Love Your Body Day And Therapy Thursday

Today’s Happy Note: Willow Smith and her song “Whip My Hair”.  She uses her braids to fling paint.  Enough said.

I got in my nine miles this morning!  And they were really, really sucky.  It was just one of those runs that I needed to push through, and I did.  I did three miles at tempo pace in the first half.  I was supposed to do three fast 800s in the second half but there was no way that was going to happen.  Part of the problem was that I was inappropriately dressed.  I have running clothes for 55 degrees and higher and 40 degrees and lower.  I can never seem to dress appropriately for that 15 degree gap in between.  Ugh.  I really should invest in some long sleeve tech tees.

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments yesterday!  Every single one of them felt like a little gift in my inbox.  I talked through a lot of it with L today, which was nice.  I’ll share those thoughts at the end of the post.

First, in honor of yesterday’s National Love Your Body Day, I present you with 16 reasons why I love my body.  [FYI: there are many more reasons why I don’t love my body; I’m not perfect.  But I think that enumerating things my body does for me is not a futile exercise.  It does remind me of the good.]

  1. It’s super bendy!  I am seriously the most flexible adult ever.  I can do the splits and get into pretty much any yoga position.  I like this.
  2. My eyes are deep and dark and mysterious and nice.  I like how they fit under my eyebrows.
  3. I have really strong arms and can lift all kinds of things.
  4. My heart and lungs pulled me through my pulmonary emboli hospitalization this summer.  For that, I am eternally grateful to my body.
  5. I have nice hips for dancing.
  6. The skin on my hands is soft; I have good hand-holding hands.  USB tells me this.
  7. My spine and torso are very graceful — dancerly, I like to think
  8. In fact, I think I’m kind of good at dancing. I would love to be in a dance recital some day.  Is that weird?
  9. My feet take a beating through running, but they forgive me.  Thank you, feet.  You work damn hard.
  10. I have great hair.
  11. My body has let me climb mountains in Mexico, hike through cloud forests in Costa Rica, and run up the stairs of the Eiffel Tower.
  12. I scar really easily and have some really unique, beautiful scars.  My favorite is on my right kneecap.  I like how scars tell important stories.
  13. My hands!  Oh, how much hands do for us.  I mean, come on, opposable thumbs?  How awesome can our bodies be?!?!
  14. My senses.  I have wonderful eyesight and hearing.  My senses let me interact with the world and respond in my own way, through sensory writing.  My senses help me create poems and prose and essays.
  15. Ribs.  I like how they form a cage around my middle, protecting me.  My body has ways of protecting and defending itself.  That’s beautiful.
  16. We cannot forget my legs, obviously.  They have carried me through three half-marathons, two ultramarathons, countless long runs, and hopefully, a marathon (soon)!  They are strong and forceful.  Sometimes they just keep going even when I don’t tell them to — when my mind is too exhausted to function, my legs have a way of working, regardless.
I have much to be grateful for!  What are you grateful for, at this very moment, in terms fo your body and its amazing capabilities?
Therapy Thursday
I think I’ll keep my therapy thoughts brief today (haha, am I even capable of that?).  I don’t want to get into certain things.  We spent a while talking about my anxiety surrounding the timeliness of our session and then we talked about how I characterize myself as “lazy” and then about how I operate, socially (how I make friends, how there have been some very lonely periods in my life).  I told her about my first day at my second high school.  I was a junior.  It was August, 2005.  I cried, recounting it to her.  It broke my heart, looking back.  But I was also crying happy tears about it — I was stubborn (I had this really geeky yellow lunchbox that I refused to give up; I spent the whole lunch hour walking around the school by myself on that first day, desperately wanting a friend) and held tight to my beliefs and identity.  If that meant being alone, so be it.  I think that in some ways I am better at being alone now — I manage it; it isn’t always a lonely alone.  I will always be a person who needs her alone.  I need to be by myself, often for long stretches of time.  I can’t fathom spending time with friends every single day.  One of the things I like best about USB is that he doesn’t fear being alone — he relishes it.  He uses that time to unwind and rewire; it also means that we are comfortable not spending every single second together.  I think that’s healthy.
I used most of the second half of the session to talk about my weight/body/health problems.  For a pretty straightforward summary, see yesterday’s post. I liked that L was both tremendously compassionate and objective about it all.  I actually just got an appointment with an endocrinologist today.  We agreed that I will try that — and I will make a serious effort to try any diet variations or medications she recommends or have tests done — and move forward from there.   As I was outlining my health problems to L, she said something like “having a chronic illness is hard; it’s not fun.”  I looked up at her, started crying harder, and told her “I might be able to handle one, but having two is destroying me” — the clotting issue and the endocrine issue.  Her face softened and she just said, “I wish so much that I could make it go away.”   It was comforting.  She was comforting.
And that is the honest truth — I don’t know how much longer I can handle having both of these things.  It’s exhausting.  I don’t know what takes precedence over the other.  I am tired of scheduling follow up appointments and having my weekly blood draws and having heart echoes and breathing tests and living in terror that I’m clotting again.  Seven doctors is more than any healthy 20 year old should have to face.  It was actually kind of nice to just have that moment of complete breakdown and vulnerability with L this afternoon: I basically told her “I can’t do it.”  And she acknowledged that.  That was all I really needed out of today, I think.
I have to keep living one day at a time.  The next few months will be full of visits to specialists and blood tests and endless round of medication trial and error.  But in some sense, I’m already used to that.  I feel like I will feel less burdened when I at least know that we are doing things to try and figure it all out.  I like journeys. This feels like a journey to me.  I’m trying to stay positive.
Goodnight friends!  Happy Friday to you all!
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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.

