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A Food Challenge

Mr. Lyndsy left yesterday. After 40 fun days in the US he’s back in the sandbox. And I’m here. Without him.

However, he made our separation interesting. He told me that while we’re apart, I should work on eating better. I’ve got the working out thing down, but the next part is to change my food habits. This means eating fresher foods, avoiding processed foods, things high in sugar, and not too many carbs (especially the simple ones).

I know he’s right about this. That doesn’t mean I want to do it. Because you know, M&Ms, cupcakes, soda.

However, to not focus on us being apart and how much I absolutely LOATHE it, I decided it would be fun to see his reaction after I’d been at the gym for a month without him seeing me every day. It’s hard to see changes when you’re around someone every day, but a month? That can be quite a long time when you’re putting in the work like every day.

Eating better just ups the chances that the changes will be that much more dramatic. Which makes it exciting. Of course, I am NOT a patient person so when I hop on the scale tomorrow I’m going to pissed that I haven’t lost 10 pounds after just one day of healthy eating.

Yes, I know that’s irrational. But you should know that about me. I still believe unicorns.

Anyway, here’s to healthy eating for like 32 days. I’m looking at it sort of one day at a time. Because right now I’m hungry and all I can think about is candy.

FEED ME THE CANDIES.

I mean, I’m thinking about pineapple. Yeah, pineapple.

*I picked this picture because it made no sense. A pineapple just sunbathing on someone’s lawn??*

 

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I guess I have to keep working out

I work out 6 days a week. Sunday is my rest day (right now anyway, that will probably change when I’m back in the sandbox).

What I have discovered the past 3 Sundays is that I sleep a lot on rest days. Like, not up and moving until after 1pm. When we were driving back on our road trip, I slept while Mr. Lyndsy drove.

Mr. Lyndsy doesn’t see anything wrong with this. It is, after all, the rest day. He believes I should take it to rest. I don’t like that I’m doing it. I feel unproductive and tired. He said, “Join the club.” I guess he’s exhausted on his rest days too. The problem is that it’s not like I have much to do. He goes to work and his job is both physically and mentally engaging. I don’t have that.

What dawned on me the other day though is that this is exactly what happened before we started working out after getting back to the U.S. In the sandbox I’m not up until 1pm or even later some days. I’m only up in the mornings for doctor appointments or group meetings. If I don’t have anything to do, it is almost physically impossible for me to get my body moving. Even on previous trips to the US, I wasn’t up until 11am.

Before I considered what was happening on the rest days, I was excited! I thought I’d beaten whatever was keeping me trapped in bed. To say that I’m disappointed is an understatement. I suppose I should be focusing on the fact that working out DOES get me up, but when you’ve got as many medical conditions going on as I do, it’s nice to think you’ve conquered something and can take it off the list.

I still feel fatigued during the day, every day. Some days are better than others. I still think this relates to the lack of quality sleep I have going on. I’ll investigate this when I’m back in the sandbox, but it’s something I can think about and research in the meantime. I may as well go back to my doctors armed with as much information as possible.

My shrink told me that if the meds make me tired, I should let my body rest. But we have since changed the medication and I’m on an extended release form. That should have alleviated the problem of oversleeping. Now that I suspect I’m not getting quality sleep, that changes the equation. At least in my opinion. But what do I know?

I really want to try to work out the best possible scenario for myself. I’m tired of being fatigued. I’m tired of being distracted all the time. I’m tired of not being able to focus. I like that my mind explores loads of different things and makes connections in lots of different ways, but at the same time, standing up and not remembering why is very frustrating.

At any rate, working out is now more important than ever for my health and my life. While I was committed to it before, my resolve is even stronger now. 

A New Way of Life

I knew that I would enjoy working out to prep for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. I have always enjoyed working out since I get a sense of accomplishment pretty much every time I do it.

I had NO idea that this was going to become a THING for me. I’ve hit the point where when I’m frustrated or pissed off, I want go to the gym and hit the weights or even *gasp* run/walk. That’s completely new. Working out was a means to an end – be ready to do 13.1 miles and not get picked up by the bus of shame.

