Saturday, May 31, 2008

Musings on a Summer Day in Chicago

“I’m from a city in the Midwest/Best city in the whole wide wide world” – Lupe Fiasco

Today was the kind of day that makes living through our 10 months of winter so worth it.

From the moment I opened my eyes, the day it was 75, sunny and just waiting to be gobbled up.

I started the day on Roscoe Village, having brunch with a high school friend I hadn’t seen in literally years (one of the redeeming factors of Facebook).

As I stood waiting for her, I looked up at the sky through the trees, and wished I had a camera to record and show you all just how stunning that moment was in my city.

My city.

The scene was almost straight out of a movie.

After my friend arrived, we sat outside, under the trees on Roscoe Street at Damen, watching all the runners, Avon Cancer walkers, husbands pushing strollers, frat boys heading to the Cubs game, and girlfriends soaking up the beauty of the morning.

We were surrounded by the sounds of music, car honking and people cheering for the walkers, laugher of families, and squeals of children.

When it was over and I got back into the car, I opened all the windows, instead of turning the heat on “Furnace.”

I then stopped at my sister’s, hung with my nephew, (who apparently was in a Junior Mint sugar coma thanks to my brother-in-law, who could only think of feeding him 25 candies to soothe a boo-boo), then headed home to workout.

After my five-mile run, I met my other sister for an early dinner and a beer. Yes, I had a beer.

It was that kind of day. A day that called for a cold beer after a good run, on an outside patio of a bar with my sister.

I had some plans for tonight, but honestly, I am kinda worn out at this point, that I think I may just chill, shower, and regroup for tomorrow’s brick.

Oh, and how can I forget that the weekend was kicked off by a girl’s night, complete with dinner, Cosmos and the Sex in the City movie.



Well, not so much the movie, but the company. And the experience.

Time to shower.

Hope you all had an equally fantastic weekend.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to Grow Up

Given the recent car fiasco and well, the not-so-likelihood that I will continue private practice, I have been faced with tackling the icky task of…wait for it…budgeting my money.


Deep breaths, deep breaths……..

At 31 years old, I have never balanced a checkbook. Granted, this factor attributed to some issues in my early 20s when I was, let’s say, less-then-accurate when it came to bill paying and account balances.

Yeah, overdrafts may have been a slight problem.

But then the invention of on-line bank accounts helped correct that, not because it helped me balance, per say, but rather I was able to easily access account information so I knew when I was close to overdrawing, rather then find out about it a month later when my statement arrived in the mail.

But now, I have had accept the fact that, with all the bills, student loans, car emergencies and an Ironman deficit I am still trying to climb out of, I have had to really look at my expenses.

This is long overdue, I admit. I attribute my late-coming to the fact that I am single, have no kids, and really haven’t had a ton of obligations. So I didn’t think all that much of using my disposable income on things now considered frivolous.

And this shift has not come by way of my own determination. Let’s just say that my financial drill sergeant of a boyfriend, whose biggest thrill in life is reading money management books and looking at his bank accounts every morning, played a role. It’s quite a contrast to my previous boyfriend, who thought nothing of eating out three nights a week, and spending $5000 on a bike frame and outfitting it with $200 water cages “because look- they’re carbon!”

So today I started by setting up a separate bank account called “Car Fund,” into which I am making a monthly car payment to myself, to help me better prepare for future emergencies, and the possibility of buying a new car. That way, I am actively setting aside money for such a time so that I may be able to eventually buy the car outright, instead of throwing that extra money at nonsense every month.

I also cancelled one of my two gym memberships today. I know, I know – who needs two? And frankly, I could justify that to you, but really, there is no justification that makes sense.

My twice-weekly sushi habit? Now it’s more like a twice-weekly canned tuna habit. Eww.

No more going to the grocery store on a whim – it’s planning ahead with a list and a once-weekly trip.

No more just signing up for a race when I feel like - that extra $30-40 could probably be put towards my electric bill (of course, Racine being the exception - that was early birthday present to myself).

I even walked past the shoe store today AND DIDN'T EVEN LOOK IN THE WINDOW!

With the recent subtraction of a coach and all IM fees that really added up over the months, I should technically have more money. And I do, but I am trying to put it to better use, like my new savings account, and doubling up on my student loan payments to get it over with faster.


Adulthood sucks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I took this from Kristin Armstrong's blog she write for Runner's World.

For some reason, it seemed to speak to me today.

"There will invariably be people who do not accept you. And in that case you must be your own badass self, without apology." - Katie Goodman

Maybe it's because I feel I apologize a lot for who I am, for my shortcomings, for my "flaws."

