Tag Archives: health

Routine Time Again (or Getting Back On Track)

After the incident my oven breaking, things got a little weird for me. The routine that I had been in for a while was stopped because I couldn’t do my meal planning the same way. I had been given multiple dates that my oven was supposed to be fixed where the repair people never showed up, so I stopped trying to plan things out. It just got frustrating getting food thinking I’d be able to make it, waiting hours for the repair guy to show up, and then having to go to the store to get something else to eat because I couldn’t cook what I had just bought.

Finally this week, after waiting more than a week to get my oven fixed someone came by. I’m grateful to have my oven back, but I’m a little annoyed that it took over a week for someone to come by for a repair that was completed in less than 10 minutes (I’m serious). I finally started to try to eat the foods that I couldn’t make because they needed to be cooked in the oven to get things back on track. I had been living off of a lot of microwaved meals while my oven was broken and I know they aren’t always the best choice for me. There are worst choices like getting delivery food, but the best stuff is usually things that I’m making in my oven.

When my meal planning stops like it did this time, it’s a bit tough for me to get back on pace. The way the meal planning was successful for me last month was to do all the planning and shopping one day and then just work through that food doing the week. And with the timing of the oven issue, it disrupted 2 meal planning weeks with last week and this week not being the way I wanted. And I’m struggling a bit to get back to it now.

I don’t want to sound like I’m putting things off until the weekend (that sounds like people who put off dieting or exercise until Monday or the next month). But I haven’t been able to take the time out to plan like I normally do or go to the store to get what I need. Fortunately, this week is almost done and I should be able to do my normal meal planning on Sunday like I like to.

With my food being thrown off, a few other things in my life got weird too. With work, I’m so used to having my lunch planned out in advance so it was easy to grab what I was going to eat in the middle of working (funny how it only took a month for this to feel normal to me). With the lack of meal planning, I was spending too much time thinking about food. And with thinking about food a lot, there were some not so great food days.

I’ve said this so many times before, but each time I have a setback like this I have to be grateful that I recognize it as a setback sooner rather than later. I can focus on getting things back to how they have been instead of waiting until I’m very uncomfortable or have gained back a ton of weight to do so. I can easily remember what I was doing a week or two ago that was working instead of struggling to remember what I was doing a month or a year ago.

I’m glad that I’ll be able to get things back quickly so I can focus on all the other things I need to focus on in my life. I can do some great meal planning for the week coming up so that all my other time can be focused on work, going to Orangetheory, having fun, and getting things ready for surgery. Time is much better spent on those things than trying to figure out what I want to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I feel like a broken record sharing a similar story over and over again. But I feel it’s important to do this. I don’t remember reading any bloggers who talked about the ups and downs and the random struggles that they had that set them back a few days. But when I talked to people, it seems like this is the norm. It’s especially the norm when you are recovering from an eating disorder. But people don’t seem to blog about it because it’s not interesting or attention getting. But it’s the truth and that’s exactly why I wanted to share it. Hopefully sharing my struggles will help someone else realize that things are hopeless and they can get back on track too.

Working On Self Care (or Going Back To My Checklist)

I think it’s been a bit obvious from my past posts that I’m in a bit of a funk right now. I wouldn’t say that I’m depressed, but I’m not my usual happy-go-lucky self. I get this way from time to time and I know that I just have to suck it up and wait it out. Sometimes these funks are for a certain reason and sometimes they are random. I think this one is a combination of both.

While I know that I need to wait out these funks, that doesn’t mean that I don’t make an effort to get out of them quicker. Sometimes, what I need it to be out and about. I need to be around other people and remember to have fun in my life again. But in this case, I’ve had a pretty busy social life lately. I feel like I have to fit in all my social life into these next few weeks before I’m out of things for a while. While there is a chance that I won’t be recovering as long as I’m afraid I will be, I still feel like I have to be out and getting things done.

I think that I’m experiencing a bit of burn out right now. My calendar has been packed lately and I’m working hard to do everything that I tell my friends I will go and do. I don’t want to let others down and I’m probably putting other people ahead of myself recently. So I’ve spent the past few days trying to slow down and focus on myself.

I’ve been sitting and home and just been lazy and that has been really good for me. I’m catching up on podcasts that I’ve been meaning to listen to and watching shows on my DVR that I’ve been meaning to watch. Sometimes all I’m doing in a day is work (or work and then going to Orangetheory) and that’s been perfect for me. It’s weird to think how much I needed to have some alone time, but it seems like that has been doing the trick into getting my mood back up.

