About a year ago, I wrote my forth blog post, titled hOly rOadrunner, Batman, it is valley fever! At that time, it was a huge relief to finally be able to name why I had been so sick for over a year, and to begin healing. Now, another year later, Batman doesn’t think it’s valley fever anymore, and I am once again searching for an answer.
Every doctor I have seen has told me that a negative Valley Fever blood test doesn’t rule it out. Why now does Dr. Galgianni (aka Batman) say that he doesn’t think I have VF because my blood tests have all been negative???
Has the Joker finally taken over Gotham City?
In an effort to get a definitive diagnoses, my husband and I decided it was best to make an appointment at the Mayo Clinic here in Arizona. Even though it is out of our insurance network, we thought if anyone could help us, the doctors there could. So in early March, with high hopes and two years worth of test results in hand, we headed to the Mayo Clinic.
My appointment was with Dr. Doug Peterson, and as we were called in, we were told he liked to initially see the patient alone. The nurse said she would bring John in later. All too quickly I override my alarm bells, and agree to going in alone. Have I mentioned I’m a slow learner?
I am a huge believer in having an advocate with you at all times when dealing with doctors, but this is the Mayo Clinic, and they know best, right?! WRONG! Fifteen minutes into the appointment I ask to have my husband join us. The doctor talked me out of it by saying he just wants to get to know me. He worried that John might talk too much and take over the appointment. Even though none of that is true, I again override my needs and agree with the doctor. (Okay, I’m a slow learner AND a delayed reactor.)
I’m not saying Dr. Peterson wasn’t smart, he was just also arrogant, controlling and selfish.
The goal of going to the Mayo was to rule out any serious conditions that we might have missed over the last two years. So last week, I had a nuclear stress test and an echocardiogram to make sure my symptoms were not being caused by coronary artery disease. My father died of a massive heart attack at the age of 64, (ack! I’m less than 10 years from that age!) and I sure don’t want to take my heart health for granted.
After secretly hoping they would find something that would explain the symptoms I have had over the last 25 months, I am very happy to report that all heart tests, breathing tests and blood work are normal!
With the knowledge that I am dealing with a chronic condition, and not something that is going to cause me to drop dead in my tracks, I next went to my acupuncturist, Mary Papa. She is an amazingly gifted practitioner and healer, and has helped me tremendously over the last 18 months. I knew she could help clear the radioactive medicine from my body, and continue to support me in moving forward with love, gratitude and wisdom.
So in an instant of clarity, with needles still in my ear, I realized that although I still really like Batman, I don’t need him to save me! I am, after all, Catwoman! Catwoman, if you remember, is very resourceful, agile, empathic and extremely skilled at evading capture. So now that I have remembered who I am, I will NOT allow this illness, Batman, or any doctor for that matter, to stop me from believing in myself or being who I really am! There! I said it.
As I move forward, I have recommitted to knowing and listening to myself like never before. The truth is, I know a lot about myself, what I need, and who to trust. I just need to get better at hearing and listening to my wise inner voice when she says, “That’s not going to work for me.” When I am able to say those words in the moment I need to, I will be dancing in the street! Keep an eye out for me!
After experiencing a very specific set of symptoms over the last 26 months, extensively researching Valley Fever and other chronic fatigue conditions, and ruling out all acute conditions, I am convinced I have been dealing with VF all along. Just like viral illnesses that become chronic fatigue conditions, I believe VF can become a chronic fatigue type illness, too. Just because Western medicine doesn’t know what to do with those of us with these conditions, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I will continue to educate, research and advocate for Valley Fever patients and their families, as it is just the right thing to do.
I will leave you with a few images of our beautiful desert blooms and fountain, and a couple new vickiO creations inspired by the interesting and amazing path I find myself on.
Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.
hellO lOvely and creative sOuls!
As the new year marches On, I hOpe yOu are happy, safe, warm and healthy. Here in the Southwest, I can say I have 3 out of four of those going for me, and I’m feeling very grateful for every sunshiny day that comes our way!
Last December, I decided to choose a “wOrd Of the year” (wOty) to help me stay focused, creative and engaged with life. With that in mind, if you haven’t guessed already, my 2014 wOty is enOugh.
Depending on how it is used, enOugh can mean:
- As much as required,
- fairly, or
- impatient desire.
I chose to begin my exploration by asking some tough questions. In our culture, families and churches, we are bombarded with the message that enough is never enough, so it was (and still is) a bit rattling to ask –
Is there enough? Do I have enough? Am I enough?
If that wasn’t scary enOugh, my health began deteriorating in early January. Much to my dismay, no matter what I did or didn’t do, the extreme fatigue, headaches and nausea came flooding back. It left me screaming, enOugh, already! How much more of this can I take? Will it ever end? A new (very loud) question now arose –
When is enough, enough?
As the second week of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics begin, I am so struck by the depth and rawness of the personal stories behind the Games. The years and years of hard work, the sacrifices, loss, injuries and disappointments the athletes and their families experience take my breath away. The stories are made even more poignant when the outcome is not the gold medal, or for many athletes, including the Americans at these games, no medal at all.
The truth is, none of us make it through this life without heartbreak and gut-wrenching loss. And even though we don’t win any medals for choosing to survive and carry on, we sure do deserve them. Life leaves many of us, including the amazing and gifted Olympians, asking, “Am I enough“? And isn’t that heartbreaking enOugh, knowing how hard each one of us has worked to live a good life and earn our “gold medals”?
So, as I make plans to get myself into the Mayo Clinic for a consultation to finally determine what I’m battling, I am learning that:
- I am strong enOugh to keep going.
- I am strong enOugh to keep asking the hard questions.
- I am brave enOugh to hear the answers.
- Life is hard enOugh without trying to prove I am enOugh.
- I’m the only one who has to believe I am enOugh.
- There is enOugh love for all of us.
May you feel the love that surrounds you,
and know that you are truly enough.
Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.
This post is dedicated to John Berg, an amazing and loving man, who inspired me to be a better person and enjoy life as it comes. Thank you for loving me and showing me there is always enough. You will be missed but never forgotten.