Wednesday, July 17, 2019

An Update On My Neck Problem

So, I know some of you have been waiting on the edge of your seats to hear what ever happened to me and my weird neck problem from a few weeks ago (ha ha), so here's the update.

After being completely panicked and stressed out over it from Thursday July 4th to Tuesday July 9th, the problem seemed to, for the most part, go away.  Throughout that weekend, strange and painful pulses were going off on the left side of neck and running up behind my ear.  The pains didn't last long, but after it happened, I was left feeling kind of fuzzy and dazed, and my neck and left shoulder seemed sore and almost seized up.  It wasn't fun.  So I called my doctor's office and got a squeeze-in appointment for yesterday.  Of course, not long after making the appointment, the issue seemed to disappear.  I've had some twinges of pain since then, but nothing like what happened throughout that weekend.  I was pretty sure my doctor was going to just nod and say, "Ah yes, here's Jillian, the nut bar."

Of course he didn't.  He's too kind and too good at being a doctor to just brush me off as crazy. And for that, I am deeply grateful.

First of all, my doctor's office experience in this case was probably the best I've ever had in my life.  The fact that they were able to squeeze me in to see him just over a week after I called was a bit of a miracle.  It took a weight off my shoulders knowing I was going to see my trusted and respected doctor, as he is the best at calming me down when I'm "in a state".  Despite that, I was still kind of dreading the visit because my appointment was at 3:50 PM.  I don't think I've ever had an appointment that was actually on time, and I figured by that point in the day he'd be goooood and behind in his schedule.  I expected at LEAST a 45 minute wait.  I got there 10 minutes early, checked in, went to the washroom, and settled in to wait.  Then they called my name.  5 MINUTES EARLY.  I almost fell off my chair.  I actually looked around to see if there was another Jillian jumping up, because surely, this could not be possible?

There were no other Jillians.  It was me.  They were calling me.  I couldn't believe it.

They put me in a room and I thought, "Welp, this is probably where the wait will happen.  He won't show up for half an hour."  And within seconds, he came shuffling into the room.  Literally

We greeted one another and he asked me what was wrong, and I launched into my spiel about what had happened two weekends ago, and he nodded and told me he knew exactly what was going on, because he too has experienced it.  (I think this is one of his calming techniques; I've noticed almost anytime I'm in a tizzy about something medically, he, too, has had that.  And it works.)  He said he was sure I had a pinched Occipital nerve (which my googling diagnosing had also suggested), probably from sleeping the wrong way, or from craning my neck funny to talk on the phone or something like that, and that if the symptoms had gone away I was likely going to be just fine, but should it happen again, the first thing I should do is book a massage with a good RMT (which my sister had suggested at the time, so I think that basically means she and I are practically doctors.)

We chatted a bit about it, what other things he could do if it comes back or gets worse, what the worst-case scenarios could be (which he assured me I don't have), but for the time being, despite the scare I had, it's probably over and I can go back to living life normally.  Which for me is just always kind of mildly worrying I might be dying, rather than really focusing on and fearing it.

While I was there, I had him check my blood pressure, also always kind of a concern at the back of my mind, but apparently that was very normal too. Another little "phewf".

I was walking out of the office by 4 PM.  I felt a million times better. 

Ironically, as I was driving home, an old familiar pressure started building in my head.  Sinus headache.  I have had these off and on for a million years, but I haven't had one for quite a while, so of course it hits when I'm finally getting over this other drama.  Strangely enough, that familiar dull ache that sets in with that pressure was almost welcomed after those other zaps I had a few weeks ago.  I almost felt like saying, "Oh, hello, old friend.  You, I can handle."

All's well that ends well. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Kawhi Goodbye

I know I kind of already did this yesterday, but I figured the Kawhi Goodbye needed a post of its own.

Not long ago, I had a numerologist give me a quick rundown of my "numbers".  A lot of what she said didn't resonate with me, but one thing did.  She told me that when I love something, I REALLY love it.  I love it so much I want the whole world to love it with me.  I want everyone to experience the love that I have, I want to share it with everyone who is important to me, I want them to be obsessed with me.

And so that is how it has been the past 6 weeks.  My family and friends have been hearing an awful lot about a guy named Kawhi Leonard.

