I’m not in the greatest head space while I write this, but I’m going to write it anyway.
Yesterday morning was one of those mornings where I was so overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for all the blessings in my life that I actually had tears in my eyes as I wrote my blog post. Thankful to be here in Washington, where we are surrounded by wild beauty that never stops knocking the wind from my lungs as I gaze upon it. Grateful to have a job that lets me work from home, where I avoid a 3-hour round trip commute and get to spend more time with Tim and Roxie. Happy that we found a church home and had a wonderful dinner with our pastor and his family this week. Excited to see what the year holds for us as we immerse ourselves in this church. Thankful that I’m finally getting back to trying to focus on what’s important and am removing useless distractions and things that stress me out from my life.
I had even taken this photo, which showed my “office” view for the day as I sat and prepared to start working. What’s not to love about a rainy January in Washington, where the bullfrogs are so loud that you can hear them through the windows?
All the while, even as the gratitude flowed, I was waiting. Waiting for blood test results that hadn’t yet come back. I’ve been dealing with some health issues for a while and it’s culminated currently in having a very sore, swollen right ring finger that’s now developing a huge bump on the side of the middle knuckle. I’ve seen several doctors who suspected autoimmune or renal disorders. Most of the blood tests had come back as of yesterday. No rheumatoid arthritis. No kidney or liver problems. The only test still outstanding was the ANA blood test that can indicate lupus, but I was feeling pretty good because the only tests that seemed high or off were my white blood cell count and the fact that there was indication of inflammation in my body.
Before I finished my blog post yesterday and posted it, I checked my medical records online and my ANA test was in. The results? Positive for lupus. A very weak positive, luckily, but the antibody indicators were still there. I’ve been referred to a rheumatologist and will hopefully see her next week. I also have to see an orthopedic surgeon about my finger.
Since then, I’ve been in this weird, floaty state (interrupted by wild hunger binges thanks to the stupid Prednisone that’s still in my system.) I’ve wanted a diagnosis for a long time because I know that, at 36, I shouldn’t feel this way. I shouldn’t hurt so much. I shouldn’t have these episodes where my body is clearly attacking itself. I shouldn’t have such a hazy memory or feel so distracted or be so sensitive to sunlight or be exhausted all the time. So yeah, a definitive diagnosis would be beautiful thing and I hope to get it soon.
I’m just trying to figure out what it all means for me. And trying very hard to cling to that gratitude that I felt yesterday morning, and I’m adding another reason to be thankful – comprehensive health coverage!
Tomorrow, we will go to church. After church, we’re having lunch with our new friend, Joyce, who is in her 80s. She has been struggling with sleep issues, so I’ve been helping her try out different herbal tinctures. She wanted to pay me and I refused, so she asked us to dinner because she “sure would like to eat with someone besides myself for once.” Tomorrow, I will focus on my faith in Christ and on my community, which, I know, is going to be a big part of my year. I’m not focusing on the week ahead or the three doctor’s appointments or self-diagnosing via Google or any of those normal things I obsess about. I love my Sunday mornings and I’m going to enjoy tomorrow’s ritual of coffee and silence and preparation for the day ahead. I’m going to focus on gratitude and not on the unknowns dancing at the peripherals of my life. It’s all I can do right now.