Maybe it's because, for all the most amazing and wonderful compliments 30 people will give me, I seem to hang on to the demeaning and nasty words of 1 person. And then believe them.

Maybe it's because I so easily forget all the good things about myself whenever they are not acknoweldged by another.

Maybe I need to just silence the voices of those who do not accept me.

Because yeah, there are things about me the aren't always shiney and happy and pretty. And maybe I can work to change them, or maybe I won't.

But they are me.

Accept them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fixing the Problem

On Sunday, I got a flat tire.

Well, more like Saturday, but I noticed it Sunday.

So, I was pretty much stuck for Sunday and Monday – the car -fixing place was closed for the holiday.

I took it in this morning.

The summary?

One flat tire, 90 minutes and half-a-month’s paycheck later, my car was fixed.

Turns out that one flat tire means that two are broken, alignment is necessary, and a whole bunch of other stuff is wrong.

‘Cause it can never be as simple as a fucking flat tire.

There’s always something else.

Funny how one mishap can expose all the cracks and problems beneath the surface.

Even funnier how one problem can make you curse the car, and make you forget all the good the car has done, how many good miles the car has given you, and how well the car has performed in the past. It's like all the past good is somehow erased when a problem comes up, and all you can focus on is how flawed the car is.

It’s crazy how dependent I have become on my car – there was a time in my life where I didn’t have one, and I was just fine. I would walk, ride my bike – I was forced to creative and resourceful and healthy and, well, free from the obligations of having a car. But it’s like once you get it, you just immerse yourself in it, and you can’t even go four blocks to the grocery store with out it.

But what happens when the car keeps having problems, and you keep paying for the problems, to the point that the band-aids are worth more then the whole car?

At what point do you just get sick and tired of wondering what fiasco each new day will bring with the car?

At what point do you get sick of structuring your life around whether or not the car will work, especially for those long hauls?

At what point does the cost of having a car outweigh the benefits?

At what point do you decide that there are too many cracks and problems, and you can keep taking it to the car fixers, and keep diagnosing the problems – but no matter how much money/time/tears you throw at it, you just need to say “enough” and get a new one? Or try to tackle life without one at all?

At what point?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer Structure

When I first got back on the bike, and most recently started running, I didn’t think I would be able to do anything substantial this summer – mostly because even a little bit made me so exhausted I paid for it the next day. And because I am Megan, I bitched and moaned about it for a while, then just accepted it.

But since signing up for the Madison-Chicago relay race, and re-emerging myself back into the training, I have toyed with the possibilities of racing this summer. I have revisited some websites, planned out the timelines, and hemmed and hawed about the reality of me actually being able to pull some races off.

Then, in the last two weeks, as the grapefruit has decreased, the back pain has disappeared, and my energy has slowly made its way back (though not fully yet), I decided to make racing a reality this summer. I confided in a fellow blogger about this because this would be my “A” race, one which he has also talked about doing - and he supported it. So here is what I have decided to do.

The “A” Race
I will race the Spirit of Racine ½ Iron on July 20. I mapped out my own training program (sans coach), and it gives me plenty of time to work myself back into shape.

The “Most Likely” Race
I will race the Pleasant Prairie (Wisconsin) Olympic distance race in August. Now, unlike Racine, I have not signed up for this yet.

The “Maybe” Race
Danskin Sprint (Wisconsin) in July. This is a maybe race mostly because I have done it the last few years, I like the course, and it’s always around my birthday, so it’s like my little present to myself. But this year, it lands the weekend before Spirit of Racine, so I don’t know how I feel about two race in back-to-bike weekends.

Obviously I am keeping it in the area, mostly because IM put me in a quite a hole – and it’s a short list, considering all the possibilities. The last two are so close to home that I wouldn’t need a hotel for those – I could just ride up that morning. I might also throw some running endeavors in there – like this weekend, I have two possible races planned out (one for Thursday, and one Sunday).

I feel much better with structure. I have missed the training, the expectation of what the week will bring, the reason for sitting my ass on the seat for hours on end. I missed it in a way that I can’t explain.

So this isn't about the races themselves - it's about having something to look forward to. When my eyes opened this morning, my first thought was about the workout I had planned this past week.

A nice, little Sunday morning brick.

Yeah, I did.

It was short – 90 minutes – but it was a brick.

And if I was being honest, it was actually the third that I have done in recent weeks.

And it felt great.

Good to be back in the saddle.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Note to Self

When your boyfriend has a job that makes him travel for one month, allows him home for five days, and then takes him away again for another month…

Do not -

I repeat -


Torture yourself by watching the opening scene of “P.S. I Love You.”

Because nothing makes the distance harder than watching two people act out the exact same drama, fighting, love, and craziness you wish you could have, especially on a Friday night in Spring.

