Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So..Yeah, That Just Happened...

This was a scary week. I had my annual exam with my new Midwife on Monday and she found a lump in my left breast. It felt a lot like every other lump in there except it was a little bigger and "funny" on the edges. She told me not to panic but that she wanted to refer me to the breast health center for an ultrasound just to be sure it was nothing. I left the office feeling like a stunned bird who had just flown into a window. I did not see that coming.

In every way I loved this midwifery practice. The woman I saw was just like my mom in her "way" with patients. There was a feeling that finally, I had found someone who would be with me, the way I had always seen my Mother with women. I was instantly very comfortable with her. Then....she did my exam and told me all of this. My mind reeled. I had felt lumps and had written them off as "boob fat lumps". I heard my mom rolling her eyes at twenty-one year-old me saying "it's nothing, you're such a hypochondriac. She told me that "of course, everyone thinks the big C when they hear lump" but she didn't want to freak me out she just wanted to be sure.

She took my blood pressure which was now soundly elevated to about 165/83, did my bi manual exam (always a treat) and then we talked a little more about my health history. I told her yes, I would like to get pregnant in the next two years and I was trying to lose a little weight. She noted that it would be best for me and my fertility to shed some pounds and suggested the high blood pressure diet. Ahhrg! I don't have high blood pressure. My cardiovascular system is in fantastic health. I can run forever! I am over my ideal weight and under the most incredible pressure I have ever felt in my life to "get everything right" right now. Also, I don't sleep normal people hours and I work in a place where people are dead/dying, faking/drug seeking. insane/off of their medications, pregnant and bleeding/miscarrying, or disconnected from the health care system and are using us as a primary care facility. It is HARD to be there and in a job where you get to do very little to make any sort of immediate or long term impact. I am not in a job where I might get a save or make an important call tonight, tomorrow or three days from now. I fetch blankets, dip urine, move people to ultrasound, chart on the broken and dying, occasionally, I do some chest compressions but a trained monkey could fill my slot with very little effort. Sometimes waiting for my job to "mean more" takes a toll. Anyway, all of that plus a fucking lump in my breast is enough to get a girl's BP up. It's not because I am fat. I am pretty sure of that.

So, I left the office in a foggy haze. I kept thinking that I wished I was walking out of there with the happy news that I was pregnant instead of the news of a lump. Wrong kind of lump I thought over and over again. Wrong damned lump! I got in the car and called my mom. I cried and cried. I told her everything expecting that she would give me some sort of "this is nothing" schpeel. Her words were "well how scary is that?" I replied through sobs that it was pretty f-ing scary. I felt so far away from her. So far away from my dad. Shit I even missed The Hubbs mom. I wanted anyone parental around me. I felt like if one of them were there there would be no way some big scary grown-up disease could grow in my body. I knew the odds of this lump being nothing were very very high. I also know that every young woman who has fought breast cancer at a tender age had the exact same odds and there is nothing special about me that should make me any different. Odds are just that, odds.

I got home and the Hubbs was asleep after working the night before. I told him they found a lump in my left breast and he said "oh honey, I'm sorry" and fell back asleep. I didn't begrudge him this at all. I know what REM sleep is all about and I knew that him waking up at that moment wasn't going to change anything. I called the specialist's office and made an appointment for Wednesday. Then I got ready to go to my clinical rotation. That night I was in Labor and Delivery. It felt like some kind of fucked up providence that I would be going to watch women have babies. Warped, I know. Anyway, I went and I observed and it was as miraculous and wonderful as always. I know that sounds dry and devoid of true emotion but my experience in L&D is the subject of a whole nother post on many things including the deep emotions I feel towards women in labor.

