Tag Archives: health issues

An Easy Therapist Check-In (or Virtual Appointments Make Things Easier)

Yesterday I had a check-in with my new therapist. This check-in was mainly to see how I was doing with the new medication dosage. I explained how I had been taking the increases slowly and that I am still adjusting to the new dosage, and she seemed to be pretty happy with the plan. It’s hard to tell what the correct dosage will be, so it will be a lot of trial and error. This is a different process than what I was doing with my old therapist, but I do like this new plan. I feel like it is more collaborative and that we are more of a team than a doctor telling me what to do.

This appointment was so much easier than what I’m used to because it was a phone call appointment. Yesterday morning, we had a time that my therapist was going to call me and we were going to talk over how things went. Of course, if I felt like I needed to meet in person I could have done that. But my therapist suggested a phone appointment for a check-in because it is easier to schedule and wouldn’t take up as much of my time. It was nice not having to drive to and from the appointments and being able to get it done early in the morning before I started work. I felt much more relaxed while talking because it didn’t feel as formal.

I don’t know why my old therapist never suggested phone appointments. I know that with him, he was much more into seeing if there was any more talk therapy that I wanted to do. Even though we came to the conclusion that I don’t really have issues to work through, I just have some sucky circumstances that I need to not rule my life. But those circumstances aren’t things I need to figure out, we know what they are and what they are doing to my mind. But he still liked to talk things through much more than this new therapist. This new therapist understands that in a way I only go in for appointments because I’m on a medication that requires it. She understands that talk therapy might be something I want in the future, but right now it’s not the priority in getting me into recovery. It’s a very different mindset, but I’m glad I had my old therapist in the beginning and this new therapist now.

In my phone call, I did discuss my issues with my workouts. It is frustrating to not be able to do cardio the way I want to, but I also need to give myself a decent amount of time to adjust to things. We did discuss brining my medication back down to a lower dosage (either what I started on or the middle dosage I was doing), but we both agreed that I haven’t had enough time yet on this new dosage to see if it will allow my workouts to get back to normal. I do like how I am feeling on this new dose and I feel like the medication is working much better, so I want to give it as much of a chance as possible. And I do have options if I need them and those won’t be going away so I can take my time.

My next medication refill will be in about 2 months. I will need to call or email my therapist to request the refill due to the restrictions on the medication. And at that point I think I will know what dosage I want to be on. And my therapist seems to agree that the timeline sounds good to her too. Of course, if in 2 weeks I feel like I need to step down to a lower dose, I can call in and she can write me a new prescription. But my plan is to try to take the next 2 months to see how I feel in all aspects of my life. If my eating disorder is significantly better but I can’t run, that might be a sacrifice I want to make. While my workouts are important, my recovery is more important and the priority in my life.

For my first phone appointment, I think it went really well and it reinforced the idea in my head that this is the therapist that I need now. She is much more scientific about things and that is really what works for me right now. My next appointment with my therapist (not counting in 2 months when I get my medication refill) will be in 6 months. I’m on the same appointment timeline as I was in the past, which is nice since I wasn’t sure it would be that way with a new doctor. But the next appointment is going to be unique because it’s going to be my first time ever doing a video chat appointment with a doctor! I’m actually pretty excited to have that option too because again it will save me the time of driving back and forth!

I know that not everyone likes technology, but I love that I have options to do virtual appointments with my therapist! It really helps to make appointments fit into my schedule better and I think that it will give me more options for when I can make appointments in the future. All of these things are good things and make me really hopeful that I’m on the right path toward recovery!

New Year New Therapist (or Not Starting At Square One)

I’ve been seeing my therapist for a little while. At first I was going more often, but more recently it was only twice a year. In therapy, I talked about some of the issues that may have helped to lead to my eating disorder, but in the end we really came to the conclusion that I just had the genetic code that made me extra susceptible to having some sort of addiction issue and that food ended up being what I turned to. I do have some self-confidence issues with people being verbally abusive to me in my past, but I know that what they said about me isn’t true and I just have to work on reminding myself that.

It was nice that I had gotten to that point with my therapist. It’s not too common that someone prescribing you medication wouldn’t make you do as much talk therapy, but he knew that I really wasn’t needing it anymore. While I’m not totally in recovery, I’m probably in the best mental state I’ve ever been in for my entire life. I’m so happy that I’ve had the breakthroughs that I have had and I know that my therapist was proud of me as well.