I’ve also gone back to my happiness checklist to focus on those tasks. It’s pretty easy for me to do most of those tasks but because they are easy I don’t work on them that much. One of the things on my checklist is reading, and that is something I do every day. At the very least, I read in bed before going to sleep. But that has not been enough for me lately and I have been trying to carve out time in my life to read more. I’ve been re-reading a lot of books that I’ve loved in the past and that has been bringing me so much happiness. I know many people don’t read books more than once, but I love going back to a book that I’ve enjoyed and seem to always find something new in the book.

I’m also just ok with being alone in my house just being quiet and doing nothing. I hate to waste time and it’s a luxury that I don’t have that often, but when I can be lazy and not worry about what I’m trying to get done I do that. It’s a way for me to recharge myself and try to refocus on what I really do want to do versus have to do.

I’m still not 100% back to my usual self, but I’ve definitely made steps into getting out of this funk. I know that being sad isn’t really helping me and that there isn’t a real reason for me to feel that way now. But I’ve been acknowledging my feelings and letting them sit with me. Doing that can help me understand why I’m feeling this way and what I should do to take care of myself. I never would have expected that being too social could be the problem, but from doing some reflection I figured out that it could be the case and I think that I was right.

I’m going to keep working on self-care and working on myself over the next few days and I’m sure I’ll be back to normal before I know it. It’s not fun to feel this way and I want to get back to feeling like me. Sometimes it takes time and while I’m working on being patient, I don’t have all the time in the world so I’m doing what I can to get myself back.

I’ve Got A Surgery Date (or Almost The 2 Month Countdown)

When I found out I needed liver surgery, I knew I would be waiting a little bit before having surgery. First, I want my parents to come take care of me when I have surgery and waiting until at least April was best for their schedules (this isn’t an urgent surgery so there is no rush for them to get here). Also, waiting does give my body a bit of time to hopefully shrink the tumors. And finally, I am hoping to lose a bit more weight before having surgery.

I had things set on being the middle to the end of April (I have a 5K in the beginning of April that I don’t want to miss), but when I saw my surgeon the last time the April schedule wasn’t open yet. So I was waiting on the surgery schedule to have April up so that my surgeon could pick the best day for it. He knew that I was looking at the week after Easter and had my permission to just give me whatever date he could that week as soon as the schedule was up. My surgery is possibly going to be an all day thing, so I might be the only patient he operates on that day.

I had been waiting and waiting for the schedule to open up and finally at the end of last week I got a phone call from the surgery scheduling assistant. My surgery has been booked and I’ve got just over 2 months to go before the tumor (or tumors) will be out!

Even though I’ve known about this for a while, having an actual surgery date makes everything seem real now. I have almost all my doctor appointments leading up to surgery booked (I just need to have my final MRI scheduled) and I know the timeline of when everything will be happening. I’ve let my agents know I will be unable to audition or work then and I’ve figured out exactly how much longer I have to bank hours at my box office job. I’m hoping I can still work while I’m recovering, especially in the hospital when I’m scared I’ll be bored, but I am banking enough hours to cover me if I cannot work the week and a half I’ll be recovering with my parents.

During my pre-op appointments, I know that someone will go over with me some of the things I’ll need to bring with me for surgery and my hospital stay. I’ve never had inpatient surgery before, so I am a bit nervous about staying at the hospital. I’m a bit set in my ways and in my routine, and I know this will throw me off. I’m looking online at things that people recommend to have for overnight hospital stays or abdominal surgery recovery. If any of you have been through either, I would love some suggestions.

This have been moving pretty quickly after I got my surgery date. I have several appointments scheduled now, my parents have planned their trip down here, they have found a place to stay, and I’ve got a ticking clock in my head of how much longer I have. I’m sure that since I’ve got about 2 months to go that soon I won’t think about it as each day counts down. Eventually I’ll just have it in the back of my mind instead of the front of my mind.

The only downside with having some time to get ready is that I have time to get ready. I have the time think about what I want to do before surgery or to have with me in the hospital. I have time to do a lot of research and read the good recovery stories along with the bad ones. I have time to think about what this will mean for the rest of my life. Since they are taking out my gallbladder, my diet will need to change a bit. And for the time that my liver regenerates, I’m sure I’ll have a restricted diet too. And after surgery, I will have scars on my stomach for the rest of my life. The scars on my hip have faded to the point you can’t see them anymore, so maybe the ones on my stomach will do the same. But I will always know that they will be there.

I’m going to try to limit the number of posts I do about the upcoming surgery. I’ll do posts when I have updates or appointments so you all know what is happening with me. But this surgery is just a minor roadblock in my life. Once I get through it, things will be different but I will be fine. This is just another crazy story that I will be able to tell one day at a party (I’m sure saying I had a tumor the size of a baby’s head taken out of my liver will be a good cocktail party story one day).

I’ve got about 2 months to go before this is all pretty much behind me and I can just focus on recovering from surgery, getting back to my normal life, and moving forward.

