When given the choice, I always take bad news first, hoping that the good news will wash over and overwhelm the bad.
But what should you do when the bad far outweighs the good? Perhaps I should reconsider my approach?
Let me take you & I, back for a minute.
It’s been six weeks since my last blog, a big no-no in the blogging world. Apparently your readers want to hear what you have to say, and want to hear it often. I’ve always maintained the personal rule, that unless I have something useful, interesting or helpful to say…keep it to yourself.
Those are Dear Diary entries, not reflections I want posted to the world wide web. After all, I am emotionally constipated.
I’m still finding the balance between vulnerability and verbal diarrhoea.
Six weeks ago, I wrote about the testosterone treatment I has started taking in March. After almost two years on the autoimmune medical rollercoaster, I was starting to experience a significant change in my energy levels and re-engaging in activities I had long ceased and at a frequency that had escaped me for just as long. I had developed hope.
After a third set of blood work in early July, my testosterone levels were steadily climbing. And the doc suggested we kick up the dosage by 50%, just to keep the momentum going. I was accelerating on my continuum of hope.
Just over a month ago, I celebrated my birthday. And I love birthdays! It’s the only day where you can pat yourself on the back for completing the most harrowing journey ever, the passage down the birth canal (sorry C-section babies!).
After all, at 37 King Henry III of France was assassinated, Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS was found dead in a hotel room in Sydney, Vincent Van Gogh was found with a gunshot to his chest and Lou Gehrig died from an autoimmune disease known as ALS or Motor Neurone Disease.
It is infamous company, but clearly I wasn’t doing so bad.
Within days of my birthday, I received a call from a friend, fresh from her honeymoon. I knew instantly the phone call at 8:30 on a Sunday morning would not be good. She had been nursing her partner and husband of 15 days through motor neurone disease for the past three years.
She called to say that he passed away. On the last day of their honeymoon.
A week later we said our final goodbyes to a gentle man who deserved to enjoy much more of his married life. Of life in general.
I was faced with the strange juxtaposition of watching my girlfriend flanked by her maid of honour and bridesmaid, as she walked down the aisle, except this time to her husband’s casket.
Overwhelmed by the cruel irony of life’s highs and lows, in such a short and swift period….it was heartbreaking.
Three weeks ago, I was woken up by crushing pain in my shoulders, reinforced to me every time I rolled onto either side, as I desperately sought my “sleep” position.
I skipped yoga that week.
The following week, I could no longer ignore the shoulder pain and started taking a painkiller before I went to sleep. I’ve worked out that without restful and rejuvenating sleep, I’m unable to operate and any pain I am experiencing is amplified.
No yoga and no spin class that week.
By early September, it wasn’t the shoulder pain that had sent my neurotransmitters into overdrive, my old friend Tonya Harding was back. Swinging at my knees with that police baton. And laying on my back became increasingly painful as I felt my kneecaps sink into the back of my legs.
I checked in with my chiro wondering whether he could help stabilise my knee. Had I accidentally hyper extended at yoga or twisted it funny? I am 37 after all.
After some examination he noted that my quad muscles were no longer activating as quickly as they should. Nor were they bracing to support my body weight or knees.
I skipped Pilates that week.
My continuum of hope, had taken a sharp u-turn, in the wrong direction.
Today, I returned to the endocrinologist to review my testosterone count.
How do you feel, he asked? Should I tell him the truth or should I lie?
“Well, I definitely felt better with the most recent increase in the transdermal cream, but I’ve since rediscovered the joint pain, I struggle to open the jars and use the can opener and the fatigue is creeping back.”
“Well, your testosterone count is finally at the ‘normal’ range. From that perspective we’ve been able to address the hormonal issue. But clearly you have autoimmune pathology presenting.”
Yes, I do.
A few hours later I still feel numb. Like when you find out that the tooth fairy isn’t real or your football team loses in the dying seconds. It’s the realisation that the illusion I held onto, appears to be gone.
So I’ve decided the next time I flip a coin, I’ll always choose bad news first.
Because you see, the good news was that “I’m normal,” so surely it’s only upwards from there?