After half a dozen acupuncture treatments, a slew of Omega Threes and several liters of grassy green tea, it came time for another set of monthly blood tests. These results come in fast, usually within 24 hours, and I can access them online instead of having to wait for a doctor’s appointment. So I did, just before bed.
At two a.m., I wrote my friends online:
“I can’t believe it! I sensed an internal shift, but this big? CRP is only 42.1! I’m going to live! Something’s going right!
“Okay, okay, 42 is still sky-high compared to a normal score of no more than 3–but it beats the heck out of last month’s 104! Without drugs, ladies and gentlemen–without drugs!
“I’m crying for joy!
It’s solved, I thought. I’m on the upside of down. The inflammation is receding and I’m going to feel great and be well. All we have to do is find that blood loss or cancer or whatever it is, and this whole thing will be over! I will have beaten back PMR—without drugs!
The deal I made with Dr. T. was off, of course. This was no time to give prednisone a spin—how would we be able to tell the effects of prednisone apart from the effects of my natural treatments on the CRP? At the least, the prednisone trial would need to be postponed until it was clear that the drop in CRP score was over.
I felt such confidence in getting well quickly that I applied for a job at the university. A part-time job, but a job I could not possibly have carried out these past four months. This job would start in two months. I planned on total wellness by then. Well, almost total. Let’s say, enough wellness to put in 8 to 16 hours of teaching a week.
The end of the inflammation would surely mean the end of the stiffness and pain. My hands would regain their strength and acuity and I wouldn’t act like a zombie every morning any more. I’d be able to take off and put on normal clothes. I wouldn’t need to spend 12 hours a day in bed or ask for help with walking the dog. I could work again and stop feeling like a beggar.
Of course, it wouldn’t be prudent to forget about the anemia and blood loss. There may well be cancer lurking in the small bowel or the endocrines or heaven knows where. If you’ve had cancer once, you can have it again; so I had better keep hammering away at getting those more comprehensive tests. Two adrenal tests had come back with “normal” but inconclusive results already and I was waiting for results on a couple of thyroid tests — but there was a list of half a dozen other tests I would want to see returned as “normal” before I would feel truly normal!The bathroom mirror smiled back at me. “Go get your passport pictures done,” it suggested. “For once you don’t have those adrenal eyes—well, not so much.” True. At last I didn’t have those bags that look as if they would fit right over my eyes is I stretched them out a bit. Off I went for the pictures, grabbing up my old passport on the way out the door. Before handing it in with the application, I compared my new pictures with the old one.
“Wow,” remarked the clerk. “You look five years younger instead of older!”
It was true. In that five-year-old picture I looked a sad sack of bad chemistry. That was a pretty accurate description of cancerous little old me at the time. Now I looked as if I was ready to start life all over again, given a chance. Even the hair had youthened up—a short bed-head does wonders for one’s age.
But would the doctors take my illness seriously now? Without a ridiculous CRP score and the old-hag shuffle, would I have an even harder time getting an order for the rest of those tests?
As it turns out, a lower CRP does not apparently mean much reduction of pain, immobility or need for sleep. I’m still a zombie every morning, although a much cuter zombie than, say, two months ago. Anemic or not, I look much younger on my cleaner diet with the zillion nutraceuticals but without those forty pounds that somehow leaked away.
Looking too good to be this sick might prove to be the downside of up.