Half Birthday (or Reflecting On The Past 6 Months)

After having a bit of a negative day earlier this week (and to be honest, a negative week), I decided to spend yesterday trying to think more positively. Stress isn’t a good thing for me mentally or physically and I needed to get myself out of that funk. And when I woke up yesterday deciding to be in a better mindset, I also realized that it was my half birthday!

I know that most people don’t celebrate half birthdays, but my dad and I do. I’m not sure how the tradition started, but it’s been a thing as long as I can remember. There aren’t any cards or gifts for half birthdays (or if there are they are more of a joke than anything), but it’s more about a time marker to me. Days and months can go by so quickly that this is a nice way to pause and do some reflection. And that’s exactly what I did yesterday to feel better about things.

6 months ago, things were terribly different but they still were different. I had just started running again for the first time in a long time and was making great progress. Running was more of a novelty to me still 6 months ago and I wasn’t as focused on my progress the way I am now. I was focused on speed and getting PRs with distances more than anything. Now, I’ve realized that I need to focus on my endurance more. I won’t be getting a ton of PRs in my workouts, but I will be making huge progress. Being able to run for more than 10 minutes at once is huge and is making me just as happy as my last 5K PR.

6 months ago, I had been making progress with my recovery but I think the changes I’ve made in the past 6 months are much more significant than the ones I made the 6 months prior. I’m still doing a lot of the same stuff, but I’m going more in-depth with them. I’ve been able to recognize some of my triggers and stop and episode from happening before it does. I’m not perfect, but progress has been made. And thinking back at those 6 months gives me so much hope for what the 6 months leading up to my birthday will bring.

In the past 6 months, I haven’t had a ton of auditions and I haven’t booked an acting job but I’ve still had awesome things happen. My short film is getting into festivals and we are talking about making a sequel to the movie. We are getting a lot of positive attention for it and that is all I could ask from a film that was just a really fun project to do with friends. We did take the shoot seriously, but when you are making a short film you aren’t doing it to make money or become a star. It’s a passion project and we are all just so grateful that people are enjoying it. And I’m hoping that we will continue to get into more festivals and we can share this film with as many people as possible.

And I know that some people may think that since 6 months ago I didn’t know about the tumors that things were better off then. But I actually see it differently. Yes, it was nice not to know about the tumors but it is so much better that I do know about them. I’m lucky that I didn’t have any issues with them, but that might not have been for forever. I have read a lot of stories of people being hospitalized because they had a small tumor rupture. And with the large tumor I have, it would be bad if it ruptured. I’m glad that I know about them. I’m able to make the changes in my life that I need to and I will have them removed before there is anything that makes it too risky to have the tumors. I don’t want to say this is a wake up call for my health because I was already working on my health. But this gave me a new sense of urgency and a new mission with my health.

But what I think has been the best thing in the past 6 months for me is that I’m having more fun. Something happened after this past birthday where I wasn’t feeling as self-conscious as I have in the past. I don’t worry too much about what other people think about me or my life. I don’t care that some people think that I’m wasting money on tickets for the Pantages or my pass for Disneyland because those are things that make me happy. They don’t have to make anyone happy but me. And because I’m not worrying about what other people think as much, I can enjoy my life the way I want to. I’m living my life more and loving what I’m doing more. And that’s just awesome.

It’s nice to have a post like this where I’m looking at the good when I had a post yesterday when things weren’t so good. I’m so glad I had my half birthday yesterday to make me take a minute and reflect on positive things so that I could realize that things aren’t as bad as my brain might be trying to tell me that it is. And now I know that I’ve had an awesome past 6 months I can focus on working on making the next 6 just as good if not better!

Adventures In Healthcare (or Trying Not To Be Too Political)

Today is the inauguration of President Trump. Those of you who follow me on social media probably know how I feel about this, but I don’t want this post to be all about political parties. But with a new president coming in, there are some things that do concern me as a citizen of this country.

Almost all of the things that concern me are related to healthcare. Mainly, the idea that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed (and potentially replaced with something to be determined later). While I always have had healthcare, it wasn’t easy for me before the Affordable Care Act. And now with the threats that it will be taken away, I’m worried for me and the millions of other people who are in a better situation because of it. And so on inauguration day, I want to share my story of why the ACA matters to me. Maybe you don’t care if it goes away, but hopefully you can at least understand why it is something that scares me.

I was born into having amazing health insurance. Thanks to my dad, I had great coverage through Kaiser growing up. My insurance was covered under his job and we didn’t have to pay a monthly bill and almost everything I needed was covered under my insurance. I was totally spoiled with my awesome insurance and didn’t realize it wasn’t like that for everyone. I just assumed everyone could go to the doctor and it would be taken care of. Even with my hip surgery and all the craziness around that, it was completely covered and all of my bills said that the patient responsibility was $0.