Now though it’s just part of my almost daily life. I don’t know if it’s because I’m working out 6 days/week, or if it’s because I’ve been going with Mr. Lyndsy, but it’s something that I can see continuing forever. There may be some bumps in the road depending on how things go medically in the near future, but I’ll cross that bridge should I come to it.

The catch to this is that I haven’t really been eating better. We went on a road trip and I definitely over consumed sugar and crap. I justified it as needing a boost in energy, but that doesn’t really fly. Now that we’ve landed back at the house, it’s time to get this part right too. I don’t feel like I see a tremendous difference in my body and I’m sure that’s due to the fact that I haven’t been eating well.

I’m an impatient person and I know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. I didn’t put the weight on overnight (though it feels like it) and I won’t lose it overnight either. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I just want it all to fall off.

It takes 21 days to form new habits (I think I read that somewhere) so I need to find a way to make eating better a habit. I’m just so lazy…

Fatigue is a TOTAL DRAG

I know I’ve mentioned before that fatigue is one of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, diabetes, thyroid issues, lupus, etc. Since my thyroid and diabetes are under control, I suspect it’s not them. It could be the lupus. But the most likely culprit for the cause of the fatigue is fibro.

I don’t know what’s going on, but the last few weeks have been *really* bad. I downloaded and app for the AppleWatch that tracks your sleep for you. I figured that I’d have some issues since I know I don’t sleep particularly well – I wake up a lot, I toss and turn (can’t figure out why), but I didn’t expect that it would be this bad.

From the output, my deep sleep ranges anywhere from NO DEEP SLEEP to no more than 45-50 minutes usually. Most people need/get 2 hours of deep sleep.

This wouldn’t be a problem except that deep sleep is the restorative sleep. This is the time your body takes to heal itself. Because my body isn’t really getting a chance to do that, I’m constantly fatigued. I have pain. My brain is sluggish.

I tried using binaural beats to help induce delta waves, but that had limited results. It doesn’t help that right now I’m at a hotel with a crappy bed that’s way too small for me and Mr. Lyndsy to share it comfortably. Perhaps when I’m back in my bed and I have space, the binaural beats will have more of an effect. I hope so anyway.

When I’m back with my own doctors I will definitely be chatting with them about this. I’m sure (read: I hope) they’re all familiar with the necessity of deep sleep. I have no idea what the plan may be to correct it though. I’m not sure that my shrink will want to prescribe any kind of sleep medication since I’m already on an anti-depressant that’s supposed to be addressing it. I’m not also not sure that’s the correct solution since I do fall asleep and I can stay that way for 8 hours. (I think that’s a side effect of exercising 6 days/week.)

I am desperate to find a solution because I’m pretty sure at some point the body just shuts down when it’s not getting the time it needs to heal. At this point I can’t afford to have any more health issues. I have enough trouble managing the ones I have!

This is something I was thinking about the other day. Currently I work part-time from home, but at the point we move back to the United States (if we do), I may have to go back to work full-time outside the home. Right now I don’t think my body could do it. These days I’m not really taxing my body and mind the way working full-time does. Sitting at a desk for hour after hour while typing causes an immense amount of pain in my upper back and arms as well as my lower back. Additional pain will only exacerbate the brain fog.

I have a friend who has been going through the Social Security Disability process. Her doctor said something that has started to resonate with me: Her main job is to manage her illnesses.

At the time she shared that I didn’t understand what that meant. Now I have a better idea. I work out which keeps my body pretty stable and I sleep better when I work out (which isn’t saying much, apparently). I rest when I need to so that my body doesn’t collapse on me. I eat better, which is probably helping my body – giving it more energy for the workouts which are helping me sleep better.

But until I get all, or as many as possible, of my health issues worked out, working more isn’t a possibility. My focus right now HAS to be on getting things under control. They just aren’t right now. I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet.

And that’s okay. These are BIG issues for me. They take time to resolve. There’s just no way around that. Organs are being affected. My musculoskeletal system is involved. My brain is a little fried right now.

So right now, my priority is my body (or, as it is now known, My Preciousss). Once I get my body better sorted, I think many other things will follow.

Back at it!

I’m finally back in the gym to prep for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon that happens in February.

