I was able to distract myself a bit from the chaos of my mystery illness when I went out of town for my cousin’s wedding. My whole family was going to be there, initially I wasn’t going to go, but my mother said that she needed to see me and wanted to take care of her baby during this difficult time. Who was I to say no? My mom felt so bad for me with all of the drama that I had been going through that she even told me to buy a dress, shoes, and get my hair done on her. Okay! I was coming off of not eating for a few weeks with the whole AIDS scare so I had lost about 9 pounds and shopping was bit more fun. Hey, you always have to look at the upside in any bad situation. I was self-conscience about wearing a sleeveless dress, at the same time I had a newfound- I really don’t care if you look me at attitude- that came and went. I guess I was pleased with myself for dropping a dress size that my short-lived confidence won out and I bought a sleeveless dress. While packing for my trip, I did pack some sweaters to cover up my arms, and by the time I took the train to Boston for the wedding my confidence had worn off. I met up with my brothers, sister, and parents for what was a surprisingly fun and comforting weekend. I needed to feel normal again and being around my very loud and loving Nigerian family took the edge off, I actually slept well at night. Maybe it was because we were staying at a hotel, I love staying at hotels.
Being the great family that they are they tried their best to comfort me and tell me that I really didn’t look bad, in fact I looked great. Oh, the power of makeup!!! The weekend ended so soon and before I knew it I was back in NYC. Not before my mother and father prayed over me, gave me cash, and told me that this whole thing would be over soon. I held onto to their words and confidence with every ounce of hope that I could muster, and I prayed that they were right.
So for two weeks I tried to occupy myself, and my mind with happy thoughts. I just continued saying to myself, “at least it’s not AIDS.” Unfortunately the rashes on my skin continued to appear, they came in a variety of forms some where large and had a deep reddish purple color, some where little red bumps that would form in groups in various spots, and other the ones that covered my hands mostly made my skin shed and blister all of it made me feel very self-conscious. I avoided handshakes by telling everyone that I had a cold; it worked for the most part. This time around I decided to go to a clinic on the Upper Eastside, I figured a change in location would give me a change in the results. I didn’t really look at the other people I wanted to get in and get out quickly to go home and begin my research on autoimmune diseases. I wanted to wait until after the blood tests so that I wouldn’t chicken out of getting it done after I saw the possibilities of what could be wrong with me.
So this time I went straight home got on the Internet and looked up autoimmune diseases. There were so many that I had never heard of, I learned that Wendy Williams has one and that’s why here eyes look like they are about to pop out of her head, it is called Graves’ Disease. There were so many different kinds, I quickly compiled a short list of the ones that I was pretty sure I didn’t have and would never want to have: Multiple sclerosis-obviously a very serious, degenerative disease, Lupus-I was still holding out hope that this test would be negative, Guillian-Barre Syndrome-which just sounded awful, and Vasculitis. All of these diseases were on the top of the ‘hell no not me’ list. There were others that seemed like such a nuisance to have, in that category I put: vitiligo, psoriasis, and Sjogren Syndrome.
Reading up on the world took away a naivety that I wish I still had with respect to my body. I always took it for granted that I was for the mostly healthy. I have never had the flu. I had only been in the hospital once when I got malaria and meningitis, and only went to the doctor for annual check ups. When people would pray for good health, I never really took it as a major prayer for me, and now I see all of the things that can go wrong and when they don’t, instead of being thankful I just always took my health for granted. A few days after my health epiphany moment the doctor’s office called, my results were in and I needed to make an appointment and come in. “Can’t we just talk on the phone about my results, I wanted to say. So of course there was no available appointment that week, so first thing Monday afternoon because I am not a morning person, I made my appointment for 2pm. It would be an oddly inspirational, yet very disappointing doctor’s appointment.