I believe it was the 2nd or 3rd day of my Mayo trip, I was sitting in the main foyer of the hospital, listening to an older gentleman play the grand piano. As I was soaking in the beautiful sounds, I surveyed my surroundings. I couldn't count the number of people in wheelchairs, and there were more than a handful of people in sanitary masks.
Pale, weak, bald, dark circles and a general look of pain were more common than not. I wasn't the sick girl in a wheelchair, being analyzed by strangers, attempting to piece together my story or diagnosis.
No matter what direction I looked in, I could look at someone in the eye, and almost see a reflection of myself. I felt like I was among "my people", my own "species".
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I was so disoriented. Suddenly I had no idea why I was here. It was as if my brain couldn't make the connection, it couldn't fathom that I was sick. That I had been sick for the last 5 years. That these were "my people". That I fit in perfectly.
Every once in awhile, this happens. You just can't understand how this is your life. For a split second you are thoroughly convinced you are dreaming. Having a nightmare. But reality always finds a way of coming back to you.
I have mixed feelings about my recent Mayo clinic trip. I can't even begin to explain how grateful I am that I was/am able to go. I truly feel like the head doctor overseeing my case, wants to figure this out and wants to help me (which is kind of rare, not all doctors are heartless, they are just more interested in the scientific part of medicine rather than the compassion part.)
I knew this trip wouldn't result in answers, or that I would be magically healed...but in my situation, you can't help it, you can't help but hold out a tiny bit of unreasonable hope. You HAVE to have hope, however unrealistic it may seem. That said, that also leads to a certain amount of inevitable disappointment.
I just want to be better now. I am having such a hard time putting on brave face and pretending that I am okay everyday. I really, really just want to be better right now.
Each appointment, doctor or test, I can't help but think "this will be the day, or the doctor that changes my life." But time after time that tiny irrational bit of hope, is lead to disappointment. You think you would get use to it, but you don't, because you never get use to the pain or being sick. You learn to adapt and cope with it, but there will always be days when the unfamiliarity of your life hits you, and you just can't wrap your head around the fact that this is your life. YOUR life.
I don't mean to be all debbie downer on you all, but sometimes it helps to stop pretending and just tell it how it is. I am trying to be happy, positive, and optimistic..but sometimes it is just hard. Being in pain 24/7 makes it SO hard to be okay, to think of anything but the pain.
Now onto the update about my trip. I spent the week undergoing SO many tests. However we didn't have enough time to finish them all. So I am scheduled to return on the 5th of June to finish the first round of testing and meet with the other doctors on my team whom I haven't seen yet. I am sure they will have even more tests to run that are individual to their specialties.
It could be another trip or TWO before we start getting down and dirty, figuring out more diagnosis's and treatment plans. At my initial appt, with my head doctor, she was highly confident that I will be admitted int on 3 week intensive inpatient program. I am not sure of all the details, but it sounds like I am going to be spending a LOT of time in Minnesota.
I am thankful that she recognized how severe things are, but I am trying to be cautious in getting my hopes up about anything. Don't get me wrong, I am VERY optimistic that something -anything- positive will come from this Mayo experience/journey. I am just afraid of getting overly excited over one thing, and then suddenly the light is turned off while I'm in the middle of the tunnel. I hope this all makes sense. It might not, because a lot of people haven't dealt with illness this in depth. Its a very...odd tight rope of emotion I'm balancing on right now.
Now onto happier things. I wanted to share the highlights of my trip!
- We started the trip off on a GREAT foot, when at the SLC airport, I ran into one of my best friends, Monika. She was headed to the LDS missionary training center in Spain. She will be teaching the LDS religion for 18 months, and getting to say "see ya later" really was a wonderful way to start off my trip, because I hadn't seen her in a LONG time.
- After meeting with my main doctor, on her way out the door, she pointed at me and said (in a heavy italian accent) " You WILL get better." That was the boost I needed and it was very refreshing to know that she actually cared about my well being, and didn't see me as a pay check.
- Just my luck, while we were there (2nd day) Minnesota had a record breaking snow storm. Our rental car was snowed in, the shuttles were cancelled and the whole city was basically shut down. Thankfully we were able to get a cab and make my second test appointment (We missed the first despite getting up at 5 am) It just made me laugh, and was so funny, but not, if that makes sense.
