Friday, April 19, 2013

You've Got to Suffer If You Want to Sing the Blues

We all get our share of the blues from time to time. Depending on our coping mechanisms, it's usually a short-term rough patch from which we arise with little wear and tear on body or spirit.

In my 7-year battle with leukemia, I've certainly had my down moments. When I first relapsed, my doctor prescribed an anti-depressant which made me comatose. After 4 doses, I quit. I didn't need to be paranoid about a medicine that was supposed to give me a lift, not knock me into the gutter.

Things I've found depressing: not being with my kids when I was in the hospital; being tethered to wires; seeing Spring unfold outside my window but unable to smell it. I won't even go into the side effects of chemo because there are drugs for that.

I had a dream last night in which a huge German shepherd knocked me down and took my hand into his mouth. I just laid there, as still as I could be. It was like a test, and how I reacted would determine my fate. The fallout from my transplants, most notably the graft vs. host disease has been challenging. Then there's been the destruction of my tear glands, the loss of 2 teeth, 2 melanomas, cataracts on both eyes. I've somehow weathered these with what I like to think is grace. I didn't moan too much and tried to make light of my infirmities. After all, I know leukemia survivors who have been called to cope with similar issues. And then there are those who didn't survive.

Four weeks ago, I was felled by a stomach virus that would normally have passed in a few days. Because my immune system is compromised, I still suffer from it. You're probably familiar with the feeling: you want to die, but you don't. I wail, I whimper, I want to be comatose. Two days ago I was tested for close to 10 bacterium/parasites. I should know the results soon.

My situation is compounded by financial worries and health insurance Catch-22s. I feel like a burden to my family, although I know that's ridiculous. I'm just trying to be honest here. Today I can't be flip.

I want to thank a dear friend I spoke to today who gave me some useful and sensible advice. Maybe he was that German shepherd trying to direct me to a better place, back to the fearless, confident person I used to be.

1 comment:

Ronni Gordon said...

There are so many anti-depressants. Maybe you should try a different one with a smaller dose. I think that Lexapro (20 mgs) has really helped keep me afloat with similar issues.