But before my most recent appointment, I found out that my therapist was no longer working for the medical offices (and he may not be working at all in LA anymore). I was originally randomly assigned a new therapist, but I ended up calling and making sure that I was set to see someone who works with those with eating disorders. I knew that this appointment was more of just a meeting and if I didn’t like the therapist I could ask for another appointment with another doctor, but I also nervous. I know that not all doctors would be as relaxed about things as my previous therapist was, but I hoped for the best. I went into my appointment with as open of a mind as possible.

And I have to say that I really lucked out. My new therapist really did take the time to review the notes my previous therapist made in my chart (I’m seriously so curious what he had written about me). She knew my progress in therapy and with medication and was pretty educated on my medical history. And I was blunt and honest with her about how I wasn’t really seeking as much talk therapy as I was when I started because I felt like I had reached the pinpoint of my issues. I knew that telling her that was a risky move because the medications I take are a controlled substance and I didn’t want to sound like a drug seeker.

But she completely understood where I was in therapy and why I didn’t feel the need to talk things out the way I did in the beginning. Of course she gave me the option to talk things out if I felt like I needed to, but I told her that my only fears were about if she was going to change my entire treatment plan. She is going to make some changes in my medication. She actually thinks my dosage is too low and we will be making increases to how much I take over the next few weeks. And we will be doing a follow-up phone call in a month so she can know how I’m doing. That’s much easier than me coming in again and I appreciate that she is giving me that option. And if everything goes as well as she thinks it will, most likely I will go back to twice a year appointments.

As my therapy appointment ended, my therapist noticed that the rainstorm that had been happening earlier that day had ended and that there was an amazing double rainbow right outside. I took it as a good sign that this new therapist is going to be a great member of my medical team and that good things are on their way for me.

While switching therapists wasn’t what I was planning on doing, I’m so happy that it went as well as it did. In the past, I had some therapists that I didn’t feel connected with me and that I wasn’t getting anything out of the appointments. It’s not easy to find someone who you want to work with and I’ve been lucky enough to get two therapists back to back that seem to be the right people for me. And hopefully with the new medication plan I will see more progress in my recovery. But if I don’t, I know that this therapist will be able to work with me and we will figure out what I need to do.

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The End Of My 2017 Workouts (or Finishing With A Whimper And Not A Bang)

This post isn’t going to be like my typical workout recaps. It was an interesting week of workouts for sure, but not at all what I thought it would be. But I am still proud on how I finished out my workouts for 2017!

My first workout of the week was Wednesday. Monday was Christmas so the studio was closed. And Tuesday they had a limited schedule and all the classes were during times that I worked that day. So Wednesday was my first workout since the Saturday before. That was a long break between workouts and I didn’t like it. I know that I’m going to work on not letting that happen again if I can help it.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and we had 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor, with all blocks being 5 minutes. All the treadmill blocks were a similar format starting with a push to all out, then a walking recovery, and ending with a push, base, all out pace. For the first two blocks, I was able to run the push and all out paces and was very happy with that. But I got a bit tired and wasn’t feeling my best (a preview of things to come) and ended up walking the last two blocks.

On the floor we had 3 blocks on the floor and one block on the rower. For all the floor blocks we had 2 moves. The first block was power jacks with shoulder work and knee tucks. The next block was low rows on straps and knee tucks (technically they were supposed to be pikes but I can’t do those). And the last block was power pull ups on the straps and rotation sit ups. And when we went to the rowers we had the same pattern of what was done on the treadmill.

My other workouts this past week were on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (I’m also doing a workout today which will make 4 workouts in a row). But none of those 3 workouts went the way I thought they would. On Thursday, I started to experience some pretty horrible PMS symptoms. My body does not react well to hormone fluctuations and that is why I went on birth control when I was 18. But since I can’t have any hormonal birth control now, I have to deal with my natural cycles and the issues that come with them.

While I do have medications to take to manage these symptoms, those don’t always work. And from Thursday evening through now I have been dealing with some extreme nausea and debilitating cramps. I am so lucky I work from home because I don’t think I could go to a job right now. I’m going to keep working with my doctors to see what new medications I can take or what other options we can try, but I also know that this may be my reality from now on and I need to learn to deal with it. I can’t let 25% of my life be wasted.

So even though I was feeling pretty awful on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I still went to work out. I couldn’t walk on the treadmill because that made my nausea worse, so I stuck to the bike. Rowing was difficult and I couldn’t even work half as hard as I normally can. And the floor work was sometimes ok, but if I had to lay down or do something in a plank pose I couldn’t always do it.

I don’t really have a recap for any of these workouts because I don’t exactly remember what I did and I didn’t really do anything that great. I didn’t even really sweat at all on my workout on Sunday. But what I’m trying to focus on is that I was consistent and went to class. If this is what things will always be like each month (and I hope that isn’t the case), I need to learn how to deal with it.

