Slugging it Out with My First World Problems

16 Dec

I spent the first two weeks upon our return with little desire to see anyone outside of family.  Feeling this way surprised me, as I anticipated being eager to get out and see people.  I saw my local hematologist mid November and was cleared for public gatherings, as my WBC count was normal.  This did not bring me the excitement I expected, but rather a feeling of anxiety.

I am discussing this because I don’t feel like I can make a health update without first addressing what this incredible, terrifying  and exhilarating adventure has done to my mind.  When I felt that pang of anxiety at being cleared to attend public gatherings, I knew that I was going to have to be honest about why I didn’t want to get out and see people.  It wasn’t because I was scared of their germs, but because I was/(am still just a little) feeling overwhelmed and depressed.

I’m not curled-up-in-bed, have-meals-brought-to-me kind of depressed.  I still wear mascara to the grocery store most days.   I expected that I would feel a little bummed when we returned and had already prepared my brain for it.  I prepared my ego for the beating of going from glowing praise from all corners of the earth to laundry, dishes, dinners they hate, and e-mails/phone calls to return.   I just didn’t prepare for the feeling to be as heavy and imposing as it has.

I could turn this into a thousand word essay about how international bone marrow transplant, isolation, stacks of C.S. Lewis and regular doses of internet applause can bring on mild depression, but I’ll let you write it.   I am attacking these blues with very easy to manage daily to-do lists and today’s list includes “update the ninja blog and stop being such a melodramatic diva, for crying out loud.”  It’s hard not to feel like a diva when a simple thing like a blog post makes you go wrist to forehead in a fainting fall.

It is easier to slug through these feeling when I know that my health is measurably improving at a steadily creeping pace.  (I should totally write segues for the local news.  Did you see what I did there?)

I’ve heard it said that symptoms of disease improve in the reverse order of appearance.  This may not be true, but it has so far been my experience.  I only started to use a cane in the last two years and the need of a cane left me while still in Russia.  This improvement in my balance has led to change in the overall way that I walk, take stairs, and stand.

I still fatigue very easily, but it is a different feeling kind of fatigue.  Heat does not bring it on and my cognitive thinking does not diminish with it.  I suspect that it is lingering chemo fatigue.

I begin physical therapy after the holidays.  I look forward to it as an opportunity to really measure my improvements.  It takes 12-18 months to see the full benefit of HSCT, and I can’t help but be very optimistic when I consider where I am today, after only two months since transplant.

I am sure I could report on more, but I am going to go ahead and post this update as is before I can over-analyze it to bits and pieces.   It continues to be a joy to share this journey to the other side of MS with you, even if we detoured for a spell.  Thank you for all the prayer, the constant love, and the abundant support.  I love you all and I mean just as much as ever.  Have a very Merry Christmas and I’ll see you all in 2013.

18 Responses to “Slugging it Out with My First World Problems”

  1. sarah s chicken December 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    still love you, even when youre depressed and isolationist. you can do this.

  2. Karen December 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Amy, I am Ginger’s new friend in Colorado Springs. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy in May of 2011 with chemo and radiation following. I completed my radiation on December 17th of 2011 and then had some follow up reconstructive surgeries done over the course of 2012 that were finished in August. I am just beginning to feel normal (energy levels) and I revel in that. It is so hard to adjust to the fact that it takes the body a very LONG time to heal. God is in control, as I know you believe, and with each passing month, you will feel better, little by little. It creeps up on you. Give yourself the gift of time. Love you even though I only know you through Ginger and this blog. Karen

  3. Su December 16, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    I still think you’re amazing! 🙂 Also, I’m going to work really hard to get “for crying out loud” on my to-do list this week. The problem will be narrowing down what to stick it onto, truth be told…

  4. Brooke Slick December 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    What you did was no small feat. It was HUGE. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, geographically, culturally…HUGE!!! Even Superman takes off his cape sometimes. You’ll know when you’re ready to put yours back on. And, we’ll be here waiting. 🙂

  5. Ronnie Patterson December 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    Amy Peterson, you have been through an amazing journey that has taken you to Russia and back. You were isolated from alot of people for quite a while. It is okay to be feeling overwhelmed and a little anxiety. I truly believe that this is a natural reaction to all that you have been through. Take the time you need and enjoy your family!!! Have an awesome holiday with your babies!!! Everyone else will waiting for your wonderful appearance when you are ready!!! You are an amazing person!!! 🙂

  6. Wendy Nash December 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Completely understand! Even though my transplant was done in the USA (Chicago), I still kinda stayed out of the crowd for about 6 weeks. I just didn’t feel “healthy” enough to do that. I went to the grocery and pharmacy during slow times, but other than that, stayed pretty close to home. Enjoy this time as you recuperate and get out when you are ready! I’m out and about now almost as much as I want to be so it will come. You are an outgoing person like I am and you will know when the time is right for you to “blossom” out! 🙂 Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours! God bless you all too!