My interest was piqued when I heard about "the shot", my excitement level rose when they won the Eastern Conference, and I was all in for the finals.  My ride as a Toronto Raptors fan wasn't very long, but it was all because of Kawhi.

My obsession hit swiftly and it very quickly overtook my life.  This aloof basketball star, an enigma to many, was instantly intriguing to me.  At first, it was just his presence on the court that captured me.  I liked the way he moved.  And I liked the way he looked.  I was attracted.  (That's usually how my celeb obsessions begin.)  Then it was all of the amusing background stories - watching him leave a teammate hanging when he put his fist out to bump, hearing about "Board Man Gets Paid" and "apple time, apple time", and, of course, the laugh.

It was easy to fall in love with Fun Guy during an historic championship run for not only Toronto but our entire country.  He got me staying up to all hours to watch basketball, something I would have sworn I'd never do.  He got me caring for a team from TO, also a bit of a feat.  He got me cheering for a basketball player like I have done with no other than the likes of a hockey player named Wade Redden.

Seriously.  The Kawhi love was real.  Very real.

And then they won.  It was legendary, it was epic, and I was so swept up in Raptors fever.  I stayed up that night til 1 AM watching the post-game celebrations.  A few days later, I set my PVR to capture a whole day of the televised parade.   I ordered T-shirts online, and I was already daydreaming about following the team closely next season as they would surely be running it back and gunning for a repeat.

What I didn't really understand or realize, as such a newbie basketball fan, was that Kawhi had been traded to Toronto a year ago and was expected to opt out of the last year of his contract (as he was totally entitled to do), making him a free agent.  A very coveted free agent.  While the Raptors had the power to offer him the most money, it seemed widely known that Kawhi really wanted to play closer to home, in LA, probably for the Clippers or Lakers.  Free agency opened on June 30th, and pretty much from that moment, if not sooner, #KawhiWatch began.

That's when things got really crazy for me.  Every day, I was on Twitter as much as possible, following basketball "insiders" (who, by the way, know nothing, apparently), tracking Kawhi's every move as the internet provided it, and trying desperately to get the inside scoop on what the man was going to do.  Every time I saw a "He Stay" assurance, my hopes soared.  When they speculated the MLSE plane that was headed to San Diego last Friday was empty, going to pick up his family, with a Raptors press conference scheduled that afternoon, I thought we had it in the bag.  I was convinced Kawhi was going to sign for at least one more year, with most of the Raps lineup in place for one more season, and the tantalizing prospect of running it back.

I mean, he accepted Plant Guy's Kawahctus.  When fans chanted "one more year" at the parade, he held up his index finger and smiled.  Then he laughed when Kyle Lowry swung it around to a "five more years" chant.  He showed up in the Barabados wearing a Jays jersey.   I really believed him.  He never said a word, but I truly believed these were all signs that The Champ was going to remain on his throne as King of the North.

I truly believed Kawhi was going to stay.

That said, I've been a hockey fan long enough to know that professional sports is a business.  There is no loyalty.  The fans mean nothing.  Money talks, and when a player is in a position to dictate his own future, he will take it. That's exactly what Kawhi did.

For him, it actually wasn't about the money, at least not completely.  If it was, he'd still be a Raptor.  For him, it was about getting back home.  He did what he came here to do, and he was finished.  Off to the Clippers.  The news broke in the middle of the night, and I woke to it feeling stunned and saddened early Saturday morning.

And just like that, my brief whirlwind obsession with Kawhi Leonard came to a screeching halt.  All of the things about him, all of the stories about him, all of the reasons he gave me to love him, were suddenly tarnished.  We didn't get to celebrate for long enough.  The party came crashing to an unfortunate end.  And it all seemed so terribly unfair.

I keep hearing that I'm supposed to be thankful to the man.   That I'm to let him go without bitterness, because he gave us something amazing.  He gave us a championship.  Still, I can't help but be salty.  I can't help the bitter taste in my mouth.  I really wanted Kawhi to want to stay here; I really wanted him to embrace the role of our hero and saviour.  I really wanted the chance to go for it again next year.

Oddly, the only thing that really brought me comfort was something someone wrote on Twitter to this effect:  "He's like The Littlest Hobo.  He came, he made some friends, he solved our problems.  And now he's gone to make some new friends and help them."  I don't know why, but I kind of clung to that thought all day Saturday.