I wish he were here to argue about who has to turn off the light.

I wish he were here to lecture about having a “plan.”

I wish he were here to tell me how crazy I am.

I wish he were here to eat sorbet with me in bed.

I wish he were hear to sing his made-up songs, especially the "My Baby..." one.

I wish he were here.

'Cause I could use a good frog crawl.

And somehow, sleeping in his tee shirt just doesn’t cut it.

Well, hell.

Unlike Hilary Swank’s movie husband, at least my guy’s not dead.

Hey! Bright side!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who Cares? Post #2

Have you ever had one of those days where, you've been off the workouts for a while, your clothes are getting sort of tight, and you know for sure you managed to find those 5-7 pounds that you previously lost somewhere on the road over the last few months?

But you just don't care?

In fact, the extra LBs kinda makes you WANT to have a binge day, and you even go so far as to plan it out?

Welcome to my Thursday.

And to celebrate the steady climb in my waist size, this is what I had for lunch.

And your eyes are not deceiving you - that's 3/4 of a cake.

That last bit I saved for dessert tonight.

See, I have SOME self-control.

According to the nutritional label, I figure that to be about 900 calories worth of cake, in the span of 8 minutes.

And guess what?

I still don't give a fuck.
It's not a bad mood-type thing...not at all. Just an I-don't-care thing. And an I-spend-too-much-time-worrying-about-my-fat-ass thing.

Onto the Cheetos.

Is It Friday Yet?

No seriously, is it?

I am in such a work fog, I can't remember what day it is.

Yesterday was so long, in fact, I could have sworn it lasted a week.

The upshot is that with so much work, I have sort of emotionally shut down - I am simply too exhausted to really care about anything else.

And in the "anything else" catagory would be working out, eating right, worrying about the grapefruit (which is now almost gone), and pretty much anything else happening in the personal life.

Maybe that's a good thing, at least for right now.

In fact, I woke up this morning (late) to the sounds of my bike quietly weeping in the corner while my running shoes were softly comforting it.

Bike: I just don't understand. Sometimes she loves me, we have these great bonding sessions filled with intense emotions and sweat, and the BAM! Nothing. It's like she doesn't even care!

Shoes: I know, I know. But sometimes she just needs her space. Sometimes she just needs to compartmentalize, like a guy, and shut it down for a few days.

Bike: How does she do it though? I thought we had a connection! And then to just turn it on and off? It makes no sense.

Shoes: Yeah, she's gone through that with us too. Love us, hate us - the push and pull can be infuriating. But she's a good girl, she's worth hanging in there for....just give her some time.

Bike: I'm not getting any younger, and these smooth lines and curves aren't going to be around forever. I gave her so much of myself! All those miles, in the Arizona heat, on that pitiful trainer all those months - I gave and gave! And for what? To be forgotten about in the corner of the room and have clothese and visors piled on me, just waiting for a call, waiting for a glance, waiting for her to climb on top of me whenever she feels good and ready? I feel so used! I can't keep putting myself through this. I think we need to break up.

Shoes: Now, now, don't do anything rash. She's come back before, she'll come back again.

Bike: I am nobody doormat, not even for an Ironman. There are too many good miles ahead of me, so many roads to conquer. These wheels need to get a-spinning, and she's either going to be with me or have to find another set of areo bars to lay on. Do you know that I caught her coming home this weekend, reeking of french fries and donuts! I am not going to just sit around and watch her love her sweet gummy bears and Red Vines more than me!

(wailing sob)

So I rolled over, covered my head with pillow, and wished the bike a long ride off a short pier.

Maybe I'll take her for a spin for "Bike the Drive" this weekend. Or maybe I'll lay in bed and watch the Indiana Jones trilogy and eat cereal.

Yeah, I know - the possibilities for fun in my life are endless.

Just like a Chicago-version of Carrie Bradshaw.

Expect without the martinis, fancy clothes, filthy rich booty call soon-to-be-husband, and closet space.

Good times.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Welcome to Milwaukee.

First stop: Miller Park, Home of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Cheese living his dream of sitting in a major league baseball dugout.

And then with me.

Us and our 100 year old tour guide, who was long winded (aren't all old people?) and quite lovely. She pretty much lived through the last 2 centuries of baseball in Milwaukee so so certainly had a lot to say. We loved her.

Second stop: Miller Brewery. Not as cool as we thought, but hey, free beer in the end made up for it.....

Take note - rare occurance.

Not so rare occurance....
The next day, we went to see the Body Worlds exhibit, but this was the closest picture I could find to show it - me and Cheese having coffee while waiting for our designated time.

