This week has been an intensely emotional one for me. My son was married two weeks ago in a ceremony my family and I were not allowed to witness, but for which we drove thirteen hundred miles to stand outside of. We knew this when we planned the trek. It is a religious thing and I thought that I understood and was supportive.
Turns out, I’m not that generous a human being.
All week I have struggled emotionally about the events that unfolded in Oregon. For the first days after the wedding, I was distracted by our continuing vacation, then with catching up on household duties upon our return. But the last few days have been dark ones. I am angry and hurt, more hurt than I could ever imagine being. To feel so unwanted….but that’s another story for another blog.
To add to my emotional turmoil, I have been struggling with physical issues.
For more than a year, I have been having breathing problems. The first time it happened, I had smoked a few cigars (I am a former smoker, but this was the first time I had smoked anything in more than nineteen years). I had profound trouble breathing and when I eventually went to the doctor, she diagnosed it as bronchitis.
About six months ago, I had another episode. This happened a day after I once again smoked a cigarette (in a fit of self-pity). I went to urgent care where they did chest x-rays and a breathing test, finding nothing wrong except a reduction in lung capacity. I once again was told I had bronchitis and was given antibiotics. My breathing cleared in a few days and I felt better.
However, since that last episode, I have had small episodes. Once, I could not catch my breath for more than an hour. Other times, I had chest discomfort and a feeling of not being able to take in enough air that lasted a few hours, but no more than a day. I have also had this sense of discomfort, like one might feel after a bad coughing spell or smoking too much (though I have not smoked again since that last time).
Over vacation, we went to the Arizona Meteor Crater. When we walked up the stairs to the platform that overlooks the upper rim of the crater, I was unable to catch my breath and had chest pains for several minutes. When it quickly passed, I put it down to being out of shape (which, unfortunately, I am). But in Oregon, the chest discomfort, the heaviness that comes with a bad bronchitis, came back after swimming for an hour with my daughter. At various times after that, I had mild moments of an inability to catch my breath.
Back to this week (sorry about the long story).
I have been working…mostly reading on the couch for my freelance job…A few days ago, I began noticing that even at rest I was struggling to catch my breath. On Friday it escalated. Not only was I having trouble taking deep breaths, I was also having chest pains. It has since gotten better, but even as I write this, my chest feels congested and I have trouble breathing when I lie down, or walk around for more than a few minutes.
Fear is a huge part of being diabetic. Fear of lows, fear of highs, fear of needles, fear of altering a whole lifetime of habits, fear of never having a piece of cake again. And there is that one big fear, the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, fear of complications.
Is this a complication of my diabetes? Am I experiencing the early stages of COPD, or kidney failure, or heart failure? Am I developing asthma? Could it be unrelated to my diabetes? Could it be a simple infection or a consequence of my teenage cigarette addiction?
Or is it emotional? Could I be becoming a hypochondriac? Is my depression impacting my physical health?
How do you know? And, really, do I want to know?