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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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

lost in transition

call it post-transplant(um) depression.

i may not be straddling the hormonal seesaw new mothers often endure, but there can be no underestimating the toxicity of the newfangled medications racing through my veins. the flush for my newborn has paled some...

i am a woman in transition.

transitions are cryptic beasts. with two steps forward, they slyly assure you your feet are planted upon terra firma, and you walk a straight line to recovery. but with every inevitable step backwards, i sigh, then aim to finesse that infamous moonwalk; somehow utterly failing to capture the grace and effortless perfection of one notorious king of pop.

i trip. i fall. and discouragement flattens.

yesterday, i awoke with a headache rammed up my brain. the first one since the transplant. sleepily on auto pilot, i implemented my mastered, modus operandi (m.o.) with the divine swiftness of hermes:

-insert mouth guard to relieve jaw tension.
-affix glasses to twofold effect: eliminate vanity and ease eye pressure.
-blanket cold compress upon forehead.
-pop a couple of excedrin with an icy, lemon-garnished glass of water. gulp down in its entirety.
-slather tiger balm across forehead and massage into temples.
-dig digits deep into acupressure points that lie between thumb and index finger.
-open window wide and increase ceiling fan to top speed.
-engage in yoga breathing; in and out through nose. repeat. endlessly.
-snuggle fetal with fur-baby.
-if at all possible, beg hubby for masterful massage of head, neck and shoulder area.
-attempt to sleep.

a regimented technique, indeed, but despite full commitment, never fool-proof; inconsistent at best...
[the best laid plans...]

more unsettling than the physical pain, was the emotional cold pool i was flinchingly plunged into. limbs symbolically sprawled far and wide, nails clawed resistance, i was emotionally drawn and quartered. the pungent, eucalyptus stink of the topical analgesic (tiger balm) unleashed a cascade of melancholy. after several hours the headache lifted, but those lingering, tingling nasal wafts recalled the endless, bedridden days of my oh, too recent past. days writhing in pain, desperate for comfort and peace and hysterically craving sleep. sense of smell may be the most cultivated of the senses, for that odorous reek skillfully triggered a reflecting hall of mirrored emotion.

[images in mirror may be closer than they appear...]

over the last 3 years, i submitted my independence to kevin in its totality. with no reservations. and it never once challenged my ego. potential insecurities lay dormant, trusting his support was unconditional. i embraced his gift in the manner in which it was bestowed; with love.
but, it wasn't always easy.

i have always been an exceptionally independent girl, woman, beast in both thought and deed. so to grudgingly stake claim in limbo had it's unexpected challenges.

the first 365 days post transplant are microscopically monitored. encumbered with appointments, fraught with restrictions and endless adjustments to and eternal reliance on medications. incisional pain and anesthetic exhaustion leave me dependent upon painkillers, no driving and rest.
[oh, and on friday, a pair of procedures play out. double the procedure; double the fun...]

so despite the immense gratitude i feel for every returned ounce of energy that harrowingly eroded away; it is tempered by claustrophobic dependency. and impatience.

[this patient has no patience.]

so post-headache, i indulged in a wee "hen"tal breakdown of sorts. no defibrillator in sight, just a heartache that only independence can expunge.

but impatience can motivate and even foster independence. boundaries should never be perceived as burdens; rather empowering opportunities. baby steps for now, but soon enough this redhead's gams will germinate viking tall again and i'll be smashing every restriction in sight. euphorically stomping that figurative barrel of grapes; then celebrating with the most robust merlot i've ever sipped.
so while others go to work, volunteer, exercise, drive, socialize...my dream life so close, yet so far...i attempt to embrace my temporary new position. this mandatory stop-gap. my job must be this: appointments, medications, bp readings, collecting disability, resting, eating well and loving on my (no longer troubled) robust kidney.
as my yoga instructor once bestowed, "honor your body" and as my therapist simply perfected, "be kind"...

although reluctant to concede, i do see a beauty in dependence when my glasses are buffed to a shimmery sheen.

peering through my lenses, i observe quiet, unsung moments of dependency. the california sun, conversations with kevin, enjoying our cabin in the sky, writing outside with our million dollar view, my ipod on shuffle, the wag of maggie's tail and those oh, so, glorious sunsets.

take for granted, no, but on these gifts, i can depend.
i must believe in the day when i can smash those specs into sparkling slivers of independence, and adorn myself with ray-bans instead.

[blinded by the light]

when i glimpse through that partially cracked curtain that separates first class from the plebs; that peek reveals a world of total independence. "i will enjoy a drink now...i will take dinner in an hour...i will have my warm cookie now". choices honored; unchallenged. while back in economy, our options are pitifully dependent upon the fickle whims of the frequently sassy flight attendants (makes me want to call them stewardesses again; just out of spite). as we wrestle with brick pillows made of styrofoam, are constantly whacked in the head, impossibly fish for more legroom and negotiate plastic cutlery; this struggle for comfort reduces our souls to the vulnerability of a child.

[just don't get me started on the wailing tots...]

but, i am still flying high, soaring above my illness, fueled by this robust organ and gliding towards a yellow-brick tarmac of possibilities.

but, like my beautiful friend, l, recently articulated, "healing is not a linear process" and certainly k's healing continues to be complicated as i manage massive, mercurial mood swings...
but look out, turbulence. i don't like you. but i can handle you.

[so, bring it.]

6th post-tx. clinic: check. creatinine: 1.1 (normal range 0.5-1.4).

now that's something i'd love to become dependent on.

1 comment:

  1. healing is NOT a linear process. neither is grief. or even triumph. but this is lovely. and so are you.