GoodBYE December, Hello January

Knock, knock.

Anybody there? Remember me – your unreliable blogger? The one with the three little boys and the political opinions and the big ol’ belly?

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This is the kind of shot you get when the 4-year-old mans the camera.

Yes, I managed to fall off the face of the internet again. At first it was, “Okay Julie, you really need to set aside the computer for a bit – you’ve got Thanksgiving coming up and Christmas to begin prepping for and all those jumbles of dishes, laundry, and toys you’ve been neglecting. Mom up.”

But after a few days of happy productivity (Thanksgiving dishes made! Christmas decorations up! House decently neat! Christmas shopping well underway!), we began our decline.

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I have to show off my Thanksgiving tart. Isn’t she lovely?

I didn’t so much notice it as we went along, but as Advent gave way to Christmas and events in our household took a step up in intensity, it really hit me: This month has been hard. I am worn down. And we’re not done.

Allow me to pause here to say to the few of you who noticed my absence for the past (more than a) month: I’m sorry. I do believe it’s been my biggest lapse yet. Until a few days ago, I felt this nagging guilt about it, especially regarding the things I’d left hanging (like my Home to Me blog hop). But now I feel no guilt. Now I realize that we’ve been in survival mode for most of this time. And as far as I’m concerned, things related to blogging simply don’t matter when one’s in survival mode. This is what matters:

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(Well, them and dishes, because if dishes paralyze the kitchen, then the kitchen paralyzes the household.)

So, what’s the deal? It goes something like this: sob story, sob story, icing on the cake, admitting how overwhelmed and worried I’ve felt, then a dose of pull-yourself-together reality.

Sob Story One

In the first week of December, I started to feel faint – like all the time faint, like “Gee, might something actually be really wrong?” faint. So I went to the hospital, where they found my blood pressure to be a bit high, but otherwise gave me a clean bill of health. (I had no markers for preeclampsia, for those of you who know about that sort of thing.) Another kinda-high blood pressure reading the following week won me another round of bloodwork, but that too, thankfully, came back normal. Since then I’ve continued to experience episodes of faintness (not fainting, thank goodness). At first they came every day, but now it’s down to every two or three.

In sum, I started the month by experiencing yet another round of “Julie develops weird symptoms that doctors get worried about until they realize she’s perfectly healthy.” The frequency with which this happens is, frankly, pretty embarrassing, and gives me very little confidence in my own assessment of my health.

Sob Story Two

As my daily episodes of feeling faint tapered off in the middle of the month, my husband began to experience some strange symptoms of his own: His hands went numb. Soon enough his feet did too. And his lower legs. And his lower arms. And he began to experience weakness in those areas. Last week, when the numbness reached his elbows, Brennan took himself to the ER.

The poor guy underwent a barrage of tests, one of which (spinal tap!) he’s been suffering the effects of for a full week. Thankfully, the tests quickly ruled out the scariest possibilities: stroke, brain tumor, multiple sclerosis. But we’re still waiting for the rest of the results. The doctor’s best guess at this point is that Brennan has a mild case of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. (Guillain-Barre is a condition in which a person’s immune system attacks his nerves. It causes numbness, weakness, even paralysis – sometimes of a person’s entire body, and can take months to recover from.)

Scary and stressful enough, right?

But then there’s the context: It’s Christmas. (Brennan came home from the hospital the evening of Christmas Eve and felt too unwell to attend Mass with us the next morning, or indeed to make it to any of our family gatherings over the weekend.) We have three small boys. (Daddy was able to read “The Night Before Christmas” to them at bedtime, but barely had the energy to open gifts on Christmas morning.) And of course, we’re expecting a baby at the end of January.

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This pic will always make me a little sad because it shows that Brennan wasn’t with us.

