New year, old drama

I have resisted talking about what’s going on in my life right now because I haven’t been sure how to communicate it to the strangers and friends who read this blog. I’ve resisted because I’ve spent a lot of time talking with friends (and my therapist) about it. I’ve resisted so much, in fact, that I became reluctant to post anything here, and I’ve got some happy and silly stories that I want to share.

Anyways, here’s the deal: I basically was sick or weak from being sick from mid-September until the end of December. I’ve been sick a few other times this year, and have struggled with allergy symptoms, and have had a sudden increase in the frequency of headaches. I asked my primary care doctor if we could look at my immune system, because this is not the first year during which I’ve gotten sick a LOT, and she agreed that it was time. A chest x-ray was clear, but some bloodwork was odd, and my doctor referred me to a specialist who treats patients with allergy or immunology conditions. She ordered more bloodwork and some allergy testing and is referring me to a neurologist about the headaches; I am in the middle of this now. Given some of my professional background in mammal biology and my scientific training, I’ve managed to convince myself, with the aid of web searches, that I am possibly contending with a major problem. (Have you heard of medical student syndrome? It’s when med students diagnose themselves with everything, because they know what exists and overinterpret symptoms. I’m a PhD version of that. ;-)) I am trying to calm myself with the knowledge that it could be a year of bad luck and smaller conditions on top of that – maybe I need different treatment of my anxiety and depression, for instance. But my health has affected my work this year, and it has been very hard not to worry about the future in the presence of this new kind of uncertainty. I hope to know more in a few days, but also know that it might be awhile before there are answers here.

Being a member of my family makes it that much scarier, or sadder, or frustrating, some days.

I know my father loves me very much and is worried about me, but last night when we were discussing this week being my week o’ doctor’s appointments, he said something that really hurt. He commented that if I were my sister, I’d have even bigger problems. Which…I knew, of course, and is something that I live with a lot, as many of us sibs do, I imagine. It both felt fair, as however awful I feel these days, I am able to go to work sometimes and feed myself and watch television and such, and unfair, because whatever is wrong could be serious and we just don’t know yet. But I am fully aware of the fact that her life is more complicated than mine, and that my desire for comfort is so strong right now that I don’t want to care. (The old drama of the post title? Our old friend sibling rivalry! Because I’m 100% sure that other sibs have conflict over parental attention when they feel bad.)

So for the moment, I am in a holding pattern. I know I will write more about this when I have more information, because it’s a big deal to me, as a sibling, to be in a process of diagnosis for myself. I will also try to post some holiday stories, from Thanksgiving and Chanukah. In the meantime, I will leave you with some Lily moments that have made me laugh:

– Lily tried to blow on her soup to cool it, my mother told me. The only problem was that she was blowing in the wrong direction!
– One of Lily’s latest fascinations is with whipped cream on top of her desserts. When I was visiting for Thanksgiving and she had been given some ice cream for dessert, she made a request for something my parents didn’t at first understand – and you can bet that I did! I watched in silent amusement for a minute before offering that Lily had requested “cream” – as in whipped cream – and everyone had a good laugh. And yes, Lily got her whipped cream.
– In a phone conversation awhile ago, Mom and Lily and I were chatting about how a water line broke near where I live and caused a shutdown of my water supply. Mom said I could use their shower (in jest; we live thousands of miles apart) and I replied that I would use Lily’s shower, in her apartment, so as to have some quiet. Mom asked Lily if that would be okay, and the immediate, stony reply was, “No!”

May the new year be happy and healthy for us all!


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