Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

Update on Me

Posted: January 16, 2017 in About Me, Uncategorized
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I have not been posting on here in awhile, and I’m doubtful that will change, but I just wanted to check in and let anyone reading know that I’m still around and not giving up on the blog, it’s just been hard to keep up with lately.

Part of that is that I work full time and I’m technically full time in school (though in the dissertation process so that’s flexible.)

Mainly though I’ve been really struggling with depression. I was struggling a bit prior to the election, but after the election it has gotten a lot worse. It makes it hard for me to find motivation to do anything, and that certainly includes blogging.

I was thankfully able to get back into therapy, though I sort of slipped past a “no new patients” rule by someone who didn’t realize that I’m considered a new patient since it’d been over a year since I saw this therapist.

Going to see if the no new patients rule will prevent me from seeing someone who can prescribe medications for depression in addition to therapy.

If that does happen, maybe things will start looking up for me and I might get back to blogging. But I can’t say how long until that is.

So that is the update one me!

 

Broken Foot

Posted: September 12, 2016 in About Me, Uncategorized
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So followed up with my doctor about heel pain today and was told there was no need for me to avoid exercise due to it any longer.

 

YES!

 

Oh, but also I broke my foot on Sept 2nd and so I do need to stay off it until that heals.

 

Dammit.

 

-_-

 

Lesson learned, next time just let the skunk spray you instead of trying to run away and falling over and spraining both ankles and breaking your foot. *sigh*

I am really struggling with this, essentially, no fitness thing.

According to my physical therapist I can’t walk more than necessary (I can walk for day to day needs, but not like, go out for a couple mile walk for extra activity), I can’t do Krav Maga, and I can’t lift heavy.

I can body weight and light weights so long as my foot doesn’t start hurting more when I do. But most things do cause it to hurt.
In theory I think I could do cycling or swimming since those don’t put impact on my heel. But I don’t have a functional bike or anywhere to swim at the moment.

Though at the moment I guess it’s not so hard given that’s it’s too hot to try moving at all in this weather! 😦

I hope this is all worth it. My foot does hurt less, but it’s always hurt mostly from walking/activity. So I don’t know if it’s “healing” like my physical therapist thinks it will, and after it heals I can go back to being active. Or if it’s just hurting less because I’m not using it and  as soon as I try to again, I’m right back where I was pain wise. Which makes it even harder. It would be easier to accept the lack of activity if I trusted it would pay off in the end. Right now, I’m a skeptic though.

I finally got around to getting in for the physical therapy my doctor told me to get!

It was an interesting experience. Number 1 thing I learned- I suck at relaxing. Every time the physical therapist told me “now relax your muscles and just let me move you” I would try but my muscles didn’t seem to understand “relax”.

More on topic the physical therapist said that I have a significant strength imbalance between my left and right side which she thinks is causing pain. Though I wonder whether that is a cause or an effect, since I’ve spent a long time now favoring my right side because of the pain on my left foot.

Also found out I need to work on my glute strength more.

For the time being though, she also says that the most important thing is that my foot needs to rest and I haven’t been resting it enough. I am not supposed to use any heavy weights for the time being, limit walking, no running.

She didn’t say I can’t do Krav Maga, but classes usually involve running during the warmup and I’m not supposed to do that :\ But I don’t want to have to completely avoid it for at least a month if not longer. So I don’t know how to handle that yet.

This is just a post about me, and my health. I haven’t been particularly active recently between the plantar fasciitis and asthma.

So to catch folks up: turns out I have exercise induced asthma. Found this out after severe coughing following a krav maga class lasted several days rather than the several hours it used to. Went to my doctor, got diagnosed, prescribed an inhaler to use before exercise.

Inhaler helped but didn’t completely eliminate the coughing and trouble breathing. I then started having panic attacks when working out from panic that I wouldn’t be able to breath which just exacerbated the asthma.

Well, I finally got back to my PCP today about this. She prescribed a daily maintenance inhaler in addition to the as needed on I’ve been using. She also informed me that the as needed inhaler (albuterol) increases heart rate. Since I was (and am) supposed to use it before exercise, I think this as part of why I was having panic attacks (my fear + the physiological response to the albuterol). I feel a lot more relieved and in control knowing this.