Goofing off, but I thought it was a cute picture - yeah, I admit it - I totally put it up because I though it was cute. So what?

And the final stop of the Milwaukee tour - the Milwaukee Art Museum. Art in Milwaukee?!?!? I know, I was as surprised as you are.....but seriously, the building itself is pretty cool...

Of course, the obligatory picture with the lake in the background....can I get a collective "Awwwwww?"

And because I was more concerned about looking cute in my dress than the actual weather, I brought no coat, so had to wear Cheese's dress shirt as a coat. Awesome.

And that, folks, is about it. It was a fun weekend, nice to get a way and stay ina fancy smancy hotel, and not worry about work at all. We ate lots of bad food, slept in on Sunday, and basically just hang out with each other. I loved it, and loved spending some much needed time outside of the apartment.
Cheese got the call today to go back to Tulsa, OK, for another round of work. He should have been here through next week, but I am taking him to the airport in just a few minutes instead. Can you say pissed off? But I guess that is what I signed up for - one month away, five days home. Sigh.
At least I have the pictures.....

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Yes, that's where I spent my weekend.

And yes, it was awesome.

And yes, there are pictures of a not-stressed, and slowly-melting-grapefruit Megan floating out there, but it's late and I will post all tomorrow.

Time for sleepy sleep.

Soooooo looking forward to those race reports Erin, Alli and Clyde!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Weekend

Seriously. I needed it to start about three weeks ago....

So as the weekend (or "freedom days" as I like to call them) approaches, I have a few things to say:

1. GOOOOOOO Alli in your duathlon this weekend!!!!! I know you have had a tough week, but take it out on the raods - and damn the rain - you're tougher than a few raindrops! Now go DU it!!!

2. Clyde - two half-marathons in the same month?!?!?! You win this week's crazy award! But you will be great, as you were two weeks ago - and since we will be in the same state, I will be screaming loud enough so you can hear me all the way out in Greenbay. GO CLYDE!!!!!!

3. And joinging Clyde the weekend in Greenbay is ERIN!!!!! She doesn't think she has done enough training, but training shmaining - Erin is going to kick ass out there!

4. And yay for me, because the BF is coming home! I haven't seen the man since the day after Ironman, and let's just say it's been a REALLY long 30+ days. We have plans to go away for the weekend, and it looks like it will be fun!

5. And to everyone else racing this weekend - GOOD LUCK!!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't Call It a Comeback (exactly....)

Ever have that experience where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing?

If so, you probably work for our state’s government.

Either that, or you, too, are part of the same transplant program as I.

So today, after waiting TWO HOURS (yes, that breaks my own old personal record of 75 minutes) for an appointment, I finally met with a doctor who, oddly enough, I had never seen before.

After unleashing my hysterical tears of frustration on her (complicated by the fact that I was now one hour late for work, and 15 minutes away from a staffing I was supposed to attend), she had me hop on the table and lift my shirt. The conversation went like this:

Her: Oh, your scabs look really good!
Me: Oh yeah? (hopping off table and pulling down my pants) How about this grapefruit? Does that look good to you, too?
Her: Well, actually, yes, it does look pretty good.
Me: So when do you think it should look….GONE?
Her: Well, it should look like that, you know. It will take some time…..
Me: Well, my other doctor said it would take two weeks, and it’s been three weeks post-surgery. Her: (quizzical look on face) Two weeks? Huh. No, it should actually take up to six weeks for all that to be healed (goes on to explain why it looks as it does).
Me: SIX WEEKS?!?!?! Are you kidding me with that?
Her: Uh no.
Me: I don’t have time for that.
Her: What else do you have to do?
Me: Uh, nothing…Stuff…I don’t know.
Her: (pause).
Me: You know, I did Ironman four weeks ago.
Her: (Blank stare)
Me: (Stare back......long silent pause)
Me: So how about this running thing? The doctor told me last week that I would be ready to go.
Her (same quizzical look, now with a raised eyebrow) Uh, three weeks post-surgery? how far do you want to run?
Me: How far can I run?
Her: How far do you want to run?
Me: 20 miles, but I don’t think that’s what you’re going to tell me.
Her: Nope. No I won’t.

So we negotiated, and came up with a reasonable amount of running. She also gave me some tips on how to “juice” Ruby Red.

Including patience.

Yeah, ‘cause I am sooo good with that.

Then she tried to bond with me, and told me that she had the exact same scar and citrus issue on her stomach post-baby birth. She then says, with a sympathetic smile and nod, "And now two years later, my stomach looks almost healed."


My insides were screaming, "Bitch what?!?!" but my outsides were smiling knowlingly, letting her feel as if she made some connection, politely accepted my lab work papers, and got the EFF out of there and into my little car, where I proceed to INHALE a bag (grocery store size) of potato chips.

