About Me

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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Monday, September 8, 2008

You Must Love Me

Confession time.

I've been extremely depressed. As joyous as I would like to remain, overwhelming factors have suppressed my spirit.

And it's not just the "health stuff", although that bag of tricks plagues me daily. From the side effects of my drugs to the unknown road that lies ahead to the disappointing results that dictate my next move. Oh, and especially the folk that misunderstand a piece of meat or "green powder" will aid my struggling kidney. After endless clarification, it's difficult not to get frustrated.

This kidney of mine is chugging along at 25% function. The toxic drugs are slowly consuming what's left of it. Not to mention the chronic low grade rejection that persists. One way or another this kidney is a goner. I'm not being negative here; simply realistic. 20 years has been remarkable, considering the average life of a transplanted kidney is 10 years.

Believe me, I have been grateful for every moment.

My depression certainly blossomed due to these factors, but there's much more to it.

When Kevin went to Scotland for 12 days I spent most of my time in bed, riddled with headaches/migraines. Naturally I missed him, but we've been apart many times before. But this time I felt unwell, compromised and quite frankly, sick. Pals invited me out, but my body refused. All it craved was rest and quiet. And well, I found that saddening, being all alone. It's one thing to choose isolation; quite another to have it forced upon you.

There was a Sunday that I called all my close friends, only to be greeted by the robotic tones of voice mail. Naturally, that can happen. But on that particular day I needed more. And it broke my heart to realize they were all with family/friends, enjoying what life has to offer. And thank God they were. Life is so precious, and if I can't flourish, I am thrilled that they can.

I believe my depression has its roots in validation. It has been eons since I've felt competent at anything. My acting career has been stagnant for quite some time, and after the explosion with which it began, that has been a difficult path to navigate. I love my husband more than anything, ANYTHING, yet he receives compliments on a daily basis as to his photography. Perhaps this is not his dream, but one thing I have learned is that we all crave validation. We all need to be told that we have an impact on people/this world. It has been a long time since I have felt good at anything and that has slowly eroded my soul.

It's not just the lack of acting. Indeed, I believe I am done with the shallow, unfulfilling, hypocrisy of "the business". It quietly, insidiously takes a toll upon your self-esteem. I used to say I had 4 part-time jobs - acting, make-up, assistant to Kevin and homemaker. Now that these roles are compromised, I feel utterly inadequate. I feel half-assed and lame and desperately crave a strong, fit, energetic body once again.

Boy, am I envious of the busy lives my friends lead. I was that girl once. And in this mess I am trying to find a glimmer, a ray of light that might invigorate me once more. It's not easy when your body won't co-operate, but validation comes in many forms.

Pinpointing mine might just take a little while longer...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mixed Bag of Nuts

A mixed bag, my results, they were...

The good news was that my cholesterol is normal. HIP! HIP! HOORAY! Must have been a previous funky result. So no more pills.

My creatinine, however, was 2.7 (high end normal 1.4), despite the increase in my drugs. The tag "Let's see how much you can tolerate", was disconcerting at best. I was hoping the increase in my drugs would result in better results. In addition, I need to hit Cedars this week for IV iron injections. My kidney is simply not absorbing iron due to its compromised function. UGH. I hate IVs. But I guess it's all part of the journey...

I am currently nursing a migraine. And I must confess, I am quite drained by all the side effects.

I know things could be worse, and I feel incredibly grateful to the 26 people willing to be tested for me when the time comes. How lucky am I? I think about them every day...

Kevin and I sponsor a child in Bangladesh, and I often think of his trials. Despite the ridiculous health care system in place in the US, I feel incredibly lucky that I've had such amazing doctors (incl. Canada) along my medical path.

We should never take our lives in North America for granted...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pill Popper

I am pissed.

There's nothing eloquent or thought-provoking about this entry. Today, I'm just pissed.

Yesterday I went to Dr. Dauer with Kevin, my post-it of questions firmly clutched in hand. I asked about the lipid panel we drew last month and was informed that my cholesterol is now high.

This just pissed me right off.

A few years ago, my Canadian doctor, Dr. Cardella, asked me if I was taking medication for my cholesterol because my results were so outstanding. I remember it as an incredibly empowering moment for me. I had simply kicked everything up a notch. Was running 5 miles a day and eating exceptionally well. I was trim and fit and strong...And I was even indulging every now and then.

Everything in moderation, right?

Well, apparently not.

My blood results have been flirting with high cholesterol for the last few months, so when my results come in tomorrow a decision will be made.

To medicate or not to medicate?

I feel like one of those cartoon characters that has steam pouring out of its ears...

My diet is pretty near perfect. I don't even know what I would eliminate. Obviously it's some kind of genetic issue.

Admittedly, this is not such a big deal if you are otherwise healthy. What's one pill a day? But for me, it's clearly something else. I'm angry at yet another notch dug in the proverbial belt of loss of control. Sometimes I feel like this belt is around my neck and being pulled ever tighter with the gradual erosion of my health.

Ah, but who placed this belt around my neck and why are they tightening it?

To live in California is a fantastic thing. It's a place that embraces liberal vegans, eastern medicine and environmental nazis. But it can also be draining when living with a chronic health condition. The feeling pervades in L.A. that one can remain youthful and healthy indefinitely if one is wealthy enough or smart enough. And if you aren't healthy, well, then, somehow it's your fault.

I get e-mails soliciting me to purchase "miracle" juice, that I can't drink because it interferes with my medications. I pass yoga studios with longing, on the days when I can barely get out of bed. And now I have to analyze, even more astutely, the nutritional contents of my favorite Trader Joe/Whole Foods products.

SIGH. Fine.

I already take 18 pills a day. What's one more?