Goodbye, Champ.   I wish you wanted to stay.  But thank you for everything you did in your short time here, and the even shorter time I was paying attention.  I wish I'd had more time.  Thank you for teaching me to love a sport I never thought I'd care about.

Thank you for the most unexpected fun I ever had.

I hope we can show you next year that we can do it without you.

#WeTheNorth  #WeTheChamps

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

July Randoms: My Summer of Discontent (so far)

It's been a while... Again!!  Here's how my summer has been shaping up so far...
  • We celebrated Canada Day on June 30th in my little town, and it was a wonderful celebration indeed!!  I had a great crew of family and friends that joined me at my place for the big day.  We got burgers and dogs from the Community BBQ that the Canada Day Committee runs, and we had all kinds of sides, salads and desserts to go along with them.  We all gathered on my front lawn to watch the parade, and I had such a good time. I missed out on so many of these parties when I was on the committee, so I really enjoy being part of them now!
  • After the parade, most of the guests left to get their kids home to bed, but the rest of us hung out at my place and had a few drinks before heading down to watch the LEGENDARY fireworks!  They are always sooo good, and it makes my heart burst with pride to know our little town puts on such a damn good show.  Hats of to the Canada Day Committee for all their hard work!!
  • So, then there was the after-party.  My plan was to go for one. ONE.  I had ZERO intentions of going on a rip.  And then, suddenly... there I was.  ugh.  I always forget... I ask for my drinks in a big cup thinking they'll be watered down, but instead, I end up drinking doubles (possibly even triples??)  One minute I'm responsible, the next I'm a mess.  THERE'S A REASON I DON'T DO THIS ANYMORE!!!  I dropped one drink.  I ran into a kid and spilled his drink.  Then I dropped another drink.  And I knew then it was time to go home.  Thank God I did, because I think I was one drink away from being VERY malade the next day.  oy vey.
  • The rest of Canada Day weekend was a combination of preparing for the celebrations, and relaxing and enjoying the long weekend.  I had cut grass the previous Thursday evening, I got groceries on Friday evening, I did lots of cleaning and food prep on Saturday, but I also hit up a friend's yard sale, and then decided to go with my mom to my nephew's ball game on Saturday night.  A storm moved in and we watched from the car for a long time before they finally called the game, and then we all went out to eat at St. Hubert's.  Sunday was the big day, as described above.  And then Monday was low-key recovery.  Lol!  It had been a loooong time since I'd had a hangover, and I did NOT like it!!  But I had some chipstand grease for lunch, then spent the rest of the day on my sister and BIL's deck, soaking up the sun.  All in all, a great holiday weekend!!  I just wish it didn't fly by so fast!!
  • OK.  So.  Now we get into the "discontented" part.  As you know from recent posts, I got on the Raptors bandwagon toward the end of their Championship run, and while I followed them in the finals, I fell in love with their star player, Kawhi Leonard. And I mean, I fell hard.  I have not cared so much for an athlete since, like... Wade Redden.  Seriously.  And once all the partying and celebrating faded, the attention turned to the fact that Kawhi was becoming a free agent.  Toronto fans were hopeful he'd decide to come back for at least one more year, for a chance to run it back with basically the same team and a great chance at a repeat championship next year.  
  • Last week, I really got swept up in #KawhiWatch.  I was on Twitter as much as I possibly could be, trying to find out if he was going to sign in TO.  I followed basketball "insiders" as they shared the latest updates, I watched aerial footage of Kawhi landing in Toronto for his meeting, I tracked MLSE planes to see where they were going (IS KAWHI ON THE PLANE??), and I speculated with the best of 'em.  I have never been so caught up in hype quite like that. And deep down, I really, really thought he was going to re-sign here for one more year.  One more shot.  This section of the post is to be continued...
  • Late last week, something weird started happening to me.  I think it started on Thursday afternoon.  I was getting these weird sharp pains - almost like pulses or shocks - in the left side of my neck.  They would run up my neck, up behind my ear.  They weren't extreme, but they hurt, and they'd leave me feeling a little dazed afterwards.  I didn't think much of it at first, but as they continued on Friday, I started to get worried.  They left my neck and shoulders feeling stiff and sore, even when they weren't happening.  It was disconcerting.
