2021 is just 2020 with bangs and can fuck all the way off.
I mentioned recently that I’ve been going through some health challenges as a result of a hormone imbalance. I’ve gained a bunch of weight, my hair is thinner, I’m always exhausted, and I’m moody, as well as a litany of symptoms I’m not comfortable sharing. I’m always depressed and I cry way too much. I assumed it was a quick fix, get some medication, life goes on. But after two ultrasounds, pleading with my doctor to stress, and blood test after blood test, I now know what’s wrong. I have PCOS combined with a disorder called endometrial hyperplasia, and need a biopsy to determine if this is typical hyperplasia (which just requires medication) or atypical (which means a higher risk of cancer, and a possible need for a hysterectomy). It’s a lot to deal with when I’ve already got my mom in the hospital, switching locations and building a new team, and my normal priorities of raising a family. It’s a lot to handle and it’s honestly freaking me out a bit.
I’m sure I’m fine, and I’ll take some medication, my hair will grow back (and drive my stylist nuts), and all will be well. But there’s still the fact that 30% of women develop endometrial cancer from this. Biopsy is a very scary word. If I require surgery, I need to take time off from work. I’m barely making ends meet as it is. Who will take care of the girls if I’m laid up from major surgery? Who will take care of my mom? Worst case scenario, if I am one of that 30%, and something happens to me, will the girls be okay? I already have a plan in place where my best friend would step in as guardian for the girls, but the thought of them living without an active parent scares me. I lost a parent when I was young and it was traumatic. The girls have already been through a lot with their dad barely being present in their lives. So, I focus on staying active, healthy, and present. It’s all I can do during situations like this.
There’s also the reality that I’m going through this alone. I’m fortunate enough to have great friends; for example, my best friend is going to come with me when I get my biopsy. My other friend has been hella supportive. But I’m still really scared. I’m not going to scare the kids, and I feel like expected to have a big brave face all of the time. But when I’m alone with my thoughts at night, I’m stuck with the pressure of knowing if something does go wrong, the house of cards I’ve spent ten years building to make a home for my family all collapses. I’m actually mad at my body right now. Like, how dare it decide not to cooperate with me and stay healthy. Doesn’t it understand how many people depend on us? The kids, my mom, my job; they all depend on us! I want to scream at myself that we simply cannot afford to be sick or need surgery; too many people rely on me to take care of them!
If I’m down and out from surgery, who will keep my house clean and the kids fed? Who will drive them to school? Who will do the reporting at work? Who will pick my mom up from the hospital? How will I get home from the hospital if I can’t drive? These questions always amplify my occasional loneliness. If I had a partner, these things wouldn’t be an issue. But then I remember that if I was still married, these things would still be a problem. He’d be too busy yelling at me and the kids to help, and I’d probably have to bus home post-op because he had more pressing things to do, like get drunk (just like when I was pregnant). I’d much rather deal with these issues as a solo act, even if it does make it harder.
There’s also the vanity aspect. I have always felt at least a little bit attractive, but now I just feel…old…fat…ugly. My hair is always dry. I have no energy and I miss running and CrossFit and I feel like I’ve hit the wall and all that’s left is becoming an old hag. I have a complicated relationship with my mom. One of the reasons is she gave up on life when my dad died and let herself age poorly, which affected her health. I was obsessed with taking care of my body and skin so this wouldn’t happen to me, but now I’m afraid I’ll age 20 years overnight & my pipe dreams of meeting someone and being in a healthy relationship has gone up in smoke even more. Is this rational? No. Being healthy should be what comes first. But liking yourself should mean something too and this whole experience has really shed a light on how much I do not like myself right now. I’m scared, angry, and sad & it hella sucks.
One thing I always tell my kids when things suck is to focus on changing the things you have control over. I have no control over what’s happening to my body right now. But I do have control over what I put in by eating well, exercising, and getting proper sleep. I can make sure I have a proper will in place so my chosen guardian for the kids is in place. I can make sure I perform well at work so I can stress less about my financials. I can meditate and see my therapist to stay calm. I can engage with my new team and help them thrive. And I can figure out the rest as it happens. It’s the only thing I can do right now, so that’s what I’ll do. Obsessing about everything that can go wrong will only make everything worse, and I’m already scared enough. The best way to combat anxiety is to just breathe and focus on what’s fixable, and then deal with the rest when it comes. It’ll keep my fears and insecurities and other feelings at a manageable level until the next step comes.