Monday, June 29, 2015

Magic Bullet discovered!

For years, I have sought the solution to that extra ten (occasionally, twenty) pounds I’ve been carrying around since I left college. Like Oprah, I have slimmed down and blown up, from guapa to gordita and back again. I have exercised, kept a food diary, juice cleansed, and cooked farm to table meals but pero nunca gone on an actual diet (because it has the word “die” in it). Depending on the consistency and intensity of my workouts and the kind of meals I am making, I am closer to a healthy weight than I have been in years.  But I have found the magic bullet!  Hallelujah! I now know how to lose excess weight in a week without any sit-ups or crunches, without grocery lists or expensive trips to the farmer’s market, without pills or powders or any other chemicals.  Cholecystectomy!  Say it with me. Call a sis tech to me! You too can be slim and trim with a simple gall bladder removal.


As planned, I had my gall bladder removed last week. After choosing to wait a few months, it was time to check into the hospital at 6 in the morning. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait long before I met with my anesthesiologist(a handsome brother with a wry sense of humor; ladies I meant to ask if he wanted to come out to my samba school and meet some of my girls but I ran out of time) and my surgeon. After botching the first attempt at setting me up with an IV, the nurse got an IV going on my left arm and wired me up like the Bionic Woman. Then I was taken into the OR and I was strapped down like they expected to perform an exorcism on me.  The doc struck up a convo about the grammatical skills of high school students and before I could bring up Samba Funk, I was out. As predicted, I woke up in recovery to the nurse saying all had gone well.

My love joined me and he told me the surgeon said they wouldn’t be sending anything to pathology. There were no polyps or cysts; I had gallstones. No waiting for results!  But before I could respond, the fun, as in not, began. I haven’t been that sick since I was pregnant with M. I couldn’t even keep down water. I spent the day in a heap on the bed. 

Each day has brought improvements.  Last year’s extensive recovery had prepared me for the frustration of the physical and emotional challenges and the small victories. Taking a shower, eating a meal, walking around the block are all small miracles I know to not take for granted. Being able to take deep cleansing breaths and laughing, without pain, showed my progress.  I still wake up nauseous. The incision sites still ache. But I am definitely recovering.


While it’s true that I have lost some pounds, I don’t recommend this method of weight loss. What I do recommend is prevention. The research is divided on what causes gallstones; however, being overweight is a contributing factor. Most people choose to continue living/eating status quo after a month of recovery. I have decided to modify my eating habits for life. I am giving up alcohol and processed foods and I will be committing to being mostly vegetarian.  As my Team in Training coach used to always say, health is wealth. I would like to be wealthy for many more years to come. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A mile in the right direction

I left the serenity of my Lenten desert for the raucous alegria of Carnaval and the subsequent busyness of a school year’s end. I have missed the silence that comes when I cut back on social media and television. I have missed books. I have missed the freedom of an empty schedule and calendar. Summer begins and with it, an opportunity to truly rest.

I began my summer by going for a run. It is the first run I have completed since I finished my half-marathon in February. It is the last run I will do before my surgery Monday.

Running has always been my time to unwind and to reconnect.  I reconnect with the outdoors, the air, the sounds I miss because I’m always in conversation.  I reconnect with my body, with my muscles and lungs.  I reconnect with my running partners, those who went before me, with whom I run every training run and every half-marathon since last year. Running helps me to be grateful and strong. 


With that mere mile, another season begins. I will embrace the weeks that follow the way I do Lent.  I will reconnect with all that nurtures my soul. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Seatbelt fastened

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” Margo Channing in All about Eve


My latest IGM flare-up has been an emotional roller coaster. After my initial worry and the subsequent sense of acceptance, I began to experience anger. It began as a slow simmer while at work.  By the time I came home from this week’s biopsy, I was livid.  I was angry at the physical pain. I was angry at my body and its apparent ongoing weakness.  Mostly, I was angry at the behavior of certain individuals who conduct themselves with negativity, rudeness, and disrespect on a daily basis; I straight up questioned why they are well. I even said I could punch a specific person.
If Rambo hadn’t been present, I might have thrown a few things.  But those moments pass.

Then there was the waiting. It has been so hectic at work that I haven’t had the time to dwell on the possibilities. Once that call came through (of course it had to happen at work), there was the relief.  I am still cancer free.  But I still have an infection so the journey to healing continues. 

Faith is a must as I handle living with a chronic illness. One of my samba sisters had issued a Bible verse challenge nearly a week ago, a day after I discovered the lump. Every day I have shared a Bible verse on social media. These particular verses inspire hope in me while I reflect on my personal experiences. It has been a practice that has helped me focus on the positive.


One of the positives was meeting my new specialist. My previous specialist, known as the local expert of IGM, retired. Fortunately, I was able to get a Tuesday afternoon appointment after my Friday morning call. I rescheduled due to having the biopsy to Friday afternoon, always a good day to get good news. He is of the opinion that the infection I have is simply that and is not necessarily a flare-up. He did not recommend an additional round of antibiotics and is confident we can avoid invasive procedures this summer. He also said I could resume exercise so long as I stay aware of discomfort and pain.

My health may present occasional challenges but la vida continua(life goes on.) I had already planned to have my gall bladder removed in a few weeks so that will happen(see previous blog at http://mujerevolving.blogspot.com/2015/03/an-old-friend-resurfaces.html.) June is full of M's dance performances.  Carnaval with SambaFunk continues through various celebrations. As I was once told by King Theo, healing is mine! 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The other shoe drops


I suppose I forgot. With all the glitter and feathers and glorious, glorious purples all around us, I was lulled into forgetfulness. But that 20/20 hindsight soon kicks into high gear, especially when you’re waiting for an hour or more in a waiting room or examination room, and then I remember the clues. The twinges of pain Sunday morning and Monday morning. The low energy which I thought was a symptom of a ressaca do carnaval(post-Carnaval “hangover”, quite similar to the post-race blues I experience after half-marathons). The inability to sleep on either side without discomfort Thursday night worried me most. Friday morning it became all too familiar. 

I am so in tune with my body now that I know when something has shifted. So in saying I forgot, I have not forgotten that my health must come first. I remember to take my daily pills. I know to call the doctor as soon as I notice something. I know to take the earliest appointments. I remember the pain and its accompanying emotions; I can admit I purposefully let go of my memories of those. Now I accept them. I let the tears fall, if only in the safety of my car in the hospital parking lot. I ask the questions of God and my body, if only in my head.

Since my last relapse, I have learned how to better manage my illness. Through the work I did with M’s wonderful counselor, I know to keep any negative emotions or serious conversations about my health private, shared only with Rambo or other adults. In terms of my physical health, I know the next steps well and can mentally prepare myself for the physical discomforts that may result. I know to pray and pray some more. I know to ask for prayers. 

This morning, I registered for my 16th half-marathon to be done this November. Because I know to move forward.