  • Despite the weird neck/head issue, I proceeded into my weekend as if all things were normal.  On Friday evening, I had what I'd consider the perfect summer evening.  My sister and her fam came up, and we all went swimming at her in-laws (they live right behind me).  We ordered chipstand food for supper and ate out on their deck.  Then when I got home, I ate the Kronut my friend Sharon had brought me from Art Is In Bakery.... heavenly.  It was pure summer pleasure (aside from the pain in my neck).
  • I tried to finish up House of Cards by watching it in bed that night, but I fell asleep.  I woke around 3:30 AM and I was not feeling too crash hot.  The pulses were happening in my neck again (the first time I'd been wakened by them), and my stomach didn't feel good either.  I tossed and turned for awhile, then I got on my phone and started researching my symptoms.  Some of my findings were assuring (pains in the neck are usually nothing to  worry about!), some were alarming (you might be having a heart attack or stroke!), and finally I landed on one that made complete sense... something called Occipital Neuralgia.  I had most of the symptoms, and I was reassured by the fact that it was a non-life-threatening condition.  There was a list of home remedies to try (heat, rest, Ibuprofen, etc), but it said for more permanent solutions to see a doctor.  I felt comforted by what I read, so I got up, took some Tums and an Advil, and went back to bed.
  • And now, back to Kawhi...  I rolled over at about 7 AM the next morning, and immediately reached for my phone.  Opened Twitter.  And the first thing that popped up was a video posted by another Raps free agent, Danny Green, who had supposedly been waiting on Kawhi to decide if he was coming back or not next season.  In the video, he said that now that he knows what Kawhi is doing, he's decided to sign with the Lakers.  And I was like, "Huh?  What is Kawhi doing?!?!"  As it turns out, news broke in the middle of the night that he had decided to sign with the Clippers.  My heart sank.  Literally sank.  I didn't think it was possible to be that upset over a basketball player, and yet, I was.  I was heartbroken.
  • And the funny part of it all?  When I was up in the middle of the night searching Google for a diagnosis, I never checked Twitter.  If I had, I'd have probably seen the Kawhi news as it was breaking.  I really think my body was trying to tell me something!!!
  • Probably best that I didn't see it, though, because then I probably wouldn't have been able to get back to sleep. :(
  • So, yeah, Saturday was a glum day.  I cut grass and went for groceries, all the while sad about Kawhi and at the height of my worry about my neck issue.  My mom thought I should go to the hospital.  I haaaaate going to the hospital.  So I chose to sit around home  and worry instead.  And be sad about Kawhi.  Fun times.
  • That evening, I did one of Dr. Google's recommended remedies and took a muscle relaxant around 6 PM.  I fell asleep on the couch less than half an hour later.  I'd wake up, rewind House of Cards, and then promptly fall asleep again.  I eventually moved to my bed and slept through the night.  When I woke the next morning, my Fitbit told me I'd slept over 12 hours.  That just added to my feeling of discontentment.
  • Sunday continued with more ignoring the pain in the neck, and forcing myself to have a fun summer's day.  We went to church, had lunch at my place, dropped in on Stacy & Maddy at their yard sale, and then went to the pool again for the afternoon.  I started to think I might be feeling better, as the pulses weren't happening anymore, just soreness in my neck and shoulder.  We had a BBQ dinner at my mom's and it was delicious.  I was starting to feel like maybe I was better.
  • That night, I FINALLY finished House of Cards.  Thank God!!  I had wanted to finish it on Friday so that I could dive into Stranger Things 3, but that didn't pan out.  I'm glad I can finally do that, I'm so excited to watch it!
  • Last night I finished reading The Mister by EL James, and now I have to decide what my next book will be.  Decisions, decisions...
  • And one last bit of good news:  I called my doc's office yesterday and actually got an appointment to see him next Tuesday.  HUGE relief!  They usually book months in advance, but when I explained my situation, I got a squeeze-in appt, and I feel like I have a weight off my shoulders.  The neck issue seems to be getting better, though there is still some soreness and the occasional pulsing, so I definitely feel like I need his assessment.  I'm a worry-wart (which probably isn't helping) and that man can calm me down better than anyone else.  I feel better just knowing I'm going to see him soon.  Phewf!!
Well, I think that's enough rambling for one day, isn't it?  Sorry for the verbal dump, but... it's my summer of discontent.  What can I say.