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Friday December 6th 2019


Chronic Snarkopolist: Stealth Ninja Power – Using Ambiguity as Strength

Post Published: 08 September 2010
Category: chronic autoimmune conditions column, Chronic Snarkopolist, Column
This post currently has 4 responses. Leave a comment

My endo plugged his fingers in his ears when I said, “I don’t think any of my past endo’s have been listening to me.”  He laughed and said, “I am listening to you now.”  Indeed he is listening now.  It is finally serious.  Surgeries. Implications. The stuff that makes doctors STOP and LISTEN.

There is ambiguity.  Ambiguity is where many chronically ill people live.  And it is where I live right now.  And I am OK with this.  I feel actually safe here.  I can do ambiguous.  I live well here.  I tolerate ambiguity because the rest of the world does not.

The chronically ill tolerate this space so well because we have been force fed this diet for so long.  We handle it.  Are the results in yet? Yes- but they are inconclusive.  Are you having surgery or radiation? We still have to do more tests to figure out which is better.  Someday the answer will be clear but not yet!  This is where we reside.  WE KNOW AMBUIGUITY.  It is not safe- but is not entire unsafe either.  It is merely liminal space – the fertile doorway – the not here, not there. It is the in-between space. Frustrating, exasperating, annoying, and yes- calm too.

The yes and.  The yes but… The not quite.  This is our space.  We dwell here- the chronically ill.  We get the unanswered questions or the space between the answers.  We wait with patience while the experts work up answers.  And more – we become our own experts and think up our own solutions.  Better – we become partners with the experts and WE BECOME EXPERTS ON OURSELVES.  We become the solution finders.

How many times has one of my specialists looked at me and said, “What have you done in the past when this happened?”  What she means is, “I have no fucking clue Melissa- I’m lost – I cannot help you because this is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPENING.”  And when she says that to me I have no answers because in the past THIS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!  And I tell her so.  So we end up in our ambiguous area – in between specialties even.

What area do I belong in medicine? Is this neuro-endocrine or rheumatological? Is this G/I or nephrology? At first glance they seem so completely separate and distinct. Yet- as I move through them, they become more mutable – each subspecialty becomes less distinct.  Each illness or symptom I have – each THING causes or directly effects something in the other area.  It is powerful.

Lo and behold – ambiguity in one area causes so much chaos everywhere else! If balance is restored in one area, the health or disease in the area seems to become more obvious.  Rather than mask each other- the onion layers peel away and answers are seen! I’m often amazed at the exact science of it.

Oddly- many cultures are not so surprised by imbalance or wholistic health.  I felt it happening for years.  In fact, a good acupuncturist told me years ago this imbalance was happening in my meridians (or energy centers).  Why should I feel so amazed that my doctors are finally finding it?  And why should I be amazed that even as one area is found more ambiguity is revealed?

We are not a culture that works well with fuzzy lines.  We like our equations to be balanced.  We like everything to be settled up and totaled.  We do not like imperfections or almost there. Or answers that begin with, “that depends.”  And yet- in illness, as in many areas of life – “it depends” or “it is relative” IS OFTEN THE ANSWER.

SOMETIMES there is no good answer. Sometimes, I have to wait. Sometimes I have to chill out.  Sometimes it is going to take another month or two to find out what I want to know.  Sometimes even in a month or two I’ll still have to see what happens after that.  Sometimes KNOWING is less helpful than the unknown and there is peace here.

Understand that I am not recommending ignorance or not self-educating.  I am merely saying that sometimes when all is said and done – knowing everything does not always help.  KNOWING everything is no more or less helpful right now because I can DO NOTHING MORE than wait on more tests anyway.

I sit here in ambiguity, in this unknown space.  And I am OK with it.  I know this space.  Sometimes there is calm here.  There is even power here because I KNOW MYSELF.  Chronically ill people KNOW OURSELVES – our identity is not formed from the irons of being told DEFINITELY WHO WE ARE OR ARE NOT.  It is formed from the day to day of fluidity, ambiguity, of maybe and we’ll see. THIS IS WHO WE ARE. WE ARE AMBIGUIS CREATURES. And this is our ninja strength. I am in my power now. Yes- a frustrating power- BUT IT IS MINE. I own it.

So – waiting to hear, waiting to see, WAITING a little bit for more answers… I can do that.  Because waiting and seeing is something every chronically ill person does well.  We get this space.  WE CAN DO AMBUITIY.  It is in our entire life force and we are stealth ninja warriors because of it.  Our identity shifts easily because any given day we might hear more news, different news, or wake up feeling differently than the day before. WE GET AMBIGUITY. We are ninja. I am OK with this.  I can do this space.

