Oh, not to worry just yet…….Will is still here, although his bad days are already beginning to outnumber the good ones. He seems to lose a little more every day, and I’m getting frantic because the longer those tumors are allowed to grow unchecked, the less time we’ll have together. He’s getting his port put in today (this is an implanted device that allows chemotherapy drugs to be administered without repeatedly sticking him for IVs) so it’s progress of a sort, but it still seems to be taking too long.
No, what I’m talking about is the fact that in the past month, two of my friends who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder have now had those diagnoses reversed on second opinion. One case was determined to be hormonal rather than psychiatric, while the other was given a new diagnosis of PTSD. Not that either is particularly wonderful to have, but unlike BP, both are potentially curable, and that is great news for these very lucky individuals.
And then, there’s little ol’ bpnurse, who has NO chance of having her diagnosis changed to something a bit less stigmatizing. (I know…….just bring me a little cheese to go with my whine.) As happy as I am for my friends—and as ashamed as I am to admit it—there’s just a little envy at play here. I feel like the kid who’s an inch too short to get on the carnival ride and has to stand there and watch while her taller friends are ushered to their seats.
Both of these friends sought second opinions from other doctors because it was never completely clear that they were actually bipolar at all; it was merely the default diagnosis because what they have looks and smells a lot like it. Whereas I could seek second and third and tenth opinions, and it probably wouldn’t change a thing. My p-doc is one of those who does NOT issue this diagnosis until he’s thoroughly convinced that it couldn’t possibly be anything else, and it didn’t take many sessions for him to figure me out.
Not only that, I’m being charged the highest hourly rate for his services because some bean-counter decided that my case is “complex”, so this is some pretty serious shit we’re talking about here. That is, of course, no big shocker. But like that sad little girl who can’t ride the Tilt-A-Whirl, I feel rather bereft as my friends leave me behind in Bipolar World while they move on.
I’ll get over it, of course. I’ve accepted my fate and the measures that must be taken to contain the illness as much as possible. At least it’s not a death sentence, like stage IV pancreatic cancer. But my friends’ good fortune serves as a reminder that some people manage to find a way out, and it tempts me to search once more for an escape hatch of my own, even though I know that it doesn’t exist.