Last night I could not sleep.  I did the same things I always do to get ready for bed, but sleep was elusive.  I ran everything over in my mind from earlier.  I took my vitamin D, glucosamine, rubbed the stuff on my sore shoulder, and heated up my heating pad.  My room was dark and my covers were warm.  Why couldn’t I fall asleep?  My shoulder has been hurting for a while now, and I have seen doctors about it, but I gave up after a cortisone shot left me in more pain.  I started taking glucosamine and sometimes it doesn’t hurt now.  That’s as good as I think it’s going to get.  My hereditary condition has been known to cause joint pain, so I consider myself lucky that currently only my shoulder is giving me pain.  I thought about how I was only 35 and had experienced an interesting array of health issues.  Then I cursed out-loud and remembered I was another year older.  I started laughing and said to myself, well, at least I have my ears.

To understand why that is funny, I have to go backward.  Researching my condition and studying the various websites took up a lot of my time when I first found out what I had.  The more I read, the more terrible it sounded.  This was over 12 years ago, and I didn’t know what to expect.  The unexpected is often scary where your health is concerned or the health of a loved one.  Over time, I learned what was normal for me and how I should feel and what to expect when I needed a phlebotomy.  It still takes me a while to “bounce” back, but I have a higher tolerance for exhaustion now.

I was talking to my mom about my newest discoveries.  I found something linking Phantom of the Opera to Porphyria Cutanea Tarda and I thought it was an interesting analysis.  Phantom was originally written by French writer Gaston Leroux.  My mother’s side of the family is French.  Erik wasn’t that bad, but supposedly he was born with a condition.  In later years, it was changed to disfigurement or a burn.  Who can say for sure if the lore is true?  Another interesting person of note, is King George III.  There is no proof that he suffered from one of the porphyrias, but lots of speculation.  Lastly, I mentioned good ole’ Vincent van Gogh.  I speculated that he cut off his ear because of his condition.  So mom says, well at least you have your ears, what would you put your earrings on?  And that my friends is how southern people cope.  We can make most anything into something to be thankful for.  My mom always says I take after my dad, but sometimes I think it’s equal.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”  ~Dolly Parton


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