Scene: Sitting in a coffee shop after skipping out on my MRI mammogram. I’m drinking a Canadiana—a drip coffee with a double shot of espresso that’s giving me triple-spasm jitters. (I don’t drink coffee anymore, never mind this high octane tasty tar.)
So far as I know, there’s nothing wrong with my mams. I’m quite pleased with my pleasure-holding sweater stretchers. I only signed up for this advanced screening method because my tampered-with (read: enhanced) Ta-tas don’t qualify for the regular squishy screening option. And I’m 43 and haven’t had one done yet and half of my not-related-by-blood family has/had cancer recently and, even though they’re not by-blood loved ones, I am a paranoid-slightly-OCD-anxious hypochondriac. (Refer to several other blog posts.)
If I believe in the power of manifestation (I do), then I am both riddled with every disease discovered—or yet to be found—and I am sitting here because I was almost an hour late for my appointment, despite having had two hours leeway, resulting in it getting rescheduled.
I didn’t want to do the test.
I hummed and hawed and avoided cancelling but instead dawdled for two hours this morning hoping this exact consequence (cancellation) would happen. (This is why we Maple Leaf Flaggers pay high taxes for “free” medical. Irresponsible people like me. My bad, Canadian tax payers, my bad.)
But here’s the thing… I keep thinking, Would I do anything different if I found out I had cancer?
Get more healthy? Change my diet/lifestyle/attitude?
I retort to myself, Then do it anyway, you dumbass.
I admit, I’m the first one to shout (in my head) at people who make poor lifestyle decisions: “It’s your own damn fault you’ve got what you’ve got.”
Cancer. Heart disease. Diabetes. Most of these are preventable or at least manageable by choosing healthy foods, getting a reasonable amount of exercise, and doing a check-up from the neck up—as in changing our attitudes or at least dealing with emotional baggage.
But I was that person, too—maybe still am—so I’m not getting all superior and self-righteous on you. This time. (Though I reserve the right to in future. My blog; viewers forewarned.)
To remain humble and avoid podium preaching, I just ate four chickpea-chocolate-chip-pie-wedge cookies. Gluten-free, but still. (You’re welcome.)
Speaking of gluten-free, I’m not sure if I’m actually sensitive to wheat/gluten/yeast or if I’ve acquired an intolerance due to psychosomatic programming. Self-induced, of course. And, if that’s the case, what the hell imbalance is causing this paranoia? A vicious cycle to be sure.
So I’m at the naturopath the other day because I’m still slipping into slumber by mid-day, and I haven’t got a glamorous, Vegas excursion excuse for it. I’m here to get the results for my updated blood tests.
Last time they told me I had a sluggish thyroid, which matches the symptoms of weight gain and hair loss. (Or is it hair relocation? Fucking hairy toes. So now I’m a fucking munchkin? Awesome. Maybe I’ll get a gig as an extra on the next “Lord of the Hairy Feet” because, Lord knows, I ain’t getting a date with these perma-woolly-slippers.)
Anyway, after a winter-long holistic herb program, a lot of pill popping and prescriptions for port and pork, my thyroid is fairing a little better. It’s not an all-star by any means, but the numbers are close to normal, which does mean I can’t use hypothyroidism as an excuse for not losing this weight I gained while constantly eating gluten-free-sugar-filled treats. Damn it.
I ask Dr. Herbetta: So… if my thyroid is almost normal, why am I still exhausted at the time? And my hair is still falling out but is magically reproducing like mad on my toes. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m relieved to be single or not here, doc.
She asks me several questions including when my last period was (the last full moon, as usual) and if there’s any chance I could be pregnant.
I laugh. Frankly, my libido is in the tank. (I refrain from adding, And I was just in Alberta, doc, and a side of beef there has certain “side effects” on me.)
She sideways smiles briefly before recomposing and regaining her professional air. She asks me a few other questions and tells me, Sometimes recovery takes time to fully integrate.
I pull out my iPhone and start scrolling down my list asking as I go:
Does she recommend a hair analysis? No.
Food allergy tests? No.
What’s chelation? Do I need it? — Can I get it anyway?
Should I get a full body PET scan? CAT scan? What’s the difference? They do them in Vancouver, anyone can get one for only $3500. (Only. Hmph. Let’s see… if I get one every 3.5 years, that’s only a grand a year. I’m spending more than that on natural potions and naturopaths, anyway. Fuck.) She doesn’t think that’s necessary.
Should I skip the mammogram? X-rays add radiation, you know. That shit accumulates in the system, doc. — What’s that, MRI doesn’t have radiation? — Good to know. Okay, I’ll rebook that.
