February 11, 2014

an update of sorts

It was a grace-sandwich: two pieces of unexpected comfort served up cold, smashed on the front and back sides of the kind of news that sticks in your throat and three months later is still hard to swallow.

It started with a phone call from my doctor, several missed calls, and the realization that our relationship is not an ordinary one. He’d called several days in a row, but I was studying, skeptical that he would have an instant fix that was worth walking out of class to discuss.

It was Friday morning when I called him back, and the receptionist stuck him on the line seconds after I said hello. He’d told me before that he keeps my chart on his desk, and it humbles me to think of him thumbing through stacks of paperwork, making sure my symptoms aren’t a match.

When he got on the phone that afternoon, he didn’t waste words: a new study showed that women with all of my main symptoms, cluster headaches and acute migraines and chronic fatigue, were experiencing excellent results, alleviated pain, with one pill. He called the pharmacy as soon as we hung up, and a few hours later, I felt great. Over the years, I had actually forgotten what it’s like to feel well, and at the realization, I wept.

I’ve been sick for over a decade, diagnosed with neurologic Lyme disease three years ago, undergoing treatment ever since. That night, as soon as I started to feel better, I called the doctor’s office and celebrated with nurses and texted the news to friends and family, and we praised God for how He heals.

The next morning, I woke up and awaited a similar response, assuming it would come after I took the second pill, but it never came. By the evening, I had built a blanket-nest on the bathroom floor and was unable to walk, sleep, eat. My body had rejected the medicine and reversed its effects, and my hope was replaced with a hurt I felt no one would ever understand.