Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flu-like symptoms

I didn’t fall asleep for one minute last night because I was beyond excited for the unexpected trip back home to Florida. 

Around 3 a.m., I attempted to “rest” my eyes. I knew I needed sleep. I knew I needed to just chill out and relax before traveling. 
But sleep still didn’t come. 

And still hasn’t. 
Now it’s 3:30 a.m., I am craving...broccoli. Yes, I’m serious. I am hungry and all I can think about is that green, flower-like vegetable. 

I want broccoli. 
Maybe some green beans too. 
I venture into the kitchen and heat up some veggies to quiet the rumbling in my tummy. Funny how it all seems normal to me now. Like everyone eats broccoli and green beans at 3:30 in the morning. Before the Lupron shots, this would have been crazy to me. 
For some reason, I believe that eating will calm me down a bit. Maybe even stop my racing heart from beating through my chest. It’s an unwelcome feeling that I’ve grown accustomed to since my first shot of this poison. The Lupron makes me feel shaky and anxious a lot, especially in the middle of the night. And 3:30 in the morning. 
But the healthy snacks don’t calm my anxiety about leaving for New Years. I am still wired and ready to go. I love my Arkansas family and friends, but I miss my home state. I miss the warm weather during the winter. I miss the sunshine. I miss other Gator fans, palm trees, and good seafood. I miss my beautiful sis, amazing brothers, and my precious niece, Bella.
The clock is getting closer to 4 a.m. as I  reach for my 2 lb bag of twizzlers. I never cared for candy in the past, but Lupron has an amazing way of making sticks of red sugar look appetizing. As I chew on the empty calories and load my bags into the car, my heart feels like it is going to burst with excitement. I can’t believe I’m actually going to Florida instead of laying in bed, recovering from another Lupron shot, this weekend. I can’t believe how blessed I am. 
Is it time to go yet? 
I’m still waiting. 
The hot flashes are burning my face. I keep removing my sweater, shirt, and tank. After about 20 minutes of hell, I layer them all back on, waiting for the cycle to repeat. I’m trying to figure out how to cope with the intense heat that is suffocating my face, neck, chest, and arms. These hot flashes are uncomfortable, but I’ll take them any day if they hold off the endo. 
The endo pain is here as well though. I’m trying to ignore it. Maybe it is just more side effects from the poison. The sharp stabbing pierces my ribs, ovaries, hip flexors, and pelvic bone. Maybe it was just my speed run yesterday. Maybe it’s something I ate. Maybe I am not taking the right supplements....or sleeping enough. Could insomnia cause pain? I’ll make myself believe anything at this point. Maybe it’s the weather. 
Time is creeping by slowly. It’s not even 5 a.m., but I’m getting in my car for the airport. The drive isn’t even 20 minutes away (if I listen to the GPS), but I want to arrive well before my 6:30 flight to freedom. 
I haven’t been home since this August, a month before my body collapsed on an 85 mile bike ride after bleeding for weeks. A month after falling apart physically, I’m tired of being trapped in my room.  I long to live again, hold my sister in the tightest embrace, and wrap my niece up in my arms. 
I drive to the airport with determination, ignoring the waves of nausea that threaten me. I even tell myself that the GPS knows better, despite the gnawing temptation to find a “short cut”. I listen to every turn...mostly. To keep my mind off the sickness that is racking my body, I sing loudly, almost shouting. 
I’m in the middle of belting out the lyrics of “Surrender” by Third day and reality hits.
“...you want to close your eyes 
and pretend that you are fine, 
but you’d be lying. 
And you want it back. 
The life that you once had...
’cause inside...you are..dying...
It’s time to surrender.
Hands up”. 
My voice fades away as my stomach begins to feel the curves of the country roads. 
"Hands up” is a whisper now. 
I can’t do this on my own, God.  I can’t do this at all. 
And with those thoughts running through my head, I am forced to pull over on the side of the road. The broccoli and twizzlers make their way back up my throat. I guess the junk food wasn’t ready for the winding journey. 
