Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
“Oh, my God – your ovaries are gorgeous!” the nurse said, as if my reproductive organs were an accessory, like a fancy scarf or a pair of designer shoes.
“Thanks,” I said. “No one has ever told me that before.”
Oh, calm down. I’m not going to write an entire column about my papaya (which is indeed Costa Rican slang for the female genitalia, just so you know). Just pretend I’m talking about my knees or my ears or anything you might have two of that are critical to your well-being.
Like, let’s say you are determined to run a marathon. Running a marathon is all you ever wanted, even though you might be a little old for this activity. In fact, some people tell you that you are indeed too old, that after 35 the chances of your knees holding up for over 26 miles are now less than 10 percent.
You’re like, “But I’m so healthy. I live in a magical place called Assspen where the beer flows like wine and everyone looks and acts exactly 10 years younger than their true age.”
“But I work out. I don’t eat gluten,” you say. “I do yoga five times a week, and last month I did a cleanse.”
Your friends who really want to see you run that marathon because they ran one tell you to go see this doctor who can fix your knees if it’s true that they are indeed no longer good enough.
So you drive to Denver and you pay hundreds of dollars for this big impressive doctor. He does a bunch of tests and lab work and makes you have your blood drawn like 10 times and has you do this glucose test to see if you’re diabetic. He wants to shove probes up your nose and into your ears and other unpleasant orifices and put dye through and take X-rays, just so he can get a good picture of what’s going on with you internally.
During one of the tests, the lab technician says, “Oh. You have blackitybloobily on your patella.” They sound a little too satisfied when they say this, as if this is some kind of triumph for them.
“What the hell is blackitybloobily?” you ask. You’re stripped nude with a paper dress on in some compromised position, so conversation does not come easily.
“See these black bloob spots here? Those are blaciktybloobilies.”
You look at the screen, but all you see are spots, so it’s hard to tell what she’s talking about.
“So, what does that mean?” you ask her, noticing how she won’t even look you in the eye.
“I’ll let the doctor explain that to you.”
You grab her by the back of her lab coat and pull sharply so she falls into her chair with the wheels on it, which makes it really easy for you to pull her with a jerk and whisper in her ear, “Listen, if you don’t tell me what blackitybloobily is, I’m going to go home and look it up on the Internet, and you know what that means.”
“They’re just cysts, little growths. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run a marathon. It just means …”
“That you might not be able to run a fast marathon.”
After having all these tests done and spending all this time and money, you get to meet with Big Doctor Man for like, 10 minutes. He smiles and tells you everything is going to be fine. You will run your marathon, he says. He hands you a prescription and says, “If that doesn’t work, we’ll regroup in a few months.” The way he says it suggests that he will probably see you in a few months, so go ahead and leave a credit card number with us and we’ll keep your tab open.
His nurses call you to follow up. “So, do these black-blue things ever go away?” you ask.
“No. No, not really,” the nurse says.
“So I’ll have the blackitybloobily for the rest of my life?”
“Yes, but it’s really not a huge problem. It’s nothing we can’t work with.”
You go home and you think about all that yoga you did that promised to balance everything out and keep your knees healthy and flexible. You think about one pose in particular where they always talk about how it’ll give you healthy knees and strong spine, and you believed it.
OK, the truth is I’m talking about my damned ovaries and the fact that this doctor told me I had cysts. They told me there was nothing I could do. So I went online and found all kinds of information about all kinds of things you can do. I changed my diet and cut out refined sugar in particular, as well as dairy and processed foods.
A month later, the cysts were totally gone. In fact, my ovaries are now “gorgeous.”
It was perhaps the most empowering moment in my career as a yoga instructor. It validated everything I’ve been telling my students for the last four years – that you do have power over your own wellness. That you should strive to connect with what’s going on internally, even if you have to imagine it at first, to bring the mind into body and therefore, bring a certain intelligence through that connection.
What really pisses me off is the poor quality of health care in this country. Here I am, a Princess, at the fanciest private medical clinic on the planet, and they’re telling me things that are just wrong. And if I chose to believe them, it could adversely affect my health in a profound way. Because in the end, your perception of your health is more powerful than anything a laboratory test can tell you.
The really bad news is if you do have the blackitybloobily in your knees, that’s totally different. You’re probably screwed.
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