Icing on the Cake

A few days before Brennan’s symptoms worsened, our toddler cut his eye on a decorative metal bucket, the other two boys had keep-you-up-in-the-night-coughing colds, and I started having “real” contractions. When my obstetrician confirmed their “real” work, she told me to take it easy. I laughed. “So… what about me taking three small boys into Baltimore this evening for a visit to a pediatric ophthalmologist? For the toddler? Who cut his eye?”

“After that,” she replied.

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Stupid decorative culprit.

In retrospect, my laugh should have been louder and crazier. It certainly has been in the days since. I’ve been telling my girlfriends that I don’t want to hear the words “You’d better take it easy!” unless they’re accompanied by a live-in nanny and/or housekeeper.

Overwhelmed and Worried

Ever since he came home, Brennan has been weaker than usual, exhausted, suffering headaches, and (in an effort to control the headaches, which come from a lack of spinal fluid) limited from carrying anything heavy or moving in certain ways.

So for me, “taking it easy” has looked like lugging around and wrestling into submission the 32-pound toddler. Through my contractions. It’s looked like three hours of sleep after a late, late Christmas Eve spent wrapping presents. It’s looked like ushering various combinations of three little boys to two Masses and three family gatherings by myself. In and out, in and out of the car, contracting and hobbling and feeling faint, loading and unloading ad infinitum.

Or at least that’s how it’s felt in my woe-to-me worry-fests. (What if Brennan’s symptoms continue to worsen? What if he’s out of commission when I have the baby and I have to manage all three boys, a newborn, and my own recovery without his help? What if he too ends up needing my care?)

Pull! Yourself! Together!

Calm down, Julie.

Honestly, I know the reality is much brighter than my worries would have me believe. Brennan’s health problems seem to be temporary. (Indeed, as of this morning, he was feeling better than he has in some time.) My wonderful dad came to help me with the boys while B was in the hospital so I could focus on him and on our remaining Christmas preparations. We’ve had lots of offers of help in the days since then. (Though, mundane as our needs are, I don’t know how to make use of them!)

And while, at eight months pregnant with my fourth child, I’m contracting all the time, occasionally feeling faint, and suddenly feeling very uncomfortable – I’m healthy. And so is the baby. Even if she comes early (and I doubt she will), she should be fine. Full term is just over a week away, and that’s a great place to be.

Our boys are dealing with nothing more daunting than colds and silly childhood injuries. (The toddler’s eye is healing nicely.) They don’t seem to have noticed our concern over Brennan’s health. (Me: “Daddy’s been feeling a little funny lately. He’s at the hospital to have it all checked out, so Grandpa’s coming to help take care of you.” Them: “GRANDPA’S COMING!”) Our mess of a floor is a testament to the many treasures they acquired over the past week, and they’ll probably remember this Christmas as the one when they sat on the sofa with Daddy to watch their first-ever Star Wars movies.

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Right now I don’t have it in me to write a grand “Year in Review” post. I can’t sit and reflect on the sum of 2015 or come up with resolutions for 2016. But I can tell you that December was hard and I’m hoping January will be better.

I pray yours will be too. I pray that your hurts will heal, your hopes will be realized, and your joys will be amplified. Thank you for reading along in 2015 (except… yeah… for December); I hope to meet you back here more frequently in 2016.

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Yes, I Worry About Religious Freedom

This past Sunday at mass, our priest told the story of a conversation he once had with a taxi driver. The man had noticed Father’s clothing and collar. “You’re a priest. I am a believer too.” Father expressed his approval and the man went on, “My faith is very dear to me, for it was handed down by blood.”

The man continued, “When my child tells me he doesn’t want to go to church, I tell him he will go, for his faith was won for him through the blood of his grandparents and great-grandparents. They paid with their lives, and here is my child in a place where he is free to worship. So he will go.”

Father went on to recount recent stories of Christians attacked, murdered – hacked to death, even – on account of their faith. Iraq, Pakistan, India, Nigeria – the examples go on and on. Yet, as Father noted, our eyes are dry. We look away. We do not mourn.

