I like having choices, but I don't like having to choose. I know how little sense that makes. It seems like a paradox, doesn't it? But it's true - having options is great, but when I'm comfortable with things as they are, I don't really like being faced with choices. Sometimes, the choice might lead me to a better situation, a better job, better education, or even better health. But, there's always that fear that I'll be jumping out of the safety of the boat, thinking I can walk on water like Jesus, and then sink like a stone.
I was presented with a couple of opportunities just last week that put me in this kind of situation. A friend called to tell me about a job opening that she thought I'd be interested in. I wasn't sure that I was interested, frankly - I really enjoy my current jobs - but I thought it would be interesting to actually hear a bit more about the position, so I called and left a message. After a little back-and-forth, I had an interview. It seems like a nice place to work, but I'm not really tempted by their offer. This choice was fairly easy; it would probably take a stick of dynamite to move me out of the work I'm currently doing. Even if the salary in the other position was significantly higher, I have an irrational level of commitment to the work I currently do. Still, knowing the choice was there made me a little anxious.
The other opportunity is one that might impact my life to a much greater degree. I had an appointment with my rheumatologist on Wednesday, and she is unhappy with the amount of progress I am seeing with Enbrel. It has been at least two months since I started using Enbrel, and while my blood levels have shown improvement, the amount of pain and joint deterioration is still too high. The pain and joint damage have made it almost impossible for me to get exercise, and since I also have poly-cystic ovary syndrome, lack of exercise means significant weight increase. It is a vicious cycle, because the more I weigh, the harder it is for me to stay mobile. So, the rheumatologist had two suggestions. One, I consider switching to Humira in October. two, I pursue a gastric "sleeve" bypass operation to help with the weight problem.
I am not opposed to trying Humira, but I am frustrated by the thought of it. First, I have to wait until the end of October to begin it, and that means two more months of joint deterioration and frequent disease flares. Second, biologics take a couple of months to load into your system, so I will effectively have about four or five months of feeling like crap. Then, there's the gastric sleeve surgery. My immune system is compromised. In order to have surgery, I will have to go off any biologic I'm taking, whether it's Enbrel or Humira. The surgery is expensive - I have good health insurance that will cover most of the costs, but I am a single parent with no family living near, so recuperating from surgery could be a really big deal. Finally, about five years ago, I lost 130 pounds. I did that the hard way - portion control and daily exercise to the tune of at least seven miles per day on my stationary bike. I have not gained all that weight back, but I have gained back enough of it to really put a huge amount of strain on my knees and hips. I know that having surgery isn't an easy out for this problem, and it is a valid solution, especially given my current health crisis. But knowing that there's no way I can take matters into my own hands and expect good results is just another painful reminder of how much this damned disease has taken away from me. I hate it. And I hate having to make these stupid choices.
So now...what? I guess I approach these choices the same way I approach most choices. I will gather information. I will consider the pros and cons. And, I will pray about it. I don't expect an answer to descend on me from God, but I do know that prayer will bring me peace. Approaching these decisions from a place of peace is a good way to start.