But even though my workouts for most of this past week weren’t that great, I still ended 2017 on a great note! I managed to do 196 workouts for the year!

I love that I went beyond my goal for the year because I feel like things weren’t as good this year as they have been in the past. I dealt with a few different injuries plus all the hormonal issues I’ve been having. But this is proof that I did put hard work into my workouts! And even if my last workout of 2017 was not my best one, I’m glad that I was able to work out with some amazing coaches and other class members! Have great people in class with me helps me focus on something better than how I’m feeling and keeps me motivated.

And now I feel ready to start my 2018 workouts and see what those may bring!

I Have To Be Political (or Hoping My Healthcare Stays The Same)

If you follow me on social media, you probably have seen that I tweet a lot about politics. I’m a Democrat, and I don’t always agree 100% with what Democrats say. But in a political climate like what we are in now, I feel more in line with my political party than ever.

It seems like politics are in the news more than ever now. That may be because things seem to be crazier than they ever have been. Also, the president seems to like to tweet out ridiculous things every now and then to make sure that he’s still in the news. Some of these tweets I feel are just to cover up something else that isn’t going to be reported, but I also feel like he just wants to make sure that there isn’t a lag in his press coverage.

I’ve become more politically active in the past year. Partially this is due to the last election, but I also feel more involved to the issues that are being discussed. I think some of feeling more involved is just being more educated by listening to a lot of political podcasts. But also it seems like so many things are personally affecting me in a way that they haven’t before.

When Republicans tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I was terrified. It’s because of the ACA that I have health insurance that is 1/3 of the cost that it was before. Before the ACA, I was only eligible for insurance that was created for people with pre-existed conditions. Now that pre-existing conditions can’t be used to turn you away from insurance, I’m getting normal insurance that has better benefits and lower monthly premiums. I do still miss when I was on my dad’s insurance because everything was free then, but what I have now is much better than what I had when I started to have to pay for it.

I was so relieved when the repeal of the ACA didn’t pass. I know how important my health insurance is for me. I don’t have the simplest health issues and I need insurance. If I didn’t have insurance, I can’t imagine where I’d be now. If I hadn’t found out about my tumors and continued to take hormonal birth control, the tumors would have continued to grow and they could have ruptured. And I know I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor when I did if I had to pay thousands of dollars to be seen. But because I had insurance, it was $50 for that appointment.

I’m aware that there are problems in the healthcare system and I’m not denying it. But so many problems were solved when the ACA passed and I’m so grateful for that. But with the recent tax bill that will likely be signed by the president, the ACA might not exist the way it has. The president seemed pretty pleased to announce that the tax bill pretty much ended the ACA. And that’s not false. They removed the mandate that required people to have health insurance in this bill. And if people aren’t required to have insurance, healthy people won’t necessarily get it. And that only leaves sicker people (like me) using it and that makes everything more expensive. If there aren’t people paying monthly premiums who don’t use their insurance that often, there’s nobody to offset the costs of those who use it a lot.

As far as healthcare goes for next year, I think I should be ok. I already have the letter from my insurance saying what my monthly premium will be and my benefits are pretty similar as they were this year. Some of my benefits are actually going to be better. But I’m worried about what will happen in 2019 when there is a chance that fewer people will have insurance. I don’t want to think about how expensive things can get. I’m lucky because my parents help me pay my insurance (it’s still too expensive for me to afford on my own right now) so if the price goes up they will still help me. But it still is making me think about trying to prepare for having worse insurance again.

Fortunately, my IUD is still good for another 9 years so I don’t have to worry about that for a while. And hopefully my tumors will continue to shrink so I don’t need surgery. But the idea of having bad insurance again has made me wonder if I should have surgery to remove the tumors next year. I don’t think I would do that because I’d rather not have surgery, but it’s still a thought in my head. If I needed it no matter what, I would do it without thinking too much about it. But since it’s still a gray area, I don’t know what the right move would be for me. I won’t be making a decision until I see my surgeon again in October unless something crazy happens to me, but I know I’ll be thinking about it until then.

I’m really hoping that my fears about my health insurance don’t come true. Maybe a lot of people are going to be so happy that they have any insurance when they didn’t have it before that they will keep it. The enrollment numbers are showing that healthcare enrollment is close to what it was last time despite the enrollment period being cut in half and almost all the advertising money to tell people to sign up was taken away. People have been pretty good about sharing online to remind others to sign up and that seems to be working. I don’t know if the president really wanted people to forget to sign up so he could say that people don’t like insurance or what, but if the numbers are almost the same as the last year they won’t be able to say that people are unhappy.

