“Shock” – The Daily Post Prompt – Shocking News – Chronic Illness

“Shock” – The Daily Post Prompt – Shocking News – Chronic Illness

Shock

I held my two-year old son a little longer when I gave him a hug goodbye before traveling with my husband to see a specialist who would interpret my latest test results.

I think deep down I knew things would never be the same after this Doctor visit. Nothing could prepare me for what would take place on this day though.

It was approximately a two-hour drive from my Ashland, Kentucky home to University of Kentucky hospital where I would see a top specialist and educator.

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My prayer all the way there was “please God, I need answers. Something is wrong. Please help me!” My symptoms started with a headache that wouldn’t leave. Next came muscle weakness, fatigue, vision disturbances with an episode of complete vision loss.

I couldn’t walk without help. I couldn’t drive. I could barely focus and see. I couldn’t be the mother and wife I wanted to be. I was only 26 years old. I had never had health issues like this before. I was scared.

My husband and I knew something was terribly wrong. My primary care Dr. had already ruled out some basic concerns. I had an MRI on my brain that the U.K. specialist would view.

After taking many deep breaths and reminding myself everything would be ok, we arrived in Lexington, Kentucky. The Doctor’s office was quiet like everyone was preparing for the news I would receive.

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Patients who were waiting watched me enter the office. I could feel the sadness as they recognized a young woman who needed assistance to walk and was led to a seat. Being so weak and unstable it was all I could do to make it into the office and sit.

The looks of pity and questions in their eyes as they watched me struggle was haunting. I tried to smile and be brave but I was so scared.

What if there was something serious wrong with me? What if I have to leave my son? What if I can’t see him grow up? I’m not ready to let go of my life with my husband. We’ve just really began our life together. My husband had a new job and we had a good life. Could it really be over at 26 years old?

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As we sat in the exam room waiting for the Doctor a nurse put up a picture from my MRI in preparation for my visit with the Dr. “My brain looks normal doesn’t it? I asked my husband.”

It’s always thoughtful when a Doctor greets you with a handshake. I immediately was drawn to this lady Doctor. I knew she was top in her field. My primary care Dr. chose her because of her good reputation and credentials as a top educator as well.

After a few questions and symptoms were discussed she turned to the MRI picture.  Her voice lowered and she took a few deep breaths. I thought I was supposed to be the one who was nervous!

She looked me in the eye and I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It seemed like everything paused as I waited. I don’t remember even taking a breath. She had regret, pain and sadness reflected in her eyes as she pointed to the picture explaining I had a spot on my brain stem that was inoperable. There was no treatment…nothing could be done…I didn’t have long to live.

Doctor’s are people too and have feelings like the rest of us. Evidently it hurt her to give me this news because she had tears in her eyes as she fled the room closing the door behind her.

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Shock was my only response as I sat there looking at my husband. Did that really happen? I’m going to die? There is something wrong…terribly wrong.

A nurse came in and dismissed us saying she was sorry. I walked out in a daze. My husband and I didn’t speak a word until we got in the car and was on the road home.

My first thought was “well, God this must be what is meant to be. I’ve lived a good life. I had the opportunity to marry my best friend. We had been married eight years. I had become a mother to a little boy who stole my heart before he was even born. He was everything to me! Oh, how I would have missed out if I had not these privileges of being a wife and mother.

Our first words spoken were “what are we going to do?” We agreed a second opinion was wise. Accepting that we were not in control of my life was the second realization. My life was in God’s hands. He gives life and He takes life.

The pages in the book of my life were already planned and I could do nothing to change what was written in this book. I could only remind myself of the good in my life. The people who had brought me so much joy. It had to be enough that I had them for as long as I did. Everything was out of my control.

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My husband and I talked about the most important parts of our life together. The joys, heartaches, hopes and dreams we both carried in our hearts were poured out because we knew time could be short now. We didn’t leave anything unsaid.

As I write this, tears are rolling down my face. The shock of how fragile life really is still grips my heart. The total surrender that takes place when you meet your mortality and acknowledge that you are not in control of your life is humbling. It puts life in focus like nothing else.

My symptoms continued. I had the second opinion. They did not see the same things as the first Doctor. The headache and symptoms continued for six weeks before a medicine helped somewhat control them.

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It would be a start on a journey of chronic illness that I would have never dreamed would take place. I didn’t think I had a year to live much less the nearly 18 years since this shocking start to my illness.

Lessons learned during these heart wrenching times stick with you. My son is now turning 20 this year and I’ve had several hugs since that day I held him wondering if I would see him grow up. My husband and I have been married 25 years now. We have built a lifetime of love together and enjoyed every gray hair and ache and pain that middle age has given us.

I still don’t have answers for this first headache and the continual symptoms and conditions I deal with now, but I’m alive and still on this journey of life so for now it’s enough and I have joy along the journey!

Surviving is Not Enough,

 

Selina

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