Tag Archives: health

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.

Finding Some More Control (or How Medical Stuff and Dating Stuff Are Alike)

So many times in my life, things feel out of control. Even when it seems like it’s in control, there is always something that throws me off. Most of the time, it’s my food that is out of control and trying to control it seems to make it worse. And recently, it’s been my medical stuff that feels out of control and I can’t seem to get a handle on it. Even when I think that I know the plan, it seems like things are changing and I have to keep planning again.

One of the reasons many people have eating disorders is to find an element of control. I used to think this was crazy because I feel so out of control within my eating disorder. But it does make more sense the more I’ve researched eating disorders and have thought more about my situation. Eating what I want is an element of control. What is so horrible for me is having that control feel so out of control at the same time. I don’t like that I am subconsciously using food to control my life and I’m really trying to take a step back and think more than react.

I don’t find that my eating disorder is necessarily worse during times of feeling out of control, but I’m going to try to start tracking that now. Maybe I don’t realize that I am feeling that way when I have my binges because I am using food to mask it. It’s been interesting to reevaluate this lately because I’ve felt like I’ve known so much about my eating disorder in the past year or so. But I guess there is always more to rediscover and perhaps having this realization is a sign that recovery is on the way for me.

There’s not a ton I can do about feeling out of control with my medical stuff. There’s nothing I can do until my next MRI to see what is going on with my tumors. I’m still doing my daily visualizations and that’s pretty much all I can do. Whatever is going on inside my body is happening and I will have to wait a few months to see the results. It’s frustrating to not be able to know what’s happening inside of my body and it does make me feel a bit disconnected. But I am just trying to remind myself that I had no clue that the tumors were shrinking so maybe they are shrinking again now.

I am taking the few steps I can take with my medical stuff to feel more in control. I’m scheduling other doctor appointments that I know that I’ve needed to schedule but was putting off because I thought I’d be having surgery. I need to have some of the regular maintenance appointments like getting my eyes checked, seeing my dermatologist, and going for my annual exam. I can schedule all those and that at least gives me a bit of a sense of control in my life.

The other thing that is feeling so out of control is my dating life. I’m sure that everyone who is dating feels this way, but it’s been very different lately for me. I don’t know why all of a sudden I have more luck online and am finding more guys to meet. I don’t know what changed in my life, but I’m not complaining. But with dating more, there are more unknowns for me. I’ve been ghosted and stood up quite a bit lately. I’m not too upset but it does make me wonder why it’s happening to me. I know it happens to everyone, but of course my brain wants to tell me that it’s just me. And when I do go out with someone who I would like to see again, it can be frustrating to find out if I will see them again. I’m always on top of responding to texts and phone calls, but I know that everyone else isn’t like that. Again, I’m trying to not take it personally.

It’s so weird how my medical uncertainty and dating uncertainty seem to be so similar. But I guess when anything is out of control it can feel the same. And these are the two main things in my life that seem to be out of control right now and are taking up my thoughts quite a bit. And of course when I try to not think about them I only think about them more. I can only hope that even though these things are totally out of my control, I can go with the flow a bit more and enjoy whatever journey comes my way.

Time For Dental Work (or Maybe My MRIs Prepared Me For This)

When I went to the dentist recently, I found out that one of my fillings needs to be replaced. The filling has been in there for a long time and I knew that fillings (or crowns) aren’t forever and do need to be replaced over a lifetime. I’ve been pretty lucky the past few years. My teeth have always been a bit bad (it’s genetic) but I haven’t needed major work in a while. I’ve had lots of work done, but I’ve had a nice break and I guess that streak is over now.

As soon as I found out I needed work, my panic started. Part of that panic is because this time while they are hoping that this is just going to be a filling replacement there is a chance I will need a crown. It’s one of those situations where they weren’t going to know until they started the work and I had having unknowns in my life. But there was no way to find out what it was going to be until I had my next appointment so I tried to just deal with the sense of panic I had.

Fortunately for me, the panic wasn’t too horrible between my cleaning and the appointment to have the work done. I was panicking the day of my cleaning when I found out that there was work I needed done because that’s not what I was expecting. But I didn’t really feel panic again until the day before my appointment (and then it got pretty bad the day of my appointment). I know how bad things have been for me in the past and I just didn’t want that to happen again.

But I was trying to think about all the changes that have happened in my life since my last appointment for major dental work. I’ve been meditating for over a year now and that has been helping me stay calm in the moment (although it doesn’t seem to help the panic from building up before). That has seemed to help before with my MRIs.

And speaking of MRIs, I’ve had so many MRIs since my last dentist appointment and each of those have involved 2 needles (the blood work and then the IV for the contrast). I have been hoping that with all of those needles over the past few months that maybe my issues with needles has become less of a thing. I know that I’ve still been having blackout moments with needles in my recent blood work and IVs, but it has gotten significantly better. And since my incidents at the dentist were usually less than what I dealt with at the hospital, I was hopeful that this appointment and the needle would go a lot smoother than I feared it would go.

The day of my appointment was pretty tough. My appointment was right after I was done with work and I spent my entire shift in a panic and feeling sick. It was a sense of impending doom that I used to feel before a regular cleaning. I hadn’t had to deal with this feeling for a while, so it threw me off a bit. Fortunately, right now is the slower season for my day job so I didn’t have to help too many customers. I was still able to work, but I know that I wasn’t at my best while worrying about my dental appointment.

Once I got to the dentist, the panic was feeling pretty unbearable. I didn’t take my panic meds since they don’t really work that well when I take my eating disorder medication. And to me, right now it’s more important to manage my eating disorder than it was to stop some temporary panic. And I knew that as soon as the work started, the panic was going to go away and I would be fine.

The staff there tried to keep me distracted and calm while we waited for the dentist. They were asking me about what was happening in my life (I was telling them some of my crazy online dating stories), but I was still just anxious that the shots were coming and I wanted to get it over with. Everything in the dentist office looks so scary even though I know most things there aren’t anything that could hurt me.

Once the dentist came back, we got to the shots quickly. He does numb my cheek up with some gel before the shots so it does help a lot. And with the first shot I didn’t totally black out. But with the second shot (which I couldn’t actually feel because I was already pretty numb), I did black out like I have with my recent IVs. But it’s still a huge improvement over the last time I had to get shots at the dentist.

The last few times I’ve needed shots like this, it was for major dental work. Those appointments last quite a while and you have the option to watch a movie while they work. I should have known this would be easy when I wasn’t given the option to watch a movie but instead just had to wear protective eyewear. And this appointment ended up taking no time at all!

The drilling of the part of the old filling that had to come out took less than 5 minutes. Then they filled it back it and had to use the tools to dry it. Then it was only some checking of my bite and before I knew it I was sitting back up and rinsing my mouth out with mouthwash. The entire procedure (not counting waiting to get numb) was under 10 minutes.

I felt so silly when it was done for freaking out as much as I did. Then again, I had no clue it was going to be this simple since it seems like whenever I have more than just a cleaning it is pretty extreme. And I’m lucky that I have a dentist that is super on top of things since this could have been much worse if we didn’t catch it as soon as we did.

I still think I’m going to always have my panic issues at the dentist, but I’m glad that they are getting better. I’ve proven to myself for a while that I am doing much better with the cleanings. Now I’ve proven to myself that I can do ok with shots and bigger dental work. Hopefully I won’t need more major dental work for a while, but I know that there will be more in the future and I feel more prepared for it after this successful appointment.