For this blog I wanted to switch it up! I’m having one of my best friends actually write it for me!
I wanted the perspective of an outside person and what it’s like being around someone with Hypopara as often as she is. This woman has really changed my outlook on my illness and on my life. I’m so blessed to have such strong women in my life.
(I’ll actually be reading what she writes at the same time as everyone else, I’m excited to see what she has to say).
I’m so excited Chama asked me to contribute to her blog! I can honestly say that my friendship with Chama has been the most rewarding and close friendship of my adult life.
We met amidst a busy, sweltering spring season at work a little over a year ago. I was returning to my hometown and my previous job, after a whirlwind two years living in other states. We had a fast connection, and I immediately knew that she was an incredible and strong person, and this was before she told me she had Hypopara.
When Chama first told me about her hypoparathyroidism, I did as much research as I could online. I remember immediately feeling angry that such a selfless, generous person could be dealt this hand. She never sought pity or complained though. Not once. I was surprised when Chama explained how many medications she had to take daily to maintain normal levels. I was impressed that she took hours out of her week traveling by bus and light rail to go to weekly doctor’s appointments.
As we became close friends, I asked her to teach me about her symptoms, to explain the differences between Chama with normal calcium levels, and Chama with elevated or depleted calcium levels. She explained that if her calcium levels are very low, which is more common for her, her hands will often shake, the muscles in her face will tense up, her speech may slur slightly. She will sometimes take the stance that she just needs to finish the task she’s working on, that she’s fine. I’ve come to recognize that sometimes she needs someone to tell her to “Just stop working. Seriously. Stop already, and breathe. I’ll mix you up a calcium drink.” I am so happy I can be that person for her. I am honored to accompany her wherever. Whether that means stopping by the grocery store; ushering her past enticing candles and other lovely distractions on the way to the Target pharmacy before they close; holding her hand while awaiting results in the doctor’s office.
When she found out she’d be starting Natpara, she asked if I could help her with the first few injections. I will admit it was nerve-wracking preparing that first dose of Natpara with her, with a nurse and her two children watching closely. I knew how precious this medication was, and how long she had waited for it. It was a big deal and it would change her life. I kept all of this in mind as I helped with the injection. It was hard watching her get sicker the first week or so of injections, even though her endocrinologist warned of that possibility during this period, as her body adjusted to the change. Now with six weeks of injections under her belt, she has a routine down, and it is so encouraging to see her feeling better on the whole.
Even if she is feeling terribly sick on a particular day, she is the type of person who has such a fierce love for her family and friends that she’ll often think about everyone else’s needs before her own. If she is physically able to get to the kitchen, she will make her children snacks or lunches for school, take the dog out, return phone calls from her best friends no matter what ridiculous hour. I had to learn to tell her to slow down, often. I remind her that we all care about her way too much to let her overexert herself and burn out, or push too hard and deal with a crash later.
I am constantly impressed by her unwavering positive attitude, and the upbeat tone Chama uses when speaking of all the appointments and blood work and medications. She doesn’t act angry or that inconvenienced by it all. It was just something that happened and she had to learn how to adapt and make the most out of every day. She inspires me every single day and I feel infinitely lucky to know her.