Sunday, March 4, 2012


I'm 35 now. I'm not really sure how that happened.

Obviously years have passed, the clock silently ticking away each second of every day, but the crescendo has suddenly crashed over me, bringing with it the realization that two or three years have passed. The waves have receded and somehow I'm still here, a bit damp, a bit winded from the exertion and much farther down the shore than where I began.

I have survived another growth spurt.

I always know when my son is headed into a growth spurt - his feet suddenly get huge, disproportionately larger than the rest of him and his cheeks puff out as though he were squirreling away food.

Apparently my growth spurts are a bit harder to forecast as I rarely see them coming. It would seem, however, that they begin with some great pain, great shock or at the very least, some great frustration that leaves me questioning every aspect of my life. This, inevitably, leads to a restless, discontent state of mind that wavers between mild annoyance at and an incredible hatred for the world around me. I pull away, as much in an effort to protect everyone else as in an effort to protect myself.

And I float.

Or at least that's how it seems when I'm in the midst of that sea - as though I am merely drifting along, trying very hard not to make any waves because I am so unsure as to the direction I am supposed to be paddling. Yet it never fails when I emerge on that shining shore that I discover I have, at least, been paddling quite ferociously in an effort to keep my head above water.

So now, here I am, on the shores of middle age and at times, I wonder if I haven't reemerged in an entirely new life. I think I like it here.

I can almost hear many of you groaning in protest at my assertion that I've reached middle age and you're right. I have, most likely, passed middle age at this point. I'm ok with that too.

The cancer is cooperating, for the most part. I had my most recent surgery this past May, and was informed I needed another to address a different area, immediately afterwards. Well, they should have thought of that sooner. I'm busy living my life at the moment, and NOT hurting or recovering from surgery so they will just have to wait.

I've quit smoking. Finally. After all the attempts and gum and pills and patches, it really was as simple as my husband said, "the trick to not smoking is simply to, um, not smoke." I haven't had a cigarette since June and now consider myself to be a "non-smoker." My house, car, clothes and hair certainly smell infinitely better and I now have much more disposable income, but I can't tell any real difference in how I feel.

It could be that the 30 pounds I've gained are now weighing me down as much as the tar was before. In all fairness I can't blame all 30 pounds on my giving up the filthy habit. At least half of it has most likely come from the beta blockers.

Those are new. It would seem that all these years I've been complaining of excessive fatigue, muscle weakness, etc. there was a legitimate medical reason - quite simply my ticker doesn't tick right. I seem to remember mentioning an "irregular heartbeat" with each complaint to my doctor over the years, but what do I know, I'm just a mere patient and a woman to boot!

After the chest pain became constant and began being coupled with nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness and jaw pain, I took it upon myself to go stress test, echo-cardiogram and holter monitor later we have learned that I have not one, but two leaky valves, like to jump in and out of SVT and A-Fib and my pressure tries really hard to compensate for my rate. Nice.

That was the easy part. Finding what caused it has proven more difficult. But HAPPY BIRTHDAY, by the way, I think you may have had rheumatic fever when you were little.

Wow. Really?

And you are just now, on my 35th birthday, after at least ten years of watching my frustration over doctors discounting my complaints and ignoring my conviction that there was something just "not right" that made me feel like are just now thinking that a history of rheumatic fever is worth mentioning??

Wow. Thanks. That is very helpful. Would have been even more helpful TEN YEARS AGO!!!

Patience, forgiveness, acceptance...these are the themes of my most recent growth spurt.

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