When I aged out of my dad’s insurance coverage (which fortunately was right after my hip surgery), I applied for regular Kaiser insurance. All of my doctors are with Kaiser so there was no question to me that I would continue using them for my healthcare. I applied and assumed that while it wouldn’t be free anymore, I would get insurance and everything would be fine. But it wasn’t.

I got a rejection letter from Kaiser saying that they would not cover me because of my pre-existing conditions. Among my pre-existing conditions were my hip issues, my eating disorder, my weight, having a history of strep throat/tonsil issues, and having a history of gallstones. I was not a desirable person to insure and Kaiser didn’t want to cover me. Being rejected for pre-existing conditions sucked. I had an option to get COBRA for a year or so, but it would have been something like $3,000 a month to be covered.

Fortunately, I talked to someone at member services at Kaiser who explained that there was something called conversion insurance. Basically it was insurance for patients with pre-existing conditions that are considered too high risk to insure but previously had Kaiser insurance so Kaiser didn’t want to reject them completely. I was eligible for conversion, but instead of being about $100 a month (which is what it would cost for a woman to have regular Kaiser insurance), it was over $500 a month. That’s a lot of money, but because I needed health insurance my parents helped me out so I could get insurance.

I didn’t have as amazing of insurance as I did before, but it covered most of the things I needed. When I had my tonsils out, it cost $250. When I needed birth control refills, it was $30 a month. The out-of-pocket costs without insurance would have been insane, so having expensive insurance with higher deductibles and costs was worth it.

Then the ACA passed and I became eligible for regular insurance again! Not only that, Kaiser could no longer charge me more because I am a woman so things would be even cheaper than I thought. My new insurance is about $250 a month (I’m also eligible for subsidies because my income level is below the limit) because I got a silver level plan knowing that I would have more doctor appointments than the standard patient. And this was before the liver tumors so I’m more grateful now that I’m covered.

When I recently had my breast MRI, there was a debate if it would be fully covered by Kaiser. With my dad’s insurance, it would have been totally free. With my conversion insurance, MRIs were not a covered benefit so I would have paid full price. With my ACA coverage, MRIs are $250 but cancer screenings are free so it wasn’t known what my MRI would be classified under. I didn’t pay that day, but the other day I got a bill.

I got charged the $250 that is my standard MRI deductible. But you can see that if I had my old conversion insurance, it would have cost almost $2,700 to get this cancer screening that my mom’s geneticist recommended that I do. To know that a test that doctors felt I needed could cost more than my rent is ridiculous. I don’t know how people could afford that if they had to pay the full rate. That’s so expensive and it made me even more grateful for my ACA coverage.

With my upcoming liver surgery, I know I’ll hit my out-of-pocket maximum for the year. That maximum is about $8,000 (much lower than the $50,000 maximum my conversion insurance had) and while that is still a lot of money, it is a necessary cost and a fraction of what it would cost if I wasn’t insured. I’m not going to worry about the money now because I know I will get help to pay for it and my health is more important than money. Plus, on the positive side, I believe that once I hit my out-of-pocket maximum that I won’t have to pay for doctor appointments for the rest of the year!

I know I will be ok for 2017, but I’m scared what will happen to me after the year is done. If the ACA is gone, can Kaiser tell me that they don’t want to insure me anymore? I’m even more high risk with my pre-existing conditions now. If an insurance company could reject me, I totally understand why they would want to. But for me, I know I need to have insurance because of my pre-existing conditions. I will always have my hip issues, I will be considered high risk if I ever get pregnant because of the tumors (even if they are taken out, there is a risk of them coming back with pregnancy), until I stop getting treatment for my eating disorder that will always work against me if an insurance company can reject me, and I’m assuming that having to have part of my liver removed will make me even more high risk.

I know a lot of people get insurance through their employers and they are mad that their premiums have been going up. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the ACA. Premiums have been going up for decades every single year because health insurance companies can do that. It’s the same as car insurance premiums going up or home or renters insurance going up. And for those people who will have nothing change with their health insurance if the ACA is repealed, I can understand why they don’t care too much either way. But for me and millions of other people, losing the ACA can be horrible. For me I know it won’t be a death sentence, but I have friends who could have their lives at risk if they can’t get insurance to help pay for life-saving medication. Hoping that you can afford to live shouldn’t be something that people think about.

I know that there has been a lot of backlash from the threat of repealing the ACA, especially with no replacement in mind yet. I’m hoping that politicians will listen to how scared their constituents are about this. Maybe President Trump will worry about being popular and liked and realize the majority of people do not want the ACA to go away (or go away before we know what the replacement will be so we know we won’t be uninsured). I can only hope that next year, I will not be worried about this and I will still be able to get the healthcare that I need to stay healthy.

