Something Is Not Right

Today’s Happy Note: Catching up on most of my schoolwork.  Okay, so the actual act of doing the work isn’t “happy”, but having it done makes me happy.  So there.  I deem it worthy of a happy note. 🙂

Sorry to have disappeared on you friends!  I truly wish I could blog every night and it makes me sad that sometimes I have to hit the books instead. I have quite a lot of reading this semester, but not a lot of assignments.  This means that it is quite tempting to put off the reading, but then when the assignments come around, I would be screwed.

I know I have talked about priorities before (blah, can’t find the post), but I have been reorienting myself the past few days.  School already was a priority, but it needs to be even more of one.  I just kind of need to grit my teeth and get it done.  Meh.

Anyone else out there feeling mid-semester blues/overwhelmed?

I saw something fun on Angela’s Blog today!  Apparently, it is National Love Your Body day today.  I’ll get to that in a minute…

First, I have some training notes to catch you all up on!

1. Monday: I did an easy 25 minutes of weight lifting followed by my easy yoga class (it’s for school).  The instructor wears sweatpant booty shorts.  He is a man.  That is all.  My body was grateful for the easy day.

2. Tuesday: Was supposed to be nine miles of speedwork.  I really didn’t want to do it during the day and finally set out around six, planning to stay on the streets.  But it just didn’t feel right.  My body was moving in all the wrong ways — my lower legs seemed to be doing something completely different from my knees, which were doing something completely different from my quads.  You get the picture.  I listened to my body!  This is something that I have really struggled with in terms of exercising, so I was proud of myself.  I cut the run short and did four miles, with 5×100 strides in the last mile.

3. Wednesday: I figured I would just get in my nine miles today.  But.  Again, something wasn’t quite right.  Mostly, I was terribly tired.  I couldn’t seem to get out of bed in the morning or after my afternoon nap.  So I just did my easy yoga class. That was it.  Taking it this easy is hard for me!  I feel a lot of guilt.  But I know that taking the rest is a good idea.

I think there are three reasons why I struggle with guilt when I don’t workout hard everyday:

1. I tend to have an all-or-nothing mindset.  I feel like I’m either completely sedentary all day (in reality, this isn’t true) or insanely active.  I struggle to find an appropriate balance.

2. I overexercised at an unsustainable level for years — I think this is tied to the ways in which I was active as a child and adolescent.  From when I was four until I was fourteen, I was a gymnast.  The last few years of that, I would practice about 20 hours a week.  Then in high school, I did diving, track, and swimming (sometimes at the same time).  I would often be working out for hours a day — senior year, I swam for 3-5 hours a day during the fall season.  Thus, my expectations for physical activity were shaped unrealistically at a formative age, and thus it is truly difficult for me to understand that not working out that much is okay — normal people in the real world do not typically work out for more than two hours a day.  Even an hour is more than enough.  I think that, for me, mentally, moderate exercise is actually best.

3. I still feel the need to “make up for” everything I eat.  I probably eat slightly more than the average 20 year old female college student (although really I have no way of knowing this).  But I really am running a lot, and I also have a significant amount of muscle mass.  Regardless, I feel like if I don’t run 6+ miles a day, I am just another slovenly, greedy American who overeats and doesn’t move.

A few weeks ago, L pointed out to me that I would never say the things I say to myself (in my head) to another person. I would never, ever be that cruel to someone else.  So why do I do it to myself, over and over again? I don’t know.

I think this post is going in a slightly different direction that what I intended.  That’s okay though, since these are the things I need to talk about.  FYI: the rest of this post is about weight and related health concerns/body image issues. Please feel free to skip this part.

I typically weigh myself every 1-2 weeks.  Sometimes I go even longer, maybe every 3-4 weeks.  I am not obsessive about it and don’t record it or anything.

But.

