I’m tentatively sticking a toe back in the social media and blogging water, though technically I have nothing resolved. My consultation with the cardiologist isn’t until December 18, but my concern has lessened a bit. A couple of days after my stress test, I started having an increase in symptoms during activity that worried me and frankly caused much of my panic. I was also sleeping an uncharacteristic amount and feeling generally crappy. Then as I started to feel somewhat better and got to moving around again, I started having some fairly wicked chest pains. They got really bad by day 5 or 6, and I finally confessed to my husband that I was having symptoms from almost any amount of activity and if they didn’t subside, I was going to call the cardiologist and try to get in sooner.
Then that evening I started to wonder if my symptoms might be costochondritis, because I noticed they changed with my positioning and weren’t accompanied with shortness of breath or dizziness. So, we got out the FaceBlaster and went to town on my ribs and breastbone and sure enough, the symptoms improved. So I spread AloeMD all over my chest and the pain vanished entirely. They came back after about an hour, so I applied more and I slept fine through the night. When I woke up, I applied more and took it easy that day and didn’t have any problems, so long as I treated my chest a couple times a day with the AloeMD. I couldn’t believe it. My increase in symptoms were actually costochondritis and NOT cardiac related as I feared.
To be on the safe side, I’m eschewing cardio for now and taking care with walking, stair and hill climbing, which are all things that set off my cardiac symptoms (and definitely not just costo as confirmed by stress test) without fail. I don’t want to push it and I don’t want to have to be the patient that panics and moves up her appointment without actual just cause. But it’s not easy being a zebra and a cardiac patient, especially when you’re brand spanking new and trying to figure out what’s what, but frankly, we zebras deal with symptoms all day everyday that mimic those of heart attack in women and it isn’t always easy to sus out what’s going on when it’s finally been brought to your attention that you do indeed have a heart condition.
I’ve had costochondritis before, but not since the summer of 2017. I attribute this to building up my chest muscles using the wall push-ups and other strengthening exercises I do for my chest. It makes sense that my costo would rear its ugly head right now, since I’ve been lax in doing my strengthening exercises regularly. I was a regular old lump for almost two months and then I just dive into activity last week. A bad move on my part. In fact, I was doing some pretty heavy cleaning trying to prep for the holidays when my symptoms began. When I went down with my flare after vacation because I hadn’t really recovered from my epic fuck up of going off all my mast cell meds for testing, I fell hard and didn’t manage to keep up my exercise. Just as I warn in all of my exercise tutorials, once I fell out of the habit, I’ve had a hell of a time getting myself back in.
I love FasciaBlasting and it does so many great things for me, but I have to keep up with my strengthening or I fall apart fast. I forgot just how fast. This round of costo, along with the reappearance of my lovely trick shoulder which reappeared at the end of a live Bengals game, have been good reminders. Nope, there’s nothing at all embarrassing about trying to relocate your own shoulder by ramming it against the wall while crowds are hurrying past in a rush to get home.
I don’t really know if I’m making the right decision about my cardio, but hopefully a couple of months sans cardio won’t be too much of a deficit to overcome once we have me stabilized and I know it’s safe to resume activity. It’s just not a risk I’m particularly interested in taking until my exploratory is complete and we have corrective actions in place.
My appointment with dermatology isn’t quite as long of a wait. I have an examination with biopsies scheduled for November 28. My husband photographed all of my suspicious moles so I could see what they look like. There are three that fit the definition of what a melanoma looks like and I wonder if my new GP understated things so as not to incite panic. I’ve been worried about these suckers for a while. There’s one in particular that I know has been growing for some time, but my old GP was very nonchalant about it, so I always blew it off, too. I probably should have insisted on seeing a dermatologist, which was my husband’s wish. I’m glad my new GP wanted me to go without even being prompted. I actually intended on speaking with him about it, but he saw them before I had a chance, when he was listening to my heart and lungs.
I’ll share the pics I have in the post I write on how to detect melanoma. I feel like I need to write this post even though it’s not strictly related to my chronic illnesses because I feel like I was misled by my old GP and didn’t do enough to protect myself, so I want to get that information out to others. I also want to stress how important it is to watch your skin carefully when you have an MCAD or even just suspect that you might, as our risk of cancer in general is increased, especially any place where mast cell activity is high. It may be a while for this post thought, as I have no plans on pushing myself. It’s quite possible that all you’ll see from me through the holiday season are recipes and reposts, but know that I’m thinking of all of you while getting my much needed rest and working on improving things in the background.
Obviously, I’ve decided tentatively to continue with blogging, but the shape of it is going to be different. I have to slow down. I have to be more reserved with how I spend my time. I have to be more respectful of my own needs and boundaries. I know all of this pressure mostly comes from my own expectations about what I should be able to accomplish and how excited I am about everything I want this site to be. I also want to accomplish some other things in life. I’m a good writer, or so I hear, and I have some important stories yet to tell. I need to give myself the space and time in which to try to get them down on paper.
The prospect of trying to juggle book length works scares me as much as it delights me, which is why I haven’t gotten back to it, yet. I have significant brain fog that sometimes rapidly fluctuates and anytime I work on something big, I’m in danger of fucking it up because of my cognitive deficits. So long as I don’t try, the possibility for greatness always exists. My writing career is Schrödinger’s Cat and I haven’t had the courage to look inside that box for almost a decade now. Once I open that box, I may be killing those dreams for all time. It’s huge and I feel like I need some support to make those attempts, which is why I’ve been talking to vocational rehabilitation and counseling services, in addition to wanting to better my overall mental health and financial situation.
Maybe I’m returning to blogging because I’m not quite ready to face opening that box, but it feels like I’m genuinely not ready to let go of everything I’ve built here. I especially can’t bear to leave it in its current wounded and only somewhat functioning state, which I’m slowly working to resolve. I love this site and I’m proud of it’s content, particularly over the last year since my cognitive issues have been less troublesome. I’d like to see it through to become the full-fledged knowledge base I’ve always wanted it to be, much as I drive myself crazy with it.
Of course I wouldn’t stress myself out about it if it wasn’t important to me and I certainly wouldn’t be rushing back to it, either, no matter how much I abhor boredom. If I wasn’t into it, I could be content to sit and watch movies and read books until the end of the year and give myself a fine little vacation like all the well people already think we do. I still find myself constantly turning to ZP and all I could be doing with it. Like the new recipes I have just begging to be released because I’ve been getting experimental in the kitchen to assuage my boredom, not to mention I’m super late on releasing my holiday recipes and I’m going to miss out entirely if I don’t jump on it NOW. The universe really couldn’t have saddled a more type A personality with a spoonie condition. Seriously. It’s best to keep me held down with a laptop in my recliner for my own safety because what this body can do and what this brain thinks it can do are miles apart.
All I know for sure is that the Zebra Pit is the most successful fruit I’ve borne yet and I’d like to see how it continues to flourish. I find myself constantly enriched by what I create for the Zebra Pit and my interactions with all the wonderful people I meet. I have been incredibly touched by the number of people who have reached out to me both publicly and privately to let me know how much they appreciate my efforts here. My need to take a hiatus was good for one thing; letting me know that there are people who do rely on the information and hope I try to provide. I suppose I knew this empirically by the number of people who view my site, click like, leave me comments and ask me questions, but this low self-esteem and hard head can be tough to penetrate sometimes. The wonderful wishes and kind praise I have received has been sweet succor during this difficult time. I cannot thank you enough. You’ve been heard. I will go on. Things may not happen fast, but happen they will!