Thursday, March 17, 2011

Doctor's orders—no more black clouds

When I'm in a pessimistic mood, I think there must be a black cloud hanging over me this semester. . . after all, the semester started with death, was followed by illness, and now—after a brief respite over spring break—has been followed by yet again another illness.

Yes, I am sick for the second time in six weeks.

But I'm in an optimistic mood today (brought on by lots of new miracle drugs), so I'm not even thinking about the black cloud and instead am going to choose to focus on a spring-like forecast—I'm getting better by the second and, by Monday, I will feel like myself again for the first time in over a month.

(If I keep saying it, maybe it will come true.)

Still, in order to get to this place of optimism—and secure previously mentioned miracle drugs—I had to go to a place of fear and loathing: the doctor's office

Nobody likes to go to the doctor, but truthfully, I have amazing two doctors—my girl doctor and my GP. The latter, who I saw today, is smart and funny. He also reads YA books with his teenager daughters and likes to make nerdy Star Trek jokes with my husband. That makes me like and, more importantly, trust him.

Also, he is current on everything, which makes me happy. Except, that is, when he tells Dave that new research shows it's good for him to drink two—not just one—beers a day.

(Our fridge already has too much beer in it anyway.)

But no matter how much I like my doc, I was just not up for another visit to sick-ville today. I've been coughing since the beginning of February and this would be my third visit to the Medical Center in just as long. I simply did not want to go.

And it showed.

Because while I was there, my old insecurities reared their ugly head, which of course was ugly and uncomfortable.

This happened after my examination, but before we had left the examining room.

Since he had the opportunity while we were there, Dave asked the doctor if he was due to have his cholesterol checked, and for some reason, this made me furious.

"You don't need to have your cholesterol checked!" I insisted even though I had been too sick to speak a moment before. "You're a freaking model of health."

"But I want to stay on top of it," Dave explained. "I have bad genes."

"My God, look at you!"

Later, after we got home, I apologized to Dave, explaining that I'm just not comfortable with him being so obsessed with his health. I even admitted that sometimes it makes me feel bad about myself.

"You're in great health," he said. "I mean, except for being sick. And you can't assume I'm healthier than you are just by looking at me."

But the truth is no matter how much I'm told that I'm healthy, I still look at other people—Dave included—who are thin and think they've got one up on me. I still feel as if at any moment I'm going to find out I'm dying of some weight-related disease and my doctor is going to tell me—wait for it—that I have to go on a diet or some ridiculous thing like that.

The truth is that I'm insecure. Not about how I look. But about my health.

At the doctor's office today, we found out that the number that determines if you're pre-diabetic has been lowered. And even though I'm not in that category or anywhere near it, sometimes it just feels like we're all fighting a losing battle. That every time you accomplish something with your health, you are met with a new challenge.

Oh, you lost ten pounds? Great, now you need to lose ten more.

Oh, you cut out trans fats? That's good because now you need to cut sugar.

I know I started this post by saying I'm feeling optimistic, and I am. (As it turns out, my tests showed there's nothing wrong with me except a bad sinus infection.) But I wasn't in a good space earlier today, and I guess my point is that it's normal to have moments when you feel like everyone is out to get you—or at least tell you to drop a few pounds.

I guess that's part of body acceptance too—knowing that you'll never entirely let go of those issues. Especially when a black cloud has spent more than its fair share of time in your atmosphere.

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