jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I went to the doctor this morning because my ankle has been bothering me for no clear reason for 3 weeks now. She says no more running until it is healed, and referred me to PT, which is thankfully covered by my insurance now. Bleh. Getting old sucks!

Toby gets home tomorrow, and I am super duper excited to see him again :) We've got a bunch of projects at home to work on together once he has time to readjust. We're getting new carpets next month, which means we'll have to get everything in the upstairs of the house ready to move out for the carpets to go in. Since we're doing that anyway, I figured it's the perfect time to paint up there, too, so that'll happen sometime before the new carpets come down. No dropcloth, no problem! But anyway the time is nigh to do another big stuff-purge.

Tonight I made plans with my friend Auburn to get together for happy hour and also bike around Portland on the new BikeTown bikes (it's our local bikeshare program). I've really missed all my local friends, and my doctor says biking will be good for my ankle, so that'll be a good way to spend an evening :) For now, though, I'm finally tackling the laundry from my trip and hopefully will have my suitcases entirely unpacked and put away before Toby gets home tomorrow. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I gave up soda about 5 months ago. I haven't had any at all in all that time. It was kind of easier than I thought to give it up, but lately I'd been craving it HARD, and I really worried that letting myself have a little bit would send me right back to my disturbing consumption habits.

Last night, I finally gave in. The craving has been SO STRONG, I knew I'd cave at some point. I wanted to let myself try it again and just see. So last night, I bought a can of Diet Dr. Pepper. My hands were shaking as I opened it, because I was so worried about what it would mean.

I took a few sips and...I didn't like it much. I was part sad that it wasn't the joyful refreshing taste I was going for, but more than anything relieved that I really have broken the spell.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Having a self-pity party.

I was on a roll, and then...I got thrown off course. I know I'm not starting from ZERO, but it's still frustrating to have to retrace steps when my relapse wasn't actually due to laziness or anything I brought upon myself. Usually it is. This time, though, I got food poisoning, then shingles, and I've been unable to get out of bed most of the last 7 days. And I need to work, and make money, and pay bills. I haven't run in over a week. I don't know how much I will be able to run when I get back to the gym. Maybe tomorrow? Probably not until Friday at the earliest, though. My shingles rash still hurts a lot. Even though it's not on my legs, any physical activity aggravates it. It's slowly improving, though.

I'm currently taking 5 prescriptions, and 3 different doctor-recommended OTC drugs. 15 pills a day plus three ointment applications. I'm 33 years old and I take care of myself! Ugh. Thank heavens for my insurance, anyway.

The brightest spot in my day, though, was hanging out with Shanon, Mary, Sloane, and Gwen this morning. The little girls are 23 and 20 months old now, and both getting more outgoing. They're more comfortable with me playing with them and snuggling them. The five of us went to the park near Mary's house, and both girls wanted me to hold them and swing them and join in their games -- which were largely incredibly boring, but fulfilling at the same time because their giggles were the best. It was win-win for everyone, because the moms were happy to unload their toddlers on me for a while, and I'm happy to indulge the kids, too. But I was telling Mary and Shanon that it's so much easier for me to enjoy playing with kids when I don't have to do it all the time...because the shit they like is really boring. We spent several minutes with both girls putting playground bark dust in my hands and laughing with delight when I emptied my hands back onto the ground, saying "goodbye!" I mean, I'm glad they like me! But I'm super glad I don't have to do that all day every day, too.

I accidentally left something at Mary's house, so I had to go back at dinnertime to grab it. Gwen came running to me, and was all hugs and smiles while I was there. I'm really pleased that she's starting to recognize me and bond with me. I really love that kid.

Taking a moment to vent and then relive the happy parts of the day has me feeling a bit better. I think I'm actually going to do some chores tonight -- it won't improve my bank balance or fitness, but I'll feel a little accomplished, anyway.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Wednesday I had food poisoning. It was gross. But I got better quickly. I've also had this weird pain in my left shoulder for a few days now. At first it just felt like a rash or skin irritation, but my skin looked totally normal. By the second day, though, it felt like a muscle ache. It was difficult/painful to move my left arm or put any pressure on it. Could've been from all the new sports I've been trying, I guess. It got a little more painful, but still had no visible signs of anything, so I was getting more convinced it was a muscle injury. I told myself if it was still bothering me after the 4th, I'd go see my doctor. Then yesterday, it erupted. All of a sudden, there were big red spots where I'd expected to see a rash before. It looked like a cluster of 5 zits. So I was relieved it was a skin thing of some sort and not a muscle or ligament tear. The pain was getting to the point where I was really afraid it was the kind of thing that would need surgery, so I was glad it was just a rash. Probably a spider bite?