  7. Patricia Kitchen December 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Bless you Amy. Do it any way you want. Your readers will enjoy your updates whenever you get to them. I wish you well. Merry Christmas 🙂

  8. Laura H... December 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I am with Patricia on this one. You just went through a HUGE life changing event. You have been changed, and not just physically. Do it your way, Amy, even when you don’t know what that way is. God will be the constant in your life, no matter what you go through. The constant, never changing, always loving One. And the majority of us will follow along on your journey because you shine a Light that is pure. We love you and wish the best, dear Ninja Warrior. ^-^

  9. ericasteele December 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Love your honesty, as always. Keep throwing out the “whatever dude”s and it will come. Sending love and prayers for your peace, strength and healing.

  10. telaine57 December 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Amy, you probably don’t remember very much about my bout with a form of Guillain Barre syndrome as you were very young, but I found myself in a similar state of mind. My physical problems were decreasing and yet my emotional state was very low for quite a while. Because my health was improving I beat myself up because the depression didn’t make sense to me. I did find out much later that some of the medications were partly to blame but giving yourself time to adjust is not unreasonable at all. Remember how much you are loved. Use the resources of loving individuals God places around you for sounding boards, advice and hugs and keep looking forward knowing that this too shall pass. Love you bunches sweetie!

    • Janette Scarborough December 17, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Psalm 3: 3 KJ
      “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

      When I was living in Lubbock I took Hebrew for a couple of years from a Rabbi . . . one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever known. During this class I learned something about the above scripture; if a Jew had a friend or family member going through tough times and by chance encountered him on the street, he would simply walk over to that person and place his hand under his chin and lift his head high. Without a word being spoken, he signified this; I am with you and I will support you through this trouble.

      This is what this scripture means. Your Lord is your Glory and he will lift your head. He will see you through. Be patient. He is there.
      This scripture took on a whole new meaning after I learned this . . . that He would come and lift my spirits . . . walk me through, and being my friend/brother/Savior is beyond my ability to translate into words. I began to sing that chorus differently that I had done in the past. What an awesome God we have and He will lift your head.

      Psalm 3: 3 – 5
      “But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.”

      Lie down and sleep Amy.

  11. Pat Walt December 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    Amy, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER THIS E-MAIL!! My prayers are with you as you go through a natural, “let down”, phase after the intensity of your Russian experiences! Allow yourself the time to recover! Sounds to me that you are on the right track with what you are doing now! God Bless you with patience and peace!!

  12. Mike Glenn December 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    WOW! What wonderful replies from these encouragers, supporters, and pray-ers….So much inspiration given to you, Scripture and assurances of love and prayers as you are on on the other side of this mountain…..God knows and understands all that you are dealing with….He has been with you each step of this journey and is not about to forsake you now….You are on the way to healing and you still remain in His care….
    Be encouraged that many love you and you remain in our prayers….
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year….
    We will hear from you soon….

  13. Holly M December 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    I have looked forward to seeing your updates – the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks for sharing and keeping it real. Keep smiling on the good days and let yourself have a good cry on the bad days. Just one day at a time – you can do it!

    • Janette Scarborough December 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      Hitting the sack and saying a special prayer for you.

  14. Chera Cox December 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    You are in my prayers daily! Let God “mold” you once again and you will know when you are ready to face the world…and when that day comes we better watch out! :o) You’re awesome Amy! Have a very Merry Christmas with your precious family and tell your folks Howdy for me! HUGS!

  15. Trenah December 18, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    can relate. ‘Slugging it out’ is a good term and I too still wear mascara.

  16. Linda Luckstead Benskin December 19, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    You are still a rock star with fans around the world, girl, and we still pray for you to continue to recover. Long road ahead, but just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and you will find yourself moving down it. Although, there is something to be said for stopping to look at your surroundings too, which is what a little dose of depression allows us to do. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas!

Honest Truth About Me: I'm going to need a lot of cheer leading to see this through. Your comments and encouragement mean the world to me.

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