Several month before leaving Germany, I really struggled with my health. So bad that at one point I saw a doctor who helped me a great deal. However the treatment and the results were temporary, and just a bandaid to mask the pain until more money would be invested in the research of pinpointing permanent corrections. I thought that the RA was acting up, but he said that this wasn’t the case. The culprit had to do with stress and super high inflammation and allergy levels. The medicine he gave me provided a little break, but eventually didn’t seem to have much affect anymore, or wore off. Both of my shoulders became super tense, and I couldn’t reach overhead anymore. It’s a real struggle to dress I tell you. It feels as if my limbs don’t belong to me anymore and movement is still very painful. Sleep was scarce and I could only lie down on my back since I couldn’t put any pressure on either shoulder. It was a tough order for someone not used to sleeping on their back.
This went on for weeks and I became sleep deprived. I would find myself fading while sitting with Mom, feeling so tired and worn out. It is well known that someone suffering a chronic illness needs much rest to recover and nurture their condition. It was non existent for me, and my body responded negatively. Yet I was in battle mode and it was my way of life to dedicate my time to Mom, and I did. In hindsight I remember a saying that sometimes we don’t realize how strong we are until being strong is all we have left. I had reached that point without realizing.
I spent Christmas Eve with Mom before leaving to the states the next day, Christmas Day. I would have liked to stay a few more days for the holidays but travel arrangements didn’t allow for such. After mediocre sleep for weeks, I found myself in a recliner chair the last night in Mom’s room. It was better than nothing, but I hardly slept at all. I was hurting worse the next morning while getting ready. So worse that in fact it distracted me from what was going on and having to say goodbye. My body had to perform and I had a long trip ahead of me, and somehow I was already worried and had some doubts. Falling flat on my face during the week didn’t help matters and left me bruised and sore on top of things. I still suffered from that and wasn’t healed.
It was a rather quick goodbye that morning, as I hugged Mom for the last time and I know that a part of my heart and soul stayed behind that day, seeing Mom cry because I was leaving. It was awful, but somehow I held it together. Shock and numbness and all, crying all my tears and tormenting myself, leading up to that very moment.
The journey back began with a car ride to the Frankfurt airport. Next, an 11 hour flight to Las Vegas. From there a 5 hour layover and 22 hours later all in all I had arrived, 5 hours away from my actual home. It felt like fighting my way back as I felt exhausted, overtired and overwhelmed. At one point I had doubts of making it all the way back, this is how bad it got for me on the health side. By now my wrists were giving me so much trouble that I could hardly pull my suitcase. I couldn’t pull myself up from the plane seat and I medicated myself more just to get by.
The next day at the ocean, I could tell that things were taking a further toll as I was unable to sit down and relax on the ground. I couldn’t use my hands to brace myself and I couldn’t just let myself fall. Little did I know that this was only the beginning. I struggled even more the next day and by the following day I could hardly walk. I couldn’t roll my ankles, stairs became an absolute nightmare and it was as if my body finally gave out. I no longer had to be strong in the sense of being around Mom, so my body finally showed me what was masked in all this time leading up until now. I didn’t know how to walk, and I didn’t know how to sit. How to be comfortable and how to do anything. I nearly lost it in the grocery store, filled with so much sadness and freight at the same time. I missed Mom, and yet what was going on with myself was no picnic either.
I waited until Sunday to drive my car and it was nearly impossible to shift and steer with the shoulder and the pain. It was no fun at all, and definitely not how I had envisioned driving my car for the first time again. Yesterday I went out for the first time, but ended up sitting in the car most of the time. I couldn’t hike and I couldn’t even walk on level ground. My knees were locked and it felt as if I had to learn to walk all over again. Today is a little better and I am getting more and more mobility again. I grit my teeth and fight through the pain of it and it has been scary at times, but I’m doing it. There is no way that I could work like this and I am glad I gave myself time to ease into that chapter of my life again, although I’m not quite sure what I want to do. But by god I do need that time to get well now. I am trying to nurture myself with some of the things I haven’t been able to do in the past 10 month. I can see how much I have aged, and I’m fighting for that spark to return back into my tired eyes. It will be a challenge, but have I ever shy’d away from anything trying? I think not.
And again I apologize for not responding to your comments and well wishes. I was simply tired and overwhelmed but will be on track again in a few days and try to backtrack my way. Please know how much they have meant and how much they are appreciated. Thank you so much. Hugs.
I look back at this journey with a new level of respect, and it truly feels as if it nearly killed me. Yet it was the only way, and I would do it again if needed.
Picture: McWay Falls, Big Sur California