Saturday, November 29, 2014

"You're a successful member of the reference group."

The conversation happened well over a year ago, yet I still remember it vividly.

I was about a month post crisis when a co-worker stopped me in the hallway. She knew that my mom had moved in to live with me because I was extremely sick. She asked me how I was doing.

"A bit better, however I'm still incredibly unstable. I have to take it day by day, and some times even moment by moment."

Without missing a beat, she responded "Oh. Well, you should think of those worse off than you. You know, like those that have cancer. Or a chronic disease."

I paused for a second, in a bit of disbelief.

"Um. Actually, I do have a chronic disease. It is my chronic disease that has been making me so ill."

Congratulations my fellow chronically diseased people!
"Oh. Well, think of those worse off than you. Like those living with cancer."

I just forced a smile and walked away. Dear readers, please file this away as something to never say to anyone.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Of Tigers and Elephants: Thailand, Part 2

Through word of mouth, we learned of a company that specialized in private tours in Bangkok. We could hire a guide for two days for just my husband and I. She even promised to work with my dietary restrictions! It sounded amazingly perfect.

Our guide wrote a note explaining "gluten free."
This allowed me to easily eat at restaurants when she was not there to translate.
Our guide arrived at our hotel at 4:30 am on Sunday. We had to drive a few hours before we reached our first location.
After stretching our legs, we hopped back into the car and continued onto the second stop on our tour. THIS was the part I was most excited about. THIS was what I had been waiting for. I am ecstatic to state that my husband and I had the opportunity to play with tigers!

Yes, that is a baby tiger cub.
Although I loved this experience, I must admit that it was incredibly overwhelming. The temple had a large group of volunteers constantly making sure that the tourists were safe. I mean, these were real tigers after all. The volunteers would physically grab or push me if they saw something that made them apprehensive. Also, the baby tigers were constantly meowing. Their cries, the crowd of people, and the knowledge that this type of experience would only happen once in my entire lifetime made this event very emotionally stressful for me.

He climbed up onto my husband.
You can see the confusion and concern on my face.
I continued to take extra HC and eat snacks on a regular basis. I was constantly drinking bottled water. I needed to be extremely pro-active. There was absolutely no way that I would let my Adrenal Insufficiency ruin this for me.

If you're wondering, the tiger walks you. You do not walk the tiger.
Although the experience was incredibly overwhelming, it was also unbelievably amazing. I was so thankful that my broken adrenal glands did not prevent me from participating.

That is a big, lazy tiger.
After we were finished playing with tigers, we meet an elephant named Full Moon. I was actually more terrified of Full Moon than I was the tigers. I knew playing with the elephant involved swimming in a river. I hate cold water and after living in Arizona, I define cold water as anything below 90 degrees.

"Hi Full Moon. I'm scared. Please be nice."
I took extra HC because I felt myself getting shaky. I was incredibly frightened. However, I knew that if I sat this out I would regret it for the rest of my life. I refused to be paralyzed by my fears. I decided to wade into the river to join my husband and Full Moon.

Cold. So cold. My face is telling you that I am cold.
Also, the current in the river was quite strong.
Although I froze, I did not regret wading into that river. Playing with Full Moon was such fun. Have you ever heard an elephant purr? My husband and I have.

You can see her laughing at us as she sprays us with water.
After the elephant bath, we stopped at a restaurant for some amazing Thai food before starting the two hour drive back to our hotel. We arrived a little after 3pm. By this point, I was very shaky and could feel that dreaded low-cortisol migraine coming on. I drank large amounts of gatorade and continued to take more HC. I did not want to under-dose myself in Thailand. It had been a long day, filled with an early morning start, great deal of emotional excitement, and an insane amount of heat and humidity. All of these utilize cortisol.

Amazing Thai food in Thailand.
Both my husband and I were passed out asleep by 7pm. And we had yet another day of adventure lined up for us.

Read Part One.
Read Part Three.