The beginning of the conversation : Feeling NumbPosted: November 13, 2012
I remember the appointment that relative “health” was dangled in front of my for the first time. I had spent the previous two days having a battery of tests done. I felt thoroughly looked at, poked, prodded, and stabbed. I walked into that consultation having no idea what to expect, no idea what I hoped would be said. I went alone. I used to hate going alone, I’d always drag a friend along with me. But recently I started to prefer going alone, these appointments could be emotionally charged, and full of information to be processed. I like to be alone, to have the quiet in which to process after, and to let the tears fall freely before facing the eyes of another who knows me well. So, alone I was.
After the usual sharing of symptoms, being examined, answering questions, it was his turn to speak, to offer his thoughts of where my disease was at. He spoke those words and for some reason they didn’t fully shock me “You’re just about in remission”. I looked at him and smiled faintly, why it wasn’t full happiness I don’t know. Perhaps it was because he had said those words before, and then a few days later I was back in the ER. Maybe it was because I didn’t fully believe him. It could have been because I knew remission didn’t mean the end of the journey, it simply meant the start of a new road. Or it could have simply been because I didn’t want to let myself hope too much, I had done that in the past, and I knew the agony of having hopes crushed.
He continued; “We’re going to start slowly weaning you off all your medications.” That’s when the smile broke out fully. I hated using the plethora of medications I was, to be free from them, even for a short while would be fantastic. He bored me with all the facts, and risks, and details of how it would work.
The next thing he said is what this is all about. “Once you’re off the meds there’s one of two ways this can go. Either your body will cope, and stay in remission. It will adjust and start working on it’s own again. We’ll then talk about pain management and ONE long-term drug. OR your body could rebel, it could have a huge relapse which will most likely result in major surgery. It’s unlikely to be anything in between.” I simply looked at him emotionless and nodded. A sign I had understood. “It’s likely it will be the second, but I’m hopeful it could be the first. You don’t have a great track record, but this time things are looking different.” I nodded again. “You understand don’t you? This could be great, but it might end nastily.” I nodded a third time, “I understand. Things might not work out, as normal. But you really think that this time, they could?” “Yes, this time it’s looking different, but I don’t want you to get your hopes up too high.” I understood. We ended the appointment.
I walked out having had decent health offered to me, talked about, for the first time in years. With caution attached, but still sitting in front of me. Yet I felt numb. It was probably the first time I’ve walked out of there not in tears, and the receptionist followed me with her gaze as I walked past. We had gotten to know each other by name now, and she was probably surprised to see me in such a state.
As I drove home, I felt bothered by my lack of emotion. By my numbness. So I pulled over. This was often my practice after such appointments. Normally I would pull over, unable to see for the tears flooding my eyes. Crying out to God, begging him to let me be well, to let me get on with life again, to not be in constant pain, not be constantly exhausted, to make my body work again. I would rarely, if ever, pray for total healing, just an ease of symptoms for a while. Just enough to go back to the home and work I love.
Sat in the car, this time with dry eyes, I poured my heart out to God once more. Telling him what was on my mind. Why did I feel so numb? Why was I not hopeful. Why was I not pleased that there could be hope? Why was I not fearful of the prospect of another surgery? As I did, I didn’t hear him speak, but I realized what this numbness was about. I didn’t care. I was stuck. I didn’t know which way I wanted it to go. For a great deal of time now I’d been longing after some semblance of health, but now it was presented to me, I wasn’t even that eager to take it. There were surely benefits to it, and it felt ungrateful not to take a precious gift; but there were fears and unknowns, important decisions, and big changes that went along with it. The route of relapse most definitely had its downfalls, and it seemed silly to walk right into them; but it also offered a routine I knew, a stability of sorts, and the comfort of familiarity.
I was torn, I did not know what I wanted to happen. For the first time I realized that maybe, just maybe, being “healthy” again wouldn’t be quite as simple or joyous as I had imagined.
I’d love you to join in the conversation, it’s important.
When was the first time you heard you had a chance of relative health? What was your reaction?
Have you ever felt numb after receiving good news?