Illness struck this week. I got the call from my sister that everything was ok, but my mom was in the hospital with cardiomyopathy – a swelling of the heart due to a stressful event with symptoms that mimic a heart attack. Well that doesn’t sound ok. But apparently in comparison to a heart attack it’s the much better diagnosis, because there is no permanent damage to the heart – it just needs to heal.
The situation felt lonely and challenging. My mother is a stalwart. She is petite, robust and never complains. She is 70, works full time and still takes ballet. Her mother passed away at 96 still living in her home. So this must be serious. Sure enough it was. My mother had an altercation with her awful niece who is squatting in my grandmother’s house that my mom is trying to sell. Her heart couldn’t take it. Cardiomyopathy is also known as broker heart syndrome.
I am really proud of and grateful for my family. We all stepped up and made sure my mom felt cared for. Thank god, my mom was released today and is resting at home.
So I have been having throat issues for a while and often feel like I am straining my voice. Last week, though, things got intense and I felt like someone’s hand was around my throat…squeezing. Feeling like your suffocating is no fun, so I made an appointment with an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Doc). She couldn’t take me until Tuesday. So for a couple of days I contemplated the possibilities and dealt with feeling like I was being waterboarded. I started to play the what if I have throat cancer game and took that all the way to quitting my job and traveling the world. I also considered my tonsils needing to go and being in bed with ice cream for a week and how that might affect my life.
The doctor was lovely. It was refreshing to feel immediate trust for this person’s competence. She gently shoved a camera up my nose. 30 seconds later she told me that I don’t have cancer, and while by tonsils are big, they don’t need to go. She told me she thinks I have acid-reflux. I looked at her like she’s crazy, but I heard her out. She said that my throat is very irritated from acid-reflux and put me on some meds and told me to avoid everything pleasurable to humans – no coffee, tea, chocolate, fatty foods, mint, spicy food, and alcohol. Also, she said not to eat for two hours before going to bed. This kind of felt like a blessing, because I mindlessly eat a ton before going to bed, loving that full belly feeling, but it’s not good for me, so I welcome this challenge.
Medical diagnoses are wild. You feel symptoms, you are afraid, you make a decision to get it checked out and you are at the mercy of hopefully well educated folks to make good decisions for you. And if you are really lucky like my mom and me were this week (yes, my mom’s condition was much more serious than mine), you find out that you are going to be ok and can go back to your life with some new information.
This is my 8th PSP cycle. I am very grateful for this community and I have accomplished a great deal over these last couple of years. I choose to participate each cycle, because I love the heightened awareness and the community of contribution and support. But as the cycles go by, some of my goals have started to be recycled because I’m not making a lot of progress on them. The big one is the career. What will it take for me to take this on seriously??? I have done some being goals, I have done some doing goals, I have considered the prices I pay by not being more proactive, but there is still a whole lot of avoidance. As sick as this is, there was something a little bit seductive about the specter of sickness, as if that might be the wake up call I need! ARGH!!!
But I march on. If I wish away my challenges, I am wishing my life away.
One of the things that I have realized over all of these cycles is you don’t always know the best way to progress, but if you keep at it, things get accomplished. I am happy with my goals this cycle. I am giving myself space in the mornings to feel alive before I go to work. I am excited about making soup. And my girlfriend who was frustrated with me when I shared with her my goals for this cycle, because they seemed small in scope to her, bought me the soup book.
So I will end my first blog post with gratitude (when in doubt, sit with gratitude, always great for a dollop of perspective). I am grateful for my mother’s health. I am grateful for my own health. I love that I continue to take myself on. And I love all of you.
Looking forward to having you over for soup. 🙂