But then today, the pain multiplied. The rash looks basically the same -- still like an angry cluster of zits. But the pain was intense. I decided I couldn't wait to see the doctor any longer. I made an appointment for this afternoon (have I mentioned how much I love my healthcare plan? Same-day appointments available every day of the year, 100% covered, no copay) hoping to get a topical something to numb it a bit. After dropping Emily off at the train station (her visit deserves its own, less whiny post), I went to the doctor. She said it's shingles. God dammit.

So, on the one hand, I feel much less wussy about the amount of pain I'm in. It fucking hurts. My left arm is basically useless, because moving it, carrying anything on that side, or touching anywhere near the rash just makes it scream with pain. But I know how bad shingles can be and I'm terrified it'll get worse before it gets better. I have prescription drugs now, though, so I should be improving. The doc said it would take about a week, which feels like a really long time. I also feel TERRIBLE about exposing Emily to it, because -- I can say this now, finally -- she's pregnant. (SO MUCH YAY!) I told the doctor about that, and she said Em's chance of catching it from me was pretty low, so it's just something she should mention to her OB/GYN as a precaution. Obviously I didn't know I had it but I still feel terrible and if she gets it I'm going to hate myself.

The doctor mentioned that shingles usually flares up as a result of some kind of stress. Which is ridiculous. I have experienced some INCREDIBLE stresses in the last year, but right now I'm like the most at peace I've been in my whole life, basically. Like, NOW? NOW I get the stress disease? Jesus. Okay, fine. But I got some meds and I have nothing on my calendar for the next few days, so I'm going to do nothing and heal up and enjoy the fact that MY DOCTOR TOLD ME TO BE LAZY THIS WEEK. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Yesterday, my friend Nick and I went back to the same kayak place we'd gone last week. It was hot and sunny and perfect. I decided to try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP, as the kids are calling it) while Nick took another kayak. Getting on the board was shaky at first, but once I was standing on it, I found my balance pretty well. It took me a while to get comfortable rowing it, so it was very slow going at first, and I realized after like half an hour that my knees had been locked the whole time because I was so tense. I let myself relax a little bit and actually got pretty comfortable on it. The river is super calm there, so if I was going to fall off, it was going to be 100% my own clumsiness and not the fault of a rapid or a wave or something. But I paddled around for 90 minutes without falling! Then Nick and I swam in the river for a little while before heading back home.

On the drive home, my eyelids started getting really heavy, and it was all I could do to make it to my bed at all before I was completely passed out. I had an alarm set for an hour later because I was going to pick Toby up and then meet another friend for a little evening hike. When my alarm went off, I felt crazy groggy, and never really could shake that for the rest of the evening. I had fun hanging out, but I just felt more and more off as the night wore on. I didn't have any appetite at all, either, which is totally abnormal for me.

Possible TMI -- food poisoning description )

I woke up feeling gross but not ill. Normally I drive Toby to the train in the morning, but he insisted on letting me stay in bed, so he took a Lyft. But not before getting me more cold water and a breakfast bar to eat when I felt ready. What a guy.

I mostly slept until noon, then got up and showered and came downstairs for some food. I've been drinking carbonated water to maybe help my stomach feel better (though no signs of more barfing) and eating crackers for the last hour. I feel okay. Not great, but the worst is over, and I plan to still host trivia tonight. I'm glad it wasn't worse, because if it was the flu or something, I wouldn't be able to be a good host for Emily (if she even still wanted to come!) this weekend. But I think I'm on the mend. Just going to keep taking it super easy the rest of the day until trivia time, and definitely won't be drinking tonight. Then Em gets here tomorrow!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

I keep making big changes for myself, and so far this one thing at a time approach is really paying dividends. I was able to give up soda (I don't crave it, necessarily, but I do WANT it, and I wonder if I could handle having a little bit of soda every now and then, but figure I'd best not tempt fate). I changed my diet and then exercise program and have lost 17 pounds and counting. I've changed my anti-depressants and after a bumpy switchover, I'm pretty pleased with how I feel. But my sleep is still shit. I sleep for an average of 12 hours a day -- average -- there are some days where I get only 6 or 7, so...yeah, there are some days where I sleep all day, wake up to have dinner, and go back to sleep for the night. I love sleep. But I'm obviously not doing it in a healthy way. So now my doctor has instituted a sleep prescription for me. Not pills, just rules:

Set an alarm for the same time every morning. (8am)
No electronics within an hour before bed. (Electronic curfew of 11pm, bed by midnight.)
No challenging brain stimuli within that hour, either -- so my go-to of puzzles in bed is off limits. I can read, but it has to be an actual book, not kindle. Doctor recommends doing a meditation app in this time (electronic, yes, but eyes closed, so no actual screen time).
Get up with the alarm, do active things. Exercise in the morning.

