“Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.” ~ Richard III
They say March comes in like a lion but my beast was found in February. We began the month with an impromptu move 2 weeks before we had planned on leaving our house. It took approximately a week and a half to move all of our possessions from what had become John’s house (the buyer) into 3 different locations… a storage unit, Dan’s brother’s house (for things that needed climate control storage) and Dan’s parents house, where we’ll be living until our house is done being built.
We had finally settled in and were just adjusting to our new surroundings when it struck me. Exactly one month to the date of my scheduled surgery, it hit me while I was packing the kids’ lunches and emptying the dishwasher. A terrible pain seized my body and stole my breath away. It was a pain my brain remembered all too well… labor.
I can hear you now already… “Uh Chris, I think you need to update more since we didn’t even know you were pregnant.” And that’s because I’m not and I wasn’t. But this was definitely a contraction and it wasn’t letting go. The seizing continued and was unlike the waves of normal labor, ebbing and flowing. No, this was a tsunami and the tidal waves overwhelmed my body.
Now, if you’re going to understand this post, you’ll have to remember that I have a high pain tolerance. Yes, I know that everybody likes to think they have a high pain tolerance. Everyone says it! Even the biggest wimps we know think they can handle more pain than the average human being and preface EVERY story with… “You know I have a really high pain tolerance”. You and I both know they actually topple over in agony if they even sneeze too hard but they’re adamant, aren’t they? Insisting that every pain they get is THE WORST pain they’ve ever felt.
So, at the risk of sounding delusional, I really, really do believe I have a high pain tolerance and this really, really was THE WORST pain I’d ever felt. After all, I’m the
idiot person who ran a half marathon in the wrong shoes, and ended up losing 3 toenails. The moron gal who toppled in the forest trying to carry a tree for firewood. The same nitwit individual who cut her own knee open with nail clippers to extract the chunk of wood that had been embedded for nearly a year. And last but certainly not least, the dingbat woman who ignored the pain a giant fibroid tumor for over a year, waiting for the new calendar year to begin before investing the sizable deductible on surgery to have it removed. With a resume like that, I hope you see how I’m qualified to say that I know what it means to hurt sometimes.
But this was no normal kind of pain. It was unique in its sensation and its ability to stop me dead in my tracks. This was a different type of pain and was truly the mind numbing torture that only labor can inflict upon you. Trust me, my 36 long hours of labor with Emma and 26 arduous ones with Gerrit had seared the feeling deep into my brain. No doubt about it, these were contractions. But why was I having them?
The answer was that the giant fibroid tumor living inside me had taken on suicidal tendencies. It had outgrown its blood/oxygen source and was dying… slowly. While I was completely on board with it ceasing to exist, a slow, drawn out, agonizing execution was not exactly what I had in mind. The process, known as degeneration, can take between 2-4 weeks and is incredibly painful in the meantime. Strong enough to make me almost pass out. Add in the annoyance of a constant fever, mixed with nausea and you have a really great way to lose a chunk of your life.
Life’s obligations are hard to manage when you’re in terrible pain and while I think I understood that, I don’t think I realized how totally incapacitating it could be. If the pain itself wasn’t bad enough, the uncertainty of when and where it would strike solidified my uselessness. The simplest of tasks became insurmountable in the wink of an eye and I couldn’t be sure I could commit to anything.
Could I drive the kids to school safely today? Could I manage to make dinner? Could I complete my work for the day? Could I meet my friend for coffee tomorrow? Could I even watch a movie with Dan and the kids?
All too quickly, work was barely manageable, running errands became impossible and after having to cancel on one gathering after another, including my trip to Texas… I admitted defeat. Yes Universe, I call uncle.
My surgery was moved up two weeks and I’m currently recovering from it. My operation was successful and the pathology report was thankfully normal. The mystery of what spurred my tumor to grow so rapidly will probably remain forever unknown although it’s reassuring that cancer was ruled out.
One thing I do know is that I have struggled in the last 3 months. The tango of too much change, too much stress and too much pain has left me battered. I feel weak and ridiculous. Paranoid in the moments that are good, waiting for the swift hand of fate to strike me down and remind me there’ll be none of that right now.
I hate to say it but 2013… you’ve kind of sucked. I’ve had enough! I’m ready for this never ending winter to end. Come claim me spring!! I’ve had my fill of lion and I’ll take my healthy heaping of lamb now. Sweet and soft, warm and fuzzy, with a large side of nice. No pain killers necessary. Thanks.