Saturday, January 8, 2011

O my gracious, it's.... it's......!

So what's a little sniffly cold?

Even the sturdiest can fall prey to ordinarily innocuous things gone wrong: Pneumonia; funked up flu shots; antibiotics that weaken one's immune system and then aggravate one's lower gastrointestinal tract - double up the probiotics when you're chugging those; dwindled effectiveness, tiresome whether you're depended upon or not; space brain; and why don't I have a roaring winter fireplace so I can torch all of those tissues filling up my waste bin??

I said space brain, yes?

This may well be my first illness in years where I have not collapsed twitching in a heap of fear. Being ill sucks - but when the offstage whispers taunt me, wondering about my blood counts with how low can they go???, followed by anxiety-infused "NOW what do we do???" - I get edgy. And I am blessedly less at the mercy of the what if??'s than before.

I still have white counts and neutrophils that set off alarms under the best of circumstances. Nurses from the hospital used to warn me about What Could Happen if I left my white-walled prison too soon, before those chemo-ravaged counts could crawl back up again. "Sepsis," one nurse intoned. "What's that?" I asked. Evidently it's when everything goes completely to hell and then you die.

"Fine. I'll stay another day. Too bad the food sucks here."

By the grace of God, I have been free from western medicine's hospital claws for slightly over two years. Can you dig it? Yeah! Still, after being surrounded with the best intentioned folks in my various social excursions, I have managed to come down with a cold. Akk! Blecch.

This is what I am doing: Prayer; rest and liquids; extra beta-carotene (50K-100K/day), Vitamins C & D3, ImmPower and even finishing up a box of the purportedly white cell-nudging ProBoost leftover from last year; s-l-o-w-i-n-g d-o-w-n; breathing; moving my bod just enough to keep the gremlins from stiffening my joints too much; praying over a still-good box of Zithromycin and remaining calmly open to taking it if it seems warranted; letting all this be a grace. And doing it again.

This is what I am NOT doing: Chasing down my healing team in a breathless panic; getting blood draws and freaking out to see the counts not on their best behavior; and being really really afraid, which kicks your immune system's butt. Not in a good way.

Added to this morass of unwellness has been a dermatological sideline as well - mystery spots! Itchy ones. Even with a seemingly perfectly valid excuse to lapse into hypochondria, initially eyeing a few itchies on my body had simply led me to sigh and think, "Hmmmm. Visiting someone with a cat. Maybe allergic reactions to a few flea bites? I live in the country. Coulda picked up something…" The short version of this tale of "What causeth these cooties?" includes a rather drawn-out month of worrisome itchies and two biopsies from a dermatologist who even now can only say, "Well, I just don't know for sure!" Of course my inner physician had gone haywire online, attempting to self-diagnose and treat before Dr. Dermo could see me. I bypassed fear and launched into certifiable paranoia. Suspecting "the itch mite" (also known as scabies, which sounds as sexy as leprosy) led me to thunder through my home, washing everything I could get my hands on in THE HOTTEST water, drying on HIGH, scouring floors and staring bleary-eyed at my posh bed while I searched in vain for any signs of little creepy crawlies. I made my own healing salve with essential oils (tea tree, orange & Neem) in a base of witch hazel. It's maddening having a problem and not knowing what it is. "You have this; do THAT." That works for me. One month after first noticing the spots and as I await the results of the 2nd biopsy as well as a culture for staph, I still don't know exactly what's been tormenting my body and psyche.

The doc who can't tell me what I have assures me that I don't have skin cancer. Whatever it is and was seems to be ebbing, thank God. The 2nd biopsy of last Wednesday almost caused me to faint, and my first stitches in 54 years are being covered, cared for and watched before they're taken out in 10 days. I want a lollipop for all of that!

When I was with my friends in Scotland from April-July of 2009, then only months out of the hospital, a "cold" would produce a high fever and once landed me in Emergency - God bless Alison for taking me there at 11pm! Last year I got some IV vitamins dripped into my veins that threw in a Herxheimer effect for good measure. This year I have prayed, NOT gotten CBCs while my immune system is working it to overcome these things, taken sensible measures, and prayed some more. "LORD, You'll heal me or take me home. Let it be so according to Your Will for me!" This year, the thrashing has eased greatly even if the itching and visual ikkies are a new thorn in the flesh.

I have mystery spots and a sniffly cold.

Normal people get colds and then get well. I shall also, by God's most loving Grace.


  1. Oh, dear. I am SO sorry that you've caught a cold. Even the healthiest person falls prey at this time of the year. I find myself holding my breath in stores when I hear someone cough. It certainly sounds like you're doing everything right.

    I find the best to do is to stay warm, inside and out. For me, it means snuggling up with a book or a movie and a hot cup of tea (with lemon and honey instead of the typical milk). The things you have to do will wait whilst you heal. It's far more important to allow yourself the luxury to heal, and to absolutely NOT feel guilty about pampering yourself a little...or a lot! Perhaps this is Someone's way of nudging you to take a deep breath and relax a bit. All of those nagging little things can just hush while you recover.

    All will be well, and you will be well. With the number of people who remember you in their prayers, how could it be otherwise? Blessings and wishes for a speedy recovery!

  2. Bless you, friend! I am eager for clear skin, mind & body..... :-)