If you caught up me with me last week, you’ll know I did not want to set a list of unattainable goals for 2015, like I’ve done every year for the past however many years I’ve been setting resolutions. But I do have some goals I want to achieve. I am a type A, overachiever, after all. In fact, there’s always some goal or some project, floating through my head. I always have something I want to do, or want to achieve, or want to work on.
I always have a plan. It’s just how I am.
This year, I decided that I would sign up for some kind of competitive race each month. I love doing races. I love the adrenaline, and the structure. And honestly, the money commitment helps me stay on track too. At first, I was thinking I would run a race each month. But I live in Chicago. And I’m not sure if you all catch the weather channel, but Chicago has started its annual game of winter weather unpredictability. We made it through the holidays OK, but come January 1, we’re at negative 30 degrees (on a good day) and schools are already starting to close. But we have plenty of indoor races here, right? And as I started researching, I became excited. Really excited. And each month, the challenge became a little bit bigger. 5k, 10k, indoor tri, Olympic tri, 10 miler, half marathon…marathon?
And while I started dreaming of all of the really cool races I could do, I had a minor health scare that brought me back to reality. It reminded me of the ultimate goal that I need to keep front and center. The ultimate goal is not racing, or athletic accomplishment or a number on a scale.
The ultimate goal is health.
One of the reasons I stopped writing a few years ago was because a couple of health issues had cropped up. And I couldn’t focus on writing while dealing with the health stuff at the same time. I’m sure we’ll get into all of them at some point in this new blogging journey, but for today, it’s the kidneys that are most significant. In the grand scheme of things, a kidney stone is not that big of a deal. I was fortunate to have an x-ray find it prior to it passing (the passing is what causes the intense pain!) But the procedure is no joke in terms of pain and recovery.
And while it was lucky to find the stone by chance, my x-ray tech made a huge blunder when he discovered the issue. I had been in the hospital to get (another) x-ray on my back for a pain issue that has never been diagnosed. The scene looks like this: Katie, naked. Save for that awesome hospital gown they put you in. Freezing on the x-ray table.
- “Ms. Morris, are you sure the back pain is on the right side?”
- “Yes, lower right side, spine. Feels like a hook is grabbing it when I move.”
- “Hmmm, well, there’s nothing to indicate a lower right side back problem. However, you have a mass in your kidney on the left side. So I’m surprised you don’t feel pain there.”
A mass? What do you mean a mass? Like a tumor? I panicked. He told me that it was likely a kidney stone, but as an x-ray tech, he really can’t say definitively. A doctor would have to diagnose officially.
It was not the first time I had been presented with a potential cancer occurrence. I’ve had more cysts removed than I can count…but all come back benign. But this felt serious. This seemed like a real problem. And it was the first time I started looking at my body differently. Not just a compilation of fat and bones that makes the scale go up at the same rate as my insecurity. This was something in the body that might not be working right.
Turns out, it was just a kidney stone. Not to minimize the amount of pain, and potential issues that can occur as a result. In fact, the amount of pain I felt after each removal procedure (I had to have it done twice), makes me pray I never has a stone again.
And setting aside this guy’s awesome bedside manner, the reality is, I was fine. But I’ll never forget that panic. And flash forward to this holiday season, when I felt the left side of my body – the left kidney – struggle in pain, that panic started to set in again.
I’ve been to doctor, and everything checks out. Which is actually not that comforting. When a doc tells you everything is fine, it means they can’t find a reason for pain. How is that supposed to make you feel better?
But if nothing else, it was a reminder. That health needs to be the priority, and everything else comes second, or third.
Or, perhaps, it’s not that important at all.