Monday, March 2, 2009

Back in the Sick World

I have been a bad blogger. I have missed blogging, though, and have lists of topics I am excited to explore. Like with my first book, I have set my deadline for the second book's rough draft to be done by my birthday, July 17th. That means I have to get cracking here! Keep an eye out for more posts and hopefully more frequent posts.

But, I took a break over the past few weeks for health reasons. I have been feeling fatigued for a month or so and have gone to see the docs about it. We all assumed it was usual winter blahs and, since my lung functions looked great, we left it at that. At some point a few weeks ago, I started having low grade fevers and it clicked--I had a strong feeling this was acute rejection. This is different from chronic rejection, so please don't get confused.

Chronic is what caused me to have a second transplant and can be very serious. Acute rejection has the possibility of being serious but, more often than not, it can be treated with high doses of steroids with no real lasting ramifications. So, when it clicked that I had felt this way before, I asked for a bronch to see if I was right.

Long story short, I was. I had acute rejection and it was treated last week with high doses of IV steroids and now I am on high doses of oral steroids. It isn't fun being on these crazy drugs but I knew what I was getting myself into and was prepared for the emotional roller coaster. All in all, it hasn't been too bad physically.

Emotionally, it was just what the universe ordered. I hope this isn't too strange to say, but I needed to get in touch with the sick world and take stock of my priorities, goals and perspectives. When I am looking down the barrel of illness, there is no more powerful way for me to get my values in order.

I am so grateful for the fear I felt as I wondered if this was the beginning of another end.

I am so grateful for the time spent with IVs and procedures, it reminded me the beauty of being free and, at the same time, the value I have even as a person wearing a hospital gown.

I am so grateful for all of the love and support from my healthcare team, friends, family and strangers. I am a lucky, lucky patient.

My time back in the trenches of the sick world, as short as it may have been, reminded me of the lessons of illness that are sometimes easy to gloss over in times of health. I got a lot of things sorted out in my head and I can't wait to share them with you!

For now, however, I must just leave you with the pic of me before my bronch and a promise of more later, and soon.

I'm off for dinner with a good friend and ain't that what life is all about?

Love to you all!



I hope the ickiness from the steroids passes quickly for you. As someone with multiple sclerosis who has had too many 5-day rounds of IV Solumedrol (1000mg/day) followed by oral prednisone, I feel for ya.

But, hey. When it shuts down the inflammation quickly, it ends up being worth it overall. Hope you feel better soon.

judycolby said...

I'm glad you're doing better. I missed your posts.

Anonymous said...

Very good insights. "Grateful for the fear...," yes. We should be with that fear more often, not to be morose but because it exists and has causes and effects that play out whether we acknowledge them or not.

I admit I find a certain comfort in being sick again. I think I'm better at it that at being well; it's my "art." But more importantly, being a sicko makes me stop more often. My world is smaller, but I see it with a different focus. This was something I lost -- could feel slipping away at least -- when I fell for the pressure to lead a life action-packed enough to justify the transplant.

But I knew it would happen. And it will happen again after No. 2, with the fear buried away somewhere until the most inconvenient time. Nope, it takes a much more skillful person than me to live the lessons of dying in the living world while remaining sane. In some ways, living really frickin' ruins you for dying.

But at least I will have acute.

Midlife Midwife said...

oh, this is what happens when I am too busy to keep up on my favorite bloggers...I hope you are feeling better and that your illness gave you a good break from the craziness of "well" life.

Anonymous said...

I am a nurse, working in an ER. And your book called out to me.

I read your book in one fell swoop.

Thank you for your perspectives, your insight.

Your voice on the radio (Wisconsin Public Radio), in an interview about your book, was mesmerizing. You are so articulate, it made me wish we could have you as a guest speaker at our Hospital and Clinic--Monroe Clinic, in Monroe, WI.

I am only one small voice, at a place that employees 1000 people in healthcare --in a small community of 10,000 people. However, if you are interested in being a speaker, could you let me know. I would be happy to pester the 'powers that be' to consider your visit.

I try very hard to be an approachable, nonjudgemental and thoughtful nurse. Your book reminds me that I need to keep perservering. It is easy to become tired, or complacent, when the need is to remain vigilant and provide the best for our patients.

I pray you are well by now, after your illness in July.


Chris Stephens