- I met some new friends!
- Switching to a different, more accommodating hotel. When we walked in, I couldn't help but say "Are we rich?" Its an inside joke and code for really nice hotel. It was so unbelievably great for me and felt as close to home as it can get. It also had a full kitchen, and with my dietary restrictions, that was a life saver!
- A frozen yogurt place, Cherry Berry, was less than a block from said hotel. We ate there EVERYDAY (since it isn't too hard on my body) I am actually EXCITED to go back, just to get more yogurt. I am obsessed. If I could eat frozen yogurt everyday I would. Maybe I should invest in a franchise and open one here in Springville...just so I could eat there.
- Seeing iron man 3 in the coolest theater I've ever seen. They had a spot out by the concession where you could eat (they had real food) and all the tables/chairs were vintage looking cars, and they had a big screen with previews running and what not, to look like a drive in movie. It was seriously so awesome.
- I found the holy grail of comfy sweat pants at the Mayo Clinic gift shop.
- I had an extremely attractive tech for my gastric emptying study. We had a lengthy discussion about my bowel habits, we talked while I ate a radioactive breakfast, and then took pictures of my stomach. It was basically a date. Eating food, awkward conversation, hot guy, and taking pictures. It was comforting to know I've still got "it".
Okay, the last one may have been laced with sarcasm, but still a memory for the books, and I can't help but appreciate an attractive guy when I meet one. So that's it in a nut shell. I may or may not post again before my next trip on June 5, but I will continue to update everyone on instagram (IG:whitneyhomer)
Life outside of all this medical mayhem has been really tough on me. I spend about 2 hours out of bed each day. Those 2 hours are spent on the couch upstairs, so not a big improvement from bed. My pain and fatigue have gotten SOOO much worse. Its really bad. Like really bad. I am having a really hard time with my self esteem and happiness. Sickness has a way of stripping you of all self confidence you ever had ( not that I had any to start with.) Its really hard to go from looking tan and healthy, to what I am now. And happiness...well we have been playing hide and seek, and I'm apparently not very good at that game.
I also had a friend pass away fighting for our country and it has really impacted me. It has left me dazed and confused, it just doesn't seem right. He was an army medic. He saved lives. He always had a way of cheering me up with his humor, and he was always there to listen to my problems.
It just doesn't make sense to me.
Each day, life makes less and less sense, and it scares me.
Please keep the Towse family in your prayers and thoughts, as well as the soldiers who are still overseas. I will sure miss Cody, the world is noticably dimmer without him and his hilarious personality.
Speaking of prayers, thank you for all the prayers and thoughts on my behalf. They are very appreciated and needed. If you want to keep them coming, I would be extremely grateful, because I need them now more than ever.
Also, I need some recommendations on somethings.
What is your favorite drugstore mascara? I am looking for a new one and I'm overwhelmed because there are so many out there!
What is your favorite book? I forgot how much I love reading, and these Mayo trips have a lot of waiting time, which are perfect for reading.
What is your favorite t.v series? I've watched fringe, the office, the mentalist, modern family, Law and Order SVU and Grey Anatomy. All this down time in bed leaves a lot of time for brainless tv watching.
So that's that! I hope everyone is doing great! Stay safe and enjoy all the summer activities for me!
Until next time,
|The cool theater lobby|
|Right before the worst appointment at the mayo.|
|Mothers Day. Love this lady!|
|My little brother took me on a 10 minute ride! Best part of my week.|
|An article in Allure magazine which I loved!|
|Sunset from our hotel room. Its all about the little things.|
|Thank you for all the prayers and thoughts on my behalf.|
|First day at Mayo.|
|Can anyone tell me why they would put a drink cap on my 24 hour urine collection kit?|
I feel like this could end VERY badly for someone.
|Snow day. Lots of test. Under went the weirdest test ever.|
I was sprinkled with gold powder, and put in a tanning bed like thing.
They turned the temp up to 100 and if I had a reaction, the dust turns purple.
I was basically a smurf afterwards.
|Iron man and more testing.|
|Gastric Emptying Study. Had radioactive breakfast and lunch.|
I was so sick on this day.