Fast forward to last week and the discovery of the tumor. That news was bad enough, but when I went to the PICU to visit her parents, I was completely unprepared for the anger directed at me by the patient's mother. Her question to me, "are you sure you didn't feel anything?" was expected. I reassured her that I didn't, that her exam at her last visit with me was 100% normal; I also reminded her that these tumors can grow really fast. In fact, these particular tumors can double in size in 12 hours. She replied that someone told her the baby was most likely born with the tumor. I shook my head. The remainder of my visit with them was extremely uncomfortable. While the dad was very pleasant, the mom just kept staring at me. I felt like she was boring holes through me. I wrapped up the visit and went back to my office, where I started to cry.
Now, I'm not a crier. As a matter of fact, once I start, I can't stop. So crying isn't something I like to do. Fortunately for me, one of my partners, who has been practicing for years, took me in his arms and said all the right things. And I know in my heart of hearts that there was nothing I did wrong. I understand that this mom needs to be angry at someone. I know if I were in her shoes, I would too. It just doesn't feel great to be that person. Not great at all.
In addition to that, my father, who had minor surgery last week, had a major complication. My parents live in a small town and I continue to argue with them about where they receive their medical care. Let's face it, because I work in the medical profession, I don't have a great deal of faith in small town community hospitals. I can't help it. Last fall, my dad had quintuple bypass surgery. My mom wanted him to have the surgery at their local hospital and it was a tough conversation I had with them, to convince them to go to a major medical center in Chicago, to have the procedure done. He breezed through that major surgery with no complications. I hate to say I told you so, well, this time...I told you so. Yesterday my dad had to go back to the OR to have the complication taken care of. This did not make me happy. As a medical professional and a daughter, it is so hard to sit back and watch my dad go through this, when it most likely could have been avoided had the surgery been done elsewhere. Instead, I was subjected to my mom trying to sell me on this surgeon and defending him. It was so hard for me to sit back and watch this unfold, sit back and hold my tongue.
So long story short, I have been hanging by a thread this week. I continued to run as always, but I didn't find that running was giving me a sense of peace like it usually does. While I ran, I did a lot of thinking. Sometimes that happens, but most runs, I just lose myself in the music. This week, even though I felt better shortly after my runs, the anxiety reappeared fairly quickly. I felt fatigued and sad most of the week.
On my day off, I went to my weekly crossfit session with my trainer and told her that I just wasn't feeling it this week. She told me that was too bad because she had some heavy lifting planned for me. I helped her load the plates on the bar and began deadlifts. In between sets, we talked about my week. Interestingly, I began to feel better. I thought I was done until she had me load a little more weight on the bar. "Just one rep", she told me.
I pulled that weight up to my hips and let it fall to the floor. You get to do that in crossfit. 150#! It might sound corny but I felt so much better. The anxiety was gone. We moved onto the rest of the workout, and I came home, feeling like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. Literally! Who knew that weight lifting could do that for me?!
I went to work yesterday with a new attitude. Still no anxiety. My medical assistant and I went up to see the baby. The mom was much less hostile towards me. The baby has received her chemo and so far looks good. She smiled at me, too! My dad had his surgery and is recovering. He says he feels much better.
Tomorrow is a 12 miler. I plan on taking it long and slow. I'm hoping to just lose myself in my music. No thinking. I'm grateful the week ended on a positive note. I'm grateful the week's anxiety didn't pull me down. I know there's more to come in life...but for now, I'll take this moment of calm. We runners pride ourselves on mental toughness. What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right?