We should be feeling such atrocities acutely. Both for the sake of the people involved and because such crimes strike at the heart of what it means to be a free, thinking, feeling human. Our right to live in accord with our faith is as, if not more, fundamental to our freedom as our right to free speech. When I am able to speak freely, my mind is free. When I am able to worship freely, my heart and soul are free too.

When you look at the totality of the world’s population, true religious freedom is almost an anomaly. Billions of people live in countries where one is legally required to adhere to a certain faith, or permitted to belong only to select, approved sects, or, though legally free to worship as one chooses, restricted in practice by violence or intimidation.

Millions more live in Western societies that are increasingly, insidiously, hostile to religious practice. They look down on religious speech in public forums or prohibit religious garb in public spaces or compel religious people to act in conflict with their faith-informed ethical principles. They give notice that faith is only appropriate within the four walls of a church. And they maintain that a particular set of public values is somehow more valid and important than the individual’s right to determine his own way, in accord with his own mind, heart, and soul.

I’m no Chicken Little. I don’t think the United States is a modern-day Roman Empire teetering on the brink of collapse. I don’t think our government is two steps away from nailing “CONDEMNED” signs to all the church doors and requiring citizens to profess adherence to modern, secular liberalism.

But I do think we should be honest enough with ourselves to acknowledge that this thing can be messed up. This accident, this anomaly in human history – this brief period and narrow place in which we have been free to think and speak and pray and do as we like, without fear of legal or violent reprisal – this can, and probably will, pass away.

If our society can entertain the notion that climate change will eventually cause oceans to rise and landscapes to be altered, it should also consider the possibility that creeping infringements on our rights will eventually cause us to lose them altogether.

Because yes, that’s what we’re experiencing: creeping infringements on our rights. (Our real, most fundamental rights, that is – not our popularly-claimed, pseudo-rights to free contraception and abortion.) And yes, that’s what HHS did when it told Hobby Lobby’s owners that, despite their deeply-held and religiously-founded belief that human life is precious and worthy of protection, even from the moment of conception, they must pay for their employees to receive forms of “contraception” that can end real, precious, human lives – in the humble form of embryos – almost (not before) they have begun.

(Please note that Hobby Lobby already provides coverage for most types of contraceptives. Its owners have objected to four particular “contraceptive” methods because they can act not as true contraceptives – that is, by preventing conception – but rather as abortifacients, preventing an embryo from implanting in its mother’s uterus and thereby killing it.)

Many Americans seem to think that religious freedom is an issue for the history books. You’re given a blank stare if you express your concern for religious freedom abroad and you’re viewed as an alarmist or a zealot if you’re concerned that it’s under threat at home.

Nobody’s bombing churches here, right? The government doesn’t support a Church of America with our tax dollars and require all citizens to be its adherents, does it? So what is there to worry about?

I worry that we take too much for granted. That we vaguely recall a story about pilgrims… something, something… Church of England… something, something… and we think that concerns about religious freedom belong to another time.

I worry when so many of my friends and fellow Americans hear that the government aims to force people to do things that violate their deeply held religious beliefs and they… don’t care. Or worse, they fly to the defense of the government and demonize those targeted by it because the things that are to be done involve those most sacred of secular cows, contraception and abortion.

The fact is, there are slippery slopes all over the place. It’s quite fashionable to be concerned about government overreach insofar as it applies to email and phone records. But what about government overreach concerning what we believe and how our everyday lives reflect those beliefs?