The next two days were mostly a big blur. Wednesday came and I got up and ready for my appointment. I walked into an office and filled out some papers with a graphical drawing of two breasts asking me to mark the target area. It felt like target shooting. Next a woman called out "Mrs Melnick?" That was the first time anyone had called me that other than jokingly. Again, wrong fucking ultrasound....Wrong wrong wrong. I went into a changing room that looked like a very fancy fitting room at a department store. I put on this strange cape and a robe and left my pants and shoes on. I was lead to a small room where the Hubbs was waiting for me. A very nice French woman put hot jelly on Lefty and smoshed around for a while. She reported that she didn't see anything concerning but the doctor was in the next room over and she was going to have him come talk to me and have a look. I was half-way to relief. The doctor came is and brought with him a young man about my own age who was a radiology resident. They both took a look at Lefty and there was more poking and now cold jelly. It felt strange to lay on a table with one breast hanging out talking about how I don't have menstrual cycles anymore. Very foreign. He didn't find anything concerning. The lump was a collection of glands and fatty breast tissue. It was normal. I was fine.

I felt happy and exhausted walking out of the office. I decided to scrap the day of school and went home to fall fast asleep in my husband's arms. Sweet sleep of relief. I called my parents and told them to sound the all clear. I was lucky. Barb, Irene and millions of other women are not so lucky. I feel lucky. I will do whatever I need to to loose the pre-baby weight, to stay healthy, to love my own body, to lower my goddamnned blood pressure. I have tasted the fear of illness and I am not ready to fight through it yet. I am not ready to wage that war even with the hubbs at my side. And BOY let me tell you he was at my side.

When I started panicking about the what ifs he didn't tell me I was crazy, when I started fretting that this might mean no babies, no breasts, no...anything...he didn't try to convince me that it was insane. He held me and told me he was sorry I was sad and frightened but that he wasn't yet. He told me he has never doubted that we will have many fat, healthy babies and live a long time together watching them grow up and watching their fat healthy babies grow up as well. He wins! Shit, I win. I married that man. I love him so for all the things he said and didn't say, for calmly going to the appointment with me and for thinking that the most awkward part of the whole day was when the doctor walked in while he was kissing my arm. I love him.

So, the moral of the story is that I don't have the big 'C', I am refocusing my efforts to relax, slim down, get healthy. I went for an 8 mile run with the Hubbs and the young dog today. It was good. I was tired but it was do-able. We had a great conversation about babies and the Hubbs has humored me with the loose goal of Christmas 2011 as the IUD pulling target. I just have to lose the weight and get hired, through orientation, and squirrel away some cash to pay for a home birth.

Midwives, home births, labor and delivery, and nursing school are all topics for near future posts. For tonight I am just thankful to have 2 strong feet, attached to 2 strong legs, 2 lumpy yet, healthy breasts, and the sweetest, strongest, toughest and most compassionate husband ever. And that is more than enough.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The lyrics to an Ingrid Michaelson song seem to sum me up right now.

I don't believe in anything but myself
I don't believe in anything but myself
But then you opened up a door
You opened up a door
Now I start to believe in something else

But how do I know if I'll make it through?
How do I know? Where's the proof in you?

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won
But it can be won.

I sit in the back of a bus watching the world grow old
Watching the world go by all by myself
I took a faith full leap and packed up all my things and all my love
And gave it to somebody else

But how do I know if I'll make it through?
How do I know? Where's the proof in you?

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won

And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn't easily won
But it can be won.

I am not sure what the battle with my heart is right now but it is an unceasing battle. I feel sometimes like I am on the other side of a window watching everyone have a wonderful time. On the other side of the window the world is in color and the sounds are clear and vibrant. On my side of the window things are dingy and muted and my ears feel like they are stuffed with cotton. I feel like I have been drugged. I am slow and clumsy. I don't respond to things the way I used to. People around me are getting excited about things and I am sinking. I want so badly to be getting excited about internship and the wedding and everything beyond that but right now all I feel is frightened. I am frightened all the time. I feel like I walk around startled and sleepy all the time. I feel like shit. I feel like a shitty wife, a shitty sister, a shitty daughter, a shitty student, a shitty friend. I want to be excited but I feel like if I move too quickly I will shatter into a million pieces and I just can't spare the pieces. What is this? Where does this come from? When will it pass? I am not "depressed" as I am still so able to see the colors and appreciate all the good fortune in my life. I am fundamentally happy. I just can't reach it right now. It is so far away, on the other side of the glass.