I know that this is a bit of a rambling post. I think I’m still in shock about a lot of what is happening in politics now. There are some people who didn’t understand that there was something in the new tax bill designed to take down the ACA until the president was sharing how happy he was about that. The new tax bill hasn’t been signed by the president so maybe there is still hope that things can change. But no matter what happens, I know that I have to continue to be political and to share my voice. If someone wants to tell me that healthcare doesn’t matter, I want them to know my story and why it matters to me. I won’t stay silent on an issue that I feel is important. I know I have done that for far too long and I can’t keep doing it.

I Know The Holidays Can Be Tough (or Trying To Give Support To My Friends)

When I was younger, I was diagnosed with depression. At the time I thought that the diagnosis was correct even though no medication was helping me. Now looking back, I’m pretty sure it was a misdiagnosis and my depression was more of a side effect of my eating disorder, panic/anxiety disorder, and mild OCD. But even with it being a misdiagnosis, I understand how helpless things can feel at times. But fortunately for me, I can get myself out of that mindset before things get too bad.

But that’s not the case for several of my friends. I have many friends who have depression and other mental issues that lead to depression. I’ve had friends attempt suicide and have been the person that someone calls in the middle of the night to hear a voice of reason when things seem impossible. I’m more than happy to be that person for my friends because I don’t want to see someone harming themselves because they don’t think anyone cares or can’t get a hold of someone. I sleep with my phone on and next to my bed so I can be available for calls in the middle of my night. I’m fine sacrificing sleep if it helps someone else not do something that cannot be reversed.

Like many other mental health issues, I think depression and suicide are getting more attention in the media and that it is becoming less stigmatized. If you haven’t seen last week’s episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (spoiler alert), the episode is themed about this. I think that this episode was so powerful and that they will continue to be as sensitive about the subject in the coming episodes. But just because something is being discussed publicly more often doesn’t necessarily make it easier for those dealing with it.

I know that depression can hit at any time of the year, but I also know that for some of my friends it can be worse during the holidays. If you are used to being with your family and can’t do that it can be tough. If you are surrounded by happy people and you feel like an outsider, it can be tough. Anything can be a trigger and it doesn’t have to be for a reason or make sense. But when depression hits and you feel like there is no escape it doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world. You just feel like you need out and that isn’t always the right thing to do.

I’m posting this now because I’ve recently had a few friends try to kill themselves. I’m glad that all of them were unsuccessful in their attempts so they are still around and are able to get help. But it’s still hard to think that someone I love that much felt like they were unloved. And no matter how much I try to support them, I know that depression is a personal battle and they have to work on it on their own. But not everyone has the same support that my friends have and I want to make sure that everyone knows where they can get help.

One of the best ways to get help if you feel like there is no other choice is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

There is someone you can talk to 24/7 and help is free and confidential. They can guide you to resources to get help and will listen to you without judgement. And if you are a friend or family member of someone who is suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you too. There are resources so that you can help someone else. I have used those before to help my friends. And I’ve also used their guides on how to report suicidal posts on social media so you can help someone who you may not know in person. Sometimes people joke about suicide and it’s tough to tell if they are being truthful or not. I’ve reported people who weren’t being serious on social media, but I’d rather be more cautious than to think someone is joking when they really are reaching out for help.

Hopefully if you are feeling helpless or know someone who is that you know that help is possible. I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, but it’s true. And when you talk to someone who has overcome depression they will tell you that there is hope and help when you need it. And once they are on the other side they are so grateful that they didn’t do something that they couldn’t come back from.

I know that for my friends battling this that many of them have a long way to go. But I love them so much and want to support them in any way I can. And I’m in it for the long haul with them. They are with me with battling my eating disorder and know how wonderful it feels to have someone supporting me on my best days and worst days and isn’t wondering how much longer it will take me to get over things. So by doing the same thing for someone else (even if it is about a different mental health issue), I’m just trying to pay forward the support I’ve been so lucky to get.

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Tumor Update Time! (or Guess I Won’t Have Another Of These For A While)

As I mentioned in my post about getting my most recent MRI, I already knew that my liver tumors had shrunk again. That’s awesome news and I was so happy to hear that since if the tumors had grown or stayed the same I might have needed surgery. While I was mentally prepared for surgery since I thought I was having it earlier this year, I really don’t want any surgeries if I can help it. But even though I already had that good news, I didn’t know too much about what was happening which is why I met with my liver surgeon this week.

