|No, that's not a Walker's Shortbread Cookie wrapper|
hiding behind my laptop. It isn't.
I feel very writer-ish when I work at Starbuck's or Barnes & Noble. My only complaint about these writer-welcoming establishments is that they don't serve Dunkin' Donuts coffee. I've never tried to park myself at a table at Dunkin' Donuts, but who knows? Maybe they would be just as welcoming over there.
Like many writers, I've always been a fairly shy and reserved person. I have trouble telling a story or an anecdote in a group, because when I realize I've suddenly become the center of attention, I just want to rush through it and be done, and give the floor over to someone else. I tend to get tongue-tied and jumble my words in my hastiness. I've always been this way, to a point, and always felt that I'm best at expressing myself through the written, rather than the spoken, word; but this feeling has been magnified the past year or two. I feel confused more often now, when trying to think of a word I want to use; my brain gets turned around (kind of the way I used to get lost all the time while driving, before the advent of the greatest invention of all time, GPS), and I get frustrated. Even my husband has noticed my recent tendency to misunderstand him in a conversation, or to have trouble expressing my thoughts to him.
I've also had lots of aches and pains in my bones and joints; but then again, all fifty-somethings have that sort of thing--right? (Along with weak bladders! TMI, I know.)
And I've had the blues much more often than I used to, along with bouts of anxiety; but then again, women who are adjusting to the empty nest often feel that way--right?
Well...apparently there is a medical reason for some of these developments. What I was chalking up to just getting older and therefore becoming more achy, forgetful, emotional, and easily confused, has actually been caused (or at least exacerbated) by an excess of calcium in my blood. I have recently been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, a condition wherein one of the four parathyroid glands that are attached to the thyroid (and are responsible for controlling the calcium levels in the body) goes into overdrive and becomes enlarged and tumor-like (although not malignant). Tests confirmed that I do indeed have one of these tumors, and the doctor says I've probably had it for years. If my vitamin D level hadn't been so low when I had bloodwork done for a routine physical this past spring, no one would have thought to do further investigation and the problem wouldn't have been found. I could have continued to walk around with this condition that can be easily cured for who knows how long. I feel so incredibly lucky.
My first bone scan, which I had a few months ago after the initial diagnosis, confirmed that I do have osteoporosis, which is one of the symptoms of hyperparathryoidism. Kidney stones are another symptom, but fortunately I haven't had any of those.
|Me...me...me again. I'm really close on this one.|
(I love Bill Murray quotes--especially from Groundhog Day.)
The good news is that the offending gland can be surgically removed, the procedure is fairly simple, and the recovery is quick--and then the patient is instantly cured (although bone loss can only be stopped, not reversed). I am going to have this surgery in a few weeks, and so, dear readers, I would appreciate it if you would keep me in your prayers. Although the procedure is considered a surgical cake walk and it's highly successful, I still get nervous thinking about neck surgery! Most patients feel so much better afterward--in fact, many don't even realize how bad they've been feeling until they have the tumor removed, and afterward, they are amazed by how good they feel! I am hoping for that kind of outcome, and I could use any prayers you want to send my way.
In the meantime, I am so grateful for the writing process. It is a joy to me, in so many ways. Aside from being somewhat therapeutic, it is just plain FUN. I get to sit down and spend time with these characters who have become real people to me. They are so real, in fact, that sometimes--just when I don't know which direction to head with their storylines or their dialogue--they "tell" me what they'd do or say. I know that sounds ridiculous (and I used to roll my eyes when I heard writers say such things, before I became one), but it really does happen. And it's a blast, it really is. I think I've got a silly grin on my face as I sit here in the Barnes & Noble coffee shop. People probably think I'm a nut job. But that's okay; half the time, I do, too!
Okay, then, time to get back to my Erin's Ring peeps. But thanks for your prayers. And if any of the symptoms in the above diagram sound familiar to you, when you have your next physical make sure to have your doctor check your blood calcium level. If it's even the slightest bit elevated, have him check your parathyroid hormone level. Your bones will thank you for it!