I’M A DRAMA QUEEN. Man, it felt good to finally admit it! Here’s the thing – I’m only a drama queen about my own (and very specific) things. I don’t try to stir up trouble with other people or get involved in other’s drama, but I can be a little bit (a lot) like our friend Scarlett O’Hara when it involves, well, me. Especially when it’s about my health.
Yep, you are about to get a personal update. I haven’t done one in a long time!
When I last left you, I was talking about getting an MBA to paint things in superhero colors. I’m still freelancing, and my personal life is going fine . . . I still love what I do and honestly am kind of boring on a daily basis. But what has not been boring in the last year has been my health. And for the first time, I feel like I am aging. I know, some of you are laughing at me. I’m 37, so just wait, right? But seriously!
Feeling like you are aging + health issues + drama queen = not good:
So what are the health issues, you ask? Let’s get through the serious one first. In early 2013, I had to deal with a birth defect of a female nature. I’ll spare you the gory details, but it took several doctor visits to find out that my reproductive system didn’t develop correctly, and was causing some pretty bad lady issues. The interesting thing is that a stomach problem about five years ago revealed I am also missing a kidney – and the uterus issues are related to that! I don’t remember all of the details, but apparently fetal uterus and kidney development happen around the same time and typically go smoothly. But NOT FOR ME (you can read more about my stuff here). Yet even with these issues, a sick part of me loves being 1 in 100,000 or whatever the statistics are. Because I get to be dramatic (I even inquired with my mother about what she did to me while I was in the womb, and if she could help me get a handicapped parking pass for Christmas shopping, neither of which she found funny). Even though, at the time that I’m dealing with any side effects, it’s not funny and I’d certainly trade for perfect health.
But then there was the second health issue. I like to call it “the great IKEA injury of 2012.” Yes – it happened in 2012 and lasted through all of 2013. And it’s the dumbest thing that’s ever happened to me (or at least ranks up there). Let me explain.
I moved into my loft in August of 2012, and like every good city girl, I went shopping at IKEA for some cheap furniture. I just needed a few particle board shelves to complete my urban look, and I didn’t want to spend big bucks doing it. Plus IKEA has delicious desserts and big blue bags for $1, so it made sense. My boyfriend went with me, and we went through the show room picking out all of my particle board goodies. Now if there’s one thing you should know about IKEA furniture (if you don’t already), it’s that it is insanely heavy. Not all of it, but a good bit. I’m convinced that when they finish designing pieces, they go over it with a fine-toothed comb and figure out where to add cement weights. But where else can you get a birch colored shelf to complete your urban loft for $50??
So my boyfriend and I loaded up a cart in the warehouse of probably 3,000 pounds of particle board, and he was steering. Because men like to drive carts and they like to steer and be in control. And . . . . well . . . . that cart steered at FULL SPEED right into my Achilles. It hurt. OMG, it HURT. The impact actually drove me to tears, but only after my boyfriend got this look:
And this is where the aging comes in again. In my mind, I’m 25. Maybe younger. So I limped out of IKEA, headed back home, and figured “it’s going to heal.” I also had my boyfriend telling me that it was a soft tissue injury and would take a long time to heal. WOMEN: do not listen to your menfolk about healing, unless they are doctors. And especially if they are athletes!
Fast forward to April of 2013. I lived with that pain in my Achilles for seven months. But the story doesn’t get better, my friends – it only gets worse. In April of 2013, I started a boot camp. You know, the kind that has you running and jumping and lifting kettlebells four days a week? I started one of those, and blew my back out within two weeks. I was out of commission for two weeks, but hey, I’m 25, right? So I jumped back in and kept working out. And yes . . . my Achilles was hurting the whole time.
I started physical therapy because my Achilles was getting more painful – and did three months of it . . . that led to nothing. And I kept working out. At some point in that boot camp we ran a timed mile, and that put me in tears. I stopped running, but kept working out. My Achilles never stopped bothering me the whole time.
And like an IDIOT I kept thinking it would heal.
Then, in September of last year, I worked a local arts festival and got a nasty case of pink eye and what pretty much ended up being a lung infection. And that was after using the nicer port-o-johns and washing my hands! I have to say though, quite seriously, all of this was starting to weigh on me. I had one big health issue, which was pain with every step, and a bunch of tiny health annoyances that kept cropping up. I was stressed beyond belief and didn’t even realize it. The health issues took a toll on my mental step.
I finally decided to get some help in November of 2013 – when my boot camp trainer noticed that I was shifting my body to one side to compensate for the bad Achilles, and in addition my right knee started to hurt (probably because of overcompensating for the injury). Yes, it took me over a year to go see a specialist. You are welcome to call me a moron. But I really, truly believed that it would just take a long time to heal . . . and I’ve not had that many injuries in my life . . . and I think I’m in my early 20s physically . . . so honestly, I just didn’t get it.
But it also made me feel worse at the same time – when I realized that the treatment plan was going to be months and months long. I had to pay $1,000 for an MRI and then wait weeks for the results. It ended up being the bursa behind my Achilles that was severely inflamed. First order of business was that I had to get a shot in my foot. Then I had to stay off of my feet and wear a walking boot. FOR MONTHS. No travel. No driving . . . and obviously, no exercise. Oh, and physical therapy three times a week.
Can you imagine the internal drama that ensued? I didn’t take the news very well. I don’t like being told that I can’t do things. I don’t like feeling like I’m old and falling apart. And I certainly don’t like being strapped to a boot that weighs 100 pounds (I’m convinced IKEA designers made my walking boot). I couldn’t throw myself to the ground because of my foot, but If I could have, I would have.
Despite all the fuss and disappointment, I followed all of Dr. Keith’s instructions. And after nearly six months of no exercise, I finally got to go back two days ago. My bursa seems to be completely healed, though I have to take it easy and ease back into everything. Which I am doing.
And now, looking back, I realize how all of the health issues caused me to be a bundle of stress and nerves for the past year. Weighing on me and crushing my spirit (see? Drama!). But I also realized that so many people have it worse than me.
I need to be better about dealing with stuff like this. It’s amazing how you can be good at dealing with some issues, but then others just throw you for a loop. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, my stuff is little, and I should be thankful that it’s not worse. It’s the drama queen in me that gets easily overwhelmed by these (mostly) inconsequential problems.
But when you are you, sometimes you forget. And walking in other people’s shoes isn’t always easy.
I’ll try to do better tomorrow, and I think our friend Scarlett said it best: