Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Miracles II


What kind of man would it make him if he agreed to pull the plug on his wife’s life support? What kind of husband would he be if he didn’t?

Wes had been circling around this, running on hope and pure adrenaline for months. He’d spent what seemed like a lifetime praying and hoping for a miracle but time was running out.

Kate was his wife, his best friend, his one and only and the love of his life. They still had a lot of life ahead of them to live, many more places to go and dreams to turn into reality. It mattered not one bit to him that most of his days were all the same.

He’d wake up, get ready for work, and wake Jacob up for school. Then juggle eating breakfast with him while packing lunches and reading/signing the endless parent information forms the school sent home and after dropping Jacob off at before school care it was off to work for Wes.

After the long daily grind of traffic and the office he’d pick Jacob up from school, take him home and go over his homework with him before eating a quick bite of supper. If it was a work night at job number two, he’d wait for a neighbour's daughter to come over to sit with Jacob. If not, as was the case tonight, they’d head to the hospital to visit Kate.

Keeping up with two jobs to pay the hospital bills, taking care of Jacob, tossing and turning at night trying to get some sleep so he could get up the next morning and do it all over again had Wes on the verge of exhaustion, but he couldn’t let go. How could he?

He had another five days – the time that Kate’s Living Will would allow -- to put off what looked like the inevitable. And her wishes were very clear. If she was ever on life support she didn’t want to live long enough to be a burden to him and it was up to him to end her life with kindness.

She allowed one month’s grace from the time her Doctor advised taking her off the machines -- a concession she made after he protested that Doctors weren’t God, that God may work on his own timetable, and that he’d never be able to live with himself wondering if he’d taken away the only chance she had at life.

Kate had no way of knowing that decision would have him signing her death warrant just days before Christmas. How could he look Jacob in the eye, when he was old enough, and tell him that in the end it was he who took his Mom away from him?  And at Christmas?

Jacob would hate him, and who could blame him?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Miracles - I


Jacob’s family once celebrated Christmas with all the trimmings. His Mom would have had the house decorated and the tree up by now. The smell of her Christmas baking would be wafting throughout their home from now until the big day. Presents would be wrapped and hidden in his parents’ closet ready for ‘Santa’ to put under the tree on Christmas Eve. But those days were over and he was angry.

Angry, not at his Dad for not celebrating the holidays this year, but at the driver of the car who hit his Mom in the crosswalk that day in August; angry at God for letting it happen and for not answering his many prayers.

“Jacob,” said his Dad, “We’re leaving for the hospital in a few minutes. Be ready to go in fifteen.”

Jacob wished he was old enough to stay home alone. He didn’t know why Dad kept going there. What was the point? Mom had been unable to wake up since the accident; she didn’t even know they were in the room with her. Dad tried to tell him she could hear but he didn’t believe that. She was a stranger now.

His Mom would have laughed at his stories, hugged him to say hello, goodbye and just, well, whenever he looked like he needed one. Now, he’d sit there, listening to Dad tell his Mom about his day then watch the familiar sadness come crashing in when her facial expression remained as blank as it had since August.

“Ok, Dad,” was his only reply as he put his book and toys in his backpack to take with him for the long evening ahead. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Life With Fibromyalgia - Part Four

This is my story and is in no way intended to diagnose, treat or advise anyone on Fibromyalgia or any other medical disorder, only a qualified health professional can do that. 

My frustration had mounted to new heights when I happened on a link to a video done by a Dr, a Chiropractic Neurologist, who claimed to specialize in Fibromyalgia.

Part of me thought, ‘Yeah sure. Are you going to try and tell me it’s all in my head or how many more supplements/medicines I need to add to what I already take or how if I only exercised more I wouldn’t have Fibro in the first place?’ And the other part of me, the one I listened to that day, thought, ‘What do I have to lose besides a few minutes of my time I’ll never get back if it turns out to be bogus, but what if it gives us some answers, maybe a new direction? What if this guy is for real?’

The clear, concise information on what Fibromyalgia is, and isn’t, was given with compassion and a knowledge that filled me with hope again. A Google search later I had found we live close enough to one of the nine Chiropractic Neurologists there are here in Canada.

I thought I’d been put through tests before being diagnosed, but that was nothing compared to the twelve page questionnaire covering every system in my body and rating how well it was working (or not) that I had to fill out before my first appointment. Again I gave a complete account of my medical history and had more tests conducted by this new Dr.

