Last weekend we went to London and as we were walking around, I noticed my ankle was hurting a bit. It mostly hurt when I was wearing my usually comfy trainers, but also had periods when I could walk in them without it hurting. I didn’t really think very much of it. Then on Monday it got slightly worse – it was hurting a bit more, but I still managed to get into and around town, and come back and clean up for a social occasion at our place on Tuesday, without too much difficulty. It was hurting a reasonable amount by the time I went to bed, but I put that down to having had a busy day.
Then on Tuesday I went to work, did a 12 hour shift. It hurt walking to work, but once I had my work shoes on, which are a lower cut, it was a bit better. Work was busy, so I rushed around for 12 hours, limping occasionally, but mostly not really registering the fact that my ankle was hurting. The patients were sicker than me, I just got on with the job. Getting home was interesting… back in my trainers it hurt a lot more. Mr B had to entertain the guests that had started to arrive, so although I rang him, he couldn’t pick me up. And my bike had been in work’s garage and really needed to come home with me. So I cycled to the bottom of the hill, which was actually not very painful – as long as I took it gently. Somehow cycling didn’t put the injury under excessive pressure, like walking in my trainers did. The hill was the worse – I never normally cycle the whole way, if I’m feeling fit I’ll give it a go, but as you’ve already gathered – I wasn’t feeling fit! Walking uphill is the worst position for my ankle to be in. And trying to get a bike to the top as well as me, was interesting. When it wasn’t too steep I could use my bike as a support, but on the steep bit that was impossible. But I made it.
I walked in, said hello to people (our entire church community), got some food, sat down and put my leg up. I took off my sock to realise that I could no longer see where my ankle bone was. It was just a big swollen lump. Oh. Mr B took one look at it, and went off to get an ice pack. This morning I made an appointment with my GP, who examined it and declared it was sprained. He said that I should stay active, but ensure I have periods of resting in between. And no twelve hour shifts till its better.
There are two things I can’t believe about this – I can’t believe that I don’t remember injuring it originally, and I can’t believe I was walking around on a sprained ankle for 14 hours yesterday without the pain being bad enough for me to stop.
Only readers who know the real me will (probably) know that 2 years ago I was diagnosed with a melanoma on my leg. I had to have two minor operations to have three moles removed and the area around the nasty mole removed. Thanks to my training and my awareness of such dangers, it was caught early and I have never had any major problems since. Every 3 months I attend a dermatology clinic, where I strip off, a consultant dermatologist examines my body, tells me that everything is fine, and I go on my way. So why, am I still so paranoid about it???
I had my 3 month check this afternoon. Last night I was strangely quiet. I just wanted to sit in a corner and listen to music. I think ‘thoughtful’ is the best way to describe my mood. Physically I felt fine. I just didn’t feel like doing anything. Except thinking. Mr B, I could tell, was worried about me. He ran me a bath, cooked me dinner, and when still hadn’t perked up, asked me what was up. I honestly replied that I didn’t know. Then about an hour later my musings took me to my computer – I looked up the photographs that I’d taken of my moles 2 years ago. And thoroughly compared them to my current body. I *think* it was ok. It’s difficult to tell with my ameteur photos. Professional photos have been taken by both health care trusts that have seen me, but they’ve only been actively used once. And my current trust don’t have copies of the original ones from 2 years ago. Which seems a bit stupid to me.
Practically everytime I’m in the shower I have a quick look at my moles. But I have a lot, and I don’t have a photographic memory. So there’s always one which I question it’s previous existent and size. I know that there is a minuscule of my previous melanoma re-occurring. But my skin has shown that it can house these cancerous cells, if I’m out in the sun too much. So I’m just as afraid of getting a new one, as the old one coming back. Before all of this I’ve never laid out on a beach in Spain and I was always been reasonably careful with suntan lotion. Now I don’t spend more than a few minutes in the sun without applying factor 50. If I was reasonably careful before, I’ve got to be vigilant now. Just as I have to keep an eye on my moles.
At the same time as knowing I’ve got to be really careful, I also feel very aware that I’m being paranoid. Mr B says its perfectly understandable paranoia. But I still feel silly for being so paranoid. On the other side though, it scares me that often it feels down to me to notice changes in my moles, and if I don’t, these cells have the power to kill.
I’ve recently increased the proportion of my diet which is organic. Not because I’ve become more aware of the importance of eating organically, and the general improvement in the quality of organic food. But because of my location. I now live 10 minutes walk from an Organic Supermarket, and we have arranged for organic fruit and veg boxes to be delivered to our house from them, once a fortnight. Our veg box is entirely British, so it is completely dependent on the seasons. It has it’s advantages and disadvantages – it means that we have a constant supply of fruit and veg in, it encourages us to eat in tune with the seasons, and its all good quality stuff which I don’t have to drag up the hill inbetween shifts. It also encourages us to eat stuff that we wouldn’t normally do so, but then if there are items in the boxes which we simply don’t like, then it’s a bit tricky. You just have to find someone who does like them, and if that fails then you end up feeding it to the compost. The other slight disadvangtage is that each fortnights veg box comes with potatos – something that we like, we’re just not in the habit of eating v.often. About once a week or so, I’ll look into the potato drawer and say ‘right – we’re eating some potatos tonight!’ We could have got a potato free veg box, but we opted for the local, British one instead.
The other ethical food scheme that we’re trying out, is a milk jug system in Waitrose. Basically you buy a special jug for a couple of quid, and then you buy sealed bags of milk. The jug lid spikes a hole in the milk bag, when the bag is placed inside the jug, and then you can pour milk from the jug. Simple. Except Mr B set up the jug and I didn’t realise the milk had to stay in the bag, and tried to pour it out into the jug, and made a big mess… It seems really good because it cuts down on packaging by 75% and it means you don’t end up with piles of plastic milk bottles which the council don’t collect, so they sit there until you get round to taking them to the bottle bank. But, as I realised today when our milk ran out, every time we need milk, we’ll have to drive to Waitrose. Which seems to contridict the point slightly. I suppose I could cycle there… it’s just up a big hill. Maybe if we buy a weeks worth of milk bags then we won’t have to make as many trips, and maybe we can call in there when we’re passing anyway. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.