Monday, June 16, 2014

Pre-op class #21, weekly weigh-in and biopsies

I knew I had gained weight over the last two weeks and my class tonight confirmed it ... eight pounds.  Egads.  Yuck.  It's funny, I walked into my Kaiser class in a good mood.  Some of my friends even commented how good I looked.  I got on the scale and everything seemed to change.  My shoulders sort of slumped down and I seemed to drag myself back to my seat.  It wasn't a surprise to me though.  I wish I could say I had been doing all the right things but I wasn't.  I  hadn't been tracking my food every day like I was before and I certainly wasn't getting in all my exercise.  I'm not here to make excuses though.  It is what it is and the best I can do is to just be honest and move forward.

Tonight's class was about body image.  One of the exercises we did was to go around the room and say one thing we liked about our bodies.  Then, when we did that, our facilitator made us come up with one other thing.  Two whole things we like?  Hmm, why not just pull teeth out of my mouth without novacane?  That's what it felt like to me.  My two items were (1) my smile and (2) the strength I have to handle the chronic pain in my leg without crying in the corner day after day.  Body image is certainly something I need to work on.  As our facilitator pointed out, we need to work on loving and appreciating our bodies now, just as they are, and not waiting until some magical day when we have the surgery.  I get that.  We have to love ourselves before we can ever begin to take really good care of ourselves.  I remember when I had lost almost 200 pounds on Optifast.  Believe this or not, it was incredibly difficult for me to see any difference in my body from the 420-pound body I started out at.  I would go into stores and pick up the biggest size they had, like I used to do, not realizing that I could fit into 16's.  That's a distorted body image.  Some suggestions for things I can do to improve my body image, as described in our workbook, include:

  • Concentrate on things I do well.
  • Do physical things for fun.
  • Voice my opinions against poor body image messages others give me.
  • Be a role model of positive image.
  • Get rid of clothes that don't fit.
  • Don't buy clothing that I hope will fit me someday.
  • Remember that I am personality AND a body.
  • Remind myself of my positive qualities, not my size.
  • Be less critical of my weight.
  • Look at my body non-judgmentally.
Speaking of body image, boy do I have a story to tell about the visit to my dermatologist's office!  In yesterday's post I wrote about my check-up appointment with the doctor today.  I go about every 4-6 months now for a full-body check to make sure there are no questionable moles, discoloration or otherwise suspicious spots.  Up to this point, I have had five biopsies on my body after melanoma was first discovered.  I'm at the point that if something looks suspicious, the doc doesn't have to do anything to convince me to have it removed for a biopsy.  I would rather err on the side of caution then have that deadly cancer in my body again.  

So, anyway, I get to the appointment and I'm checking my cell phone while waiting my turn.  Usually a nurse will call from a door across the room but today someone came right up to me and asked my name.  "Miss B.?"  I looked up into the eyes of a clean cut, athletic, blue-eyed man who was smiling down at me and I wondered how he knew to come right up to me with a room full of patients and why was he so incredibly attractive?  He brought me back to the room, had me sit in a chair and then proceeded to check my blood pressure.  He seemed like he was flirty with me and I immediately looked at his ring finger.  Nope, nothing there.  I don't know why I did that, just habit I guess.  It's not like I was coming to the doctor's office to look for a date! After he was done doing his thing, he gave me a gown to get into for Dr. K, my dermatologist, as he left.  Dr. K. is this slight little man, a very good doctor who I feel very comfortable with.  

There were two spots on my body that were concerning.  I'm going to tell you about them so you can appreciate what I went through.  The first was under my left arm, right near the incision point where the melanoma surgeon checked my lymph nodes to ensure the cancer hadn't spread.  There was a mole there Dr. K didn't like the look of during my last visit, so he looked at it again and wanted to biopsy it.  Then, he went on inspecting the rest of my body.  This is the time where I feel as big as a house.  He doesn't make me feel that way, it's just the way I feel.  It's about my insecurities and body image issues.  Then I told Dr. K. that there was an area in my pubic region (TMI, sorry!) that had a discolored spot and I was concerned.  I wondered aloud to him if I should have my gynecologist look at it first but he told me, no, he could take a look at it.  Because I was going to have at least one biopsy done, he needed to call in his nurse for assistance, and particularly because we were going to look at the second one in a sensitive area.

So who comes bounding into the room after Dr. K. opened the door and called out for assistance?  Nurse McHottie.  Dr. K. went on to say to me that McHottie comes from the neurology department and he has a lot of experience.  There's a certain age you reach when you decide that you aren't going to be shy any more in front of medical professionals, but dang it, why did it have to be in front of someone who should be arrested for being so good-looking?  The first thing they were going to look at was the private area.  So Dr. K. holds a hand-held mirror, Nurse McHottie helps me up on a step ladder and they are both standing in front of me as I lower my underwear down so they could take a look at the area that I identified as an issue.  Could I be any more mortified???  Dr. K. is staring at it with his dermatology tools and said, "Yup, we better biopsy this area, too."  I laid on the table while he injected a numbing agent into me and proceeded to ask me if I had any plans for the summer.  Seriously?  Seriously?  McHottie was on the side trying to keep me calm.  Then, after that was done, I had to lay on my side with my arm above my head in just a bra so that they could biopsy the other area.  A numbing agent went in there too and Dr. K. was still trying to coax out of me my summer plans.  After he was done and started typing things into the computer, McHottie was treating the wound and putting band-aids on me.  While all of this was going on, I was fully aware that we were flirting just a few minutes before.  It was innocent little flirting, nothing that made me uncomfortable.  Here I was, boobs spilling out of my bra, gown practically off my body and feeling pain.  Like I said, M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D.

As I sit here now, I have to chuckle to myself.  The irony was not lost on me that we were talking about body image things today.  It's in these moments that I realize I just have to get over myself.  Yes, I'm self-conscious but there's no need to be.  McHottie was not the first person to flirt with me recently, I've actually had a handful of others.  I always say there's something in the water in a joking way, rationalizing that the reason men are hitting on me is because it's a full moon.  It's such a self-deprecating thing to do.  At least I could see the humor in the situation.  In terms of the biopsies, if I hear from the doctor on the phone, it means something came back malignant (not good) but if I receive them in the mail, then it means they are benign (fine).  Here's hoping the phone doesn't ring!

2 comments: said...

Here's to hoping the mail brings good news!

Kathy said...

I'm waiting impatiently ...

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