Thursday, July 28, 2011


So... I wanted to tell you last week... but... I got scared. I have some news. I was scared that if I told you... somehow it wouldn't happen... something would get messed up... and then I would have to explain it again... so I waited.

Last Thursday I went to see my general doctor. I hadn't had a fever in 2 weeks. And I had three questions.

1. I have a spot on my arm... What is it?

His answer shocked me.
"Rachel... this could be the answer to your illness" he said.

But then I thought back to all the other times doctors have told me similar things. And I moved onto the second question...

2. (I am so not telling you this question... It's gross... and you don't want to hear it.)

His answer saddened me.
"You are going to have to go back to the G.I. doctor. Make sure you show him that spot on your arm."

Really... I have to go back to the man who has um... done my colonoscopy... I made a rule... remember? No  more going up or down or in anywhere in my body... You must cut your own hole. So... I really don't want to see him again... Really Really... you aren't going back there!!! CUT YOUR OWN HOLE!!! ha ha!

3. Can I go back to work?

Yep... you read that right... I asked him if I could return to work. For me... It wasn't so much about work but getting back to life. I hadn't had a fever in two weeks... I've been getting stronger... slowly... but stronger. And I've been sleeping less. I have felt a need for normalcy... and I want so badly to feel... good... and maybe if I ignore it the sickness will go away?

His answer...
"Well... I'm not comfortable with full time... We can try part time... but I'm signing you out for part time for at least a month until we can re-evaluate. But you have to go see the G.I. Dr. But, if it doesn't work you will need to stop again."

Great... My heart sung. I gazed out the window and imagined my freedom. The fun I would have. And the realization that I will actually make less going to work part time then I do on disability. No... it's not a financial decision for me... It's a freedom decision.  I was thrilled.

We got in the car and I could barely hold my excitement in! My phone was slipping out of my hand as I tried to dial my work. My poor boss nearly got her ear screamed off as I went into "supersonic high-pitch tone"


We made the plans. I would return Wednesday. I had an appointment with the G.I. Doctor  on Tuesday and I needed to get some more labs drawn for the Infectious disease doctor. But Wednesday... oh sweet Wednesday... I would return to work.

Saturday My parents were visiting with some friends and I sat on the couch at home... all of a sudden I realized that I was sweating... Shoot. I'm going to work on Wednesday. I took my temperature.

Fever... again.

I'm not calling my doctor... I thought to myself. I'm not telling. I'm going to work.

Sunday I couldn't get out of bed. I was exhausted. By that afternoon things were starting to look better. No more fever and I was ok

Tuesday finally came. Stepping down that same hallway, where I shed my tears about the possible return of Castleman's, wasn't easy... My heart felt so grateful that I was ok... It wasn't castlemans. But I was still in the same position. Lots of pain. Fevers. Trembles. Weak. Tired. But this time... this time I was going back to work. I had something to look forward to tomorrow. A sense of normalcy.

The white paper crinkled under my behind as he poked and pushed on my tender tummy. I showed him my "spot"

"How long have you had this?"

"about 2 months... It looks like a scratch or a scab... I wasn't worried about it until it wouldn't go away"

"Do you have anymore?" he asked

We looked over me trying to find more... I didn't find any until that night... on my upper thigh.

We talked about stocks and houses and I might have mentioned my window box a few times as he examined me. (ok... I have to butt into the story for just a minute... Do you ever feel self contentious when you are being examined??? Let me tell you... it's the worst!!! It is completely unnatural for me to just let a man stick his hand under my clothing to press on my tummy... I hate it. They are all so good at "distracting" me but I can't help but  feel like slapping them away... I know they are there to help but... it's still awkward.) I was more tender than he thought I should be.

Then... he said it... he's going to have to stick something down... He's breaking my rule. Worst part... It's going to have to be next Monday. Right after I go back to work. And no... I can't just leave work early... I have to miss the whole day  for a stupid endoscopy :(

Am I ready to face the disease he is checking for? Absolutely not. I'm not ready for him to stick a giant camera down my throat. And I'm not ready for that diagnosis... It's not pleasant... I'd really prefer to have the parasite that the infectious disease doctor is checking for.

So... I'm happy to report that today I made it to work. I worked for 4 hours. It was a blessing. But boy was it hard. Being gone for 3 months really takes a toll on your inbox! I arrived at work and there were flowers and balloons welcoming me back. I felt so loved. and so thankful.

The day went well.. the hardest part was when I noticed how bad my shaking affected my work.

"I'll figure it out... I need to learn how to deal with it." I told my boss (who had also noticed it)

That was the hardest part... I'm not returning well... but I am returning. And I can deal with the pain for 4 hours just to have some social interaction and some pride in what I do. My clients were happy to see me too and I was grateful to not be asked too many questions.

Tonight... I crashed... I was absolutely exhausted... But... I survived. and I'll be back tomorrow... Just not on Monday :(

xoxo- me


Kathleen said...

I'm happy to hear you're getting as "back to normal" as possible for now. I'm still praying for a diagnosis or that you just get well, whichever comes first.

Love you.

Anonymous said...

Rachel, Have they ruled out Lyme's disease??

I am so happy you are back to work, you can do this and the endoscopy as well, remember Jesus is holding your hand.

Love, Kathy

Rachel Shoemaker said...

thank you both :) Yes they did rule out Lyme disease. I'm just going to have to fake it till I make it :) xoxo

Trac said...

I'm super happy for you. I can hear your excitement...just don't over-do it. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,
Glad you were able to get back to work. The endoscopy is much easier than the colonoscopy. Not as much prep.
Love, Mary