This one is going to be a bit long. But I have to give you the background so that you’ll get the “where I am now” stuff. And there is just no short way around that. I guess I could do a video and talk. But, it’s been a long day. The bra has already come off and the wrinkle cream has already been applied for the night. That doesn’t make good video for anybody! :-) Just enjoy another cute pic of my dog instead.
Since March, I have had a rash that has come and gone on my chest. Every time it has come back, it has come back larger and more bothersome than the time before. Certain things caused itching (at one point a Dr told me I was allergic to beer and wine *GASP*). I tend to be a stubborn patient and think that I can figure out my own treatments but this issue was giving me a run for my money.
I finally caved and decided to see a dermatologist thinking I would get a quick steroid shot and move along. When I called the doctor’s office, I was told it would be a three week wait to get in. Randomly (ok, honestly, as you’ll see in the next couple of sentences, it wasn’t random at all. It was God) the receptionist asks of she can put me on hold. Being the good “waiter” that I am (extreme sarcasm), I tell her yes and proceed to stir frustrations in my head about it being so long to get an appointment and that I waited so long in general to even call when I was in so much misery. The receptionist comes back on the line to tell me they actually had a cancellation and would be able to see me that day at 4pm (there’s the God part that I don’t even realize til later)!
I get to my appointment and when the doctor walks in, I start to give her my diagnosis since I am clearly a better doctor than her. I just need her to go along with my medical plan that I have already researched and then send me on my way. I am busy after all. She politely lets me finish and even listens to a few of my awkward jokes. Am I the only one who handles bad situations with awkward humor?
Then, it happens. She turns to me squarely in her seat and says “I am very concerned. This is not good.” A bit shocked and taken aback by her sternness, I just sit there trying to remain calm and figure out what to say next. In the course of ten minutes, she throws out the word cancer, chronic illness, worst case scenario and a host of other things that were all a blur after I left. She explained the urgency in figuring this out so that a treatment plan could begin immediately. I was told that worst case scenario would be one thing (the C word) but even “best case” would be life altering and that I needed to prepare for that…..YIKES! What? Slow down lady!! The next thing I know, I am having a needle biopsy and sent on my way to wait. Just wait. Just go on about my business like I wasn’t just told I probably have cancer or some chronic disease. I was in no mood to hear words of comfort and the clichés of “It will all be fine. God’s got this.” I know that makes me terrible. Why wouldn’t I want words of encouragement and support? Then, it dawned on me. Ummm, you got an appointment that was supposed to take three weeks. You have a concerned doctor who isn’t willing to waste time. How about we stop being miss pissypants and do a little trusting here!
Waiting is torture. Waiting for an over thinker like me is worse. The next 7-10 days were going to be the longest of my life. THE COOL growth moment though was that I asked for prayer from the wonderful world of internet friends and I accepted what was the next step in my life. There is a certain calm and peace that comes with knowing that you are absolutely not in control BUT YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY surrounded by the highest resource of all and equipped to walk the path that is laid out for you.
Fast forward to the next week. In a moment of waiting weakness, I call to see if the results are back. On the other end of the phone I hear “oh. No. They aren’t. We actually sent them to UAMS for further testing. We didn’t like what we were seeing so we sent it there to rule some things out. That will add another 7-10 days Ms. Elmore. I can try to tell them you are worried and get it back faster.” Ummmmm. Ok. What? Well this isn’t awesome. At all. Next came more tests, more samples being taken and a lower tolerance for that peace and calm and patience stuff I mentioned earlier.
You know what else was frustrating? The fact that I had a host of other symptoms that pointed to this a long time ago but was told that “I just needed to lose weight.” Because, in case you’re wondering, that fixes everything. Before you jump on a hate wagon, I am not in denial that I need to lose weight in the least. I am reminded of it every morning when my side mirror shows my reflection getting out if the shower. I am just saying that is not always the root cause and not always as easy as it is for a doctor to let it come off of their tongue. ANYWAY….i digress.
After 14 very long days, a ton of prayer and some pretty great lesson learning, I finally got my results (and finally got all of these annoying stitches out). I am ecstatic to say that it is NOT cancer. But, as previously mentioned, “best case” scenario would still be life altering. It looks like I am dealing with a wonderful diagnosis of Connective Tissue Disease and most likely Lupus. Further blood work will determine what level I am at and treatment will begin immediately since there is already signs of some organ damage, etc. Still a bit scary, but at least it’s manageable and at least it’s NOT cancer.
1. I am about to be the coolest Lupus patient out there!! If there is fun to be had with this, I am about to have it.
2. I have the best support network there is and I hope that they stick this out with me.
3. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about how people will view me.
4. I will NOT let me convince myself that I am never going to find a life partner especially now that I have some weirdo disease to tote around. (Ok maybe I have already had a moment or two like that over the last couple of weeks but I swear I slapped it out and sent them on their way).
There is testimony in my battle, even if I don’t see it yet. Wait. It’s not even a battle (the battle has already been won), it’s a path. And I will carry some glitter to make sure it sparkles and good music to dance to along the way!!