Between this and improvements with my foot pain I’m hoping to get back to a higher activity level again.

So this post doesn’t directly address any big important topic, other than I think it’s good to recognize that health stuff happens, treatment is good, and if other folks are having trouble with a physical issue that is making it hard to exercise, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. Often it’s easy to put it all down to personal failing I think, especially breathing problems which we often attribute to “I’m just not in shape enough”. This is especially a problem for fat people because when our health problems are so often boiled down to “lose weight” regardless of what they are, it encourages people to not see doctors. Yet sometimes, medical intervention is necessary to allow people of any size to exercise safely, and there should be no shame in seeking that out.

And of course ignoring health problems because “I must just be out of shape” or “I’ll see a doctor after I lose weight” can be deadly. 

I’ve mentioned before on here having problems with foot pain, but let me try to give a history of how things went.

It started out with some pain in both heels of my feet, I looked up info and decided it sounded like plantar fasciitis and started doing some stuff to help that I found online. I did stretching, massage, I got this thing that you can freeze and roll under your foot, and I used kinesiology tape, particularly when running. I can’t remember when this started but… come to think of it, it must have been about 2 years or longer ago I think.

For awhile this worked pretty well and I was still running and not having major issues due to the pain. But then it started getting worse in my left foot and none of what I was doing was helping. It continued to get worse until I couldn’t run anymore because I ended up limping when I was running. Then I started limping just trying to walk on it. This started happening even when walking short distances, like the distance from my car into my desk at work.

I realized I needed to see a doctor, but that realization came about during a period when I didn’t have health insurance.

Then I had insurance but I was working during the day when doctors are available. So I waited until after I was able to take time off from my job (90 days from when I started) to make an appointment to see a doctor.

I finally got in to see my PCP about it and she had an x-ray done and referred me to a podiatrist.

The x-ray showed a heel spur and also a small tumor on my foot. When I got in to see the podiatrist he told me that the tumor thingy was nothing to worry about and most likely was unrelated to my pain. He said the pain was plantar fasciitis and that the PF actually causes the heel spur. He recommended icing it, stretching, super expensive insoles (I had been using some that were like $10 from the store, he had me buy brand that was $50/pair -_-), told me to always wear shoes in my house (boo), and had me get a night splint to wear. He also prescribe naproxen to be taken twice a day, and told me he could give me a cortisone injection. He said that he is usually hesitant to give the injection because he doesn’t want patients to think that the shot takes away the  pain so that’s all they need, saying that the shot will wear off so you need to do the stretching and so on to resolve the underlying issue to keep it from coming back. However, since I had been doing stretching and all for months he said he would leave it up to me if I wanted to do the shot too. I said I did and he gave me a cortisone injection. He kept asking if I was ok throughout, because it takes awhile to slowly administer the whole dose, but I’m actually pretty good with needles and have a high pain tolerance. Didn’t bother me watching him do it either.

I chatted with him during it and told him about the last time I saw a podiatrist, years ago, for ingrown toenails. That doctor numbed my foot with a local anesthetic and started cutting into the flesh around my toenail and I could feel him cut into me. He gave me more anesthetic and asked if it hurt when I went to the dentist. Well, yeah, of course it hurts when I get stuff done at the dentist! Isn’t that why everyone hates going to the dentist? He informed me that actually I shouldn’t feel any actual pain after being administered a local anesthetic. Seriously blew my fucking mind!  I seriously thought that experiencing pain even after a local anesthetic was normal, I thought it reduced the pain but didn’t realize it was supposed to completely eliminate pain. I’ve become a lot more vocal at the dentist now if I feel pain asking for more anesthetic!

Anyways, he said it would take about a day to feel the effects of the cortisone injection and sure enough a day or 2 late the pain was massively reduced. I was a bit disappointed that pain didn’t go away completely, but it was reduced to the point where I didn’t limp when walking. I could feel pain when walking, but not enough to impact my walking. But after a few days even that wore off.

I kept up with stretching, bought the expensive insoles, try to wear shoes in my house, and tried to wear the night splint but would end up taking it off halfway through the night because my food would start going numb.

