Thursday, October 21, 2010

Life as it is. October so far.

We grow up with instilled values and traditions.

Well, at least in my household.

All my life, there has been one goal. No, not marriage. Thank God! A shared dream that I was to fulfill. My father's dream of me becoming a doctor. And with the type of person I am, I was on the path of making his dream come true. I'm happy with whatever you place me in, at least that's what I think. I'm not the rebellious type. And for those who know, know that I was on a pre-medicine track pursuing some science and humanties-type major. But this cannot be done. Dramatic, yeah.

The past few weeks of my life have been more than dramatic. I don't remember when I started working-out in the Brooklyn College gym - fabulous gym by the way - but it triggered a series of events. Well, at least I think it triggered what I've been going through. The funny thing is, I only exercised two days. I was working-out with three other girls, one who ended up on crutches/wheelchair due to a severe ankle/foot accident, and the other two just stopped going after me and the other girl were "injured". We know they just got lazy. Just our luck.

I used the machines I was allowed to use: the treadmill, elliptical, and bike. After each session, I felt pretty damn good. I was getting into the zone of working-out, thinking maybe this time it wouldn't be a fail, that I'd actually work-out, eat right, and lose a pound or two. But of course, life came in the way of my work-out session.

My left ankle and right hip began to hurt quite severealy. I don't know which side felt worse. All that was running through my mind was, "No, I cannot be going through this shit again. Every semester something happens." I was literally wobbling from side to side as I couldn't put pressure on either leg. I was definitely concerned, but I know if I were to go to the ER (emergency room), they'd keep me there. But boy was I wrong this time...

I went to the ER on Wednesday, October 6th. And let me tell you, it was a fuckin' fail. Not only did I wait for about 6 hours just to be seen, when I was actually seen, I was seen for about 2.5 seconds! This is how the system works. They make you wait for hours and hours and see you for a millisecond. That's the ratio. I explained my situation to the ER doctor, and at first I thought, okay, he might give me some pain medications or something. No, that didn't happen. After looking at the multiple X-Rays, he told me, "Yeah, so there seems to be some inflammation but nothing to worry about really. Take some rest and keep your feet elevated in bed." Bullshit. The nurse printed out the discharge papers and I was out the door. Literally, wobbling and all, and they saw me walking out like that! In the meantime though, the doctor was explaining to the nurse how crowded the ER was that day and how he had missed his scheduled lunch. Really? Are you fucking kidding me? The future of medicine really scares me because I don't think there will be or there are doctors who are actually passionate about taking care of the sick. Everyone wants to be a doctor these days. It's overrated and highly commercialized. And no one truly cares. No one. Maybe one.

It's the truth. Of the 6 doctors I see (nephrologist, orthopedic (upper extremities), orthopedic (lower extremities), rheumatologist, endocrinologist, and general pedicatrician), only one is truly committed to me and the field of his study. I'm not going to say who because you're going to find out.

After coming home that day, I was upset and in a lot of pain. I didn't go to school that Thursday because I really couldn't walk, every limb was hurting. Luckily, Friday the 8th, I had an appointment with my rheumatologist. This was another fail. It seemed as if she tried to rush me out of her office. After explaining how I felt, crying a little to add some drama, I came home limping twice as bad. No changes to medications, no further advice. This is when I really started to lose hope. When doctors have hope, they give me hope. But if they act shady and just try to make things seem fine when they're really not, I lose hope. And this is exactly what began to happen.

I didn't mention this earlier but I started a 12-week acupuncture treatment in the Swedish Institute. So far, the acupuncture hasn't changed anything dramatically or even slightly. I go every Friday at 7 pm and the treatment lasts for about an hour. The acupuncturist checks my pulse and the color and texture of my tongue - these two give information about metabolism, digestion, pain, and just a shitload of Chinese medicinal things. Umm, so, yeah, I haven't seen much change yet. After the first treatment I felt a boost of energy and completely relaxed. I was so happy and thought to myself, "Finally, something that might work." But the treatments that came afterwards made me feel worse. The acupuncturists were trying to figure out why their treatment failed. They reasoned, because I got 3 flu shots during one Friday morning, it switched and rotated the bodily "energies." Yeah, I don't understand what that means and neither do you, so it's okay.

Still, Chinese medicine fascinates me. The acupuncturist, a student at the Swedish Institute, examined my medical history and came up with a treatment. And for those who know and don't know, acupuncture is done with needles - tiny needles that are placed in different points (areas of the body). Sometimes I feel the prick, sometimes I don't. And if I really go in-depth about this, you'll be confused and just stop reading. The focus of my treatment is the lower extremities (feet, legs, hips). So that means most of the needles are on my legs, right and left hip and feet.