I want to be here. I want to be present and awake. I am not. I am tired and scared. I am not available to G and I know he feels it. We went away on vacation and had a really nice time but I was off. I don't know where. I was just feeling disconnected and I had no idea how to tell him I felt like there had been an invasion of the body snatchers. I felt awkward and anxious in my own skin and I know it came off as irritated or uncomfortable with him. It was breaking my heart but I couldn't get ahead of it. I am just so ready to have my own mind and life back. I am ready to be the sunny, cheerful woman I self-identify with. I am ready to feel like myself again.

Anyway, right now running seems to be the only thing I am able to do without trauma or feeling upset. I am going to see an acupuncturist to help with the stress and the physical aches and pains of increasing my training. I feel like if I can just keep running I'll be OK. I do believe in myself. I just need to learn how to believe in myself with somebody else. I need to learn how to believe in this new incarnation of myself. That is not easily done. It is lucky I have G by my side to help hold my hand when things get scary.

What The Hell is Wrong With Me?

I have had the good fortune to vacation with my husband at a beautiful hot spring utopia in the woods of Oregon. We went for a beautiful and quite successful long run. We soaked and walked and napped and generally hung out on the beautiful grounds of this peaceful place. I am still on break from the most stressful year ever....I don't have to go back to work until tomorrow night. Yet, here I am....I am cranky and petulant and bitching at my darling husband in my head over stupid shit. Selfish shit. No good reason to be bent out of shape shit. He isn't doing anything wrong. He is loving and patient and silly and most importantly he is not taking my mood personally. We are supposed to be sending out our wedding invites today and I am SOOOO not in the mood. I am not in the mood for anything. I am cranky and wishing I had all the freedom in the world to run to the airport and take the next plane leaving for Kathmandu. I feel spring fever amplified to life fever right now. I am quite certain it is not about The Hubbs or about anything but the general undercurrent of hard all around me right now. This too shall pass. I just wish my timing didn't suck so much right now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Things I Am Not

I am not a straight A student this time around.
I am not yet completely ready to be someones mother.
I am not ready to be a full grown paramedic.
I am not ready to think about how big my school loans are now.
I am not ready to stop working yet.
I am not ready to give up cheese.
I am not quite ready to rock my wedding dress. (see above).
I am not over getting B's this term. (But I have stopped crying and have almost stopped beating myself up for it)
I am not ready to forgive my shit head brother.
I am not ready to write off my shit head brother.
I am not ready for my sweet old dog to pass.
I am missing the ocean and the old days of being on it 7 months a year.

All of that said....I AM several things right now too.

I am on spring break.
I am so very in love with my husband.
I am becoming stronger everyday.
I am loving running more every spin out.
I am ready to leave town for a few days.
I am ready to see my Dad and Kathleen in their new place.
I am ready to have my mom live a LOT closer.
I am ready to see my family.
I am ready to know where I will be spending the summer interning.
I am ready for a new ipod.
I am ready to start a garden.
I am ready to sleep under the stars for the first time this year.
I am ready to learn to climb a mountain.
I am still excited about becoming a medic
I am looking forward to each day with this strange mix of wonder and anticipation that comes from loving my life in a pretty profound way right now ups and downs included.

So, there you have it. The shit, the grit and the great stuff. All in a list.

