Save Me

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I’ve been thinking about the sonographer yesterday probably more than I should, trying to work out what it was I sensed from him, and there’s one word I keep coming back to: irritation. This is one of those moments where I wish I’d had someone else with me, so I could check if I read the whole thing right or not, because inevitably one of my failings is grasping intent from strangers. I’m hoping what I sense was annoyance, that a perfectly healthy woman was wasting his time with a set of scans that showed that I have no infection, I’m completely fine and don’t need surgery. That’s my hope, that when the GP sits down with me next week and looks at the ultrasounds there’ll be nothing except the understanding I have the stones, but as of right now they’re causing me no discomfort or issue whatsoever, and we can all go back to life before all this stupid happened.

Of course, there’s also a part of me that is worrying he saw something horrible but because he’s not a medical professional, that isn’t something for him to pass on.

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Whatever happens, I’m in no pain at all right now. This is the best I’ve felt for close to six months, and in terms of fitness and energy, pushing 20k steps yesterday would not have been possible were my body not doing the business. I’m trying really hard not to think about what might happen, and have reconciled myself to the surgery option should it be required, but then I have to think about the sense of sticking me under the knife if I’m feeling perfectly fine, and can continue to ensure I never get a repeat of what happened by eating sensibly going forward. I’m not a doctor, after all, but it occurs to me that considering the current strains on resources, and assuming I have no issues with my health right now, what happens in a situation such as this. Do you assume it will happen again and plan regardless, or is it left to me as the patient to make the choice, I wonder?

I’ve never been in this situation before, so I have no idea.

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I’ve taken a day off exercise. PT is normally scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m back on focus towards losing the last of my excess weight. It’s also May 1st and that means it will be a month before I effectively become totally self-employed. It is a bit scary, all told, what is coming up however has got me more excited than anything for several years. Here is the opportunity to sell myself effectively, based purely on my ability to create content.

I hope I can encourage people to take the chance.

Epilogue

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I have gallstones.

The sonographer seemed surprised I wasn’t yellow when I arrived, and that I was as healthy as was ascertained yesterday. He was also amazed that I was in absolutely no pain at any point during what was a pretty robust procedure, which seems odd: they wouldn’t show me the scans either and instead immediately referred me back to my GP. As my husband pointed out, presumably this is so I return to my Doctor and discuss the results and don’t hope everything will work out for the best. Needless to say, stomach, liver, spleen and kidneys were all looked at in detail. I’d sort of assumed it would just be where the pain was, but no.

Now, I have to wait until Tuesday.

The first thing I did when I got back was look at how you have a gallbladder removed. It’s done via keyhole, I get some cute scars to match my C Section, and ‘on average’ I’m back to normal in two weeks. The alternative, one assumes is that I cut out all the trigger shit in my diet and live with it. There’s no point second guessing anything, however, until I speak to someone paid to know this, so I’ll be spending the weekend doing what I’ve been doing since it happened and largely carrying on as normal.

It could be so much worse, and for that I am so very grateful.

Deliver Me

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This week’s turning out to be quite the significant landmark. At 8 am I arrived at the location for a well-known reality TV show to begin a two hour health MOT, conducted with a nurse and a doctor, which involved me sitting on a static bike with a breathing tube in my mouth, plus a selection of other exercises and tests. The plan was to see how much better my health has become in the five years since the last time this kind of thing was conducted. The results, quite frankly, blew my mind.

That number, believe me, is a revelation. It puts me in the top 10% of people in my age group for fitness.Β Everything has improved since my last visit, the only exception being a slightly elevated cholesterol rate, but it is hardly cause for concern. I apparently have a stupidly relaxed resting heart rate and an incredibly efficient system for converting fat to muscle (which I already knew, but is lovely to have confirmed.) My grip, which I thought was average at best is apparently beyond good and into amazing. Mostly, what the two hours this morning did was confirm that yes, it is possible to get healthy from a standing start. If you make the effort and put in the hours, it can change your entire body for the better.

The only cloud on the horizon is my gall bladder, but the scan for this is tomorrow and assuming that everything is clear, I can stop pussy-footing about and get back to Hard Bastard Training. In fact, I suspect I’ll now have no excuse to avoid doing a Tough Mudder type challenge later in the year, which my husband got roped into by someone at work and was afraid of completing alone. I’m hoping to get working on the monkey bar traverse next week, which is my next major obstacle to overcome. Right now, I’m looking forward to everything that is going to be thrown at me, because I suspect exercise shit just got very real indeed.