I actually hadn’t seen my liver surgeon in almost a year. I didn’t realize it had been that long, but the last time I saw him was after my second liver MRI (when we determined what type of tumors I had). After my MRI in April I didn’t see him since we had a phone call instead of me spending money for an appointment. He didn’t have a ton of answers for me then except that we should not do the surgery then because my case is pretty unique. So I was happy to see my surgeon again to discuss the plan and see what he thinks is going on.

I seriously have an awesome liver surgeon. I was randomly assigned him after it was discovered there was something happening with my liver, but I couldn’t have picked a better doctor. He totally gets that I want photos of my tumors, sends me the full radiologist report, and doesn’t mind that I always come in with a list of questions. And he talks to me normally (not talking down like some doctors do) and I think he is honestly entertained by my case since I’m so weird. In this past appointment, he said how he read about a case like mine in school but never thought that he’d get a patient with shrinking liver adenomas. I’m happy that he’s excited about what’s happening too.

This appointment was pretty easy. I already knew that the tumors shrank and he knew I’d want a bunch of photos of the screen showing my MRI so he set it up where we could see a side by side comparison. I did some editing since I know not everyone knows where the tumors are in my scans, but as you can see it’s pretty clear that the tumor is significantly smaller than it was a year ago.

In October last year the big tumor was 10cm, in April this year it was about 4cm, and this month it measured at just over 3cm. The smallest tumor is still gone (or too small to be seen on a scan) and the medium tumor is 1cm (it started at 3cm and measured at 1cm in April). My surgeon said that I’m in a pretty good spot now. He doesn’t recommend surgery for me since the tumor is small enough to not be a risk for me and the placement of it now has improved. There are still risks of it growing if I am pregnant one day, but he said that he isn’t worried about it.

We discussed options to get rid of it. There are some less invasive options than surgery, but because of the placement of my tumor they aren’t things I can do. My tumor is pressed against my stomach so anything like radiation or burning the tumor would risk injuring my stomach. The risks of those procedures outweighs the benefit of taking out the tumor. But we did talk about how there is a chance I’ll still need my gallbladder out one day and he said we could easily do the tumor removal at the same time. So now I know that whatever comes first (needing the tumor out or my gallbladder out) will also make the other surgery happen at the same time. I kind of like the idea of a 2 for 1 surgery.

We also discussed things for my future. Pregnancy is no longer as risky for me as it was when the tumors were larger and I pretty much knew that already. But in the past my surgeon mentioned that fertility treatments and hormone replacement therapies would not be an option for me because of the tumors. But this time, he said since it would be such a small procedure to take the tumor out, if I needed either of those one day I could just have the surgery to take out the tumor and then I could do them. I was not expecting that and it actually was a relief to hear that. I hope that I don’t need fertility treatments, but I’m aware of how many of my friends have issues getting pregnant (and I’m not getting any younger) so it’s nice to know that is an option if I need it. And I know that many women really have relief from menopause from hormone replacement therapy so it’s good to know that could be something I could use if I need it.

Besides discussing those few things, there really wasn’t much else to talk about in my appointment. There is still no medical explanation for why the tumors shrank when they usually don’t. I think it’s my visualization work that is helping do this. But there is nothing that my surgeon can tell me that I need to do or keep doing so my plan is to not really change anything. Since we don’t know what is doing this, I don’t want to change something only to discover that is why things are working.

Since there is no plan to have surgery (at least not until I need my gallbladder out), my surgeon told me that if I didn’t want to do any more follow ups I didn’t have to. While that’s a nice idea, I don’t think I would be able to not be worried about the tumors. So the plan now is that I will do another MRI in a year and we will have another chat about what’s happening. Hopefully the tumors are smaller in a year, but even if they aren’t I know they are an ok size right now.

It was weird enough to not have to do any liver related stuff for 6 months after my surgery was cancelled, but to be able to go a year without anything is even crazier! But I have no reason to worry about anything and now I get to work on hoping to continue to be a medical miracle and hopefully my appointment in a year will go as easily as this one did!

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Time For Another MRI (or Still Trying To Stay Calm)

After a busy weekend at the SAG-AFTRA Convention, I was ready to relax. But that wasn’t exactly what was in the plans for me. I had my liver MRI the next day and that’s not exactly the most relaxing thing for me to do. But at least it’s something I’m getting used to. I’ve had several liver MRIs by now and I know what it’s like. And even though it has been 6 months since my last one, I knew what I was in for.

