Musings of an Old Hag (but an alive one) on her (almost) Birthday

First and foremost, massive hugs and love to all of you for your many emails, flowers and other goodies you sent to the hospital to cheer me up and the tons of prayers that most certainly kept me alive these last 4 1/2 months.

Also, thanks to the good Lord above for blessing me with a second set of doctors and surgeons who, quite literally, saved my life. I will forever be thankful to God and to them for their gifts of skill and determination to keep me alive.

While the last 47 years have been full of joy and laughter, love and lust, peace and grace, they’ve also been quite full of pain–both of body and mind. I sometimes startle when I think of it. And I think that’s the greatest blessing of all…that the bad hasn’t overcome the good and made my life one of sadness and fear. That I still am a bit shocked when I think of all the trials I’ve been through shows me that it’s not those trials that define who I am, but it’s those trials from which I’ve learned to be who I am.

Since January and the medical issues I went through and am still going through, I’ve endured more physical pain than I ever thought possible. And the emotional toll has been devastating. The fear. No. The terror of everyday life over the last 140 days has been stunning in its endurance. But, even with all that, and what continues to happen as a result of that, I know I’m blessed. And here’s why:

  1. My husband not only tells me he loves me multiple times each day, but he shows me. What’s he’s had to endure watching me go through this mess would have broken a weaker man. Instead, he tells me it’s his privilege and honor to take care of me. I didn’t know love that like existed. A person’s true character shines brightest not in the light, but in the dark. He lit up my entire world and continues to do so.
  2. My sister flew out and took care of me for almost 3 weeks. She made damn sure the doctors, nurses and everyone else that had to do with my care did everything that was required to keep me alive. Her dedication to my health, both physical and mental, was beautiful and more than I ever could have asked for. She was, and continues to be, such an amazing support and shoulder. I don’t know what I’d have done without her.
  3. My mom, God bless her, who is 78 and seen more pain in her life than 10 other people combined, managed to survive all of what has and is happening and not snap or give in to despair. She even makes me a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce every week to cheer me up and make meals easy for me as I’m getting back on my feet.
  4. My 2nd set of doctors and nurses did their damnedest to keep my ass alive. My nurses showed me so much love it overwhelmed my heart. I had one doctor in particular who made me feel safe every time he walked through the door. When you are living in non-stop terror and pain, that reprieve is more valuable than anything on earth.
  5. My home nursing staff breathed love all over me with every visit. I’ll never be able to thank my sweet nurse who managed my care enough. I think of her so often and how her tenderness, love, support and understanding helped me through one of the truly darkest times of my life. I’d never before been so sad and so frozen in fear, but she held my hand and told me I was going to make it through. On her last visit, we both got emotional for we’d forged a bond through pain and understanding that doesn’t go away overnight.
  6. My friends rallied like never before to pray for me, support me and send me love on a continual basis. My sister kept everyone informed over Facebook as to what was going on and the outpouring of tenderness still warms my heart. I still cannot believe the cards, flowers, blankets, teddies and other wonderful tokens of love that my friends sent me to cheer me up. And I still feel bad that somehow all the wonderful notes that came with the heart-felt gifts have vanished. I would love to have been able to reach out to every kind person that sent me a card or gift and thank them profusely–alas, I was very drugged and while I was overwhelmed with thankfulness when my husband read me the cards when delivered, for the life of me I can’t recall about 80% of who sent what–but a HUGE thanks to those of you who sent me reminders that I wasn’t going through this alone. And a HUGE thanks to all of you who reached out virtually to let me know you were praying for me. Those prayers made all the difference.
  7. My ability to forgive hasn’t weakened. For that I’m eternally thankful. Sometimes, the rage and the heartache and the sense of betrayal can be so overwhelming it feels like I’m sinking into a hole from which there is no escape. But before I get to the bottom of it, I remember to forgive. And that pulls me up out of it. Though sometimes that dark hole tugs back, I won’t let it gain purchase for that is place I never want to live.
  8. I’m still alive. Dammit! I’m forever thankful for that. I still get the privilege of loving my husband, my family and my friends. I still get to do my best to bring joy (often through sarcasm!!) to those around me. I still get the pleasure of petting my kitties and taking care of the chickens, hamster and hedgehog. I still get to go to Starbucks and chat with all the wonderful friends I have there (I drink way too many frapps!). I still get to giggle with my hubby about silly things and make my teddy bears have conversations of a most inappropriate sort. I still get to love all the things I loved before…that is truly a blessing. And, most importantly, I didn’t die and leave my family bereaved. The thought of hurting them even more than the last 4 1/2 months already have just tears out my heart. So, I’m forever thankful that they didn’t have to plan a funeral, decide what to do with my stuff, have holidays without me and mourn my loss. The feeling of pain for those I love is always more important to me than my own pain, and I’m blessed to have kept them from that particular kind of anguish.

