Lumps and Bumps update:
It’s dangerous, this thing I am about to do. Maybe even reckless.
I’m writing about a new diagnosis on the day of the new diagnosis.
Some writers give the advice to never write about something while you feel emotionally charged. They say we should wait until the emotions are a memory. This is to protect your emotional well-being and not write something you will regret.
I’m throwing caution to the wind and am inviting you into my vulnerabilities. Get out now if you’re at a pool party and are soaking up the sun, friendship, and pina coladas. My precariousness state can wait.
Before I get to today’s diagnosis, I should update you on one of my pre-existing conditions. (Wow, that phrase takes on a whole new level after covid, eh?)
I’ve had gastroparesis for years now. That’s when your autonomic nervous system, (in this case my gastrointestinal system), goes on strike and stops doing it’s job like it forgot it’s essential or something. In laypeople’s terms, my stomach stops emptying, causing nausea and throwing up thanks to stubborn rotting food nesting in there like it’s just moved in to a five-star holiday home in Jamaica without plans of ever leaving. My guts fail, too, and don’t, er, move things along.
This disease made me so sick about eight years ago that they implanted an experimental gastric pacer into my abdomen. This went horribly wrong, caused an inability to eat without debilitating pain, and after two years of agony and no benefit, we took it out. I’d been told before insertion that the gastric pacer was my last hope. Thankfully, my body improved for the last few years and I did okay, gastro-intestinally.
Until about a month ago.
I guess my stomach felt it time for a raise and has been sitting on the picket lines again. (Won’t even walk them, lazy bugger.)
So, after a week of running to the toilet to throw up, I’ve (mostly) given up solid food. Soup and smoothies don’t need to be broken down, and leave their accomodations with more ease.
The good news is, I’ve been rapidly losing weight.
The bad news is, I’ve been rapidly losing weight.
My gastroenterologist has thrown 1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE new medications my way, plus home enemas. Oh yeah. It’s a party. He said, whenever a person is losing weight without trying, it’s a problem;
His solution if we can’t get this under control? A feeding tube.
I. Can’t. Even.
He went on to tell me that with the state of my vagus nerve (the motherboard of all the automatic parts), he’s more surprised that I had some good years and that this relapse makes perfect sense to him.
That does not bode well for my future. (I know, I know. Live in the moment. But I don’t like this moment either.)
Okay. So. Today.
Today I got the results of a neck/spine MRI.
As Don and I entered the neurologist’s appointment room, he said with a big smile, “Hello. It looks like we got in the right boat.” (Or, “Caught the right fish?” My British friends are going to have to educate me on what saying he might have used. The Brits do English weird.) After a moment of bafflement, I could contextualize. I’ll use clear English. He meant we barked up the right tree. The MRI tree.
The smile still lingering on his face, I said, “Oh, so is it good news?”
“Oh. Well. No. Maybe.”
He went on to show us the scans on his laptop. Apparently, I have an unusually narrow spinal column. That wouldn’t be bad news, except that it is getting more narrow. In a couple of places.
“I think you’re legs don’t work because of the stenosis and extra bone growth in your lumbar spine. Your c-spine (neck) is also very narrow and could, too, become a problem. You need to see a spinal surgeon. There are some risks to surgery though, so you need to discuss that with them. I’ll get you in as soon as possible.”
“So, worst-case scenario, I don’t have the surgery and then…paralysis? And worst-case scenario, I have the surgery and…paralysis?” (Going to the worst-case scenario is my super-power. I wish I could end wars with that. Or at least make some cash.)
I. Can’t. Even.
Okay. So. Those are the facts.
Here are the feelings…
I’m numb. (Dodgy nerves, perhaps. ha!) I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed.
I wrote a song years ago with a lyric, “Not why me, but why so hard?” Yeah. That.
I’m going to say what we all say in a time such as this: I don’t want your pity.
But I’m not gonna lie. I need a few hugs. Maybe a couple of intense couch conversations. Some good belly laughs. Right now, I can’t do this thing of being me, alone.
But also, I’ll need to retreat sometimes. I need to rest and read and get lost in my headphones. I may need to cancel on some plans. I’ll definitely need to cuddle ALL puppies. (I know. It’s hard for you to know what I need and when. That’s okay. Just ask. Plus, always…PUPPIES.)
That’s why writing this today is dangerous. I really put them out there, all my feelings; my needs. (Okay, let’s be real. I have a LOT of feelings, so this barely scratches my skin. But you get the gist.) So. There you go. Writing is therapeutic for me. So, maybe I’ll have regrets about this tomorrow.
But for today…therapy.