On Thursday morning, I took an ovulation test; on Thursday afternoon, I took a pregnancy test. How do I even start to explain this?
At the beginning of the week, I noticed that there were a few little red bumps on my abdomen. We’ve been taking yoga and pilates, so I absently brushed it off as a rash from my yoga mat. However, midweek, the same spot was uncontrollably irritated and the redness was slowly spreading. I knew I needed to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist (these days, I have enough skin problems that I skip the regular doctor).
Anything having to do with bodies makes me nervous, so I was feeling vulnerable as I walked into the exam room. I sat there for a few minutes, waiting and trying not to scratch my unbelievably itchy belly. My dermatologist, who is so friendly and wonderful at putting me at ease, examined my rash and immediately knew what was wrong with me. “You have shingles.” Ohh boy.
I didn’t know where the diagnosis fell on the scale of minor to terrible news. I had heard of older people getting shingles but wasn’t sure what it meant for me. All at once, I felt disappointed in my body and all of the crummy things it was putting me through and I couldn’t hold it in. While fumbling to hand me a box of tissues, my doctor tried his best to encourage me, saying that it was wise for me to come in so soon. He explained a few things about shingles to me, like the fact that it is more common among older adults, but can affect people of any age who have had chickenpox. After I had chickenpox as a kid, the underlying virus had basically gone to sleep but lingered inside my body. For some people, the virus never shows up again, but for others (like me!), it comes back as shingles when the immune system is weak.
He suggested a few situations that might cause my immune system to be weak, including pregnancy. He then asked me if there was a chance that I was pregnant. In that moment, I was completely aware of the irony of my situation and I literally laughed out loud! I said something like, “Well that would be really weird because we haven’t been able to get pregnant....I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I don’t think so.” Very sweetly, he recommended that I take a pregnancy test and made sure that it wouldn’t be traumatic for me. I assured him that I was fine and would be willing to take the test. I peed into a cup and the result was negative. Of course it was negative.
And that is how I ended up taking an ovulation test and a pregnancy test on the same day. But the good news is that my ovulation test showed a smiley face, meaning that I have a regular ovulation cycle! And that information is a happy piece to the puzzle. The whole week, my emotions were all over the place. I was crying and laughing; I was resenting my body but being grateful for my blessings. Like my amazing husband who calls me "Kris Shingle" and makes me laugh so hard. Some days are just like that. In fact, a lot of days are like that for me. Life is a gongshow. But I already decided that it just feels better to be happy.