Thursday, July 23, 2015

What Would You Do?

What would you do if the person you love more than anything got sick and nobody could figure out what it was or why it happened?

What would you do if, after visiting doctor after doctor and having test after test, you had to watch your partner be told "it's all in your head" as he only got sicker and sicker?

What would you do, when, after knocking on what seems like the door of every doctor in the country you finally found one who believed him and could treat him?

What would you do if that doctor told you that one crucial step to treatment was avoidance, in effect cutting off the head of the beast that got him sick -- and that meant losing your dream home and every. single. thing. inside it?

What would you do if your clothes and hair were so contaminated by the thing that makes your partner sick that it meant you couldn't live together until he recovered?

What would you do if people you loved questioned your commitment to your partner, at a time when he was in greatest need, and doubted your relationship?

What would you do if helping your partner get better meant debt, loss of friends, and that people sometimes didn't believe you?

What would you do if, no matter how many times you explained it, people still couldn't seem to understand the depth of this illness and said, "but he doesn't look sick"?

What would you do when, at 39-years-old, you had to move back in with your parents "for now," knowing that "for now" means indefinitely?

What would you do if you had to travel long distances regularly to see the miracle doctors who were giving your partner back his life?

What would you do if insurance didn't cover the miracle doctors, treatments, travel, or tests?

What would you do?

Over the past several years, I've found myself asking all of these questions. And the answers were always much easier than you'd think.

You'd fight like hell to find answers for your loved one.

You'd believe and reassure your partner, because you've watched him slowly decline.

You'd cry your eyes out because you finally found someone who could help you -- a doctor named Hope.

You'd cry again, over the things you we're losing, but know that what you'd be gaining -- your partner's health, your marriage, your life -- would be infinitely more valuable than anything tangible.

You'd look ahead to the days when you WILL be together instead of lamenting the ones you're apart, making the most of the time you are able to be together in the meantime. 

You'd cut naysayers loose, shrug off false friends, and lean on the ones who do support you, who are unconditionally there for you, offering reassurance instead of strife. You'd count every word of encouragement, of love, of healthy wishes as a blessing and live on those when the days were darkest.

You'd keep fighting like hell, like hell, like hell -- even on the days when it felt like hell.

You'd explain it again, and again, and again -- as many times as it took for people to get how sick he is, how easily anyone might be stricken, that this is real even though it doesn't quite have a name.

You'd bitch and complain. And you'd be grateful as hell that you have a safety net with people who love you and don't mind when you bitch and complain. And then maybe you'd bitch a little more.

You'd get up early and you'd stay up late and you'd know that every trip back and forth was a step closer to wellness and a chance for you to be together again.

You'd pay and you'd fight and you'd do anything you could because health shouldn't have a pricetag.

You'd never, ever give up because real love means that you fight for the person you love when they can't always fight for themselves. You fight, because you know he'd do it for you. And you keep fighting, together, because for better or worse sometimes means the worst.

For more information about environmental illness, mold, and mycotoxin poisoning, read here, here, and here, and watch video here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tested

Some days, I feel like I'm being tested. If I'm honest, the last couple of years, nearly every day, I've felt tested. This past weekend, the AC unit broke resulting in a flood in my room. Carpet was ripped up, blowers were installed, I was displaced. Nothing to go to pieces about, really, except that when you are in a constant state of unease, taking away one's "fortress of solitude" feels like the straw that broke the camel's back.

But in those moments this weekend (and in the ensuing days of ongoing disarray), there were little messages reminding me that I'm not being tested alone. That I'm not the disaster I often feel like I am. That I am loved.

Sunday, during a text exchange with a friend, she said to me, "Thanks for being such a good friend! To all of us who get to call you a friend." Reminder. 

Sunday afternoon, visiting a restaurant I hadn't been to in months, our favorite manager said to me, "Where have you been? I've been missing you and WH!" and followed with a big, sincere hug. Reminder. 

Monday afternoon, after lamenting on Twitter my displacement, another wonderful friend surprised me with a cake delivery at work. Just because. It left me speechless and happy. Reminder.

Yesterday morning, I was telling a colleague about my plans for the weekend which include a visit from a very dear friend, his partner, and their three "tornadoes." She said to me, "I really admire how much you value the people in your life. It's really remarkable how you keep in touch with people and show them what they mean to you." Reminder. 

This morning, a "good morning" text from another dear friend checking in to say hello because she hadn't heard from me in awhile. Reminder.

Yesterday, today, and every day, my friend @RedVelvetEsq is doing something to make me smile. Whether it was yesterday's email, "I don't want anything except to say hello. And, that I love you." Or this morning's request for advice and an offer of support. Or just knowing she's a pillar on my porch. Reminder.

If being tested means I get these little reminders, then I'll take it. And I'll pass with flying colors.