Toward the end of the last week I began to feel really run-down, had a runny nose and sore throat, then an itchy bump appeared on my leg. I figured it was a mosquito bite because I'd seen one flying around my office a few times during the week. By Friday morning there were couple dozen on my thighs and lower stomach, huge itchy bumps filled with fluid. My husband admitted that he had some tiny, pimple-type bumps on his arms, but they were nothing like my monstrous disease. He has an immune system made of iron. I thanked him very much for kissing me on the mouth and giving me his disease. So Saturday I ended up going to the Urgent Care to see what it was. I wanted to prevent my kids from catching it, they've already missed enough school for stomach stuff. The male nurse practitioner was of average level of attractiveness, young. It was so clearly evident that he did not want to look at my rash or come anywhere near it. Despite telling him all the details about my husband's bumps, my runny nose, sore throat and that a coworker's son had recently been diagnosed with Hand,Foot, and Mouth disease, he did not look in my mouth or ears or nose, he didn't have me take off any of my clothes (not that I was looking forward to it), it was fortunate that I was wearing some massively oversized gauchos that I could easily hike up to expose the ugly rash. He looked at it, without touching me, and asked if I'd slept anywhere different lately and I said no, I knew he was hinting at bedbugs, gross! Any new detergents etc, no. He made a quick decision that it must be hives, and put me on a 5 day round of steroids. I left the office not knowing whether to feel relieved that I didn't get the standard answer of "It's viral, let it run its course", or to feel offended that he was so grossed out by me that he lowered his standard of care, or to laugh that the big ugly fat woman with a mysterious rash on her oversized belly made the 6-ft-something male nurse recoil! Mostly I felt misdiagnosed. My husband has since gotten more of these bumps but his have stayed smaller, and thankfully I think my kids have avoided it thus far. The pharmacist was chuckling that the steroids can make you want to eat more than usual and I wasn't chuckling with him. I was already feeling oh so sorry for myself and irritated about my visit to the nurse, but I vowed not to take it to any extreme. I did OK on the weekend, though I had a few carb-heavy meals like spaghetti fresca and a Thai dish at a restaurant, spicy drunken noodles, noodles about 3 inches wide in yummy spices with fresh basil. I was surprised at how little I could eat before I felt full, and stopped as soon as I noticed I was. I allowed some off plan snacks like tortilla chips and popcorn too, and I realized what I was doing, feeling sorry for myself and allowing myself to go on autopilot again.
But all things are coming back together right now. Even though I'm still on steroids for another day, even though I still have the rash, even though I will be welcoming my least favorite monthly visitor later this week. I feel stronger when I'm awake to what's going on in and around me. And that means not trying to numb out or block life with food. That doesn't mean I plan to be uber strict and restrict myself to the point of feeling deprived or bored by food, I am just finding myself noticing when I am not aware of my habits, where in the past I would have brushed it off and told myself I'd get back on track some other day. I'm finding it easier to self-regulate, even outside the boundaries of a diet or a book or someone else's ideals. It feels liberating.
Today on my way to work, the morning rain turned to freezing ice pelting my car, and I started thinking about all the wicked winter weather about to be unloaded on us. If you've read my blog before you will know to what extent I loathe and fear driving in snow and ice. I have a significantly steep hill to drive up on my way to work, and it gives me so much anxiety wondering if I'm going to make it up that hill when the roads are slippery. And then I realized that the only times I truly felt confident in that situation were the mornings that I tackled that hill right after a solid workout. I feel so much better when I work out, I have to fix my brain to get over the pouting about getting up early to do it. I'll get there. I'm feeling good mentally and the itching is slowly subsiding, so I'm going to spring into action one of these days. And then, once again, I will be unstoppable. Even on the snowy hills of life.