I was supposed to follow up in 2 weeks but put the appointment on my calendar on the wrong day and then just kept forgetting to make appointments so I didn’t get back in until just the other day. I told him how things hadn’t improved much and my experience with the cortisone injection. He said that sometimes it takes building up the cortisone injection so he gave me a stronger dose. He was telling me how most people complain about getting the shot but I couldn’t feel it at all. Even though he would inject some and then go deeper, inject more, go deeper, inject more, and so on and it looked creepy how far that needle went into my foot, but only once did I feel any pinching type feeling from it, otherwise I wouldn’t even know he was doing it if I hadn’t been watching.

He told me to continue stretching and he looked at the night splint. He adjusted the straps and made them much looser, and told me that should make it better. I had the straps tight because I was trying to get my heel as close to being against it as possible but according to him I guess it’s ok with my heel isn’t against the bottom of it, it’s still more flexed that it normally would be while resting.

He also recommended that I start physical therapy, so I’ll be doing that soon.

This time the stronger cortisone injection actually has taken away the pain! I’m 2 days now with no pain when walking and it’s amazing!

Would be great if it lasted but I’m not expecting it will.

This pain is particularly rough this time of year. It’s getting nice out and I really want to go running again, but haven’t been able to yet. I’m hoping that finally all this stuff will get me to where I can walk without pain and then start back to running again eventually. Not sure how long it will take though.

There are a lot of lists of this nature on the internet, but I want to do my own.

The Cost

This is one of the main things that inspired me to want to make this post. Being chronically ill is expensive. Between the doctor appointments, regular medical tests, and prescription medications, plus the non-prescriptions medications. I’m not even talking here about the hidden costs like missing work because of being ill.

It’s not just how much it costs, but also the consistency of it. This comes up a lot for me in discussions with people about certain medical costs, and I realize that we look at things in a very fundamentally different way based on our health backgrounds. I find this with family a lot, who know about my chronic illnesses and medical expenses, and yet they still often seem to have trouble understanding that I know these costs will exist. It’s not 100% predictable, but I can come up with good estimates of how much it costs me monthly.

For example, at my new job I had the option of putting money into a flex spending account for healthcare costs, that money can only be used for healthcare expenses but is not taxable. It used to be that you couldn’t roll over the money year to year, so it was use it or lose it, but for mine I can roll over up to $500 if I don’t use it all. I don’t know that it will end up making a big difference tax wise for me because I don’t make that much money, but I figure I might as well get some benefit from it knowing I will be spending a lot of money on medical costs. I have $50 per biweekly pay put into my flex spending account, which is actually less than what my yearly medical costs are going to be so I will probably end up upping that in the future.

Where I’m going with this though- I have had a number of conversations with my mom about this because she is always worried I’m going to lose money with it because what if I don’t spend it all? I have to remind her that there is no question for me about if it’s going to get used. For people who are generally healthy these things are pretty variable. Maybe you get sick and see a doctor maybe you don’t. Maybe you have to have extensive tests done and hit your deductible, but unless something goes wrong you won’t. For me, there is some question to some of it, if things go bad and I end up in the ER several times again- that’s not a planned expense. But I know I have doctor appointments on average once ever couple months even when things are normal. I’m supposed to have regular blood work done because of the meds I’m on which means I always end up hitting my deductible. I have medications I take every month that is a predictable cost. There is no question, I will spend more than the $1300 that goes into my flex spending account during the course of the year.

Taking medications is not bad

That I take a lot of prescriptions medications is scary to a lot of generally healthy people. Aren’t I worried about them? Have I talked to my doctor about trying to take less? What about side effects?

I don’t take these medications for fun, I take them because I need them. Can side effects be scary? Yes! It’s also scary that doctors don’t always pay attention to interactions or notify you of possible side effects. I was on one medication for years before being informed that oh yeah, kidney stones are a known side effect of them, and that’s why you keep getting kidney stones. And actually, that only came up because I discovered that information online myself and brought it up with my doctor. Because of this I try to make sure I am educated about my medications and use drugs.com to check interactions to double check if my doctor and pharmacist miss anything important or scary.