I'm giving myself time to ease into this. Like my soda elimination, I can't do this immediately all at once. For example, here's what a typical day may look like (although all my days are different):

Wake up at 8ish to take Toby to the train.
Come home, fuck around on the computer for an hour or two, then go back to sleep. Sleep in 20-to-40-minute spells until I feel like it's inappropriate to stay in bed any longer. Usually sometime around noon.
Have a food, fuck around on the computer a little more, feel a little yawny, get back in bed. Probably sleep a little more.
Around 3ish, I'll start making an effort to actually get up. After waking up, this will involve a little more fucking around on the computer before I get out of bed. I'll get dressed and go to the gym now, and actually give myself a pretty hard workout most days.
Come home, shower, make arrangements with Toby to meet up after work. Some nights I'll go into town and meet him, and we'll do a thing, other nights I'll just pick him up at the train and we'll come home and do a quiet thing, like play games and work puzzles and maybe even cook (mostly him on the cooking). Some nights he wants to go to the gym with me after work, so I let myself sleep even longer in the day because I don't have to be active until after 5 now.
We stay up doing whatever we're doing until 11 or so, then head upstairs to bed, where we'll work more puzzles together, flick some nets, have some sex, and he'll start to doze off. I'm still awake, so I'll continue working puzzles on my own, or fucking around on my computer, usually until sometime in the 1 o'clock hour. Then I'll start to attempt to fall asleep, which usually happens pretty quickly. I'll wake up a few times in the middle of the night to pee or adjust the blankets or remind myself that whatever had me upset was just a dream, and sleep happens, more or less, until 8am.

A few footnotes: all sleep is accompanied by reruns of TV shows I've seen a million times on Netflix. I don't watch them, they're just like bedtime stories that help me doze (or, you know, don't, because I'm sure that's part of the problem...but I have difficulty falling asleep without them). And when I say "fuck around on my computer," that often includes doing actual work. But it's also often facebook or bridge or some combination of things productive and unproductive.

So, changing these habits will be a process. For now I'm halfway following the electronics curfew rule -- I'm getting off my phone and computer by an hour before bedtime, but then I'm staying up doing puzzles, and then when it's time to sleep, I'll turn Netflix on, but turn the screen brightness way down. And then I still take naps during the day and I let myself Netflix then, too. Otherwise my mind just doesn't quiet down enough to sleep. And I do need the sleep. But I've been getting up and doing things in the mornings, sometimes even exercise (I mean, this is day 3 since the doctor's appointment, it's not like I have a real established pattern of anything yet). And I spent a lot of my down time driving for Uber over the last few days, so I'm out of bed, out of the house more. Getting there.

It's funny because when my doctor and I first talked in January about the changes I'd need to make, we decided the baby steps approach was more important/likely successful than doing everything all at once. But the things she considers baby steps feel like huge changes themselves! So I'm baby stepping my way through them, too. And so far it's working, and it's not terrible, and I feel good, so I guess I don't have much to complain about. But I do hope this is the last major change for a while. I'm not sure what else I'm willing to eliminate from my life!

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My parents flew home on Tuesday last week. On Wednesday, I re-joined Weight Watchers. It worked for me in the past, not doing it isn't working for me. The end. I'm nervous, though, because I was 24 when I was successful on the program before. I'm in my mid-30's now. It won't be as easy, I know. But I have faith in the program and I feel like I'm finally mentally ready to do it correctly.

However, like with the SIBO diet, it's affecting my energy in a big way. I went for a run with Toby last weekend and had to stop for walk breaks shortly after 1.5 miles. I just ran an 8K two weeks ago! It's crazy disappointing to not be able to run even a slow 5K. I decided that the best way to deal with this is to accept that new diet = different physical abilities, and I need to adjust. So I downloaded the Couch to 10K app and I'm starting at the beginning. I'm hopeful that in addition to getting my endurance up, I can use it to improve my speed. I've never cared about running fast, but it's kind of ridiculous that before my accident, a 10-minute mile was easy for me but now it's a sprint.

With both WW and C210K, I'm anxious to fast forward to a few weeks into the program. It's hard to make big adjustments early only for the results to slowly get rolling, you know? I want to peek at myself 10 weeks from now, maybe 10-15 pounds down, running better...that's where I'll be, right? And also not aching for a chocolate binge? Here's hoping.