Hey - my blood pressue was a 104/64, so I felt I deserved to knock back an ocean's worth of salt after that fiasco.

I was reluctant to post a picture of this monster, but finally I was like "Whatever." I figured you have all seen some really ugly parts of me over the last two years - what's a little skin? Just so you can all see that I am not joking. If your not on a diet now, your loss of appitite will jump start it.
Just to put this in perspective (because the picture doesn't do the best job of it), the first bump is "The Pucker" which, as noted before, is the result of a stitch under the skin. The second bump is my little friend. So, off to the far left side you can sort of see a scar where my hip bone should be, and usually is. The grapefruit doesn't just stick out, but it has swelled the entire lower ab area so that, from hip to hip, it's swelled out like on of those "Save the Babies" kids, with a grapefruit plopped on the end of it.
Pretty delicious. I know.

And the comeback?

Right before Ironman, I was asked to participate on a relay team for a run from Madison to Chicago in June. I said yes at the time, with the caveat that the whole kidney thing might make me retract my commitment.

Since I have been steadily biking, and can return (slowly) to running, it looks like I will be able to do the relay. However, I will need to talk to Danielle (organizer and fellow blogger) about how much they will need me to run, but I think it should be flexible and do-able. I really just want to do it because it sounds like fun, even if I can’t do 20-mile stretches.

I also know my limits. My fitness is slowly returning and will continue to do so as the race approaches. I know there are enough members on the team to cover if for some horrible reason I have a setback or am simply not ready. But I don’t think that would be the case. I can do this if I play it smart.

I think I was just hoping for some different (better?) news at the office. I think I was expecting them to say, “Oh, don’t worry about that melon hanging off your abdomen – should be gone by morning and your boyfriend (whose coming into town in one more day) won’t even throw up in his mouth when he sees it….Oh, and running? Feel free to sign up for that marathon next week.”

But as I said in a previous post – victor, not victim. I am happy that I can run even a little bit, and at least have an expectation of when my citrus friend says “Adios.” So I guess I can be satisfied with that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cliff hanger

Before I launch into my own hundrum life, I just wanted to give a HUGE HUGE scream of support to Momo, who received some fantastic news today. YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!

As for me, the grapefruit is still hanging on for dear life on the front of my lower torso, so, uh, that's been pretty rad.

And frankly, disgusting.


I have managed to ride my bike (on the trainer) several times. The first couple rides were sort of difficult, mostly becuase my knees/thighs would hit the grapefriut (yes, that is how HUGE it is). But I have worked myself up to a full hour as of last night. I felt fantastic, strong. I noticed though, that was WIPED OUT by about 10pm, so clearly the body is still recovering.

And before I get any (loving) lectures on doing too much too fast, I have been VERY careful not to overdo it. On the days I feel like doo-doo, I simply lay in bed and give myself toof cavitites by binging on Coco Puffs and ice cream. On the days I feel semi-human, I ride for 30-45 minutes, but the second I start to feel tired or winded, I hop off the bike.

No shame in my game. I know my limits.

Tomorrow is my first non-crisis-related post-surgery appointment, and I fully expect to get the green light on the running.

Which will be coming at a very good time because......

Well, I guess you'll have to tune in tomorrow for the big comeback announcement.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008


(From today's "Dedication" for Baby Nolan)

Two years ago, on Mother’s Day, my sister Ellen found out she was pregnant.

The structure of my family at that time was, to put it mildly, chaotic.

My father had died about a year and a half before, but we were all still trying to deal with it. Prior to his death, my parents were embroiled in a pretty ugly divorce, and my family was fragmented. My mother was the one to leave, and the family was reeling from it. As a result, she became Public Enemy #1.

My father’s death made matters worse, because there was the estate to deal with, and the battle over it broke the family even further. My mother, for most of my life, was my best friend. I tried to support her when she left during the divorce, but things got messy, things got angry.

But when my sister found out she was to become a mother, it marked a beginning of the turnaround in bringing the family back together.

Over the last year, Ellen and my mother, who have never been close and, in fact, bitterly at odds, reunited. Today, they are closer than anyone else in my family. Moreover, my mother’s return to the family unit seems to have made us whole again.

I don’t know if any of us kids ever fully appreciated the impact of our mother on our lives. At one point, she was working full-time, and raising five kids all under the age of eight. She was out mother and out father in many ways – she was the one who held all our secrets, who protected us, who fed us and hugged us, and rubbed our backs when we had fevers.

My mother was the one who forgave our shortcomings, no questions asked. She cried for us, and for our rebellion against her, but she never questioned her love or stopped loving us, no matter how much we messed up.