Running had been going really well. I will hit a 20 mile week this week if my shinsplints don't bring me down.
The back fat is slowly receding.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Almost Over

I am thinking of having these made for my parents. I got a FUCKING B+ in EKG2 this term. I suspect I will be seeing the same thing in pharmacology this term. I am so disappointed. I feel like I let myself down. One point! One god damned point! I know that if I had put in a little more effort I could have done it. I worked my ass off last term and finals were trying but they were not this hard. I just feel like a failure. I am here to get A's. I need them to move on to graduate school. I am so disappointed in myself. I wonder what the hell my problem is. Is it that I am not smart enough or that I don't want it badly enough? What the hell is going to happen to me? I feel like a mess. I feel like I am letting G down. He signed on to help me get a's so that I could go to PA school. I am not holding up my end of the bargain. I am having flashbacks to all the times I disappointed myself in my undergrad. I could talk myself into not doing anything. This time I have tried. I have made school almost my entire life. Last term, it was almost at the cost of my pending engagement. This term I tried to find some sort of balance and I got at least one B. if there had been lab grades there would be a lot of B's. FUCK FUCK FUCK! I am so upset. Like a heartbroken teenage girl. I just want to die. I am totally freaked out. I need to be one of the best. I am not saying this out of vanity or out of some type A motivation to be the best. I am saying this because I have been so average my whole life and average isn't going to work. Average got me rejected from eight PA programs a year and a half ago. I have tried and I have asked and I have been told that this is my best bet and I think I blew it. I feel like laying down and dying. I just hope I find a way to pick myself up and dust myself off so that I can rally for the next term. I have come too far and asked too much of those who love me to continue to fuck up. I really wish Rosie would call me back. I miss having a friend who knew me like she did. I don't need to be convinced that I am over reacting or that it's not the end of the world. I need someone to say they are sorry I feel so sad and that they love me anyway and things will look a little better in a little while. I feel so sad.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can relief and dissappointment be coemergent?

I went on my run today and felt like crap. I could easily have been that it was blowing stink and raining and cold. My legs burned, my lungs felt tired and I wanted to stop the whole time. It was by all measures a sucky run. The good news was that I was meeting a friend to study and I was meeting her at the other end of my 4.5mi run. It meant I had to keep going. My keys and my phone were in my bag which was at the coffee shop. I survived my run and even managed to run more than I walked. I sat at the shop studying all day full of snot and sneezing and my body felt strange. My breasts hurt and I felt all weepy and anxious and strange. I couldn't put my finger on it but it has been going on for days now. Its a little insane actually as the weight loss had been reflected in the bra as well until last week when they seemed to double in size overnight and became achy. The real shit of the whole thing is that I have an IUD and thus, should not be getting pregnant according to the statistics as well as the shear infrequency of our sex life. It shouldn't be possible to get pregnant on once a week sex. That should be my pay off for not getting to see my husband more than one night a week. That one night should be risk free. Anyway, what I am saying is that I don't have the luxury (?) of periods to mark my non-pregnant state with the IUD so things are a lot less concrete than they were before. They are a lot better without the monthly exhaustion and cramping and bleeding and all of that glory, but it leaves things open for interpretation or speculation. I have a healthy stock of home pregnancy tests and take one every few months or so just to be sure or if I have a feeling or a scary dream...I'm insane I know!

Anyway, I am trying to say that I thought I was pregnant today. I just thought I should take a test anyway because I didn't feel right. I took a test as soon as I got home today and it is supposed to show a blue "control" line no matter what and a pink line if I was pregnant. This particular one showed the blue line and then the whole background turned pink. No pink line just all pink background. What the fuck does all pink mean!? Beyond that what the fuck am I going to do if I take another one and I am pregnant? I can't get pregnant right now. I really can't. I am about to quit my job for the summer for my internship and live completely off of Garth's support. I am having a WEDDING in SEPTEMBER! Oh my god! What the hell am I going to do? At the same time I got excited. Really excited about the thought of watching my body change and meeting a new little soul who is part G and part me, watching G become a dad and become comfortable with a tiny person who would grow into a little person and then a big person. I just can't wait for the day when we get to do all of that together. Now back to reality where I say NO NO NO NO! That is not my plan. My plan was/is to graduate and wait another 18months before even starting to try. That would put me about 2 years out from right now. That would hopefully get me enough time to have established myself at a job and in the field a little bit. I would be ready. I would be in the perfect time frame and age of 29. Ok, Ok, long story endless as my friend says...I peed again 40min later (damned bladder!)....and I am NOT pregnant. It was a relief...and a disappointment. I am not so secretly afraid that I won't be able to get pregnant. I sort of convinced myself that if I were pregnant, even if the timing sucks beyond sucks, it would mean I CAN get pregnant. I know that G would be wonderful and amazing if I had peed a tiny pink line. I know also that he was relieved to hear me say I am not. He is the most wonderful person I could have ever dared dream marry. He wants kids as badly as I do but we have a plan. We have a schedule for this stuff so we can keep moving towards what we both say we want in life both independently and together. I love our plan and am happy to not have to adjust everything to accommodate a little person right now but I was a little disappointed. I won't lie. So, with that, I will do a little yoga and head to bed.