My drug trial also starts next week. Right now I'm tapering off of Prozac, so that I won't get seratonin sickness when I start the new medicine with the trial. I'm a little more irritable/grumpy than usual, but it's not a disaster so far. I am anxious to start that program, too, though.

I spent last weekend in Vancouver with Emily, Chris, and Toby. I had a great time but the visit was too short. Emily and Chris might be moving who knows where next year -- Chris is a biology PhD looking for a faculty position, and that could take them just about anywhere. I don't know how easy it will be to visit them, so I do want to take more advantage of how relatively close they are right now. Kelly and Dave, too. Sounds like they might be leaving the Bay sooner than later, and as much as I want them to come to Portland, it seems like their next stop will probably be somewhere else. I wish I had all the money so I could do all the travel :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Next week, I'm beginning participation in a clinical trial for a new depression treatment. As part of the trial, I will be required to switch anti-depressants. This scares me because things were awful in ways I wasn't even aware before I started taking Prozac, and I'm afraid that I may not notice problems if I switch meds. So I'm putting my friends on alert. One of the biggest challenges to facing my depression before Prozac was that I never really recognized when I was out of my mind. I was always able to articulate and function, but I'd have reactions to things that just didn't make sense. Missing a turn on the road would cause a sobbing meltdown. Getting the wrong topping on my pizza would ruin my day and I'd be pissed at everyone involved in it. I was a volatile asshole. And I couldn't tell the difference between when my outrage was righteous (these were the Bush years, after all) or not.

So, friends, please look out for me. I won't find it patronizing. I need this from you for my own good. If I seem unpleasantly different, call me out. I might be a dick about it in real time, but if you help me recognize that I need to get out of the trial and back on my old meds, or make any other necessary changes, I will be grateful later. I hope that I don't get shitty. I don't think it's a high possibility. But because the possibility exists, I want to be extra clear to everyone that I may need help.

I'm sorry to burden anyone with the task of babysitting my brain, but I trust my friends to come through if I need it. This is my written permission to be forceful with me if I'm being unreasonable. Okay? Okay.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Most days this week, I've been in my pj's well into the afternoon. But even though I still have bedhead at 1:30pm, I am being productive today. I've gotten a lot more cleaning and organizing done in the house, but it's such an ongoing task...I'm proud of the progress I'm making, still overwhelmed by what's left, though.

One of the biggest challenges in this process is all the memories I uncover. So many little things I'd forgotten about, or just wasn't actively remembering...it's a kick in the gut. Because the memories are good and I don't want to throw the thing away, but it's a predictable amount of emotionally difficult, too. Right now I have a drawer dedicated to "painful memories I don't want to lose." It's got things like pictures, my wedding rings, notes we wrote each other, little gifts.

I'm also particularly emotional right now because the NABC's have just started. When I played regularly, it felt like eons between nationals, but now that I don't attend and they're such a huge emotional trigger for me (it's really hard seeing half the people I know all talking about it on Facebook and not being part of that group), it feels like there's ALWAYS an NABC going on. So I've had some crying jags today.

Despite the sometimes-crippling sadness, though, I'm not letting it completely derail me. I've been adulting hard this week. I've spent hours cleaning and purging my house of things I don't need. I've done work things. I've done personal financial things. I'm being healthy. I have to give myself big props for all that I've done, because I'm nailing it. I wish it were faster, easier, etc...but I think the work is good for me.

I want to another thing going on in my life but I think that deserves its own post. Coming right up.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
One more note about my doctor's appointment:

Going through the questions, I said my stress levels were high and my positive feelings were low, but her last question was "How is your social support? Your network of friends who are there for you?" and I said 10/10. So I just wanted to make sure you guys know that even though I don't feel great right now, I do feel completely supported, and you're awesome. <3
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I had a doctor's appointment today to follow up on some of the things I've been working on and to check in. Have I mentioned how much I love having good insurance? I see my doctor every month just to check in like this. It's an amazing level of support.

Anyway, one of the things we did was rate how I feel about various areas of my life/health on a 1-10 scale. I had high scores in a couple of areas, but mostly I've been feeling like a completely useless failure, and that's affecting everything...most of the scores I gave myself were in the 2-4 range. I mentioned to my doctor that I'm feeling overwhelmed with so much I need to work on, improve, etc. But I did give myself credit for the work I've been doing around my house. I've been working hard, getting rid of a ton of clutter, and I'm proud of myself for that. She gave me lots of encouragement here, as well as an analogy that helped me step back from a lot of the negative self-talk I've been doing.

