Nearly seven and a half years ago I was approaching the beginning of a very personal war. It has been one battle after another, with a disengagement almost three years ago, then another full-scale, almost three year skirmish with all the big guns blazing away every day. (Since the closest I ever came to a real war was a father in the medical corps in WWII, my military-speak is pretty laughable, but it's honest!)
At the beginning, my right side was entirely numb from the middle rib to my toes. My right foot was a purple lump like raw meat. My foot wouldn't lift off the floor and I soon was on a walker. I remember being at the Virginia State Fair Goat Show, showing our goats, and taking my first Rifampin, and one week later, adding Doxy. Some time later - days or weeks - I was in my usual flat-on-my-back state and trying foggily to add single-digit numbers. I couldn't, and am still missing about a year and a half of memory. That is definitely a fair price to pay for so many gains over the years,
At the risk of boring some, I am going to list some gains: I walk with no help, cane or walker; I can swallow without choking (my husband had to do the Heimlich on me twice); I no longer get exhausted, but have very close to normal fatigue; my right arm works again - though I am left-handed, two hands are nice to have; my skin is no longer dissolving and falling off, small recurrent skin infections are entirely gone; my hair has all come back - not that I had much to begin with; I can use a hammer and saw with at least two-thirds the dexterity I could before - this was important when we built four barns and redid a one hundred year old house. My vertigo of fifty years (progressively worsening) is entirely gone. My fifty year sinusitis, also progressively worsening, and developing into deep chest infections with lingering cough, is entirely gone. I was a professional violinist, but that is not a part-time occupation. I have not tried to play.
My final point of this is that this blog may be premature: I am definitely not done. Last fall was the second to last episode in my body of progressively elevating areas of attack. After several years ( I cannot pin down the times very well), starting with my feet and lower legs, my right knee was incredibly painful - soon after the time of my bi-lateral mastectomy for breast cancer in 2009 - a few months later my hips were in agony, then my back was worked on feverishly, then last fall for about three months, my neck was very nearly frozen with pain. Then in January, that stopped and I had a few weeks of relative peace. Then we went to St. Louis for a family bat mitzvah, when I took NO abx for 36 to 48hours. As we flew home on Sunday, I took all abx again, and by Tuesday my head was swimming.
So for the last three to four weeks, the battleground has been, quite literally, my brain. I have described it as walking underwater with the water swirling around. That makes walking a challenge, though sitting down and milking is ok. In other words, thinking is good now. This thing, as far as I can tell, has no place left to go. I am really, really hoping that this is the last. Maybe there is something I don't know about - or maybe there is just that magic place of "no reaction". Time (maybe a few months) will tell me. As I repeat over again - the battle has been worth it. I am walking around breathing.