The gravity of my alternate universe manically yanked me from the secure and comfortable life I was effortlessly living. I was not at all prepared for the level of misery and pain it had to offer. Fixed between two worlds, my mind constantly battled the “fight or flight” mentality.
In the daylight hours, I wanted to fight, but the dark hours were pitch black and much longer with each passing night. I was either in shock or as stubborn as they come because I refused to surrender to the unrelenting beast living inside me. Crying wasn’t an option—not yet anyway.
Forced to navigate this strange world alone, I finally found myself at a coveted rheumatologist in late November, 2016. This fateful visit with doctor number four prepared me for what would be a long, arduous process in search of the diagnosis that eluded me for five of the longest months of my life.
When Dr. G mentioned the time frame it could take to reach a definitive answer for my unspeakable pain, my facetious reply was, “It’s already been five months. What’s another few weeks?”
With a concerned look in his eyes, and serious tone in his voice, he answered, “I hate saying this with all you’re going through, but this process could take more than just a few weeks. If you initially test negative for rheumatoid arthritis, as some do, we will begin our ‘quest’ ruling out other illnesses and diseases in order to reach a conclusive diagnosis. This testing could potentially take six months, a year, maybe longer. Symptoms of RA mimic many other issues that are more easily diagnosed. We must rule all others out first.”
Not mentally prepared for his answer, I still felt a sense of comfort being under his care. He recognized that although my spirit was severely wounded, it was not yet broken. I wanted to fight, no matter how long the process took, so I vowed to be Dr. G’s model patient and do exactly as he suggested.
The pain coursing through my body was a legitimate concern, so he graciously prescribed a short stent of prednisone to help alleviate the inflammation wreaking havoc inside my body. He said it should make me feel like a million bucks. I was excited, but wondered if the steroids would really help. He also prescribed pain meds for the most obvious symptom.
My reluctance taking anything for pain originates from wanting to be in tune with my body. The good stuff masks the pain, which is great, but it’s also bad. I took prescribed pain meds several months prior after some dental work, but it didn’t help joint pain at all. Dare I try what Dr. G prescribed? You bet your sweet bippy I would! It wasn’t opioids, but I was certainly willing to try again.
Before heading down the hall for more blood work, he asked an intriguing question—one I didn’t have time to ponder. “How have you managed on your own for so long?”
Placing my finger on my chin, I paused blankly staring toward the ceiling. In my head, I secretly answered with the thought of my voice trailing upward, as to ask a question. I wondered, ‘God?’
It was as if God heard my questionable thought because I felt an arrow pierce my soul. I immediately recalled a verse in the Bible where God says He will never leave me nor forsake me, but lately, He felt so distant. One moment I felt His presence up close and personal, and the next moment, I felt empty. It was dreadful!
“I don’t feel I’ve coped well at all. Facing each moment as they come, I guess I manage minute to minute. With very few people knowing anything is even wrong, I’m apparently pretty good at faking it.” After this impromptu answer to his insightful question, we both chuckled in amusement, which was quite refreshing.
Facing it head on, and faking it for others seemed to work, but saying, ‘carry on and smile along the way’ just sounds much better.
It’s always my intent to fight, but at this particular time, I took a hiatus from it all. I was mentally and physically exhausted, so I decided to fly instead—to Arizona! With Christmas quickly approaching, a visit with the grandchildren was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Dr. G gave me the go-ahead to fly, and surprisingly, the prednisone he prescribed did exactly what he said it would do. I felt like a million bucks even without the pain meds! It was a Christmas miracle! I could honestly say, I’m good, I’m good.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 KJV (always)