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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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Layer by Layer

I’ve been working really hard this summer to try to learn as much as I can about my chronic health issues. As I’ve peeled back different things, I’ve learned more. One thing I believe I’ve learned is that I have ADHD.

Yes, I know, I can’t diagnose myself. No, I haven’t been diagnosed by a doctor yet. No, I wasn’t diagnosed as a kid.

It started with a Facebook post.

What struck me was “I literally cannot recall the words that just came out of my mouth.” That happens to me with alarming frequency. It also applies to text messages and instant messages on FB/Google. I’ll type things and have no idea immediately after that I wrote them.

However, it had never occurred to me that this was something that happened to other people. I always thought it was weird, but that was it. So I posted it and asked if it was really an ADHD thing. I was told it is.

Which led me to do some research on ADHD. It was then that I learned that I have a LOT of the traits: Inability to finish projects I start; delayed start on any project that involves a lot of thinking; impulsivity (mine is spending and eating); finishing people’s sentences when I can’t wait for them to do it. There were others, but these were the highlights.

I thought back to when I was a kid as well. I was never diagnosed, perhaps because I was always a good student. I LOVED school (until I hit high school). But, I was always a chatterbox. If a teacher didn’t re-direct my behavior I talked to other kids who were still working. In high school a Spanish teacher offered to just give me a B if I didn’t talk to anyone else in class. When something didn’t interest me, I didn’t deal with it. I stopped being a great student in high school because I was bored with school. High school was also when I developed a dislike for authority figures and was defiant.

I’m tired of being the person who doesn’t finish projects. I’m tired of being the person who can’t compete in direct sales because of my inability to make plans long-term for myself or follow through on them. I hate that I’m not controlling my spending and how it affects things I want to do.

I am REALLY tired of being distracted all the time. Of forgetting what I set out to do when I stand up. Of getting up to get water, and finding 30 things to do on the way. I want to be able to focus on things. I want to remember important things I need to do.

I won’t see my shrink again until September, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work on things in the meantime. I’ve borrowed books from the library on ADHD that include coping behaviors so that I can start NOW to do what I can to make things better for me. I have a planner that’s broken down into hourly segments so I can put myself on a schedule so I get things done. I’m using an app called Habitica to track my To-Do list so things don’t get forgotten (like paying bar dues). I’m going to start posting my goals where I can see them so I remember to do them. I’m very “out of sight, out of mind” and that’s a detriment.

I want better for my life. It’s going to take a lot of work on my end to come up with workarounds. But I’m tired of feeling like a failure, so whatever work it takes is worth it. I’d appreciate any positive thoughts you can spare and wishes of good luck!

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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.

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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 😉

Wiped out

This week has been long and draining. I have had less energy than the last few months. It’s made being productive an incredible challenge. Because I hate losing, I’ve been doing things I want to (since it’s on an app that asks me whether I’ve done things and I won’t lie to the app), but it hasn’t been as exciting for me to do.

I’ve accepted that pain and discomfort are a regular part of my life now. I didn’t know that in 2014, and for a long while I expected that everything would turn around and I could go back to my old life. Accepting it hasn’t really made life easier. I guess I don’t get disappointed as often. I don’t wake up and then get sad when I realize that my right leg still doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

I think the real problem is that acceptance only covers what exists at the time you accepted your life. New problems don’t get factored in, particularly for things that never would have occurred to you. Perhaps that is why this week has been worse. I’m dealing with something new and mostly unexpected. Well, blah on that.

My life feels a little like Frogger. I’m darting around the highway trying to get to the other side while avoiding a collision with a car. (Side note, I’ve seen a frog get hit by a car and it is NOT pretty. Strangest thing was that the frog seemed to purposely jump under the tire.) Jumping around while the highway is packed is exhausting. You move forward only to have to move back. Then you jump sideways and realize you didn’t get anywhere, so you panic and jump without really looking first.

Argh. I’m tired. I hope this finds you better than I feel now.

Spoonie Life Complication #2: How much is too much research?

Spoonies spend a lot of time at the doctor. I have to go every three months for blood work and follow-up to make sure everything is under control. That’s for non-acute issues. If I get sick in the meantime, I have to go back.

One of the problems I’ve had, and I know other Spoonies have faced the same issue, is that we have to advocate for ourselves. It can take a while to get a diagnosis with something like fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s. It’s frustrating because we know something is wrong, but we can’t get treated for it. So we stay sick. And we get pissed off. So we go to the internet.

Now, I know that Dr. Google is no substitute for a real medical opinion. However, the internet is a wealth of information, and we can get access to medical research and studies somewhat easily. For a frustrated person, this can be amazing. We’re able to arm ourselves so we can ask our doctors better questions. Let them know that we are invested in our care.

At some point though, the question is how much is too much research? I’ve recently been to have a new issue checked out. I got weird vibes from the radiologist when she went from being chatty and friendly to saying “Your doctor will tell you what it means.” Well, okay.