I did weigh myself this Monday and a pattern clearly emerged. Or maybe the pattern has been there for a while but I just noticed it.  Whatever.  Thee point is simple: I have been gaining weight at a rate of almost exactly 1 pound per week since leaving the hospital.  It’s been just over three months, so approximately twelve weeks.  I have gained 12-14 pounds.  I was already a few pounds over my “happy weight”; I would estimate that I have about 17 pounds to lose at the moment.  This is very scary for me.  Very scary for me.

The reason it is so terrifying is that, as far as I can tell, it is something that is either largely or entirely out of my control. Something is wrong in my body.  I know my body and I know when something isn’t right.

Well, something isn’t right.  This weight doesn’t make sense.  I should not have gained 14 pounds since I left the hospital.  Not only have I been training for a marathon, but I have also been fairly careful to keep my eating in check.  I stopped taking birth control as soon as I was diagnosed with my pulmonary emboli. I am not a doctor (in fact, I pretty much suck at science in general), but to me, it seems like the birth control was doing something in my body that was good, and now that it has been taken away, something is going unchecked and rampant in me.

I saw the women’s health Nurse Practitioner at my school a few weeks ago (is it weird that there are a grand total of zero gynecologists for a college student/grad student population of like 30,000 students????).  I basically told her the same things I am telling you guys.  Something doesn’t make sense.  I want to know what is going on.  And, unlike many health conscious young people, I have no aversion whatsoever to medications.  I would happily take several medications, daily, if it would fix this.  I already take about four medications a day — I have several more types too.  I joke to people that I have my own pharmacy.  Taking pills really doesn’t bother me, nor do I feel like I’m somehow polluting my body. They’re pills. Scientists made them to help us, for the most part. It actually kind of bothers me when people get all purist and shit and say “oh, I don’t take pills, I don’t put chemicals in my body, I treat things naturally.”  Great — it’s really nice to know that you have never been burdened with serious medical conditions that require drugs.  I am so happy for you.

Okay, so that was completely tangential.  I’m a writer.  What can I say.  I like talking.

Getting back to the main storyline here.  The NP I saw referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist.  I called her office a week or two ago and she isn’t taking new patients until January.  I am not trying to wait that long, so I got a referral to someone else.  I will schedule the appointment tomorrow.  Hopefully, it will be in the next few weeks.  This is causing me a lot of anxiety, as you can tell.  I want to get to the bottom of it.  Fast.

Unfortunately, medicine doesn’t always work that way.  Our bodies don’t always work that way.  Sometimes they do not want to reveal their secrets, even when their secrets are hurting us.  I hate how medicine is simultaneously so scientific and so unpredictable.  Anyone else find this duality unsettling?

My guess is that, starting after the marathon, we are going to have to do some serious screwing around with my diet and medications.  Probably accompanied by some serious blood tests.  I may have a weird adrenal disorder.  I may have PCOS.  I may not have it.  I may have pre-diabetes.  I may have some bizarre hormonal problem.

So, things are complicated.  I know that’s a really lame conclusion, but it’s all I have for now.  And I need desperately to share my struggles.  Thank you for listening! 🙂

One other note: Any inquiry into/treatment of my hormonal/adrenal/endocrine problems is severely constrained by my history of PE and accompanying clotting disorder.  I cannot take any hormones.  I cannot take anything that might interfere with my Warfarin.  I cannot take anything that  might predispose me to further clotting.

I truly am sorry for unloading all of this on you guys.  But I just need to get it out there.  USB has been amazing about it all — I never would have thought a love interest would be interested in my bizarre medical problems.  Especially not when they make me fat.  But he listens to me and soothes me and tries to help me in whatever way he can.

So.  The Love Your Body post shall be saved for tomorrow, I think.

I’ll leave you with my latest purchase!  I’m going to be wearing these on marathon day!

Katie is giving away a massive amount of Artisana. I want it.  Bad.

Anyone out there, by any chance, happen to have a simultaneous history of PE and PCOS/unidentified endocrine disorder? I know it’s a long shot — I haven’t met anyone else with this combination of problems.  But if you have had similar experiences, I would be thrilled if you would let me know your story!

