Ever since July, my visits to the doctor’s office have felt a bit like a retro Superman comic:
“Look! In his abdomen, it’s a hernia! It’s a cyst! …wait, what is that thing?”
We discovered a lump on my abdomen roughly the size of a marble, and after my first appointment I was advised to monitor the area for potential growth and inflammation. “Fortunately” for me, Ottawa was in the thick of COVID and I found myself busy with the Full Stack Developer Certificate I started back in May.
I put my head down and focused on the one thing I felt I could control – my work (yeah – I guess this is just a Mackinnon thing). One mantra I heard echoed throughout lockdown was that busy hands are better than idle ones. Fair enough, but I would like to add a small caveat; overworked brains are WORSE than well-rested ones – don’t spend 80 hours a week on your computer.
Winter came and I was noticeably underweight, though whether from the condition itself or the stress it induced was unclear. I underwent a laparoscopic biopsy; previous imaging had no issues locating the mass, but identification was another matter. Until a few weeks prior the standing theory was still a small hernia, however due to its location relative to the abdominal lining that was later ruled out. A sample was taken, and fortunately it was revealed to be a benign lesion.
By this point, my body had made it clear that my strategies for managing stress were not working. In the midst of moving out of my apartment I came across a card from my mom: “Please remember to stop & smell the flowers, pet the doggies, and have a giggle”. I am happy to report that since I started ‘petting the proverbial doggies’ my weight is returning to normal, and although it is something I am still dealing with I feel better about my situation.
I struggle to think of ways to properly honour my mom on her birthday. Aside from crafting truly awful puns, her favourite thing to do was spread joy and love to those she cared about (sometimes the puns worked). So, in an effort to continue that legacy, and in light of the general uneasiness these times bring, I would like to say one thing on her behalf:
Pet the doggies. Have a giggle.
Happy Birthday Mom.