You know how when you clean a big mess, you have to spread things out and it looks even messier before it can be clean? She said that's where my health is right now. I'm doing the right things (giving up soda, changing some dietary habits, working out hard/frequently, continuing therapy), but my body is in the early stages of a major overhaul, and it feels like a train wreck right now. But that's one of the phases I have to go through to get to where I want to be. Okay then. Onward.

It was really helpful to have so many of my struggles validated. I really feel like this doctor understands and cares. She also checks in by email every couple of weeks. I've mentioned I love this insurance plan, right? The difference between this (silver level) and the plan I had last year (bronze) is night and day. Last year I paid $173/month to cover mostly nothing, really. This year I'm paying $273/month and I have NO copays, and I've already had like 12 (seriously) doctor visits this year. I can go to these doctors for ANYTHING I need, and it's covered. There are always same-day appointments available (ZoomCare only lets you book day-of for basic services). They have every kind of specialist I've ever heard of, and I can get on-demand appointments with any of them. $273/month is not a small chunk of change, but considering all the care I'm getting in all arenas of my health, it's a fucking bargain. But I'm privileged enough that I can afford this -- I don't feel like I should have to pay this much -- no one should. I think this is what healthcare SHOULD be at all levels. But we've got some shit to clean up before that's a reality. Soon, I hope.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been about 3 weeks since I had my last soda, and I'm pretty pleased with how it's going. It hasn't been too difficult, really. I do miss the taste of soda, but I'm sure even those pangs will fade eventually. I've mostly replaced it with water, but I've also been drinking a lot of gatorade, juice, and chocolate milk. I'm not liking juice as much as I feel like I enjoyed it the last time I was soda-free (2005-2010ish). Shrug. No biggie, I should just have more water anyway. But I do like to have some flavor. I wouldn't say I feel much different physically yet. I know how bad it was for me to drink as much soda as I did, so I'm hoping the health benefits of quitting become more readily apparent over time. The only thing that I can say has definitely changed is my poop. I'll spare the details but we'll call it a change for the better.

This weekend is the DI Regional tournament, where I will be appraising yet again. I need to go to Goodwill shortly to find a Hawaiian shirt to wear. For some reason our appraisal team is going for a tropical theme this year. I'm judging the fine arts challenge, which has some really cool twists this year. One of the requirements is that the teams' presentations must take place in the past -- pre-1990. I wonder how many teams will choose to portray the 1980s -- which should be very interesting since I was actually alive then and omg all these kids were born in this millenium. The 1990's to them is the 1970's to me, holy crap. Even their parents were probably kids in the 1980s...anyway, I'm excited to see what they come up with to show us :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
When I complain, I am not asking for advice or solutions. I am venting. My diet right now is THE SUCK and I bitch about it on Facebook and everyone is like "have you tried ____?" and I'm like Is ____ saag paneer? Or chocolate? Or even a bowl of fucking cereal? I don't want consolation prizes. I want what I can't have and I want to bitch about it. NYEH.

SIBOOOOOOO

Jan. 22nd, 2016 07:13 pm
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

I had my follow-up with the doctor who did all my body analytics earlier this month. She had blood test results to go over with me and the appointment was also to start mapping out a plan to meet my goals for the coming months.

Turns out, I have SIBO, which is what the doctor suspected from my first visit. It stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth. The bacteria that are supposed to live only in my large intestine have set up shop in my small intestine, and my understanding of what's happening is that they're robbing all the nutrients from everything I eat -- so the only thing my body is really getting from any food is calories. In my blood test, my sodium and cholesterol were both at the lowest end of the range -- which is crazy because I eat TONS of salt and eggs. So that's a prime example of the bacteria stealing from me, although if they want to take all the bad stuff, cool! Unfortunately they're also taking a lot of important stuff. I was deficient in all the B vitamins and zinc, and I had very few of the enzymes I'm supposed to have for liver function. It's not that I'm not eating well enough -- my diet has everything I need. But even if I take supplements, the bacteria will just keep taking all the nutrients. So they've gotta go.

Getting rid of them is where this starts to suck a lot.

I should mention also that the doctor is a naturopath. I wouldn't have chosen a naturopath over a drug pusher, because I do think a lot of naturopathy is woo-woo bullshit. But this doctor seemed pretty scientific about everything, and she has spent a lot of time listening to my concerns and talking to me about this, so I'm giving it a shot. I was a little scared to google SIBO at first because I didn't want to find out it was some bullshit diagnosis. I made Toby look it up for me and what he found actually confirmed that it's a legit thing. So that's good?