I worry that we might not realize we’re on a slope until we’ve already slipped.

~~~

“Reason recognizes that religious freedom is a fundamental right of man, reflecting his highest dignity, that of seeking the truth and adhering to it, and recognizing it as an indispensable condition for realizing all his potential. Religious freedom is not simply freedom of thought or private worship. It is the freedom to live according to ethical principles, both privately and publicly, consequent to the truth one has found.” (Pope Francis, June 20, 2014)

Thoughts From This Side of L&D

So here I am, just days (hours? please?) before welcoming baby boy #3, and – surprise, surprise – I have a bunch of pregnancy/labor/delivery things stewing in my mind. I’m scheduled to be induced this Friday, April 4. (Though you’re welcome to come sooner if you like, little guy!) And I feel like I’m on something of a precipice:

I’m coming off of this (really, quite good) pregnancy a little tired and uncomfortable and ready to move on, but also wistful, not knowing whether I’ll ever experience another. I’m trying to enjoy and appreciate my littlest boy’s movements while I still have them all to myself.

I’m also looking out onto the always-daunting prospects of labor and delivery, not to mention the readjustment to life with a newborn. That’s some scary stuff, there. I’m trying not to dwell on it. (Praying? Yes. Dwelling? No.) I give you, therefore, mostly lighter thoughts from this side of the Labor & Delivery unit:

—1—

It’s really funny to see what search terms people use to find my blog. The other day I had “enormous belly pic week,” “huge tummy pic week,” and “belly pic comparison bigger.” Umm… what are you trying to tell me, Mr. Search Engine?

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38.5 weeks — probably the last belly pic for this pregnancy!

 

—2—

No, really, it’s okay. I know that a lot of women have issues with how their bodies change during pregnancy, but as I’m naturally pretty thick-waisted and round-bellied (can’t believe I’m admitting that on the internet), I’ve never found that I have much to mourn in the figure department when I’m pregnant. So really, bring on the belly. It’s just nice, for those nine months or so, to be able to toss out a happy little response when people ask me when I’m due, rather than wincing and squirming and trying to find a non-mortifying way of telling them I’m not pregnant.

All that is to say: my “bump” doesn’t bother me and I’m not particularly eager to get rid of it. Except for one annoying thing:

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I tried to get my feet in the pic, but honestly — there was no way.

 

Please tell me that I’m not the only pregnant lady whose belly becomes a magnet for bits of food. And water – I’ve found it impossible to wash my face without soaking my belly, even though I’m standing on my tippy-toes trying to bend (my short-waisted, 5’3” frame) over far enough to reach the sink.

—3—

I haven’t registered any weight gain at all at my past two doctor’s appointments (though baby boy has) and thank goodness, because boy oh boy, have I had an appetite lately. I’ve been finding myself ready for a meal just about two hours after finishing my last one. At first I think, “Nah, you can’t really be hungry again.” And then soon enough I’m conceding, “Okay, okay! You are hungry! I get it!”

The other night I was hungry as I got ready for bed – in spite of having consumed my second dinner not long before – but figured I should just push through and go to sleep. So I woke in the middle of the night, famished. I pushed through again, and sure enough, I just about bounded out of bed the next morning to make a dash to the kitchen. I’ll be interested to see what I weigh at my appointment tomorrow. Could my body be burning that many calories right now, or is baby boy gouging himself on my caloric excesses and my reserves?

—4—

Speaking of which… if, at around lunchtime today, you happened to see some very strange, very sweaty, huge pregnant lady actually buy food from one vendor while in the line to buy food from another – yeah, that was totally me. I admit it. I was in the middle of a blood sugar crash, desperate to make it through the line at Subway without passing out, when – behold! – I noticed that the new soft pretzel counter was open! And there was even somebody working there! I ordered a cup of cinnamon pretzel bites while standing in the Subway line; I had devoured them by the time our sandwiches were complete. I have no shame.

—5—

Need I even point out that today is April Fool’s Day? Between this being my late grandfather’s birthday and exactly ten days before my due date (which is when my water broke with my last baby), and it being, I don’t know, a date that just seems… fitting, today’s the day I’ve had a hunch about all along. But, as we’re already more than 18 hours in and I’m not feeling anything suspicious… I think April 1 is a no-go for me. Boo…