After meeting with the doctor, who indicated things were mostly fine except for one issue, I went home a touch confused. So I hit the internet. Mostly what I’ve done is make things harder for myself when really all I can do is wait and see what happens further down the road.

I want to be well-informed, but at the same time, I don’t want to worry needlessly. It’s just a rough position to be in.

But, it’s a pretty common part of being a Spoonie.

Validation Status: Pending

I have trouble getting help when I need it. Whether it’s physical health or mental health, I tend to put things off.

When I was 20, my senior year of college, I started having trouble with my periods. They went from being normal periods to unbelievable torrents of blood. The kind of blood loss that you would think could kill you. But, I knew from friends that sometimes it’s like that. I didn’t think much of it.

But, it continued for two years and I couldn’t deal with it anymore. It was insanely overwhelming to deal with the heavy bleeding. So frustrating every month to have the same thing. I went to the doctor, but all my hormone levels were normal. They put me on birth control and I got some relief, but ended up with terrible cramps.

The next year I read about the amount of estrogen in the birth control was using so I stopped. I went back to heavy blood flow, but the blood flow became constant. It wasn’t always heavy, but it was there at least 3 weeks per month. I kept on, but it started to interfere with my work. It was 2008 and by then I’d moved to the other side of the country so I sought out another doctor. This time they decided to do an ultrasound.  This is when they discovered polyps in my uterus.

After they took care of them, things were okay for a while, but now it’s 2017 and I’m back to where I was in 2008. Things have been off for a while, but I resisted the doctor.

The first time I remember having suicidal thoughts was in 2008. My life had hit a point where nothing seemed to be going right. It felt like I had no control over anything that was going on and that there were no good outlets. I even had a plan, to minimize the damage it would have on the lives of people I cared about. Somehow, this didn’t seem out there to me. It didn’t seem like I should talk to someone. I thought because I could rationalize it in my head and talk myself out of it, that I was okay.

I was in an abusive relationship, living with the man, for months. After we broke up, I didn’t get help. I figured that because I worked my way out of the relationship, that I was okay. Even though the smell of his cologne on someone else took me back for years, I didn’t do anything.

When I was 22, I was raped. It was a friend, and I was in a compromising position with him, so I thought that I was the one who created the situation and that it was what I wanted. It was my first time, and what he said was, “Well, I guess you’re not a virgin anymore.” And that was that. Even when he said later, “Are you ok with what happened? You know, since I didn’t ask you first?” I didn’t think anything of it. Even though he used the textbook definition of RAPE. I never talked to anyone about it for years.

My problem is that I need validation from other people to know that what I’m feeling is legitimately a concern. It wasn’t until coworkers convinced me I needed to go to the ER because I could barely stand and couldn’t walk upright that I did something aggressive about my back problem. I ended up having surgery THAT DAY because the problem was so bad.

After I broke up with my abusive boyfriend, someone asked me, “How could you let that happen?” I internalized that to mean that it was my fault that I’d been in the relationship. Therefore anything I felt after was also my fault and not something I should get any help for.

It was only a couple years ago that a few people suggested I might want to get psychological help for the rape and consistent low feelings I was having. Even then, I thought I was fine.

I recently had stomach pains so bad that I couldn’t stretch my abdomen. It wasn’t until Mr. Lyndsy said I should go to the ER that I even truly considered going. It’s like the things that happen to me aren’t anything. I had a spinal fusion and tried to go to work 2 weeks later because the doctor told me I could go back when I felt like it. I took that to mean I shouldn’t be out of work at all.

Now, if this were a friend coming to me, I would have told them they were nuts to go back to work two weeks after a spinal fusion. That rape is traumatic. The list goes on. But when it comes to me, what I feel or experience isn’t enough. It doesn’t have meaning on its own. It’s hard to put into words. But it’s sort of like feeling like I don’t matter. But even that’s not the right description. I guess it’s more that I always feel like I’m exaggerating.

I don’t know when this started. It could be from when I was growing up. I sprained an ankle when I was in high school. I missed a stair and came down on my foot sideways. My dad din’t take me to the doctor, just gave me gel to put on it. My mom told me if I thought it was that bad, to call the doctor myself. To me, neither took it seriously, so it wasn’t an issue. Never mind that it swelled up to twice its size after every basketball practice. I never went to the doctor.

When I was 7, I threw up. I went to the bathroom for the toilet, but I didn’t make it in time. After my mom got everything cleaned up, she told me that if I missed the toilet again, I would have to clean it up. When I told my mom about the constant bleeding, she told me that it couldn’t be real or I would have told her about it. After my abusive relationship ended, I asked her to fly out to help me. She said she was busy at work, so she didn’t come.

Most of the time I kept things to myself. I never wanted to be a bother to anyone. I still really don’t. I apologize to Mr. Lyndsy all the time because I am so sick all the time. He tells me to stop being ridiculous, but the feeling that I’m a dead weight is always there. I guess I feel like I need to justify any expenses that I cause because of my health.

I guess, the long and the short of it is that I need to have a chat with my shrink.