I wonder how many calories you burn when your panic ramps up to the point it is hard to breathe and your fingers can’t stop typing terrifying things into Google? Can I count that in my daily calorie expenditure cause I’m pretty damn sure I burned at least 300 calories in panic alone yesterday. You see, I’m terrified of this mystery autoimmune disease. I’m horrified that my life might be consumed by chronic illness for which science has no cure. I’m SO FUCKING SCARED of spending my remaining years, however many they may be, sick and wasting away because scleroderma is making it impossible to move or lupus is shutting down my kidneys or sarcoidosis is suffocating me or…. the list goes on and on.
I waited a full 18 months between rheumatology appointments specifically because they ALWAYS send me into a month-long tailspin of panic. It is utterly exhausting and probably takes more years off my life than whatever disease I actually have.
Last night I found myself madly Googling scleroderma. The Rheumatologist muttered this while inspecting the telangiectasias that have appeared on my neck, chest and arms. Telangiectasias can be caused by lots of things, including pregnancy, sun damage and aging. They can also be caused by scleroderma or CREST Syndrome. Normally little red things on my skin would not bother me however, as soon as a correlation between them and my mystery autoimmune pop up it sends me into a complete “I am going to die and leave Mr. Husband alone and without a child” melt down.
I know this is ridiculous. I see the best rheumatologist in the area – if he saw reason for alarm he would have ordered more tests than just a repeat of my ANA. I also realize that it is WAY more likely that these are the result of sun damage – I grew up in Florida, I am always outside walking or biking to work and I shamefully never wear sunscreen or cover up. OR they could have popped up from my brief pregnancy or all the bloody IVF hormones I have been shooting up and shoving in my twat. Right?
Can I get a “Calm the hell down sister”?
This morning I woke up and actually spent 5 minutes snuggling my husband. I never snuggle him in the morning. Sadly, we rarely snuggle at all these days because I’m just to over loaded to think of anything other than my broken parts and the potential Grim Reaper looming over my world. This morning I had this moment of clarity and I was able to see through all the scientific mumbo jumbo – If I am sick and my life is going to be shortened do I REALLY want to spend the time I have here worrying and pushing people away? Dying at 35 or 85 is no different if you lead a life that was consumed with worrying about yourself.
I know this is dreadfully morbid for an infertility community. We deal with enough morbidity with miscarriage, still births and infant death. However, I feel the need to put this out there. Even though your infertility might not shorten your life, it does weigh heavily on your spirit, it does affect how we interact with people and it does hinder the person we could be. That last statement does not mean the mother you could be. It means the PERSON you could be. The person you ARE who is hiding under infertility, under lupus, under endometriosis …
Am I making any sense here?
This morning I made the conscious decision to be better. I can’t control what is cooking in my body. I can’t control that my uterus is empty. I can control what I do with my life, though. I can be a better human and make the most out of what time I have here – be it healthy or otherwise, be it as a mother or not – or I can waste it.
This morning I:
- Chatted with the nurse at the blood lab and informed her that she is the best in the clinic and I’m always happy when she draws my blood
- Joked with the mechanic when discussing our broken car
- Laughed with the bus driver
- Said hello to my coworkers
- Ordered a cookbook and sent it to a friend in London who has recently made the switch to a GF life
- Took three deep breaths and wrote this post
I know I’ll falter and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I’ll have days when I am over whelmed by all the unknowns and all the scary possibilities, but hopefully with a little effort I can pepper that panic with the memory that I ultimately still have control of today and how I live it. I don’t think worrying ever stalled the Reaper so I might as well suck it up and enjoy the day.