So here I am, in the dark early hours, leaning out of my car. The poison is twisting and yanking every ounce of food out of me. I don’t feel like there is anything left inside of me to throw up.
The familiar tears come. The drops of defeat that tug on my heart, pulling me into a pit of despair and “why me’s?”. This isn’t good, Lord. Not this morning. Not right now.
More hot flashes arrive. 
I honestly don’t know why I am crying. Maybe it is because I hate throwing up more than anything in the world. I hate it. I never understood how someone could actually make themselves throw up. In athletic training and sports, I had coaches tell me (when I was sick) to just get it over with so that I’d “feel better”. I could never do that. I could never make myself puke! I’d end up coughing and gagging then. 
But not anymore. Now it the nausea defeats me. The poison gathers all of my treats and spits them back up, refusing to take in any ounce of energy or nutrition. Lupron doesn’t seem to be like much of a help. More like an enemy. 
There is nothing left to throw up! I’m angry at myself. I’m such an idiot! What possessed me to eat broccoli and twizzlers at 3 in the morning? Especially right before I fly out? What is wrong with me??!!? 
I think the worst has left me. I think I am safe. As I look down, I see all the partially digested green and red treats sprayed across the pavement. And it makes me want to vomit some more. 
So, I quickly start the routine. I take a huge gulp of water and swish it around in my mouth before spitting out the familiar taste of rebellious food.  Then I reach for a piece of gum, trying to  convince my taste buds that it never really happened. 
After composing myself, I merge back onto the country highway, giving attention to every beck and call of my GPS. I figure I should show a little respect for the machine that I ignore so often. Only because I want to get home to Florida. Right now. 
I make it to the airport a little later than planned. But I am still ok. 
I grab my bags and run. The fear of not making my flight grips me. I’m still “ahead of schedule”, but the thought of missing my plane brings me to tears. So I try not to think. I’m just going to run. The swift movement makes me burp. Oh no, that’s not a good sign.
 Lord, keep this sickness away. Please.
I make it inside the tiny airport , which boasts one baggage claim and terminal. I am safe from all my fears. All I have to do is walk, give the man my checked luggage, and smile.
And then it happens again. 
Maybe it was the running that jostled my insides. Maybe it was my nerves and lack of sleep. Maybe it was the fragments of twizzlers and the broccoli, fighting ‘til Kingdom come. 
Or maybe it is just the Lupron, still invading my system, shutting down my womanhood, and leaving a world of disaster in its path. 
It doesn’t really matter now. I’m throwing up at the airport. Right in front of everybody. Don’t look! Don’t look! As I am waiting to hand off my belongings and check through security, my body continues to betray me. 
Every ounce of water. Every scrap of substance. Every part of my insides. The little left within my tired tummy is dispersed. And my body is still fighting to bring up more. 
I kneel on the ground, apologizing to the man in front of me, as tears and saliva drip down my cheeks and chin. Really, God? Really? Here? Now? 
The man asks me if I am ok. Do I have the flu? Am I pregnant? 
"I’m fine”, I reply.   
"I don’t have the flu. It must be the dang menopause drug”.
The man thinks I am crazy. 
"I don’t have the flu”. 
Maybe I should go sit down in a chair. He will get someone to clean up. 
“It isn’t much”, I say. Like vomit is made any better when it comes in small amounts.
Everyone is staring at me in this small country airport. Three ladies come over to me. “Here”, they say, “let us help you. Come sit down. Here are some wipes”. 
Wipes? I don’t need wipes. I need to get on my flight. 
The hot flashes came on stronger. And I start to sweat even more. I sip some of my water to help the scratchy feeling. The constant vomiting and dry mouth hurt my throat. 
And then I throw up again. Just water. 
The cleaning lady looks at me with disappointment. In my own disgust, I grab my bags and walk as fast I as I possible can to the restroom. My insides are still screaming to come up. 
God, really? 
I’m crying in the restroom. No, I’m sobbing. I am loud and obnoxious. Other women probably think that I lost someone. But no, it is just my food that was lost. And my healthy life. 
