Since the day I turned 60 in July of this year, I have had one health issue after another with no reprieve from pain and discomfort. Beginning with my back when I experienced a “discogenic episode” that lasted for nearly 6 months until I felt human again. These “episodes” seem to be occurring once per year now.
During this time I had to also address skin cancer on my scalp that keeps popping up (my friend calls it “popcorn”), since November of 2018. I embarked on my first journey of chemotherapy cream to my scalp for 3 weeks with another 3 weeks of “healing”. Only it didn’t work.
Which brings me to the present. The last two weeks have been what I call “Murphy’s Law” weeks, beginning with the news that the scalp treatment failed. And so I have to do a second round, only this time more aggressively, adding a second chemical to help it “get angry”. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. So I have shaved my scalp to make it easier to apply and am back to wearing caps and scarves.
Next, I decided to get my toe examined by a podiatrist as I had been having pain in it for probably a couple of years, but had become pretty excruciating. Well lo and behold the joint is “bone on bone” and I have to get it fused and a bone spur taken care of as well. The surgery will take place in February of 2020 and I will have to wear a knee high boot for two months! And just when I had got back to a walking routine. Ugh.
When it rains it pours.
I have had systemic osteoarthritis for most of my adult life (I believe it onset as a teen, but no official diagnoses until my late 20’s). First my knees (4 surgeries on one of them), then my spine, then my shoulders, and my jaw. Yes, my jaw. 70% bone loss when I first went to get it examined. And now my toe. I suspect it is in my hand and my other foot, but one thing at a time.
Yes, when it rains it pours.
During the most recent health issues, my family is also dealing with the issues of aging parents, most recently my mother’s fall resulting in hospitalization and now some months to be in a healthcare unit in the facility where she was in assisted living. She actually has a fracture in her leg, but surgery is too risky due to other health concerns so she is confined to a wheelchair for two months to see if the fracture heals on its own.
So while when it rains it pours is such an appropriate idiom for these events, my mother put things in perspective the other day when I was conversing with her.
“Well,” she said, “I can think of worse things than spending the rest of my life in wheelchair.” (I’m thinking, seriuosly????). Now mind you, my mother is 83 years old and has spent her entire life in and out of hospitals and doctor’s offices. She even was the subject of a 20 year study at a medical research facility. She has probably had more than half of her days in her life not well. She deserves to be depressed, angry and in despair. And she has gone through those periods. But she always bounces back with this kind of perspective,sending me into a figurative shock.
She even has a joke ready to tell the doctors in the surgical suites whenever she has to have surgery, so that she goes under laughing at them laughing in the hopes of awakening in a happy way.
So yes, when it rains it pours. But things can always be worse, in the words of my mother. I am not minimizing the pain and emotional upset when we are dealing with our own issues. It’s o.k. to feel that way. It’s all relative to our unique situations. But it sure feels good to hear a loved one take on a perspective that keeps us alive in hope.
I’ve got my umbrella up, ready for the next storm.
Thank you mama.