And we messed up good.

Today, two years after my sister found out she was pregnant on Mother’s Day, I sat next to my mother as we watched Ellen and her family baptize (“dedicate” they call it) her son to God. I was surrounded by my family, on the day which we come together to celebrate and appreciate the women who raise us and shape us into the people we are today.

I love my mom – I don’t tell her nearly enough. I missed her during those years. A lot. She was there almost every minute of every day the entire time I was in the hospital, and she may never know how much that meant to me.

When my mom hugged me “hello” this morning, she called me “my angel.” I know she meant it. And she that to us, as well - never judging, always supporting, always guiding.

In addition to this, I thought this was interesting and wanted to mention it. The congregation leader spoke about pain and suffering today. He spoke about how we have a choice in our suffering – to be victims or be victors.

My ears perked up – see, when Cheese and I fight, and he says something that hurts my feelings and I call him on it, he tells me I am playing the victim. And I absolutely hate that - I have never seen myself as a victim, or at least I didn’t think so.

But as I sat there today, it hit me that, in the last few weeks, I have made myself a victim – I have moaned about how I hurt, or what I lost, or what I can’t do or whatever else I found on that day to bitch about.

But what I haven’t done is celebrate all the things that I have – I have health, I have family, I have a body that was able to produce the healthiest possible organ for my brother, and I have a accomplishment of an Ironman and will that allow me to comeback soon and stronger than before. I have incredible friends that have given me words, hugs, shoulders and calls of support. I have a family that is very much healthy, and now whole.

I have more than I don’t, and I am not a victim. I would say that, looking at my life, I am very much a victor.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Post #2 for the Day - A Slight Change

Ever noticed how, in the midst of a life-changing event (i.e. a break up), girls always want to take their stress out on their hair?

Yeah, I'm no different.

So I went and got a fancy new haircut.

And bangs.

I had enough sense to not drastically chop it all off - at least today.

Can't decide if I am yet sold on this concept, but at least it's taking my mind off the pins and needles feeling in my abdomen.

Me Today

So here’s what’s happening.

Last Friday, I noticed that, between my belly button and the “cesarean” scar, my abdomen was expanding. It initially looked like a golf ball, then a lemon, and then an orange. I freaked out because I though my intestines were pushing through my skin, but turns out that, because of how they cut me for the surgery, a little cavity was left under my skin.

Over the course of the week, fluid started to fill this cavity, thus giving me the appearance of having a now-grapefruit hidden under my skin.

Not only does it hurt like hell, but it is mortifyingly disgusting to look at.

In fact, I showed my sister Ellen the other day, and she responded by making a gag face like she was throwing up.

I don’t blame her – I do the same thing every time I am forced to looked down.

Now, I know, rationally, that this will go away. I know this. Just like I know I will be able to run and swim and bike again. Soon. But it hurts, and it’s ugly. And when taken together with the lack of physical activity, I have never in my life felt so ugly. I don’t feel good physically or about myself.

The crazy part of this is that I know this was a good thing – I don’t regret and I am not mad or would ever complain about the donation itself. It was, in fact, the best decision I ever made. I have nothing but positive thoughts about the decision I made to do this. But part of me just wants my old life back, wants my energy, wants to not hurt anymore, wants to just feel good again.

I want to be IronMeg again.

I know that might sounds selfish, but I can’t help it.

And I know I just need to be patient. But when the pain claws at you for days on end, you start to just want to scream.

Las night, I had to go to the store to get another sundress (I can only wear dresses right now because it hurts too much to have anything touch the grapefruit belly). As I was standing in the aisle, the grapefruit belly delivered a stunning cramp – so bad it shot up my back, and I almost wanted to fall on the ground. I stood there, one hand on my sweaty forehead, the other on my belly, willing the tears not to fall and wondering if I needed to call my sister to come get me.

I waited, the pain passed, and I just gave up and went home – no dress.

And this is how it is. Everyday. All day.

Ironman was one thing– but this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Many times, I just cry to myself in my apartment, where I spend most of my time alone, laying in my bed. I cry for the pain, for the grapefruit, for the enormity of the whole donor thing. It has felt really lonely, mostly because I am physically alone.

I had no idea it would be this hard. All of it.

My brother has tried to reach out to me, but I have had limited contact this week. He is doing incredible, so happy and eager to live now, and I can’t let him see me like this – it scared him the other day to see me in so much pain, and I want him to feel all the happiness right now of being healthy. He doesn’t need any negative vibes around his new life.

