After fourteen years with too numerous to count misdiagnoses, this is my daily journey living with an unknown disease that has made me fully physically dependent, living by the help from my family, friends, and beloved service dog. It is how I have chosen to define myself to remain whole in spite of it.

Snow Day

Like so much of the U.S., we have recently experienced a cold blast, almost heralding the arrival of the holidays, just in case you have missed the magazine assaults, holiday commercials, the Hallmark Channel, or a mall. With the crackling wind, it reminded me of a few years back when we had received a heavy dusting of snow.

Watson, my friend, at-one-time-caregiver, and now all around medical-co-conspirator, was spending the day with me, and we had the house to ourselves. Trouble, right? Yes, indeed! I had an explicit project in mind for us to do, and I had been slowly laying the ground work to ensure Watson’s agreement (read that as participation). You, see, dear Reader, there was one thing I really wanted to do, and I was determined to make it happen.

What was it, you wonder?

Well, that’s what Watson was wondering too, as I was throwing out phrases such as, “How are you feeling today?” and “I have a really big favor to ask; do you think you might agree to it?” and, the most suspicious of all, “So, I had this brilliant idea … and I think you should agree to it before I tell you what it is.” Watson, who knew me really well by now, replied, “How much will your mother disapprove of this idea? I really don’t want to get in too much trouble with her.”

Okay, so she knew my mother well, too.

After reassuring her that she would be exempt from any anger from my mom, which was not highly likely to begin with, I received a tacit agreement; so before telling her the idea, I asked her to put me in my wheelchair, as I didn’t want to be on the couch right then. … Except, once in the chair, I had her take me to the garage, not a place I frequently visited, especially when it’s only in the high 30sF outside. Just as we got there, and she realized I wanted her to open the doors to the outside, she (smartly), had us don coats, hats, gloves, etc.

Still not fully knowing my brilliant idea, she was asking me questions: “Cecilia, what are we going to be doing outside? You can’t really get out of the garage doors. It’s all ice and snow.”

Ahha, here I finally answered. “Oh, that’s not a problem. We’re going to clear the driveway.”

“What? How? You mean, you want me to clear it first and you to follow?Watson asked, Camelot leading the way out the large garage door.

“No, no, no. We will do it. With that big snow shovel. I’ll hold it, propping it in front of my feet on the chair, with the stick part against my chest. You push the chair, and presto, we’re a snowplow.”

Watson was skeptical. She couldn’t see the vision. But she knew me, so we tried. And it worked. Mostly. The ice blocks were a problem. But after a few runs down the driveway, we got the hang of it. She helped me tip the shovel at the end of each pass, and we were grooving. And laughing. Camelot, my white service dog extraordinaire, didn’t approve after the second pass, and simply went to play in the snow on the lawn, watching us. Yes, he’s the smart one.

In the end, Watson never got a cold, and I didn’t loose my breasts. (Seriously, big snow shovel handle against your rib-cage / chest, and ice rocks… Think about it). As a bonus to this excursion, my neighbors had a work crew next door, who sat in their warm van with steaming coffee, laughing at us. Well, we’re always glad to be of service!

 Part way through the process, Cecilia the Mystery Girl with her trusted helper Camelot

Part way through the process, Cecilia the Mystery Girl with her trusted helper Camelot

Hope

Hope

Tea Cup Ride

Tea Cup Ride