Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Costochondritis

Day 59 (3/8/10)

Today I learned what Costochondritis is. I have been experiencing dull-moderate chest pain for a while now but yesterday it just wasn't going away. I have to admit that even with all of my attempts to ignore it, the pain and worry kept nagging to the point where I was willing to go to the doctor. Anyone that truly knows me understands that I would rather die than step foot in a hospital (unless there's actually concern that I'm dying). I hate the way they smell, I hate the way they sound, I hate their procedures and protocols. I hate that from the moment I step in one I am submitting to the fact that I could, in fact, be sick. And even worse, when you're complaining of any pain in the chest they send you directly to the ER, which of course I hate even more because you're surrounded by people that are truly sick. You're doomed to a waiting room where you'll be surrounded by bleeding, puking, wailing people. But I went anyway. You know why? Because it's not just me anymore. I am no longer one, singular person. I have chosen to fall in love with a man that would die without me and I have also shared my genetic code with two other human beings that rely on me for even the most fundamental necessities. Once I was in the hospital room they performed all the standard tests and thankfully I am a very healthy woman. There has been no damage to my heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or anything else they tested. Turns out I have Cosochondritis, which is an inflammation in the cartilage between the ribcage-which is usually caused by a virus that will go away on its own. The doctor did notice that I have an irregular heart beat, which was odd, but benign.

So, fearing that I'd be destined to repeat this experience if I didn't learn from it, I spent my time in that hospital room thinking about what to take away from it. First-if you are experiencing any chest pain, go to the hospital. The doctors and nurses couldn't stress it enough, even if you think it's something harmless, get seen. They started naming a list of life-threatening possibilities that just shouldn't be messed with. Second-from this moment on I am going to live the healthiest life possible. We all have this feeling like we're going to live forever (humans are very good at procrastination and denial) and it's just not true. Not one of us knows when our number is up, but we can take measures to prolong our lives. Nothing in this life is cut and dry, but the medical recommendations are pretty clear: Get plenty of sleep and exercise, avoid high fat, high calorie foods, take your vitamins, have preventative diagnostic testing, floss. Why don't we do it? Why are those things so hard for us to follow? They seem so easy as I'm typing them and the benefits are indisputable-so what is the problem? Opposition in all things, I suppose. Anyway, I decided that I am going to do my best to follow those recommendations so that I can avoid, or at least prolong, my risk of experiencing something from that list of life-threatening possibilities. Lastly, I am going to start living like I'm dying. I have to preface this by mentioning how I loathe that statement. I even hate the song because it's just not realistic for us to live like we're dying. To be able to function on this earth we have to live like we're...living. To survive, a great majority of us have to work at jobs we hate, deal with people we dislike almost as much, and agree to do things we don't want to do-that's just the way it is. I ask you, what's one of the first thing you would do if you found out you were dying (behind crying and spending time with loved ones)? You'd quit your job, say no to that person you can't stand, and quit doing anything you don't enjoy! But you just can't do that when you're alive and well, unless you want to be a very poor, hated, unsuccessful person. But when someone suggests that you start living like you're dying they are urging you to understand that any moment truly could be your last. That means something different to every person, I think. For some people that may equate to living life to the the fullest-going skydiving, rock-climbing, scuba diving, writing a novel, singing in front of a million adoring fans. Other people may take that as being sure their loved ones know they love them every day. I plan on doing both of those things (maybe not sky-diving), but I do intend on trying things I have always wanted to try, and refusing to leave my loved ones wondering if I loved them. I am going to try harder to be the best version of myself.

My sister always tells me it's better to leave (a party, vacation, etc.) when you're still having fun. That way you're left with the happiest memories instead of the, "Gosh- I wish I had left sooner" memories. I hope that's what it's like when I leave his world. Even if I'm 98, I hope I'm still having a good time.
Emma-6 months
Janet

1 comment:

  1. Wow...what an experience. I'm glad you're okay. I'm sure the worry added to your discomfort, so knowing you're good will probably help the situation. Last time I went in feeling like something was wrong, I wound up having heart and kidney surgery. It's much better reading your outcome Janet! And you're right, you are not just you anymore...it's important to take care of yourself. Glad you did.

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