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Life, liberty, and my recent pursuit of happiness

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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi Dear Friend,

    I started at a new company and have not been on here much in the last few weeks. Sorry to hear about everything you had to go though. Happy birthday a little late also emoticon emoticon emoticon Linda
    2346 days ago
    I'm sorry that you're going through / went through all of those issues at once, let alone at all; but, it sounds like not only has your weight loss journey changed your weigh; but, it's changed you.
    I'm *so* proud of you and happy for you.

    2347 days ago
    What a lot of stuff you have been through! I hope that everything is on the mend. Your attitude is amazing! I really admire it.
    2348 days ago
    Your strength is so vibrantly strewn thoughout your words. You are brave, articulate, wise and strong. You are capable of overcoming each of these obstacles, because you are able to remain mindful of the power you *do* have, even when that power is diminished by circumstances beyond your control.

    I am so utterly bowed by your gracious and courageous approach to these battles. Your continuing work to remain healthy gives you the greatest opportunity for success. Stay strong, stay vibrant, stay healthy, my friend. I'm here for you, Darlin'.

    Best wishes to you, always.
    2349 days ago
  • DR1939
    emoticon Take care of yourself and keep up the good work.
    2354 days ago
  • JESSICA2140
    I can't believe you kept at the fitness training through all of that!! We're ALL always here for you...no weakness involved. We all need a little help through things. And you're not asking for help choosing a paint color, you're reaching out over the Big C...or the potential. So reach out, vent, rage, cry, whatever you need to do at that moment. Not weakness...it's being human!!
    2354 days ago
    You have been through so much and have come out stronger than ever. You are handling the things you are going through in a healthy way and taking care of yourself. I'm glad to see you are back you have been missed!!! emoticon
    2354 days ago
    Oh, my dear. My heart is with you. Your strength is a reminder to me of what I want to feel in myself. I am so edified to read your update and so glad you posted.
    2355 days ago

    Glad to see you back - you have a lot on your plate, but congratulations on the way you are handling it - you are doing what you need to do, and listening to yourself, and that is a victory far greater than the weight/diet/exercise triad.

    You're Number One!

    Take care, be well - and know that you are loved -
    2355 days ago
    Bravo to you - not only have you risen to the challenge of the last 38 days, you have proven yourself to be an overcomer. Regardless what happens you're a strong woman who will take care of herself, advocate for herself, and reach out for support when she needs it. Now THAT'S healthy living!
    2355 days ago
    I have missed you and you were there soldiering on, you are one amazing woman!! I am proud to call you friend!!
    So sorry you are having to go thru all this, but it appears you are handling it quite well. I wish I could do something more for you.
    I am delighted to hear your demands from the doctors! It is, after all, YOUR body and you definitely have rights!! Good Girl!! (this is a lesson I have tried to drive home to both of my girls)

    Congrats on the 4 lb loss and for continuing despite the circumstances! emoticon

    So glad to see you back! You are in our prayers and will continue to be.....know I am here, we all are if you need us.

    Hugs and more hugs,
    Elaine emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2355 days ago
    Good for you being so proactive in your own health care. I guess I can believe a surgeon said it'll still be there in 6 months.... like all you have to do is sit around and wonder what the situation is for the same 6 months. Glad you are getting a biopsy. At least you'll KNOW!

    Hurrah for making good choices and being in charge of your life. All works together, doesn't it? And 4 lbs is 4 lbs. Nothing to sneeze at.

    I'm off to sync my ipad for tomorrows class.
    Take care.

    2355 days ago
    Wow, you have had a rough time. I'm glad you are able to stay positive and have a good attitude about everything. It sounds like you are doing well despite all this going on. It's good to hear from you. I can't believe these dr.s all wanted you to wait and see for 6 months. I thought early detection was the best hope for breast cancer how can they detect it early if they want to wait it out? I don't much about it but that seems ludicrous to me. Glad you went to someone else.
    2355 days ago
    It sounds like you're handling this all very well, and you're right - slow progress is good progress. You're headed in the right direction, and not just on the scale. It's the lifestyle I'm talking about. I do hope the biopsy goes well and you find out this is not cancer, and if it does happen to be cancer, that you've caught it very early. I can't believe what that one surgeon said to you about the six months thing! That's insane.

    I've spent the last six days being completely sedentary, and I just want to say that it's not just getting older - my back is KILLING me because I haven't been doing my ST. I took this week very light on purpose, and I cant' wait to get back to exercise in this coming week. So I definitely feel you on that.

    Keep going, you're doing fantastic.
    2355 days ago
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