It’s not like I didn’t know. When I started racking up diagnoses, when I started learning about them, when doctors finally told me what was wrong with my body, when I did research…I saw, repeatedly, “No cure.”
So, I knew. I’ve known.
But then Mrs. Robinette and I went to see my Rheumatologist last week. And as we were discussing my treatment and pain management, as I was attempting to learn more about my prognosis, I got my sentence.
And I got life. I got a life sentence. I was given a sentence I didn’t ask for or earn.
Doc said, “Jennifer, at this point, we’re talking about managing your symptoms and your pain. Because there is no cure.”
And it was like a gut punch. Even though I knew. Even though I’d known for a while. She was the first one to say it out loud.
And she didn’t even flinch when she said it. But, I did. I flinched so hard internally that my stomach rolled up in knots and my heart started to pound. I spent the next several days feeling like I was floating outside of my own body. My emotions were right on my sleeve. I’ve cried at the drop of a hat. I’ve cried a lot.
Even though I knew. She said it, and then I really knew.
Then today I stood at my counter doling out my meds for the week. I measured out all of the pills for the week and I put them in my pill organizer. And as I counted out the pills and checked and re-checked that I’d measured correctly, it hit me again.
This is it. I got life. I got a life sentence. I was given a sentence I didn’t ask for or earn.
This is forever.
I’ve earned a few days to mourn, even though I already knew. I deserve to sniffle a bit into my sleeve.
But, then I’ll move on. I hope I will, anyway. And maybe it’s a process. Maybe I’ll have moments where it’ll feel like a gut punch. And then there will be good days or days full of hope.
This week I have some major tests and appointments with my cardiologist where we’re hoping for lots of answers and maybe some good treatments. So, I’m putting on my best and bravest face, pretending I’m ready to hear whatever he says. And I am, I’m ready to learn more about my body so I can face my body.
I think they call this the “put your big girl panties on” phase of chronic illness. But, if I may be so blunt, these panties are a bit too tight.