For those people who’ve been around me, most of you likely think that all is good as I’m still cheerful, quick to giggle and have done everything in my power to stay strong and be thankful for the good things that remain. All of that is true. It’s not a façade. At the same time though, way down deep where fear is a living and breathing thing, I’m truly terrified of the upcoming tests I still have to face and what the results of those may be. I’m very lucky to have a brain that compartmentalizes very well…it lets me get on with life while wrapping up all the pain and fear into a little box that I only let see the light on rare occasions. If you are so inclined, I’d be ever so grateful for continued prayers and healthy vibes. I still have some icky things coming up that scare the ever-loving fuck out of me, so your positive thoughts are so very appreciated. 🙂

I know this hasn’t been my typical post, and I know it’s been a long time since most of you have heard from me at all, but I’ve tried to spend these last months focusing on getting better, reducing my constant fear, learning to live with unexpected consequences, and being thankful that I’m even here to write this.

After 47 years of life I know that the most important things have nothing to do with money, possessions, looks, position, power or any of that other superficial bullshit. What I do know is that allowing people to love you and loving them back with your whole heart is the greatest gift in the world. For that knowledge, I’m forever thankful and blessed.

May you all have a wonderful life and know that I’m always praying for you to be happy, healthy and safe.

Much love,

Jodi

The Horrors of my Noggin and the Related Panic Attack

I’m telling you, life is NEVER dull. 😉 Not that I wish to be bored, but c’mon, a little peace now and again is a good thing.

So, 3 weeks ago I got my hair dyed.

It’s pretty much been every color in the rainbow over the last 30 years.

My very first “boyfriend” told me one day that, “You’d be perfect if only you were blonde.” Of course what did I do? I immediately went and dyed it blonde and just as immediately realized that blonde is NOT a good look on me. Eeeee gawds, it was a nightmare. Especially with my personality.

If some guy said that to me today I’d verbally cut him until he crawled home crying for his mommy, dragging his entrails behind him. But I was 14 then and always concerned with being as perfect as possible. Thank God I don’t worry about that shit anymore. Take me as I am or fuck off. I rather like that mantra! 😉

I went to get the blonde nightmare fixed a few days later and ended up with 3 different colors of hair. I don’t know why the fix-it hair dyeing adventure turned into such a fiasco, but the good news was that my mom understood that I couldn’t go into public and she let me skip school for a week until I could wash a bunch of it out of my hair. Best Mom Ever Award for that! 🙂

Over the years it’s been light brown with highlights, black, dark brown, that purpley-red color, accidentally green (yep, that sucked as much as you’d think), red, and so on. I get bored easily with my hair color. Now, the style’s been the same for 20 years and will probably be the same until I die. But the color? That I like to mess with.

So, when I got my hair dyed a few weeks ago I went with a blue black. I wanted that shit dark dark dark. My chick used the same brand of dye she always does and everything seemed okay.

Then a few days later I noticed this weird thing on my forehead right by my hairline. It looked like a skin-colored scrape about 1/3 of an inch in diameter. As I was looking at it thinking, “Please God–no skin cancer. I know I tanned my ridiculously white skin a lot when growing up, but I haven’t had a tan in 20 years. Please spare me skin cancer…” I noticed all these black dots on my scalp. What the fuck? Hmmm…they didn’t look like the typical dye blotches that appear on my scalp after a hair color. These were tiny little specks like someone took a Sharpie and put dots on my noggin.

Well, whatever. I’ll just scrub my head harder next time I wash it to get the dye off.

Uhhh…the dots didn’t come off after the next shampoo. Or the next 5 shampoos.

Finally, after 3 weeks I’m like, “What in the ever-loving shit is on my fuckin’ head?” As we know, I’ve been dyeing my hair for 30 years. I’d never seen anything like it. So I had to investigate.

Can I just tell you…NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER Google something like “black spots on scalp.” NEVER! It’s horrifying.

I went from “Hmmm…that looks odd” to “HOLY FUCKING HELL WHAT THE FUCK OH MY GOD I’M DYING THIS IS AWFUL HOW DID THIS HAPPEN WHY ME SOMEONE KILL ME THIS FUCKING SUCKS.” Yep…all one sentence.

