Tuesday night I began having hallucinations. I didn't know that's what they were until my doctor used that term, but I described them to dh as "a nightmare I couldn't wake up from". It was horrible. Afterward, I was exhausted and felt like I was drunk. Driving was a challenge and I couldn't work at all. All I could do was sleep (which is odd because I normally can never sleep). I'm relieved and frustrated to discover that a medication that has been given to me to help hot flashes has caused this. Effexor XR, which is primarily used for anxiety and depression, has been shown to reduce hot flashes. A few months ago I was put on it when they reduced my estrogen as a result of the ichemic colitis (the thought is that the hormones are causing blood clots which are causing the ischemic colitis). I had a very rough time going on the medicine and it's been hell taking it everyday, but I keep telling myself that it will eventually get better. Obviously it won't. Going off the medication is apparently as risky as remaining on it, so I have slowly began a system of weaning myself off of it. It was one of the scariest moments in my life so I hope to get off of this soon and get this out of my system. It's an extremely frustrating choice to decide which of the two shitty quality of lives I should live with, but clearly having hallucinations (along with every other horrible side effect of this medicine) isn't a reasonable option.
So yesterday I was living with the side effects of a miserable night of panic when I heard from M. Her youngest daughter, S, was very ill a few weeks ago with suspected H1N1. They ran some tests and a Cat Scan which showed thymus fullness with associated enlarged lymph nodes. Subsequent blood work was ran and the results came back on yesterday which indicated her LDH levels were elevated. The enlarged lymph nodes, thymus fullness, and elevated levels all indicated that something was obviously wrong and the chief concern was lymphoma (i.e. cancer). She was sent to Children's hospital for testing today. Thank God, her levels have began to decrease. We still don't have all the answers, but it is possible that it is/was a severe systemic infection. The levels decreasing seem to take the "c" word out of the picture. Thank. God.
Of course, the health of this little girl was the primary thought on my mind. Cancer and children are two words that shouldn't be spoken in the same sentence. It should never be. Once my mind began to wander away from the sole realization that this little girl may be very ill, I realized the implications this may have. My heart stopped. While M could be starting the fight of her life, I'll still be struggling with how to resolve mine. I've known about the joys of having such a connection to another family, but I had not considered the terror of having such a interconnectedness with them.
As naive as it may seem, it never occurred to me that M's life circumstances could stop my dreams from coming true. My motherhood is so dependent on her, I felt terrified for her daughter but just slightly less terrified for myself. I called my husband right away and we talked and prayed for S. And in almost the same time it took for me to realize it, my dh's heart skipped a beat. He realized, also, what this could mean for us. He said, "I'm so sorry honey, but let's just take this one day at a time." The story of my life. It's been years of taking things one day at a time and all of these days added together still have not produced a baby. My days begin and end with the comfort of knowing that in 238 days (give or take a day based on M's ovulation), all of this will be worth the wait. The tears, the medication, the pain, the rocky marriage, the tens of thousands of dollars, the fear, the loss...it will all be worth it. What if that 238 days turns into another year or two? I should know that I will survive, I should have confidence that God will carry me through the wait as He always has, but yet I looked for shelter and wanted to hide away from the thought that my dreams might be in limbo. I can't handle limbo any longer. This temporary moment of uncertainly has been an unwelcome reminder that I have no control over my ability to become a mom. I need to completely surrender to the rest of the world; allow the universe to align itself, and then perhaps it might allow me the honor of motherhood. Meanwhile, some teenagers are getting knocked up after drinking too much Boone's Farm last night. Why don't the planets need to align for them? Why do they get that control over their own destinies?
I will continue to pray, both for S and for myself. For her health and for my sanity. For her strength and mine. For M's dream to be healthy and for mine to come to fruition. I will pray for understanding; why one ever needs to fear that her child might have cancer. And why one ever needs to fear that she may never be a mom.
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