Some of the research says that you can treat SIBO and its recurrances with a short round of antibiotics. Great. Gimme that! But,  my naturopath wants to do things the hippie way first, which I guess is not a bad thing. She said we'd try this treatment first and then if it doesn't have the right effect, we'll go more aggressive (drugs) next. The problem is that the program I'm on suuuuuucks.

I have to change my diet to starve the bacteria of the things on which they feed and thrive. Which is basically everything I enjoy eating. I have to go super low-carb, which is hard enough as a vegetarian, but also I have to cut out ALL soy and chickpeas. So even the meat substitutes I usually go for are off-limits.

My doctor warned me that this was going to suck. She warned me to warn my friends that being around me is going to suck. But she says the worst will be over in three days. I wasn't clear on whether I only had to be strict about the diet for three days, or if I'm supposed to sort of adjust and stop hating it after three days. Apparently I'm supposed to be super strict for three days, then I can slowly reintroduce carbs and soy over time, but I need to try to avoid them as much as possible for three months. During these three months, I'm also on a course of supplements that adds up to like 20 pills a day. Yay. I really hope this shit works. The doctor does seem very understanding about my concerns, and she's willing to work with me as much as I need to make adjustments. I'm just one day into this new diet (two more days of sucktasticness!), so I want to see if I can do the super strict way she recommends...but I'm glad there's wiggle room, anyway. Still would prefer to just take an antibiotic and be done with it in a couple of weeks, but I do suppose this is better for me in the long run, helping me get my metabolism back where I want it and such.

So the SIBO is an explanation of why I've been so fatigued all the time and why it's been damn near impossible for me to make gains in my fitness. My body gets no nutrients and my metabolism is slowed to a crawl. I really have felt like I've been trying harder than results have indicated. The diagnosis is good news in that regard. I just wish fighting it off wasn't such a huge uncomfortable adjustment.

Toby has been super supportive, though. He went shopping with me and has helped me cook lots of things that I can eat now. He's been coming to the gym with me, too. He's never used gym equipment before. The first time he got on a treadmill (last week), he was like a baby deer walking for the first time. Only he was running, so I was pretty worried about disaster potential :P But he got comfortable with it and settled in after a little while. I've also been teaching him how to use the weight machines and what to do with the free weights. It's really nice to have him there with me. I hope working out together becomes a regular thing for us.

So, yeah...mixed bag right now. I'm grouchy about my diet restrictions and craving tofu more than I thought a person could, but I'll live. I'm happy to have an explanation for some of the things I've been unhappy with healthwise and bodywise, and very happy to have a plan and a supportive doctor to help me overcome it. And Toby :)

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Today has been awful. I've just been feeling sick all day, and I had so much on my schedule for the day, too. The first thing was my follow-up doctor's appointment for my knee. Can't remember if I wrote about that on here or not, but basically I have this godawful cut on my knee that had developed an ulcer under the skin. Last week I went in to have it looked at because I was worried it was infected, and the doctor said it wasn't infected but bad things were happening and she needed to dig some tissue out of my wound. She tried a bunch of different numbing agents, but none of them actually worked, and the process was one of the most painful things I've ever had to endure. She scheduled me for a follow-up today to do more tissue removal, because she wasn't comfortable doing it all in one go with how much I was in pain. So I've been crazy nervous about this follow-up all week, because I was really afraid it would be more of the same awful pain.

My friend Nick came with me so I could hold his hand and also not drive myself, because last week I really shouldn't have driven home after. I was still dazed from pain. Leading up to the appointment, I felt disgusting all morning, gastric woe basically constantly...but I figured it was just nerves because I was afraid of the upcoming appointment. My doctor was very pleased with how nicely my knee is healing now, though, and the stuff she did today barely hurt at all. Still, I had a lot of nerves built up, and came very close to fainting.

Fainting is nothing like how it's depicted in entertainment. It feels disgusting. Every part of you gets clammy and sweaty and hot and sore and it's just a terrible, terrible feeling. I didn't faint, but I did get all those joyous pre-faint feelings. Again, I'm pretty sure it was just nerves because the anticipation for this appointment had been pretty awful. So I came home, rehydrated, and went back to bed. I woke up a few times still feeling horribly ill, and finally at 3:15, I realized I would not be capable of making it to my trivia hosting gig tonight. I texted the event manager and asked him if someone could sub for me, and literally seconds after I pressed send, I had the most prolific puking experience of my adult life. It's not that I never puke, it's that I never *really* puke. It's usually just acid and liquid like when a medicine doesn't agree with me. I haven't puked actual food out of my belly in years. But I did that today. It felt DISGUSTING, and I hope I can go another 15 years without doing it again, but I immediately felt much, much better. So I think I'm going to host tonight after all. I don't feel 100%, but I feel like I'm done with things more or less involuntarily coming out of me, so that's good enough to sit in a corner and read trivia questions.