My First 2017 Monthly Challenge (or Working On My Tumors)

It’s a new year and I’ve got a new year of monthly challenges! I did buy the Volt Planner for 2017 and I’m very happy that it’s a similar set up to what the 2016 planner was like. There are still the weekly and monthly goal setting pages as well as the monthly challenges. And I plan on doing a new monthly challenge each month just like I did last year!

I think that having the goals and challenges really did help to keep me accountable and focused on doing things to better myself. It’s one thing to say that I’ll be doing something, but to have a list in a planner where I can see what I set out to do is another. Having it on paper makes me want to make sure I don’t slack because I hate to see unchecked boxes on my goals and challenges pages in the planner. It’s the perfectionist in me that makes me want to get something done if I write it down in a planner.

I’ll admit that January 1st got here much quicker than expected so I didn’t have as much time dedicated to planning out my challenge for the month as I would have liked. There are some big ideas for challenges that I have for this year, but some of them involve planning or setting things in place that I didn’t have time to do for this month. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some of my big ideas later this year, but it will have to wait. But there was one thing that I started doing at the end of the year that I knew I wanted to continue to do this year and dedicate time to working on it.

While I know that I will need to have liver surgery no matter what, there are things that I can do to hope that the surgery and recovery will be easier. And one of those things is to have the tumors shrink. There is no medical way that I can do this (they aren’t cancerous tumors so I don’t need chemo or radiation to shrink them), but I can still work on doing it on my own. I’m a believer in the power of positive thinking and I’ve been trying to think that my tumors are shrinking every day.

My mom did the same thing when she had cancer, and her journey to being cancer free went much easier than most people thought it would be. She imagined her body healing every single night and I believe that doing that helped her so much. So I’m doing the same with my tumors. I had been doing this before the new year, but I still decided to make it my monthly challenge to make sure that I do this every day.

Like most of my challenges, I’m using the reminder app on my phone to alert myself every day to dedicate time to doing this. I’m not using my mediation app for this, but I’m thinking about doing that because there is a silent timed mediation option within the app. But for now, I’m just focusing on how I imagine the tumors getting smaller for a few minutes every single day.

It’s not a huge thing for me to do, but I know that doing it will only benefit me in the long run. And making sure that I do dedicate time every day for this will help me not to slack off and forget. I really do love having all the reminders in my phone going off throughout the day so I don’t zone out and then realize the entire day has gone by without me getting anything done. I feel silly that I hadn’t been taking advantage of those prior to the monthly challenges because they are so easy to set up. But at least now I have them and I am always adding more to my reminder list.

While this challenge is a smaller one, I’m really excited to have another full year of these challenges. From the ones that I set up last year, most of them are still things that I do every single day. I have slacked off on a few (mainly the yoga and mindfulness before eating ones but I’m working on that), but most of them have become habits and my day doesn’t feel complete until I accomplish them. And I know that building a few new good habits every year will add up and be something really great for me for the rest of my life.

Here’s to another year of monthly challenges and hopefully using my mind to get my tumors to shrink before my next MRI and we make my surgery plan!

Recapping My 2016 (or Almost Doing All That I Wanted To)

I can’t believe that it’s the end of the year! It’s so true that the year flies by and that it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was writing what my goals were going to be for 2016. My year didn’t totally go the way I expected (both in good and bad ways), but I’m happy to say that I almost got all the goals I set for the year accomplished.

My first goal for 2016 was to do 180 workouts at Orangetheory. Sadly, this one wasn’t a goal that I accomplished. I will have one more workout for the year tomorrow, and that will bring my total for the year to 177 workouts. I know that 177 workouts for the year is still impressive and better than I did last year, but I really wanted to reach my goal. I had some setbacks that I wasn’t expecting, so that contributed to missing some of the workouts that I thoughts I’d be able to do. It’s not the end of the world that I didn’t hit this goal, and I’m trying to remember that the quality of the workouts that I did this year were so much better than last year.

I was lifting heavier weights than I ever have before. My form on the bodyweight exercises is significantly better. And most importantly I started to run this year! I never thought that was going to happen for me this year and I’m so happy that my coaches pushed me to do it. I still have so much progress to do on my running, but the amount of progress that I’ve had this year already has been incredible!

And that leads me to my next goal I had for 2016 which was to have a PR on my 5K. And because of my running, my most recent 5K was an amazing PR for me! Even with all the running training I had been doing, I had no clue that I could do that fast of a race! I accomplished so many goals I had for my 5K timing with that one race and now I have to figure out what new goals I have for 2017 for my races. My next race should be before my liver surgery and the second one will be after. And I have no clue how the surgery will affect my training so I need to be cautious with the goals I set.

