Tag Archives: sliver of light

A Slow Fusion Is Better Than None

No matter the purpose of my appointment with the neurosurgeon, the conversation always comes down to autoimmune disease. Today’s visit was no different.

This is the same neurosurgeon’s office that–a few weeks ago–rescheduled my appointment without telling me. Beyond that, there was an additional conversation about another scheduling error.

However, we all showed up today at the same time, same place.

As I strolled through the door with my walker, I was greeted as if I were an old friend. Doors were opened for me; lots of chatting ensued.

By the time I saw the neurosurgeon, my volume was on voluble. This was my annual appointment regarding my C2-C4 neck fusion. Only screws and a metal plate are holding the donor bone in place. There has been no fusion.

Until today. What looks like a bit of a blur on an x-ray turned out to be the beginning of healing. It’s slow but it is happening.

“Is my body just slow?” I asked her. The surgery was two years ago.

“Yes. It’s the autoimmune disease, the biologic, and the steroids. They slow down the healing.”

This is always her response. She’s not wrong. The chronic disease process and the medication that limits its effects also limit the fusion process.

I’ve struggled with this since the initial surgery that released my pinched spinal cord. It kept me from becoming a quadriplegic. Methotrexate and prednisone make it possible for me to write every day AND perform my activities of daily living. They give me a life.

The neurosurgeon and I have had long, usually thoughtful–sometimes lively–conversations concerning this obstacle that is my path. We both know that stopping the medication does not guarantee the fusion process will continue, much less speed up.

The war within my body—autoimmune disease—will go on whether I stop the medication or not. I will just know its effects more readily if I reduce my troops.

This is the rock and hard spot that is my path but it is not without a sliver of light. That I am healing means more than a blur on an x-ray. Full fusion is not guaranteed but now, it is a possibility.

Consistency in diet, yoga, and meditation have had an effect. None is a quick fix; all are a lifetime practice. For now, the practice includes methotrexate and prednisone.

I work with the reality I have, and in this moment, it is a sliver of light.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Thaw of Thought

When I am tired the whole world is in winter, frozen or about to deep-freeze. Today, storm Stella is pounding its way through the Northeast. I can only imagine.

Here in the southeast there is a cold sunshine with wind, 40° temperatures. More than enough winter to freeze over my slough of despond. The ego skates freely, spiraling into a series of what if’s.

The thaw of thought seems unlikely. The warmth just isn’t there. Or is it?

Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious,

to believe that the world could still change for the better.

And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold

that one is tempted to say, “What do I care if there is a summer;

its warmth is no help to me now.” Yes, evil often seems to

surpass good by far. But then, in spite of us, and without

our permission, there comes at last an end to the bitter frosts.

One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw.

And so I still have hope.

From the Letters of Vincent van Gogh

As do I. Fatigue supports no free skater for long; the ego tires, too. Time’s breeze thaws bitter into sweet.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

History for All the Wrong Reasons

new-year-2017

Historic years do not always bring out the best in humanity. Sometimes, they feel like history for all the wrong reasons, like 2016. 

It was not a year of good manners, so little reverence for life on either side of the chasm that divides this country and increasingly, the world.

Last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

(T.S. Eliot)

Standing on the abyss that is 2017 we are uncertain, but let’s not waste these early days. Let’s not settle for the façade of fear, its smoke and mirrors.

As Tennyson reminds, “hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come.” Our sliver of light.

No darkness is complete without it.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.