Two years ago they hadn’t found a way to treat my rheumatoid arthritis. Two years ago I was a usual visitor to the emergency room when my pain would get so bad that only narcotic injections would stop it. Two years ago my vacations always ended in wheelchairs, I took drugs that made my face unrecognizable and made clumps of my hair fall out. Two years ago I was obese, because my meds made me swell up and because just walking across the room made me want to scream. Two years ago I thought that I was a burden on my family because I spent more time in bed than I did out of bed.
A year and a half ago my doctor got approval to start monthly injections. They worked. They don’t work for everyone. I pray that they continue to work. I was able to walk. I was able to move. I was able to live. I lost 46 pounds. I got rid of the steroids. My hair started to grow back. The pain that used to be a 9 is now a 2.
Yesterday my doctor looked at my x-rays and said that some of the deformation we thought would be permanent had healed. And she said a lovely word.
It’s a lovely word for two reasons. One, because I remember the pain…and in the place where that pain was is a space left for gratitude. And two, because it gives me hope.
10 years ago my mental illness got so bad that I finally got help. At first it was worse, then it was better, then worse again. Now I fluctuate, waiting out the darkness, reminding myself that depression lies and that it’s a medical condition that I never asked for, quietly battling with tiny demons in my head…until it suddenly passes and the drugs kick in or the seratonin settles or the demons get bored and then HALLELUJAH I’m alive again and things are good and I remind myself that this, this, THIS is real and this is worth waiting for each time.
One day I know that they’ll will find a cure for whatever it is in my head that randomly and unexpectedly clouds things up and makes life turn into a pale, cardboard imitation. One day they’ll find a cure. A drug that works. A shot that makes the demons go away.
And I cling to that. Because that, my friends, is a beautiful word.
PS. I wrote a week ago about how I’d been diagnosed with a severe b12 deficiency that might be causing some of this depression. I’m on pills and shots and massive amounts of other pills to help the b12 work and I feel okay today after a week of slight craziness. 14 pills a day isn’t ideal, but I’m worth trying every option. You are too. Keep breathing.
PPS. Back to silly, cat-focused ridiculousness tomorrow. I just needed to write this. Thank you for listening.