At the finish of Way Too Cool, I had a little blood running down my back. Nothing to worry about and was probably the result of bumping a tree branch during the run. But when we arrived home I had Nicole take a look and a mole on my right shoulder-blade was bleeding and not looking very healthy. Nicole’s words were something like, “I don’t want to worry you but it doesn’t look good. You should have it looked at.” So I made an appointment with my doctor. He looked at it and couldn’t determine exactly what was going and recommended a biopsy. He kept peering at it through his little hand-held magnifier while trying to calm my rising concern that it was mainly precautionary. After about 30 minutes, I left his office and wouldn’t know anything more for a few days.
But I learned in January that I have a difficult time when waiting for the unknown. In January, I decided to have what I thought would be a simple procedure. The gum graft. Due to teenage braces and aggressive brushing, part of my gum had receded to a level where my dentist recommended this gum grafting procedure. As I was in the chair, the oral surgeon is explaining the process and that I would need to wear a mouth guard for weeks. So right then I changed my mind and I opted for the less painful Aloderm (cadaver tissue) and decided against taking tissue from the roof of my mouth. Aloderm has about a 80% success rate so there is a higher chance the tissue will be rejected if it does not come from your own body. I crossed my fingers and thought 80% was a pretty high percentage.
As far as being less painful, even the Aloderm was more pain than I could endure. The next 3 days, Friday through Sunday, I looked like a swollen monster, couldn’t talk and my head ached. I was back to work on Monday and things began to feel better but after a week, my stitches fell out (1st of 2 times) and I was convinced the procedure had failed and regretted even doing it.
I wasn’t sleeping well and kept thinking that I was going to have to endure another procedure and throw another few weeks out the window. After 4 weeks, I went back and was prepared to hear the worst. After the hygienist snapped a few pictures of my gums, the surgeon came in, took a look and exclaimed “Wow, looks perfect. The Aloderm took nicely.” I couldn’t believe it.
So I hoped for similar good news while waiting for the biopsy results while trying not to dwell on it. Easier said than done. Sometimes our minds like to migrate towards the worst case scenarios. When I left the doctor’s office after the biopsy and heard about his experiences diagnosing and treating melanoma (again the doctor said not to worry and it would probably be just fine) suddenly I had a different perspective. On the drive home I’m checking my priorities and asking myself, “What if…?” I hadn’t finished putting the pieces of my life’s puzzle together and still needed more time and possibly reset my priorities again.
The false alarm had sounded and a few days ago, I was told over the phone that results came back negative and the concerns amounted to nothing. Yet it still makes one think. It could have been. What if… We know life is short and too much time can be wasted on the trivial so these types of warnings can be helpful.
Sunshine. After record rain and snow, this week the sun has emerged and the evening run feels perfect, not too hot and not too cool. Just enough to finish with a little sweat and sun on the back. A plug here for my Motorola Defy phone. It passed the test last Saturday in a 2 hour run in the pouring ran. The phone arrived back home, covered in water but in perfect working condition. This water and freeze resistant, drop and Michael-proof phone has earned 2 thumbs up from me. I dithered with the AR50 and Leadville sign ups and those closed before I registered. So debating if another ultra will be on the calendar in 2011. A couple Saturday runs along the PCT come July and August will be just fine.
Another random event: Last week I thought we had a mouse in our attic because I started hearing feet scampering around above Nicole’s closet. So I put some peanut butter covered traps out. But this creature seemed a little too clever and never took the bait. After a few quiet days I thought it must have found a new home. Until one night the sound of feet was back. Not to be outdone by a mouse, I took some bigger traps up and crawled through the attic to his corner. And that is where I found an enormous squirrel, a few feet away from me, staring into my light. Somehow, the squirrel had managed to punch a hole a couple of stories up the side of the house and had made a comfortable nest in the insulation. He wasn’t backing down and we stared at each for about a minute and my shouts went ignored. Then back down I went and Dylan and I made a Saturday trip to Home Depot. Then I went back up and, on hands and knees and belly, evicted the squirrel through the door he made and sealed the entrance. The next day I saw the squirrel running down the street so he must be looking for a new home. Always something to add a little extra excitement to the routine.
Looking for a fun way to spend a few hours in San Francisco? Try Ride The Ducks. A few weeks ago, we took a tour through San Francisco on one of these Ride The Ducks bus/boats. If you haven’t done it, even if you have been to San Francisco a dozen times, it’s a different way to see the city. It’s a tour that covers both the city and the bay, in the same vehicle. About an hour into the ride, the Duck just drives right into the bay and cruises through McCovey Cove. A fun way to spend a couple of hours. They even pass out quackers at the start so you become one of those annoying tourists quacking at the locals.
To sum up, some things we think are problems end up being nothing. Other times, what sounds like a little problem can actually be bigger than we anticipated. Finally, the “What if…” scenarios are not always pointless. Quack! Quack!