One person commenting that I look healthier is an anomaly. Two people commenting that I look healthier is a coincidence. But three…three people commenting that I look healthier is most definitely a trend. Either something really has changed recently or I was one sick looking son of a bitch for a long time! Or, I suppose, it could be both. Whatever the case, a rather meaningful change has occurred in my Sarcoidosis legacy. Maybe…maybe I am cured.
I’ve Been Cured Before
Now before you go about ordering fireworks and cake, I’ve been declared cured a few times before and the reliability of those declarations rank somewhere between election campaign promises and a toddler’s protestations of innocence. I realize that with the bilateral hilar adenopathy (say that five times fast) and granulomas vanishing from my x-rays along with an improved pulmonary function test that “technically” the Sarcoidosis is gone but when all the concurrent symptoms such as fatigue and joint/muscle pain remain, well, it’s tough to nod my head with enthusiasm when the doctor tells me my Sarcoidosis is resolved. Besides, the x-rays that established my Sarcoidosis diagnosis in the first place look, to my incredibly untrained eye, as different from my Sarcoidosis resolution x-rays as my two big toes look different from each other.
Then, of course, there is my ability to conjure up my Sarcoidosis symptoms with nothing more sinister than a prolonged regimen of exertion. I’ve detailed this previously and while I still standby my wildly anecdotal and woefully small sample size research, recent events have given me pause. That chart’s still pretty cool though.
This past summer I, along with my lovely family, embarked on an epic adventure back to the homeland. We camped our way from Alberta to Ontario seeing lots of the country in between and burning lots of liquefied dinosaurs. We also toured around Ontario enjoying many cool attractions, visiting friends and family as well as spending a couple weeks with our parents/grandparents before returning to Cowtown. All in all, the kids and I were gone for more than six weeks and have overstuffed craniums of memories to show for it.
It was also the worst thing I could have done from a personal health standpoint. Or so I thought. If my Sarcoidosis flare theory is based solely on implicating prolonged physical exertion then this trip was, by its very nature, destined to thrust me into a low earth orbit of symptomatic relapse.
For starters, there was all the driving. We chalked up close to 10,000km on the roadways and almost all of it was with me behind the wheel. Driving, as many of you know, is a bizarrely tiring endeavor. Considering you do nothing but sit, stare, and sporadically yell at the kids to stop, umm, yelling, it really wears you down. This is especially true for those long, ten hour days in the hot sun when trying to zip across the prairies good and quick.
Now add the gluttony, excessive imbibing, and late nights that come with visiting family and friends whom you see infrequently, not to mention a family reunion with the side of your wife’s family that clearly deserves its own HBO special, and you can almost hear the shotgun of Sarcoidosis cocking for fire.
As Idiotic As Canadians Flying Confederate Flags
Oh, but I wasn’t done yet. In the middle of this epic vacation, I did something very un-vacation-like. Willingly, yes, but still about as opposite to rest and relaxation as you can get. I offered to do some chores around my parents’ yard. And not just any chores, these were hard, physical labour chores. Long story short, I worked my sorry ass off nearly non-stop for the better part of two weeks! And I did this in hot, muggy Southern Ontario summer weather. If sustained physical exertion is the nemesis of my health, then this self-imposed labour camp undertaking was as idiotic as Canadians flying Confederate flags.
Combine all three of these slips in better judgment and I should be hospital-bound with a Prednisone drip looking like an extra in a Walking Dead episode. But I’m not. I feel no worse than when we departed. No falling asleep in the afternoon, no frightening brain fog, no shortness of breath, no anything that typically alerts me to the fact that I’ve done gone and woke up the Sarc again.
Instead, I’ve got three people musing openly on three separate occasions that I’m looking good. Either they’ve simultaneously developed significant visual acuity degradation or maybe, just maybe, I actually am doing better. And I’m left here to wonder “what the hell happened” and “how is this going to screw up my beautiful chart”!