Archive for May, 2012

Normal
May 9, 2012

From James:

Things are returning to normal around here. We are grateful for normal whenever we see it.

In a previous post, I wrote about how tired So Young was all the time, and how she had sore muscles and joints and wasn’t running anymore. Today, the situation is quite the opposite. Our endocrinologist, Dr. Safa, ran tests that determined that she is adrenal insufficient, which in her case means that her “levels” (of what I don’t know) were measured at 1.8 when they should have been at 20. So boom take a pill and it’s fixed. About a day after So Young started taking hydrocortisone as a hormone replacement, she began reorganizing things in the kitchen. A few days later, she started running again, two three-milers in as many days with no pain. This morning, she did an unspeakable number of chores before noon. We fired the cleaning ladies. We were grateful for them, too, but we love normal more.

So Young Running

We’re grateful because Dr. Safa looked so closely at her “levels” and uncovered both the adrenal insufficiency and the hypothyroidism, with the help of Dr. Mendel, our amazing family doctor. Neither problem is all that incredibly rare, so we run into people all the time who also have the thyroid thing especially. The difference is that hers is caused by certain parts of her brain not functioning properly at the moment because of the tumor and radiation. Her adrenal glands and thyroid are just fine, thank you, but not being told what to do, or being told to do too little.

So Young’s eyesight is unchanged (recently, anyway). With some effort and concentration she can read pretty small letters up close. She can’t see well enough to drive, although the other day she tricked us and pulled the car out of a parking space when no one was around and drove it a few feet. Panic ensued. She said she definitely hasn’t forgotten how to drive. The whole thing was so “So Young.” Her license is up for renewal soon. It seems very unlikely that she will pass the vision test.

So Young not being able to drive is one of the biggest strains introduced by her brain tumor. At times she feels isolated and trapped, because she lacks the independence she once had to drive to the store, go visit friends, run errands, etc. — things that the rest of us take for granted. There isn’t a store within reasonable walking distance. If she wants to visit friends, well, they have to come to her. I’m the soccer dad more than she is the soccer mom.

My mom is essentially the replacement driver for So Young. Mom is great because she relishes the opportunity to serve and especially to spend time with the grandchildren. I could write a long post about how great she is and how she has lived her life, but that’s for another day.

Yesterday at the Dads’ Group I had one of those rare moments of perspective while I was talking to the guys. I told them that my “praise” this week is that things are returning to normal for So Young. Things are returning to normal! Indeed they are. A new normal, but I hope a more grateful one.