days gone by
One of the things that shocks most people about me is how I share so much about my mental and physical health on this blog. Most people keep that stuff pretty close to the chest, but I’m usually an open book.
It’s actually very deliberate. I share less of it on FB, but if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know all about it. I have way less of a filter on Twitter, so a lot of it is stream of consciousness shit about how I’m feeling that day. Which might be why I write less when I’m active on Twitter. Writing has always been me dumping things out of myself onto the page. Twitter actually relieves stress for me, for that reason, but I still hate that kind of thing.
Still, I share my stuff–even the uncomfortable, embarrassing, whiny crap–because everything in my being tells me not to. I come from a long line of stiff upper lips with grin and bear it attitudes. It’s why my father was an alcoholic–or at least partially–because alcoholism is about many things. But the thing is–in my family–you coped by any means necessary. So, I inherited a set of tools that helped me ignore pain and discomfort–whether it was emotional, physical, or spiritual. And I’m very very good at using those tools. In fact, every health issue I have ever had comes from being so damn good at using those tools. But wait a minute. Aren’t tools supposed to be good things? If they’re causing health issues, maybe you should find better tools.
That’s the realization I had after my gall bladder surgery when my life literally was on the line because I had spent years and years enduring bullshit. Not asking for help. Trying to figure shit out on my own. Self-medicating and telling my body to fuck off.
Let me tell ya, peeps, the body and the Universe always wins. So, if you’re telling those things to fuck off, be prepared to wake up and wake up good.
The truth is–I’m extremely uncomfortable with medicine and the business of healing. It terrifies me. My heart rate skyrockets and my blood pressure soars as soon as I get close to a lab or dr’s office. I hate these places–even though I love my practitioners and am so grateful for them. For me, these places failed–utterly–and didn’t support me at all during my Mama’s illness. So, it’s okay to feel a bit anxious and not trusting. I give myself that permission.
Today, I had to go to my dr’s office. As far as dr’s offices go, this one is great. I was very picky about the dr I chose when I last made a switch. I wanted a woman just because I am not as open with men about female issues. I’m just not. I still get like I’m 12 years old. I don’t want to talk about boobs or vaginas with a guy. Unless I’m fucking him. I wanted a woman who was near my age, maybe older, because it’s easier to talk to a peer. My dr operates out of an old Denver square home in Highlands, so it’s about as far away from a traditional dr’s office as you can get. She has an exam table but rarely makes me get up there. It feels homey and calm. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a wellness center, so it smells like aromatherapy and is very spa like in there. They have massage therapists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and mental health peeps there so it’s a one stop shop. Her Mama runs the front desk and is so great. My dr is a DO/nutritionist, and she’s also very open to integrative medicine, so we often use alternative therapies to manage stuff.
I’ll admit, I first didn’t like her. She’s very introverted, but now I feel much more comfortable–like she really understands my anxiety and how it affects my health. She is also able to see past my bullshit. She knows that if I’m mentioning something, I’ve a) been dealing with it for a while, b) feel concerned about it, and c) am probably majorly downplaying that concern. I’m way better at going to be checked out–but I still am guilty of using Google to figure myself out and waiting for a bit before I go. That’s partially because I fix myself. I’ve always been the fixer for everyone else, so not fixing myself feels very odd. And I hate going to drs–flat out. So, anything I can do to avoid it, I’m in.
I noticed today that I am routinely falling into an old habit of mine where I’m the cheerleader for my own health–telling myself I’m fine and downplaying symptoms while making fun of my mortality. It’s a thing that I’ve always done, but it was necessary during my Mama’s illness when she was literally in a life or death situation where she was not capable of dealing with the stress of her illness. I was the person making sure she understood things, but I did it in a way that wouldn’t scare her–because I knew she’d lose it if she knew how bad this stuff was. I took it on instead so she’d have less to bear–mostly because my Mama was a worry wart–way worse than me. I knew it would eat her alive to really know how scary this shit was. The stuff I shared was still freaking scary–but she didn’t know enough about medicine to really know anything was that scary. As long as I told her–we’ll get through this–she believed me. Because she trusted me. Which was very hard to deal with when it all failed. It’s a big source of my guilt about the whole thing.
So, for this coping mechanism to show up so routinely in my own self-care? It’s hard because it’s connected to all that other crap–which makes sense because all of my health everything is connected to that time in my life. You can’t go through that kind of crisis without absorbing some major fear and anxiety.
Just writing this now, I’m feeling a lot of crap come up. My instinct is to hold onto it, but I’m taking a breath and letting it pass. My doctor actually talked about this with me today–how you can’t feel anger if you’re breathing deeply. It’s one of the first things I learned in therapy.
