This Is What Is Happening
Contributor
Written by
Sheana Ochoa
November 2011
Writing
Contributor
Written by
Sheana Ochoa
November 2011
Writing

After explaining something to me, my toddler says, “This is what is happening.” I don’t know where he picked up the refrain, but it fits my current mindset.  On Halloween, my family of three went trick or treating and I was suddenly stopped, without warning.  No stress that day, no cold, no indication that my body was in trouble. 

 

I lay bedridden for four days afterward, each day hoping I would awaken with energy.  After day four, I had enough stamina to get dressed and then after recuperating from that chore, leave the house for an hour.  This is what is happening: I try to manage leaving the house every day, but some days I can only get dressed. I’m so thrilled to be out of bed I don’t care if I go outside or not.

 

All my life I have been complimented on my posture. “Are you a dancer?” Perhaps it was the yoga or just my natural core power, but this is what is happening: I slouch.  My shoulders fold into my heart, a concave womb of protection.  I don’t even sit back, which would take less energy.  It feels better to fold into myself.  I must consciously remind myself to either sit back or gather my strength to sit up straight.

 

This is what is happening: For the first time in 10 years I have hope for a cure.  Not a cure for FM because there isn’t one, but I think I may have been misdiagnosed.  I may have Celiacs disease, a condition I stumbled on as I revised how to lessen my symptoms and decided to look at my nutrition.  I stumbled upon this autoimmune disease for which I have all the major symptoms, for which I have never been tested, and for which there is a cure. 

 

As I await the initial blood tests this is what is happening: I try not to “get my hopes up,” but I can’t help it.  There’s a feeling of elation.  My life would change dramatically, my self-esteem skyrocket.  I could roughhouse with my toddler.  I could go back to work.  I could join the Occupy Movement.  I could social network up a storm to market my book.  I could rollerblade.  I could stay up all night.  I could host dinner parties.  I could visit my favorite people.  I could get pregnant. I could write the great American novel . . . or play or musical or memoir or poem.  I could “not go gentle into that good night, but rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

 

The blood results may come back negative.  The gold standard for diagnosis is a biopsy of the small intestine.  So, I won’t know soon.  I get to have this elated, “what if” feeling for a couple weeks minimum. 

 

This is what is happening: my book proposal for Stella Adler’s biography is in the hands of one of the nation’s top literary agents.  I don’t have that elated, “what if” feeling about this.  I don’t know if I’m more cautious about my writing than I am about my health.  Each scenario is as unlikely to turn out well as the next.  I’ve been working on concluding the book for over ten years, close to the same time I’ve been working on “concluding” the fibromyalgia.  I find a "cure," I query a major publication for an article on Stella.  The cure doesn't work.  My article is rejected. The percentage of rejection as to that of success is heinously disproportionate.  And still I push and research (more "cures," more publications) and take the next step towards success because as Joan Didion explains in her latest heartbreaking novel Blue Nights, we have to “keep up,” “maintain faith (another word for momentum)” because it is the opposite of dying. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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