My husband and I walked through the door of the Dr’s office, myself a nervous wreck expecting to have tender points pressed, and within minutes were put at ease. His assurance that there would be no pain for me in any way during the tests being performed held true.

I didn’t understand how the tests he did could possibly relate at the time to my situation, I think because they weren’t invasive, but as we were finishing off the first appointment, he loaned me a book and  asked me to read the first three chapters before my next appointment and we’d discuss it then, that he was sure there would be ‘light bulb’ moments for me. And he was right.

This book, which I read in its entirety (I couldn’t put it down) explained food intolerances/allergies/sensitivities, particularly gluten, and the connection to autoimmune disorders. Not just gluten’s connection to Celiac Disease. It was eye-opening to read documented information with explanations on how this is possible, and some Fibromyalgia symptoms started making more sense to me.

My follow-up appointment was scary, to say the least. The tests/information told him that I was/am Insulin Resistant/Pre-diabetic/Reactive Hypoglycemic, was Celiac (like my father before me) or was heading that way (but further testing would be required to be certain), had Leaky Gut Syndrome - or both, my adrenal glands were fatiguing (no surprise there!). But the worst part of what he told us was that one lobe of my brain was functioning for all of the others that had weakened and it was tiring fast. 

I wasn’t the worst case of Fibromyalgia he’d seen or treated but I was one of them. He agreed to take me on as a patient and wanted to start as soon as possible. And we were all set until he laid out the therapy/schedule/cost for us up-front (so we’d know what to plan for).

At that point I felt like that huge weight that was lifting off my shoulders was crushing down again, but we agreed to think it over before making a decision. For me, it was way out of my comfort zone financially, with the appointments themselves, the gas driving to/from twice a week (45-60 min one way) and time off my husband would have to take for those days (I couldn’t drive).

Sitting, having dinner together and talking it over, I discussed this book with my husband and we agreed that I’d go gluten-free while we sorted the financial stuff out. If it made a difference, great, if not, well at least it gave me something constructive to do in the meantime and three days later I embarked on this gluten-free journey.

Two days into a GF diet and I was sold. I had more energy, less pain, much less brain fog, vertigo episodes were lessening in frequency and severity, and it all continued to improve over time. But oh how I missed ‘real’ bread and on day ten I gave in and tested it out with a sandwich.

The next morning I regretted it when I woke in body-wide pain, brain fog, vertigo, and all I wanted to do was sleep. Back to a GF diet for me and have only once since purposely had something with gluten to see if I’d still react, or more like, how much could I get away with before having a reaction. And for me the truth is, none. I can now tell when I’ve been ‘glutened’ as I like to call it. In my case it affects my brain for two or three days after ingesting (on purpose or being cross-contaminated) it.

I still crave wheat, that hasn’t stopped yet and I’m not sure it ever will go away entirely. Walking past the bakery section of the grocery store makes me miss fresh baked ‘real’ bread, cakes and cookies even more but with the vast improvement I’ve had in my health after fourteen and a half weeks GF I won’t cave to the craving.

My brain is much sharper, quicker to respond mentally and physically; the broken finger feeling I had for over a year was gone after two months of GF; I’m no longer waking up each morning feeling like I was beat up in the night; my sleep pattern is even better; I can type AND remember (unless I’ve been ‘glutened’) what I wanted to say; I’m actually tasting my food now which still makes no sense to me, but there it is.

With all of these improvements, and many more that I haven’t mentioned, it makes no difference to me whether I would be considered gluten allergic, severely intolerant or just sensitive. Whatever title you want to give it, it means the same thing. I can’t have gluten. And no amount of medication added to my regime would’ve fixed or changed that fact.

I'm not saying that the therapy/treatment plan the Dr set out for us wouldn't have worked as well, I have no way of knowing that. Nor am I saying that I won't at some point go for those treatments/further testing but for now this has made such a huge difference in my quality of life I see no reason to take it to that level. But I do have him to thank for the information that guided us down this path. 

I have a new family Dr, for who knows how long or how well she deals with Fibromyalgia, but in the meantime, I will stay gluten-free. 

And now, onto dealing with the Insulin Resistance/Pre-diabetes/Reactive Hypoclycemia...

To be continued at a later date...