Pollyanna Vs. Eeyore

First off I have to thank everyone for reminding us that we are incredibly blessed with great community. Your emails, calls, comments, texts, check-in’s, prayers, offers, listening ears, empathetic hearts, truth-telling words, quotes of scripture, hugs, and provision of alcohol have all been greatly appreciated.  We are so grateful. One of my childhood friends commented on how these trials draw us closer to God and to one another and that has certainly been the case.

Secondly, as far as updates go, Mike had another appointment this week with the neurologist and again the tests came back normal, meaning nothing conclusive.  He got more blood drawn and received a couple new treatments to try to relieve his symptoms.  We are hoping and praying that these new treatments provide some relief! It is frustrating when he feels so horribly sick and yet there is no known cause or specific diagnosis. It was my first time going with Mike to an appointment (Thanks, Angie, for taking the kids!). The doctor was fine, probably skilled, smart, and a nice person. I just have to say that I personally prefer ones that seem to show they really do care.  For Mike it may not matter, but for me it helps to show some compassion! Please don’t forget, doctor friends, that each patient is a person who means the world to someone and though his situation is one of many to you it is completely heart-wrenching to him and his picky wife.

After writing my last entry, I have reverted back into my comfortable coping mode.  At worst, it is denial, at best it is optimism and hope.  Mike is in considerable daily pain, trying with all his might to make it through each day, and battling the mental strain of how his health is affecting his family and our future.  How annoying it must be in light of all that to have a wife who goes about her day like what to eat for dinner really is the most important question to tackle. But that’s how I make it through each day, with Bob Marley singing, “everything’s gonna be alright” blasting in my brain. One night I prayed with Mike. As often is the case after intense moments of spiritual communion, I felt so comforted, peaceful, hopeful and right in every sense after saying, “Amen.” Then Mike starts talking and kills my buzz in record-breaking time. In frustration I asked him not to give up, not to be so defeated, to cross big bridges when we get there and not before, to have hope that answers can be found, pain can be managed, and life can be “normal” again.

I try to think of how Mike feels, but of course it is always easier to see my own perspective. Most of the time I think about his need to have hope, his need to have faith, his need to stop being fatalistic and drastically dooming us to his worst case scenarios. However, I have been wondering again recently that maybe I need to wake up and start facing reality more.  I realize how desperately I need for life to be “normal” again.  What I think I truly need though is the openness that a new normal may be on the horizon. I want to be able to have complete trust and willingness to go to those worst case scenarios without selfishly holding on to what I think I need/want. Don’t get me wrong. I’m still going to be singing Marley and fighting with everything I have. I just think there needs to be a basic submission of my life in God’s hands trusting that that is truly the best place to be regardless of what it looks like.

Last night our community group from church prayed over us. As soon as Mike and I held hands, closed our eyes, and people started speaking their words of love, the tears and snot flowed. I can push those things back during the week losing them in mundane routine but when sacred moments come they surface. Sometimes it is safer not to feel. But living a life of risk and allowing the full human experience to find expression is definitely the better way to go. In our suffering, we are forced to allow our full humanity to live at the surface much more than it does when swallowed down in the depths of comfort.

I will still slip into denial.  I will also throw in some bargaining, anger, and other stages of grief. I will probably be true to my annoying Pollyanna nature as well. (“What, you can’t walk anymore? Well, be glad you even had legs!”) But I do love my Eeyore.  He can be depressing but he is always lovable. Thanks, again, for your prayers and for journeying with us.

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4 Responses to Pollyanna Vs. Eeyore

  1. Shannon says:

    Leslie — I meant to call you over the weekend to be nosy and get more scoop on Mike’s condition only to rule out the same issues that plagued Omar for months before we were finally able to convince a GI specialist to remove his gall bladder. He tolerated horrendous pain, sleepless nights, and many 3am trips to the ER because the pain was no longer bearable. He ended up seeing multiple GI specialists and having multiple invasive tests and procedures done (from stretching his esophagous to a bunch of other stuff requiring outpatient surgery). Finally, someone woke up and we simply begged to please remove the gall bladder as a precaution. They finally removed the gall bladder, and for Omar, it was a new day. Not knowing the details of your own situation, I can’t begin to understand how you must feel. I know you both are smart, educated, and well connected professionals. But I have absolutely learned through Omar’s experience and dealing with my parent’s medical struggles (it took almost two years to diagnose my Mom and we still have doctors who question the diagnosis sometimes) that you have to be aggressive and persistent in pushing the doctor’s for resolution even if it means seeing 4 or 5 different ones if your not satisfied with the feedback.

  2. Eleanor says:

    I love that you are a Pollyanna. Just today I told my mom she, also, is a Pollyanna. After I expressed fears about them being captured by pirates or held hostage by warring factions when my parents cruise through the middle east next month (I know … very irrational fears), she replied that were that to happen it would probably be very interesting and she would most likely lose some weight. All the Eeyores out there need the Pollyannas to balance them out. Mike is lucky to have you, as are we all!

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