Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Side Effects May Include Loss of Social Life

For the last year and a half since my diagnosis, while I've been going to a billionty doctors appointments, dealing with pretty much every kind of joint pain imaginable, learning to live with a compromised immune system, trying to fix my blood pressure, and suffering through enough fatigue to last me for the rest of my life, something has been nagging at the back of my mind. Now, with APL in Washington D.C. taking a class, leaving me home alone in Boulder for two weeks, there's no more denying it:

I have
NO social life.

It's not that I don't have friends. I have plenty of friends. It's just that my friends are spread out all over the country: Seattle, Scranton, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Durham, New York...In fact, it seems like they're everywhere but Boulder!

I don't mean to undervalue the loving support of these friends through phone, email, and by commenting on this blog. I can't even explain how much it means to know that they are there for me. I am also happy that I am starting to gain support from a growing circle of "blog friends," people who I have never met in person but who share my diagnosis and comment on this blog or email me. Some days, it's the small comments from my faraway friends and blog buddies that keep me from jumping out the window.

But there's no denying that friendship and support via phone or computer wires just isn't the same as having lunch with someone in real life. Or watching a movie together. Or just talking in person. And since APL left on Saturday morning I've been completely alone except for a few small interactions with some guy at the park who's dog played with my dog, a grocery store employee, and doctors. (By the way, the orthopedist had good news and bad news. Good: my knee is looking good and healing well. Bad: she said it's very likely that the kneecap will pop out again someday, so that's fun.)

Other than APL, I just don't have support in Boulder anymore. All the people APL and I currently hang out with started out as APL's co-workers. I know that they're my friends now too, but I've never hung out with any of them without APL, and though I love them they aren't really the kind of friends that will check in on you when you're feeling low. What I really need is some girlfriends. But RK moved to Pennsylvania and the other girls I started law school with have graduated and moved on. Another friend stopped talking to me completely shortly after my diagnosis - I guess she couldn't handle having a sick friend or something.

What makes this situation especially difficult is that it isn't really very easy for me to try to make new friends right now. I don't have the energy that an ordinary 27-year-old would have, and that can be difficult to explain to people you've just met. Not to mention feeling tired often keeps me from doing things where I might have the chance to meet new people. Also, feeling icky so often and gaining weight from the meds doesn't exactly help my self confidence or make me feel outgoing.

However, rather than wallowing in this loneliness, I set out this week to try to improve my social life! Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck so far. Too bad my social life doesn't improve with points for effort!! I offered to take a friend I don't get to hang out with much anymore to dinner, but I haven't heard back from her yet. I invited eight (yes, eight) law students to have a ladies lunch on Friday afternoon. I basically invited all the law students I know. But two are out of town, one has to work, one has other plans already, and the rest didn't respond at all.

In the end, I did manage to basically invite myself to dinner at a friend's house on Saturday, which I am really excited about. It may seem like a small thing and perhaps silly, but I think it will be really good for me not to spend the whole weekend alone. Even though one out of ten tries isn't exactly an excellent percentage, at least it's a start.

But, of course, I had to request that we have a low sodium dinner. While my friend was super nice about it and said she was totally willing to accommodate my needs, it still made me feel like a major pain in the ass. No wonder no one wants to hang out with me!!

And, until Saturday, I guess this cheese stands alone.

9 comments:

Rebecca said...

OH MY GOD, HOLD IN THERE!

(Somehow, I felt that needed to be in all caps.)

I'm coming home in August/September. We should start some kind of countdown system because I'm having those can't-keep-my-head-above-the-waves feelings out here, too. I just dropped Bud off to be boarded (again) so I can go down to D.C. right after work tomorrow. It's so grey and awful here.

So: countdown system. Maybe an advent-type calendar (says the Jew)? Of course, when we reunite, we'd both be so fat that we wouldn't recognize each other from eating the one-a-day treats. And trust me, I got a look at myself all nekkidy-like recently. Not pretty. So I guess that's out.

Ok, ball's in your court--what can we do to pass the time before we are reunited??

P.S.: Oh god, my word verification is "tragi"--like, so upsetting the thing couldn't even finish the word. Oy vey.

~Mariah~ said...

REBECCA: I think a countdown system might be have the opposite effect at this point - August seems like forever!! But I'm really glad you're going to get to see APL this weekend. Give him a big hug for me and please drive safe!!

Sarah said...

I ALWAYS WANT TO BE HANGING OUT WITH YOU. also in ALL CAPS.

~Mariah~ said...

THAT'S WHY I LOVE YOU GUYS!!! ~;o)

Rebecca said...

August/September does seem a milliondy years away. It's the grey skies. :( At least I managed to escape Scranton this weekend to see APL--the Judge closed chambers at noon yesterday, so I got on the road and into D.C. by 4:45. Today the federal building is closed, so I don't even have to use leave time for today. Snowpocalypse, redux.

Mandy said...

I just read this and totally hear ya... No social life. Friday nights I'm crashed on my couch. After a week of teaching and grad school I'm spent!! However, my family lives by and a few of my friends ARE close, it's just a pain in the ass because I think they feel THEY HAVE TO do something with me becuas I am "sick" so they areforced to be social with me :) way to branch out with other students and such- I give you props. I also hear ya on the looks and confidence. I didn't think I'd be soo bothered by the prednisone puff- but I am for I scream, "that girl is sick!" no hiding it! I miss my cute face, chubby one and belly doesn't do awhole lot for the confidence in socil situations. Well hang in there! Good luck this next week school and such!

~Mariah~ said...

MANDY: I can see how it would be equally frustrating to feel like a burden to your friends and family. Blargh! How do we solve this dilemma? I guess we just have to find a way to be happy in our own bodies and with the life our bodies let us lead. I'm working hard on that, but it isn't easy! Good luck to you too!!

Paris N. said...

Said the girl who made a low sodium dinner: You are SO not a pain in the ass. I'll cook you a low sodium dinner anytime. Or any other special request you may have. You just have to bring cake.

Also, Rex and I had tons of fun having you over. I'm glad you invited yourself. Do it again soon?

~Mariah~ said...

PARIS: Thank you so much for having me and cooking me my special dinner. I know that when I need help all I have to do is ask. I just need to work on getting better at asking. ~;o)