Friday, February 19, 2010
Stubborn and Head Strong: Prerequisites for Lupus?
I'm sure you've seen this Gary Larson "Far Side" cartoon before. If not, feel free to insert a picture of Henry (pugalito-extraordinaire, may he rest in peace) in the strip. This was Henry to a "T". He'd stare at you the whole time he was being reprimanded, cocking his head back and forth. When you were finished, he'd do one more head tilt, and then come up and give you a big ole' lick, as if to say, "It's okay. It's all over now." And he'd do this every time. At least I can say he was consistent in ignoring our admonishments.
Much as I hate to admit it, I can be just as hard headed from time to time. In fact, I had many "blah, blah, blah" instances in my fight against lupus, particularly when I didn't like what was being said. Here's one example that comes to mind:
Picture me, years ago, in my perinatologist's office. I had just suffered a miscarriage, and while I was devastated, I was anxious to start trying again, regardless of the state of my health or current disease activity. So I went in for a follow-up appointment shortly after the miscarriage, and here's what the doctor had to say, in short:
"Sara, it's really important that you get your disease under control before trying to become pregnant again. It's imperative that you be as healthy as possible before you start trying so that you give yourself the best chances for a successful pregnancy. Once the lupus is no longer active, and your symptoms have subsided, then you can start trying again. Until then, I encourage you to focus on your health, rather than going ahead and trying to become pregnant."
Good, solid advice, don't you think? Unfortunately, here's what I heard:
"Sara, blah blah blah blah blah blah trying to become pregnant again. Blah blah blah blah blah blah you start trying blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, you can start trying again. Blah blah blah blah blah blah going ahead and trying to become pregnant."
I walked out of her office, called Johnny (of course, this was one of the only appointments he'd missed), and told him we were good to go. We could start trying again. Of course, in the back of my head, I knew what she had told me, but I had blocked out the stuff I didn't want to hear, in order to keep my agenda of having a baby. In order to show lupus who was boss. In order to maintain control of my life.
Long story short - I did start trying again, but my body wasn't up for it. Over the course of a few
weeks, I grew sicker and sicker, and Johnny quickly called off the mission. I ended up in the hospital less than 6 months later, having the closest call in my lupus history. My body knew I was in no shape to carry a little one, whether I wanted to admit it or not. Thankfully, I wised up and started taking steps to live with the disease, rather than against it.
I threw my agenda for kids before 30 out the window, and started doing what I could to become healthy, stable and strong.
After four years, my hard work clearly paid off, as I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Deirdre. She's already 16 months old - can you believe it? Here she is, my pride and joy.
Come to think of it, I wonder what she hears when I say, "Deirdre, sit in the bathtub," or "Deirdre, keep your food on your plate," or "Deirdre, eat one teddy graham at a time."
I think I already know. In fact, "blah" was one of her first words.