For everyone else, what is the most frustrating health experience you have had?

What are you grateful for about your health?

I’m grateful for my body’s tremendous ability to untangle its clots.  Seriously.  The clots are long gone by this point.

Recommitting

Today’s Happy Note: It’s the weekend.  Somehow, four day work weeks always feel especially long.  My body never quite gets into the right rhythm.  I haven’t been this excited about a weekend in a long time.  With that said, I am feeling 95% better and am planning on enjoying this weekend and cramming it full of goodness and such.

The combination of recovering from a serious illness and the unbearable heat/humidity has left me exhausted. If I had to draw a picture of the way I feel right now, it would be a maple tree being tapped for syrup.  Endless syrup would be flowing out of an open gash in the tree until it was sucked dry.   I am the empty tree.

Bad tree metaphors aside (I have a minor obsession), I. Hate. Summer.  I am ready for it to be over.  My favorite season is fall, followed by spring, winter, and summer, at a distant last.  I overslept this morning, was late for work, and was still too drained after work to do anything besides collapse on my bed and sleep for three hours.  I had made plans for a quick run, yoga, and a meet up with a friend. Tired Caronae=Weakling Caronae=Anti-Social Caronae=Frustrated Caronae. Therefore when I am tired like this I end up frustrated.

I can’t even describe to you the amount of guilt I feel after a few days sans exercise.  I walk about two miles every day getting to/from work and doing errands.  But in my mind, it doesn’t “count.”  Regardless of whether it counts, I want to be moving.  It’s a healthy outlet that relieves my frustration.

So I am making a recommitment to my health. Less mindless eating, more fun exercise.  More fresh fruits and veggies (although my digestion is still not back to 100%, so this will happen slowly), less lying on the couch in a half-dead position watching TV.  Pretty simple.  This is NOT an obsessive goal or a calorie-counting goal or even a weight loss goal (although that might be nice since I did gain weight while sick).  This is just me consciously recommitting to the healthy lifestyle that I know I truly enjoy.  I am giving myself guidelines, not rules.  My goal is to have more energy and to feel better about myself.

Guidelines:

  • Water.  Drink it.  A lot.  I have a 32 ounce bottle and would like to get through it at least twice a day.
  • Strength training: 2-3 times a week.  Lifting makes me feel strong and toned and is, quite simply, fun.
  • One exercise class a week: this is a nice way to switch things up.
  • Cardio: 4-6 times a week.
  • Yoga: 1-2 times a week.
  • Positive self-talk (“gee  Caronae, you look great in this dress today!”): infinite times per week.
  • Real meals: no picking.  Sit down and eat the damn meal.  More veggies and real food in the evenings (this is where I really struggle).
  • Take advantage of the weekends: come up with some new, awesome, longer workouts.

So that’s the plan, roughly.  I might add more guidelines as I go along.  We shall see.  If any readers want to join me, that would be fun! It’s always nice to feel like you are doing a challenge with a friend.

Anyone have any recommendations?  I am certainly open to your suggestions!  What are your favorite ways to “get back on track”?

Okay.  Enough boring stuff.  Onto more important things:

Like blueberry banana smoothies:

And Mr. Softee ice cream cones (this was my Cookie Friday, although really, the whole rest of the day ended up being a Cookie Friday of sorts.  See recommitment plan above.)

Cherry-dipped ice cream cones is one processed thing I will never give up.  Another thing: the occassional goldfish (not the swimming kind, the cute little snacking kind).  Someone had these in our office today and my hand kept sneaking into the bag.  I’m sure they can’t be that bad for me.

The up-closeness of this photo is cleverly designed to disguise the size of my portion.  Which was big.  But I was feling genuinely snacky.  I balanced it out with a power lunch!

Delicious salad beast with spinach, peppers, carrots, plain raw tofu (surprisingly yummy) and sweet poppy seed dressing.

What was your Cookie Friday treat today?

Off to write!  Goodnight and happy weekend!