It has been a while since I have possessed the capability to string a decent sentence together and hence the result is a neglected site here. There is a valid reason for my lax in posting, you see six months ago (almost to the day) I went into the emergency room at my local hospital thinking I slept on my side the wrong way, and walked away with a diagnosis of pericarditis and pericardial effusion most likely caused by a virus. The easiest way to describe what is pericarditis is to simply tell people I caught a virus and it went to my heart…but it is a little more complicated than that. The best description I obtained is the following from the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pericarditis/basics/definition/con-20035562.
In the six months months following my diagnosis (seven months almost since the symptoms started) I have been lucky to find not one but two support groups on Facebook and have been able to build a decent team to help me through this ordeal. Pericarditis is an unfortunate illness in that there is not much that doctors can actually do for you except give high doses of anti inflammatory medications, prescribe rest and limited activities. If I had a heart attack there is a solid treatment plan and recovery timetable to know when I would be better..with pericarditis you get to hope it does not become chronic…personally I feel like I passed chronic 5 months and 3 weeks ago.
For me, this ordeal has been taxing physically, emotionally and spiritually. I find myself often asking why did this happen to me? How did this happen to me? Is this how I am going to feel for the remainder of my life? It is not easy to find yourself all but bed ridden, unable to walk to the kitchen from your bed, unable to sleep because no position is comfortable, to see your old, busy life become a fading memory. The days that are hardest are the ones when it hits that I am no longer the same mom or wife I was a few months ago. One of my children is a senior this year, it is college touring time..yet while she tours the campuses (alone with a tour group) I am forced to sit in the admissions office feeling guilty. When my child(ren) attended North American National Championships in Montreal for dance this summer I was home supporting from the sidelines..something I never did before. I celebrated my twenty fifth wedding anniversary this summer with little fanfare since we were grounded from traveling extensively (or any place that requires even some waking). While this looks like a pity party, and I admit to some degree yes this is as I mourn the loss of moments and experiences in my life and life of my family …I am also grateful that while painful and somewhat debilitating at times..Pericarditis is not life threatening just annoying. I am grateful that I am forced to slow down and participate in my own life, take care of me for a change…an even more difficult task was learning how to ask for help and to accept the help offered.
Normally, I am the mother who piles 7 kids into my seven seat SUV (yes I know illegal) making mine sit on the floor. I always have room for one more, because I never mind helping out another person, thinking well if I ever need help they will be there for me. The insane part of my logic is I never asked for help, I always thought oh I do not want to burden anyone else by asking them to drive my kids. When I found myself so ill that things like closing the car door were beyond painful, staying awake for longer than 2 hours impossible because the fatigue was so intense, breathing in the cold air felt like a knife slicing into my lungs ..I knew it was time to ask for help. Much to my surprise I reached out and multiple people offered to help ..the hard part was saying yes I need you, but my husband was in California on a business trip and I was the only licensed driver in the household and I knew all I could say was thank you. We actually moved into a hotel closer to school and dance so I did not have to cook (can we say YAY room service) or clean for a few days. I learned that help is not a sign of weakness but allowing those who love me in and I am not a burden.
So if I can say anything..I am grateful to have a life altering experience that has forced me to slow down and write a new chapter in my life. I mourn deeply the loss of experiences these past few months, the burden my kids have felt watching their mother who once was super woman able to do whatever they needed..now was the one who needed..but I am alive and I am slowly getting better..look I can string together enough coherent (I hope) words to make this post..take some time this week to slow down even for a few minutes..you will never regret spending more time with those you love.