Thursday, February 15, 2018

Healing - Before and After Photo

I'm consistently amazed at the changes that are visible as I heal!  

Just look at these side by side pictures taken 8 months apart.  

I took the first photograph (on the left) to capture my progress as I was healing from repeated episodes of Adrenal Crisis over the prior winter.  I remember being hard on myself because I had gained a lot of weight due to the relatively high dose of corticosteroids that were keeping me from crashing. That said, I had resumed riding my horse and I genuinely thought that I was on the road to recovery when this photo was taken.  

But then I crashed again.  Acute flank pain suddenly appeared one day in August of 2017, and I didn't get relief for several months.  It stumped the doctors. I was repeatedly hospitalized and ultimately sent to the Mayo Clinic for in-depth assessment. I can't describe how terrible the pain was, other than to say that it felt like I had a machete in one side and a chainsaw on the other.  There were days when it was worse than childbirth, and my blood pressure showed it. I would try to tough it out, but then my BP would run into dangerous territory.  Honestly, I had never experienced anything like it. 

While at the Mayo Clinic I was given ultra-high dose solumedrol and FINALLY the pain was gone. To this day, no one knows why it worked, but I have assembled an amazing team of physicians that are working diligently to figure out the medical mystery. And just for this moment, I have no pain!  My inflammation is going down, my energy is improving, and I am building stamina back into my life.

Thus, I paused for a moment yesterday to reflect...and i can see the healing. Lighting and wrinkles aside (that doesn't matter to me), it's the look on my face that tells me how sick I was just before the crash...And I had no idea!

When I look at the scale, it's easy for me to see how much weight I have gained since all of this started (it's a lot).  But when I look at these pictures, I see something different - I see actual healing from the inside out.  All too often I find that it's easy to fall into the trap of wanting my outsides to look good so that I can feel like I am back to "normal" (whatever that means).  Increasingly, though, I am realizing that this healing journey happens from the inside out...and when it's shows.

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