cope

It’s hard to cope with being alive right now. The world is perpetually on the brink of nuclear disaster. Every time I open the news, I read terrifying stories of the coming apocalypse due to antibiotic resistance. The northern ocean is warm enough in October to churn a hurricane toward the British Isles.

The truth? I’ve been struggling to cope, too.

Last July, I received a staggering diagnosis. I have an incurable parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis gondii. It’s destroyed 25% of my right retina, causing permanent, irrevocable vision loss. Doctors admitted the only treatment with a chance of putting it in remission meant taking the worst course of drugs they prescribe.

For the last five months of 2016, I endured that regimen. I withdrew from people, because I never knew whether I’d be sobbing or sweating or suffering from explosive diarrhea. Plus, everyone expects me to be strong. I’m inspirational. I’m the person who powers through and keeps going no matter what life flings my way. When people need an emotional vomit bag, they call me, and I give and give and give and give and give and give and give and give without ever considering what my giving cost me.

I found myself on the other side of treatment, in remission, swallowing one pill a day to keep things that way. With whatever gusto I could muster, I flung myself into 2017, trying to fulfill all the roles I used to play, giving from a parched well, fighting to keep my books alive in the wake of changes at Amazon and Facebook that decimated my sales, and jetting around giving presentations to scrape enough money together to keep going for another month.

I hit a wall. My soul was empty. I was exhausted. I couldn’t give anymore.

When I broke down sobbing in my hairdresser’s chair a couple of weeks ago, she handed me a card. She’s been my hair therapist for a quarter-century, and it’s probably the first time she’s seen me cry. At her behest, I made an appointment for one mind-bending, soul-reshaping hour.

Come back tomorrow to read about my adventure.

To learn more about neglected parasitic infections in the United States, CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE CDC WEBSITE.

And if you STILL haven’t bought my books, help a sick girl out. CLICK HERE TO BUY MY BOOKS.

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