Thursday, December 07, 2006

A lot

Today's been quite a roller coaster. I'll try to give you the double-edit, followed up by the too-long story.

THE GOOD
>> At no time did my ophthalmologist or any of her staff blow puffs of air into my naked, vulnerable eyes, a practice that is a betrayal on the level of astronaut ice cream, which I always think will be fantastic but never, never, never is.
>> I may be able to watch television again. I was able to tolerate it for about an hour tonight. I can finally find out what happened on The Closer! And, there's this commercial, which I LOVE. They show it during BSG.
>> I talked to many people who were very supportive, reminding me of the love in my life and the different forms it takes.

So I guess that brings us to the not-so-good. Dr. Kerner, my ophthalmologist, didn't find anything wrong with my eyes, but there is some damage to the optic nerve in my right eye that shows that there was probably some optic neuritis in the past. She said she couldn't diagnose me for sure, but she repeated something the other doctors have talked about: multiple sclerosis. She also said it's still possible that what I have is some kind of virus, and that many times, young women who have these sorts of mysterious symptoms are initially diagnosed with MS because so many women get it. The real clincher will be the MRI, which I have scheduled for Monday. Apparently, they need to look for white plaques in my brain, and they would show up on the MRI. So, as far as I can understand (she threw a lot at me today), the MRI will let us know for sure whether I have MS. If I don't, I'll be back in the great unknown.

She also wants me to see a neurologist. Her office called down to the neurology specialists at the hospital, and they gave me an appointment for February 7. That is in 2007. AND they asked me if I wanted morning or afternoon. Apparently they're WIDE FUCKING OPEN on February 7. I'm going to call back and see if I can get on some list for a cancellation or something. I don't want to go somewhere else, because apparently they are the MS specialists. And, Dr. Kerner said that with something like this, 6-8 weeks is not a huge difference in the course of treatment. Still. February. I was able to sweet talk my way into an earlier appointment with Dr. Kerner. Let's see if it'll work with these chaps.

So I was pretty much a mess when I got home. It really surprised me. I have been pretty pragmatic about this whole thing so far. About the MS possibility, I mean. I've done some reading, and it's been pretty matter-of-fact. But then I started talking to my friends, and I really lost it. Brianne came over and sat with me, which was really, really great. She told me that once I know what it is, I will go into Judy Attack mode, which allows me to find problems, break them down, and solve them. And I thought about it, and she's right. I have been short all my life, and I find ways around it. Sure, some of these methods pose danger, but I very often get what I want -- from off of the top shelf, or in life. I've been lucky that way.

So tomorrow, it's back to my GP. More questions. I'm hopeful there will be more answers.

And Julie is in town, and she's coming over to chill. She and I talked today about how sometimes people don't know what to say when I talk to them about this stuff. I know. I told her that I know it's really hard for everyone, not just for me. They're worried, and confused, and they want to help, but they're not sure how. I'm sure I don't make it any easier, because in the past I've been really critical of people's words. What can I say? I've always been an editor. A friend of mine wrote to me and apologized for not stopping by or calling. She said she didn't want to do the wrong thing and make it worse. I told her that if it comes from a place of caring, it won't be the wrong thing. And I really mean that, even though I can't believe I actually used that "place of" construction. Blech. It makes me want to vomit.

When I was taking care of my mom in the last 6 months of her life, some people dropped out of my life. Two of my best friends, who years later asked for my forgiveness, just sort of disappeared. It was heartbreaking and really eye-opening. They chose absence over awkwardness. I did forgive them, though. It's hard for everyone. There's no guide. I was losing my mom for the first time, and I made mistakes. They were watching me suffer for the first time, and they made mistakes. And now I'm coming to terms with my own health for the first time, and I will make mistakes. Everyone will. And instead of concentrating on perceived deficits, I'm concentrating on the good intention.

Lauren told me the best thing tonight: She said if you want to cry, you should cry. I'll hold your hand. If you want to laugh, I'll laugh with you. If you want to kick my ass in chess, you can kick my ass in chess. Whatever.

And that just about did make me want to cry. 8)

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