Seriously, though. Ick.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've been doing a lot of breathing exercises that my doctor recommended. The info they gave me claims that getting your breathing in check can have a huge ripple effect -- making a person more productive, creative, energetic, etc. I really think this shit is working. I've been SUPER productive today. And a lot of days leading up to today. I haven't been napping as much. Exercise has felt good. I'm really pleased with myself.

Today looked like this:

Woke up before my alarm, played some bridge
Taborgrass (bluegrass group lesson w/my mandolin)
Drove to Salem for hair purpling
Stopped at the gym on my way home, did a two-mile interval run workout and some weightlifting
Cooked (!!) my own healthy (!!) dinner
Changed the filters in my air ducts
Moved some of my fish to a smaller tank
Started laundry
Did some random cleaning/tidying
Paid some bills
Wrote some trivia questions and submitted them -- my trivia organization is paying hosts to write questions, with no limit to how many we can submit. I've written a lot :)

And now I'm going to turn on Archer and do some coloring and go to sleep early.

I feel good today.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I have this new superawesome health insurance that's actually managed by the same company as my main provider for the last five years -- ZoomCare -- I think they're just in the Portland area, but anyway they're awesome. The insurance plan comes with this thing called the Performance Lab, which is all this crazy high tech equipment used to evaluate everything from your brain function to your breathing and fitness. I went yesterday for my first evaluation, and the way it works is that you go through all the tests and then you set up a goal with the doctor. My goal is to build running endurance and reduce body fat. The examination is incredibly thorough (but not invasive!) and the doctor went over all the possible things that could be roadblocks on the way to my goal. She spent a ton of time with me working on my individual plan, and sent me home with pages of analytics about my own body. I'm a statistics nerd, so I LOVE this. I go back for some follow-ups in a week (after bloodwork comes back), and then I can go to the labs as much as I want to reevaluate and adjust my goals. I'm so psyched about this program.

Some things I'm supposed to work on:
Keep a food journal to go over at my follow up (but she just asked me to take pictures of my food, which is easy enough)
Change my gym routine to include more weightlifting and interval training for cardio
Spend 5 minutes a day doing meditative breathing exercises (they gave me a few app recommendations to try)

I know it's only been one day so it's easy to feel jazzed and then let the enthusiasm fade to oblivion, but I am super enthusiastic about this. The way the goals are broken down is super manageable, and there are measurements of EVERYTHING, which I love. I love tracking progress, and the mere fact that I'm going to be moving the dials for myself is incredibly motivating. There's just something about seeing it in personalized analytics that makes it so much more motivating than just studying up on health and fitness in general.

So yesterday I went to the gym after my appointment and tried an interval run the way the doctor suggested -- 5 min warmup, 10 min working as hard as I can, 5 min running at 50-60% exertion, then 5 min cooldown. It felt great, and the 10 minute section actually went by pretty fast. She wants me to do this kind of cardio 3x a week, mixing it in with the kinds of workouts I'm already doing. Lately I've been doing an hour of cardio most days, but only ever at like 60% most of the time. I can definitely see how increasing the intensity has its advantages. And shit, if it doesn't work, that'll show up in my next exam, and we'll tweak it :)

Today I went back to the gym with my take-on-the-world attitude. I got on the treadmill to do a 1-mile warmup jog, but I felt pretty good and just went ahead and did 3 miles. Then I did weights -- forced myself to do more than I usually do, both in terms of number of reps and weight. I had a little more in the tank after that, so I decided to see what an interval workout would be like on an elliptical. Usually on non-running days, I'll get on the elliptical for 40-60 minutes, crank it all the way up to level 3 or 4 (of 20, lolz), and mindlessly churn my legs while I play bridge on my phone. Today I tried a 5-minute warmup, then cranked it up to 16. That was WAY too intense...I could only sustain it for two minutes. I backed off down to 10 for the rest of the intense part, then did another 15 minutes on an easy setting, just to pass the time more than anything.

I know today's workout falls in the crazy and unsustainable category, and I know I won't be going this hard every day, but it felt good to WANT to work hard for the first time in a while...I consciously thanked my body when I was done, and then took my stanky ass home to have the greatest shower the world has ever known.

