I have spent the last two weeks battling vertigo and dizziness. I’ve been to my doctor, I’ve seen an ENT and had two sessions with a physical therapist. The room no longer spins wildly, but I’m still dizzy, pretty much all of the time. Obviously, I’m going back to my ENT to see if it might be something else with my ears. If not, it’s back to my doctor, a cardiologist, a neurologist, a shaman, an acupuncturist, a witch doctor? I’m terrified. Not only because it might be something serious, but because it might be something that no one can figure out and I may have to live like this forever. How do I that? I can’t read comfortably, because l can’t look down. Even now, I have to stop typing periodically because I get dizzy. I can’t work on my jewelry. All I can really do is sit in bed, propped up on pillows watching infomercials. I just bought a nutribullet. Two for one! I know there are lessons to be learned here. I have a renewed commitment to eating better. Less sugar, less artificial sweetener, less salt and fat. Who knows how much influence that has on what I’m experiencing? I have more appreciation for my support network. My CFO who is trying to find a copy holder, so I don’t have to look down to read, my supervisor, who’s been very understanding about the amount of sick days I am taking, my colleagues, one who knows the maneuver my physical therapist does and does it for me on the floor of our office, the other who shares her smoothie with me in the hopes that the nutrition will help me. I have been on hold for two weeks. There were no birthday celebrations this year. They will have to wait until I feel better. And I have to believe I will feel better, what ever it takes. There is no other option. There are many fruit baskets waiting to be balanced on my unspinning head.
I was on the E train coming home yesterday, and standing a few feet away from me was a young woman of perhaps East Indian descent. I noticed her hair first, because my bad hair days seem to have turned into bad hair years, and her hair was long, dark, perfectly straight, really enviable hair. Then I noticed her face. It was perfect. Not just, “oh what a pretty girl” perfect. Disney Princess perfect. Seriously. I could not stop looking at this perfect face. She probably thought I was a stalker. I just couldn’t imagine what it would be like to live behind that perfect face. Now, let me just say, This was my first day back at work after a weeklong bout of vertigo, and although I’m feeling better, I still can’t blow dry my hair properly and my balance is a little goofy, so I do not look my best. But even my best is not as perfect as that face. The real question here is, why does that matter? Do the people who love me, love me less because I don’t look like a Disney princess? Do I have less fun? Less to say? Less to offer? Do I laugh less? Love less? Create less? Why does my self-esteem hinge on what the world sees on the outside? Why is it so hard to look at my face and smile, because I look like my dad? To laugh with my mom because we share the same hair, the same spare tire, the slope of our back that she calls her dowager hump? The fact is, I am not going to wake up tomorrow with that young woman’s perfect face, no matter how much I wish for it. How nice would it be to live my life behind my dad’s nose and goofy eyebrows, underneath my mom’s hair and dowager’s hump, and not waste another minute wishing I was someone else.
One of my many, (ok, 6), loyal readers wished me a happy birthday yesterday and capped it with “looking forward to the birthday blog!” Well here it is. The birthday blog. The. Birthday. Blog. No pressure. Ok, here goes…no, wait…I said that last year. Should I open with a joke? Alrighty. “A priest, a rabbi and the birthday girl walk into a bar….”oh , please, everyone’s heard that one. Wow. This is harder than I thought. Should I be witty, pithy, profound, all three??!!? I can totally do this. Deep breath. I guess, the truth is my birthday is just another day. Except I get cake, and flowers, and well wishes from people near and far, all of which I love. And this year I got a walloping case of vertigo. I’m sure it was just a coincidence that I woke up in the wee hours of my 57th birthday, turned over in bed and felt the whole room spin. Ugh. Now, I’ve had this before. Once a year or so, something goes awry in my inner ear and I’m like the ball in a pinball machine, smacking the walls and careening off of fellow commuters. It kind of sucks, but usually a Dramamine helps and it passes. This seems to be hanging on a little longer and responding less to the Dramamine and Sinus medication I’ve been hurling at it. And haven’t I been getting a twinge or two in the same place on the left side of my head? This isn’t just an inner ear issue. This is a brain tumor! All that artificial sweetener finally caught up with me! Oh no! Now I’m going to have to figure out how to get an MRI with my terrible claustrophobia, and move to a right-to-die state while I can still make decisions for myself. Why, oh why does my 57th birthday have to be my last? Seriously? Deep breath, girl. So last night, as my birthday waned, and I tried to figure out a way to get comfortable without barfing, I had taken quite a few Dramamine and a couple of sinus pills. And my heart was doing a little tap dance inside my chest. Wait. Is it skipping a beat? Is that an arrhythmia? That’s why I’m so dizzy. I have a heart condition! Too much salt. Too much sugar. Too much fat. Not enough exercise. I am going to die of a heart attack!! Or a Brain Tumor!!! And get this!! I’ve been eating whatever I want for months. Candy, Chocolate, pizza, you name it. And the last 2 weeks…? I actually lost some weight. How is that possible? Cancer! That’s how! Yep. My birthday was just another day. Ok, obviously, if I don’t feel better soon I will go to the doctor. And it will probably be an inner ear thing. But better to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best, right? Maybe. Always preparing for the worst is exhausting. Remember when we were kids and crying over nothing, and our parents would say, “I’ll give you something to cry about!” Life is like that wise parent. Stop whining, worrying, and borrowing trouble. There will be plenty to cry about in a good long life, without conjuring things up in your head. Uh oh, Honduras is having a chikungunya epidemic. I bet I have that.
I Carry the Sun
“I’m sitting on the train eating an entire bag of pretzels. Not a little bag. A big bag. This is on top of the 4 or 5 or 10 chocolates I ate at work. And the Mexican food I had last night. And the bowl or two of cereal I’ve taken to snacking on after dinner. ” I wrote that several days ago. Since then I’ve had several bags of pocky sticks, 2 donuts, 2 slices of pizza, 4 chocolate-covered cherries, a bag of m & m’s and a couple of boxes of Mike & Ike’s. WTF? What the hell is going on here? It never ceases to amaze me how much I profess to want something and how little I will do to actually get it. I’m a relatively intelligent person. I know that eating badly and not getting enough exercise are not good for me. I am aware that my dad’s big belly contributed to his heart attack. I see how unhappy my mom is because as she aged her boobs and her pelvis got closer and closer to each other and nothing fits her. My knees hurt, my back hurts, my shoulders ache, and I make that little grunting noise every time I sit down or get up. There are two paths I can take. I can stay on the road I’m on. Gain my 10 pounds a decade, wear muumuus and spend the rest of my life watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory and playing Candy Crush. Or…I can run. Or walk. Or swim. Or dance before bedtime. I can write, or fly a kite. I can read, take the lead. I can study or call a buddy. Jump off the shelf and love myself. Volunteer, lend an ear. Get off my ass, take a class. Create, meditate, perspire, aspire, yearn, learn. Not waste time with things that rhyme. Sorry, things got a little Dr. Suess-y there. But we’re never to old to change our minds. To try something new. I do not like eating healthy and exercising. I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere. The point is life is full of things we don’t want or don’t like, or think we don’t like even if we’ve never tried them. Some, like exercise and turning away the m & m’s , I’m never gonna like. But, others, you never know until you try. “You do not like them, so you say, try them, try them and you may.”*. Right on, Doc.
*Green Eggs & Ham, Dr. Suess