I’m not surprised how much I’ve enjoyed being back in the gym, even if I hate doing it at, what is for me, the ass crack of dawn. Mr. Lyndsy prefers to get the workout done in the morning, whereas I would prefer the evening.

However, now that he has me doing some pre-drink with him and a protein shake after, I can see where it makes sense to do it first.

I think that whatever he has me doing has benefits, since I was able to push myself more today than I normally would have, especially given the fatigue I feel on a constant basis.

I’ve gone two days in a row, now I just need to keep it up. Mr. Lyndsy can’t go to the gym without me, and I know how important it is to him that he go, so I will probably be able to sustain it at least as long as he’s here with me. (He goes home about a month before I do.)

However, once I get into the habit of going, it’s usually pretty easy for me to keep it. I’m also seriously committed to being able to finish this marathon and not getting picked up by the Bus of Shame.

I managed to get into a jog. This is impressive not only because I don’t jog, but also because I didn’t trip over my right foot. Walking is occasionally a problem, but as long as I concentrate on getting my foot down and up, I may be okay.

I will definitely need to get some new shoes. That’s awesome because I love shopping, even for shoes. I haven’t decided which Disney Princess I want to be for the marathon, so eventually I’ll be picking shoes that will match my tutu.

I think Princess Leia seems like the obvious choice, but I don’t know. Which Disney Princess would you be if you were doing the marathon?

What was I doing?

Between the lack of sleep on Saturday night and staying up over 24 hours on Sunday (we flew back in time), I was a little wiped out when I got up today. I think I got a decent amount of sleep and it wasn’t terrible sleep. But it just wasn’t enough.

I have spent the entire day forgetting from one second to the next what I was doing. I’d pull out my phone and forget why. Or, I’d pull it out, get distracted by a notification, handle it, and then put the phone down. I slurred words a bunch. I forgot what I was saying in the middle of a sentence.

My brain is done. I think this has happened to me before, but I either didn’t really notice or was too overwhelmed with something else to care. Today it was incredibly frustrating. I should have realized much earlier on in the day that trying to do two things at once was a bad idea. Instead, I continued to try to multi-task. Fail.

I’m hoping a nice restorative sleep this evening will save me from myself tomorrow. I hope this isn’t a new, long-term problem for me. I don’t think I could handle it!

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Out of the Suicide Spiral

As you read earlier this week, my weekend was… NOT GOOD to say the lease. That’s the worst I’ve been in a while and I would rather not get anywhere near that again. My shrink is changing my meds up some and she gave me a list of 10 Forms of Twisted Thinking so that I can identify the shitty thoughts and recognize them for what they are.

Of course, that assumes that I don’t already know the thoughts are fucked up when I have them – I do. It’s just that I can’t control how fast they come and spiral.

BUT, as I was crawling out of the spiral on Sunday night, I had an excellent conversation with a very good friend about depression and why I struggle with it so much. She said what a lot of people say, that depression is a liar. A light went off in my head. I thought of something else everyone calls a liar, or rather The Great Deceiver – Satan.

Which led me to one of my derailed trains of thought. I won’t get into that in its entirety because 1. I can’t remember it i full and 2. It doesn’t really matter. The conclusion I ultimately reached is that the depression is trying to get me to stop shining my light in this world and stop me from fulfilling my role in the larger universe.

The reason this is important to me is that most often I’m not willing to do something for my SELF. Typically I just don’t care enough. Bad things happen to me. Boohoo. Okay. I deserved it. It’s karma. Whatever. But, when something affects OTHER PEOPLE, I have a problem with it.

People have told me that I’ve helped them through things. That something I shared with them mattered. That I affect more people than I know. I have a problem with depression trying to take that away. THAT is not okay.

So now, I have a reason to fight. To not just let go when the spiral forms beneath me. I will see that black hole and tell it to go fuck itself. I have people to help.

Well, so much for that

On Friday I gleefully posted about how the Blargh had hit me, but that I was doing really well emotionally and pretty well physically.

I never should have posted that.

You know why? The Universe was listening.

And do you know what the Universe gave me? An anxiety attack that led into a suicide spiral. That’s usually how these things go for me. I’ll break it down.

