Thursday, December 26, 2013

By the End of the Day

Last week I had my cursory check in with my surgeon where she not only told me to join weight watchers, but to do so by the end of the day. Man, that is harsh. I shared that I'm not a real group person, not a joiner, but she was having none of it, so I nodded compliantly knowing that while I know I need to loose weight, I am not joining weight watchers, let alone by the end of the day. My surgeon is a petite and formidable woman, she tells me that I should be worried about heart disease and strokes, as they are the number one killers of women. I straight out told her, "no, sorry, I won't do it, I worry about cancer and that's all I'm willing to have on my worry plate." Heart disease and strokes are just going to have to take a back seat in my worry van. She doesn't like this, so we've had to agree to disagree.

I wouldn't say I'm a hypochondriac, as if I were, I would have gone to the doctor as soon as I felt the planetoid sized lump in my breast instead of ambling in two months later and I would have been insistent that yes, there was something awry and puleeze send me to a specialist instead of telling me it is nothing and not to worry about it. I chose the not-worry-about-it option, as it was so appealing, even though deep down, inside, well, not even all that deep, I knew, I guess I just wasn't quite ready yet, having just begun divorce mediation, I didn't feel ready for that too, but eventually, I realized, I had no choice.

I think what I am, what I've become, is a cancercondriac. No matter what my symptoms, I don't worry about heart disease and stroke or MS, or diabetes, or even being struck by lightening or eaten by sharks, in fact, I dare you shark, I just dare you... I worry about cancer, every day... every minute of every day. Not in a debilitating way, but in a real way, that sometimes induces panic and often not, but is a revolving fear, on a loop de loop. Everyone I know has been sick this season. Lingering viruses and flu's, my little dude missed a week of school and is still coughing, my studio-mate laid low for weeks. I haven't had more than a sniffle and I think that has to do with being allergic to my xmas tree, but I take it as a sign that I don't have metastatic cancer. I've decided that as my immune system seems to be functioning well, it must also be keeping me cancer free. It's maddening not to know what's going on inside my body. I am consumed with aches and pains and there's no way to know if it's age, effects of chemo and radiation, lack of exercise or imminent death inducing metastatic cancer.

The flip side of that is I feel like crap. I've been gaining weight, my LiveStrong days at the gym seem a distant memory, not a few months ago, and I'm developing syndrome after syndrome which is wearing me down. I've become my own worst enemy. I've been diagnosed with lymphedema in my right arm, my dominant arm and hand are now 3cm larger than my left and my handy-dandy lymphedema therapist wants to wrap my entire arm up to the fingertips in bandages for 6-8 weeks and I just can't do it, I refuse. I've been compliant for two years, I've done everything each and every cog in the medical wheel has asked, but this I just can't do. Next best thing she says is to wear a compression sleeve and glove 12 hours a day. Glove? no way, so we settled on gauntlet which is like a glove that has the fingers free. I have one of these get ups already that I've worn on airplanes to avoid getting lymphedema and they are murky beige, depressingly geriatric looking and very uncomfortable, and so I've been in denial. I even had to explain that I was in denial to my sweet specialist and she said she just had to mark my chart, that I knew I was in danger of a permanent and worsening condition by ignoring it and I said "yes, yes I understand, I just can't deal with it, I've reached my limit." I don't usually do denial, but I guess we all make exceptions.

I promised I would deal with it after the holidays and I just paid out of pocket for a fuschia sleeve which is more bearable than beige, I picked it up at the medical supply place today. My insurance would have paid for the beige one, but it's just too depressing so I paid extra for color. The cost of color. My fuscia is more pepto bismol than cheery purple/pink, but it will have to do. Thus far, I can't even bring myself to open the box.

I tried to carve a ham on xmas eve and neither hand could grip the utensils well enough to do it. It was surprising and dispiriting, what an odd thing to have to ask for help with. The neuropathy and the lymphedema are a bad combination. My hands cramp up and are stiff and weak, writing with a pen is increasingly difficult. So it's time to cut the crap, I suppose and return to being a good patient and get myself in that horrible garment. Boo, hiss, whine, complain. Tomorrow will be my last day of cookies {I really need the tall one to come home and eat them all which he will do quite efficiently, and any minute now} and I'm going back to the gym. In fact I'm putting my whole life secondary to getting in shape, O.K., kids still first, but work is going behind health on the list. Being a clever girl, I've decided the best exercise is the funnest exercise and that is in scuba-town, so I'm planning a trip for the end of February. I have between now and then to get scuba ready. Those wetsuits are tight and the tanks heavy and I couldn't possibly manage it right now, so I have slightly less than two months to get in shape. Between now and then it's gym, gym, gym, yoga, wearing the sleeve, and eating healthy.

My boys should be home any minute and we will commence our yearly holiday Lord of The Rings marathon. We have the extended version DVDs, so I am not exaggerating when I say marathon. The geeky darling has challenged me to a game of Doctor Who Yahtzee which is what Santa brought me this year and tomorrow we'll all go see the Hobbit. It's so rare that the three of us are on the same page at the same time, but indeed, this is the movie for us all. Popcorn for all!

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth: I lost 50 pounds in 9 months after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last year. How? By eating no white starches, no grains (except occasionally oatmeal), no sugars except those in fruits. It took a few weeks to detox from the cravings but got easier as time went on. Now I can walk 40 minutes a day with the pooch; before, my joints screamed and I was out of breath. Keep it simple. Good luck.