Archive for December, 2010

December 30, 2010

Loneliness of the Short-Distance Runner

I exercised for the first time in two weeks, swimming my eight laps at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Montreal. I zigzagged kickboards and babies in floaties.

Exercise is my anti-depressant. Swimming made me feel great.

Since my basal cell surgery two weeks ago I’ve had to lay low. I don’t like that. The winter doldroms set in. My overall mood is down if I don’t exercise (or write!)

It is better for everyone if I work out (and write) a few times each a week. So the other night I considered running a 5K on New Year’s Day in Ticonderoga.

I still had a bunch of stitches on my chest (where the basal cell was removed) and was not supposed to exert myself. I didn’t want to pop a stitch like an overstuffed teddy bear (which is how I felt after eating and drinking my way through Christmas). I hesitated. I had a lot of housework to do.

I had to pack up my family after 10 days in the country. That’s at least as much work as running a marathon. I had a cappuccino (also an anti-depressant) and had an idea. 

“Kids, we’re going to have our own race — to the old school house. You could win! It’s a race against me!”

At my 15-minute mile pace, almost anyone could beat me! But my kids are lazy. Yes, they are lazy, lazy, lazy. And it’s my fault. I’ve spoiled them. They’d rather goof off on Facebook than run.

The girls did walk/run for the first five minutes then they turned around and slogged back to their computer screens. It wasn’t even cold.

I had a weird experience as I ran. There was no wind. Yet I heard a flapping near me, like someone snapping clean sheets while making a bed. I looked around. Nothing. Not a breeze. It happened again. I kind of wished I wasn’t alone so I could ask someone, “Did you hear that? Wasn’t that weird?”

The front runner is the lonely (and possibly delusional) runner.

I came back, declaring victory, like Rocky on the steps of Philadelphia. When you’re the only runner, chances are good you’re the big winner! But I received neither a medal or champagne. Instead, I made myself some more coffee and folded the laundry.

December 18, 2010

Pass the Hatchet

I arrived around noon to a trendy and full waiting room. A few people my age and a couple of older women with bandages on their faces sat staring into space. In the trendiest of neighborhoods, West Broadway and Spring in SoHo, my dermatological surgeon, Dr. Dacko slices, snips and sews.

I went into an exam room. My chest area, around where you wear a long necklace, was numbed. We waited. Then the carcinoma was cut out while we chatted about the ubiquitous nature of cell phones (because I had to charge my phone in the surgeon’s office). Dr. Dacko is young, pretty, friendly. So is the RN Elizabeth.

Dr. Dacko said “Now, about the recovery, you’re not allowed to chop down any trees.”

“That’s funny,” I said, “Because that’s what my family does on Christmas. We chop down our own tree. This year, I’ll pass the hatchet.” (ha ha, we all laughed!)

Then Elizabeth told me as she bandaged the big gaping hole, “Okay, you can go out for lunch now. Come back in an hour and we’ll see if we have to cut more. If not, we’ll stitch you up.”

I felt confused. Here I was in the middle of surgery and I’m told to go out to lunch?!! True, the office is an awesome neighborhood. Okay. Well, I did have good idea — Christmas shop and manicure. I hopped up, but then, yes, felt a little whoozy. So I sat down again for a few minutes until the dizziness passed.

Then I was out on the sidewalk with the vendors, the hip Europeans, and the people who lunch. I got to the Paul Frank Store and the Sur La Table store and even visited a 2nd floor manicure salon east of Broadway for some frosty blue polish.

Back at Dr. Dacko’s office, I was told they got it all and they stitched me up (although they biopsied another area too.) The feeling of getting stitches in your chest was weird — like someone pulling on the lapels of your jacket, only I wasn’t wearing a jacket.

I have to report that I felt a bit sorry for myself last night. I didn’t feel that the kids and Chris coddled me enough at all. While it’s true in the middle of my surgery, I was shopping and pampering myself in SoHo, I still felt someone should’ve felt my forehead and said, “Poor baby. Don’t worry. You’re going to be okay.”

I considered posting a picture of my chest and the stitches on this blog, but it looks pretty yucky! It will heal.

December 16, 2010

My basal cell

Since this blog, Running Aground, is not just about running, but about health, fitness, food, let me share my latest not-so-great health news. I have basal cell carcinoma.

Last week, I went for my yearly dermatological exam. I had noticed a nice brown age spot right on my eyelid where I smear a nice brown eye shadow. That, of course, is nothing. This — on my chest — appeared nothing to me. But the Physician Assistant froze off 3 little things and biopsied 2. One of which was this little pink dot on my chest.

Ms. Choe, the PA, said, as she sliced it off, “I think this is basal cell.” And lo and behold, it is. Doctors and physicians assistants, they are so dang smart. They know what they’re doing.

I do feel I brought this on myself. I love being outdoors. I often bypass the sunscreen. Too busy. After I practically have to tackle my kids to get them to wear it, I’m exhausted from the effort and I ignore myself. (Yes, that’s right. I’ve found a way to blame my children for my skin cancer.) But it’s kind of like a smoker and lung cancer. I can’t pretend I didn’t know this was possible. I have known, pretty much my whole life, I should be more careful.

I am fair with blonde hair, blue eyes. It’s common. My mom had this. I am a perfect candidate. I think 3 out of 10 white people get this. It’s totally manageable and curable. But Mom says it’s a trauma to the system, not invasive, but traumatic. She  says I should lay low for a few days after the surgery tomorrow. Sure, right, that’ll happen. (I have parties and theater to attend!)

But I am going to start wearing more (some) sunscreen, because now I realize that I’m not immortal after all. I’m frickin’ ageing and I’m not all that happy about it.