Serendipity is not only one of my all-time favorite words, but it sometimes seems like a major force in my life.
Heck, even meeting my husband while at a party 200 miles from my (then) home and while on the Date From Hell (tm) was serendipitous.
I'm feeling optimistic about 2010 thanks to another bit of serendipity -- that my daughter just happened to end up in a classroom with another little girl whose mom also spent years as a medical mystery before finally finding the right rheumatologist who didn't give up and finally made her diagnosis. (Please don't ask me what it was -- she's told me twice now (verbally) and I never quite get the name of it. Suffice it to say, it's one of the more rare autoimmune diseases.
Scott met her husband at a couple classroom events that I didn't attend due to flares. They chatted, and someone it came up that both their wives had these weird health problems.
I met the dad at a Halloween event at the school, but didn't have the nerve to email the mom out of the blue. Although clearly her husband told her about me, because we were both at the class's "Thanksgiving feast" and she pulled me aside to talk about our health problems.
Of course, she loves her rheumy. I think all of us who go through lengthy periods seeking a (correct) diagnosis will adore the doctor who finally makes it. So she urged me to make an appointment with her doctor. Of course.
Of course, I've been in a mood (thanks to a combination of back-to-back colds and depression) where it seems pointless to start over with yet another doctor, who will want to run his/her own tests, whether they've been done previously or not, and will ultimately end up in a dead end.
So when we saw each other at the kids' holiday art show and performance, I had to 'fess up that I hadn't made a phone call yet. Coincidentally, I had an appointment scheduled the following day with the rheumy I've been seeing since January 2008.
Let's just say it was a frustrating enough experience that it was the kick in the a**, combined with the pep talk from the other mom, to get me to actually make the call. And then I waited. And waited.
Just when I thought I was going to have to take Lisa up on her kind offer to advocate for me with the doctor and his office to get me an appointment, I got a call from his assistant putting the first steps in motion to get me in hopefully early in the new year.
Isn't it funny how things work out? If Ellie had gotten into the much-coveted private school we applied to last year, she wouldn't have been in Lisa's daughter's class. If we'd put Ellie in the other pre-k teacher's classroom, as we were urged to by the principal, we wouldn't have met this other girl's parents.
Serendipity is just a beautiful thing, isn't it?
Of course, I'm not really getting my hopes up (too high). Chances are small that this doctor will give me a label and a treatment plan. (Lisa saw a *lot* of doctors before this one diagnosed her, including some of the top rheumatologists on the East Coast, where they used to live. But now she has a diagnosis, and she's on Enbrel -- possibly an off-label use -- which seems to keep her quite functional most of the time.)
But I read somewhere that sometimes getting a diagnosis simply requires getting seen by enough doctors that one finally notices something, or identifies a pattern, or whatever, that triggers a diagnosis.
So while I'm marking just over 2.5 years of being a medical mystery, maybe this is the connection I needed to make in order to find the doctor who can treat me.
It's something to hope for, anyway, for the new year. Not quite a resolution, since it's out of my control, but something to aim for.
Happy holidays everyone, and I wish you all (and myself too :-) a happy and healthy 2010.
4 months ago