Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"I'm OK"

I didn't celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving this year. I had just returned home from a whirlwind one night trip to New York City where I had attended my dear friend's baby shower. I had a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones, but something was hanging over my head. Despite a lovely get away to fabulous NYC, I was sadly not in a place where I felt like giving thanks.

In the past few weeks I have been reminded, once again, how very important my health is. It is something I take for granted. And as I rapidly approach my 36th birthday, I'm still feeling relatively young and healthy, except for a few odd things that have been bothering me since August.

I have been grappling with the possibility that I could have an autoimmune disorder such as Multiple Sclerosis. I've been experiencing symptoms such as occasional numbness and tingling in my left foot, lower leg, and the left hand side of my face. I am not one to self diagnose, but after the third time my face went partially numb, I figured it was worth going in to see a professional. When my doctor sent me for an MRI of my lower spine, and then my neurologist sent me for an MRI of my brain and for an EMG test, I started to panic. This is real. This could really be happening. And the questions come flooding into my brain: What if they find something? What if this is the beginning of the end for my "normal" body? What if my life, and the life of my family, is about to seriously change? What if they tell me I have MS?

When you are stuck in an MRI tube, and you can't move for over half an hour, you have a lot of time to think. It is a very mentally and physically challenging experience and I was drained after both of them. I fully understand how many folks freak out and demand to be removed from the loud, cold, scary tube. The even tougher part was not immediately knowing what was found during the scans.

The second type of testing, the EMG, was pretty much 45 minutes of being electrocuted and then an hour of being poked by needles in the muscles of my legs and back. This made me wish I was back in the MRI tube. While I had pretty much kept it together for the whole testing process, I lost it as soon as I made it to my car after the appointment. The possibility of having a permanent disease and the reality of the testing became too much.  I went home and lay on the couch in a fetal position crying (it didn't help that I was in pain and could barely walk after having needles repeatedly stuck in my leg muscles).  Again my mind was churning.  I was not meant to be the one who got sick. This kind of thing happens to other people, not me. How am I supposed to be a strong Mama if my fears become a reality?

To say that I have been distracted lately would be an understatement. I sincerely struggled to remain positive, but the weight of the unknown was rather difficult to carry.

I anxiously awaited my follow up appointment with my neurologist. Friday morning arrived and my husband asked if I was prepared for whatever news I was going to receive. I asked him how I was supposed to prepare. He told me he loved me and that we would deal with whatever the results of the tests were together. I was reminded how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband. I brought the little guy along with me as this was an appointment where I wanted his innocent company.

Do you know what I want to give thanks for now? Four days after Canadian Thanksgiving and forty one days before American Thanksgiving, I was told there is no evidence of any neurological problems. I do not have MS. As if I didn't have enough to be grateful for already, I am now set free from the burden of fearing I am sick. There really are no words to explain how awesome, exhausted, thrilled and drained I feel.

I immediately called my husband, and told him, "I'm OK, I'm OK." He thought for a second that I had received a bad diagnosis and I was comforting him telling by him I was OK with it. "No, really," I said, "I'm OK. I don't have MS and there's no evidence of any neurological problems." Standing outside the doctor's office building, cell phone pressed against my ear, and the sun in my face, the tears were flowing because I'm OK.

What do you do after such an intense experience? I went and ate fancy overpriced cupcakes with my little boy and gave thanks, because, as I mentioned, I'm OK.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"I Boy"

Things around here have been busy.  Not sure if I'm just adjusting to the new season, or things really are just plain busy.  Essentially I have lots to say, and no time to write it.  Or, more like, lots to say and by the time I get a chance to write I really don't feel like writing.

But here I sit, with a second to spare, and I want to take this opportunity to capture a moment I do not want to forget.  Because ultimately, that is what this blog is about.  When I am sitting in my rocking chair in a retirement home all old and gray, I want to read these words and remember.

We had just gotten back from an excursion in the car.  I walked over and opened the little guy's door to unbuckle and get him out.  I said, "Hi, Baby."  He looked at me and said, "I no baby!  I boy!"  I let out a big laugh and gave him a bear hug while kissing his boy cheeks.  "Indeed, my love, you are a boy," I replied.

I suppose when the kid is saying it himself, it must be true.  My baby is a boy.  He will be 3 in less than 3 months.  He is a boy.  And, as hard as it may be, it is time for me to embrace it.  It's only been a week, but those words have been repeated many times around this house.  We all know that the little guy is a boy, and that he's happy to be one. 

Between you and me though, he'll always be my baby.