(Though – Yay! One of my cousins had her baby today! Congratulations, Bibi and Kris! I was hoping the two babes would be born on the same day, but we’ll just have to content ourselves with the same week.)

—6—

This one has nothing to do with baby, but everything to do with the date: Each year on April Fool’s Day, a bunch of my silly cousins call our grandfather to inform him that the cows have gotten out. (As in, out of the field, through the fence, and into the road.) Granddad’s last cows were sold something like 15 years ago and his once-beautiful fields now grow nothing but houses. Jolly good sport that he is, however, Granddad always plays along. I love my family.

—7—

You would never know it by the piles of unfolded baby clothes all over the nursery or the disassembled basinet and car seat pieces strewn across its floor, but I think this is the most prepared we’ve been for any of our babies. All the furniture is in the right room, a few things are even hung on the walls, most of the baby clothes are washed, and though not all the gear is assembled, most of it is clean. What a relief. As much as I was hoping that today would be The Day, it will be nice if we can get our few loose ends tied up in the next couple of days so we can bring baby home to a completed nursery.

—8—

Why, oh why can’t I experience that most amazing of phenomena: nesting? Everybody I talk to and read about lists off a litany of tasks they’ve completed and obscure places they’ve cleaned before having their babies. Me? I’ve never had a late-pregnancy energy spurt. I drag myself through a task, rest for a while, and then maybe attempt another.

Besides the aforementioned nursery stuff, I have several dirty floors and bathrooms that could use my attention before this baby is born. Hello… Nesting? Nesting, are you out there? How about you come by to pay me a visit?

—9—

Yesterday afternoon my mother-in-law asked me what I plan to do if I go into labor while Brennan’s at work. I replied something like, “I don’t know… call him to come home?” (He works 40 minutes away.) She made a funny face and said, “This is your third baby – what if your labor goes quickly?” Again, I stumbled. “Umm… I’ll just have to see who’s available?”

How could I not have given more thought to this scenario?

The honest truth is that I think I’ve always assumed that this pregnancy would end in another induction. It seems to be the only way my contractions will start. (Even when my water broke on its own last time, I needed Pitocin to start the contractions.)

And I guess I’ve also had in the back of my mind that if I needed help quickly, I’d probably just put out a plea on Facebook. I figure that would do as good a job as anything else of filtering out local folks who are available to help. And in the absence of any other game plan, that’s as good as I’ve got. Local friends and family: please be on notice.

(And yes, if I were absolutely desperate, my mother-in-law could drive me to the hospital. Though with her new to our roads and not a city driver, heaven help us if she has to get us through the Beltway while I’m in labor.)

—10—

To end on a more sober note, I’m going to just admit that I’ve been a complete and total sap when it comes to my boys this week. I look at them and think on how much I love them and how desperately I want to see them grow… and my throat catches.

Labor and delivery are scary things. Though I have no expectation that anything will go wrong – I’m in good health, I’ll be in a good hospital, I’ll have good medical professionals assisting me – you never know what will happen. I don’t forget that childbirth has always been dangerous for women and babies. And that sometimes it still is.

In my middle-class, 21st-Century, semi-rural, American life, bearing a child is one of the most dangerous things I will ever do. I’m not so worried about the pain – I like to get an epidural if it’s possible; if for some reason it’s not, I know the pain is something I can get through. But, safety, health – those are what I worry about.

Not terribly – I don’t work myself up over it. The worry lingers at the back of my mind, rearing up a bit when I gaze sappily at those beautiful boys. I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears on Friday morning when I kiss their (probably sleeping) faces before I leave for the hospital. But then I’ll say some more prayers, grit my teeth, and get on with it all.

And, God-willing, some hours later my baby and I will be safely through his birth. I’ll hold him in my arms and know that every discomfort, every pain, every worry was completely worth it. Until that moment, I’d appreciate if you could send a prayer or two heavenward on our behalf.