I was at my dr’s today because I needed to get updated thyroid labs. I also have a lump on the roof of my mouth that just appeared the other day (it’s getting smaller), and I still have some weird belly pain–though it comes and goes. And I had weird yellow skin under my eyes–just the skin–not the eyes. It’s supposedly a thyroid-related thing related to not processing beta carotene well. So, I wanted to get all of those things looked at.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve been in for a full work-up, which was shocking to me. But I realized today that I kept rescheduling because of the crap with Fogg and everything else. She looked at everything. The yellow skin had disappeared, of course. The belly pain was nonexistent when I stopped in. She wasn’t too concerned with the bump, but felt I should have a dentist look at it in case it’s a dental issue. The fact that it’s much smaller is encouraging, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had it before and it went away within a day or two.
I shared with her that the urgent care doctor had felt I had a muscle tear, but I definitely feel like that’s healed up and I’m still having the tenderness intermittently. Liver herbs definitely help, and it’s mostly just a discomfort–not really a pain. I’ve had liver pain before, and the way this is presenting jives with that. It also is in the spots where the liver is–now–so it makes sense to me. Without a gall bladder, my liver is overtaxed, often. It seems to freak out most during allergy season and there’s always the possibility that I’ll have gall stones. You can get them in the liver. If my liver is to blame, it explains why my GI tract isn’t feeling so great; why I’m so bloated; and why things aren’t being digested as well as they should despite my changing nothing about my diet recently.
She checked all my vitals and etc. My anxiety was actually great today. I was super calm and my heart rate/BP was just slightly elevated. I’m not even sure what was different.
She decided to get a bunch of labs done–including my thyroid, the standard tests kids of people with heart disease get, and all the nutritional/vitamin type tests. She still recommends cutting out gluten since it hurts the thyroid so much and also getting more vitamin D. Or going out in the sun more since I’m the palest of them all.
I go tomorrow, and I have to fast, so I’m terrified I’m going to pass out–especially since the in-network lab is at a local hospital (GOD) and they’re taking like half my blood for all these tests. I know I’m seriously dehydrated, so I’m trying to drink water like crazy. I’m actually not that terrified of the needle part–though I do worry because new places always hurt the shit out of me because my veins are tricky bitches.
The thing that I’ve noticed lately is that my body–and the Universe–is really trying to get my attention. Whether it’s me or my cat–it wants me to pay attention to something. This year has been a ridiculous ride for health in my household, and I clearly need to listen or it’s just going to keep churning.
The latest? Fogg has a bump on her chin. It feels different from the others, so off to the vet we go. We’re going to see her home vet–the one that originally diagnosed her tumor–just to be safe and I’ll likely have her look at the others for a second set of informed eyes. I’m not taking any chances.
The thing is–my scientist brain doesn’t want to accept the first vet’s opinion that these other growths are just randomly showing up. She’s never had anything like this in 11 years. So, to me, I wonder if it’s a new thing or if it’s the diabetes showing up in different ways or if the other stuff is causing this.
At this point, the amount of medical and vet stuff I’ve dealt with this year is actually comical. And my conclusion: the Universe is trying to get me to put myself on the damn list. Again. Because Fogg and her little comrades have been my focus for a while now. I didn’t see my dr again for months because of her care being most important. I’m working too hard, too. I’m stressing myself out with all the changes.
Part of it is financial from all the Fogg stuff and not being able to do the things I need to do for me. Part of it is it’s a pain in the ass. Part of it is not being able to leave Fogg. I have pushed off dr’s appointments, mole removal, dental appointments, therapies of all kinds, and haven’t really left the apartment for more than half a day. When I do–Fogg is usually with me–so there’s no break.
I feel so unsupported right now. Even though I know people care. But I feel like I’m making excuses again and allowing shitty behavior because I’m just not able to deal with more BS now–and my body is clearly telling me that this needs to stop pronto.
I do consciously try to be nice to myself, but it’s not enough–and that’s stressful too.
So, that said, now that Fogg is more stable, I’m going to try to do more for me. I have my dentist appointment in a few days–something I put off for a whole year. I’m going to try to do something nice for myself in August–before we leave–that actually involves being by myself without a cat. I’m also going to consciously try to avoid gluten and do more swimming. Because I really do love it and it does help me get out of my damn head. And yes–I’m even going to date again. Fine.
I just realized I’ve been putting everything off until the end of August because that’s when I’ll finally have support and when money will magically get better. Because I didn’t want to invest too much where I am now and I didn’t want to take attention away from Fogg when she needed me.
Oddly, as soon as I made that choice, work suddenly got better as a bunch of reqs were put on hold. It looks like my July and August might be slow as molasses. Which I kind of really need.
I’m listening, Universe. Please teach me. But be kind. I can’t take too much more.