I get into a situation where I stop seeing possibility. I stop seeing opportunity for things to change. It can be for any number of factors, but generally involves: 1. My physical inabilities currently to work in a full-time environment; 2. That I live in the desert in the Middle East; and 3. Bills. Damn bills.

Money is usually the trigger that sends me straight into the darkest places I can go. See, I know what plans Mr. Lyndsy and I have. We want to buy a house in the US (we were going to do that this summer, but it’s been tabled for reasons that have nothing to do with me). We also want to save as much money as possible before going back because it’s highly unlikely that Mr. Lyndsy will make what he does here. We also have no idea what kind of condition I’ll be in.

So on Friday, the trifecta hit and my anxiety shot through the roof. I have a student loan I cannot get rid of no matter what I do. It’s $500 month. Most months, I barely make that. Which means that the other various bills I have – hospital bills from the little trip I took to the ER in February, credit card bills from business expenses (sadly, direct sales haven’t gone super well lately), and personal credit cards (which are my fault, some, and stupid shit), don’t have much money to fund them.

Then I have to ask. I hate asking, because it puts me into the expense column.

My brain starts scrambling to figure out what I might be able to do. Then I get caught up in the fact that my body is not so good to me all the time. I have constant fatigue from fibromyalgia. I have insomnia which I only overcome when I take one of my antidepressants. The problem with that antidepressant is that it knocks me WAY out. Even if I fall asleep around midnight, it’s not unheard of for me to sleep until noon. That would make getting to work on a bit challenging. If I try to get up before my body is ready, it won’t move and I end up falling back asleep. I’ve learned it’s better not to fight it.

The thing is that here I couldn’t have any of the accommodations that I would have in the US. They don’t have an ADA. If you can’t do exactly what they’re asking (and most jobs work 6 days/week) they have no reason to hire you because there are people lined up behind you to take the job.

“So Lyndsy, just move back to the US!” Ah, but you see, the US is a problem now – healthcare. It’s too up in the air to risk it. Mr. Lyndsy’s anticipated job doesn’t have healthcare. *I* would have to find a job with insurance (the exchange plans where we’d be aren’t the best) and be able to work and make enough money to cover it. Right now, I don’t see how that’s physically possible. Knowing that any protections I would (no lifetime caps, pre-existing care coverage) would either go away or become unaffordable freaks me out. I see a rheumatologist, endocrinologist, nephrologist, and a shrink (and you know how Republicans hate treating healthcare!). I take 7 medications per day, well, 8 right now, plus one more weekly. I don’t even want to think about what those would cost if I had to come up with the out of pocket funds.

Herein lies my problem. Whether I’m here or there, I’m kind of screwed. The only saving grace would be a successful SSDI claim, which is unlikely the first go through. They often take 2 years to fully litigate. What would I do in the meantime?

This is how I end up feeling trapped in a dark place I cannot get out of. Where I hear from a voice in the back of my head, “The best thing to do would be for you to kill yourself.” And it starts to sound downright LOGICAL.

YES! Kill myself! Then all of this doesn’t matter. I stop being a expense! I no longer have to worry!

Friday night was the closest I’d been in a long while. I mentally wrote my goodbye note to Mr. Lyndsy and my obituary. I thought about messages I’d like to send people. I don’t want anyone to feel bad. This is just my life and how it rolls.

After a while, it’s too much. Knowing now, after almost 3.5 years of constant pain, with other worsening attributes, that any kind of traditional work environment would be too much, is demoralizing. I feel guilty about spending money on fun things. Because if I spend money out of my accounts on anything fun, I’m going to have to ask for money from Mr. Lyndsy. But, if I try to not spend, I grow resentful. I hate losing my independence.

So here I am. I made it through Friday night. It’s just a one episode at at time kind of thing.

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My new word for 2017: Me

My word for the year was “determined.” Really, it was, “I am a determined unicorn.” A good friend of mine says that we shouldn’t pick words in an attempt to outsmart the Universe, but I feel like my choice of determined is sort of kicking my ass. It seems like what I did was invite challenging situations to show just how determined I am. Like my regular life wasn’t enough for that. Ahem.

