I haven't spoken at length about the subject of this poem but I guess now is as good of a time as any. Long story short: The original assumption made by a doctor in 2012 was that I had Meniere's disease and the assumption my new doctors are making now is that I have migraines or maybe nothing at all. My symptoms, which ran my life for a few years, are seemingly disappearing after I took care of a few other health issues. Or I'm just having a very long lucky spell. I guess we just have to wait and see.
This poem is about being a part of that Meniere's community for a few years and then slowly realizing that maybe it's just vertigo, maybe it's just migraines, maybe it's just anxiety, maybe it was a blood pressure issue, maybe it's chronic muscle tension... not really having the answers but knowing that my symptoms don't seem to match up with everyone else's, and the diagnosis that I struggled to accept and then did in fact accept as part of my identity probably isn't it at all.
It's a blessing, because Meniere's is a strange and terrifying disease that they have no cure for. But I feel guilt. I feel like if all those others can't escape from it, why do I get this possibility?
There's still the possibility that my symptoms will return and I'll be proven wrong.
But for now I'll assume the opposite because the last three years have been hell and I am grateful for even the idea that it's something else causing the vertigo and tinnitus. Something within my control.
I'll still be fighting alongside the Meniere's sufferers for a cure, whether I turn out to be one of them or not, because vestibular problems are an absolute waking nightmare and my heart goes out to anyone who is going through it.
I had the symptoms—
they made assumptions.
I settled for a quarter of a diagnosis
that I felt three quarters sure of
and it turned out it wasn't worth a quarter
or a nickel or a penny
or a thought.
I've been a part of you—
a part of this community—
connecting through our shared suffering
but staying at a safe distance
because I knew the doctors might be wrong
and I might have to leave you.
And leave I must.
I don't belong.
The diagnosis was wrong.
Who wouldn't love to hear that?
To run like the wind away from it?
And I do. I run from it—from you.
I feel guilty and ashamed
as I dust off my wings,
not broken after all,
A little therapy just might heal me
while you are left with no cause or cure.
How cruel of nature. How unjust; unfair.
Call me what you like.
Blessed or just fortunate.
But know that I'm not ungrateful
and that I wish you were lucky too.
I fly but my ears still ring of you.
My soul is still pained when you hurt.
When you whirl out of control
and your world feels so small,
I long to land within it and
make it sturdy,
make it solid,
make it stop.
Maybe I can still make a difference
though I've flown the coop.
Maybe my freedom will give me a voice
that I wouldn't have had if I shared your disease.
I could never speak for you
but I have learned a thing or two
and if you'd like an ally, here I am.