Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Open Doors

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Wouldn't it be lovely if all of us could take life so easy sometimes? I love this picture because it's as though he's looking at me with a bit of disapproval. As if he is saying, "You must be joking... how can you worry when there's so much napping to be done?"

I really don't worry too much in my life anymore. I mostly get anxious only when I feel like my limitations are letting other people down. I hate not getting to attend a birthday party or show up when someone needs me. But the one time worry about my own life tends to get the better of me is when any sort of doctor appointment comes around. My main doctor, Annie, is the exception to this rule as she is the kindest, most thorough and caring soul I've ever met.

But specialists of any kind tend to get the better of me and my nerves. Past experiences tell me they are usually impersonal, quick to judge and dismissive. I know that sounds harsh and certainly not true of all, but for me it has been true of many. A few years ago I was referred to a rheumatologist about an hour from my home who was the opposite of all those things. I walked into Dr. Bagheri's office, he talked to me and had read my file (which is unusual) ... and most importantly was very knowledgeable about my disease.

My friend Meg had driven me to the appointment and I think after the hour ride there she was about as jumpy as me. Apparently I didn't hide my nerves well... but going to the doctor had almost become a phobia for me and if I could have turned around and walked out the door I would have. But I knew I needed help and better medications and instruction about how to best handle this disease. I remember walking back out of the office, looking at Meg with a dumfounded expression and telling her that he was nice. And informative. And he was going to help me. Her relief and disbelief mirrored my own and we practically giggled all the way home.

Over the course of a few years Dr. Bagheri prescribed every possible medication there was for me to try. And all but one (the one I'm on now) I had some sort of reaction to... and not the simple side effects that get better over time. No, I have reactions like constant migraines or my throat swelling shut. As I jokingly say to my mom: breathing is so overrated. Sounds ridiculous but when you are desperate enough to beg the doctor to let you try the medication you've reacted to again ... and insisting that you can put up with "a little risk" you know you're desperate for something to work.

Over time there were no more medications to try and the hour trip to the doctor was causing more pain than I could handle, so Dr. Bagheri referred me to a rheumatologist here in town. And the panic started all over again. I assumed I couldn't get lucky more than once ... but I went into Dr. Palma's office and he was kind. And helpful. What a stroke of good fortune. He too has had me try a few medications, both of which caused breathing reactions and setbacks... and as much as I want to give up trying sometimes, I know that I can't be anything less than grateful for a doctor who actually wants to keep pushing until something good happens for me. So if there is something new he wants me to try, I will keep trying.

I go to the doctor tomorrow, and this time I find myself a little more like Riley... relaxed. I won't worry about my doctor this time. I worry instead about trying to put my life and new symptoms into words. I worry about trying to relay to him all the breathing problems and exhaustion that have been just as bad as the bone and nerve pain... because complaining is not my strong suit. He'll walk in the room and ask me how I am and I'll say "fine" even though it will be obvious I'm not. And then I'll remind myself that I'm supposed to complain, even if there's no solution for me yet. Until then I will simply pray I have the right words to say and that he is open to hearing them.

I guess all of this rambling is to tell you, and remind myself, that no matter how many brick walls you run into in this life - that wall somewhere has a corner. And if you keep walking around the corner sooner or later you'll find an open door. I'm so grateful I did.


  1. SARA~
    Will keep you in my prayers...stay strong, stay focussed. Keep your chin to the wind.


  2. I have been reading your blog for a short time now. I can appreciate what you say about trying meds only to be disappointed again and again. Keep blogging -- you have important things to say.
    P.S. That picture of the boys in high heels -- I almost choked on my ice tea when I say it. For some reason those shoes look so natural on them. ;)