I’m 43 years old. Two months ago, I was as healthy as I can remember ever being in my adult life. I was heavy, sure, but not huge. I was working out regularly, increasing my endurance while building a good muscle base and dropping clothes sizes. 3-4-mile morning walks along the river. Lower back aches were becoming a thing of the past as I reduced my belly and strengthened and worked the muscles. I was eating a decent diet (relative to U.S. Southern, anyway). And I was feeling happy and serene.
Now, two months later, there’s been stuff happening with my body. Stuff I do not want. Stuff I definitely didn’t invite. I’m not going into details in this post, but I’m in the mode of tests and specialists. It’s impairing my day-to-day function, making keeping up with the exercise (or anything else physical) challenging. And it’s progressing. Last night involved an Emergency Room visit with concomitant further inconclusive tests. Lots of the first guesses have been ruled out. Hence the time for the specialists.
And I’m scared. I was scared shitless with the symptoms that sent me to the ER.
I live by patterns and habits and lists and systems. And my body isn’t cooperating with them now. My patterns need to change, but I don’t know to what. When things will settle into a new maintainable regimen, nobody has any idea. It will take at least weeks to figure out what is going on. Months would be more likely. And I have to recognize that there may never be anything conclusive. It could be the dreaded syndrome, which more or less means, “yeah, we’ve seen this happen before, no idea why, treat the symptoms, and good luck to ya.” My father retired very young, disabled by a syndrome (his was eventually diagnosed).
The symptoms as they are already present day-to-day challenges, and it’s worsening. What will this to do my ability to meet my job duties, or my household responsibilities? To future prospects? What will stop the worsening? What will help things get better? All of this is part of “the next part.” The next part of my life.
I look at this and I acknowledge the tremendous complexity of the human body and of the things that can happen to or with it. This might turn out to be something easily treated, or at least managed. I’ve managed tough things before. It might turn out to be something not so easily managed — the kind of thing that will involve significant life changes. I’ll manage those, too, if it comes up, but the fact that I have no idea where this is on this spectrum, and no real idea of when I will know even that much? Yeah. Fear.
I have good health insurance. In Jalan, I have the most supportive partner I can imagine. I have my own strengths of will and character as well as of body. I will, eventually, manage this and make any adaptations required, with Jalan’s aid and encouragement, and that of other people who care for me.
But right now? No. Afraid. Do not want.