I started off thinking this post would be titled ‘getting back to normal’. And while it is true that I’m getting there, it’s also true that normal for me has changed. It’s been three months since I almost died. (Is it wrong for me to get pleasure in the shock value whenever I say those very true words? I. ALMOST. DIED.) I’ve spent a good span of that time pretending – even to myself on some levels – that it wasn’t as bad as all that while willing myself to bounce right back to health. Well, I was wrong. It WAS a big deal. And surviving it made me appreciate all the little things I don’t usually stop and notice. This week I turned forty one. FORTY. ONE. It kind of hit me at the end of the day that I might not have made it to see this birthday if it wasn’t for my amazing doctor and a whole lot of luck that I didn’t die while denying there was something wrong.
While I was diagnosed and started treatment on November first, I look back and with perfect hindsight know I was sick and impaired for at least a few weeks leading up to that – thanks to my denial. Once I started treatment I could tell I was getting better every day – measurably so. But, it’s only been this week that I really felt like myself again and realized things were finally back to normal. I’ve had energy to clean my house and run around doing all the things that I need to do all week. Instead of picking and choosing the things that I thought were the most important and leaving the rest by the way side. I got my laundry done. All the way done instead of throwing a load in as an after thought every night and dealing with wrinkled clothes every morning.Most importantly, I have the energy to start training and writing again.
I have a half marathon I’m training for this summer. I’m running in honor of my amazing cousin who is fighting melanoma – again. I’m not the praying kind of person but while I’m training I’ll have lots and lots of time to be thinking of her and sending positive thoughts and energy her way to aid her in her battle. I mapped out my training plan – again – and this time I’ve started it, too. Instead of dismissing the appointments that pop up on my phone to remind me and thinking up some rationalization about why I can’t do it today. The days have returned where I wake up in the morning and one of the first thoughts I have is when I will get to run. I’ve resumed tracking food and making sure I’m eating the right balance of protein, carbs and good fats like my nutritionist taught me. And most importantly I’ve carved out time on my calendar for every single workout six days a week. Yes, truly back on my game.
And that novel I’ve been working on for years? The one that isn’t done yet? I’ve got a deadline with my writer’s group to submit the completed first draft in February for critique. And I’ve been working on it again. Thinking about it in the shower again. Scheduling time to write again. Back to normal again.
The best part of my new normal came in the form of a belated birthday surprise from my doctor. Part of the aftermath of my embolism has been daily doses of blood thinners which I have made little secret of that I hate. My initial treatment plan called for this to continue for at least six months. I had hoped to shorten that to more like three. But, when that day arrived I still didn’t have a stable dose and my weekly visits to check my blood levels continued because they would be fine for a week then go back down and we’d increase my dose and start over again. This week, it was even lower and I was dejected knowing I was going to have to take an even larger dose and prolong getting off. But then my doctor came in and surprised me. Told me he’d been doing some research and talking to colleagues who specialize in clot treatments. Turns out the latest research indicates that anti-coagulation medications should only be given three months or a lifetime. Anything in between provides no greater protection against further clots and only increases other risk factors for bleeding. Surprise! No more coumadin! And the return to my diet of all the things I love and will never take for granted again – spinach, salad, kale, broccoli, asparagus. Things I always ate but never appreciated until I couldn’t anymore.
My new normal includes more than appreciating my ability to eat whatever I want again. It also includes yelling less at my kids – or at least not yelling until after I explain the reasons why I’m asking them to do something or not do something. I want every moment spent with them one that would be worthy of being the last without having to have regrets if it turns out it is. And I’m living in each moment far more than I was before. Telling people exactly how I feel about them so there’s no question that I love or appreciate or miss them when they are gone. Being conscious that every moment in life truly could be anyone’s last thus leaving those moments where my life overlaps someone else’s mean more. Thanks for reading my blog – whether I know you personally or not. I hope the contribution it makes means as much to you as your participation means to me. Here’s to a fabulous year and many more ahead!