Day by Day: If you have your health, you must not be over 50 yetI know it is only the end of September but I won’t be sad to see the end of 2011. What was it Queen Elizabeth called it when Charles and Diana very publically spiraled into a couple off Jerry Springer -- her “annus horribilis.”
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
I know it is only the end of September but I won’t be sad to see the end of 2011. What was it Queen Elizabeth called it when Charles and Diana very publically spiraled into a couple off Jerry Springer -- her “annus horribilis.”
That was 1992 and here it is 20 years later and I finally have something in common with the Queen.
When 2011 dawned everything had changed in what was, in hindsight, a pretty ordered little existence.
It started with my diagnosis of early stage breast cancer in December 2010. It was a jolt but they caught it early and my prognosis was good. But it was still cancer, the first in my family since my mom was diagnosed in her late ‘70s. I got the surgery in before the end of the year and my deductible went up, and all that remained was radiation.
But just before the New Year my sister in Alaska was diagnosed with the same cancer, only further along than mine, chemo required.
Even so, we were both getting treated and the outlook was good. Good, of course, is very relative when it comes to cancer. I am just enough of a Cold War kid to have to be assured that I wasn’t going to have something awful happen as a result of radiation. Nothing did, save a heck of a sunburned boob and fatigue to rival those first days with newborn twins.
My sister wasn’t so lucky. Side effects from the chemotherapy have wreacked havoc with her lungs and that just adds to junk of 2011.
As for me I fell on the ice in front of a bunch of people on my way into an early spring school board meeting -- one of my recurring nightmares is what I must look like going down in a fall. Good news was that the excess heat I was storing from the radiation melted the ice where I hit the dirt and I was able to regain my footing without falling all over again. The sad part is that I am now at that age when a fall just isn’t a fall but it turns into a bad back and a trip to the doctor.
The “body falling apart stuff” seemed to wane during the spring and summer. I kept on my exercise plan -- keep exercising so I can keep eating. I wasn’t getting any thinner but I wasn’t getting fatter either. It is one of those compromises I decided was acceptable after 50.
It looked like the kids were on track to graduate from college in four years. It seemed unlikely they would get jobs but I was told by them not to worry -- there was always graduate school.
Then my knee went wobbly. Could it be that old tap dance injury come back to haunt me? Or maybe that fall. The pain just decided to migrate slowly. I haven’t a clue and I treated it myself for a couple of months before heading into that MRI machine. Sure they would tell me about yet another age-related body issue -- arthritis, I was surprised to find out that something had torn in there and that I needed surgery -- the easy kind according to the doctor.
With the prognosis good and the recovery a snap, I decided to have it done right before we headed to Florida to pick up my mother-in-law’s Buick. The medical brains said walk the aisle in the plane a few times and stop the car for breaks on the way back home. It sounded like a plan.
But then they didn’t know about the infamous “Mac legs,” a genetic condition that not only means the women in my family have log-like legs but that they swell if the temperature gets over 40 and we get within five feet of a margarita.
We weren’t out of Florida before I started looking enviously at the people riding those hovercraft things and thinking about what personalized license plate I’d put on mine. By the time we got to Chicago, I could hardly walk and could hardly wait to buy my first pair of compression socks. I didn’t sleep while I was there because I kept waking up, imagining a blood clot was creeping slowly toward my heart. Would my eulogy have to say I was stupid for not spending an extra $200 bucks on an “out-of-network” emergency room?
But there was no clot and I am on the mend. The PT guy is good and he says all that fluid will be re-absorbed. I have just decided not to worry about where it will show up next.
The way I look at it, my body issues are at least heading in the right direction. They started at my chest, moved down to my lower back, then to my knee and leg. I’m thinking all that’s left is a bad case of toenail fungus and I’m home free. Just in time for the new year