Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why



I am utterly devastated to learn that my sweet friend Alexander has passed away.

He had Periodic Paralysis, and we had many conversations via Facebook private message concerning our condition. He picked on me about my blog rants, and translated my blog and Yahoo article for his friends and family in Ukraine. I even gave him some input on his little girl's English homework one day, and I was honored to do so. Most of the time we would just check in and ask about how each other's week was going, health-wise. We understood each other perfectly, in spite of our slight language barrier.

Like most of us with Periodic Paralysis, he had been through the wringer where medical care was concerned, being mistreated over the years and not taken seriously. Even with a family history of close relatives dying prematurely, he had so much trouble finding a doctor who would listen and treat him properly. He told me that doctors kept telling him it was all in his head, because they had no knowledge of the condition.

Story of my life. I related to Alexander so well...his story and mine were almost parallel.

Many of us in the online support groups did our best to encourage him through the battle. I've been told that he died in the hospital after an episode that affected his breathing. My heart is crushed for him and his family. Alexander was only 31 years old, married with two young children. I will never understand. Why him? He was a devoted husband and father who had so much to live for. He started a mission to educate people in his region about this disease, even finding others with Periodic Paralysis and trying to help them seek treatment in the midst of his own challenges.

I simply cannot wrap my brain around this loss. Why him? Why not me?

It makes no sense whatsoever. It is unfair.  It makes me angry.

I will never understand. I will never stop asking why.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Choosing Battles

This is pretty much how things are going lately.

My body doesn't seem to know which way is up anymore. Even my uncle, whom I share a house with but never speaks of my condition, finally chimed in and said "You're not functioning."

No kidding. Thanks for letting me know.

I manage to get a little bit done most days, but it usually involves something small. As most with systemic disease know all too well, I have to choose my battles. I can wash my hair, or I can load the dishwasher. I can prepare a semi-homemade meal, or I can struggle through a load of laundry. I don't take these things for granted whatsoever. Not a one. I find myself taking note of every little finished task on my to-do list and calling it a win. I can't help but be sad at times, though, that I consider taking a shower and putting on clothes an accomplishment. Who does that? Apparently, I do. Perhaps I'm not the only one.

I'd be lying like a dog (pun absolutely intended) if I said my treatment was going terribly well. It's not. My body is frustrated and it's making that known every minute of every day. I'm in horrendous pain from head to toe with no relief. I still have not successfully titrated the acetazolamide to the amount that my doc wants me on. I pray to God for mercy that I don't start passing stones again, and I can't get in any position and be comfortable enough to rest. I literally do not sleep until my body crashes, whenever that may be. It's usually sometime in the morning or afternoon for three or four hours, and I'm usually in the middle of something. I can be in mid-sentence typing on my laptop in bed, and suddenly I wake up later with my hand still in position on the keyboard, partially paralyzed. I wonder sometimes how long I can continue existing like this. I'm trying so hard to function, but I am exhausted in every possible way.

I do what I can to distract myself. I'm working on an inspirational eBook, small craft projects when my arms and hands allow it, and spend a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook. I am grateful to those who put up with my ranting, raving, and rambling on social media. It keeps me sane.

I'm supposed to be heading to Louisiana today for a relative's wedding, but I am physically and financially unable to make the trip. I'm pretty upset about it. No matter how long I've lived with this disease, I can't get used to the fact that I don't have the same privileges as the rest of my family and friends. They can go and do what they want or need. I struggle with not being granted such normalcy.

I refuse to give up on having a life again, and I count my blessings in spite of this prison.