Double-Fisting.

Today’s Happy Note: Being sick=extra nap time.

I am not actually in any muscular pain today, which is good!  I think that your body adapts to running longer distances — the first time you do 20 miles, it’s going to hurt like hell after.  But once you have done it (or even longer runs) multiple times, it starts to hurt less.  My quads are a little sore, but nothing I can’t handle.

My sinus system, on the other hand is another story.  No work or morning class for me today.  I did make it to my evening class though.  I am having the standard cold/flu-like symptoms.  I am hoping that today is the worst it will be and the rest of the week will be bright and sunshiney and wonderful!  Positive thinking, people.

If, however, I do not feel better tomorrow, I will not force myself to run.  I will not force myself to run.  I will not force myself to run.

Today happened to be a rest day on the training plan.  But I have to remember that taking more rest days, if need be, will help me in the long run because I will heal faster.

I will listen to my body.  I will listen to my body.  I will listen to my body. 🙂

Other than complaining about being sick, I just wanted to pop in and show you guys this:

I’m double-fisting. Duh!  (And no, I do not know what is going on with my hair in this picture).

With herbal tea in one hand and two liters of water in the other.  At a senior drinking event.

I have said it before and will say it again: I am the coolest college student ever.

Don’t think that Ivy League students don’t take their partying seriously. 🙂

Worst 20 Miles Ever. And USB!

Today’s Happy Note: Udon noodles!  Much more fun than spaghetti. 🙂

Marathon Training: Today was, to put it nicely, a run from hell. It was absolutely horrendous.  Not horrendous in the sense that I couldn’t finish or didn’t want to do it.  Horrendous because I literally felt dead for about 3/4 of the time.  Literally dead.  Ghostly.  I couldn’t feel some parts of my body and other parts hurt so much that all I could do was tell myself to put one foot in front of the other.

Did I mention that it was 20 miles? Miles 8-15 felt pretty good, but before and after that…ugh.  I almost don’t want to write about it because it is bringing back terrible memories.  Oh, and you want to know something really fun?

When you’re on blood thinners you can’t take ibuprofen.  Awesome.

And I’m allergic to narcotics.  Yes, I think this situation requires the strong stuff.  If I could take it.

The worst parts were my hamstrings, stomach, and bladder.  Yes, my bladder hurt.  The whole thing took about four hours, but I stopped to pee and/or refill my water bottle and/or stretch at least five times.  My pace really went downhill only for the last five miles.

