Tag Archives: health

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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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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My Cold Caught Up With Me (or I Guess I Was Due To Get Sick)

Last week before the convention, I was feeling like I was starting to get a cold. I knew I couldn’t be sick during the convention so I was trying to do whatever I could to stop the cold before it got too bad. I was drinking lots of water and making sure that I was getting sleep. And by the time that the convention started, I wasn’t feeling totally better but I was feeling much better than I had at the beginning of the week.

I assumed that I beat it and I was so happy that I didn’t get sick during the convention. But the day after it ended, my cold came back and I wasn’t able to stop it this time. I guess I should be grateful that my body held off until I had time to be sick. But it’s still not fun being sick at all.

I’m lucky that I work from home and that this week didn’t really have too much scheduled. I did have an audition this week and going to that exhausted me. I felt fine while I was there, but I took a 4 hour nap when I got home. And I did change my workout schedule around a bit to make things easiest for me (but more on that later).

I’m also glad that I got my flu shot already so I know that this isn’t the flu. I do occasionally get sick from a flu shot so that could be what’s making me sick a bit now. I already felt a bit sick before the shot, so combining whatever bug I already had plus the sickness I get from my flu shot seemed to be not a bad option.

I hate feeling so unmotivated to do things. Especially after the convention which makes me even more motivated than normal. Sitting at home not doing much isn’t easy and being sick makes my food even weirder than normal. I know I ate too much while at the convention and I was hoping that this week would be the week to get back on track. But instead, things are just weird with what I feel like eating. I’m trying to not go too crazy, but when you feel sick sometimes you just want to eat things that make you feel better.

This week was supposed to be the week to get so much done and to accomplish a lot. Instead, I’m getting up in the morning, working my jobs, and then going back to bed for a nap. I’m really not getting things done and my to do list keeps getting longer and longer. I just want to feel like myself again to get things done.

I know that I sound really whiney and I’m complaining a lot. But being sick is a tough thing for me. I do get worried that this is a sign that something else is wrong with me even though I know it’s not. I used to feel like this before getting strep throat and having issues with my tonsils. But I don’t have tonsils anymore. And when my stomach feels off I’m worried that this is the beginning of a gallbladder attack. While that can be true, I know that it’s not. This is just a cold and having it hold off for a week makes it seem like it’s never going away. I’ve been dealing with this for 2 weeks even though I’ve only really been sick for 5 days.

Hopefully by continuing to take it easy this weekend I will finally get over this thing. And I’m hoping that this is the only time I’ll be sick this winter. I know that something is going around right now and it seems like I didn’t get it as badly as other people did. But I don’t want to be sick another time this year. I don’t like losing my motivation or having to take time out of my life to get better. And I’m working hard at not overdoing things right now because I want to get stuff done. But I know the only way to get over this is to take it easy and I’m really trying hard to let myself do that right now.

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!

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.

Taking Back A Medical Miracle (or Getting My Eyes Checked Again)

I wrote recently about how I got my eyes checked and how I had another medical miracle. It was so crazy to be told that my eyes were getting better, especially since my prescription hasn’t changed in about a decade. But after talking to my mom, we figured that maybe when I went off hormonal birth control something might have changed with my eyes. When I was looking into it, your vision can get worse when you start birth control. When I started it, my eyes were getting worse every year so I wouldn’t have noticed it.

I was so excited and ordered new contacts and lenses for my glasses right away. I had a slight issue when the lenses for my new glasses came in, but I was able to resolve it (and get a partial refund because I was able to go with a cheaper option). I didn’t notice how my vision was in the glasses because I was wearing my contacts while I was there. I didn’t want to take out my contacts and just figured it would be fine. But because of the issue, I had to get my old lenses back in my glasses while they ordered the second set.

Then my new contact lenses arrived at my house. The day after they arrived, I tossed my old lenses (with my old prescription) and put in a pair of the new lenses. And everything seemed fine for the first few minutes. New contacts always feel nice when you put them in, so I was getting used to that feeling fora minute. But then I sat down on my couch to watch the news that morning and realized that things weren’t right. There is a clock on my cable box and I wasn’t able to read the time on it clearly. Then I started to look around my house and noticed that things were blurry that never have been blurry for me before.

I knew that something was up and I immediately put the new lenses in a spare case and put the last pair of contacts with my old prescription in and everything stopped being blurry. I was told my vision had been overcorrected, but I knew that I should be able to see things within my house without them being blurry. So I called the appointment call center to see what could be done. They agreed that I should come in to get my eyes checked again, but I wouldn’t be able to be seen for a few weeks.

So I waited patiently and this week I went in to get my eyes checked again to see what was happening. Long story short, while my vision is slightly better than what it was 5 years ago, it’s not improved enough to change my prescription. I could go to a slightly weaker prescription, but in my case it’s better to overcorrect things a bit (it becomes a problem in 6 years when I’ll be 40). The doctor I saw the second time was so nice to me and explained that so many things could have caused my eyes to be weird and to make it seem like I had improved vision. But in the end, I’m keeping everything the same.

