I May Have Tennis Elbow but I Can Eat Raisin Bran

I’m not sure when it snuck up on me, but I feel like I am aging rapidly this year.  The good news is that I am not alone.  Nerdguy broke a tooth on raisin bran last month.  RAISIN BRAN!  We heard this awful crunching noise and I joked “Is it a tooth?” when he spit something into a napkin.  I was sure it was just part of the raisin, but it really was white and it really was part of his tooth.  Is that really what it’s all come to?  Flaked cereal with dehydrated fruit is too challenging for us to eat?  Is it all pudding and jello from here on in?  I’m starting to wonder.

Before Christmas I had that blood pressure scare, which I am still dealing with and trying to bring down.  Every pulled muscle has me tensing up with worry that it’s a cardiac symptom.

Except for the muscle I pulled while Christmas shopping.  I have shopping-induced tennis elbow.  I can’t decide if that sounds elitist or pathetic.

I had to go off my ADHD meds so I wander around confused in between binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix and looking for my belongings.  The only good that has come of this is that I feel 95% confident that, if pressed, I could perform a thoracotomy.  I’ll lose interest or see something shiny partway through and the patient will die, but otherwise I think I’d be an excellent heart surgeon.

ADHD has me either completely ignoring parts of my life or being all in.  There’s no half-way.  It’s led me to schedule way more medical appointments for the next month than I am comfortable with.  Last week I had the dentist, which was fine.  I don’t want to brag…oh yes I do…but my teeth are made of rock.  I am lucky to have my dad’s teeth – they just don’t get cavities.  I can eat all the raisin bran I want.  So that appointment didn’t worry me.  Started off easy.

The dermatologist was next.  Now that one worried me.  Along with his great teeth, my dad gave me his mole growing talent.  Combine that with the freckles and blood blisters that I inherited from my mom and I am a dermatologist’s entire retirement plan.

I feel like I am about to tell you way too much information and that it’s a slippery slope before I include photos to rival those of WebMD.  Maybe don’t read this part.  Unless you are the coroner reading this after I’ve died and you need to tell my lawyers who to sue.

Long story short, I went to get three things checked.  I had a suspicious stripe on my finger nail that was definitely melanoma.  It was there for months, so it couldn’t possibly be from banging my finger.  It was clearly stage 4 melanoma.  I was a Dr. Oz cautionary tale.  Except it suddenly mostly went away the second I showed it to the doctor and got a referral.  Good thing there were other things that were going to kill me to show the dermatologist!

A couple of years ago I got something on my back that Nerdguy insisted was a blood blister.  Until at Christmas when it starting to have a pulse and take on a life of its own, and he said, “oh no, that’s totally a giant mole and you should have that looked at.  It looks suspicious.”  And I said “I hope it IS a giant mole and that it kills me and you have to do all the laundry forever!”

The family doctor said it’s an irritated mole.  I said that I am an irritated wife.  He referred me to the dermatologist, maybe for a second opinion, but more likely just to get me out of his office.

It’s a hemangioma.  A strawberry.  In almost the exact same place that Molly has one.  Nothing to worry about, but $350 to remove.  We’ve decided to be BFFs instead.

The third thing I was freaking out about was a mole that I have on my chest.  It’s big and alarming, but was deemed nothing to worry about at a dermatologist’s office 15 years ago.  Well apparently the person doing my EKG didn’t get the message.  Yeah, you know the person doing a test because I have high blood pressure and could explode at any minute  thought it was a great idea to get me all riled up.  Blithering about somebody she knows who died from something that looked just like that is exactly what I needed to stay calm.

The dermatologist said it is completely fine.  At $250 to remove it is going to be my back-up BFF.

So after a clean bill of health I wove my way through the waiting room in between shiny trophy wives and wrinkly 90 year olds, not really sure which camp I feel closer to.  It wasn’t until I was sitting in my car and a  taut-faced lunatic was leaning on her horn because I was taking too long to vacate my spot that I knew the answer.  Want to meet me for the early bird special tomorrow?  Before it gets dark?  I’ve got coupons.

Next up is my first visit to a psychiatrist later this week, and next week on a very special episode of Blossom is my pap test when we’ll find out if my doctor knows more about vaginas than he does moles.


  1. Amanda says

    I too was told I had tennis elbow, and I’m back in physical therapy a year later for the same thing because it’s actually a problem in my neck irritating the nerves that run down the arm. Before you waste all that spare time you have on tennis elbow, make sure they check your neck to make sure it is really in fact just tennis elbow.

    • Tara says

      That’s good to know Amanda – I am definitely going to follow up because it is spreading and getting worse rather than getting better. I hope that yours feels better soon!

  2. says

    Carrying shopping bags can cause tennis elbow.

    Who knew?

    A few strengthening exercises will fix that right up for you.

    As for what Amanda said in her comment, what I think she is referring too is a condition called ulnar nerve entrapment. Totally different from tennis elbow.

    But as always, get a diagnosis from a Medical Doctor before you move forward with treatment.

    Good luck.

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am a physiotherapist practicing in Toronto who sees a lot of patient suffering from Tennis Elbow aka “lateral epicondylitis” and have a special interest in treating this condition. I don’t know who coined the term tennis elbow because it’s rarely caused by racket sports and holding onto heavy shopping bags, brief cases or lifting upper body weights incorrectly more commonly seem to be the culprit.

    Amanda is right that it could be coming from your neck and/or be related to nerve tension (yes nerves can get tight just like muscles)!! If you have ruled out your neck and you are certain it is true tennis elbow, I would look out for a treatment called extracorpeal shockwave therapy in your location. It works wonderfully for tendonopathies. Typically people require a max of 3 sessions and they are 100%. The research supports it as well so it is not hokey pokey.

    Lastly, many people who develop tennis elbow have weakness in their shoulders. Don’t forget to keep your shoulder blade muscles and rotator cuff muscles strong.

    Hope this helps and hopefully you are already feeling better by now 🙂

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