Thank you.

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The Weirdest Of Them All

I seem to have a talent for developing/attracting weird medical issues. (A fact pointed out to me by my weirdness-weary college roommates.) I’ve had eczema cover every inch of my skin from my fingertips to my elbows. I’ve had more eczema on my foot, so bad that my doctor had it x-rayed, fearing the bone was infected. I’ve had a weirdo, hallucinating reaction to a meningitis vaccine. I’ve broken my nose (and suffered a concussion) while tickling my little cousin. I’ve almost cut off my toe. I’ve lost my voice for a month because a coughing fit injured my vocal chords.

Have I lost you yet? Seriously, I could go on.

This week, however, I received the weirdest medical news yet: I have a cyst in my brain. I also have a cyst at the base of my tongue. And a herniated disc in my neck.

(No, this isn’t a joke. And yes, the news was a surprise to me too.) I went in for an MRI on Monday, trying to get more information on a pinched nerve in my neck. The next day my doctor called me with… all of the above. In a somewhat short, forceful conversation, she told me the news and instructed me to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat doc regarding the tongue and a neurosurgeon about the spine and the brain.

I was kinda sorta left reeling, kinda sorta not believing that it had even happened, and kinda sorta thinking, “Oh my gosh, I have the weirdest things happen to me.”

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Now, perhaps you might think it’s a bit strange for me to be telling you all this, just four days since I got the news myself. I mean, I’m sure you’re all very fine people, but many of you are strangers to me.

However, the truth is, I can’t seem to move on – to write anything, to read anything, to think about anything else – until I get this off my chest. It’s my elephant in the room. Hopefully once I’ve articulated the following, I can start writing on other topics. Because for these last four days, every idea that’s crossed my mind has been met with: “Nope, not as interesting as the cyst in my brain.”

So here they are, some thoughts on this latest round of medical weirdness:

—1—

I’m a terrible procrastinator, especially when it comes to things that stress me out. Medical stuff most definitely qualifies. I’ve been putting off following through on various and sundry medical issues (including the stupid pinched-nerve-in-my-neck-causing-my-arm-to-fall-asleep thing) for years now.

With this third pregnancy, I’m trying to just bite the bullet and pursue whatever needs to be pursued. And to actually follow through on investigations I start. (A neurosurgeon confirmed my pinched nerve at the beginning of the summer and instructed me to have an MRI to see what was causing it. I promptly put it off for four months.)

—2—

Why do I do this? Why, when I experience some sort of medical symptom, do I take so long to start figuring out what causes it? Why, when faced with an actual diagnosis, do I set it aside and treat it like it doesn’t matter? Why does it take a pregnancy to get me to take my own health seriously?

It’s not that I don’t value my own health or my own life. I think it’s that it’s difficult for me to imagine anything actually threatening them. Part of this is because of the whole medical weirdness thing: whatever weird things have come my way in the past, I’ve always been fine in the end. The bigger part, though, is probably more universal: I take myself for granted. I am my own reference point for life. To myself, I am a given. And it’s difficult to accept that a “given”… isn’t.

—3—

I’m a little worried about having had an MRI while pregnant. I wasn’t worried when I scheduled the MRI: Nothing I’d read had indicated any demonstrable risk to an unborn baby from an MRI. But the radiologist’s waiver form, not to mention my own doctor’s reaction when she realized I’d waited until after I was pregnant to have the MRI, both unnerved me. To them, the bottom line seemed to be that it’s not known that the test is safe.

That said, now that I know the results of the MRI, I’m glad I had it done. I’m glad I have the information now and that I can start following through with specialists now, rather than a year from now. Because who am I kidding? If I’d waited until I was no longer pregnant to have the MRI, I would have put it off for months more.

—4—

And the MRI experience itself? Not fun. I’d had at least one before, but this time the experience was far more intense than I’d remembered. Part of that was undoubtedly my anxiety from the doom-and-gloom pregnancy release form. But really, it’s just an inherently uncomfortable thing to do. You’re stuck in a tube for what seems an interminable length of time, you have to lie completely still, and there are big, strange clanging noises surrounding you. I had trouble breathing, not because of claustrophobia (which I’m blessed to not suffer from), but because I was worried about breathing too heavily. Breathing is one of those things that is hard to do when you’re thinking about it too much.

