Well, since my last melodramatic update, I am the same/okay/mildly better, for those of you hanging in suspense. The professional conference was actually much better than last year’s and my boss and I both had a very productive day. The keynote speaker was Alex Sheen of Because I Said I Would, an Ohio-based nonprofit/social movement that, in essence, allows people means to be accountable to themselves about the commitments they’ve made. I was somewhat skeptical of it at first – why do you need a “promise card” to do what you said you’d do; just do it – but I’m trying to be more open and understanding in my old age, so I stayed with it. I’m not sure if the story is on their website
in video form, but I very nearly cried at one point.
About thirty minutes into the 90 minute drive home, Heather got a call letting her know her older brother had dropped dead of a heart attack. It was a very sad car ride.
Lymph nodes have been mysteriously swollen since mid-August and I’ve had the energy of a wet paper sack, which I imagine has contributed to my general sense of malaise. Haven't been able to concentrate enough to read a book in a while, so my Goodreads count has held steady at 45/52. I went to my primary care doctor twice and got two different 10-day antibiotics and a daily antihistamine, then to an ENT specialist after finishing the antibiotics and still being swollen, got a 6-day steroid pack. ENT seemed quite patronizing, but I was also quite upset, as I had been ill for three weeks at that point and was pretty well convinced it was cancer. Felt mostly better for a while, then flared back up after the first laser treatment (more on this below). Only slightly swollen today. Woke up this morning so dizzy I had to sit with my eyes closed on the side of the tub for about 10 minutes. Pretty sure it’s the fault of the antihistamine, because I took it for the first time last night and that is the primary side effect.
At this point I’ve decided, “Fuck it.” I’ve accepted that I need to take an anti-depressant every day because my brain, if left unattended, will try to kill me, but my allergies are not so bad that I need to take a pill for them every day. I don't want to be on 10 different medications. One reason I was so upset at the ENT's office (aside from the cancer fear) was that I didn't want another pill to treat my symptoms; I wanted to address the root cause of whatever was making me sick. If the swelling isn’t completely gone by Friday, I’ll go back to the ENT, because he said it wasn’t urgent/anything to worry about until the 6 week mark, which is coming right up. One of those rare situations where I would honestly be thrilled to be wrong.
I got a shitty tattoo in January that has been bumming me out hardcore for eight months now, and after talking to multiple different artists about the likelihood of being able to cover it, had my first laser removal Saturday.
I GOT SHOT WITH A LASER ON SATURDAY.
Based on everything I'd read, I wasn't expecting to see any improvement after the first session, but about 50% of the shitty shading is already gone. On reflection, I think this means that it was even worse quality than I initially thought, because it's supposed to be a lot harder to get rid of newer tattoos.
I went to the artist who did my thigh piece, which I love, because she had done such a good job and I trusted her to do this one. An artist friend of mine later pointed out that they are very different styles: the thigh piece is very artistic, with lots of bold lines, whereas the new one was supposed to be fairly simple and understated. The line work looked like she had done it on day two of heroin withdraw. She put in a shit-ton of dark shading that we hadn't talked about to try to cover up the bad lines. It was devastating. I'm not even exaggerating; I was devastated. I've been wearing button-up shirts since January so I don't have to look at it.
Anyway, the laser place is 1.5 hours from me and it costs $199 a pop, but (a) fortunately you are required to have at least two months between sessions, so you can heal and (b) my mental health/not dissociating from my body is worth putting back $50 a paycheck to save up for it. (Look at me, all grown up and prioritizing my needs.)
The funny part (to me, at least) is that once I get this removed, I might try the design again with a different artist on a different part of my body. I still want a Star Trek tattoo; I just haven’t figured out what. If I could ever be bothered to do weight lifting and actually develop arm muscles, I’d get a watercolor of the poster for The Search for Spock.
By the way, last week in my spare time I painstakingly painted a wooden pallet and mod podged magazine cut-outs from the 50th anniversary stuff to make a Star Trek collage, which is now displayed next to my TV. I am who I am.