Sunday, November 06, 2011
The last month has been rough, rough, rough, emotionally and psychologically. Nothing to do with food and fitness and weight loss. Everything to do with health and that is frightening.
It all started with a routine colonoscopy and a routine mammogram, procedures conducted on back to back days. The colonoscopy resulted in the removal of a benign polyp (Yay!) and a severe prolapse (Boo!). So, surgery was scheduled for October 21. A big deal to me, but not so much in the scheme of things. I came through with no problems.
The mammogram... The mammogram... Required follow-up screening, with special views of both breasts, followed by ultrasound for the right breast. ultrasound views showed 2 lumps. The radiologist recommended a watch-and-wait (for six months) approach. Yeah, no. So, I see my regular physician who refers me to a surgeon (in a different city, 95 miles away) for a second opinion. The surgeon says something like, "Breast cancer is slow growing. If it's breast cancer, it'll still be there in six months and we can decide to do something then." And he walked out the door. Nice.
I got angry, furious in fact. Left the clinic. Returned home. Called my physician's office and discovered she was on vacation. Ten days later, I meet with her again. She refers me to a local surgeon who seemed to have some good sense. Biopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Nothing I've reported here has led to liberty or to a real sense of happiness. However, nothing here has completely derailed my efforts either. Even though I didn't engage in a lot of checking in with my SP friends, I lost 4 pounds, I think, and I didn't lose ground. My fitness efforts continued when I had medical clearance and I continued to track my calories and make good food choices. I didn't lose eight or ten pounds, as I would have liked... But, honestly? Big deal. I lost four. Good enough, considering everything.
These are some of the things I've come to better understand over the past 38 days as I've waited to hear and to know about life- and liberty-related pursuits.
First, I handled stress in productive ways, without the self-sabotage, self-punishment, and pity parties that I've thrown for myself in the past, when circumstances weren't nearly as challenging. I can nurture myself, reduce my own anxiety, and remain positive when things aren't going the way I want them to.
When we're successful at weight loss and fitness, I suspect we all eventually say or think this second thing: Slow progress is much, much better than no progress. When life throws the curve balls, you just keep going.
Third, I really like to work out and I miss it when I cannot. Notice the word, cannot. There truly were post-surgery times when I was not allowed to work out. I actually was able to nurture myself through those times, without deciding that not being able to work out means that I should not be mindful about my choices.
Fourth, my body hurts when I don't do any strength training. It's rough getting old!
Fifth, stewing in silence is a bad idea. I'm an introvert and, thus, much less likely to reach out when I need support, encouragement, or a sympathetic ear. the tape in my head tells me that I'm being overly-dramatic, that I need to put my head down and soldier on, and that I'm displaying weakness by letting any of this get to me. Nevertheless, I reached out to the friends I have in my physical environment. I made a half-hearted attempt to reach out to my SP friends. I beat myself up over that some, but I am giving myself plenty of credit for not soldiering on alone. I'm trying.
Sixth, you can have a birthday, throw yourself a party, and indulge yourself a little even when circumstances don't exactly merit a celebration! I had fun and I had my friends with me. And, for a while, I had no concerns. Ahhhhhhhh! Felt so good!
Seventh, health scares help you re-prioritize what is important. Yes, indeed.
Whatever happens next, I'll handle it. I believe it'll be good news. I hope it will be. If not, I'll deal with it; I'll tackle whatever comes my way.