textiles · exploration · misadventure


One Step Forward…

…two steps back.

Now that most of my family knows this, I can put it on the blog without freaking anybody out. The short story is, even though I feel like hell, I don’t have a catastrophic illness.

The long story is, after that last post, I got worse, fast. One symptom I didn’t mention online, because I didn’t want to freak my family out until I had answers, is a swelling on my neck with spots of incredible tenderness inside. Being a 25-year smoker, I was basically making my will.

A few nights ago, spasms and pain in my throat and chest kept me up all night, and were so bad I took an aspirin to see if that made me feel batter—’cause chest pain + aspirin + feeling better can = a heart attack, you know?

So, the aspirin made me feel almost immediately better, which naturally then totally freaked me out. I called the advice nurse, always a fun thing in the middle of the night, and after a thorough conversation she advised me to call 911. We’re practically across street from San Francisco General, so I woke Matt up, and he walked me to the emergency.

Within five minutes they had an EKG on me. It was NORMAL.

Then they ran liver panels, metabolic panels, pancreas tests, thyroid function tests, and took chest X-rays. They took another EKG.

And in a world of weirdness, this 25-year-smoker came out CLEAN. On everything. Including chest X-rays.

I feel like I dodged a bullet.

Diagnosis is the same: gastro-esophageal reflux, with a complicating esophageal spasm. I will never snigger at heartburn commercials again. This shit hurts bad. Invasive abdominal surgery is my high point for pain, so when something’s a five on a scale of one to ten, that means this shit hurts.

It’s taken several days, but symptoms are calming down. I’ve done a lot of research on this condition, underlying causes, and helpful lifestyle changes.

I’ve already quit smoking—seventeen days!! I’ve already lost five pounds, because it’s hard to eat. I’ve been making some dietary and supplement changes that seem to have helped over the past few days and have more planned.

And I need to say some stuff about my boyfriend, Matthew. I know I brag about him from time to time, because I find him just SO great, and I can’t help it. But he’s even better than I make him out to be.

Through all this mayhem the past month, the man has never had anything but kind and supportive words and actions for me. When I woke him up at a cow-milking hour last week and told him I needed his help, he didn’t ask for an explanation, or say wtf, or oh god, or even close his eyes again for a second. He sat up, reached for clothes, and got me where I needed to be, only asking what was up once we were out of the house.

He asks me five times a day if there’s anything he can do for me, and he means it.

When I tell him shit like, “I’m scared and I hurt really bad,” he listens and holds me and rubs my back and pours sympathy and support all over me.

This is the way a supportive relationship is supposed to be, and while my family loves the hell out of me, we did not have a supportive atmosphere in the home where I grew up. We’ve changed a lot in the past twenty years, since my dad died, but all the same, being consistently treated with respect, affection, and support by Matthew is pretty much the most loved I’ve ever felt.

I have never had it before. Not like this. Not this unwavering, devoted, certain, loving support. We’ve been together for nine years almost, and it means as much to me today as it did when he first started doing it, years ago. Means more, even, because now I know it’s real, and it’s consistent, and that there’s real love and devotion behind it.

And I couldn’t really be a luckier person, and I couldn’t ever feel more loved. If I had made different choices eighteen years ago, I’d likely be dead from alcoholism by now. Instead, I’ve had eighteen years of slowly increasing joy.