Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Year of Medical Scares -- Averted

According to the Chinese, it’s the Year of the Horse.  My husband declared this would be the Year of Happiness.  For me, it’s been the Year of Medical Scares – Averted.  I consider myself a healthy person.  I eat well, exercise daily, and rarely need to see a doctor for anything other than routine exams – until this year.  My annual gynecology exam, which is usually a routine, friendly chat with the gynecologist I’ve gone to for years (she’s my age, has children the ages of my youngest and they, also, happen to be adopted, though we rarely mention that) turned into a follow-up appointment with my dermatologist and another appointment with my GYN.  Both appointments resulted in biopsies that brought back negative results.  Then, last week I went in for my annual mammogram – and got called back.  This third callback (dermatologist, GYN and now mammogram) was the scariest for me; perhaps because breast cancer just seems like such a scary subject.  But, again, negative results.

Since receiving the mammogram callback letter Saturday, I’ve been trying to stay busy and not worry, but the tension has been there, just below the surface.  My husband’s former secretary had a tagline on her signature block that read something like:  Be kind.  You never know what someone else is going through.  Several times in the last few days, I’ve wished I could wear that saying on a placard around my neck. I’m a pretty open person, but these last few days, when I’ve been trying to keep my medical issues and worries to myself, I found it hard to deal with people who didn’t treat me with the gentleness I needed.  My husband was a champ (he always is), but then, he knew what I was dealing with.  He did try telling me not to worry – hah!  Like that was going to work.  My girlfriend who I confided in gave me the best advice (she often does).  She said, “I won’t tell you not to worry, but I will suggest you try to balance the worry with an equal amount of positive thoughts.”

I’m seeing my new internist this afternoon.  An appointment made several weeks ago to get established as a new patient and to go over some routine topics.  Here’s hoping there are no callbacks and I can move on, with my husband, into the Year of Happiness.  Hell, I’d even be willing to ride off into the remainder of the year on a horse.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Reality of Mortality

Mortality has been on my mind recently.  Illnesses in people my age, the death of someone I used to be close to, and my own aging have brought the reality of mortality into my vision.  I’ve been struggling with the dichotomy of what I’m doing with my life – how I spend my days and what I’d like to be doing with my life – the hopes and dreams that I’ve harbored for years.

The reality of my life right now still includes a great deal of mothering, and it probably always will, though I’d expect the needs to diminish with time.  It also includes some business work that isn’t really something I like to do or know how to do well, but it is necessary.  And, lately, it’s also included my own health status and maintenance – not just the day to day time spent exercising and preparing meals, but also a two-week bout with a winter cold and another two-week bout with a bad back – time and energy suckers!

The dreams of my life, when I sit back and think about what could be, are to live in our dream home (that will come with time), to write more – enough to put together a book, to develop a couple of business ideas and, of course, the age-old desire to learn to play the drums and play in a rock-n-roll band.

So with mortality on my mind, I’ve felt disconcerted by this dichotomy in my life.  I’ve been plagued by the realization that I don’t have forever to accomplish my dreams, yet I simply don’t see how, right now, I can make those dreams a reality.  It suddenly hit me that I don’t have to accomplish those dreams.  Perhaps it would be enough to simply feel good about the way I’m spending my days right now.  Is it worth the angst to dream of dreams only to have the reality of today slip by in unhappiness and yearning?  I realized that I could decide to let those dreams go for now, maybe forever, and just enjoy the reality of my day today without the guilt of what’s not getting done.

I’m not sure I’m ready to let it all go, but it was an epiphany to think that I might.