A Health Update: Our Troubles Are Not Our Own



So my plan of running in a 5k in September has pulled a hamstring.

I’m not feeling 90% (because I’ll never feel 100%) but at 90% I feel well enough to train. Currently, I’m feeling 75%.

This week I saw a new primary doctor. After compressing five years of medical events into five minutes, I told him for two and a half weeks I’ve been dealing with headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

After taking notes and evaluating me, he sent me to hospital for some blood work and a CT-Scan of my brain.

At the hospital, I introduce myself to a young doctor, as “medical marvel.”

“But you look fine.”

I show him a picture of my brain that I keep on my phone for moments like this.

He looks at my brain and hands it back.

He calls in two more doctors, both appear equally young, like former students of mine.

I hand them my phone and they pass around my brain.

I then tell them about the other condition– sarcoidosis.

They stand in a loose half-circle staring at me.

I tell them I’ve exhausted all commercial testing, genetic testing and spent an entire day being observed and tested by a team of neurologist at the National Institute of Health.

There’s no “medical literature” that connects my conditions.  Cerebellar atrophy with sarcoidosis.

Some doctor’s hypothesize I’m a novel case. That the diseases are not connected.

Others feel the diseases must be connected.

Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I smile and tell the doctors I’m just lucky.

Both the blood work and the CT-scan prove normal and I go home.

The next day the primary doctor calls and tells me he’s going to talk to a local neurologist about what to do next.

These last three weeks have been hard.

Any time I have a setback, a flare, or whatever you want to call it I can feel my family holding their collective breath.

Is this the beginning of something worse?

My health, which seems to permanently dangle by a string, is the invisible weight that presses hard on our lives.

I’ve learned that my diseases are not my own. Yes, I am the host, but everyone close to me feels them.

And it would be irresponsible of me to not recognize this:

Our troubles are not our own.

Our troubles are not our own.

Our troubles are not our own.

Suffering, by nature, is isolating. Suffering makes you believe no one understands. That our problems are solely unique. That we suffer on a deserted island.

I felt this way for a long time (and sometimes still do). I believed, “no medical literature” authors me the arrogance to write, “no one understands.”

But people understand. Our compassion, our human ability to emphasize is what separates us from the beasts. To hold a hand or read the blog post and do something miraculous–feel.

I’m hurting. But when I look at my wife or children or receive a text from mom I gently reminded that I do not hurt alone. They feel it. My health is their health.

And what they say, or don’t, reminds me that I’m not alone.

Be well,

Jay

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