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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Perspective...Get Some!

Clipped from Pinterest.
Yesterday, I had one of those rare moments of clarity that snatched me rich out of my woe is me mindset into the present where I had no choice but to focus on the positive. Here's the story.

Monday evening, I left work and realized I'd missed a call from my rheumatologist. I called her Tuesday morning and she gave me my lab results (more on that here) and walked me through my new treatment plan. As the list of medicine increased and we talked about options, I felt my heart racing. Everything I'd been worried about at work that day, all of the petty frustration...it all melted away.

When I hung up the phone, I took a deep breath and I felt all of this emotion rush to the surface. I've only cried once since my PAH diagnosis and it was in the car on the way home from my right heart cauterization. It was private and honestly, it is a side that I only show to my husband. Despite that, there I was in my office with the door wide open feeling the lump growing in my throat and the tears burning in my eyes.  I got up to close the door and sat back down to catch my breath.

There are signs of inflammation in my kidneys. Going forward, I will do infusions of my current medication every six months and if that doesn't work, we will explore the use of a new medication. The alternative medication causes early menopause. I mentioned in an earlier post that the PAH makes carrying children a near impossibility but the thought of not even being able to produce the eggs--of menopause in my early 30s--it was all too much.

My doctor did give me some encouraging news and said after going through my case with my pulmonologist, they think my PAH is largely related to the inflammation in my system. They also think the decrease of inflammation will do a great deal to relax my pulmonary artery and may possibly put me back (or make me feel like I am back) at stage 1. I will confess that I was too mentally tied up in the thought of early menopause to give the bright side my attention.  

I got myself together and called Hubby to walk him through the latest. I found myself emphasizing the bright side (its easy to do that for others) but talked about the new (and very large) amount of steroids I will have to take. I talked about my kidneys. Hubby was quiet so I asked why. He said, it's like good bad news. You seem sad about the steroids but it will get you better. There isn't much to say except we will get through it. Typical Hubby. He's the "we'll kick this disease's ass and move on" one and always has been. If he is feeling emotion, he will work through it for a couple of days, process and then ask me questions or tell me how he's feeling. I know that about him but I wanted more. I needed a pep talk.

In search of that, I hung up with hubby and called my mom. I didn't get her on the phone so I called her figuring she was on a conference call or in a meeting. I included everything and her response was that she loved me and was glad to hear the news. She ended by saying all will be ok but it wasn't the usual pep talk. t read back through my e-mail thinking that maybe I was playing up the bright side too much. Here I was crying at work of all places and my cheering squad was missing its rah rah rah, sis boom bah!

I talked to my mom live on the way home and told her I was feeling overwhelmed. She gave me the pep talk I needed but it didn't really hit me like I needed it to. After our call, I was listening to the radio and decided to listen to my daily Joel Osteen declaration. It was all about perspective and choosing to change your perspective by focusing on the positive. Tick, tick, boom. There was the message I needed. I was immediately out of my head and into the present.

I have been praying for improvement in my health since the day I was diagnosed with PAH. Having kidney issues isn't an improvement but it is related to my lupus and it is something I have dealt with and reversed before. I now have a concrete plan (and a super team of medical professionals) to get me on the path to that improvement and instead of focusing on the good news--the news that my cheering squad heard first--I somehow lost grasp of the present moment and got lost somewhere in menopause, insomnia and weight gain. I saw a sad, bloated, moon-faced, sleep-deprived menopausal version of myself and I lost the regression to stage 1. I was mired in the negative (and honestly in the vanity) while my family was focused on improvements and answered prayer. I am finding that it is constant and conscious work to stay in the present and be thankful for every blessing--to truly honor and be grateful for those blessings even in the midst of stress and pain.

I plan to talk to my Dad tomorrow and I can almost guarantee, I will come from a totally different place. That small shift in perspective and the reminder to be grateful (a message I just posted about and applied a couple of days ago) lifted my mood and now instead of focusing on the sad girl, I am focused on the healthy girl. Thank God for perspective, timely messages and my cheer squad that is miles ahead of me in terms of focusing on the right things.

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