That is why I tend to withdraw from this blog or emails – it’s just too hard to be that downer – even though I know you all say that it doesn’t matter, it does to me. Contrary to what I was recently accused of, I do not like to be sad, and it bothers me when I can’t shake it. Does it happen? Yes, to all of us. But does it feel good to be sad? No, so why spread that to others? I know I got a lot of shit in the recent post when I apologized for not feeling myself, so this isn’t an apology – more like an explanation of how I operate.

I am not doing a good job at explaining this. I sound like a selfish ass, like I am complaining, and that’s not what I am trying to get across. I think this is all compounded by other stress going on and weighing on me. It’s like when they took my kidney, they stuck an extra ovary in there to make me all weepy – like PMS only it doesn’t end after seven days.

On that note, I can’t say thank you enough for all the calls, instant messages, emails and comments. They do make me feel incredibly better, and like I will be okay – in fact, I kind of depend on them. The funny stuff makes me laugh in the moment, and talking about things other than kidney pain takes my mind off of the things here. I know I haven’t been great these last few days with returning some emails, but I will try to catch up this weekend.

So that’s me. Today.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Please hang in there with me, guys.

I am on a rollar coaster of emotions right now, and while I am usually one to vomit it all up on this blog, I simply can't seem to pull it together this week. Two days "up" apparently leads to two or three days "down."

I will try this again tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Exercise in Humility

(Warning: Large ego-check in progress. Watch for falling self-opinions.)

So I rode last night.

I decided that I would do an hour. That’s easy enough, right? I mean, come on, that’s like a warm-up for me right?

Wrong. So very, very, wrong.

I called it quits at about 45 minutes. I was gasping for air, sweat pouring off me, even though I stayed in a easy, cruising gear the whole time.

And Megan being Megan, I got frustrated with myself, and the conversation went a little bit like this:

Me: 45 minutes?!?!?!!? Are you kidding me?!?! I hate you, you stupid body.
Body: Hate you right back! Why do you keep doing this to me? I give and I give and I give, and you just take and take and then make me do things I am not ready for. Give me a break for crying out loud!
Me: Oh stop complaining. You did IM three weeks ago, I know you can break through this pain. I know you are better then this.
Body: I am, Megan, but you need to give me some time. If you don’t, I am going to revolt against you in a way you never imagined. LAY.OFF.ME. If 45 minutes is all I give, then you need to be happy with it. Get over yourself, you ego-maniac. END.OF.STORY.
Megan: *grumble….grumble* Fine….Still hate you.
Body: Whatever. And while we're on the topic, maybe you should stop feeding me boxes of candy instead of meals. What - did we all of the sudden forget about protien? The doctor says specifcally, "Eat protien" and you give me Red Vines? For breakfast?!? Grow up.

So I am learning, among other things, how to re-think and re-talk to myself.

Oh boy - is this “Square One” approach a test of my patience. I told Cheese last night - I always consider myself to be the exception. We all do, right? I mean, the doctor says, "Most people will take about four to six weeks to feel recovered, go back to work...." and we think, "Well, maybe, but I'm not like most people."

I know I am not the only one who thinks like this, right?


I think it would not be so bad if I didn’t have the two utmost extremes of physical ability within two weeks of each other - going from feeling invincible to totally broken.

This was never more clear then my little attempts at walking on the treadmill at the gym.

See, I’ve posted before about how I get this secret satisfaction when I go to the gym to run the treadmill after riding the trainer for 3-4-5 hours. I like running and thinking, “Yeah, this is like my 4th or 5th or 6th hour of working out today.” I like knowing that.

But I never really thought that in a narcissistic or superiority way. I was never snide out it – just proud, and proud of myself for being able to do it.

In fact, throughout the training, I have always felt proud – and mostly because, at the beginning of each new and long workout, I was terrified of what that workout would bring – pain, tears, injury, etc. So in finishing a workout, the pride was about overcoming that fear, and pushing through.

The payoff was non-quantifiable. To finish Ironman, and race the way I wanted – I was at the extreme peak of what my body could do.

And then fast forward to two weeks later. Scene: Me, on the treadmill, surrounded by people running, singing along to their iPods while bouncing along. I found myself overwhelmed with the desire to scream, “But I just did Ironman!!! Three weeks ago! I am just walking because I had surgery! But I am better than this!”

Okay, how narcissistic is that?!?!

Like, who effing care that I am walking and why? No one cares. NO ONE. It’s only my own ego about what I think I SHOULD be doing. I am embarrassed about this and yes, I know I need to take myself down a notch.

It occurred to me that my mental strength was what ultimately got me through Ironman, and my mental strength is the thing that is going to make or break this recovery. If I keep getting in my own way, I am going to have setback after setback. But if I can just teach myself to accept life as it is in this moment, then I can comeback slowly but strong.

