I finally had that appointment with my doctor last week. And the news was good: That thing on my ovary appears to be just another fibroid. We will continue to monitor it, but for now, no surgery or other treatment is required.

Can I hear a “whew?”

Thankfully, I did not spend a great deal of time worrying about it. I have had too much to do cleaning up the new website and setting up a blog for my nearly full-time client. For the first time in years, I am cautiously optimistic about the future (like in realizing I actually HAVE a future, as this gig is made-to-order for my re-entry into the world of gainful employment).

However, I confess that while I was driving to my appointment, my mind did turn to the possibility of a morbid outcome.

Since the dawn of the great recession, I’ve limited discretionary spending on myself. The first thing to go was stuff like manicures. I bartered for a couple of years with an esthetician (waxing in exchange for managing her client newsletter). This arrangement worked until she decided to go into another business. Unfortunately, this is not something I can completely forego because my menopausal face keeps sprouting hair in all the wrong places. But I don’t go as often as I should, because it’s expensive. Thankfully, my eyesight is now so bad and the lighting in my bathroom is so dim that I rarely notice my whiskers.

Likewise, I put off getting my hair cut and colored for as long as I can. When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I tried coloring my hair myself and botched it so badly that I decided this was something that should be left to the professionals. At the start of the recession, I toyed with the idea of allowing my gray hair to come in naturally. I didn’t like the way I looked (you know – OLD). So then I experimented with getting these services done on the cheap at a beauty school – but all it took was one sloppy dye job to quit that idea. Since then, I just stretched my visits out until my hair was so limp and dull that I can’t bear it any longer.

This is where I was last week, and I remember driving off to the doctor and thinking I needed to make some salon time.

And then, I realized that there was this little, teeny chance that I might have bigger things to deal with, and that going to the salon NOW would be a waste of time and money.

I promised myself I would see a hairdresser this weekend if the news was good.

So: My hair is now dark and shiny… and it occurred to me that I no longer HAVE to go two or three months between salon visits. I can now afford to go every 4-6 weeks, as I did from the time I turned 18 and had my first regular paycheck.

This is going to take some getting used to. And even though I am now benefiting from a regular paycheck and have received a clean bill of health, I am having trouble letting go of the blanket of dread I’ve been living with for the last five years. I can’t allow myself to feel happy for very long, because I’m afraid of getting blindsided again by events I cannot control.

This is no way to live. I know that. I have felt insecure for a very long time and I think it’s going to take me at least as long to shake it off and feel like myself again.



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