Confessions of an aging drama queen

scarlettI’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:

Melanie_it_s_all_your_faultSo 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:

scarlett2And 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.

Scarlett-O-Hara-vivien-leigh-One visit to Dr. Keith, an orthopedic surgeon, made me feel better.

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.

scarlett_oharaDespite 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:

scarlet-ohara

Comments

  1. Amber says

    This was a very engaging and well-written personal piece! Of course it isn’t the best personal piece given you were injured, but I am glad you are working past it!

  2. says

    Wow! I had to click on the title but didn’t expect the litany of health crap you’ve had to endure over the past few years. Yet, you’ve kept your sense of humor which is a GREAT thing! I had to wear a boot when I stupidly broke my foot in two places several years ago, and I agree: the boot is just a heavy ankle weight in disguise. If they were fashionable, all the fitness geeks would wear them around every day for leg muscles! (And when I broke my foot – and my husband said I was probably fine – I practically hyperventilated into a paper bag, so I’m pretty good with health-related drama too!) Glad you’re on the mend… knock on IKEA wood! ;)

  3. says

    (((HUGS))) That is a lot to deal with. I don’t think you’re a drama queen. It sounds like you’re pretty tough to put up with that pain for so long. I’m glad you’re on the mend!!

  4. z says

    Thank you for sharing…yours is the only first person account of a condition of “female nature” that I have read that I can relate to and I was diagnosed 40 years ago…Thank You…and I wish you well…

  5. Tina R. says

    I just want to say, first, I hope you are healing well and all medical issues will be resolved and second, I have had friends come to me and talk(or as they put it rant, complain or just being a baby) and then apologize because I am going through so much more than they are (I had breast cancer) and what I always tell them is, You are going through your own personal pain/problems/health issues, no one can tell you how you are supposed to deal with it and just because someone is going through something “worse” doesn’t mean this isn’t devastating to you or just a royal pain in the behind but it is yours and you need to deal with it the way you need to deal with it. Drama Queen or not! And it is usually when you think this isn’t anything, others are going through so much more that you lose sight of what you need to do for yourself. So keep healing, keep talking about what you need to and letting us know how you really feel! I enjoyed the humor in your article and well written, just hate you had to and are still going through so much! Feel better and prayers sent your way!

  6. says

    Catching up on some blog reading and loved reading this post b/c it sounds EXACTLY like something that would happen to me:) And the feeling old bit? Yep, me to a T (tee?). Anyway, hugs to you and I’m glad you’re on the mend! xoxo

  7. Glenda says

    OMG, can I relate to this. I too am 25 in my mind, and outside of my mind let’s just say that I have a couple of decades on you. I wrecked my Achilles in a much less spectacular way than you did – I was at a workshop in Quebec, and the first day’s activity was a scavenger hunt all over the old city, which is paved with cobblestones and has steps all over the place, and I made myself keep up with all the twentysomethings and thirtysomethings because, like you, I’m 25, right? Only I waited a lot longer than you did to seek medical help and I wasn’t as good as you were about wearing the doggone boot, and it’s a miracle, I guess, that I healed at all. Anyway, I’m so sorry you went through all that, and your lighthearted way of telling about it is tremendously engaging. And don’t be down on yourself for all of your dramatic feelings! Just vent about it and laugh and keep on keeping on, like you’re doing, you brave thing.