Monday, October 30, 2006

Back to Work or Ah, Steroids...

Back at work today for the first time in over a week. I hadn't really made a clear plan of how to explain to people what had happened. I had made blueberry-banana bread, thinking that would somehow be explanation enough; but I overmixed it, so it didn't taste like I thought it should. I decided not to bring it. In the end I just told various versions of "I was in the hospital. Very sorry for the trouble. It's not MS." 'Not MS' is about the clearest explanation of ADEM I think people have the patience for. Though of course, as they didn't know that I was even diagnosed with MS to begin with, I doubt it has much meaning for them either way.

I'm sure at some point I'm going to react to a small annoyance with a steroid-induced rage, causing me to 'Hulk out' on everyone. Faced with today's first bad rejection, I had expected to push my bloodied and bruised inner elbows against the visa window and scream, "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT! YOU CAN DAMN WELL TRANSIT THROUGH EUROPE!" In this scenario, I also had one of those mad, cave-dwelling hermit beards, which would become flecked with frothy spittle as I was yelling and gesticulating wildly. Ah, steroids... Instead, my rejection speech rolled out flawlessly. Good to know that particular cognitive path was uneffected. Though I might try and add some frothy spittle in the future, just for fun.

I only broke down once, and that was trying to explain to the FSNs what had happened. I know that they were worried, and likely curious, and I wanted to reassure them (but also warn them about fun steroid side-effects like possible seizures and the afore-mentioned irritability). I never even cried about things in front of my parents, but for some reason attempting an explanation for the japanese staff made me weep. Go figure. It sort of undermined the 'I'm fine, no need to worry, I can carry on with work just like before' message I was hoping to send. Maybe I can chalk that outburst up to steroids, too.

10 comments:

M said...

Hi,
I found your blog, while trying to find information on real-life experiences with the Foreig Service. I am on the FMO registry.
I have been reading about your experiences since July 2006, but I made sure I read from the beginning.
I wanted to drop you a quick note to say "Hi" and thank you for filling my days at my current work with dreams of distant lands and rather interesting experiences.
I am glad that the numbness does not affect your typing ;)
Marina

Consul-At-Arms said...

Glad to hear it's not MS, even if I don't understand what it is you actually have. One of my brothers has MS.

Anonymous said...

Jesus H Christ, get back to work you drama queen! I missed you this weekend, will will try to call you and see if I can proke some of the Hulk rage. Not MS? Another half-assed job Katie. Nice to hear that your alive and as freaky as ever.

Anonymous said...

Glad you've activated the comment section on this entry... We've been waiting to show our support! My wife and I (here in Florida) were very worried about you, and are very glad the diagnosis is, if not great, at least better than MS.

I remember the urologist consult I had for my kidney cysts when going through the State med clearance. The first diagnostic test was a CT without contrast, since I have shellfish allergies, and the smartass radiologist, who couldn't see anything clearly, wrote "malignant process cannot be ruled out." So I got to spend a few weeks sure I had kidney cancer before an MRI, with that tasty metal contrast you had, showed nothing of the sort. I'll still need dialysis, but hopefully not for a few decades.

Keep up the posting and the good work for Uncle Sam, and take care of yourself.

Josh

Editfish said...

Katie-

Glad to hear the prognosis has been downgraded to ADEM, and that you've been able to mostly retain your composure. That can be difficult to do with steroids, and you've done swimmingly. Best wishes for a clean bill of health in April and an onward TDY in the hardship post of your choice.

:D

Editfish

Sharon said...

Katie,

You have done an excellent job sharing your experience with all of us who have been pryaing for your recovery. Thank you! Good luck on the final weeks of steroids.

Looking forward to seeing you next month.

M. said...

I'm so glad to hear that your condition has improved so much over the past week or so, and of course that the diagnosis is not as bad as it once appeared to be. As you can probably tell, you've been in a lot of people's thoughts and prayers. Take care of yourself, and keep us posted.

vtange said...

Damn girl! I've been reading your blog for quite a while - before I got into this crazy FSO life, and it made my stomach do scary flip flops for you when I read about the MS diagnosis. Glad to hear things are improving (and downgrading). Best wishes to you for continued improvement. Don't start training those monkeys yet...:-)

Katie said...

Thank you very much for all the nice comments. Things are getting back to normal now...

KELLEY COX said...

I'm SO glad you didn't end up having MS!