Lupron makes me very emotional. 
I swear it’s the Lupron. I admit that I’m a crier, but not like this. I don’t cry over vomit. I don’t shed tears when my body is hot and sweating. 
I hear my name being called as I lean over the bathroom counter, determined to make myself move. The pain is piercing my core and the nausea is weighing me down. The flight is making its last calls. “Get up, girl”, I say out loud. A small Asian woman in the restroom looks at me like I am crazy. I guess it is a little strange to give myself a pep talk right now.  
Despite feeling like hell, I make it back to the line. 
What time is it? 
“You’re too late”. 
No, I can’t be too late. It’s 6 a.m. right now. I have 30 minutes. 
“You can’t get on this flight. We will get you on another flight at.....12. Is that ok?”
No, it’s not ok, lady. But at this point I really don’t care. 
I don’t have the strength to argue with this woman. I don’t like confrontation anyway. I tell her that I’m fine with the next flight. The words that I wish I could to use are stuck in my mind. How can I be too late? I am here. The plane is still here. This airport is so small. I can see the plane. All I have to do is walk over there and climb the stairs, lady. 
But I keep the peace. I hold my tongue. 
And I miss my flight. I watch everyone board. And I see it take off. 
Without me. 
It appears that Lupron won out...for just a few more hours. 
And that’s fine. 
Because I trust God has a reason for this crazy disappointment. 
Maybe I was stupid in eating broccoli and twizzlers at 3 a.m. The stupidity of it all had occurred to me on the side of the road earlier, when I was puking it all up. But I have to stop beating myself up over it. 
I’m letting go of the candy and veggie binge that shook my insides this morning. I’m trying not to recall the embarrassment of kneeling on the carpet in the airport as I threw up. I’m doing my best to forget the pity stares and the whispers of how the gross situation. 
This is reality. This is life. 
Yes, I should have known better. I should have remembered the days before when everything came up early. I should have ignored the urge to eat veggies and candy before driving down winding roads in the country. I should have walked slowly into the airport instead of making a mad dash as I sloshed everything around. 
But I didn’t. 
So for now, I will wait right here. I will refuse my throat cough drops. I will pretend like water is not attainable. I will ignore the urge to find food, especially twizzlers, because I’m determined to get on the next plane. 
I will thank God for this extra time at the airport...and I will smile once again as I wait.
Because I "know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). 
ALL things include the mistake of eating the wrong things at all hours of the night and humiliating myself in the airport. 

All things  include endometriosis. Lupron. Hot Flashes. Pain. Tears. Cramps. Vomiting. Moodiness.
All things. 
As in missed flights, delayed hugs, and waiting at the airport alone as I watch the glorious sunrise. 

5 comments:

  1. Oh honey that sucks! I am so sorry! I hope you don't have to wait to long and you are in Florida before you know it!

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  2. I'm so deeply sorry that your day started out that way. Every step you make to battle endometriosis demonstrates your amazing strength of will and persistent faith. It may have delayed your progress, but I'm happy to hear it didn't stop you from getting to your hugs....and appreciating "the glorious sunrise."

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  3. I'm sorry friend. I'm just so sorry. I hate this drug so much, and I hate that you are having to fight through with it now. :(

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  4. Oh dear precious girl. I am reading this and crying. Crying that you have to go through such agony and despair. I pray that this evil awful drug keeps the endo away. I pray that you are going through this for a reason. I pray that you arrive safe in Florida and have a wonderful time with your family. Love and Blessings xoxo

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  5. Thank you so much for your prayers. I got to Florida safely and spent the rest of the day recovering in bed with my niece and sis. There’s nothing like family to make ya feel better.

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