Ah, Universe. You’ve really done a number on me. But that’s okay. I forgive you for being a bitch. It is often in your nature. And, really, you may have done me a favor. A shitty favor, but a favor, nonetheless.
You guys see that picture? Those are my legs. Let’s play one of these things does not look like the other one. Can you guess the difference? Yep, the left leg is purple and almost two inches in diameter bigger. Can you guess why? No? Neither could the first doctor that looked at me. Tried to send me home with a prescription for painkillers and told me to ice it. Ice what? The entire fucking leg?
The second doctor? God bless that man. He knew I was NOT okay. He ran multiple tests. He found a 30 cm blood clot in my iliac vein. That’s almost a foot long, people. It’s the stuff pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks are made of. “Potentially life-threatening situation” is what I was told. And I’m a healthy gal in her thirties. I run. I lift. I’ve been an athlete my entire life (voted Most Athletic in my Senior Superlatives, thank you very much). This was not from health. It was from a defect in anatomy called May Thurners Syndrome. And it rocked my world.
He peppered me with questions: “Have you been on a long flight? Long car ride? Do you live a sedentary lifestyle?” Not even close, dude. Moms with young kids can’t afford to sit still. “Do you ever sit for longer than an hour at a time?” Uh, yes. “Why?” he asked.
I hesitated. Why, indeed. I write books. I write funny, foul-mouthed, sexually explicit, naughty books. It’s not something I wanted to say in front of two doctors and a nurse. Remember, I use a pen name. But I don’t sit everyday. I write when the mood strikes. If it’s on a Tuesday morning with nothing on the agenda, yes, I’ll sit for four hours and hammer out thousands of words. Then I’ll go on a run and do some laundry. Or run errands.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said. Doesn’t. Fucking. Matter. “Sitting slows that flow. The birth control exacerbates the clotting factor. Can’t do it anymore.” I swear, for a split second, I thought he was telling me sex was a no-go and I was going to have tell him to let me die. Because the hubs and I? That’s what we do. Lots. Maybe it’s how I get inspired to write about it. Maybe it’s how we connect. I consider it to be my second or third workout of the day, my anti-cray-cray pills, my therapy, and my happy place all rolled into one. Everybody wins.
Luckily, Doc wasn’t talking about sex. No more sitting and writing for hours in a row–get up and walk every 20-30 minutes. No more birth control pills. Oh, and I had to have a stent put in to keep the vein open. My anatomy allows for the vein to be compressed between an artery and my spine. Rare, the doc said. I’m all about being special, but Deep Vein Thrombosis as a result of MTS is not what I had in mind.
The morning they admitted me into the hospital, and then later into the ICU, I had almost 30k words written in Working With It, the third book of The Persimmon Series. I thought I could finish this month. Had this whole calendar of activities planned around it. Thought I had life scheduled. I thought wrong. And there’s the lesson. You can’t schedule life. You have to take it as it comes.
Prepare all you want, but when the ER doc pats your leg and tells you he’s thankful you came in and that you wouldn’t be leaving anytime soon, and you’re all alone for three hours because your husband left his phone behind that morning and you start contemplating what sort of life you still had left to live because you might not get to finish what’s on the life schedule you made? You thank your fucking stars that you didn’t listen to doc #1 and insisted doc #2 figure it out. You thank the Universe for gifting you with the two most beautiful children ever planted on this Earth. You thank your Mom for speeding to the hospital as fast as she could and for sitting up all night long in the waiting room because visitors aren’t allowed in the ICU past 10 p.m. You thank your husband for being the most amazing human you’ve ever met. You become the most thankful person you’ve ever been.
I’ve always loved the life we’ve built. I just don’t think I understood it’s true value until I thought it might be taken away. And not once did those 30k words creep into my brain. Thank god I finally learned to prioritize. Mostly. I did cave for a week straight and let my kids eat whatever they wanted because I just couldn’t handle walking around. The two procedures I had messed with my body pretty good and I look like I got in a fight (thanks, blood thinners). The little one’s face is a circle now. I probably gave him diabetes. Dammit.