And Then I Cried to My Teacher...

This term has had it's particular challenges. I am not sure why this term so much more than last term. Maybe the bloom of the rose was overtaken somewhat by the thorns. Maybe it's that I got married and spring came and all I want to do is go running in the green green world with my new husband and best friend. Maybe. Whatever the reason I feel like laziness plays a part. Maybe it is because I spent way too much of my undergrad not applying myself fully. Anyway, I have been working on this research paper. With the help of my mother's partner who is a fantastic research librarian I have a bunch of really great sources. I should have gotten more serious about all of this sooner but the week I had planned for it became sick as a dog on the couch week and I barely went pee, let alone worked on a paper. Anyway, I was behind and then all of the other stuff we have this semester started to pile up and I was waiting on sources to arrive and then bam! Here we are, finals are next week. Lab final was yesterday and I don't want to know what my score was on the written. I went down in flames! I am just glad that that class is a pass fail this term. I did well in class all term I just know this would have tanked me to a B instead of an A and sometimes just knowing that you passed is good enough.

So, I was just finished with one exam and getting ready for another when I walked in to hear everyone talking about the paper. I started to freak out. I realized that in spite of the fact that I was now up to date in all other areas I was totally in the weeds with this toxicology paper. I felt like shit. I looked at the schedule and realized that there was no way I was going to be able to spend the time I needed to on my EKG and pharmacology finals if I was trying to pull this paper out of my ass! Something was going to give and I was terrified it was going to be my EKG, pharm and I worked too hard to get B's in those classes. I called my instructor about the paper. He was trying to be helpful but told me to try to "power through" and just get it all done. That did not help. I know he has likely gotten fifteen other phone calls about this stuff and so his kindness and empathy are likely a little thin at this point, but "power through"? Really? C'mon! I was pissed off and freaked out. I went upstairs to my program director and was horrified to realize that I was crying and couldn't stop! I have, in my youth, used my "girl card" and attempted to cry my way out of things. It has been years and certainly not at all this year since I have pulled any of that. I tried to stop but Suzanne pulled me into her office and I was just leaking! I told her I had tried to call the instructor and told her he told me to triage and I told her how overwhelmed I felt and how I HAD to get A's in Kate's classes. She listened kindly and asked if I thought that being out sick had put me in this bind or if I had been ill prepaired. I told her I thought both had happened. I felt like I had been on track until I got sick and then I just felt like I was one legged and things were not getting done the way I had planned out. She told me that I was not the first person to come to her but I was the first person to accept total responsibility for the position I was in and so she was going to talk to my instructor and grant me a week's extension. I was relieved and embarrassed. I had cried to mommy and now she was going to fix things for me. Shit!

So, here I sit blogging....bad! I am packing up to hit a coffee shop with my friend to study for the day. I plan on working at the paper tonight after my most functional brain is burned out. This term is a nightmare! I can't wait for it to be over. I can't wait for a fresh start next term. I have said it before and I will continue to say that paramedic school at the University is the hardest thing I have ever done. And with that, I am off.

Fitness Day 88
Running 3.5mi to coffee shop!
Rest day yesteday.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Has Sprung! All Over My Motivation!