And you know what was even worse than the run?

How I felt afterwards.  I literally started feeling sick as soon as I finished — like I have the flu or something.  I couldn’t eat for hours afterwards and felt like I was going to pass out.  Now my lower eyelids are all sunken in, which is a major sign of dehydration.  I’m trying really hard to drink, but even water seems nauseating right now.  I just had some brothy soup, so hopefully that helps.

I would rank this in my top three worst runs of all times. And the only reason I say top three instead of number one worst is because…well, there is no reason.  This actually might be the worst.

Reading this over, it sounds really negative.  But that’s the truth: sometimes marathon training is not pretty. Sometimes you feel like you’re half-dead.  Sometimes it takes you an hour to run four miles.  There is chafing and blood and pain.  And the sweat, oh the sweat — I was more soaked today when I finished than after last weekend’s 16 miles in the pouring rain.

And I almost peed my pants.  Multiple times.

My life is so glamorous.

The only good thing about this run is that it’s over. And even that isn’t so good considering how drained it left me. Thank God next week is a cutback week — my long run will only be 10 miles!  Hallelujah!

Okay.  Rant over.  Onto happier things.  Things like USB.

I figured that I should introduce you guys!  I told him about the blog but he doesn’t read it, at this point.  Anyways, here’s the need-to-know on USB!

  • USB stands for Union Square Boy!  We met there at the Saturday farmer’s market about a month ago.  I was eating a chocolate chip coconut scone next to a monument.  He was drinking some sort of smoothie thing from Whole Foods.  He came around the corner and  I thought he was cute.  We started talking about the monument and history and life.  We talked for over an hour.  I was so unbelievably nervous but I also felt like it was clear that we both liked each other.
  • Our first date was super epic: we started at one coffee shop then moved onto another and met some of his friends, then we saw a movie, then we had dinner and danced at a Cuban restaurant and then we walked.
  • He is Kenyan.  He likes running, but not very long distances, and not all the time.
  • He has nine siblings.
  • He is 29 years old, a little over eight years older than me.
  • He loves good film, especially independent movies.  He does not like romantic movies at all but he knows that I do and brought us some to watch the other night.
  • He likes non-fiction and reads a lot more of it than fiction.
  • He is very romantic and gentlemanly — he always offers me his coat or his umbrella or his arm.
  • He is super cuddly.
  • One of his fingers is bent out to the side at the tip, and I think this is perfectly beautiful.
  • He loves doing volunteer and charity work.  He is a generous soul.
  • He likes outdoor adventures almost as much as I do.
  • He is not in New York from Monday through Friday, sadly. 😦
  • He doesn’t notice the ten billion imperfections in my body that I obsess over.  He makes me feel good about myself the way I am.

That’s all for now.  Goodnight, friends.  Have a most excellent week!

Medical Stuff, Part I

Today’s Happy Note: My run started out terribly and then miraculously turned wonderful!  Love when that happens.

I had 11 miles of speedwork on the schedule, which I was not looking forward to.  It consisted of:

2 miles warmup @ GP (goal pace=10:00/mile)

3×2 miles @ tempo pace (9:00 miles) with four minute easy jog between each

3 miles cooldown @ GP

My body felt so swollen (more about that later in the post) during the first two miles that I thought I was going to have to call it quits.  I was tight everywhere and could literally feel water weight all over my body.  It’s a strange feeling.  I am not sure if it has to do with my period/hormones, but I think it does.  I haven’t had a period in almost two months and I can tell that my body feels weird not having cleansed itself — something is up.

But the tempo repeats ended up feeling great.  I sometimes wish I had a garmin, only for speed workouts really, though.  I am guessing they were between 8:30-9:00 per mile pace.

Yesterday we just had an orientation for the yoga class, so I did not get to do any yoga, sadly.  I did lift weights for 40 minutes though, and my arms felt dead afterwards (in a good way!)

