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I was freaking out about my health when my doctor rode by on her bike

Walking-in-Brookline-VTI had a checkup on Wednesday. I told my doctor about an increasingly annoying feeling in my arms and legs. Not pins and needles, not tingling, more a sensation of blood not getting to extremities.

I have some medical issues ~ celiac, autoimmune things, and I’m a cancer survivor (thyroid cancer 28 years ago). With this new feeling, I worry that I have some sort of cardiovascular disease.

I start looking up things on the internet.

My doctor ordered blood work, some of which came back with the usual highs and lows, but apparently “nothing to be worried about.” Other tests, such as vitamin deficiencies, hadn’t come back yet. My doctor is gone today (Friday) so I can’t talk to her about any of this. I have to wait until Monday.

I’m worried it’s getting worse. Thursday night I woke up with the numbing, bloodless feeling throughout my body. It was alarming. I got up out of bed. I googled and most of the results came back as anxiety. Ohhhhh. Hmmm. Yeah, I have that sometimes but now I’m worried because this numbness won’t go away no matter how many jumping jacks I do, or walk around my room, or shake my hands and feet.

Finally, I go back to sleep. I wake up and I still have slight numbness all over my body, except my head, thank God.

One of my concerns is that I might have to give up coffee. I google until I find enough sites (including the American Heart Association) which indicate that coffee is good for circulation. I go get a cup.

I take a Bayer aspirin, in case it’s sluggish blood. I am not sure what to do as I’m supposed to drive up for a fun UMASS reunion happening near Burlington. This is our 4th year in a row getting together and I’m looking forward to it.

I’m not sure if I should go. I’m afraid to drive with this feeling. What if it gets worse? I randomly say a little prayer, “God, help me figure this out.”

I decide to go for a walk, which I have not done as much lately, since I’ve taken up yoga instead. Luna jumps for joy.

I get down to the bottom of the driveway. I’m walking past the daycare center. Across the street is where my neighbor, who is actually the nurse for my doctor, lives. I see a woman in a bright magenta shirt coming up the street riding her bike. I wave, because we all wave in these parts, to bikes, cars, horses.

The woman on the bike smiles and slows down, then stops. It’s my doctor. I’ve never seen her ride her bike on this road before. We are both surprised to see each other.

We speak for a few moments. She provides reassurance. She doesn’t think it’s cardiovascular disease. She asks if I’ve been stressed out lately. Not more than usual. We will talk on Monday after getting the other test results. I give her a hug before she rides away.

I feel better after seeing her. SO. MUCH. BETTER. It feels like a mini-miracle that she happened to ride by on her bike just then.

I stop at another neighbor’s house to see the work he is doing on his foundation. We talk contractor stuff for a good 1/2 hour. I’m interested in all that he is doing with his house. My dad was a contractor and I wish I had that skill set.

I continue on my walk. I remember how my friend Sam and I walked together many mornings years ago at the crack of dawn. We’d get frozen eyelashes in the winter, but we kept each other motivated and stayed in shape. She got a full-time job and our walks sort of fell apart. Recently I saw her in Hannafords and we talked about hiking parts of the Long Trail this summer.

Next thing you know, Sam drives by with her teenage son. Wow. What is with this walk? I tell her I was just thinking about her. I say that we have to get back to our walking, that I need her and she agrees!

After Sam and her son drive away, I look at the field of purple, yellow, and white flowers. The sky is an overwhelming blue. The clouds are puffy fat. My arms and legs still feel numb, but I am better.


When I get home, I tell my husband all that happened on my walk. He says he thinks my problem is a pinched nerve. For once, I listen.

I decide not to drive up to see my friends. I try to sit as little as possible all day. I make a stand up desk again – which I tried once before and disliked. This time I put it next to my other computer so I can stand a little and then sit awhile. I also fold up a yoga mat four times and make a bouncy area to stand on, which helps my feet.

Later I watch a video on sleep positions as the numbness is worse at night. I try sleeping using four pillows to prop every area of my body so that my spine is absolutely straight. I sleep this way Friday night. Today, Saturday, only my left hand still feels the numbness. I’ve taken so many vitamins, I don’t know if that has helped, but I think Richard is right, it seems like the problem is with my lower back and general bad posture.

Marjorie-drinking-coffeeI’m feeling better. Coffee isn’t a problem. I can work standing up. I can sleep with a million pillows. My doctor rides by on her bike when I need her. I’ve got friends and family who care.

Life in this small Vermont town of mine is pretty sweet.



  1. Just read your blog and believe the stars are aligned for your good health and fortune. Missed your smiling face and look forward to living and laughing with you more.


    1. Thanks so much Barry! I look forward to the next UMASS get-together. Sad to have missed seeing your band.

  2. Thank you for this story. It comes at a good time for me. I always think the worst about symptoms and internet ‘research’ often makes it worse. I’m glad to hear it’s most likely something that a few adjustments will cure, and that it won’t get in the way of coffee.

  3. I am so grateful for you and your blog I just don’t have the right words to explain it. I will hug you when I see you next.

  4. Karma is great, and all those other signs of goodness that day. Breathe…all will be fine, my friend. ☕

  5. You are in the solution! Great post- we all tend to go to a place of worry and what if’s- especially if we have chronic health conditions. Doctors always say nothing is related to those conditions ( Grave’s disease for example) that if your thyroid is removed and you are taking the correct dosage of Synthroid , other symptoms couldn’t possibly be related ): So, glad to hear you are taking appropriate measures to research this numbness- many people ignore signs that may actually need to be addressed.
    Really enjoying your blog- honest, funny, compassionate!

  6. Marge – I have a lot of those same symptoms and my doctor thinks it’s a back problem too. Recently my son had something similar on his right side and he was so anxious about it I took him to the doctor even though I thought it was a pinched nerve (Rich and I must think alike). His doctor agreed she thought it was nerve related and should heal on its own but if not better in a few weeks we should take him to a neurologist. Bottom line – I hope you feel better soon, and I’m confident you will be just fine, but let me know as soon as you find out. We are scheduling a second reunion for the fall since so many of us had to cancel last minute. I’ll see you then!

    1. Good to know I am not alone! Sad we missed the reunion, but I look forward to Boston in the fall. I hope everything is OK with your son.

  7. Have you tried an inversion table? I have degenerative disk disease, it relieves vertebral compression and pressure on compressed nerves.. I have one.. You are welcome to try it.. And then WE can go walking again.

    1. Thanks Annie, we do inversions in yoga. I look forward to walking with you soon. I love ALL my walking pals and am grateful for my friends!

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