Monday, December 7, 2009

An Autoimmune Tornado Has Left Me In Oz


Last week, as I was channel surfing, The Wizard of Oz was showing on one of those old movie channels. The movie was nearing the end and I caught the scene in which Glenda was telling Dorothy that she unknowingly had possessed the power to go home all through her perilous journey through Oz. Dorothy simply had to click the heels of her ruby slippers three times and she would find that her deepest desire - to go home - would be fulfilled. So she did.

I love happy endings. Sigh.

If only Dorothy had known, she wouldn't have had to dodge apples thrown by cranky fruit trees, or watch her scarecrow friend de-stuffed, or fallen into a drugged sleep in a poppy field, or get carried away into the night by nasty flying monkeys. She wouldn't have cried buckets of tears. She wouldn't have carried the heavy burden of guilt for inflicting worry on Auntie Em. Auntie Em, oh Auntie Em! S-s-s-s-sob!

Had she realized the power of her ruby slippers, I wonder when Dorothy would have chosen to click her heels three times to wake up in Kansas? I dozed off later that evening thinking about that. There's no place like home.....just click your heels three times....had the power all the time....zzzzzz.......

Today, as my daughters and I were shopping for fabulous shoes - my girls have extraordinarily good taste in footwear - I thought of Dorothy's ruby slippers as I spotted a ruby red pair of patent leather pumps. I took a closer look. Hm....my size.  After a couple of furtive glances to assure I was alone in the shopping aisle, I ditched my clunky sneakers and slipped on the sparkly high heels.

I wobbled my way up and down the aisle, giggling sheepishly at my completely ineffectual attempt at glamour. I snorted as I caught a glimpse of a decidedly un-Dorothy-looking me sporting baggy khaki pants, argyle socks and ruby slippers. The shoes went quickly back in their box and on the shelf - but not before I clicked my heels together three times. Of course.

Later, as I recharged on the couch, I drowsily realized that Dorothy and I have a few things in common. I have adorable furry companions, although not as obedient and intelligent as Toto. I grew up on a farm. I have had to head for the storm shelter more than once.

I too have weathered a major storm in my life, and remember feeling as though a tornado had ripped me from the life I knew and deposited me in completely foreign autoimmune territory.

Yo, Julia - you are so not in Kansas anymore. 


I'm not going to succumb to the almost irresistible desire to characterize my husband or family or friends as a scarecrow, lion, tin man, or most cliche' of all, the wicked witch of the west. Although........

But I digress.

Man, I wish I had those ruby slippers. I want more than anything to return to my own Kansas: an autoimmune disease free life.

I suppose the moral of this story could be this: That we all have reservoirs of persistence, will and determination of which we are unaware. That extreme challenges require us to dig deep and find skills that we don't even know we have. Though autoimmune disease can't be cured, there certainly must be ways to be proactive in improving my health and distancing myself from Oz.

I think I'll begin by clicking my heels three times as I push my shopping cart past the cookie aisle.

Tornado photo taken by cempey

1 comment:

Jenny Pettit said...

That's funny, Julia. You'd 'return' to a disease-free world so readily...and I'm not sure I would. I've thought about it, especially when praying. Would I like to be completely healed? During a Catholic mass, we pray "only say the Word and I shall be healed", and every time I ask myself if I would really want that kind of healing. I'm not positive I would, truly, because my conditions are so much a part of me, my life, my goals, my personality... I also wonder if that has something to do with not really knowing a life without these conditions in some form - do you? Did you have a "normal" life before or did you always have symptoms? Is that why you would be healed, b/c you know what a normal life is? It's just interesting to me the different ways sickies feel about being sickies...or remaining one I guess:)

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