), cranial sacral therapy, massage therapy, psychotherapy (for the creeping and crushing complication: depression).  There was more, but you get the picture.

The picture: The Days of Darkness.  The absence or deficiency of light during the interval of (what should be) light between two successive nights.

Monday, July 11, 2011

7 Years Later: Just An Earthquake

The inner ear has miraculous functions.  One is the levitating function.  This is part of what cues your body to feel weightless when you free fall, that you should push harder with your legs on an incline, that tells you you're more secure when sitting.  It is instrumental in the music your body makes called movement.  In my orchestra, it was a violin out of tune and on a different sheet of music: screeching, out of sink, and wildly erratic.

While I was sitting, I would suddenly feel like a phantom was pushing my body back.  When I was walking on level ground, it would feel like the ground was suddenly falling, ...or rising quickly and unpredictably.  My body would react "as if" and with in milliseconds of my sympathetic nervous system going into hyperdrive, reason would catch me and I would realize we actually hadn't entered into an Escher drawing or the movie "Inception." ("Lizzy, you aren't really feeling like your falling because in a higher state of consciousness you are careening down an elevator shaft." Although I did not say this to myself at the time because the movie did not come out until just last year, right?)  I would ground myself against a wall, in a chair, or keep moving in a deliberate walk to scream reality at my body that was totally out of sync.  And then I would break out in a sweat.  (That is a lot of work "behind the scenes," eh?).

Puerto Escondido had an earthquake the first night we were there.  I was on my hands and knees pushing my suitcase under my bed.  It felt like the ground was rising.  When reason caught me, I fell to my knees and felt around at the ground to remind me it was still; it wasn't.  I panicked.  "HOLY CRAP!  Save me!"

I looked at my parents.  And caught their eyes.  They were panicked too.  They were panicked too!

"I think that was an earthquake!" said my dad, just a couple seconds later.

"Phew.  Really?  For real? ..., ... Alleluia!  It was just an earthquake."  The locals talked about it for days.

Friday, July 8, 2011

7 Years Later: Esperanza

My parents had one more idea for my six weeks of FMLA.  They were going to Puerto Escondido, Mexico for a week..."why not come along?"

She said in her head, "Well, lets see...ummm...I am half numb!, I need medical care, I can barely handle the thought of being by myself for two seconds, (ie- I am experiencing some serious trauma symptoms, Mom and Dad!), and you want me to fly to Mexico City and waaaaaaaay south from there by myself?...!!!...!!!"

"We think you can do it."  Three weeks after my life sentence had been issued: Hope.

You see, the night I came home from the hospital I instantaneously grieved the loss of my plan for my life: my story was supposed to climax with me living in some remote corner of the world, in love, spiritually full, offering health to the masses (including glorious rays of sunshine and a constant cool breeze).  I think I heaved out through loud sobs, "I will never live in Africa;" it was symbolic yet real and raw.  How can you refrigerate injectable meds with no electricity?  I sobbed, and sobbed.  Grieved and grieved.

And Kindness stepped in through my parents Faith.  "We will get you there; you just need to say yes." And with fear that I let eek out in a constant state of teariness, (I quickly learned this was a way for me to prevent unpredictable, explosive bursts of anxiety), I boarded a plane with a kiss from my grandparents in Denver, navigated Dallas with God holding my hand, hugged and clung on to (for dear life) Gustavo in Mexico City, and fell into the embrace of my parents in Puerto Escondido.

"I was soooooo worried about you," weeped my Mom.

"I made it," my tears said as they bid good bye.  Puerto Escondido is hot!, with a constant cool breeze.