I test the floor. Oooo, ouch.
My back shoots a pain through my mid-section, down through my legs. My knees click, crack, pop, crunch. My hips locked into the cowboy position. I grab for the boy and he crawls across the bed giggling. I grimace and make my way across the bed to catch him.
I want to play, baby, but it hurts. It hurts.
I hobble and wait for him to come to me. By the time I reach the stairs, my walk feels stronger. Thankfully. I take each step by holding on to each wall surrounding me. I was an athlete once. Strong. Formidable. I played football and gymnastics, and rode my bike impossibly long distances with only a little talcum powder and some water.
It is my shoulder, and my back, and my knees, and the bottoms of my feet, and my ankles, sometimes my wrists. Basically, it is my joints. All of my joints. I've been poked. Prodded. Made to walk in a straight line touch my nose. I had to stand absolutely still while a doctor watched me. I have had blood drawn. Pictures taken of my insides. Months and months of testing, and I know that I do not have lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme's disease or Multiple Sclerosis, celiac disease, or Epstein-Barr. I have nothing, but pain, extremely painful pain.
About nine months after Lucia died, when I was doing bloodwork in the early part of my pregnancy with Thor, I found out that I had thyroid disease. My nutritionist told me that endocrine systems break down in trauma and grief. I had nothing but trauma and grief in the those months. I held onto her in my joints, I thought. The pain manifest in the spaces between my hard bits. That is where she snuggled up, in the soft, delicate parts of me. Every movement a reminder of the pain of losing my daughter. The pain of birthing her dead. The pain of parenting a sister-less girl. The pain of babyloss. I didn't mind the pain as much as you would think. It seemed inevitable.
The best I can do is cut out the wheat. Somehow that helps. My endocrinologist thinks improving from not eating wheat is a psychosomatic reaction. He's a number guy. He thinks the nutritionist is bunk. The thinks the anecdotes on the internet are hogwash. When I tell him of symptoms that haven't improved after taking my medicine, he says that it is another disease and he cannot help me. There is no research, he says. But on the internet, I find women and men with Hashimoto's disease talking about how different their lives are after cutting out wheat and gluten. And I am one of those women, I guess. I have been eating like this since February, and it has changed my joint pain tremendously. Psychosomatic or not, I feel better. I can walk without debilitating pain. I can carry my baby down the stairs.
This week I had a cupcake that my mother left in my fridge. I don't know why. I just saw it and thought, "Mmm, cupcake." I ate it and couldn't move that night. I cried in pain. And so I suppose I know now. Cupcakes are not good.
The only downside is that I eat nothing fun. No baked goods. No buttery croissant on a Sunday morning. No tiramisu after a nice manicotti. No cheese sandwich for lunch. No crunchy ciabatta with pesto and fontinella. The doctor also suggested that I cut out the dairy and the meat. (Did I mention that?) No wheat. No milk. No meat. (I didn't eat meat most nights anyway, but whatevs.)
I have been daydreaming about smoking cigarettes. I haven't smoked in years and years, and lately the smell, the ritual, I have been romancing it all. I won't smoke, but I am romancing it. I watch them outside of meetings, inhaling, talking, laughing, relaxing. There is no buffer between me and the world anymore, or me and my stress. I don't take a moment to go have a cigarette and think on it. I don't sip a bourbon pensively when I get a testy email. I don't drink to cushion those emotions. I don't smoke to breathe deeply and take a moment away from my desk and my life. I don't stuff carbs into my face when the kids go to sleep. I just feel it all. Every. Little. Thing. Like my chest cavity was wrenched open in a Y shape, and my heart is exposed .
Here is everything, World. Be gentle.