I was able to get a straight exchange of the contacts I bought (I’m just waiting for the new ones with the old prescription to be shipped to me) and I was able to cancel and get a refund for the new lenses for my glasses that I ordered. And since this appointment was a re-check of my eyes, I didn’t have to pay for the appointment. Basically I walked out with everything being the same as it was before I walked in for my first appointment.

I know that some people would probably be a bit disappointed to not have another medical miracle. But honestly for me, I’m actually a bit relieved that my vision didn’t get better. I’ve felt so disconnected from my body with the entire tumor situation and to not realize that my vision got better would make me feel that way even more. When the eye doctor told me my vision was better, I was actually a bit disturbed that I didn’t notice anything. And I tried to let that feeling go because I thought that I was just being crazy.

So to know that I shouldn’t have noticed any differenced helped to make that feeling go away. I also like knowing my vision is still the same because it gives me the option to get laser eye surgery if I chose to do so. It was a bit annoying to have to go through 2 different doctor appointments and some complications with ordering contacts and glasses, but that’s a minor inconvenience compared to how disconnected I was feeling.

I still have the medical miracle going on with my liver and my tumors, so that’s pretty awesome. But I’m ok with only having one miracle going on at once.

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.

Another Therapy Check In (or Someone Sees Progress)

I only see my therapist every six months now, and my visit with him was this week. So much has happened in six months and I was trying to think about what I wanted to talk about with him before I went in for my appointment. I know that my time there is limited and I wanted to maximize my time. I knew that not everything was relevant to talk about, but I still took some mental notes on what I wanted to make sure we go over.

A lot of my appointments with my therapist are pretty basic check ins. He wants to make sure that I’m still making progress and doing ok on my medication. But there isn’t a lot for me to work through in therapy anymore. Coming to the realization that I just have bad luck genetically with getting an eating disorder has helped me a lot. I know that I didn’t do anything (or have something happen to me) that caused this and I just have to work on getting through it and figuring out good recovery tools for myself. Sometimes knowing that is tough, but it does make my therapy appointments easier.

The first update we discussed in my appointment was me not having the liver surgery. Even though my therapist has access to all my medical records, I knew he wouldn’t have reviewed everything that has happened lately. He was very excited about me not needing surgery and was asking what might have caused the tumors to shrink. There is really no medical explanation for it, but he agrees that my tumor visualization might have been a big part of it. Our minds are really powerful and can do miracles. He agrees that I should keep that up and see what happens when I have my next MRI in a few months.

We also talked about how I was struggling a bit with the idea of preparing for surgery for so long and then that just stopping. I told him how the unknowns unnerve me a bit and that I was finding it tough to reconnect to myself. I still struggle with a bit of disconnection with my body and I don’t know if that will ever be resolved because even if the tumors go away they could come back another time. My therapist understood why this is so tough for me, but he was encouraging me to work really hard to get through it.

He was talking about how we cannot set expectations for life and then fall apart when they don’t happen. Things can change and we have to be ok with going with the flow. And when something doesn’t go our way, we have to let go of the idea of what we thought would be and start thinking about what is. Obviously, those things are easier said than done, but I do need to work a lot on that idea. And to have him tell me that it’s ok that I struggle with this idea made me feel better because sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who seems so rigid in these ideas.

Even though there are things that I’m struggling with, the main things that my therapist was saying to me were all positive things. He said that he can really sense a change in me and sees that I’m so much happier. He can see that I’m figuring things out and I am making progress. I don’t always see the progress, but I know it’s easier for someone on the outside to see it. He knows that even if my eating disorder isn’t getting better right now, I’m building the skills and gaining the tools I’ll need to be in recovery. So eventually it will all connect and come together and I’ll be better equipped to be in recovery.

We also started to talk about the future and when I will be going off of Vyvanse. I cannot be on this medication my entire life (nor do I want to be on it forever). I am not in a place to be off of it just yet, and in fact we actually made a small increase to my dosage. But we went over how this is just a temporary tool and how I need to be preparing myself to eventually not have the crutch of the medication to help me through the day. It’s a bit scary to think about going off of it because when I don’t take it for a random day off, I notice that things aren’t as great. But to start working through an end plan is something that I know I need to do.

The biggest takeaway I had from this appointment was that I am making progress and improving even if I can’t see it yet. Getting to see myself through someone else’s eyes (and someone who has a critical viewpoint) is pretty powerful and really helped me feel more settled in what has been happening. My therapist wants me to focus on being more in the moment and accepting things as they come. If I am going to have a binge episode, he wants me to do it because I chose to do so and not because my eating disorder is putting me on auto-pilot. I’m getting much closer to that point so it’s good to know that that’s actually progress.

I won’t have my next appointment until December (6 months from now) unless something crazy happens and I feel like I need to be seen sooner. But I’m feeling much better about where things are now after this appointment. Some of the doubts I’ve been having have been reassured as good things and I’ve been given homework to try to work on over these next 6 months. Hopefully when I go back to see him again, he will continue to see progress and be happy with the steps I’ve made toward recovery.