I started acupuncture thinking some of my pains and aches would be healed, as I've heard many positive stories from others. Of course, I'm the one exception who comes out with worse symptoms.

So anyways, after my treatment on the 8th, I had the worst Saturday of my life. I literally did not brush my teeth until 7 pm. I couldn't get up from bed to walk over to the bathroom and when I tried, I couldn't stand still. Though doctors are supposed to be on-call 24/7, weekends are a rough time to reach them. But one doctor was available for me...Dr. Sinha. My orthopedic (lower extremities) surgeon was there for me. I have this man's cell phone number, e-mail address, just about everything. And I know some doctors give out their information but when do they actually reply or answer your texts and e-mails? Exactly. So I texted Dr. Sinha right away, he called me up, and I was on the path of some type of relief.

We had a quick conversation on the phone before he prescribed me Celebrex and Valium (some pain and inflammatory medicines, Valium is strong and addictive). He was very honest in telling me that I was the biggest puzzle in his medical career. He has so many awards in his field of research and what-not but he was disappointed that there isn't a clear-cut solution to my illness and random flare-ups. He didn't understand why I was going through what I was going through. He assured me that he would do the required research and take everything step-by-step. And over and over he made me repeat, "I will not give up." And really, I will never give up.

I visited him for an appointment on the 13th (which I had to fight to get because my initial appointment was scheduled for the 18th) - and I cried hearing some of the procedures I needed to get in the near future. More X-Rays of the ankles proved that nothing was wrong with the bone, but it could be a case of Avascular Necrosis (what I have on my hips/shoulders/knees; bone decay and loss of blood circulation). And if that's the case, I'm seriously fucked. The plan as of now is to get bone graft surgery on the right knee and right hip - making a hole in the decayed area will allow new bone to hopefully grow, but eventually I'll need to get the areas completely replaced like my left hip. I'm not concered. But I'm scared. Scared of recovery time.The estimated recovery time is 6 weeks. Two surgeries = 12 weeks. Three months. Three months of not being able to put weight or pressure on that side and three months on fuckin' crutches. I don't know what the fuck to do.

After this appointment, I knew I had to make some changes, some major changes. The work-load in school was really aggravating my symptoms of Lupus and I knew I had to do something about it. I thought to myself about withdrawing from all my classes. I thought about maybe just pushing through like the other semesters. So many goddamn thoughts were in my goddamn mind, I was going to explode.

I texted my best friends right away (Ruqayyah, Chopra, Tomer). They all called me right away. And these people are legit individuals who are in the pre-med track taking some crazy-ass classes like organic chemistry and analytic chemistry; I know, crazy shit. But they never fail at being a true friend and there for me when I need them the most. Everyone is good at saying, "I will always be there for you." But in reality, how many people have seriously been there for you? Tomer showed up in front of my doorsteps at 12 am and stayed till about 2:30 am. We were goofing mostly, but were also serious for about 3 seconds. Thursday night of the same week, Chopra and Ruqayyah were over until about 5 am. I don't know how I'd be without these people and so many others. I'm the luckiest bitch on Earth, and if I take you for granted, slap me in the face.

For once I think I made a logical, well-thought-out decision. I dropped my science courses (Physics and Biology). A load of unnecessary stress is completely gone. I didn't withdraw from my Women's Studies course because there's no added stress and it meets only twice a week and I need some shit to keep me sane. And I'm a feminist, and I'm proud.

I started this post talking about values and culture. From birth, literally, one career goal was instilled in my brain: becoming a doctor. And as I began to understand the world during my high school years, I realized hmmm, I have other interests. But I kept them aside (broadcasting/journalism/something in the writing field). I knew I could do whatever I put my brains in. While I am passionate about becoming a doctor in the field of Lupus/Rheumatoid Arthritis/Bones, I realize it is not something my body can tolerate. With my condition, medicine is not the path for me. And as much as my friends keep saying, "If you have your heart in it, you can do whatever you want." But I know how much my body can tolerate. As it cannot tolerate much. I take naps everyday and I'm sure in med-school that's not what students do. It's sad how depressing this sounds right now. But it's a fact that I needed to realize before it was too late. Life throws you shit, and it threw me a lot of garbage, but I have to act accordingly.

And really right now, school doesn't even matter to me. The past few days I've been enjoying like no other. The world is beautiful when you take a second to breathe and look at the surroundings.

I want to live, God. I want to live to walk on Your streets. Life as it is...

1 comment:

  1. That was really beautiful! I love your writing, and you're so brave for sharing this. <3