Medical Talk

A bit of background: I was diagnosed with PCOS 3.5 years ago.  Most women with PCOS are overweight and do not have periods.  This was not the case for me, so for a long time, no one could figure out what was wrong.  When I was diagnosed, by a very clever gynecologist who works with my mother, I was put on birth control.  Over the years I have been on yaz, yasmin, and, most recently, ocella.  My PCOS seemed to be under control with the BC.  I reached a roughly stable weight and maintained within a five pound range up until this summer.

In July, I was hospitalized with multiple massive pulmonary emboli in the main arteries of each of my lungs.  I was hospitalized for three days.  Here I am in my hospital room:

Part I of the hospital stay can be found here.

Part II here.

Hormonal birth control (or any other hormonal treatment) can serve as a risk factor for clotting (pulmonary embolism means clotting that occurs in the lungs, which is very dangerous because it can cause you to stop breathing).  Once you have a blood clot of any sort, you can never take birth control or other hormones again, unless you’re on some sort of suicidal mission.  This has obvious implications for sex, but that’s not what I want to talk about.  The problem for me is that the birth control was controlling my PCOS.  Now that I have been off of it for two months, my body’s hormonal and endocrine systems (which are related) are going haywire.  Literally haywire.

I had a really long appointment with the women’s doctor yesterday.  She was extremely nice and helpful and seems like the first doctor who has ever really taken the time to figure out what might be at the root of my hormonal/endocrine problems.

For one thing, I am gaining weight uncontrollably.  I am eating only a little bit more than I was pre-hospitalization, only now I am training for a marathon.  I am running 40-50 miles a week, in addition to strength training twice a week and yoga twice a week.  I am an active, healthy young woman.  There is no logical reason for me to be gaining weight and not having a period, among other things.

Our bodies have many, many hormones, not just estrogen and progesterone and testosterone.  Two of these other hormones are known as LSH and FH.  I don’t know precisely what my levels of these homrones are (or even should be), but I do know that their ratio is 1:1.  This is very bad.  A normal woman has a 1:3 ratio and someone with PCOS has an even higher ratio (e.g, 1:5 or 1:6).  A ratio of 1:1 is typically only seen in anorexic women or over-exercisers.  I suppose marathon training could count as overexercising, but I think she was referring to thin over-exercisers who have lost so much body fat that it screws up their hormones.

Sigh.

The only conclusion at this point is that I might not have PCOS, but may have an adrenal or endocrine disorder. I will have to see a specialist in hopes of figuring out what exactly might be going on.  I know my body quite well, and it has never been more clear to me that something is awry.  It was subtle at first, but has gotten worse over the last few weeks.  I am worried, but I feel comforted by this latest doctor, who was extraordinarily thorough and compassionate.  She saw me for over an hour.

I may need to try a medication called Metformin, which would help my insulin resistance.  As far as I can tell, the only other non-hormonal treatment for PCOS is a low-carb diet.  Have you ever tried eating low-carb while running 40 plus miles per week?  Not fun.

I am scared and confused.  I want this to be over with.  I have a million other things to deal with right now.  I wish my body just worked the way it was supposed to.

In addition to all of that, I just found out that my INR (measure of the effectiveness of the anti-clotting medication) is only 1.5.  This is bad.  Very bad.  This means that I will have to gt my blood drawn every three days until we figure out what the correct dosage of the Coumadin should be.

So basically my life is really fun right now!  Okay, so that was a little bit sarcastic.  I do have many things that bring me joy though, and I am going to list them for two reasons.  First, because this post has been a total downer and second, because I need to cheer myself up a little bit.  Happy Caronae=Healthy Caronae!

Things that bring me joy right now:

Fresh fall apples

Baking on the weekends

Studying (aka not studying) with friends on weeknights, chatting, playing

USB (he is amazingly soothing and gentle)

My crazy professor (today I spent 75 minutes learning about how minute differences in wheat/barley vs. millett/sorghum/rice/teff cultivation changed the course of history — it literally is both fascinating and hilarious)

Blended grain “soups” (just had some for dessert with nut butter and dark chocolate, of course)

Crossword puzzles in the newspaper

Yoga

Fall breezes/temperature drops (it’s my favorite season!)

