Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Off To Boston

Caros todos -

Today, I am off to Boston for medical tests and treatment decisions and whatever else they decide to do to me. I don't know how long I'll be there, how long I'll be in hospital - actually, I won't know much of anything until I arrive and see the first of what may well be many doctors. (It's as if I'm a Jaguar being sent off for major diagnostics and refurbishment.)

All I can say about what I'm feeling right now is exhausted. Of course, I packed too much into this weekend - seeing people and preparing to go (I'd still like to get to Dean and Deluca for more jelly beans before I depart). And I've still got packing left to do but fortunately, that's mostly pajamas and medicine (that would be an interesting name for a novel or a film). Your prayers are appreciated. I'll keep you all in my prayers too.

Um grande abra├žo.

UPDATE: Boston looks to be an experience that will last throughout the summer. They sent me back to New York but I will return for cardiac and pulmonary catheterization on the 21st of July. Then back to New York and probably, back to Boston at least one more time.

A few months ago, I had hoped to make a pilgimage with my parish to Lourdes and Fatima (they're going in August). And even when I realized their itinerary would be too intense for me, I hoped to meet them there - St. Bernadette is my confirmation saint and Our Lady of Lourdes became a dear friend in my childhood and has remained so ever since. But it seems I shall be making a different pilgrimage this year. Thank God I am a parishioner at The Church of Notre Dame in New York City which is affiliated with the Shrine of the Blessed Mother in Lourdes, so that worshipers in New York City may obtain the same spiritual benefits as worshipers at Lourdes, including the plenary indulgence granted to pilgrims to Lourdes during the 150th anniversary year of the apparitions. It would be lovely to go to Lourdes (I have never been) and yet I have Lourdes as often as I wish which is immense grace.

Friday, June 13, 2008

So, I Am Still Very Sick...

...which is the way it rolls here on earth. I would love to write about other things but for now, that won't be happening. I have been thinking that perhaps I should share some of my experience dealing with this illness. Such sharing will be brief - I'm so exhausted these days and still trying to work. But since this is what God has given me, I think I'd rather share what I can rather than continue to wait until I am well enough to write about other things.

Just over a year ago, I was awakened by chest pain and went off to the hospital. The cardiologist checked the left side of my heart for coronary artery disease and when he found my arteries clear, decided all was well. But, I've had pulmonary hypertension for several years which affects the right side of the heart and the lungs and though the cardiologist knew it, he did not check further.

At the same time, this has been a very bad year for me in regards to the autoimmune illnesses with which I live. They must be kept under control or the pulmonary hypertension will get worse. My rheumatologist hasn't been aggressive in treating me so now both my autoimmune illnesses and the pulmonary hypertension are worse. The first have left me nearly disabled - I work and crash and haven't even enough energy most days to eat properly (but since I haven't the energy to go shopping, there's not much to eat in my house anyway). The second has made it necessary for me to sit and rest two or three times while climbing the three flights of stairs to my apartment and unable to walk more than a few blocks without becoming dizzy and out of breath.

The week after next, I am being sent from New York (which isn't at the cutting edge of medical research) to Boston for in-depth medical tests and treatment decisions. (It seems Massachucetts General is actually at the cutting edge of medical research and care.) I don't find the tests terribly scary but I do find being away from my friends and home daunting. Also, I won't know how long they will keep me there until Tuesday or Wednesday - I would prefer to have definite parameters.

Fortunately, I will be staying with friends of friends from Communion & Liberation so I won't be alone. And I find myself remembering that God knows what he is doing and is taking care of me as he has always done. I'm grateful too. Pulmonary hypertension is fatal fairly quickly if not treated properly but God has given me a job that priovides me with great health and disability insurance so I can go to the best hospital and get the best treatment. And while some of my doctors have failed to provide the level of care I need, God has given me others who not only do their jobs but go out of their way to get me the best care available. And the Church is there in Boston too.

I remember when I came to this country as a numb five year-old child who understood nothing that was happening, who only knew her Friend was there in the midst of the big, strange world. Today, I understand a bit more including the knowledge that I participate in the Body of Christ. My Friend is still with me and I have so many other friends. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to do so; you are all in my prayers too.

*Pulmonary hypertension has nothing at all to do with regular hypertension and can't be treated the same way.