Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In the blink of an eye...

Four years ago my life changed in the blink of an eye and today it happened again. 
After all these years of constant pain, sickness, surgeries, blood clots and emotional upheaval I finally got the answer as to what it is that is making me so sick. Today I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. For those of you who aren't aware of this disease and what it can do I would encourage you to Google it and do as much research as you can. I can guarantee that someone you care about has, or knows someone who has, this horrible condition. There is still so little known about Fibro, even within the medical community, but there are a lot of great resources online that will thoroughly  explain what is known. The most important thing we know is that Fibromyalgia is real. It isn't psychosomatic, meaning it isn't just "in our heads". It isn't "terminal" in the sense that it will kill us, although it does a pretty damn good job of killing the lives we once had. It won't deform you physically. It is "chronic" meaning it is forever. Once triggered, this horrific disease will be with you for the rest of your life and I have to admit that that is a hard pill to swallow.
During the last three weeks, since my first appointment with the rheumatologist, I had tried to prepare myself for whatever the doctor was going to say. I was prepared to hear pretty much anything as long as I got my answers........or at least I thought I was. When my doctor walked into the room and told me that he had answers for me I was ecstatic. Finally I would be able to put a name on this thing that has stolen my life from me and once it had a name I could fight it head on. Then he said something to the effect of "I wish I could tell you that you have rheumatoid arthritis because I have tried and true treatments for that and I could make you well but I can't tell you that. There is no doubt about it, you have Fibromyalgia." Now, this wasn't a surprise to me, I have suspected fibro all along and felt vindicated after he said those words. At first I was happy. Happy to finally have the answer that I have been seeking for so long but the more the doctor talked and the more his words sunk in I started to get upset. He told me that there is no cure, that I will live with this for the rest of my life and that his treatments may not work. Even though I knew all of this from my research, when I heard it from him, my heart sank. I don't really know why it hit me the way it did. I had prepared myself for this exact outcome. None of it was unexpected yet somehow I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. I guess no matter how much you prepare yourself for bad news you can never truly be prepared. 
Since there is no cure we will start trying to treat the symptoms. He is starting me on two new medications and we are hoping they will help me feel a bit better so I can live some sort of "normal" life. I just pray that it helps and that I don't suffer to many side effects but we have to start somewhere. I will try to update this blog as often as I can and let you all know how things are progressing. Right now I am going to take a couple of days to rest and digest all this new information. Once the shock has worn off I will get down to the business of trying to manage my symptoms and hopefully get my YouTube channel going. I really feel like that is going to be a good outlet for me emotionally and creatively!
Anyway, thank you for reading and thank you for all the love and support! I couldn't get through any of this without it.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

10 Years......

Ten years. Today marks the ten year anniversary of one of the worst days of my life. So much has happened since then.....so many good things and sadly far too many bad things but none of those bad things compare to that day....none of them!

On April 2nd 2005 after a hellish day at work I had finally settled into bed and fallen asleep quickly. Around 1am I awoke to the phone ringing but was too tired to get up and answer it. Less than 5 minutes later it rang again and I just knew something was wrong. I jumped out of bed and ran for the kitchen but missed the call. The answering machine picked up and I heard my dear friend A.J.'s voice telling me to call him as soon as possible. At this point I was panicking! A.J. was in the Navy and stationed in Norfolk, Virginia....it was 4am his time and now I truly knew that something was very wrong. I grabbed my cell and called him back. The first words out of his mouth were "Are you sitting down?". I demanded to know what was going on and he said "Get a cigarette and go outside.". I complied. After I'd lit my cigarette and sat down on my front steps I took a deep breath and asked what was wrong. "P.J. died last night."......those words felt like a thousand knives stabbing me in the heart......I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think but mostly I couldn't believe it. "You're lying!!!" was all I could manage to say. He promised me he was not and deep down I knew it was true but I couldn't wrap my mind around it. My heart wouldn't let me believe it. I hung up on him and called Melody (P.J.'s sister and one of my closest friends). When she picked up the phone there was no more doubt, no more hope.....the agonizing sound of pure grief in her voice was all the answer I needed.....P.J. was gone! I tried to get up and go wake Brian but my legs wouldn't work. I collapsed onto my deck and cried like I have never cried before. After what felt like hours I finally made it back to my bedroom and collapsed onto the bed which woke Brian. He took one look at me and went into full panic mode. He jumped up and ran around to my side of the bed begging to know what was wrong. I couldn't get the words out....All I could manage was broken sentences and screaming. He held me until I calmed down enough to say it somewhat coherently, "P.J. is dead.". For the first time in his life Brian was utterly speechless. He held me in silence for the rest of that sleepless night and I cried.

The next day felt like a dream. I spent the entire day in a zombie-like stupor. I remember going to work but I don't remember being there, if that makes any sense. After work I went straight to Mom and Dad's. If I had had any lingering doubts or hope that the night before had just been a bad dream walking through their front door was all it took for me to know that this was real and P.J. was gone. 

We had the funeral 11 days after his passing. It was beautiful. We had t-shirts made with pictures of P.J. on them and wore them proudly. (We still wear them proudly.) After the service some of us went up to Foster to spread some ashes in one of his favorite spots. We still go up there from time to time. I go on my own sometimes just to feel close to him!

It's been 10 years and I still feel the pain of his loss as if it were yesterday. P.J. was (and still is) the closest thing I ever had to a big brother. I have lost many people since then......other friends, family members and both of my Grandpas....but those losses pale in comparison to losing P.J. I don't really know why losing him hurts so much more than any others and sometimes I feel guilty for it but P.J. was special. He was one of my best friends, my brother and my oldest sons Godfather. He meant everything to me! 

As I write this my heart grieves his loss but I also remember all of the good times, all the fun we had together and it makes me smile through the tears. He was a bright light in my life and for that I will always be grateful. I love him just as much today as I did during our 10 years of friendship and I always will!

P.J. I love you with all of my heart and miss you more than words can express! You took a piece of my heart with you when you left this world and I look forward to the day when you can make it whole again in Heaven. You may be gone but you are NEVER forgotten. I love you always!