When I picked “determined” I was thinking about my commitment to my growing direct sales empire and making sure that I’m doing the most I can to succeed. I have been making strides toward that though the first 4 or so months not so much. I got caught up in being overwhelmed and having situations sort of fall apart that made it harder to do. I didn’t have focus. Some of that was because I had no idea how to keep all the ideas that were flying around in my head coordinated. Y’all, I don’t know what the hell happens up there, but it’s like a party with a loud DJ and no chaperone to tell it to stop.

I also wasn’t on the right meds at the beginning of the year. My emotional state was a bit of a mess, though I felt a bit better physically. Now I’m on the right meds, but my body is sort of taking a crap on me. To really have things move along sort of smoothly, even a little smoothly, is that my body and mind need to work in conjunction a bit better. They both need to be sort of okay. I still have some anxiety issues and dips into the dark places in my mind, but it’s happened less often. My body though? Ugh. I seem to be out of a fibro flare that lasted a good long while, so that’s positive. I just wish my lady garden would get with the program.

That all brings me to the point that I still need to be focusing on ME. I need to focus on getting my body together. I need to be more functional. Less tired. More able to wake up and get going. I need to take advantage of the fact that my mental health is more stable so I can be creative. Creativity is how I know that I’m okay. If I’m not creating, something is wrong. I read a lot more when things aren’t great. It doesn’t require any effort on my part.

I have found ways to keep the craziness in my head somewhat controlled. I am working on systems to make sure I complete things I want to complete and still get to create. I need to get a bit better about it though to fully explore everything I’m interested in. But, I really need my body to get more with me before I can do that. I hope that happens somewhat soon!

Anyway, thanks for continuing to read along! I do hope to add some more sound to this at some point so you can hear me rather than just read me. Maybe even a video from time to time! And as always, I appreciate the kind and positive vibes you send me. I do think they make a difference!

Waiting is the pits

IN my never-ending saga of medical drama, I had a D&C yesterday so that the doctors can try to figure out why my uterus hates me. This isn’t the first time I’ve had one. I had polyps in 2008 that they took out by D&C. I assumed it was polyps this time too. I was wrong.

Turns out, it was an abnormally thickened endometrial lining with cystic lesions and increased vascularity. That doesn’t sound good, and Dr. Google confirms that’s likely the case. They’re calling it endometrial hyperplasia and the goal now is to determine if that’s true, the type (with or without atypica), or whether it’s cancer.

So now I wait.

I’ve already researched the hell out of all of it. Apparently 30-33% of cancer cases started as endometrial hyperplasia with atypia. If it’s atypia or cancer, the uterus comes out. If it’s cancer, the ovaries go too. I’d like to keep the ovaries to avoid an early menopause, but I’m not fucking around with cancer. Most of the time if there’s cancer in the uterus, it’s also in the ovaries. Thanks, but no thanks.

So I’m left with two weeks before my appointment, knowing the results will likely be available after a week. That’s the type of waiting that kills me. SOMEONE knows what’s going on, but it’s NOT ME. I want it to be ME. Even if I couldn’t see the doctor, I could get the report and obsessively research whatever it is. I like to be informed so I can ask good questions while I’m with the doctor, rather than getting the information and not knowing what to ask while I’m there.

At the end of the day, it is what it is. I’m trying to fill my time with creative and productive activity so I don’t worry. I ordered a puzzle that should be here before too long, which will hopefully take me some time to complete. I’m going to try to spend more time designing cross-stitch patterns, t-shirt and sticker designs, and some things for the direct sales companies I work with.

It’s still going to be a tough two weeks. I doubt I’ll make it that long. I think they have my appointment with the wrong doctor anyway, so I may try to do a walk-in appointment. I also need to go to the dentist for a cavity and also get a pap smear (since the doc saw something she thinks needs to be checked out to make sure it’s not cervical cancer – joy), so maybe I’ll sneak in then.

Before anyone tells me that it’ll all be okay, I won’t need a hysterectomy, please understand that whatever is needed, I’m fine with. I’ve had problems for so long that the idea of hysterectomy is actually a relief. I just need to get things better, so I’m less stressed and have less pain. I can’t deal with that on top of everything else.

I’m trying to keep it simple, stupid 😉