Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Letter to Friends and Family as I Search for Another Diagnosis

A week ago I was in the hospital with an elevated lactate number (indicative of tissue death), undergoing significant testing to rule out life-threatening diagnoses. Over the last month, local medical experts have been unable to figure out the cause of sudden acute flank pain that has leveled me since the first week in August. So, tomorrow, I am leaving for the Mayo Clinic in search of a diagnosis. I wrote the following post to my supporters on CaringBridge – friends, family and loved ones. Because it puts words to the experience of going from the unknown to known, I wanted to share with all of you as well.....

Dear Friends and Family,

Today was rough. The pain kept breaking through, and I didn’t get much relief at all. Tomorrow I leave for the Mayo Clinic. I pray for a diagnosis.

I need to start by clearing one thing up – Today I was reminded by a brave friend that I haven’t yet told all of you that we are no longer concerned about a life-threatening illness. Oh my! I thought I had said that already! I must say that I am grateful for my friend’s willingness to ask me the life/death question, as authenticity should be at the core of all friendships!

OK, now that we have that out of the way….

Here is the current situation – we need a diagnosis because this pain is terrible – and this affects quality of life. This has been going on since the beginning of August. That said, you should know that when my lactate number went down in the hospital, we were able to take a collective deep breath.

Now we are looking at things that aren’t fun, but they also aren’t imminently bad (as Egon would have said in GhostBusters). This is just like what I have lived with all along – not fun diagnoses, but chronic conditions that I eventually learn to manage.

I know how to walk this path. I have done it before many times, and I can do it again. In fact, I have been doing it for so long that I am pretty unshakable when it comes to parenting in the midst of physical challenges. My daughter is always my priority. We have systems and backup systems to make sure that we are squared away in the midst of difficulty.

All of that said, some of you have brought to my attention that I am not as good at asking for help….but I am improving. In fact, this site was created by loving friends to support me in learning to ask for help during the rough patches that accompany chronic illness. It’s hard to feel like a burden, or like I am asking for too much, or the ever present fear that friends/loved ones will walk away… but I am slowly letting all of this go. Simply by being present – by offering to witness this journey with love and kindness – you are teaching me. Your loving comments help me heal wounds of the past. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I believe we are meant to live in community – I believe that people care – and for that I am so grateful. Thank you for making me a better minister by teaching me how to be the recipient of the love and kindness I would so willingly give to others. I am learning that I am worthy. What a gift!

All my love,

No comments:

Post a Comment