It is the very beginning of spring here in the temperate PacNW. I am hearing people talking about their garden starts and their plans to grow big beautiful tomatoes and tall stalks of beans and peas nestled in next to organic heirloom lettuces and broccoli. It makes me say WHAT THE F IS WRONG WITH ME?!!! Why am I not even close to thinking about planting little green things other than my envious thoughts that begin "oh man, I wish..." and end "I don't have time to scratch my ass let alone garden right now!" I feel like my priorities are out of whack or something. I have a best friend who, while in MF-ing MEDICAL school and pregnant as humanly possible had a beautiful make that THE MOST BEAUTIFUL and abundant veggie garden I have seen in a long time. What is wrong with me? My weeks right now look a little something like this (they start on Friday as that is my "Monday")
Friday: Sleep in as long as possible then work 7pm-7am
Saturday: Run 3-4miles home from work then sleep from 9am-5pm, have dinner and go back to work 7pm-7am
Sunday: Run 3-4miles home from work then sleep until 4ish in order to see the hubbs for a while before clinicals 7pm-3am
Monday: Sleep until noon then get up to run and study before clinicals 7pm-3am
Tuesday: See Monday lather rinse repeat... though lately I have been taking Tuesday nights off (shhh don't tell) so I can function Wed.
Wednesday: Up at 5am to be at school by 7am until 4pm. Water aerobics. Pass out around 8pm
Thursday: SLEEP THE FUCK IN! Get up and run then study (we have been making Thursday "date night" for the past few weeks since the hubbs has been off. Last week we met a big group for beer and pool) This is my brightest spot in the whole week!
And now we are back to Friday and it starts all over again!
Do we maybe think that this is why I can't fathom planting things and taking responsibility for weeding and watering and tenderly singing to them? Maybe. Anyway, I feel like I am missing a lot this year. I will be missing the Mt Hood summit class, country fair, watching The Otter grow up, helping my father move, SUMMER! I know why I am here and I know why I am doing all of this I just wish I had more time to plant things and watch them grow. I look forward to the days when I can wake early, after a full night's sleep, and sit on the front step drinking tea and watching the starts grow. For now I will train for my Marathon (yep! MARATHON 26.2Miles) in October, look forward to my wedding in September, and keep my nose to the grindstone until August.

Fitness Day 86
6mile run 11min 40sec pace in forest park with dogs and Hubbs.
Bought books on marathon training
Bought new bra and finally ran free from the feeling of being punched in the boobs for miles on end.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On The Road Again

I am back up and running! I went to see the doctor last week on Friday and he told me he thinks I am still suffering from a sprain of the same tendons and muscles that surround the bone I broke in November. He fitted me with a handful of cuboid pads and sent me on my way free to run, ice and ibuprofen with thoughtful abandon. He also told me that if it was still painful to stop running and come back. I can see how this may seem irritating to some but to me this is evidenced based medicine. This is beautiful. He did a complete foot exam and did not radiate me again. He asked good questions and came up with a very reasonable possible solution. I was, of course frightened that it would not be so simple but after three runs and no pain (while running) I think we may have found ourselves a solution. I am over the moon. I have a renewed desire to run and feel like I want to take on the challenge of another full marathon sooner rather than later. I am ready. I think I can kill my last time and feel a lot better while doing it. I am aiming for Seattle in November. It will be one year from my stumble and break and more than ten years since my first marathon. Seattle is hilly and has its sucky bits but that is just how it goes. Portland is the same way. We have Katie and John in Seattle so it is a reasonable place to go and stay and make a weekend out of it. I am getting all fired up just thinking about it. I will say more about my training plans and life in general as we go along and particularly after I make it through these next two weeks of the term. People keep asking about the wedding planning and I am going nowhere fast with all of that so I have to get back in gear there too. One exhausted step at a time right now. I CAN do this. I think I can I think I can...I will! Ok, off to hit the books...Toxicology papers don't write themselves.

Fitness Day 85
Total weight loss 14lbs
Pant size 14
Yesterday ran 4.5mi at a 9min 45sec pace. Today is a strength training/rest day