Cuddling with USB

Bubble Tea

Massages

Books of all sorts

See, I’m not all negativity right now.  Just mostly. 🙂  This post was actually originally intended to go in a completely different direction.  Therefore, I am deeming it Part I of a two part series.  The other part will happen tomorrow, and hopefully it will make a bit more sense where I’m coming from at that point.

Goodnight friends!

Therapy Tuesday

Today’s Happy Note: Despite my long, stressful day I was able to consciously take some time for myself.  I got up early to do a little workout and ate a quick dinner when I got home at nine so I could read/blog/read blogs. These few small moments have made a big difference in my anxiety level (compared to the middle of the day).

So. I ended up at four different doctors today.  Four.  That’s more doctor’s appointments than I would like in a year. Yuck.  I had two in the morning, then therapy, then went to my office for a whopping half hour, scarfed lunch, then headed to see my doctor for lab stuff, then went to another doctor/radiology for more labs, then rushed to my other job.  So, long day.  Not a bad day, just exhausting, physically and emotionally.

The first doctor I saw (reproductive endocrinology) was The.  Biggest.  Bitch. Ever.  She treated me like I was a complete idiot who knew nothing about my condition or my body, was shockingly rude, and did a hurried and poor physical exam.  She tossed all my questions about fertility aside.  I’m not really one to complain about these things, but my hormones are one of the major components of my health affected by the PE and I just don’t want them to be screwed up.  I have PCOS, I cannot now (or ever again) take birth control or any other hormones, and I have concerns about how this will affect my ability to make babies in the future.  I think that’s valid.  She told me that concern was irrelevant, and didn’t hardly even explain why.  She then spent the rest of the visit screaming at me to lose weight, which I had told her at the very beginning I was trying to do.  She seemed to have little concern for my psychologically precarious position regarding weight and body image.

The other doctors were wonderful and understanding though.  I still need to have a lot more tests done to determine the cause of the PE.

Meh.  Not documenting all the eats today because I need to write about therapy.  But I kept track and didn’t do any unnecessary snacking.

I know I have some new readers out there!  In case any of you are wondering what Therapy Tuesday is: I go to therapy with my lovely (although sometimes we clash) psychologist L.  It has been a very important experience to me.  I know that people often don’t “get” therapy or just don’t know what it’s about.  For me, it has meant several things: I have someone who consistently cares about me, listens to me, and thinks about me; I have someone to relate to, vent to, or cry to, every week, rain or shine; I have someone who helps me understand  how the different pieces of my life fit together; I have someone who wants me to live a happy and satisfying life and will do anything to help me get there.

I usually write about both the content and the process of each session.  I don’t always share it all on the blog, for obvious reasons, although I am pretty open about it, so please feel free to ask me questions about my experience or what therapy is like.  I think it’s really important to record my feelings and thoughts from the session and from after the session.

Therapy Tuesday

The overarching theme of today was dealing with stress in healthy ways (although that is a slight oversimplification).  I have had a lot of stressors lately: being so ill, family issues, anxiety/panic about work, confusion about the future/law school, and just generally feeling a bit run down by my busy summer (not to mention the stressful doctor’s appointments I had just come from). I told L about all these things.  We had a nice back and forth thing going today.  I love that she actually talks to me and doesn’t just sit there like a piece of wood.  So I would talk a little bit about a stressor and then we would look more closely at what it felt like, what it reminded me of, how I might respond.  I felt like our conversation, particularly her responses, was very direct today (which is nice), but also very intimate/emotional.  I didn’t cry at all.  That hasn’t happened in a long time.

We also talked about how I connect with the people I love in my life.  How I reach out to them and how I perceive them and how they might perceive me.  It’s sort of funny; we tend to think that we are always doing everything “right” in a relationship, but it is so easy to overlook the intricacies of the other person’s feelings, thoughts, and concerns.  I think it’s important to really think about how our actions affect those around us, and how we might be more compassionate (always).  I am not so good at this yet, it’s just a seedling of a thought in my head right now. Friends and family are truly lifelines.