I feel good. I want to keep feeling good.

Also if you're in the Portland area, the Zoom Performance Lab does accept other insurance, and you can count your visit as your annual free wellness visit through the ACA, too. I highly recommend it. It was amazing and I can't wait to go back.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Second week in a row of 10+ miles running! I did a little more than a 4-mile run today at my old high school track. I realized during mile 3 or so that I actually have the endurance to do this for a while...it's just really fucking boring. I do listen to music that I like a lot, but I'm always so tempted to stop because it's time to return a text message or play another game on my phone or whatever. I should try podcasts. But what I've been doing lately is just doubling up my cardio -- run for a while, then do weights, then do a machine where my hands are free and I can play on my phone. I can do 3-4 BBO bridge tournaments in a typical elliptical workout, and I am able to zone out pretty well when I do that. I'm always really sweaty at the end, so I'm working hard, but I'm not thinking the whole time about how much it sucks.

I had a dream last night that I got on a scale and was 20 pounds lighter. Oh man, if only. I haven't weighed myself since a doctor's appointment before Thanksgiving, so I don't really know if my weight has changed much, but I'm definitely being healthier, so there's that. I've allowed sugar back into my diet, but I'm still taking it pretty sparingly these days. Cereal or cereal bars for breakfast that have a minimal amount, but really that's it. Well, tomorrow is my family Christmas party, and my uncle is an amazing dessert chef, so...I'll probably have a lot of sugar tomorrow :)

Anyway I feel good about myself. It's nice.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's totally true that making one small, positive change starts a chain reaction of bigger, more positive changes.

I've made it 2 weeks without having any refined sugar. In that time it's been easier for me to work out more effectively, for longer times (up to an hour or more of cardio most days, plus lifting). I do crave chocolate chip cookies kind of always, but it's been easier than I thought it would be to shift to much healthier food. Mind you this is no diet -- pizza doesn't have sugar! Anyway my two weeks are up and I'm enjoying the way I feel, so I'm going to keep limiting sugar for now. Not sure when I'll allow myself that first cookie, maybe tonight when I go to a DI event, but in any case keeping the sugar intake down.

I spent the weekend in Phoenix with Adrian. On Friday, he went to work and left me at his place with instructions to get to the big park nearby for a run. Even with gps, I got so fucking lost...I'd intended to do a 3-mile run, but I ended up exiting the park in the wrong direction and my 3-mile intentions became a little more than 6 miles in the end. I wish I could say I felt great and loved it and am ready to do more 10Ks now, but that's not entirely true. Still, it was a nice accomplishment, even if it was entirely accidental. That got me over 10 miles running for last week. I want to beat 10 miles every week, so I started this one off with 3 today. Then some errands and a nap...

My fatigue still exists. I'm still not sleeping very well at night. But I'm getting more shit done and I'm not dragging as much and I feel better. So I'm calling this a win. And naps are awesome.

Headed to pick up Toby from work in a bit and then we're helping out at a DI Instant Challenge night for the local teams. I'm excited, and psyched that Toby wants to get involved, too. Yay DI!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I stayed over at Toby's last night, but didn't sleep very well. My plan was to come home and get straight into bed. But I remembered that tomorrow is trash day, so first I pulled out my cans. Then I realized I had dishes that needed to be done, so I handled that. Then I opened the fridge to think about grabbing a beverage before coming to bed, saw the fresh eggs I'd bought yesterday, and decided to fry myself some breakfast. Then I washed the pan and came upstairs to get in bed...but noticed I had laundry that could use washing, so I started that. All in the 30 minutes since I got home. I don't even recognize this girl.

Yesterday was a similar story -- I was up early to drive Toby to the MAX, but my plan was to come back home immediately after and snooze some more. But I put on gym clothes for some reason, and after dropping Toby off, I stopped at my gym. I got on a treadmill to do a one-mile warmup jog and went for 3 miles. Then lifted weights and did a little more cardio, just because I felt like it. Then I ran errands and came home and took care of my health insurance for next year. I also made some phone calls to local music shops on Toby's behalf to research his next banjo purchase. Then Dave came over and we had lunch, played games, and I helped him edit the bridge club website. I was busy all afternoon, and the bar that I went to for dinner and to watch the Blazers/Cavs game just happened to have trivia, so Toby met me there and we stayed to play, and we won. We got back to his place around 11, did a NYT Sunday crossword, and finally dozed off a little before 1. No nap, and I was super fucking productive all day. I am not used to having this kind of energy or motivation. It's awesome.

I'm still going to take a nap now, though.

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