When you Google “black spots on scalp” you learn that you’d be better off dead than with the host of things that come up as possible diseases or conditions.

Keep in mind that I typically stick to sites like WebMD or Mayo Clinic for medical advice as I feel they are likely a bit more accurate than, ‘Jodi’s dumb ass blog on weird stuff,” but even those scared the shit out of me.

Some of the suggestions were: Mold (WHAT THE FUCK???). Fungus (I WANT TO DIE). Ringworm (This is when the panic set in).

All of the sites also mentioned itching. My head didn’t itch before I read that. Now it was as if spiders were crawling around on my head. I know, totally psychosomatic, and I kept trying to rationalize it, but I was scared shitless, so a bit of irrational was starting to slip through.

Then Grant gets home and I tell him what’s going on. He grabs a flashlight and tells me I have black dots ALL OVER MY HEAD!!! I thought it was just that one small spot, but nope. They are EVERYFUCKINGWHERE! Oh, the horror!

So, I immediately got on the phone to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. If I fucking have any of those things I wanted it diagnosed immediately and then I wanted someone to decapitate me.

Of course, out of the 6 I called, 3 didn’t answer the phone (I’m thinking their businesses are covers for drug running, otherwise how do they stay in business?), 2 sent me to voicemail (how can they close on a Tuesday before 4 pm? Must be nice…) and the last one kept me on hold for, and I kid you not, 15 minutes. 4 times people picked up the line and I’d repeat, “Hi, I’m calling to make an appointment as a new patient,” and they’d always say, “Just a minute,” and I’d wait 5 more. I wanted to smash something violently. First off, what shitty customer service. Secondly, I’VE GOT MOTHERFUCKING FUNGUS, MOLD OR WORMS ON MY MOTHERFUCKING HEAD. SOMEONE NEEDS TO HELP ME BEFORE I PASS OUT FROM HORROR!!!

And of course in the meanwhile I’m terrified to touch my head, lean it onto a pillow, let my husband anywhere near me. I made him throw away his brush cause I’d used it earlier in the day. He tried to hug me and I yelped, “NO! You’ll get the Mange!”

Finally, the idiots at the dermatologist’s office get back on the phone and they can’t see me for a week.

Ummmm…no. That’s too long. I’ll run into traffic by then. I’ll shave my head. I’ll die of terror and fear!

So, I make the appointment anyway and then rush out of the house to go to Urgent Care. By now it’s after 5pm and no doctor in the state is open except Urgent Care. And I was sincerely starting to have a panic attack at the idea of a foreign body making its home in my head. God bless Valium.

When I get to the first one, I open the door to what I can only assume was an outbreak of The Plague. So I said, “Uh, fuck this,” and left and went to another one where everyone looked like they were suffering from Ebola. Damn flu season. So, fuck that one too. I just went home and wouldn’t let anyone or anything near me until I could get in to see someone in the morning.

Finally, morning comes ’round (after a lovely night chocked full of wormy, fungus-filled dreams) and I get an appointment to see a doc.

I go there at 10:30 and they are so nice and lovely. The doc comes in and I explain what’s going on.

She looks at my head and says, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Great. I’m a medical mystery full of fungus and mold and worms and God knows what.

Then she plays a bit with my noggin and determines that the dye (which is some stubborn-ass dye) had grabbed hold of all the new baby hairs growing out of my scalp and gotten kind of stuck at the follicle (if you’ll recall I mentioned earlier in the year that I had a bunch of hair loss due to thyroid and iron/protein deficiencies). The hair was just a tiny bit of a millimeter long and hardly even out of my scalp yet, so the dye clung to those tiny pieces of hair and went down a bit into the skin. This was why it wasn’t easily washing off in the shower.

Can I tell you that I have rarely been more relieved in my entire life? EVER! I wanted to hump her in thanks for her awesome diagnosis.

She said she could see why I’d have been terrified, but that I’m good to go and that she wished all her appointments ended on such a happy note.

Whew!!!!

What an absolute cluster-fuck. I had told Grant that I just could not take one more medical issue and was going to snap from the stress. Luckily, I have a wonderful hubby who was supportive even when we did think I had The Funk. Thank God it was just some weird dyeing anomaly and I am worm-mold-fungus free! Yay!!!!

So, that’s my saga. I’m just happy that my noggin is good to go. I’m quite certain I couldn’t have handled any other outcome because they were just too damn gross!

Have a happy weekend, my friends! XOXOXXOXO