What about you? Are you a ninja stealth changer? Do you wait for answers that change? Does your YOU change from day to day? Does your doctor or your spouse or  your family have a real bead on you or do YOU and your OWN wellbeing define who you are from day to day? Is it amazing how chronic illness has turned a WEAKNESS into a MAJOR STRENGTH? I NEVER knew – never realized ambiguity would be so easy to tolerate – so easy to accept until now- when I realized that THIS is a place of power. What do you think? Are you OK with the unknown? Does it give you strength sometimes to wait for answers as long as you know your OWN inner truths?

Tell me! I want to know!  I’ll see you same place next week! Kisses!

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4 Responses to “Chronic Snarkopolist: Stealth Ninja Power – Using Ambiguity as Strength”

  1. yogichic says:

    Ambiguity: The state of being between bleh and meh

    Nothing excites me like it has in the past
    When there was no ambiguity
    So it is what it is
    Nothing more, nothing less

    ☮ ♥

  2. Mike says:

    After about ten years of meds, I had a procedure last October, that cured me of my heart issues. Free at last !Then, last December, when my PCP found a lump in my neck, he told me I should have taken some “personal responsibility” and reported the swelling sooner.
    Why me? This is something only my sisters should of had. They had theirs taken care of years ago.
    After many test(and waiting) and procedures(and waiting) to confirm the cancer, in May I had the knife to the neck, thyroid and infected nodes removed. More test, then stopped the synthroid(TSH somewhere over 100, weak, muscle cramps overall feeling crappy), then RAI, loss of taste, hair falling out, more test.
    Ooops… not all was removed.
    I’d like to know more, but, the results… “not in yet”.
    I have my list of questions, but they are now mixed in with the other stuff on top of my dresser, now buried.
    I’ll just wait for my next test(Friday) and next Endo visit(Tuesday) to find what tests are next?
    Sometimes I think of my Endo as the Wizard of Oz… mysteriously doing things behind the curtain.
    I just want to get back to Kansas.

  3. jillautumn says:

    I am currently sitting in the sea of unknown. I waited two months for test results to finally have answers, just to be told I need more tests and we’ll have to wait and see what those say. I have always been a rather impatient person. I like to have control of things and not lose my way.

    When I recently started this journey, I realized rather quickly that I was to “hurry up and wait”. It pissed me off. I want to know now and I want me fixed yesterday! But it seems that with every Dr appointment came a test result or diagnosis I wasn’t wanting, expecting or ready for.

    “WE KNOW AMBUIGUITY. It is not safe- but is not entire unsafe either.” EXACTLY. I am learning patience and am slowly becoming okay with this ambiguity because its becoming a peaceful stop inbetween my medical chaos.

    Thank you Melissa!

  4. Lolly says:


    I have had to learn patience over the last few years, now I take it in my stride waiting for results no point in trying to hurry them up they will be there when they are completed and i will be told what they are or given a copy when I insist on one.

    I am waiting on two big results right, now one next week which will have taken 6 weeks from when I had the tests done and the other in 2-3 weeks times which I had done today am I scared or anxious about either of them I guess a little but there is nothing I can do but wait and hope that they come back okay but my instincts and declining health tell me all is not okay, and hasn’t been for some time. My appointment today only verified what i have not wanted to face. but i did pluck up the courage to mention it and it wasn’t dismissed as nothing but something that needs looking at sooner than later.

    Am I fed up living my life around appointments yes too fucking right I am. I want to be living not in drs surgery’s or hospital waiting rooms asked a million and one questions each time. I want to be living so I tend not to go to the Drs when I know I need to because I am fucking sick of going. You say is it always good to know what is going on? yes in a way it is and then in other ways if we went around not knowing would life treat us differently would our illnesses consumen our daily thoughts or would we have time to enjoy some good days and forget about any chronical illnesses.

    Sometimes our diseases don’t give us any let up, so it’s a daily reminder, no time for that quality time, take in a movie with friends or go clubbing or out for a drink, game of pool what ever you like or enjoyed doing but what is to stop any of us trying and enjoying it even if it is only for one day or a few hours I know it makes me feel good about myself.

    Fuck me I really am thinking deep today and have been for the last few days, even reminiscing about my life good and bad. I have no regrets the only regrets I have are I can’t stop what is happening to me only try and mend it one by one.

    Love you Melly-Mel lets take in a movie together or go to a concert and jam with the best.


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