Ah, the infamous New Year’s resolution. It’s that time again, have you decided on yours? I always have a terrible time resolving to do anything, to be honest, but every year I do make a resolution (it’s probably a good thing I can’t remember what it was from one year to the next and never know if I’ve accomplished them or not!) I could resolve to land an agent this year (wouldn’t that be nice!), or to start exercising. I could (and should) resolve to spend more time with my children and my husband. I could give myself an excuse I don’t need, and resolve to do something like write more poetry or read more books (as if that won’t happen anyway!) But I really don’t like to resolve to do things that feel out of my reach (or too easy to matter), and right now, practically everything feels out of my reach. The hard truth of it is, I’m just too damn tired.
But yesterday, I got a phone call that could change everything. I won’t bore you with the details of feeling like an 80 year old for the past decade or so, just know that I have, and that I’m only in my early 30s. The problem is, when you go to the doctor and say, “Doc, I’m really tired all the time,” what in the world are they supposed to do? I’ve heard everything from, “You’re depression is making you tired,” to “You need to exercise more,” to, “You’re a woman.” Yes, someone actually classified my misery as mere womanhood, as if the two should go hand in hand. But really, I don’t blame them– medicine is fact-filled field shrouded in mystery. There are just some things we can’t yet explain about the human body (and isn’t that kind of exciting, knowing we don’t know it all yet?) But I finally crawled into a new doctor’s office last week and upon hearing that I couldn’t hold my eyes open past 2pm and that my chest felt heavy and I was having frequent heart palpitations, be actually looked mildly concerned. He took the time to look into my medical history and saw that a couple years back, I had high levels of calcium in my blood, which led him to want to test my parathyroid levels.
I’d never even heard of the parathyroids! But sure enough, the hormone levels were elevated. After doing a bit of research (and biting off all my nails), I read about the risks of neck surgery (the only real cure for primary cases*) and the parathyroid adenoma growths which cause a slow death (people rarely live beyond 20 years with the disease) and how calcium is being leached from my bones and dispersed into my blood, thus making me sick. I decided this has been a demon on my shoulder for far too long.
It’s like scuba diving (not that I’ve ever been– hey, that’d be a fun New Year’s resolution…). When I was kid, I was splashing around in the shallow waters, living under the sun and full of life and joy. Of course none of us retain the energy from our childhoods, but at some point in my late teens, it was as if I fell off a sand bar and plunged underwater; and never touched bottom again. It never mattered how much sleep I got, I was always exhausted. As the years went by, I lost sight of the sun altogether. At last, I found myself breathing stale air as I sank deeper and deeper, the pressure on my body ever more intense, until I became forever cold and sluggish. I’ve been looking around in the dark and listening to my heart thundering in my chest and thinking, this is it. This is death I’m headed for. But I could never explain it to anyone, and so I kept my flippers kicking, and tried to keep my mouth shut as well.
But here comes the sun, and a new year to boot! After reading how dramatically better patients feel after surgery to remove the defective glands, I am so ready for that breath of fresh air! So, I’m sure this is cheating, because now I know it really can happen, but my New Year’s resolution is a simple one: to feel better. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to accomplish more; more time with my boys, more writing projects, more household renovations, more gardening, more living!
Thank you to all my readers and supporters, and to all my wonderful family and friends; to those who have encouraged and lent a listening ear when I felt the closing in of darkness. I wish you all your own epiphanies this year, and a good healthy dose of hope!
Happy New Year!
*note: there are primary and secondary causes of hyperparathyroidism. To learn more, click here.