Monday, 13 May 2013

When you're dying and you know it...

Clapping hands just somehow doesn't seem appropriate. It has been about six weeks since my world started turning in a different direction with the news that I have end stage renal disease. I am still processing what this means - at times numb; resigned; overwhelmed; and horribly sad. Even the moments of happiness are tinged with the stain of a gnawing awareness that there will be an end to this...a struggle to find meaning in any of it, that just won't come. I veer from wanting to hide under the covers to desperately reaching out - to share love, a funny story, a smile. Of course, we know we are mortal and that this ride doesn't last forever...but let me just say it becomes a new shade of real when a doctor sits at his desk and reminds you that you haven't asked him how long you have. (Answer: Months, a year...he can not say...) There is no cure - of course there are options - not a cure mind you, but options. Dialysis, transplants...one could give one's body over to a desperate and expensive bid to hang on...for months... years. Fighting the infections, side effects, drugs...until the moment when they just don't work anymore. While in the hospital, late at night, a nurse who knew I was struggling with an I.V. asked me gently whether I knew I could say "no". The concept was revelatory...I could choose, I had power in a powerless situation. So I told them to take it out and I understood in that moment no matter what comes next...nothing will happen unless I choose it. For now I choose to be here...and that is enough.

8 comments:

  1. You are incredibly brave, Michelle,for sharing your story. How very inspiring you are. I add my prayers to the thousands I'm sure you are bound to receive and will be following your posts as you continue your journey.

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    1. Thank-you Lee for your kind comment.

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  2. Dear Michelle: I truly admire your courage in coming forward with this painful part of your life. It seems to me that anorexia is a serious mental health problem where the person is acting against every natural instinct to love and preserve themselves - and feels very powerless to stop that cycle. Maybe it should be treated at that level. Do you agree with that conclusion or not?

    From Doreen Gee, starjumper935@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you for your note Doreen. I would say that I believe it seems much more straightforward to treat our bodies than our minds. And yes, it is a serious mental health issue. I don't want to suggest treatment isn't possible - because I know people do overcome it...I am really only sharing my personal experience. Thank you again for responding...

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  3. Hi Michelle --
    We worked together at the Ministry of Health way back in the late 90s. I stumbled across your blog, through Stephanie Slater somehow? And just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you and would love to get together for coffee. Who knows how/what our life paths will take and I admire how you're sharing your story here. I'm on gmail, and LinkedIn too. I couldn't find any other email to contact so posting here. :-)

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    1. Thanks so much for this...it has been ages...it is true that we just don't know where our stories will take us...will keep an eye out for you...

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  4. Hi Michelle; Thank you for sharing your incredible journey. May you continue to find peace and love with friends and family.

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words, Carrie...wishing you love and peace at this special time of year. Xo always...

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