January 13, 2014

The Whole Thing

(I have to admit, first and foremost, that I've been typing for days - literally - and trying to find some sort of narrative that describes the last few months in amusing yet poignant detail. I've failed. As my kids say, you get what you get and you don't get upset.)

I've been verbose in my account of my health issues almost everywhere else but here. Which is odd since this is my place, and has been for ten years. It's time to set the record straight.

In September I developed a strange rash on my face. Though rash is really disingenuous to whatever fancy - and insanely painful thing - this has become. In October I finally got off my ass and went to the doctor. In the interim, it caused fevers, pain, general embarrassment, insane irritation and a mostly gray beard. On Thursday, as I was preparing to see another specialist, I tried to piece together my medical history over the last four months and realized that I've now seen eight doctors, been on five antibiotics, rotated through six rounds of steroids, been rendered unable to walk, and totally ruined my digestive system.

On Thursday, I had a biopsy. I didn't see it coming. It wasn't something I was prepared for though the fact that I walked into a room with a weird, low, electric chair should have been something of a clue. But I didn't totally process it. Getting your numbed neck sewed up is, in retrospect, disarming. I don't recommend it. I'm not squeamish but I almost passed out.

On Friday, I saw an immunologist. My back was stickered and more blood than I thought possible was wrestled from my cardiovascular system. I was forced to avoid showering for 48 hours which made the shower last night not only wonderous but absolutely necessary. Beth was forced to draw on me with a sharpie and take pictures of the colorful and slightly terrifying reactions that had taken place on my back. Sweet, sweet testing. Fingers crossed it amounts to something.

On Saturday I woke up at 3:45 in the morning with a basic understanding that something wasn't right. I sleepily made my way into the bathroom, looked in the mirror and saw that my face was about twice its normal size. I was like the kid from Mask without the prosthetics or Cher. Eventually I fell asleep. The kids woke me up the next morning and I did my absolute best to convince them that the Rolling Stones logo was modeled after me but they didn't buy it. I gobbled down steroids with my morning coffee - only barely able to keep it in my mouth through swollen lips - along with the banana which would hopefully keep my legs from cramping - and ended up having a wonderful day watching my kids play basketball (and Mia's game was more awesome than any NBA game I've ever seen) and having my folks over for dinner.

This weekend I posted something about my biopsy on Facebook and a long time friend and reader reached out to me to tell me that she'd just had both her cancerous breasts removed. And if I needed to talk she was there. If I needed to talk. That was humbling.

I don't have cancer. I have something that's insanely annoying and painful but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to die of. I have both legs, both arms, a perfectly functional (though sometimes dense) brain, two wonderful children and a beautiful wife who calls me on every ounce of my bullshit. It this annoying (the face thing, not Beth calling me on my bullshit, though that can definitely be annoying)? Yes. Is it scary? Absolutely. But I will find the answer and I will kick its ass.

Posted by Chris at January 13, 2014 7:36 AM | TrackBack

My darling, I call you on no more than half of your bullshit.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at January 13, 2014 11:28 AM

Not wielding the advice sword--just wanted you to know I keep you in good thoughts. oh, and I heard that coconut water has 16x the amount of potassium, if that helps. Take good care of yourself.

Posted by: bacioni at January 13, 2014 12:27 PM

But coconut water tastes like coconut pee. I hope the roid rage ends soon and the amrt docs take pictures of your face, write up a good case history and cure you. Like, yesterday. Checked out the FB- I like the beard but I'm wed to a guy with a beard. I know you will be deliriously happy to get rid of it but for now? It's not a bad look.

Posted by: rebecca at January 13, 2014 12:38 PM

hang in there... the long term steriods are no fun - my sister was on them for 6 months a while back. She was slightly crazy, but she could breathe :) Does the Post still do their Medical Mystery articles?

Posted by: Sue R at January 13, 2014 12:45 PM

Hang in there, Cactus!

Posted by: James Proffitt at January 13, 2014 1:44 PM

Crap like this tosses a money wrench into your life. I hope it ends soon and your blessed with normalcy and good health.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at January 13, 2014 1:59 PM

Hang in there! I feel your pain. I am 6 months in on breathing, numbness, and dizziness...rounds and rounds of doctors, but no answers yet.

Although mine isn't visible on my face...I do feel bad for you for that...but not knowing somehow makes it worse!

Keep your head up and stay positive! Attitude is everything!

Posted by: Kristin at January 13, 2014 2:09 PM

Hang in there! This too shall pass! I hope it passes sooner than later and I'll continue to keep you in my thoughts and send you good karma!

Posted by: cyndy at January 13, 2014 4:57 PM

It's scary. So many of my friends are on the "Medical Mystery Tour". I hope your MMT ends sooner rather than later!

Posted by: Diane C at January 14, 2014 7:48 AM

Ugh, that does not sound like fun. I hope they figure it out soon and you get to start feeling better.

Posted by: Hillary at January 14, 2014 9:20 AM

Sending positive thoughts your way!

Posted by: AlisonC at January 14, 2014 4:51 PM

It often seems to me that not knowing what you're dealing with is worse than dealing with it. I hope they figure out what has you and how to attack it soon. Keeping you in my thoughts.

Posted by: Annie at January 15, 2014 10:53 AM

I can't believe you've been going through this! It sounds horrible!

Posted by: Zandria at January 15, 2014 12:56 PM

Just don't stop writing. Hang in there.

Posted by: MW at January 16, 2014 2:34 PM

hang in there. enjoy your blog.

Posted by: MW at January 16, 2014 2:35 PM
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