Sigh. Sounds so easy, but we are talking about a girl’s whose second most obvious “hole” is the place when my patience should be.

So 45 minutes on the bike will do for now. I will say this though – I woke up this morning feeling like I did a 7-hour brick.

But I guess I have never been one to turn down a challenge.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Good and the Bad

Thanks for putting up with my crap these last few days. I hate not being able to be my normal, biting, sarcastic self. I hate disappearing and then putting up posts of me complaining about not feeling good.

So I will give some good news and bad news (mostly good).

The Good:
1. My swelling is due to fluid accumulating in a cavity that was left behind my belly skin when they cut me open. I guess this is sort of normal, but I have an appointment next week to check it, just in case it doesn't "drain on it's own." And I would totally put a picture up, but trust me when I say, it is nothing short of absurdly disgusting. Imagine if one were to have a fat water balloon attached to the abdominal area.

2. My back pain is due to the wound that was left when they took the kidney. Once out of the body, it left a large emptiness. So the pain is basically the body trying to sort itself out, and close up the wound that was left behind. It would have been a good thing to have known about these things BEFORE leaving the hospital, because apparently they are normal. But if I am not told to expect them, then I think I am dying when the pain increases and doesn't go away.

3. There's not a ton I can do about my pain, but it will hopefully start to minimize in about another week. At least there is an end in sight.

4. I saw my brother at the hospital - he looks like a completely different person, like 10 years younger then his actual age. I think I scared him a littel though, because I was a ton of pain and trying to explain what the cuts look like (I think I said something like my body is carved up, or it looks disgusting, or something) which triggered me to cry. He and his wife looked sort of startled, because I don't remember the last time my brother saw me cry. He sort of moved to hug me, but I don't usually hug (there are rare exceptions). He texted me later to tell me he felt "sad" when he saw that, which then made me feel bad, because he is feeling all good and new and fresh, and he shouldn't have to see me in pain and upset. It's like a buzz kill.

5. The doctor said that, when I feel like it, I can RIDE MY BIKE!!!!!! He said, "But not on the street - no street yet." As long as I keep it in the trainer, I can go for about 30 minutes. No running for at least another week, and I can start swimming by Friday (as long as my scars look healed).

The Bad:
1. PAIN!!!!!!!! Still there, still hard, still having trouble wearing pants. My back pain is almost worse then the stomach swelling and scar pain, 'cause I can't get comfortable for anything.

The End:
So the good outweighs the bad. I made sure to ask a TON of questions about what to expect (because I am not getting caught off-guard again with this) and made sure I was given the green light regarding training (because I am not going to catch shit about trying to get back too soon).

I hope this is my my last post about this nonsense. No more complaining, no more whining. Pain is pain, and at least I know I should have it. And if I know, then I can deal with it.

A "Normal Megan" post will return tomorrow.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


So the best decision of the day was calling the doctor.

He said, "Uh no, Megan, that should not be happening (in reference to the disgusting abdominal swelling and back pain).

I will go back to the hospital tomorrow for an examination and testing to figure this out.

In the meantime, I will lay in my bed.

Which I seem to never leave anymore.

Patience has never been my strength.

Still Alive...

but been pretty sick. Finally called doctor this morning (Sunday) 'cause I can't take the pain anymore, and now waiting to hear if I go back to the hospital.

Will let you know...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Still Working on the Coherent-Thought Post

But until then...

SITC - The Movie
Today was “Sex in the City Day” on Oprah.

Cut me some slack– my need to move slow these days allows me extra time in the morning to leave the house.

So....I may have caught the first few minutes.

Or 30 – get off my back.

In any case, was it me, or was the Big O sort of like, molesting SJP on her show today? At least in those opening few moments? Personally, if someone was going to paw at me like that in public, I usually require a decent seafood dinner before hand.

P.S. I am SO going to see this movie.

And I hate myself for it.

I have decided that Wheel of Fortune goes against the grain of what’s normal.

Not only have this show been on t.v. since I was a twinkle in my dad’s belt buckle, but Pat Sajak and Vanna White have clearly signed their name in blood for never-ending youth, and the shit FREAKS ME OUT.

Gross, Part I
For no good reason, I am sitting here sweating. It’s not like I'm in my parka with the heat turned up to "Hell." In fact, I am in a towel, fresh from the shower. But yet I can feel the drips trickling down my arms from the pits. Hmmm….

Gross, Part II
On a separate, but not totally unrelated note, the ungodly amounts of stool softeners and suppositories shoved in me during my recent hospital stay seem to have finally banded together and are unleashing their angry vengeance upon my rectum. Why vengeance? Well, you might be a bit pissed off, too, if you were shoved up my ass.

I'm feeling a bit better today.