So this bird’s been neglecting the blog – it’s been over a month, and in a way there have been changes, and in a way – well, life has a way of just ticking along where days just seem to blur together, despite the highs and lows that also accompany life.
Anyway: Highlights first, then the breakdown. And even then I may be forgetting stuff, but these are the ones off the top of my head.
- Health Update
So first off….health. This one is probably the most major one, so I’ll deal with it first, although I’ve been doing surprisingly well at not fixating on it and freaking myself out imagining all sorts of crazy scenarios….
This all goes back to the end of August when I had to visit the local ER for some rather scary symptoms. Go back to this post to find out the backstory. So a few days after, I had a follow up with my doctor to discuss the results of the xrays. He suspected lung disease of some kind, and ordered a CT scan to have a better look at things.
Turns out I have the beginnings of emphysema at the top of my right lung. This clearly isn’t what anyone would call good news. However, seeing that I’ve been a smoker for almost 20 years… I can’t say that I was overly surprised. either. There are some positives though. First off, if I quit smoking, it will stay “dormant” so to speak – it won’t grow or get worse or that sort of thing. Also, due to the location of this “bolus” (the term he kept using to refer to it) it’s in a “prime spot” for surgery should that be necessary.
That’s not all. The CT scan also picked up something else. They located what appears to be a cyst on my right psoas muscle. It’s a muscle that attaches your thighbone to your lower back (lumbar area). The psoas muscles allow your trunk to rotate, bend, and twist – and also are the muscle that allow you to raise your legs.
Now I’ve been experiencing pain from the location he described for a while – I honestly couldn’t tell you if it had been months, or over a year – I hadn’t really paid much attention to it, and wrote it off as being far closer to 40 than I am to 20. So, being a good doctor that he is, ordered an MRI, which I’ve had. I have a consult with a surgeon in January, but have yet to see my Doctor to discuss what the MRI actually showed. I have an appointment booked with him in early December so I’ll see what he has to say then. I’m running on the assumption that if it was critical that I’d be seeing him much sooner then that!
I’m not really concerned so much with the cyst. These things tend to be benign, and I’m sure if they suspected it was anything hazardous to my health, things would be moving along much quicker. No, I’m more concerned with the recovery from the surgery. It’s been over a decade since I’ve gone under the knife, and as usual, I didn’t respond very well to the anesthetic – I was sick as a dog for a good 24 hours. Now, there have been a lot of advances in medicine since then, practices and procedures are always improving, so hopefully the short term recovery won’t be as bad – meaning while all the crap they pump into you to keep you sedated gets flushed out of my body. I’m also concerned about the long term recovery. Due to the location of the cyst, it’s not somewhere that can be operated on laparoscopically – no, unfortunately it’s going to be literally going “under the knife”. Due to where the pain seems to be radiating from, and due to the major muscle groups that they’ll be working on and around, well let’s just say I’m not looking forward to the recovery. Large amounts of pain, and extremely restricted mobility. Not fun. However, once I’m healed I’m sure the daily “ache” will be gone, and the pain won’t affect my running anymore.
Speaking of which, depending when the surgery is, and how long recovery takes, I’m kinda hoping to be ready to participate in the Manitoba Marathon on Father’s Day next year. They have several events (2.6 mile, relay, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon), and ideally I’d like to be ready to rock the half marathon. Of course, this is very dependant when the surgery is and how long my recovery takes. If I can’t be ready in time, so be it. But it would be a nice goal to accomplish!
So that’s bullet point #1 taken care of. Now on to #2 (which loosely ties into points #1 and #3). I’ve got a roommate now. I didn’t think I’d ever consider it, and was content to have my little basement suite to myself for quite some time. However, due to several circumstances that lined up, and me suddenly realizing I was mentally/emotionally OK with having a roommate. And so far it’s been pretty good. We’re both introverted, and have similar interests. He’s been a good friend for several years so I’m glad it worked out well for both of us. Not much more to really say – I highlighted it because even a few months ago I wouldn’t have been ready for this, but it’s going well and I’m willing to put in a bit of effort to make it work, rather than just shutting down the possibility. Before I move on, he’s the one that got me onto vaping (more below) – which means I’ve already drastically reduced the amount I’m smoking – of course, with the goal of NOT smoking. Then I want to wean myself off the nicotine in the vape juice. At this point I find vaping calming and relaxing – so if I keep vaping as a hobby, well it’s cheaper and less harmful healthwise than smoking (by a substantial margin I might add)
So yes, I’m now vaping. I coughed up and bought myself a good mod. Initially I was looking online and had found a few decent deals, but wasn’t thrilled about paying a chunk of cash for a vape, and still buying smokes while waiting for the unit to get shipped to me. The local vape shop had a similar package to what I’d seen online, so I just went for it. I’m really enjoying it – to the point where a friend is going to loan me one of his spare tanks. That way I can have one tank filled with vape juice with nicotine content, and a separate one with zero nicotine. Why? That way I can vape recreationally (to relax, for fun, etc) without always having the nicotine content. Of course the goal is to step down the nicotine content gradually, so eventually I will just be vaping juice with no nicotine whatsoever.
So, if you’re into vaping, I got myself a Smok Alien 220W with tank, batteries, and a 30ml bottle of juice to get me started. I could have gotten a slightly better package deal online, but like I said, I wanted to get into it. ASAP – once I’d decided that, I didn’t want to wait for the package to ship, even if it would have only been a few days. As far as nicotine level, I’m using a 6mg. Based on how much I (used to) smoke, several people recommended at least a 9mg – but the my roommate and also the guy at the vape store both recommended to go with the 6mg – for the simple fact higher nicotine levels have a harsher feeling in the throat, which might have put me off vaping. By using a lower nicotine level, I was able to vape without that harsh “throat hit” that high nicotine juices tend to have.
I also realize that while life has been ticking by, maybe one of the reason’s I don’t need to write or post as much is maybe….maybe I don’t need to use it as an outlet as much. I’d say that’s a good thing. Between just working hard on my mental wellness, and having running as a physical outlet, maybe…. I don’t need to vent and purge as much as I used to.
Or maybe I’m just forgetful and stopped jotting down the ideas I’ve been getting.