It came out of nowhere. I was not prepared for it. I knew the results could be life-changing, but not in such an up-in-the-air and it's-so-much-more-complicated way. Nothing, it seems, is an easy fix when it comes to my health.
I saw my hepatologist (liver doctor) the other day. Somehow between my liver biopsy and my recent appointment, "it's not autoimmune issues and everything else seems fine, but we should go over your results because they're abnormal" turned into "scarring... low platelets... bile ducts involved ... spleen, too ... still could possibly be autoimmune ... we'll try this for six months then reevaluate ...no alcohol, no ibuprofen or other drugs that could be hard on your liver, no air travel until your platelets are higher and you evaluate risk of illness on your overall health ... lose weight ... more exercise."
I was prepared for possible bad news involving treatment of diagnosed liver issues and for being told to continue losing weight to help with the part of the problem already diagnosed. I wasn't prepared for the doctor being unsure of what it all meant, as it didn't add up to anything he's ever seen or for a six month wait before reevaluating. Most of all, being told I may have to stop Remicade - the only thing that's worked on my psoriatic arthritis - and any tnf-inhibitor or similar treatment indefinitely came as a huge shock. I'd been put back ON Remicade after the biopsy because of the results. Stopping PsA treatment would put my entire life on hold.
I spoke with my husband, then my daughter after my appointment. We decided not to risk my health or our money on the trip to Israel unless my lab results miraculously come back normal. The deposit needs to be made now and payment needs to be completed months before we reevaluate - months before I'd be able to figure out whether or not it would be safe for me to travel or if I'd be healthy enough for the trip.
This morning the call came. "You lab work came back and it's normal." My heart skipped a beat. "Are you sure about that?" "Let me double check - it says here, 'no change.'" "That's a lot different that normal, but thank you." I then requested my results be mailed to me, as there were far too many tests done to go over on the phone and my house was a bit too chaotic to take the time.
No change. I go for bloodwork monthly or every two months for six months. I pray things improve. I get better at nourishing my body and exercising. That's the plan.
I also cancel plans, put a dream on hold. Still feeling called to make this journey, Haley and I agree if the opportunity arises to visit the Holy Land again, when my health is better, we'll do whatever it takes to get there. We'll each put aside some money for someday.
For now, we'll focus closer to home. Haley will continue raising money so she can spend an additional week at Camp Calumet Lutheran next Summer. I will continue saving money so our family can travel together to destination-yet-to-be-determined.
And so it goes ... life never quite works out as planned, but that doesn't mean dreams have been dashed and spirits trampled - it means we get to continue dreaming until the day it comes true and let our spirits soar with the possibilities that lie ahead.
I choose to see this not as a lost opportunity, but an opportunity to keep on dreaming.