It’s also scary that medications are not always well tested on people like me before being approved for use. The medical industry has a long history of testing medications on some people, specifically white men, and assuming that those results apply to all other people just the same.

But what I’m actually more concerned about and scared of is not having any medications and being unable to function. I’m afraid of more serious medical problems resulting from not treating my illnesses.

I take my medications because I need them, not for fun.

What being “tired” really means

This one is specific to me and my experience, but I hate when people who do not have chronic illnesses act like they understand me being “tired” because they didn’t sleep well last night either. For me, being tired does not feel like just not getting good sleep.

Now part of this is that I do not in my daily language distinguish between sleepiness and fatigue, though the two are different things. Different things that I often experience at the same time though. When I say I feel tired, I usually mean both sleepiness and fatigue.

Part of being tired for me is sleepiness. It is a need for more sleep than generally healthy people normally need. It is struggling just to stay awake through the day.

It’s also fatigue. Which is much harder to explain if you’ve never experienced it. It’s a feeling in my body, in my muscles, of having no energy to do anything. It also hurts. Which is something that is hard to explain, but there is a pain that goes with severe fatigue. Being tired often means being so tired I physically hurt for me.

The connection between physical and mental health (that goes both ways)

Talking about fatigue and pain brings me to the connection between physical and mental health. My physical health causes mental health difficulties for me. But there is mutual feedback between the two in a very negative way. And trying to figure out which is which is sometimes not possible. I am exhausted and that causes me to start feeling depressed, and my depressed thinking is specifically related to my physical illness, feeling worthless because I can’t do the things I need to do, et cetera, but we also know depression can cause physical symptoms including pain. Knowing exactly which is physical and which is mental is not possible, the two are woven together to tightly.

It doesn’t go away

This is one I’ve said many times before, but I’ll say it again- one of the hardest parts of chronic illnesses is the fact that it doesn’t go away. I am tired of being sick and tired all the time but I can’t change that. It’s impossible to convey what it feels like to always feel so sick and in pain knowing it’s not going to pass and get better.

Life Update

Posted: October 27, 2015 in About Me
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I feel bad that I’ve kind of disappeared from here, so here is just a quick check to say I still exist! I have no given up on blogging, I’m just overwhelmed right now.

I started my new job end of September. I’ve had a post connecting some work stuff with fitness in progress for weeks now. But I’m just a bit exhausted with work, behind with school, and haven’t been working out so not much to say there.

My plantar fasciitis has been so bad I’ve been on and off limping for weeks, so running has kind of been off the table for a bit, though I’ve done some walking just to try to do something.

I’ve done some lifting since starting the job but none in the last week. My anemia issue seems to be back and I can feel it getting worse. The anemia ends up causing tachycardia (fast heart rate) as well, which makes it difficult and not particularly safe to workout.

I feel like I’m just racking up issues I need to see a doctor about once this insurance kicks in for this job.

So that’s my life right now. But I hope to get back to training and blogging fairly soon. Crossing my fingers it’s fairly soon at least.

TFTR-Official-Blogger-Badge-1In the clubhouse for the Fat Girls Guide to Running the focus for October is meant to be on developing new habits. Much like the social running challenge, the timing seems to fit my life fairly well.

I just started a new full time job Monday! I haven’t had a full time job in… I think 4 years. That last full time job was also my first full time job. All my other jobs have been part time. Though at times that has meant combining multiple part time jobs and being in school full time. I’d actually say that latter is a more busy schedule, but moreso there is just a different feel to it.

Of course I’m not just working full time right now, but also in school part time. And trying to juggle both of these along with outside goals with my chronic illnesses/disability. Which is a challenge and incredibly overwhelming and the truth is I’m rather concerned about attempting to do so.

This past week the juggle did not go well. Monday was my first day of work followed by my first exam in an extra political science class I decided to take… that I’m now kicking myself for not dropping because what the fuck was I thinking taking more than the necessary amount of schoolwork?

The exam did not go well. Not that I have received a grade yet, I just know it didn’t. I was so exhausted after work I could not think straight and forming coherent sentences seemed a challenge. Not a good state to be in for an exam.

Since starting this job I have not done any work on my research practicum. Also had to push back meeting with the professor I’m working with.

