After months of tests, doctor visits and steroid-induced emotional outbursts, I finally have an answer. The doctors have diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whether or not the RA is what has wreaked havoc on my eyes is still open to debate. I won’t know for a few more weeks exactly what the course of treatment will be. Crazy as it sounds, I’ve been so at peace since I was diagnosed. I’ve known for three years that the list of probable causes for my eye issues was not a good list. This was a list of diseases that are managed rather than cured. But not knowing was the worst part. I take that back, being told by one doctor that this was all in my head, that was the worst part of this whole mess. I’d already spent three years wondering if I was just going crazy. I didn’t need anyone to throw gas on that fire.
These past few months have naturally affected my spiritual life. As I mentioned in my last post, I had started writing a series of letters to God. Deacon Ron had advised me to invite God into my self-made prison. In the first letter of that series, I did exactly that. I asked Him to stay with me there, to teach me to trust Him and to teach me to trust myself. I read and reread that letter. It became my daily prayer.
A funny happened to me over the next few weeks. I started to ask for help from my friends and even to accept help when it was offered. WITHOUT FEELING WEAK OR GUILTY! Somehow, in allowing God behind my defenses, I had found a way to allow a few trusted friends behind those defenses too. I asked for rides to the doctor’s office. I accepted invitations to dinner to talk and strategize over a glass of bourbon. I let my mother take some of the kids’ clothes to the laundromat with her own stuff when I was just too tired to go. Part of me was terrified that I was giving up some of my independence. I was no longer going to do it all myself. And yet, that was okay.
I’ve kept on taking that help, even as my eyes improved and I could see well enough to drive myself to the doctor’s. My friends and family are helping me to shoulder the weight much the way Simon helped Jesus to should the weight of the cross. The defenses are still there, but it’s not quite so lonely in here. I’ve learned to ask – without agonizing over the asking and it’s okay. More importantly, I’m okay.