Oh, yeah, and what about heavy metal toxicity? I had my fillings removed, and the dentist wasn’t a biological-certified mercury-filling removal guy. I’m sure I’m poisoned from the fumes—
She bites on this one! She cocks her head, checks her computer, confirms her postulations: The symptoms match.
Yeah, I could be poisoned!
I ask her if there’s a cure.
She frowns and nods: But it’s a lengthy and costly process.
I tell her, Honestly, I hope I am chalk full of it. At least then I’ll know what I’m dealing with.
Next scene: I’m in a back room reclined on a Lazy-Boy lounger with an IV in my arm looking around a room chock full of similarly attached blue-haired seniors. (Hey, at least they have hair). Whatever’s in this chelating concoction that’s dripping into my veins, it’s supposed to suck heavy metals out of my bones and tissues, then to be pee-excreted and collected for testing.
The German lady with a heavy accent two seats over is chirping about Asian immigrants in a most def definitely not politically correct manner (cough, hypocrite) while some of the younger seniors glance at each other uncomfortably.
The receptionist/office administrator in the next room is rushing through her phone call so she can get back here to intervene as Mrs. VonShitzky revs up her racist rant.
Racism isn’t funny, but this woman is an unintentional comedian—this kind of group-acknowledged ignorance qualifies her—and everyone is so appalled by her ignorance that there’s nothing left to do.
Speak up? It’s not like I’m going to convince her to change her viewpoints at this stage of the game—maybe she was raised by Nazis (or she’s one herself)—and, even though she’s also hooked up to an IV and about 80 years old, I’m pretty sure she could take me. And that’s not the way I planned on going! Death by IV pole battery? I don’t think so.
Plus, the receptionist has now rushed in and is playing a violin that materialized out of nowhere, which has calmed the nerves of this nasty granny.
I rationalize that she is quality storytelling material and that her hate will dissipate when she heads to the grave, which ought to be any day now with all that blood pressure pushing at her eye sockets.
And, I did do my part by writing about it here. To reiterate: racism bad. Humour about it: necessary. Speak up when doing so might cause a positive ripple. (This is not always the case.)
A week later, I get my test results. Sure enough, my mercury levels are off the charts. Lead follows close behind, and a few other heavy metals (Cadmium, Barium, Cesium) are hovering in the order-your-casket-now range. Yay!
Amalgam fillings, improperly removed: check. Growing up in a saw mill community with bad air quality: check. Coal mine nearby contaminating the water: check. (Fortunately, both of these last two are no longer relevant, but heavy metals accumulate and can take half a lifetime to naturally dissipate if there’s no further exposure.) Eating tuna by the tugboat load: check. Eating lead-based pencils as a child: probably check.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter now because I can fix it me! But the price tag is the cost of what I’d budgeted for my moto-cyclette. (Sad face.)
(But really, who am I kidding, I’ll probably end up on a Vespa, anyway. Go ahead and laugh at me if it makes you feel good! Actually, it does feel good. And, hey, I laugh at myself quite regularly. Also, I’ve got about 650 scarves, which are so way more fashionable on a glamourized 100cc scooter, anyway! So, ha!)
Where was I? Oh, yeah—I’m poisoned and I haven’t even had my boobs squeezed yet.
But apparently, there’s no squeezing with the MRI mammogram, so I guess I’ll have to take matters into my own hands there… with or without Alberta beef.
Update: I stumble into a local natural compounding pharmacy and spoke with the Asian herbalist. He says he can detox me for a fraction of the price and twice as fast to boot! Last laugh is on Nasty Granny, who clearly didn’t work in immigrations—at least when his family jumped the pond.
(I’ll probably go with both holistic health options just to make damn sure I don’t have to shave my toes forever.)
What have I (re)learned?
Always get a second opinion!
Nazis are people, too. Who am I kidding? No—they’re not. But the ones who are closer to burning in hell forever are easier to forgive. Or at least accept. Or at least laugh at. Or near.
If I’m going to ever have my boobs squeezed again—for real—I’ve simply got to stop writing about my damn hair issues.
Sort and organize vats of vitamins.
Pick up wax.
By the vat.
I know you’re waiting breathlessly for my memoir’s release (hopeful expression), which I will provide more info on next week. In the meantime, here are a few of my June 2014 essays on elephant journal:
P.S. It helps me earn rankings if you share my current month ej posts. That’s worth pink gold to me! (I don’t receive ej donations, so save your pennies for the essays that really move you and then pony up the dough for that writer’s cause—if you care! And if you love my writing, here’s 25 ideas to help me. And I heart you.)