I have posted before (a while ago) about the cycling stages of accepting my rheumatoid arthritis I go through when new things crop up. But this week I’ve thinking a bit about why it’s so hard to be okay with stuff getting worse when I’ve already gone through the process of trying to be okay numerous times in the past.
This week I went to see a nurse practitioner about my toenail (my doctor couldn’t fit me in for another few weeks). Because of my Raynaud’s Syndrome, the toenail had gotten weird and had to be removed about two years ago. It grew back more dragonish than before, and has recently started to hurt whenever any pressure (i.e. shoes) is applied. The nurse gave me a referral to see a foot specialist person, which is pretty much what I expected and wanted.
We had the standard exchange:
Nurse: It says here you have rheumatoid arthritis. How’s that going?
Me: Oh, well, fine.
Nurse: Wow, you’re so young…
Got in the car feeling pretty okay and started to drive. It took a few minutes before her words started ringing in my ears and the old pain and grief resurged in full force. I started having the panicky feeling that everything was spinning out of control again (not that it’s ever really controlled) and flashbacked to those worst health-related moments throughout the years. I was sad, sad, sad, and staring again into the abyss of what-if’s and why’s. All this a knee jerk reaction to a fairly uneventful appointment that went the way I expected.
Maybe it’s just a trigger response after the ordeals “new symptoms” have led to in the past. Probably is.
I happened to be driving past my Rome-adopted-family’s road about this time, and I knew there’d be a Bible study there in the next hour or so. I drove that way without really knowing if I wanted to go there, but knowing I didn’t want to be alone right then. When I pulled up in front of the house, I couldn’t see anyone inside, but the lights were on and the candles on the table were lit. The candles drew me in, and I ended up spending the evening letting myself relax with people I love.
Today while we were praying in church, I looked down at my right pointer finger, which has been bothering me recently. I held it up to the undamaged fingers on my left hand (there aren’t many left) and compared. I could see the signs in the right finger, the very beginning of the canoe-like curve to the joint, the shifting to the left with the beginning of the warping. And I flashbacked to a sunny afternoon in Germany when I’d held up my hand to my sister and said with a whimper, “Look, look, at the middle finger. You can see it.” And I flashed back to cradling that same finger when it collapsed just before I left to study abroad.
I don’t know why it’s so hard to see all that and know that it’s going to happen again. It’s happened once, twice, three times now. I don’t know why the shock and hurt doesn’t go away, why it’s so hard to reaccept what I thought I’d accepted.
But it sucks, and I am dreadfully tired.