The next goal I set for 2016 was regarding money. I wanted to budget better, reduce my debt, and possibly start saving money. While things haven’t been as great as they could have been with money, I think I’ve been doing a lot better than I have before. My budgeting is going better and part of that budgeting is budgeting money each month to go into saving money for big things like when I have to do car repairs or my new computer. I’ve also brought my debt down this year. And even though it isn’t as low as I hoped it would be, getting it down is tough so any reduction is an accomplishment.

I also set a goal to travel more and go on more adventures with my friends. I really didn’t do a ton of traveling this year, but the trips I did take were really fun. I didn’t get to do the trip with my sister-in-law like we had planned, but we are working on a trip idea for 2017 so at least trip planning happened this year. But I totally did do more adventures this year with my friends. I’ve been going to shows quite a bit and those still make me so happy. I got to go back to Magic Castle and had so much fun with my friends being silly there. And of course I had a ton of outings to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

The one goal that I didn’t really even get close to doing is being in another acting class this year. I debated doing the next level of improv at UCB, but I decided against it for a couple of reasons. I looked into a few other acting classes and I’ve found a couple that do interest me, but there was an issue with scheduling. And with knowing that I have surgery coming up in the spring, I’m very hesitant to try to get a class planned for the new year. I know I need to get back into a class, and I’m a bit upset with myself that I didn’t do any action with this during 2016. But I’m ok with not doing it because I didn’t want to waste money on a class I didn’t really care to do.

And my final goal for 2016 was to be in recovery or on my way into recovery from my eating disorder. I’m not in recovery at all, but I’m working toward it and the steps I’ve made this year have been significant. I think I’ve made more progress this year than I have in the past few years combined. I’m working on recovery every day which is something that I haven’t done before. I’ve had fewer binge episodes a week than before and the binges I have had were not as severe as they were in the past. I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s getting there.

Considering all the craziness of my life this past year, I’m pretty happy with how my goals went for the year. I know that things could have been better, but they also could have been so much worse. And I know that 2017 is just going to be even better!

My goals post for 2017 will be next week (along with the post with my word for 2017). I hope you all have an amazing New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! Please be responsible and call for a cab/Uber/Lyft if you are out drinking so you get home safely. And here’s to all of us having an incredible start to 2017!

A Good Therapy Check In (or Focus On The Good)

I had an appointment with my therapist this week. Since I’m only seeing him every 6 months now, there have been a lot of things that I figured we would discuss. Obviously, we would be discussing my recovery but I knew there would be so much more to talk about in the appointment.

When I got called back, my therapist asked how I had been. My first response was to ask if he had seen my regular medical record because if he hadn’t there was a lot to update him on. He mentioned that he had seen some of it, but asked me to fill him in. So I gave him the story about the tumors in my liver and all of that stuff. It’s a lot to take in and I’m sure it sounds super overwhelming for someone who hasn’t heard it before. But to me, it’s not a huge deal and I can almost tell the entire story in a single breath. I’m wondering if it will seem like a bigger deal to me the closer to surgery I get, but for now I’m not thinking too much about it.

My therapist asked me how I was feeling about the tumors and if I was letting that affect my recovery, and I let him know that I was working on focusing on the positives as much as possible. Negative thinking isn’t going to change my situation, so I don’t see the point in wasting time on doing that. I’m going to have surgery and I’m trying to plan on making it as positive of an experience as possible (including telling all my friends that they have to come visit me when I’m in the hospital).

We also discussed the issues that I’m having right now with food. I’m worried a lot of the issues are related to hormones (or lack of synthetic hormones) and I just need to learn how to deal with this because this will be my reality for the rest of my life. I’m having more bad days than I would like right now, but I know that this is an adjustment period and it will get better. It’s unfortunate I have to deal with it, but again, thinking negatively isn’t going to help me at all.

My Vyvanse dosage was also discussed at the appointment. I’m getting close to having been on the medication for 2 years and I think we are finally at a good dose for me. I think it could work better if I was on a slightly higher dose, but I want to wait a bit to see if that is how I feel in another 6 months. I don’t want to keep increasing the dosage because there is a limit to how high the dose can be and I don’t want to keep increasing it until I get to that point. I’d rather be on the conservative side of things and increase them later.

We really didn’t have a ton to go over in the appointment. I am doing pretty great even though sometimes I don’t feel like that. My therapist feels that I’ve shown a ton of improvement over the time that I’ve been seeing him and he thinks that things are just going to get better and better. He said a lot of that has to do with me taking responsibility for bettering myself and not trying to depend on medication only. The fact that I’ve been doing monthly challenges are impressive to him and I think he’s still surprised that I’ve been keeping up with my happiness checklist.

But the thing that my therapist feels has been the most beneficial to my recovery so far has been my positive attitude. I rarely put myself in a victim mentality and I believe in the power of positive thought. Even though there isn’t any scientific evidence to prove this, positive thinking can do wonders for a person. You can do things that others may have thought to be impossible. I’m hoping that positive thinking will help my liver tumors shrink before my next MRI so that my surgery will be easier than expected. And in a few months I will hopefully see the results from that.