This MRI was to check the tumor sizes. I have an appointment with my liver surgeon on Monday next week to discuss what the plan is going to be. But in order to do that, we need to know what is happening in my liver. So even though this was probably the most routine of my liver MRIs, it was also the most stressful for me. My first MRI was when we still thought I had a cyst and I didn’t know enough to be stresses. My second one was to determine what type of tumor I had and I knew it didn’t make too much of a difference what type it was. My third one was right before I was supposed to have surgery and was just a size check (I assumed that surgery was going to happen so I didn’t think too much about the size). But this one is to see what is happening so we can create a plan.

I tried not to stress too much about things because I cannot control if my tumors shrink or grow. Whatever happens is going to happen and I can’t worry too much. But at the same time, because I have no clue what is going on it is stressful. I want the tumors to keep shrinking because I really don’t want surgery. But I also know that if I do need surgery eventually that it will be the right thing for me.

So going in for this MRI was a mix of stress and exhaustion. I joked to friends that maybe I’d actually sleep in the MRI machine. That really can’t happen because there are audio cues I have to listen to about holding my breath at certain times, but I was hopeful that at least being tired would help keep me a bit relaxed. When I got to the hospital, they were running almost 2 hours behind so I spent a lot of time in the waiting room reading a book. But they ended up bringing me back early to get ready before the MRI machine was ready.

One part of getting ready was getting the IV started. They wanted to do this with me sitting on a chair and I was terrified. While I haven’t really fainted lately with needles or blood work, I was worried that the IV would make me pass out for a bit and didn’t want to fall. We ended up doing it with me sitting on a bench and leaning against the wall and I am happy to say that I didn’t faint with the IV! And then I found out that the new rules for the MRI machine meant that I couldn’t wear my own clothes and had to get gowned up. So I got changed and waited for the machine to be ready for me.

There was still more waiting once I was ready so I tried to just read my book and not think about the MRI. I was still a bit distracted and worried, but at least the reading gave me something to focus on a little more than the MRI. And once they were ready for me, I got on the table and they were able to get me positioned and strapped down (yes, you get strapped down for liver MRIs) quickly.

The MRI was only about 20 minutes since it was only a size check. I tried to count in my head during each scan and not think about what was happening or what they might be seeing. I still don’t really like MRIs and whenever the machine moved I got a bit panicky. But I stayed calm because I knew I needed to hold my breath several times and it’s not easy to do that when you are panicky.

When the contrast went into my IV, it felt as weird as it always has in the past. I hate that feeling and it did make me feel a bit faint, but I kept it together. And after the contrast went in, there is a 4 minute gap before the next scan so they were able to take my IV out so I could finish the MRI without the IV in my arm. That was nice and I’m grateful that they do that for me. And after those last few scans, it was all done and I was released from the table and was able to get changed and on with my day.

But I wasn’t done just yet. Because things were running so far behind and you have to pay to park at the hospital I go to, I decided that I was going to take advantage of something they were offering. If you got a flu shot, they gave you parking validation to cover the cost of parking that day. My parking was going to be about $20, so I figured this would be the perfect time to get my flu shot and to ┬ánot have to pay a lot for parking. I got it, didn’t pass out, and got free parking. Totally a win (except that my arm is still a bit sore).

I have my meeting with my surgeon on Monday, but I already got an email from him. I don’t have all the details, but I do know that my biggest tumor has gotten a bit smaller! When it was discovered a year ago, it was 10cm. When we did the MRI in April it was about 4cm. And in the MRI this week it was about 3cm. I don’t know about the other tumor or if the 3rd one is still not able to be seen, but this is big news! I’m assuming this means that I still won’t be having surgery, but I don’t really know much more than the size just yet. But I’ll be updating you all when I know more!

What Will Be Sobriety (or A Friend Making Me Think About What I Want)

I was in the car recently with a friend of mine. This friend and I can have some pretty serious and deep conversations and we are pretty honest with each other. While in the car, we started talking about books which led into me talking about how I read 10 pages of a recovery based book every day. And that discussion led into talking about my eating disorder.

We talked about how I feel pretty certain that this is something that I was born with because I remember episodes from when I was a toddler. I doubt it is learned behavior when it starts that young. And we talked about the progress that I’ve been making and trying to make to get myself into recovery. And then we got into a pretty interesting discussion about recovery means.

I’ve said in the past that having an eating disorder/food addiction is so different from any other addiction. This is something that you will have to confront multiple times a day for the rest of your life. When you are an alcoholic, you can go the rest of your life without alcohol. But you cannot survive without food. And I know I’ve had some feelings of almost jealously over friends who have recovered from other addictions because they can just avoid whatever they were addicted to. It seems so much easier than what I’m going through (although I know that it’s not the case).

