That proverbial wall.
Unbeknownst to me, it was coming at me like a freight train and it would knock me for a loop like no other experience in my life prior to this poisoning.
I never saw it coming even though my beloved pug, Dekker, had started sliding down the slippery slope in his own health.
By November, he had lost almost half of his body weight and by the end of the month, he was no longer able to see, hear or smell. When I recall that last week, struggling to make the decision to put him down, it came down to the fact that he no longer felt safe in this world unless he was literally touching me.
It was one of the most harrowing decisions I have had to make in a long time and one that I still grieve over even today with the addition of my new pug, Smash Leroux.
What I never saw coming was that my slippery slope decline would mirror Dekker’s in almost every unimaginable way.
I have wondered if the deep grief over Dekker’s death was the final straw for my poor body. I don’t think I will ever know the answer to that question. However, I do know that the mold and the exposure to the Kilz wreaked such havoc on my neurological system that my whole body would completely collapse in the not too distant future … much to my dismay.
By the end of 2010, my body was nearing the end of its fight. I just didn’t know.
At the start of a New Year – 2011 – I started having severe difficulty with reading, television and movies and ended up switching to audiobooks because I could no longer read or watch tv/movies. I also had to eliminate much of my online time and writing because the pain in my eyes was the most excruciating pain I have ever endured. And I have had a baby and kidney stones.
It was as if there was this pressure building behind my eyes and the pain would become so severe that I would become unconscious for hours. My body had enough common sense to know that I could not handle the pain so I would black out or become unconscious.
I, to this day, find it amazing how our bodies will do whatever they can to continue saving the body and keeping it alive. The battle for mine would be a hard-fought one and one fraught with many twists and turns that would challenge who I was at the very core.
There were times with my eyes, that my eye balls actually felt like they would explode or pop. It has to be the most unusual sensation I have ever experienced. And to be quite frank, one I would rather not ever revisit.
In addition, I started having great difficulty with my energy levels. I became housebound and wheelchair bound because I just didn’t have enough energy to move anymore.
I ended up hiring my best friend to become my Personal Assistant and take care of all the house cleaning, errands, and any additional help I might need. To this day, I literally owe her my life.
We (she and I) had to re-organize my apartment so I could reach dishes and whatnot from my wheelchair.
I was no longer able to venture outside at all because of chemicals and humidity.
If I lifted my arms equal to or above my head, my heart would start going crazy requiring me to lay in bed for days, weeks, completely prone and hardly moving.
My friends, for the most part, stopped coming by. Not because they didn’t care, but because they had no idea how to help me, what to do, and were devastated by the deterioration they were witnessing.
During this time, my best friend and the office management, especially the maintenance guys, were my life line to a world I could no longer engage with.
Showers became few and far between because I would become so exhausted I would literally collapse.
The muscles in my throat became weak and I started having to stop talking or talk for short periods in nothing above a whisper.
Then they weakened even more and I started having problems choking and swallowing.
But secondary myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) due to toxic chemical exposure – wasn’t finished ravaging my body.
My eyes continued to deteriorate and my best friend had to blacken all my windows. Then we bought black out curtains and my wonderful maintenance man put those on top of the all ready blackened windows.
All light fixtures, appliances, computer, etc that had any kind of lights flickering on them were also covered with black electrical tape. Even the electric outlets had to be covered.
No light whatsoever could hit my eyes or the blinding eye pain would send me into excruciating crying fits and eventually complete loss of consciousness.
I spent over 8 weeks in complete and utter darkness.
No reading (audiobooks only).
No leaving my apartment.
No doctor appointments.
Nothing. Complete utter blackness.
And I am afraid of the dark.
Well, I was afraid of the dark.
There is something about having no choice but to live in the darkness and in order to survive finding a way to become friends with the very thing that frightens you to your core.
Eight weeks of hell.
Eight weeks of not knowing if I would ever see again or return to normal.
One day of contemplating jumping from my seventh floor apartment window and ending the nightmarish agony that had inextricably become my life.
If all of the above wasn’t enough, I would be hit with one more obstacle that threatened my very existence, and yet, became the catalyst for me to find a way, anyway to win.
As a result of my body literally starting to shut down, I became unable to eat any solid food. Even liquid became a challenge for me.
But it was this one incident that caused the pit bull in me to rear her head and decide this game was on. It was all or nothing.
I would either find a way to give my body what it needed, or I would die trying.
That one decision, would dramatically alter my life and lead me down a path I would have never imagined possible in 2011.
Determined to continue forward.