And I have not worked out at all this week.

My life has basically been: get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat. And still not getting enough sleep (for me) under this schedule, leading to me being increasingly exhausted everyday.

Assuming you’ve read this far, you may be wondering- what the heck does this have to do with new habits? Possibly also, how does this make now a good time to talk about developing new habits for you?

Well, for one thing, just getting used to my full time work schedule is a new habit for me! Balancing any other habit around that is also new in that sense. Balancing all of this is a new habit. I have a lot of new habits!

So my habits I am focusing on for October?

  • Get used to my new work schedule
  • Get used to my new bed time
  • Start setting in school work time after work during the week
  • Get used to fitting in workouts around those things
  • Work on drinking more water again

Aside from the last, these also can be considered to be in order. I’m also trying to remind myself that everything isn’t going to happen at once. Let me get used to my work and sleep schedule first. I took this week off schoolwork due to work, that’s ok, that will get added into the mix next week. It will probably be longer for me to really get into a good habit regarding workouts among all of this.

Water is already something I’m working on though! I was drinking plenty of water and in the habit of it but started to fall out of the habit. So last weekend I decided to redownload an app that lets you track how much water you’ve drank. You have empty cups and you just tap it to fill it for each cup of water you drink. it also will record the time you clicked the cup.

I set my goal on the app for 16 cups of water/ 128 ounces a day. That being the minimum for days I don’t work out. I would aim for 24 cups or water/ 192 ounces a day on days I am working out. That number just based on what amount of water I typically feel hydrated and good drinking. Also with a 64 ounce water bottle, increments of such are easy. No workout- aim for 2 bottles worth of water. Workout- aim for 3 bottles worth of water.

Since I started using the app last weekend, Friday was actually the first day I hit my goal. Since this is a habit I only slipped up on much recently I’m not expecting it takes too long to get back into the habit and after I do I will likely delete the app. The app is just helpful as I get back into the habit of it.

So those are my New Habit goals for October 🙂

Bisexual Visibility Day

Posted: September 24, 2015 in About Me
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bi pride flag

So yesterday was Bisexual Visibility Day/Celebrate Bisexuality Day. Seeing all the bi pride stuff on social media and hearing bi folks sharing there stories it got me thinking about my own identification. Background for those who don’t know already- I came out (to my friends) as bi my sophomore year of undergrad, and identified as bi for many years after that. Shortly after ending things with my first girlfriend though, which was just a bit over 2 years ago, I started questioning where I fell on the sexuality spectrum. It become more and more apparent that I clearly had a strong preference for women. Even before dating my ex-girlfriend, while I didn’t question my identification as bisexual I decided to stop dating men after a few dates with men where I found myself wishing I were on a date with a woman instead. So then I went through a phase of questioning exactly how much interest and attraction I have for men. A phase I’m not sure I’m really past yet.

What I know right now is that I prefer women, but I certainly have some attraction to men, but not enough to be interested in dating men in general. I could fall for a man I know in some other context, but since I so strongly prefer women, as a rule I do not date men.

Given that I’ve taken to identifying as queer, or gay, or a lesbian, but not bisexual anymore. These feel more accurate when considering that I am not interested in dating men. Yet, when talking about bisexuality it reminds me of how I feel torn between these different identities still. Falling between an even bisexuality and 100% gay, even as I fall closer to the gay side, I feel like in some ways I have one foot in each box. I only date woman which makes me feel pretty gay.

On the other hand, talking about the issues bisexual people, and in particular bisexual women, face, I feel a lot more solidarity there. Especially when it comes to the biphobia from lesbians. Which whether I call myself bisexual, gay, or a lesbian doesn’t matter that much, to many lesbians I am still tainted because I’ve slept with men. Even if identifying as a lesbian did give me a pass with some lesbians who find bisexual women untrustworthy and icky, those are not people I want to be around or associate with regardless. That feeling of exclusion because of not “picking a side”, or fitting neatly into prescribed boxes kind of makes me want to take up the bi label again, and wave a proud bi flag.

I have no conclusion to this, I still don’t know where I fall, but I figured I’d in these thoughts on bisexuality for awareness/visibility/whatever.