Monday, March 25, 2019
The Wake Up Call
I am one who NEVER gets sick.
Ok, you got me, that's a slight exaggeration because I do occasionally get sick but honestly, it is a rare occurrence. I can't remember the last time I threw up or took antibiotics or went to the doctor for anything besides the free annual physical insurance covers. I've had 3 of those physicals in the past 12 years just to establish myself as an existing patient. I've been to an Orthopedic Surgeon and Physical Therapist for a compound fracture of my leg that required surgery back in 2012 and I went to the doctor when I was pregnant, but my youngest is now 13 so it's been a while.
Last July I got sick. It was right after 4th of July. Just some sort of virus that Kylie had gotten a few days before me. I didn't have time to be sick and it didn't take me out like it did Kylie. I didn't feel well and was exhausted but I couldn't climb into bed and be sick so I just soldiered on. My son Bryce was coming home from his mission on July 11th. We had a mission homecoming and a family trip to Vegas and California planned. So I just did what had to be done but it took me a long time to feel like I had recovered from that illness. I was exhausted and tired and felt like I'd lost the pep in my step but really I was burning the candle at both ends and had a lot of my plate so I didn't think much of it. I had two kids to get ready and off to college, a book blog to run, school starting for my 2 kids who were still at home, etc.
At some point in August, I started to feel numbness on a spot on the lower portion of my left cheekbone. I thought I might have a tooth infection. I had my semi-annual cleaning/checkup coming up in a couple weeks and it was just annoying, not painful, so I figured I would wait and talk to the dentist since it hadn't gotten any worse. My dentist said it wasn't tooth related and could be caused by any number of things including a virus. He told me it might get worse before it got better but he didn't seem concerned about it. Since I was just starting to fully recover from the illness I had in July I thought it was likely from that virus. I didn't think much more about it until the numbness started to spread to most of the left side of my face. And then down my arm. There were a few days that were really frustrating because I would be sitting at the computer typing and it felt like my left hand would not obey what my brain was telling it to do. I had to concentrate and think really hard to remember which keys on the keyboard to push to type and to get my hand to do what I wanted it to. And my vision started to go weird. It was almost like I was looking at things through a fog. I could see but it took extra effort for my eyes to work correctly and focus on the screen. It reminded me a little bit of what it felt like when I used to get migraines but I didn't have a headache.
I started to do some research on the internet. The number one diagnosis for the symptoms I was having came back as MS. And if not that then one of a host of other neurological disorders. I figured I should call the doctor and at least set up an appointment. I was a month shy of being able to come in for my annual free well check up and the doctor was booked out for several weeks but I did schedule an appointment. I then had some good almost symptom free days so I canceled the appointment thinking I was overreacting and would just wait until I could go in for free. And then the symptoms returned. At this point, we were going on a cruise in a few weeks during mid-October so I scheduled an appointment for when we returned. I was honestly getting quite concerned and just hoped and prayed that there would be no issues on the cruise.
I did research natural cures for MS. It was way too early to get a diagnosis like that but after talking with a friend who has MS about how her disease started I was worried because everything she described was what I was experiencing. I did know that what I had was neurological/nerve related and likely caused by demyelination so I started taking the recommended healing herbs and started taking a good vitamin. I went to bed early, cut back on my works schedule and tried to eliminate as much stress from my life as I could. Things pretty much stayed status quo. Nothing got worse but I still had numbness and vision issues. And I was tired. Many days found me needing a nap in the afternoon to make it through the day.
All went well on our cruise. We had a great time and I slept a lot, ate a lot and got lots of sun and relaxation. Although I was probably the only one on the ship in bed by 10 pm every night.
Fast forward to mid-November. It's now the weekend before my doctor's appointment and my aunt stopped in when she was on her way through town. She has been to medical school and has a wealth of knowledge but swings heavily towards alternative medicine and treatments. She suggested I start taking CBD oil and begin a gut healing protocol using Liquid Silver & Aloe Vera Juice. I decided to wait and see what the doctor said. In the end, I was so grateful for my aunt's advice and recommendations because I found the doctor I saw later in the week to be far from helpful. The doctor diagnosed me with Trigeminal Neuralgia. Truth it was my trigeminal nerve where the numbness started. But I never had the "pain" that is typically associated with that condition and the symptoms I was having were quite different than the fact sheet she gave me. Basically, I was just told to wait and see if anything else develops. I left the office feeling like it was a waste of time and opted to try the suggestions my aunt made since I was now going on nearly 3 months of numbness and vision issues.
I am a believer in the bodies amazing ability to heal itself if given the chance. It is now 4 months since I saw the doctor and I am symptom-free. It has been nearly 2 months since I had any numbness.
In hindsight, I'm extremely grateful for that health scare. It was a real wake up call for me. It forced me to take a look at my life. If my days are in fact numbered then I am going to make the most out of every one of them.
I've always valued people and experience far more than possessions. I don't need a new fancy car or the latest iPhone. I don't need designer clothes or a big house.
If something brings me joy I'm going to embrace it even if that means going to see the same play (Camelot) 5 times.
I'm going to look for people to serve and do random acts of kindness.
I'm spending time in the temple and doing family history work.
I'm volunteering at nearly every theater in town because I love musicals!
I took on the position as the telephone operator coordinator at the temple.
I've likely gone overboard on random acts of kindness but doing so makes me happy.
I decided to focus on 5 things this year.
Temple & Family History Work
Volunteering at places I love (temple and theater)
Service & Kindness
If things don't fall into one of those categories they likely don't have a place in my life right now. I have at least temporarily closed down my book blogs. I once loved running them but they became something that was taking too much time and causing too much stress. I cut back my hours at work to basically nothing.
I'm choosing to more fully embrace the good in life and let go of everything negative that doesn't need to be part of my life.