Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stealing Bravery.

As a teenager, I was allergic to myself. The internal kind of allergy, and had medications for it. When it happened at school, I was often taken home to be monitored or end up at the MD's office because damage control wasn't working. One such day, after having to take medicine and be sent home with a friend's mom, I just asked to go to Dairy Queen. 

Not home to the rest of my medicine. Not to the doctor. I just wanted a grape flavored blizzard with pop rocks (that was an actual flavor in my day, it was REALLY good). And I wanted to forget that fear and vigilance was an everyday thing. And I've never had a blizzard as wonderful as the one I had that day. 

I did it again, today and yesterday and the day before. I took, with help, my kids out to the museum, the library, to ice cream and a play place, even when I felt horrible and scared. Because those little things become your victories if you're chronically sick. Those simple things you steal back are part of your courage. 

I haven't done much else here, or anywhere, due to health issues. A lot of things seem to pop up at once, but there was something major going on.
Couldn't think of a nicer caption for this...

I've always had sinus tachycardia, but recently, and very suddenly, developed an abnormally fast pulse and higher blood pressure. An echocardiogram revealed some cardiomyopathy, and now I'm on daily medication. The entire set of things has been frightening. There's still more testing, because when something suddenly shows up, you have to dig around to piece together why, but for right now this is our problem and answer-and I'm trying to figure out my life now as it relates to all of this. When I adjust to my medication, can I be left alone during the day? Will I ever be able to exercise other than walking or swimming slowly? How short did my life expectancy become? How much time did this take from the people I love? 

And, most importantly, how do I make each day count?

That's the major thing. Talking with my dad about that fear, he reminded me his risk of sudden heart attack or death is probably still higher than my own-but that we don't ever know. 

And we don't EVER know. 

Death is a hidden guest in a ballroom. I think those of us who've danced with him have to work harder to not let that knowledge turn us into someone that can't dance anymore. 

That's hard. It takes tears and bravery, and little victories of normalcy and happiness that taste all the sweeter because you savor them. 

I've always been a weirdly fortunate person. 

Like a piano fell right next to me, but not on me, kind of person. 

That's still me, I'm sure. Because this could always be worse. So, I'm going to keep writing in addition to having to monitor my health closer-and spend what time I do get with the people that matter more than anything else in the world. And I'm going to collect those little victories like merit badges. 

“I remembered the fox. One runs the risk of crying a bit if one allows oneself to be tamed.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ryThe Little Prince

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