The positive thinking to get into recovery may take longer, but my therapist and I agree that those results will come for me one day. I just have to be patient and willing to wait it out until things get better. I’m happy to do that because I know it is in my future, but I do wish the timeline would speed up a bit!

The ending point of my therapy appointment was that I just need to continue doing what I’m doing. Thinking positively and looking at the good in situations is working for me and it will continue to work for me as long as I keep working at it. My next appointment with my therapist will be in 6 months, so that should be after my liver surgery. I hope that I will be able to update him that the positive thinking did a great job with getting my body ready for surgery!

And after all that discussion about positivity and good out there, I walked out of my appointment to see one of the most beautiful sunsets I had seen in a long time.

I’m taking that as a sign that good things are coming my way!

Hitting A New PR (or Forgetting To Take Things Easy)

I wasn’t sure how this past week of workouts would go. I knew that Monday would be fine, but since I was getting my IUD in on Tuesday I thought there would be a chance that was going to be my only workout. I was hopeful that I would be able to do my 3 workouts, but I was also realistic. So I figured even if I only did my Monday workout or only made it through 10 minutes of the other workouts that it would be good enough. But because I’m stubborn, of course I didn’t take it easy.

Monday’s workout was the last challenge for the 12 days of fitness. And for day 12 we had a 12 minute distance challenge. Since I knew my mile PR was 13:39, I just wanted to be as close to a mile as possible. Some of my friends were telling me that I could probably do a mile in 12 minutes, but I didn’t believe them. But then I realized I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

For the 12 minutes I did 1 minute of running at 6 mph, 1 minute of running at 5.5 mph, and 1 minute of walking at 3.5 mph. While I’ve done 2 minutes of running with my intervals before, it has never been that fast. There were plenty of times that I thought that I couldn’t do it and by some change I realized I had made it to my walking minute. I was so tired and so out of breath, but when I saw the 1 mile come up on the treadmill screen at 11:48, I’m so glad I did it! Taking 2 minutes off of my mile is massive progress and I shocked myself so much! But since it was a 12 minute challenge, I couldn’t stop the treadmill then so my picture is of my 12 minutes being a little more than a mile.

After that challenge, we switched to the floor (so the other group could do their 12 minute challenge) and it was a very intense floor plan. We had burpees, abs, lunges, squats, and shoulder work and all of them were between 10-60 reps. I made it through most of the floor work and then it was time to get back to the treadmill. I wanted to run on the treadmill, but I was so tired from the challenge so I did walking for all of the segments.

That would have been enough for a workout, but it wasn’t done. After that last treadmill time, we had to do a 1200 meter row. That is such a long row, and it was even harder considering all the other work I had already done. I wanted to be able to do it in under 6 minutes, and I’m happy to have done it in 5:57.

Wednesday’s class was the one I was most nervous for. I wasn’t in too much pain, but my stomach was dealing with some dull cramps and things were feeling a bit off. I figured I’d do the best I could and that would be that. It was an endurance class where we switched between blocks and I think that switching helped make things easier on me. I was able to do my regular 1 minute intervals for the long 3 minute push paces. And while I tried to run the entire 2 minute and 90 second push paces, my body just couldn’t do it. I had to cut them short, but I did run for the majority of the time.

I stuck with slower running speeds for everything that day. Even my all out paces were at a speed that sometimes is more of a push pace for me. It wasn’t that I was in pain, but things were feeling weird and I think I was psyching myself out and afraid that I was going to hurt myself somehow. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy, but I was caught in-between feeling fine and wanting to do things like normal and being scared that I was somehow ignoring my body and going to hurt myself.

On the floor work, we had rowing each block. The first block was 300 meters (I did them in 1:20 and 1:14) and the second block was 600 meters (I did that in 2:42). All of those row times are pretty awesome for me, but rowing was tough. There was something about sitting and bending that way that made my stomach cramp up more. The pain was never that bad (it felt more like a strong pressure in my stomach), so I figured it wasn’t bad to push myself. I did have a tough time with the squats and ab work, so I did modified stuff for those. But considering that this workout was the one that I was going to take it easy or skip, I clearly didn’t follow that plan.

Friday was a power day with a run/row. I was still feeling  some cramps and uncomfortableness, but still nothing that bad. I was still taking Motrin for the pain, but Friday I probably could have skipped it (I just didn’t want to risk hurting a lot during the workout). For the run/row, we had 3 row segments for each distance. For the first distance, we had to do .2 miles 3 times with different rows in between (200, 150, and 100 meters).

