Saturday, October 22, 2011
I was going to call this a brief update, but that turned out to be wishful thinking.
In case you've been wondering why I was in the hospital this morning, I didn't mean to worry anybody about my health, but I guess this morning I put it on my status at the last minute because I needed to know you cared. I suppose a few explanations are in order. A couple of months ago I began to suspect I was having some gynecological problems. I was on vacation in California at the time, so I put it off until I got back. When I went in for tests, they told me I had something suspicious that needed to be checked by way of a common surgical procedure called a D&C. So I had that today. It's not a big deal except for the fact that it requires general anesthesia. I haven't had any major problems with general anesthesia before, but I will admit to being a little scared of it. So there.
The doctor (Dr. T) called later today to say that he removed a "polyp" (whatever that is) which has to go to the lab for testing. If it checks out OK, which Dr. T thinks it probably will, that will be the end of this episode. If not, then my guess is that I'll probably be a candidate for major surgery in the near future, but I won't know that for a couple of weeks.
I am now resting at home comfortably, and I haven't even needed Advil. I’ve discussed EVERYTHING with Dr. T – he has been my obgyn for about 18 years. Ideally, he would like me to stay off my bike for 2 weeks, although he concedes that biking probably isn't as hard on a recovering body as, say, running. He suggested I wait 4 days, try biking, and ease off again for the full 2 weeks IF I have significant bleeding. In order of magnitude, not be able to bike is the biggest of my health concerns at present.
I reminded Dr. T that biking is a key component of my mental health strategy for this year, and that I don’t do very well when I don’t bike. He understands that I’ve been living in *interesting times. *
It has been a hell of a year for me, and I have been coping the best way I know how. Much of it will be already familiar to some of you from my earlier blogs. Other parts of it, you either don't know, or you are less familiar with. I just got tired of being the person who always needed help, so….I've been making a special effort to be cheerful these last few months, but let's just say that my employment situation has continued to be toxic (the more things change, the more they stay the same...), my efforts to find other work have not been fruitful, the children had difficulties with their Dad (my husband Tom) being in Iraq the first part of the year (as did I, plus all of his chores to do), Tom is again "between contracts," and our daughter has all of the anxieties you might expect of an insomniac high school senior applying to colleges. I also had a painful breast “lump” scare that turned out to be a huge and hugely infected hair follicle, and Tom went to the emergency room a few weeks ago for chest pain. Fortunately, with all the tests in, it appears that it was *only* stress. His mother has been terminally ill for two years now. She wasn’t expected to survive his trip to Iraq last year. I haven’t had the guts to even look at the balance in my retirement account for months because of what the financial markets are doing. My evenings involve a great deal of mothering, and trying not to fret about the bills and other things I can’t change. BTW, Tom's best prospects for a new job are ....you guessed it: in Iraq).
In short, there are very good reasons why I need a mental health strategy that involves bicycling as if my life depended on it. The endorphins are the only thing that makes me happy, and the time I spending riding gives me a much needed break from the pressures of home and work. The fact that I'm getting stronger (2 more pounds of muscle), getting faster (turning a 1:20 minute homeward ride into a 55 minute one), maintaining a stable bone mass, and losing body fat (-12 lbs to date) are just icing on the cake. The biggest reason I do it is because of that scary mood word that starts with a “D.” I was on meds for it earlier this year, and they weren’t working. I had mentioned this to my doctor (Dr. L), but he seemed unusually reluctant to change them, so I was kind of on my own for a while: daylight spectrum lights, vitamins, antioxidants, other nutritional supplements, physical therapy, biking, walking, running, strength training – you name it, I’ve done it. I’m happy to report that I finally convinced Dr. L to change them about 10 days ago, and I think I’m finally turning the corner on the “D” problem. But it was a very rough summer, and I literally went to pieces on days I couldn’t ride. Although the new meds are starting to help, I’m still scared to give up biking, plus I need all the other good things I get from it too.
It has been a real effort not to share some of this stuff with you as it was happening, but some of the details are not mine to share, and this is probably the first time I could even write about it without crying.
If you have made it this far, THANK YOU! You mean a lot to me. Some hugs would go down really well right about now.
Thank you, and