It was the summer of the best-laid plans. My first book launched in May. The signing was fabulous and lots of books were sold there. But getting my book out wasn’t the only thing that I wanted to accomplish. I also planned to get in shape. To eat better. To see if I could get myself into the habit of a night routine with the goal of getting better sleep. Given that I had a caregiver team comprised of almost all guys who were in great shape, it all seemed doable. And then the pain started.
A few tests and a trip to my urologist’s office revealed that I had a huge kidney stone in my right kidney, roughly a third of the size of my kidney itself. That made it too big to fix with conventional methods. My urologist is one of my favorite people. We met in 1993. After he looked at my x-rays at the beginning of June he said: “You will be seeing me often this summer Lorraine.” Lithotripsy isn’t painful in and of itself, but after every procedure, I feel like I have been hit by a truck for at least a few days. A bowel obstruction also warranted a hospital stay for almost a week at the end of June and a kidney infection with sepsis in July granted me an extended stay in the ICU of Lawrence Memorial Hospital. As far as the kidney stone goes, a plan was developed to try and blast the stone multiple times, so that it can break up and pass through me. I have had that procedure twice so far, and about half the stone is gone. If continued blasting doesn’t work, I will have to go to Topeka to have a tube surgically inserted into my kidney to allow the rest of the stone to dissolve. Since my anatomy is a bit different than that of most people, the doctor in Topeka would have to go through my ribcage to get access to my kidney to place the tube. We are trying to avoid that at all cost. Suffice it to say that the healthy eating plan and hopes for better sleep have been put on hold for a while.
Discouragement set in about two months ago. The poking and prodding are getting a bit old. Although I am not perfect by any stretch of the word, I do put effort into taking care of myself. And before this summer I hardly saw a doctor for about two years. Feeling punk for so long and in so many ways has drained my energy, both physically and emotionally. And some people have suggested that as I get older, things like this are just going to get worse for me. Aces. Stuff like that is just not what I want to hear. And that made me sink lower. I stopped writing for about the last six weeks. I could not put my heart into marketing my book, so the sales recently have been almost nonexistent. That is all on me.
There have been lots of thoughts in my head of the “this sucks” and the “why me? why this? why now?” variety. And I don’t have any answers as to why health issues hit me long and hard sometimes without stopping. But my friend Amie unknowingly taught me a valuable lesson recently. She is a mom of two small boys and she was recently diagnosed with cancer. When posting about her diagnosis on Facebook, she asked that people refrain from encouraging her to fight. “I’m a lover, not a fighter,” she said. “I am going to smother these tumors with love.”
Her attitude got me to thinking. I have told people for years that I have spent most of my adult life learning to embrace my disability and that is true. But if I really want to embrace the circumstances of my body than I have to be okay with all of it, even the stuff I don’t like. It doesn’t mean I have to get excited about it. Instead, it means that I need to accept that I am going to have some nasty health challenges sometimes, and that is just the nature of my life and my disability. Severe spasms and pain simply come with the territory, and kidney stones are common for people who sit so much. Half the stone is gone, which means I am better off now then when this journey started.
My next blasting surgery is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. So I will lay low for a few days after that, and then in a couple of weeks, I will have another x-ray taken to see where we are. I will do what I have to do. Like Amie, I am a lover, not a fighter.
And if I really want to embrace the circumstances of my body than I have to be okay with all of it, even the stuff I don’t like.