Over the last few years, I’ve been mentally bracing myself for menopause. Not because I was concerned about the hot flashes, or the hormonal fluctuations, but rather because I knew in my heart that I’d be experiencing the joys of “The Change” just as my two tween daughters hit puberty.
And really, WHO DOESN’T LOVE A GOOD HORMONAL ROLLER COASTER RIDE with three women living under the same roof?
I had no idea that All The Hormones would be the least of my worries.
As many of my long time readers know, in January of 2010 my health began to decline. I documented two (unnecessary) knee surgeries, and the subsequent lack of function of my left arm and right hand. I lost the ability to drive, and by October of 2010, the only means of getting around were with the use of crutches and a knee brace, or by my children careening me around in a wheelchair.
Let me just stop to say that I’m going to hand off the driver’s education portion of our homeschooling to my husband.
The brief version of the story (and believe me, brevity is not my gift) is that I was misdiagnosed with a torn knee meniscus, followed by two (unnecessary) surgeries, followed by a misdiagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I was placed on high doses of two medications and the combination of these powerful drugs not only made me crazy, but they completely destroyed what was left of my immune system. I was given some significant pain killers because of the constant pain, which didn’t take away the pain, but made me not care so much. (Hang with me, there is a happy ending.)
I was ready to give up.
My husband was not. He continued to dig, to research, to fight for my very life. Through God’s grace we found the right doctor. He suspected immediately after looking over my previous test results and by examining me that I did not have R.A.
He had me tested for Lyme Disease.
The day before Thanksgiving I sat in my doctor’s office as he gave me the news. I have chronic Lyme Disease. He told me I had a long road ahead of me, but that this disease is one that I can fight. And win. I cried like I’ve never cried before.
The only words I could choke out were, “I’m not crazy.”
Of course my husband could argue that point and likely win. But still. It was on that day that I finally found hope, and I began to fight like mad.
With my doctor’s help we began a protocol of antibiotics, natural herbs, and vitamin therapy. I completely changed my diet so that I might boost my own immune system, allowing my body to begin the healing process.
By Christmas I began to regain function in my arm, hand, and legs.
By Valentines Day I was walking on my own.
At our church Fall Festival last year, I sat in a wheelchair. This year, I danced with my children. And because of my issues with coordination (which are legendary), I use the term “dancing” rather loosely.
As I look at the calendar, I am about to celebrate the day of my diagnosis. Yes, I say celebrate because of all this disease has done to enrich my life. I’ve had the privilege of being the mouthpiece of a disease that doesn’t get talked about a lot. And because of that I know of several people that have sought testing for Lyme, were diagnosed, and are currently being treated.
As for me, every day is a gift.
If there is one thing I hope someone takes away from all of this is to NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. Always be your own advocate. We women have pretty keen intuition, and we should always listen to our own bodies. Get that second opinion. Get a third opinion if need be. And if a doctor tells you there’s really nothing wrong with you and to take an antidepressant so that you “feel better,” it’s okay to punch him in the throat. (Just kidding.) (Sort of.)
My fight continues and I’m gaining ground every single day. Not only am I finding my way back to me, but I’m finding my way back to a better me.
And how do I feel about menopause? It is imminent. But I ain’t skeert.
Are you worried about menopause? Do you have a story to share about advocating for your health or making a positive change to Return to You? Tell me about it!
Also, visit the BlogHer.com Pfizer Page to read the other Return to You blogger stories.