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The biggest surprise is now being told to eat more each day to cover daily body maintenance. Because of my current level of exercise, I’m simply not taking in enough calories to maintain basic bodily function, which I have to admit explains a fair few things about levels of fatigue. There’s a couple of other issues to take care of too, but mostly I’m celebrating the fact that I have done what I set out to do, in almost exactly a year. Now I’m here, of course, I have to remain long term and not go backwards, and that’s always been the part of the equation that’s never been managed.

I can do this. I know I can. Here’s to the next year’s worth of progress.

Turn to Stone

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Tomorrow, I get up at 6am to go to a Hospital on the fringes of the M25 to have a Health Assessment. Primarily it is being done to check my level of physical fitness, to gain a V02 Max reading after a year of exercise. However, there is going to come a point where a doctor sits and asks me if mentally I’m okay or not, and up until about 3am this morning I’d have probably refused to answer, on the grounds I could seriously incriminate myself as being anything but. However, sitting in a lay by at 8.30am, crying my eyes out, there was a revelation of the sort I only thought happened in movies when you’re pressed for time and the exposition all needs to happen right now.

‘Yeah, I’m fine,’ I’ll say to the female doctor when she asks me. I’ll explain to her I understand why it’s important to talk about mental health, that I’ve coped with depression alone for many decades and now, as it happens, I’ve done the same again. Except on this occasion there’s been light shone in corners that were previously left dark by design, and what they have illuminated is important. I still don’t need drugs to function correctly. There is no requirement to talk to someone to understand what’s going wrong. I now know EXACTLY where some of my issues began, and that there’s not anything that requires a diagnosis. In effect, this is a surprisingly good place for me.

I am reminded this morning of the person who DM-d me in the early days of my life on Twitter and questioned my mental illness credentials. So many people lie for attention, she said, I want to make sure you’re not one of them. I know how desperate I’ve felt in the last few days, feeling the hole in my chest as I sit and type now, even though my brain is able to step back and allow words from brain to fingers to screen. Somehow, in my journey to make expression matter not simply as a storyteller but as an educator, I’ve developed a new and impressive means of internal separation. The panic remains but somehow I learnt how to cope with it and make things better.

Last night, I was able for the first time to tell somebody how much I miss them. Today, I was able to tell a friend that ‘yeah, I’m fine but I don’t want to talk right now’ and these things to individuals who are not my family are huge, enormous steps forward. The thing that snapped inside me on Tuesday night wasn’t a break, but a memory recalled from when I was very young, and the understanding that I’m not simply a copy of somebody else’s failings. What I have become is important, worthwhile and relevant. Most importantly, I am free to not repeat the mistakes of the past if I spend enough time learning to understand myself in the present.

After that, I don’t have time to spend contemplating my navel, mortality or indeed anything else. There is simply too much to do, that matters more. I don’t require the time to assess or understand, all that has already taken place. This, as someone said to me a while ago, is coming out into the light after having spent a long time only in darkness. I know I’ll end up back there as time goes on but this time I know where the exits are. I learnt the skills required to wriggle free of restraints.

I’m no longer lost when the blackness comes because I learnt to see in the dark.

You’re never cured of a mental illness. The bad shit never goes away, there is just an ability to cope with what is presented, and then deal with the consequences. Amazingly, nobody got hurt in this revelation. Everything is awesome, and that’s not hyperbole.

Yes, you really can fix things when they’re broken.

Just

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An awful lot happened yesterday, and not all of it was great. While I am still processing consequence, this morning left me open to honesty. What happened next is a story all of its own, which was recorded via Twitter starting here. The longer I spend on this particular Social media platform, the more apparent it becomes that some people can’t cope with fucking stuff up. Whenever it becomes apparent that circumstances have moved out of their control, everything changes, and the rules that used to apply simply cease to exist. It’s quite an effective way of living your life if you don’t want to feel restricted, but it makes consistency almost impossible.

