“The best laid plans of T-Rex and men” or, “My stomach has an evil laugh.”

I’m a planner when it comes to life. Not necessarily in the details of things, as we’ve seen, but I, like many people, have my ideas about how I want things to go. I have a 5 year plan. I certainly have a “before 30″ plan, given that I’m trying to finish the states before I turn 30.  Of course, we all know how plans turn out. Typically, God and/or the Flying Spaghetti Monster laughs at them. Recently, Amanda, Kate and I formulated a superhuman spreadsheet that combines all of our marathons run, future marathons planned, dates, times, etc. It’s color coded. It’s aggressive. It’s awesome.

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I’m pretty good with a Google doc if I do say so myself.

But I’ve been humbled recently by my stomach, as you know. And even more so, I’m learning as I get older (bear with me, I’m 27) that we can’t always get what we want. I know, tough lesson right? You feel so sorry for me. The reality is that just because I say I’m going to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be possible, practical, or reasonable. Just because I declare that I’m going to finish 15 states this year including Alaska and Hawaii doesn’t mean my bank account agrees. The point is, we can plan all we want, but at the end of the day, they’re just plans.

Take, for example, my idea to do a 50 miler this year. Well, given the fact that I can’t eat while I run (or at all sometimes), you all agreed that that probably wasn’t the best idea and I should run Myrtle Beach instead. Ok, fine. I can live with that. Not doing a 50 miler doesn’t interfere with my states completion goal, so I’m good. We’re cool. Well, then Amanda and I started thinking about additional logistics. The way we had everything mapped out, we were planning to do Alaska in summer of 2014 and Hawaii in winter of 2014/2015. And then I realized that’s only about 9 months apart at most, and oh yeah- neither of us are millionaires. Hmm. So I started thinking about it and came up with a crazy idea. What if we do Alaska this year?

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I can’t wait to have sled dogs judge me. Mush!

Maybe you don’t know by now, but when I get an idea, I run with it. It wasn’t very long before Amanda and I had about a billion different schemes worked out about how we could find the money to get to Alaska. Some were insane slightly ridiculous, some were reasonable marginally less absurd, but we agreed on one thing: if Alaska was going to happen, some other things weren’t. The first casualty? Our scheduled half ironman in March. Neither of us had registered yet, and although we were both really excited about it, the registration alone was several hundred dollars. That’s a plane ticket, people! Not including gas, food, and everything else. So that’s out. Then we both realized, in non-Alaska news, that neither of us can do the Connecticut/Rhode Island double because of separate weddings we are both going to that weekend. I love you, Ethan and Rachel, and that is all I will say on that topic. Oy vey – goodbye plans!

It’s all good though, because I made a spreadsheet. And once something is on the spreadsheet, that’s where it stays. And it can’t be removed. It’s permanent.

Oh, you know, unless you get the news that you’re getting stomach surgery.

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I think we can all agree.

That’s right. The jury is in, folks. I saw my doctor today and he said surgery is what is going to fix this ridiculous angry parade that is perpetually occurring in my stomach/esophagus/life. The test results came back however I guess he expected them to, and given that nothing else is working, my options are a) feel like crap forever and throw up on people/lawns/anything insight for the rest of my life or b) get my stomach and esophagus pretty much entirely reconfigured and hope for the best.

Well, those are encouraging options.

To be honest, in a way, I am relieved. I’m not crazy. I’m not imagining things. It is as bad as I thought, if not worse. My tests occurred on days when my reflux was actually pretty good – a fact that my doctor said was “very disturbing” given the results.  I’m not a hypochondriac (today)! I have answers. I sort of have a plan of action. I don’t have to spend all my time on WebMD diagnosing myself anymore.

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Now that I have a diagnosis, I suppose I’ll have to stop diagnosing myself with every form of cancer and switch to terrifying myself by reading surgery recovery forums instead.

Although in an ideal world I obviously would not require stomach surgery and I would feel better, that doesn’t appear to be the case. I’m not a particularly lucky person in general, so why start now? What I know is that this surgery will completely change my life, especially how I eat. It’s serious, and it’s not something to be taken lightly. Fortunately, I have T-Rex Mom, who is an ER nurse, to draft an exhaustive list of questions for me to take to the surgeon(s). Yes, I am consulting with two. T-Rex Mom might live in Florida, but she would kill me if I didn’t, and sometimes she is very smart about such things. Of course, she doesn’t have to deal with the humiliation of bringing multiple pieces of paper filled with questions into the doctor’s office, but I’ll be sure to throw her under the bus as soon as I start talking to them – trust me.

If you feel like my attitude about major surgery is flippant, it’s not intentionally. Ok, well maybe it is, but truthfully, I don’t feel sorry for myself and I don’t expect other people to either. I realize there are tremendous risks. I realize my life will probably never be the same. But it’s like…why be depressed about it? I suppose I could dwell on the fact that my two options pretty much suck, but I don’t really see how that is going to accomplish anything. I’m not enjoying being sick all the time now. In fact, as I write this exact sentence, I just came back from throwing up thanks to reflux. Is that really better? I know recovery will be unpleasant, but if it means I will feel better, then that’s something to be positive about. Maybe it won’t work. Maybe I’ll have horrible complications. But I don’t intend to go through life thinking that way. I’ve got bills and shit.

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If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got luxurious hair that’s demanding my attention.

Next week, I will find out which of the two types of surgery I will be doing, which doctor I will be going to, and hopefully, when it will be. I of course gave my doctor a very specific timeline as it fits into my busy marathoning schedule (mid-late February or late June/early July).  He laughed. Hey, those states aren’t going to run themselves! Besides, they say you need goals to focus on to help you during recovery, and if there’s one thing I have plenty of, it’s goals.

Normally I have some type of scintillating question to ask y’all to comment on, but I presently am fresh out of ideas. So just say hi! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lot of beer to drink before surgery.

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