It sort of felt like we kept reaching dead ends today – we would talk about one thing and look at my feelings or concerns and then have trouble connecting that to something else.  But I don’t know that that was really the case.  Instead, I would say that we simply leafed through a lot of different “pages.”  It wasn’t necessarily disconnected, and I wasn’t uncomfortable.  Feeling physically comfortable in the moment of discussion is very important.  I have gotten better and better at this – there were times in the past where I would just sort of sit in the far corner of the couch, away from L, and not look at her, and just sort of be in my own little world.  It sounds a bit hokey, but I feel like our little physical worlds are connecting more and more, and I think that this means our emotional worlds are moving closer and closer together as well.

One other thing we talked about was yoga.  I was telling L about my newfound discovery that soothing myself or talking myself down or doing nice things for me is “allowed.” She pointed out that it’s okay for me to feel all those stresses mentioned above (they aren’t just going to disappear!), but I can learn to just be with them and not have them take over my life.  In order to do this, it is helpful to be kind to myself.  At some point she sort of randomly asked me if I do yoga.  Looking back, it wasn’t so random, since we were talking about being kind to myself and learning how to manage my feelings, and I feel like those things are absolutely tied to yoga.  I told her yes and we had a whole wonderful conversation about that: what it means to me, why I like it, what sort I like to do, when, how often, what the class is like, what the spiritual and emotional components are like.  Her curiosity made me curious and I asked her if she does yoga.  She said that she does.  We talked some more about each of our practice.  It was really nice to connect with over this.  It just felt soothing, or right, or comfortable.  And the truth is that yoga has helped both my mind and my heart grow so much in the last year or two.

I Like Hitting Things.

Today’s Happy Note: Not hating my body at the gym! For some reason I felt strong and confident and I appreciated my height and my small waist.  There was no body-hating going on at all.  Score!

I took the afternoon off from the office job.  I had a boatload of important errands to do (such as going on a quest in search of the new Larabar flavors), computer work to do for the other job, a conference call, and a kick boxing class to get  to!  You can read about how the first  class basically changed my life here.  I missed last week since I had just gotten out of the hospital, but I was determined to make it today (although I was quite close to taking a nap instead).  So glad I did.

Apparently I just really love punching things?  It’s a good mix of cardio and strength and plyometrics and abs and just all kinds of different moves.  I did about a half an hour of weights beforehand.  I’m starting to feel like myself again!

Bad news though: my stupid stupid INR is still nowhere near high enough.  Sad face.  This means I have to keep doing the Lovenox injections.  Fun.  And increasing the Coumadin very very slowly (so that I don’t bleed to death).  This probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to most of you, but that’s okay.  My point here is not intellectual clarity.  It’s more that I’m rambling-venting.  To myself.  On my public blog.

I make so much sense.

Food I ate today:

Breakfast: TJ’s flax oatmeal made with half vanilla soymilk and half water, a precious farmer’s market peach, and a tablespoon of Justin’s (amazing) maple almond butter.

Birds’ eye view of lunch.

Giant salad with mixed lettuces, yellow squash with EVOO, avocado, and coconut maple tofu.  With a side of pear.

Afternoon snack involved a new protein powder find!  Designer whey chocolate carmel peanut.  I know there are artificial flavors involved, but it’s so good I don’t care.  I blended it with chocolate milk and ice and topped it with chocolate almond butter.  Mmmmmmmmm.

This kept me full for like five hours, which never happens!

Dinner was pretty swell.

A giant pile of baked plain eggplant, microwave steamed zucchini, meatballs, topped with smooth marinara, cheese, and dried basil.  All heated up so it was nice and hot and the cheese was melty, just how I like it.

Followed that up with avocado chocolate pudding!  Topped with coconut snow and two squares of Godiva raspberry dark chocolate.  This dessert was heaven.  On a baby spoon.

Perfect.

I have three doctors appointments tomorrow morning.  I have to leave at 8:30 or so and probably won’t get back until 9:00 PM.  Yikes!  Time to pack everything and prep lunch and snacks. 🙂

Goodnight my friends, sleep tight.

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