Today was my six-monthly checkup in hospital, the one where I get my boobs lubed, have my heart scanned from every angle imaginable and then have to pedal a bike to the point of exhaustion and beyond. I'd been dreading it, having been kicking myself over my weight gain and inactivity of the last six months. Add to this the fact I've been tired (sometimes sleeping 15 hours a day) and puffed lately, that Dulcie decided she needed to chat to me from 3am onwards last night, that (as ever) I came down with a cold days before the tests... The scene was well and truly set for negativity and anxiety.
You might think a memoir about someone else's life-threatening illness would not be ideal reading material in such circumstances, but it totally has been. Reading it in the long wait between tests this morning, I found myself veering between chortling into my sleeve and thinking, "Hey, it could be worse, at least you don't have tuberculosis in the 1940s." It was really quite the morale boost! Funnily enough, many things haven't changed and rang very true to my own health experiences - certain doctors doing a terrible job of breaking bad news, long-in-the-tooth patients with the same condition openly mocking your early-days optimism and revelling darkly in informing you of your imminent doom/demise, the journey from embarrassment over your naked body to becoming "like a native of Bali and feel[ing] fully dressed with only a skirt", the chasm between the wonderfully kind nurses and those who make you feel you are to blame for your own unfortunate predicament, the weird mixture of gratitude and resentment you feel towards medical staff.
And, as far as I can tell, my tests went OK. The scan looked kind of ominous, but it never even looks like a heart to my untrained eyes so I'm not allowing myself to worry too much until I've spoken to my consultant. The exercise test was fine, no worse than last time, maybe even slightly better. And I'm back on the good behaviour, eating better and trying to get back into swimming etc, so hopefully I can improve from here.
Seriously, did you ever think I could be so rational and positive about my life? I didn't. It took a long time to get here, but these days I feel like me with the added experiences of wonky-heartedness rather than a 100% wonky-hearted time bomb. I can do this.