A couple of months ago, I saw a client I hadn't seen for a number of months. Like more than a dozen people have in the recent past, she commented on how thin I was. We chit-chatted, outside my office building, about stress and aging and health and weight. We talked of the many elderly women I'd encountered in Florida, visiting my spry 81-year-old mother, and she asked if I'd ever noticed how some women, when they get old, get skinny and stay skinny. I didn't really take offense at it, overall, but it definitely stuck with me, her comments, and I've shared them with other people.
Yes, I have lost a lot of weight. Yes, some of it was intentional. Give up drinking, and you'll easily drop some. Set your steps goal to at least 14,000 steps per day, and, yeah, you'll drop some more. Try to eat slightly more healthy, and, yup, there goes another pound or two.
And that's what it was like for me, until about February, when I got really sick with back-to-back viral infections, and then ended up with a raging ear infection, which caused me to go on a regimen of antibiotics, and all that time, the weight kept dropping. I started to eat high calorie foods with utter abandon, only my appetite was lackluster at best and the weight kept dropping.
When I could start wearing my sister's size 2 shorts, I knew something was wrong. (Besides the fact that, clearly, clothes manufacturers have, over the year, tried to make us all feel good by calling a 1970's size 10 a 2017 size 8 (or 6).) So I reached out to my doctor, mentioning the weight loss (which was clearly detailed in my damn charts over the years), and asking for a test to see if my hyperthyroidism had kicked in as it had a number of years ago. When the doctor told me the test was normal, I messaged back, "I guess I'll just have to be happy I'm skinny."
Only I wasn't. Happy, that is, to be skinny. I didn't even need my good Dr. Google to tell me that unintentional weight loss is a thing. So when there was another not-good sign, I turned to my ab-fab OB-GYN, and she took up my cause. And, thankfully, she took it up with a vengeance. Detailed blood tests, ultrasound, biopsy, CT scan and, come Monday, colonoscopy and upper (and maybe lower) endoscopy.
For the record, nothing definitive yet, and the scariest (I think) things it could be have essentially been ruled out. In the end, perhaps my client is correct and this old lady has just reached her old-age weight. I will strive to continue to expect that to be the case, even as I chug through a gallon of some vile medication in advance of Monday's procedures, waking up at 3:30 a.m. to finish it as required.
Exactly 30 years ago, as my dad fought a 3-month battle against a clearly winning brain tumor, I started getting massive headaches and had to see a doctor. We laughed -- really -- at the highly improbable likelihood that I, too, had a brain tumor. I didn't. It was TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome).
While the doctor and I didn't laugh this time, there's nothing that says we won't be laughing later this week. I'm counting on it.
*Guess where the title comes from? Yeah, Springsteen's "Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street."