Anyway, as I endured the test I couldn’t help but wonder how pediatric patients do it. A couple of days later, reading about an engineer who transforms MRI machines into pirate or space adventures for children, I cried/smiled/laughed and thought, “God bless that man!”

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—5—

Let’s see, where were we? How about a brief review of what Dr. Google has to say about brain cysts?

All-in-all, the big G cautioned me not to get too worked up about the whole thing. Brain cysts are not those scary-sounding “brain tumors.” Most are benign and they generally grow slowly, if at all. Many do require surgery, but usually because a cyst is interfering with the part of the brain it resides in, causing adverse symptoms for the patient. I have no such symptoms.

As scary as the idea of brain cysts may be, now that I’ve read a bit about them and a little time has passed, I’m not all that nervous about it. (Did you hear that, family? Oh, you world-class worriers? I’m not too worried, so you shouldn’t be either.) I think it’s quite likely that I’ll go to my appointment with the neurosurgeon and he’ll say, “Yep, you have a little cyst, but it’s in a boring part of your brain and it’s obviously not doing you any harm, so we’ll just keep an eye on it.” (Okay, fine. Neurosurgeons probably don’t think any part of the brain is boring. But certainly some parts have got to be more interesting than others.)

—6—

And what about the tongue cyst and the herniated disc? I haven’t looked for, or found, as much information on them as I have the brain cyst. I do know that they’ll likely do a biopsy on the tongue cyst, which I am not looking forward to. And I read a statistic that only one in ten herniated discs require surgery. Surely I’ve got to be in that non-surgical camp, right? I mean, I move and walk around just fine. The only problem I’ve got is a sleepy/tingly arm.

Either way, I’ll get some more information soon. I’m to meet with the ENT this coming week and the neurosurgeon the following one. I’m happy to have gotten appointments so soon; I’m eager to either (a) find out that this whole thing really is no big deal or (b) start moving on whatever it is that needs to be done.

—7—

Speaking of appointments (and “biting the bullet” in number one), I’ve also been pursuing some medical issues besides the whole cyst/cyst/disc thing. Yesterday I saw a dermatologist and my-oh-my, was it a relief to hear that everything looked great. The thing about putting off medical issues is, they often become bigger and more stressful in your imagination than they need to be in real life. I drove home from the appointment with an outlook considerably lighter and brighter than it had been on my drive in. Hopefully I’ll experience the same wonderful feeling leaving next week’s ENT and cardiologist appointments and the following week’s neurosurgeon and OB appointments.

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—8—

So, if you’re anything like me and you’ve been putting off some medical issues of your own, I hope you’ll go ahead and tackle them. No time like the present, right? In all likelihood, taking care of them now will make you feel better, one way or the other: You might find that you had nothing to worry about after all. You might be set on a constructive course to improving your health. At the very least, you’ll stop feeling guilty about ignoring whatever it is and you’ll finally be doing something about it.

Whatever the case: Go you! You can do it! If little Miss Procrastination Is My Middle Name can do it, then you certainly can.

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—9—

Not to belie any of the “I’m not worried!” declarations above, but if you’re inclined to do so, I’d appreciate your prayers for my good health and the safety of my baby. Prayers are something that are always, always welcome.

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Thanks for humoring me with your attention. Hopefully now that I’ve said my piece, I can fight the impulse to walk up to complete strangers in the grocery store and say, “You know, I’ve had the weirdest thing happen to me. It turns out I have a cyst in my brain.”

After nearly four days of sitting on the issue and three drafts of writing about it, I think I’m finally starting to feel some release. Now that this post is out of the way, the floodgates (if they could ever have been called that) are re-opened. Let the regularly-scheduled blogging resume!