I would like to be unremarkable. I received the results from an endoscopy this summer, and the results were unremarkable, which medically speaking, is the best news I can expect.
I say it’s the best news, but no results can be just as unsettling. Am I feeling the way I am because this is what mid-30s feels like? Is there something we haven’t tested for that will rear its ugly head? I talked about this for awhile with a friend recently. When you have medical history, it can be hard to trust the first read of results. Then, I talked about this with one of my doctors and we decided that we’ll stick with routine bloodwork, probably do another endoscopy in a year or two, and then I’ll be old enough for a colonoscopy. We laughed! It wasn’t patronizing, that’s my relationship with her at this point. She also sincerely reminded me that coming down from all the chronic pain and inflammation that comes with endometriosis takes time.
As you can see, I still grapple with anxiety that comes with chronic illness. There is some reality: I know future chronic illness is statistically more likely after an endometriosis diagnosis. Researchers are investigating why this could be.
There is also another reality: I was racing 50 minutes 10ks, 25 minute 5ks when I was physically suffering from endometriosis. Numbers are used as a benchmarks of health. At least when you’re an athlete and know what you are capable of, it’s hard to keep seeing yourself fall short. (Check out the Maintenance Phase podcast to learn how numbers and more can be used insidiously.)
Still—racing can say volumes about what your body is ready for. How different things are from the WebMD video. I ran the Baltimore Running Festival Pandora 10k earlier this month, finally taking down a 10k PR from 2012. I have been trying to tackle this PR for years, throwing myself at it randomly. Not a great plan.
When I ran up to Druid Hill Park and down to the Inner Harbor this month…I let go. To be cliché, I finally managed to get out of my own way. How different my energy is when approaching running these days: no brains, just vibes since going to therapy. Running brings me much joy and serotonin, but I don’t rely on running in the same way I did in my 20s to define my worth. Or even how I wrote about my identity in athletics since starting this blog. Despite being exhilarated about finally cracking a PR, all it really did was create an excuse for free shots with friends because the waitress trusted when they said she won her age group.
Approaching workouts with a no brains, just vibes energy has made them infinitely more relaxed. I’ve been chanting The Applicant by Sylvia Plath in my head (Now your head, excuse me, is empty. / I have the ticket for that.) while listening to my Ashnikko, Panic at the Disco, and Janelle Monáe mix. To be clear, the mix is called Gay & Tired, which maybe one day I’ll get into more, but for now, just know I was the red corvette from “Becky’s So Hot” at the last Version dance party.
Books I’m thinking about / recently read:
- Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born: How Buffy Staked Our Hearts by Evan Ross Katz
- I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On by Khadijah Queen
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.