When I attended the OA meeting with my friend, they talked about the idea of sobriety. Sobriety is a personal thing for anyone, but in OA it becomes even more personal since everyone has their own idea of sobriety. Obviously, you can’t be sober from food. So you have to pick the things around food that you want to avoid and doing that creates your sobriety. For some of my friends, that has meant no eating after a certain time, not eating a certain food, or only eating when it is on a plate and not out of a container.

When I was telling my friend about that idea, he asked me what sobriety/recovery would mean for me. And honestly, I don’t know. I know what I’d like to have my relationship with food be like but many of the things I want are not realistic. For example, I’d love to never have a binge or overeating episode again and to always be in the right calorie range. But everyone has a time every so often when they overeat. When you go out to a restaurant you can easily overeat.

But maybe I can change how I view those episodes. If I don’t let them bring me down and just view them as a normal part of life and can move on, that could be good. I don’t want them to affect me the way that they do now and if that happens maybe it could become a rare occasion instead of something that sets me off.

Beyond the idea of never having a binge episode again, I’ve never really thought too much about what sobriety would mean for me. That’s all I’ve wanted. But because of my conversation with my friend I did start thinking about habits I have or had and what I can change. And one of the biggest ones that I thought of was how I have not ordered delivery food in over a year and a half. Well, technically occasionally I order Chipotle from Postmates, but I don’t consider that delivery food as I can order exactly what I would have gotten if I went to get it myself (unlike when you order Chinese food or pizza and have to order more than what you know you can eat).

For a long time, I thought I’d never be able to be delivery food free and I have managed to do it much longer than I ever have as an adult. And I don’t really even think of getting delivery food when I’m hungry and don’t know what I want to eat. It’s nice having that out of my head and not an issue any more. So in some way, I think that since I’m able to get over delivery food (which felt like it could never happen) that I could also get over binge episodes. But at the same time I don’t want to put that pressure on myself.

I still really don’t know what my version of sobriety means to me. But realizing that I don’t know this has made me understand that I can’t get into recovery until I really figure this out. I need to sit down, set some goals, and make some more concrete plans. Even though I have been working on this, having this idea in mind is an entirely different game and I think it can only benefit me by working on it.

Back To Focusing On Health (or Back To Back Doctor Appointments)

In some ways, it seems like I took the summer off from my health. The last big doctor appointment I had been not really an appointment at all but my MRI for my liver back in April. I never saw my liver surgeon after the MRI, we just had a phone call that went over most things plus some follow-up emails with some blood work instructions. And I did get my eyes checked this summer, but that was something I had been putting off and wasn’t that big of a deal.

But now, it seems like doctor appointments are coming quickly for me. Some of them have been normal things. I had an appointment with a dermatologist recently and will be going back for a follow-up in a week. That’s something I pretty much do every year. And yesterday was my annual appointment with my OB/GYN, which is another pretty normal appointment. Although it does seem like I’ve seen her a lot lately since I had my IUD appointment and follow-up for that not too long ago. Again, seeing my doctor every year for my annual appointment is very routine for me.

And I’m assuming I’ll be going in for a mammogram again this year, which isn’t the most fun thing but I know I need to do it. It’s funny how a year ago I was so stressed about having a breast MRI because I hate IVs and don’t love MRIs. But since that MRI, I’ve had so many with IVs so now that seems like the easier option. But it’s much more expensive and not necessary for me to do every year. I don’t know how often I’ll be alternating the mammograms with the MRIs, but that’s something that will be worked out for me by my doctor and a geneticist that my doctor consults with.

But even though it seems like all the routine doctor appointments are coming at me quickly, I also have to add in my liver stuff too. I will be doing my next liver MRI in the next month or so and then I’ll have the follow-up that goes along with that. Obviously, my hope is that the tumors have continued to shrink so that I can just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully I’ll just have to do another follow-up MRI in 6 months. If they keep shrinking or disappear completely, there’s a chance I’ll still have to do semi-annual or annual MRIs, but that’s not that bad. I could deal with MRIs every month if that meant I didn’t need to have surgery.

But of course, there is always the worry that the tumors have grown or stayed the same. If they are the same, I’m in a weird spot because I still could benefit from surgery but I could also wait longer to see if they shrink again. To me, having them stay the same is the worst case because there’s no clear answer on what I should do. And if the tumors have grown, I need to have surgery and that’s that. I don’t want surgery, but I also don’t want tumors in me that are growing because that can turn life threatening.

I’ve been doing my tumor visualization every day and I haven’t really changed much in my routine since I found out my tumors have shrunk. So I’m really hopeful that the tumors have shrunk. But I’m back to feeling a bit disconnected to my body since there is no way for me to know what’s happening until I have the MRI. I’m not going to stress about it because there is nothing I can do beyond what I’m doing. And if my MRI ends up being in October, I don’t want to spend all of September stressed about it.

