Monthly Archives: March 2010
Leg warmers. Banana clips. Jean jackets. As a child of the eighties, I considered receiving each of these a huge achievement…for that moment, anyways.
Only one of these remains in my possession – the jean jacket bought in 1991 as the music world was moving from hair bands to grunge. Though worn and torn at one of the shoulders, as I discovered while dressing for last year’s Bruce Springsteen concert, I cannot bear to rid myself of it.
After a torturous shopping session, Mom decided that my sister should be the one to accompany me on the mission for a new spring jacket as I turned fifteen. After all, my sister was much less removed from fifteen than Mom, right? She knew what I really wanted – that jean jacket – just as she must have coveted those Dr. Scholl’s clogs a decade earlier. (You see, as much as I am a child of the eighties, my sister is a child of the seventies…)
I cannot remember doing much shopping with my sister after the search for the jean jacket. Soon, she became busy with going back to school and having children. Even as I chose to attend college in the small city where she lived and also attended college, it didn’t happen often enough for me to remember. To be honest, though, as I wore that jean jacket while Homecoming float building or during pub crawls, I could not escape the thought of my sister across town as she was building her family.
Immediately following those college years, I moved a thousand miles away. There were years when the jacket didn’t fit me physically due to weight gain. There were years when it didn’t fit me emotionally as we struggled to build an adult relationship as sisters.
I cannot separate myself from it, I cannot toss it in a garbage bag, no matter how worn and torn it becomes. The jean jacket reminds me of my big sister. It smells like her, it feels like her.
(This is written for Genie’s Living Out Loud project, this month’s theme being a favorite piece of clothing, or jewelry, or shoes…and why we are attached to the good memories it brings.)
Acknowledging chronic pain for what it is.
When I first entered the blogging scene, all that I wanted to focus on was diabetes. The whole dealing with a young type 2 diabetes diagnosis, the whole dealing with a husband with type 1 diabetes who had recently experienced a hypoglycemic seizure, that’s what it was all about. That is where I needed support.
Later, I made public my fights with anxiety and seasonal depression, seeing them as integral to maintaining good control of blood glucose levels. It took awhile before I acknowledged my problems with using alcohol to relieve social anxiety, too.
Yet the most significant chronic condition I kept to myself for much too long. I could empathize with others like Jenni and Sarah and Loolwa who experience chronic pain because I, too, was experiencing it. Not necessarily daily or weekly, but absolutely monthly.
I noted the first instances of lower left quadrant pain at ovulation in early 2003. Within a few months, an ultrasound was performed that found nothing and I felt labeled as a hypochondriac. Still, that pain came back month after month, anywhere from a couple days to the full two weeks between ovulation and menstruation. (Except of course, when I wasn’t ovulating at all due to an errant thyroid left untreated.) I accepted this as normal and just part of being female.
What caused last December’s pelvic abscess is a mystery – another dermoid cyst on the right ovary that ruptured or appendicitis or even diverticulitis could be the culprit. The pain started out like normal, at ovulation, lower left quadrant. However, it lasted through menstruation and was nearing a second ovulatory period when it spread to the right side and the fever spiked that led to emergency surgery. This was off the charts. This was abnormal.
All I know now is that the dermoid on the left ovary is still troublesome and I am counting down the days until they can go in again to remove Mr. Dermoid along with the “just in case” appendix. I have had enough of the “normal pain”, too.
Why? I lost another day of work to chronic pelvic pain yesterday. A free Olive Garden lunch provided at work on Thursday (read: processed food) led to an abnormal instance of lower left quadrant pain along with other symptoms reminiscent of last December’s events (read: inflammation). It goes to show that processed food does a number not only on my blood glucose levels and anxiety, but also my chronic pain.
While I can avoid processed food, it will not completely alleviate my chronic pelvic pain. I know that another surgery may not even help, that I may be doomed to this condition the rest of my life. I can be optimistic, I can hope, I can pray that it will work.
And if not, there are people out there living amazing lives in spite of chronic pain after whom to model my own life.