Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quitting? Cadavers? Angels?

What a long, strange, emotional day it's been.

I had one more (very unpleasant) procedure this morning to confirm my diagnosis. Alas, it is the chronic autoimmune disease my doctor suspected it to be. Although we were pretty sure that's what it was, finally being confirmed made me just crash... Now I really do have to deal with this for the rest of my life. I started the medication to actually treat the condition (before we were treating symptoms). It's gonna be a rough ride.

Which got me thinking that I'm really stressed out by taekwondo these days. The late time makes it hard to get a good night's sleep. Also, by the time 9:20 rolls around, I'm too tired to try as hard as I can. So I realized that for my health, I might have to give up my lessons. This made me really sad because I so much enjoy learning taekwondo, but I just haven't been going that often since I've been so tired and stressed out these days.

So I sent a message to Kwanjangnim saying that I'd like to talk because my health was not so good (he knows I've been missing a lot these days and that I've been going to the hospital). He suggested coming to the 6:30 class... Now, why didn't I think of that? I felt so much better after talking to him. I can keep doing taekwondo, even if it's with the younger kids, but still get to bed at a reasonable hour.


After my medical appointment, I met my friend Boo-yoon, who is a med student at Kyungbuk National University, for lunch. We went to a Russian restaurant downtown that is not particularly vegetarian friendly on the menu, but they willingly substituted eggs for meat on a stir fry dish. It was quite delicious.

Then we went to his school which was having a festival of sorts. Each of the different departments (medical specialties) had displays set up to teach the general public about different diseases and health issues. Boo-yoon's group gave a demo about cardiovascular disease, and he got a kick out of making his friends try to give their presentations in English.

Anyhow, the most bizarre exhibit was the anatomy group. The first part featured fetuses and babies with congenital birth defects preserved in formaldehyde jars. It was very disturbing, especially the really awful defects, like being born with no brain or only one eye. Then they had three cadavers on display--two men and one woman. Now, I've seen a dissected cat before, so I was kind of interested to see a human, but really it just looked disturbingly like hacked up meat. Especially with the faces covered, they just didn't look human at all. And the preservative they were using made all the organs various shades of brown. It was all just really overwhelming, so I had to leave after just a few minutes.

And no, I didn't get any photos. I did ask if I could take some, but Boo-yoon said it would be disrespectful.

All medical-scienced out from my day thus far, I treated myself to the movie Angels and Demons based on the book by Dan Brown. This was a far better movie than The Da Vinci Code, though I had read that book before watching the disappointing film version, whereas I went in today with no prior knowledge of the story. I really enjoyed Ewan McGregor's performance and Hans Zimmer's score.

So now, I'm off to the early bedtime I've allotted myself. Happily. I hope your day was less... bizarre.


  1. Good luck with your health.

    I thought (erroneously) that you were going to quit teaching when I read the title of the post!

  2. Hi,

    My mom has chronic health problems (very severe stuff) . . .

    Don't give up and think that this is a lifetime issue. Medical research is finding new and amazing therapies and treatments every day. Who isn't to say that in 10 years time you won't be completely healthy due to some new breakthrough treatment . . .

    Positive energy, healthy lifestyle, and all the other things you know you have to do will get you through to the other side of this.

    My mother's survival instinct is insanely strong, and she just keeps going and doing what she must because there is really no other choice. For her situation it doesn't seem likely that a new treatment will be found . .. but after reading about Christopher Reeve's tenacity and refusal to believe he'd be on a respirator and in a wheel chair for life . .. . that kind of inspiration makes me feel optimistic . . .

    I wish you the best,



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