I was able to run the full .2 miles each time. I was a pretty long run for me (close to 3 minutes) and it wasn’t easy. I still had that odd feeling happening but I wanted to push through it. I think the exercise helped the pain go away faster so I wanted to keep going. I took the rows easy because it was still hurting a bit to sit down and row. I didn’t pay attention to how long it took me to do each of them because it didn’t really matter to me at that point. I did make it to the .15 miles block (there was also a .1 miles block) and got 2 sets of that done before it was time to switch to the floor.

The floor work was focused on arm work which was good for me. I wasn’t dealing with any weird pain while doing the arm work so I was able to life 20 pound weights for all of the work. We did also have some plank work which was a bit tougher. I was having some weird knee pain so I had to do my planks on my toes and that made things even tougher. I know my plank form was sloppy, but again I just focused on making it through and getting it done.

Overall, I would consider my workout week a huge success. It would be a success even if I didn’t have my IUD to deal with so that makes things even better! I know that my stubbornness can be bad at times, but having it to push me through any uncomfortableness to keep going with my workouts is a good thing. I needed the workouts since my food hasn’t been great and I’m glad that even while one thing is not going so great that the other is going even better!

Dealing With Hormones (or Trying To Work With My Eating Disorder)

Like I mentioned yesterday, I had to stop taking my birth control pills because of my tumors. I’m still having a bit of pain from the IUD, but I know that will be ending soon and I’m so grateful that I’ve had an easier time than most of my friends. But as soon as I stopped taking my pills, my body was no longer on a steady level of hormones. And I’ve noticed that it is causing issues that I wasn’t expecting.

The first few days off of the pill were pretty easy. I was expecting things to be really horrible since I had been on the pill for 15 years. I know that a lot of people have pain and weird issues when you aren’t on regular hormones, but for a bit of time it seemed like I might have escaped that issue (I’m guessing all pain I’m feeling now is from the IUD and not stopping the pill). I’m still doing pretty ok with my hormones not being regulated and getting through the mood swings I haven’t experienced since I was a teenager, but I’ve noticed that it’s been causing problems with my eating disorder.

I have no clue if this is because my hormones are out of whack, I’m going through normal hormone fluctuations, or what it could be but my food situation hasn’t been great for the past 2 weeks. I’m having very odd cravings and I’m not able to ignore them. When I tried to ignore them, that brought on a binge eating episode so I’m trying to figure out what to do to handle the cravings but not let them get overwhelming. But they do get overwhelming from time to time and I’ve had to realize that maybe I have to accept this as a temporary situation.

A lot of the time, I can eat things that aren’t too horrible for me to handle the cravings. Lately, it’s been alternating between salty things (I eat saltines) or slightly sweet things (Cliff Bars do the trick). But those things both cause my weight to go up if I eat too much of them. And when I’m craving something, it’s so similar to a binge episode that I have trouble stopping it. I haven’t found alternatives that satisfy the cravings that aren’t as bad but I’m working on it. And I’m aware that these cravings can change over time so maybe in a few weeks I’ll be craving fruit or crunchy things like veggies.

It also doesn’t help that the day after getting my IUD, my scale went up 8 pounds. I know that it isn’t “real” weight but it was still distressing. The water weight will go down eventually, but when I’ve worked so hard to not gain weight it can be very upsetting to see the number higher than it should be. And I know that my body is extremely slow in losing water weight so it may take a lot longer than I would like. In the past, it would be a reason for me to say screw it and have a big binge episode. But I’m not doing that this time and hoping that my body settles down soon.

Since stopping my birth control pills and getting my IUD were so close together, it’s tough to know if things are caused by one or the other. I’ve been told it can take 3 months or so for your body to regulate with the IUD (and technically even longer to regulate after being on hormonal birth control pills). While this is the time that I wanted to work on my health to prepare for liver surgery in the spring, those months may just be trying to stay right where I am and getting through whatever my body has to go through to be normal again.

I have an appointment with my therapist next week, and I know this will be a lot of what I will be discussing with him. I’m hoping that he can give me some tips or guidance on how to deal with this and not have it delay the progress I’ve been making so far. I don’t know if he is able to see my full medical record, so I’m planning on filling him on everything with the tumors and all. Hopefully giving him the full picture of my physical health situation can help him help me with my mental health situation.

While I wish that I didn’t have the tumors and I was able to stop my birth control pills on my own timeline, this is probably a good thing. I’ve been on the pill for a very long time and while my time before it was pretty horrible with my hormones there’s a chance I’ve outgrown a lot of the issues I had before. Not having the hormones in my system could be a benefit for my eating disorder. It can be temporary that I have crazy hormone fluctuations but once things normalize I should be able to know when my binges may be more likely to happen. And then I can plan to try to prevent them. This is going to be a long haul journey, and while the beginning has been rocky I hope that in the end it ends up being a really great thing for me and my journey to recovery.