I live in a bubble. It's a bubble of protection, mainly. Sometimes I call it my bubble of ignorance, but that's not entirely accurate. It's not that I don't know what's going on outside the bubble, it's that I choose not to let certain things get through the protective surrounding the bubble provides. I'm sure you've caught on by now that it's not a real bubble and I'm not like John Travolta's character in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," but that this is simply a product of my imagination.
I guess the bubble came to be around the time that I developed RSD. It was my way of coping with the intense physical pain brought on by the world around me. People just don't know that their mere closeness can cause me feelings of electric shock or needles boring into my arm. They don't know that just by walking briskly inches away from my right arm that I brace myself to keep from gasping from the pain.
This makes it very difficult for me to go out, especially in crowds. The first year of this affliction, I stayed mainly at home wearing anything that I could tolerate, tearing my shirts to keep them from touching my arm. After awhile and after realizing that this was no kind of life, I started envisioning this "bubble" around me. This imaginary bubble is filled with warmth, to try to keep me from suffering too much from the cold outside air. By picturing a sphere around me, I also try to use it to keep my distance from others when out in public. Over the years I've relaxed a bit on this restriction and allow others closer into my atmosphere, but sometimes that means I have to deal with getting hit. When we went to the Tech Museum the other week I was hit twice by unsuspecting strangers who gave me the dirtiest and weirdest looks when I gasped and cringed in horror at the pain they caused me. It's an involuntary reaction and I've come a long way over the years in suppressing it, but sometimes it comes out. Still, the looks they give me, coupled with the pain, is sometimes enough to throw me into a full-blown panic attack. Sometimes the panic attack just comes from the anxiety brought about by my trying and failing to keep my bubble free of intruders. Sometimes it comes about by my feeling trapped in a crowd when I can see no avenue of escape without pain.
The bubble helps in other ways, too. You see, I'm a nut-magnet. It's a hereditary thing. My mother is a nut-magnet as are many of my cousins. Maybe it's because we're nuts ourselves. We all have countless stories of the strange things that happen to us when we go out in public. Like the time some one asked my mother, out of the blue, to watch their bread that they just purchased, while they went and did something. My mom thought that wouldn't be such a difficult task so she consented and they put their bread down on her table and she proceeded to mind her business. Anyway, some guy starts walking toward her and she knew the nut-magnet had been activated. The guy walked up to her table and grabbed the bread and while taking a big bite proceeded to sit down in her chair. She barely had time to get out of the chair before he sat or he would have been on her lap. There are many other stories, like the time a bum gave me his spare change, or the naked guy at the stop light, or the one that liked my green shorts... a lot.
By creating this bubble, I try to protect myself from the nuts, as well. Sometimes these experiences just leave me feeling drained and raw. I don't want the attention from them, it just happens. So, with this bubble, I try to fill it with the white light of Christ's love, partly so that I may see these people and the world with new eyes every day, and also so that I don't feel so afraid of the world. With this light, I imagine it forming a reflection against the edges of my bubble, so that negativity can bounce off of it and not come through to affect me. I cannot take credit for this idea, I was coached by someone that once read my palm (I was getting my kicks while visiting Tiffany at a psychic fair, but some of the folks at that fair just took too much of me and the palmist could see that in my body language and apprehension). Though it came from a strange source, I really liked his concept so I tried it and it has helped me through some difficult moments.
There is one other way that the bubble protects me. This is where the "bubble of ignorance" comes into play. I use the bubble to keep certain things from bothering me. I'm a very sensitive person and just seeing a commercial about homeless pets is enough to keep me from sleeping for several nights. I realized there is no reason I need certain things rubbed in until they made me go mad. There is no reason I need to be constantly reminded of the troubles of the world. I know of the troubles, I am not ignorant to them, but I don't need to be reminded of them every day for me to be a modern educated and socially responsible person. I just can't handle it. So, I tune out some things that I know will disturb me too much. I had to tune out during Hurricane Katrina, just as I tune out during that commercial about the animals (the one with Sarah McLaughlin singing "In the Arms of an Angel") just as I tune out where there is news of yet another terrorist attack in the world. I am not turning my back, I am just closing my eyes to save me from the nightmares.
I cannot take on all the burdens of the world, as much as I would like to, so this bubble helps me to only allow in that which I can take on and handle. It serves as a filter or even a bouncer. My bubble helps me to keep my stress level at a controllable level. While it doesn't completely do it all the time, it certainly helps a lot.
The best method of controlling the RSD is through relaxation and stress control. I cannot take the medicines my doctor would like to prescribe because I have been ttc - and am now pregnant (I'm having such a difficult time grasping that concept!). So, I have been trying other methods of controlling the RSD and keep it from spreading. This includes changing my diet to the 4 F's, doing relaxation exercises (yes, relaxation is an exercise), doing acupuncture, and getting the occasional stellate ganglion block to help me get through the winter. I can't do the blocks, though, now that I'm pregnant. Actually pregnant! Whoa!
Speaking of which, the pregnancy can affect the RSD one of 3 different ways: it can make it get worse, make it get better (perhaps even push it into remission), or make it stay the same. So far, while I have had some good days this last week, the RSD is still about the same as ever. We'll see what happens.
Also, speaking of pregnancy, I've so far chosen to share this blog with very few people. I've shared it with my friends at LoungePlace and my friends at MySpace (if they chose to check my blog there). Some of those people know me in real life, and I considered this before giving the link and I am happy you're here reading this, but please keep in mind that many people IRL don't know about this blog and they don't know our latest news. Dave and I would like to keep it that way at least until the ultrasound around the 18th.
I'm feeling very content with the pregnancy and the blood work on Friday showed very healthy levels of HCG, Estradiol, and Progesterone. While I've had a lot of cramping, nausea, and insomnia, it seems everything is normal and looking good so far. Dave, on the other hand, is really very worried about a miscarriage. I guess I'm just so happy at making it this far. I've never ever been pregnant and I'm relieved to know that my body actually works in this way! This is something I had wondered for years if it was even possible and this pregnancy has filled me with such hope, no matter what happens. Still, Dave is worried and some of his worry is rubbing off on me. I know there is a much higher rate of miscarriage with IVF. Add my age to that, and the high possibility that we are having multiples, his concerns are not unfounded.
So, I ask you to please understand that we are trying to take this one day/one step at a time. My answer is that for now everything is going really well! :)