Thank God For Horses – My Weekly Riding Lesson
The best laid plans, how does that quote go? It seems sometimes when you make plans, life has a way of undoing everything that you have planned. And this week has been a whirlwind for me. So much so that I almost didn’t go to my riding lesson this week. But I’m so glad I did. After the emotional roller coaster I have been on for the week, I really needed my lesson.
This week has been a few months in the making actually. And it all started around January. I have had some health issues that I didn’t really think were health issues. But when my body decided to make the issues known, I made an appointment with the doctor. Fast forward to this past week, and I have spent a lot of time in the radiology department of the medical office building that I work in. I have had x-rays, ultrasounds, an MRI, and later today I will be having a CT scan.
I had my MRI on Tuesday, and was awaiting the results when I got an email from my healthcare provider. She let me know that the MRI showed no change, but she wanted to discuss the results with the MD’s in the group to determine where I should be seen. I thought ok, well I will be having another doctors appointment to discuss what the plan would be and I didn’t thin too much more about it.
Thanks For Ruining My Lunch
And another nurse and I were enjoying a very yummy lunch, I am trying to eat better so we were eating salads, go me, and I got a call from the schedulers. Thanks to caller ID I knew it was Kaiser (my employer, and doctor) but this Kaiser number was from the downtown office which I thought was odd, but assumed their schedulers were centralized in the downtown office.
I answered the phone, and the scheduler said they were calling from gynecology oncology and my heart hit the floor. I was like, what???? And the scheduler stumbled for her words, and said, “Didn’t your provider go over the results of your MRI?” And I was like, well kind of, but not to the point where I would need to see an oncologist. And she said, “Well I will have your provider call you, and then we can call you back.” And I told her no, “If you are calling me to schedule an appointment, let’s do that now. Nothing is going to change from what she is going to tell me, I need to be seen obviously, so please, get me scheduled and then I will wait for her call.”
The scheduler reluctantly agreed, and said I needed to have some more tests, so I needed a STAT CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. She transferred me to the radiology department scheduler, and I scheduled the exam for this afternoon. But hearing that I needed this type of a scan I was freaking out. I was scared, because I had no idea of what they were looking for. Did I have cancer? Were they looking to see if it had spread? Why did I need this type of a scan? At this point I lost my appetite, and my emotional balance.
Scaring The Crap Out Of Me
For the next four hours at work I was a freaking wreck. I tend to think worst case scenario with everything, and I was basically thinking I was going to die any minute. I tend to be very dramatic when my imagination takes over. I became my own patients, and I started doing google searches on the surgeons at the office I will have to go to. I started to plan how long I was going to be out of work. And this entire week I have been having bouts of pity parties for myself. I seriously considered cancelling my riding lesson. I just didn’t feel like doing anything other than feeling sorry for myself.
But I decided no, I needed to do something to take my mind off of everything, and I needed to go to my lesson.
Just about when I was getting ready to leave from work for my lesson, my provider called me. She apologized profusely for not explaining better in the email she had sent me. And I get it. We are all very busy, we have many patients to reply to in emails, and give results too. I get it. And she told me that I do have to have surgery, and the surgeons at the office where we work could do it, and they had reviewed my imaging studies, but they wanted to get me to the top specialists, which is why they referred me to the gynecology oncologists. And the CT scans were necessary test in order to plan for surgery, NOT because they were looking for cancer.
The Good VS. The Bad
I cannot begin to express how relieved I was to get her call. Yes, I have to have surgery. But I (hopefully) do not have cancer. So even though I have to go through a surgical procedure, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When the surgery is done, hopefully that is it, done. I was so glad I did not cancel my lesson.
And I finally decided to call my brother, who is a doctor, and discuss the facts with him and his partner who happens to be an gynecology surgeon as well. I wish I would have called them sooner. He reassured me, and made sense of everything, so my head was clear and I could focus on my lesson.
And after what I have been through this week, I was in a different mindset during my lesson. We did all of the usual, two point, sitting trot, posting trot and two point over ground rails. And then my instructor upped the lesson. While I was concentrating on the course she had me going over of ground poles and doing two-point and being on the correct diagonal, she turned one of the trot pole jumps into a cross rail.
At first I was slightly nervous, but then I was like “ok, it’s a cross rail” and we went over it. We did this several more times, and I felt the joy slip back into my brain.
Then we cantered a bit around the arena, and the joy meter went to the top. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t clenching with me knees. I was still breathing while I was cantering around. And when Murphy did a down transition to trot, I didn’t turn into a discombobulated mess. This was a great place to end my lesson.
A Change Of Perspective
with everything that happened throughout my week, I didn’t really have time to think about being nervous for my lesson. It’s not that I almost died or anything, but I was really thinking about my own mortality a lot this week and it kind of put things into perspective for me. Rather, it changed my perspective. There is no guarantee of how much time we have, and life is too short to be filled with fear. Instead of dwelling on it and worrying about what could happen, just be in the moment and enjoy it.
I wasn’t focused on the what if’s that could happen. I just did what my instructor told me to do, and concentrated on my leg, seat and hands. This was a HUGE ah-ha moment for me. And something that has been engraved into my brain now. It’s like a light switch has been clicked on, and the worry has been clicked off.
I am not sure when I will be having surgery, but I know it will be within the next 6 weeks or so. And after surgery, I will not be able to ride for at least 6 weeks. So I am going to do everything I can while I can still ride, to get the most out of my lessons. I will have to figure out what to do when I can’t ride. But for now, I am going to do everything I can to make the most of the riding time I do have. Does that mean I will be jumping 3’6″ next week? No. But I will be pushing myself to be the best that I can be, without fear.