Monday, January 30, 2012

life with one kidney

Life with one kidney has been remarkably like life with 2 kidneys. After recovering from the surgery I haven't noticed any difference. I feel the same. Except for scars I look the same. I ride my bike just as far, practice yoga just as much, no difference in my appetite or sleep. I don't crave anything new, feel anything new—all's generally been status quo.

Until last week. When I got sick.

A week ago today a fever started that lasted for days. All I could do was crash in bed for hours at a time, too exhausted to move unless I absolutely had to. The first day my head felt like it was crushing in on itself, pounding, roaring. I drank water until my insides were swimming along with endless cups of ginger tea. By Wednesday night, I started taking antibiotics, something I'm loathe to do (my dread of medicine is a post for another day). It seemed as if a sinus infection, something I'm prone to, had snuck in and taken hold. By Thursday the fever basically broke. But something else set in. Profound, earth-shaking, soul-destroying, life-challenging anxiety.

The meds messed with my digestive system, something that normally doesn't happen. I lost my appetite. Couldn't keep food in. Spent hours in the bathroom with monstrous cramps.

Add to that, my period was late. Not that late but things seem to be shifting and my normally clock like schedule isn't so automatic anymore.

This has been me for days. Barely holding on. Desperately trying not to fall apart. Afraid I won't be ok.

I'm having a really hard time.

I realized, during a few moments today of not being on this very thin edge, that on some level I've been scared about getting sick. Would my body handle things with just one kidney? Not only that, I'm sure it's been deep inside my insides too. Surgery wasn't that long ago. My body is still learning and growing and adjusting. For a couple of hours today the anxiety stopped and I was me again. Nervous but ok.

That's gone.

I know it'll be back.

But I'm terrified it won't happen soon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

shaky ground

I'm not in a great place right now. Too many things feel shaky under my feet. Too many unknowns. Too many question marks. Too many situations out of my control.

There's still a mouse in my house. I've gone from being a person who stands screaming on a chair to someone who's been co-habitating with one medium grey mouse (or mice, who knows) for weeks now. I saw one climb through the vent in my stove 2 nights ago. Trust me, no one should ever have to see that. It's hard to cook. It's hard to even go into the kitchen at this point. I'm trying to stay calm about it all, but it's fraying my edges more than a bit. Anxious to be in my house.

I've been sick all week. Fever sick. So tired I've spent much of the past 3 days lying on top of my blankets, half awake, half out of it, waiting for the pressure in my head to subside, worried about all the terrible medical disasters in my future. Anxious about what's wrong.

Middle and high school stuff is moving back to the forefront. Big tests in a week. First results in a month. The tension is starting to bubble below the surface. These are potential ego-bruising, crushes for my kids and there's nothing I can do to protect them or make it better or soften blows. Watching the people you love most in the world hurt and not be able to take it away is a pain I never knew could be so overwhelming. Anxious for what might be.

We're supposed to start splitting the kid's room next month only every single step of the process has been fraught with ineptitude, miscommunication and misinformation. And should the pieces fall into place it means a huge construction project, a vast amount of work and a bigger mess than I've ever had to contend with. Anxious for not knowing what's happening.

I haven't been to yoga since last weekend. Too sore. Too tired. Too sick. But I miss the space and the breathing and the routine. Anxious without my soul's home.

I don't know if tomorrow's going to be any better. I'm floating in this grey mist without much to hold onto and nothing concrete in sight.

I hate this place. But I guess it's part of the journey.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

writing: day 3

Instead of writing here, about my fever and being overcome with mucous at the moment, I'm working on a Huffington Post piece about teen pregnancy and how disappointing/shocking it is at this point in history that girls are so clueless about how their bodies work.

All I can say is my children won't be.

Monday, January 23, 2012

not an auspicious beginning

I've been feeling tired for a couple of days. Achy. Out of breath after climbing up the very long flights of stairs to yoga. Took a 2 hour nap on Saturday and yesterday was so exhausted it was hard to move.

Took a yoga class anyone and felt/feel aches and pains in my legs I've never felt before.

In spite of being profoundly tired last night I couldn't sleep. I don't think it was the Giants win in the championship game—the reason other people in my house were wide awake. I was on the verge of coughing all night, my head throbbed, not in a headache way but in a skull too tight around my brain way.

And this morning it was hard to move. I managed, not sure how, to take Jack shopping at 8 for a Giants conference champions t-shirt and hat. Got him to school.

Got back in bed. 3 hours later I woke up with 100.7.

I thankfully don't get sick often because with illness comes anxiety that something terrible is wrong. It makes it hard to relax and heal when horrific scenarios dance easily through my head.

Nice though that it's Monday and I'm alone until 3. But as day 2 of my commitment to write, I'm left with very little energy to craft anything.

Back to bed.

Hope tomorrow's better.

Hey, hope this afternoon's better.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

not a mid life crisis

This post is going to be a bit all over the place but it's been awhile since I last wrote here. In fact, it's been awhile since I wrote in general. One of my many new year's resolutions was to write on a consistent, in fact daily basis. Hasn't happened once. And I don't usually make resolutions or intentions as one of my wise yoga teachers suggested. But, after the past year of kidney-mania, I felt like I needed a more concrete structure to get me back on my creative track.

Didn't work.

There's so much I could/should be working on. The story of my donation journey, both in book and play form. The fiction idea my kids swear is what should be next on my to-do list. The initial proposal for a documentary I'm brainstorming with a friend. The intro to yoga book. A bigger arcing memoir (although I'm not sure who would read it). Even blogging, which I used to do just about every single day. 

I even gave up writing my morning pages last week after months of scribbling in the dark at 5:30am.

I'd bought myself a new laptop as motivation.

I swore I'd explore new coffee shops every day, to find a comfortable place to write. Only I gave up coffee last year. Hot chocolate too, which limits what I can actually buy if I went to one.

Somehow I'm not anxious about it. Not in the usual way I am when nothing's going on. Not in the dulled, complacent way I was when I was on meds for a year and a half. It's almost like things are starting to bubble slightly below the surface. People have been arriving at my doorstep lately, asking for advice, input, motivation for their own projects. There's karma in this that's nurturing my soul.  

I've been designing more than usual—as it's been awhile I forgot the flow I get lost in when working through a job. 

There's a purpose coming back that I lost for awhile. I'm connecting more after hiding away in a corner of myself, healing from all I'd been through. I think the kidney thing took much more out of me than I realized. Aside from the actual surgery, the months leading up to it and the recovery afterwards took a toll on my soul that's only now really starting to lighten. 

Which leads me to the above photo. My first tattoo. A thank you gift from my brother for my kidney. I wanted it to commemorate what was one of the most important experiences of my life. To remind me that I'm far braver than I think I am, when anxiety pops in for a visit. But I'm realizing it's also a symbol that it's time to move on. Get back to myself. Go forward and create again. 

That part of my life is over. It will always be with me but it's not my present.

I'm still not sure what my present will be but I'm making a sadhana, a 40 day commitment to write every day, both here and working towards whichever project feels like it's meant to happen.

Day one feels good. Sometimes I forget how writing has become so much a part of me.