Hardly five o’clock and the dead of winter takes the day away. Arms crossed, I stand at the window, watching the snow fall against the naked, elm archways that line my street. I can feel the wad of cotton still taped and wedged in the crook of my arm. Earlier today, with my face red from windchill and the long walk from my parking spot, I had finally trudged to the hospital to get my monthly blood tests. En route to the lab, my rheumatology nurse gently pulled the blood order sheets from my hand:
“You’ve been taken off Methyltrexate, right? Plaquenil and Prednisone don’t have the liver risk that Methyltrexate has, so you don’t need to have monthly blood tests anymore. Any problems weaning off the Prednisone?”
I shook my head, telling him I hadn’t noticed anything so far. He inquired when my next appointment was, nodded, then checked off a few boxes on the blood order sheet.
“You can do the test today, but otherwise, if you have problems before your appointment, just call me.”
So there you have it, folks. No more monthly blood tests. My body seems to be holding steady as the pills fall away. If my body can stay strong for four more weeks, I will take my last dose of Evil P after 17 months of having it in my system. Once Evil P is gone, my body is officially starting over. There’s no miracle drug inside of me that magically takes away the pain. It’ll just be me and my trusty “upkeep” med, Plaquenil, the way it was before my flare-up. Will it be enough? Will I be enough? Cross your fingers for me.
Besides the medication/Lupus update, I wanted to share something that happened to me as I left the gym on Monday evening. The parking lot was packed with New Year’s resolution junkies and I was forced to park on a side street a few blocks away. As a shortcut, I meandered though the parking lot behind a mother and her two children. In my own world, I hardly noticed them until I heard a loud, exasperated sigh. The mother was wedged between her SUV and another, which was parked so close, a door could hardly be opened between them. The windshield of the other vehicle was packed with snow, and the mother, her bare finger thrashing violently across the windshield wrote:
As she dotted the exclamation mark, she yelled it out as her children looked over at me embarrassed. The mother, suddenly aware of my presence, looked away quickly and hurried over to the other side of the car where her children were standing. Not wanting to look as though I was staring, I hurried past them. As I did, I heard the oldest child, who was probably around 11 or 12, say in a soft, sad tone:
“You didn’t have to do that.”
Perhaps, this is a strange thing to say, but it was one of the most interesting and grounding moments I’ve had in a very long time.
I was grateful to receive a message today from a fellow Lupie sister, who sent me her positive thoughts and healing energy from across the globe. I send them back to her tonight. It’s dark now and I’m alone here. Alone, but not really.