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Ironically, on several occasions this week I’ve seen something really good that I’ve wanted to tweet, but somebody’s personal bias has prevented me from gaining them a wider audience. I may not like you or get on particularly well with certain people but if they produce good work, it deserves a wider audience. It is wrong to allow feelings on someone to impede judgement, and yet watching this play out with depressing familiarity on a daily basis that’s exactly what other people love to do. For some, it has become almost a badge of honour. If someone does not ascribe to a particular mindset, undermining their position becomes a crusade. It is pettiness on such a grand scale as to be staggering, and I will not be a part of it.

Except this morning came the fresh realisation that my memory is part of the problem.

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I remember exactly why I blocked my inspirational quotee, and why the bloke who made that great meme has me blocked, and every other person I’ve dealt with in similar fashion, because they all taught me lessons around how Twitter works. All those people at some point fucked up when it came to interacting with me, or I did the same with them. What happened after that defined everything else that then followed. In each case recalling both circumstance and consequence helped define the journey forward, and those lessons are as important as anything learnt elsewhere. It is why screwing up really matters too, and simply changing your name and vanishing does nobody any favours in the end. I’ll grant that sometimes circumstances present you with no choice but to disappear however, and I hope the day never comes where that is the last resort.

I know only too well how dangerous that form of obsession can be.

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Regret is part of being alive. Learning to live with what is less than perfect is a tough ask for many, and it really shouldn’t be. Accepting this should be the norm, that everyone at some point fucks up horribly and maybe the trick when this happens isn’t to ignore it or run away but to stand and deal with the mess you made. Ironically, being able to say you’re wrong is a life skill many people will never grasp until it is often too late to fix the damage done. There doesn’t need to be an inspirational quote to grasp how lucky I am right now or how I’m learning to avoid drama before it happens. That’s just how it should be.

This is how life should be lived.

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Today I am comfortable listening to myself. People are a problem, and more often than not if you allow them to derail your progress, the consequences are too terrible to speak of. I have no qualms about blocking the girl who pissed off someone I care more about than whether it’s right, popular or acceptable to do so. In life sometimes you make choices and have to hope they were correct. I don’t regret what I did, and I doubt I will.

Amazingly, life continues regardless.

Mr Blue Sky

header26Some days I do not understand myself at all. Then, when I take a step back, it all makes perfect sense. I know why I’m angry this morning, and if I’d not done something a while ago I could have prevented this whole set of negative feelings from even happening. A sensible woman would have avoided the whole situation. I am not her. I gave myself a chance to dream, but ultimately it kicked me in the arse, and really, it would have been better never to have gone there. The day as a child I registered that dreams don’t go the way you want or hope rather more often than you’ll be handed unicorns and happy endings? That was the day I learned to save myself.

It is no wonder I feel like I’m going backwards in some places whilst moving forward in others.

The biggest problem that has ever existed for me is balance: keeping everything in check, and making sure if I’m doing something in one space it is balanced out in others. Right now, as it stands, this is the best fist I’ve made of domestic vs work for a while but what is suffering are communications with other people.Β Having to think and tell the World what’s going on in my brain, frankly, is enormously difficult. Far easier right now is just to put my head down and get on with it, even though this often means over-stretching myself when others offer to help. I have things I will need help with too, and was reminded yesterday that there are people to ask, most of whom seem very willing to give me a hand.

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It’ll take a couple of days and my anger will pass. It doesn’t help that I have dentistry today, and even the six-monthly check-up fills me with utter dread. Once I get to Saturday and the last of my medical gubbins is over and done with I suspect there will be final relaxation, but until then the anger will serve as useful fuel. I’ll just rage in my head, and push on treadmills, through weights and around chores. I understand myself better than I realise, if I take the time to stand back and work out what is going on.

In that regard, I have learnt a very great deal in my time on the planet.

Future Boy

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This message is bought to you by scheduling: written in the past, but delivered to you in the present. It is the first stage of my plan to make writing happen at different times of the day to suit my needs. This is the acceptance that if I want everything to work in my life, some fundamental issues need to be addressed and changed. Some days, I won’t be able to do things the way I want and when that happens, scheduling is the answer.

When you read this, I will be working on other things, but the words will still matter most.

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Mostly, this is a test to see if I’ve programmed everything correctly.

Expect a second, longer reflection on change later today. For now, ENJOY THE SCIENCE :D