It’s interesting how the timing of things worked out where it was pretty much a summer off of medical stuff. Considering how much medical craziness I’ve had lately, it was nice to have a break so I could focus more on my life and not on the what ifs with my body. But it’s time to buckle down and get back to making sure that I’m doing everything I can for my health and to make sure that I’m on top of all the things I need to concern myself about.

My Eyes Had A Miracle Too (or I Wish I Knew What I Was Doing Right)

I had a doctor appointment to get my eyes checked this week. Originally, I had no plan of blogging about this. Eye appointments for me are pretty uneventful.

I’ve worn glasses or contacts my entire life. I think my first pair of glasses were when I was 3 or 4. I am pretty nearsighted (so I can only see things clearly that are close to my face) with a slight astigmatism. Nothing too fancy about my eyes other than my vision is pretty horrible and I have a strong correction in my contacts and glasses.

Honestly, the most exciting thing that happened regarding my vision in the recent past was when I broke my glasses. And even that story is pretty low-key. So when I knew I had my eye appointment this week I figured I’d go in, have them tell me everything this the same, and get some more contacts. I had been told that the brand of contacts I wear might have been discontinued, so that was the only thing that seemed like it might be interesting. Getting fitted for new contacts can be a pain and finding some that I like can take time. And the ones I have no are not tinted (I used to wear colored contacts) but have a slight tint to them so it doesn’t affect my eye color but allows me to find them if I drop them.

When I got to my appointment, everything started off pretty normally. They took my blood pressure (which was a bit higher than normal like it always is before a doctor appointment), the nurse took me back where I had to read the letters from the projection with my contact lenses in, and then I had to wait for the doctor. Once the doctor came in, she testing one eye and then the other before having my take out my contacts.

Next was the glaucoma test where they puff air into your eyes and then back to the exam room where the doctor tested different prescription strengths to see what made the letters on the wall look better. I always feel like it’s a trick when they ask you if version one or two look better. Sometimes they look equally as good and bad. And I don’t want to feel like I’m saying the wrong thing so I do take my time. But I know that there isn’t a right or wrong answer, just what I honestly see. And I tried to be honest, even when that means saying they both look good and bad.

When all the vision tests were done, I was expecting her to say that everything was still the same. That’s what I want because I’m hoping that in the future I can get laser eye surgery so I don’t need contacts forever. And you must have the same vision prescription for a bit of time before you can have laser eye surgery. But to my surprise, my vision is actually better now than it was the last time it was checked!

Both eyes are about 10% better now than they were before. And my old prescription is one that I’ve had for about a decade! I was used to my vision getting worse every year growing up, but it has been stable for so long. So to have my vision improve is not something I ever would have guessed.

My first question to the doctor was to find out what could have done this. I wanted to make sure that whatever I did is something that I keep doing. Maybe I can keep improving my vision! But she said that there isn’t really a reason that it could be getting better. She asked if I was using a computer less, but I’m actually using a computer more now. That was the only thing she could think of that would potentially help my vision.

I did talk to my mom after my appointment and she mentioned that maybe going off hormonal birth control improved my vision. Hormones can do funny things to you and I wouldn’t have really noticed my vision getting worse when I started the pill because I was used to my vision being worse every year at that time. I’ve done some research and that can sometimes be the case, but that seems to be a rare thing to have happen. But I’ve been getting all the rare and one-in-a-million medical scenarios lately so many this is just another one!

Because my vision is so significantly different, I had to get new contacts plus change my glasses prescription. They didn’t have any samples of the contacts for me to take home with me, so until the new ones get delivered I’ll be wearing the ones that overcorrect my eyes. It doesn’t feel too blurry, but after seeing how much clearer everything was with a weaker prescription I can’t wait until the new contacts get here.

And while I usually don’t update my glasses that often, because of how drastic this change is it was recommended that I change my glasses too. The day of the appointment, you get a discount on glasses. You get a better discount if you get new frames and lenses compared to just lenses, but even with the bigger discount it was still $20 to get the new frames. So I just decided to update my lenses. I placed an order for those and when they come in I just bring my glasses in and they will change out the lenses for me that day. I’m glad I don’t have to leave my glasses there since I do use them at nighttime.

With all the bad luck I had with medical stuff last year, it’s really nice that the good luck is continuing this year. I never thought my eyes could get better, but now that I know it’s possible I want to see if there is something I can do to try to help make this continue. I know that I will not be able to fully correct my vision on my own, but it’s always a good thing to have my vision better than it was before.