Grabbing Life with Both Hands


I went to the neurologist today. It was just a routine check-up, nothing to be too alarmed about. She was very pleased with my program to free the thinner woman inside me. However, she was a little grave about a strange episode I’d had a few weeks ago. It was an ordinary Saturday morning. We were out and about and having a conversation, but the wrong words kept popping up when I was talking. I intended to say exaggeration, but “embarrassment” came out instead. “Week” became “wreck” and cart was mysteriously transformed in “chair,” as in “Yes I put the eggs in the shopping chair.” I’ve had some language issues with migraine, but they weren’t like this. Plus there was no headache pain and it went on for a good 90 minutes, with some concurrent numbness in my left arm.

She said the “s” word. For migraine sufferers who have aura in addition to their migraine, the increased risk for stroke is substantial. While she didn’t think I had a stroke per se, we did talk at length about TIA, transient ischemic attacks. It may not have been that, but now I get to take a baby aspirin every day for the rest of my life just in case. It could have been just a new riff on the migraines, but she wants me to have an MRI just to check. Of course, without health insurance, that will be an interesting shopping trip.

Afterwards, we went down to a park outside of Cincinnati and happened to get there in time to watch a group of kids, rank beginners, in a riding lesson. It was nice to lean on the fence and watch them, though it made me crazy that the instructor(s) were not telling their students to shorten their reins; had not  shown them how to hold the reins and where to put their hands. A novice rider can’t “steer” a horse holding the reins at the buckle or in a big wide triangle like they’re riding a bicycle or something. (An accomplished rider can “steer” with their legs, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.) The horses were well cared for, but looked bored, with the exception of one Haflinger pony, whom I swear, seemed to be smiling.

My history with horses is long and complicated. I stopped riding because I lost my nerve after a serious accident. I never went back, even though I missed it, even though I know I could trot around a ring on a smiling Haflinger. Now I am too fat. Oh, sure there are some large hunters or warmbloods or even drafts that could carry my weight without much difficulty, but I feel self-conscious about it.  But that is changing, and I think I would like to again see the world through the ears of a horse.

We all die of something. Today I got a preview of what it might be for me. It had the most unexpected effect. I felt weirdly cheerful, and I was absolutely inspired to grab life with both hands, perhaps a bit of mane for good measure, and hang on for whatever wild ride I have left.

Today’s target number 61.6.  Steps logged were 11,528.  Consumed: peach yogurt with quarter cup granola, spinach and cheese crepe, smoked salmon, mixed spring greens, two mugs of hot tea, iced coffee, french cruller, 5 fresh Mozarella bocconcini (about the size of a shooter marble.)


12 thoughts on “Grabbing Life with Both Hands

      • Wow that is a lot of weight in just a few weeks. Remember often times weight loss is big in the beginning but slows down over time. This can be discouraging at times. I stalled for weeks at the same number but stuck with it. As I know you know from your blog posts you are after lifestyle changes not simply quick and easy weight loss.

  1. Thanks for this Larkin. As you know, I have migraine headaches, too. They are complete with the nasty aura. The record, 48 days straight, was just set a month or so ago. I do have insurance, luckily, and my bill for the MRI went from $2500 originally to $250, what they actually paid my PPO. I hope you can find a patient advocate to help you obtain this valuable service without draining your bank account. No one in the medical profession has bothered to tell me about increased risk of stroke or attempt to explain the cause of my migraines. I think they all believe it’s all in my head.

    Ps. Two weeks ago today, I underwent virtual lapband hypnosis. (Six years ago, the same hypnotherapist got me to quit smoking 2 packs a day.) So far, I’ve lost 12 pounds eating whatever my heart desires – but no snacking (none) and only 3 golf-ball sized meals a day. I’m happy to be on this journey together….

    • I hope you get some answers soon. One of the benefits of living in the Midwest is that there is a lot of competition for service providers for MRI– and seven major metropolitan centers within 250 miles (Cincinnati, Louisville, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Columbus and Chicago) in which to “shop.” I don’t know if you saw the other (considerably more lengthy) piece on Migraines at the other blog site: 48 days sounds like a living hell. You might want to see if you can find a neurologist who is a headache specialist somewhere in the region.

  2. That sounds scary Larkin – I hope you get to find out what it is soon. I occassionally have the word switches and slurred words, but it is a form of cateplexy – it always freaks me out like someone else is holding the remote for my brain.

    Sending warm thoughts your way….

  3. Wow! Very scary. Actually, I can see how it would make you feel like grabbing life with both hands. I do hope you’re okay and that you are going to be able to get to the bottom (or close to it) of this episode soon and get the help that you need. I also hope that your dream of seeing life atop a horse again comes true. You so deserve it.

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