Tag Archives: sick

A Week Of Walking and Biking (or Getting Through Some Low-Key Workouts)

It seems that whenever I have a really great plan to try to get my workouts back to the progress I am trying to make, something happens that stops me. But at least now, even when things stop me from making progress it doesn’t stop me from doing my workouts. So this past week of workouts ended up being much more low-key and low-impact than I wanted them to be, but I was still there.

Monday’s workout could have potentially been a day I worked on running, but it was a day that had endurance, strength, and power in it and I knew I couldn’t do the endurance or strength portions as a run. The endurance block on the treadmill had a 3 minute push and the strength part was all running on inclines. Between the incline runs, we also had frogger squats which were a nice break after incline work. The floor work was one long block that had low rows on the straps, front raises, squats, hip bridges, and plank work.

And when I got to the rower I finally felt like I could do better than I had in the rest of the workout. We had 2 blocks on the rower and in the first block we had 400 meter rows with squats using weights between each row. But where I really did my best was in the second block where we had timed rows. We started with a 3 minute row and then had a 90 second and 45 second row. The goal was to do more than half of the distance we had done in the row prior. And each of the times I was supposed to do that, I was able to go much further than half of the previous distance.

Wednesday’s workout was an interesting one. On Monday, after I got home from Universal Studios, it seems like I might have broken my toe. I was taking off my shoes and jammed my toe into the leg of my couch. As soon as it happened, I knew it was bad. My vision went white, I was in horrible pain, and my toe was not looking normal. Tuesday I was starting to be able to walk a little bit more on it (I think the damage was to the top of my toe and not the side or bottom), so I decided to try to walk slowly in my workout. It was another endurance, strength, and power workout and I just tried to take it easy. By the end of the treadmill time, I realized that I probably would have been better off using the bike but it was too late.

When I got to the floor, I had to focus on taking some of the pressure off of my toe. The first block on the floor had 400 meter rows with strap reaches and plank rows. I adjusted where the rower strap went on my foot to keep me from pressing off the foot plates with my toe. The second block was squats, shoulder presses, lunges with rowing, and ab work. It was tough to stay on my heels and not my toes, but I did my best. And the last block was squats with 150 meter sprints. By the end of my workout I was feeling a bit more pain in my toe, but it was still feeling better than it did when I hurt it on Monday.

When I got to Friday’s workout, I knew I needed a break from the treadmill. I went on the bike for our endurance day. This workout would have been a good one to work on my running, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a single block where we had different distances to go with walking recovery. We did everything at our own pace and I tried to stick with the plan for the bike. When I started I thought it would be nice if I could make it to 10 miles on the bike, and that’s exactly what I got to when it was time to switch to the floor.

The floor work was another interesting set up. Everything was timed so we didn’t have to count reps or worry about it. It was 3 rounds of deadlifts, squats to walk out push ups, shoulder raise to lateral raise, side plank rotations, and 2 minute rows. It was nice having it all timed so I could focus on the work, but it was tough. It’s sometimes easier when I know how many more reps I have before changing moves, but this time I just had to try to get through the time and knew that it would be done before I knew it. My rowing wasn’t anything spectacular, but I did row the entire time without stopping each round.

And when I worked out on Saturday, I stuck with the bike again. It was a 3 group workout, but I figured that my toe needed the rest (I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be on the bike, but I’m going to try to go easy on myself). It was an endurance, strength, power day again; but I really didn’t pay too much attention to the workout when I was on the bike. I was dealing with my toe plus some bad nausea so my goal was mainly just to keep moving and not stress about much else. I had to take breaks while on the bike, but for most of the time I was able to go at a slowish pace and just move.

On the floor, we had a progressive workout. Each round started with chest presses and then we added on moves from there. We also had triceps on the straps, low rows with weights, lunges, and abs. I was just getting toward the end of the plan when time was called to switch. I had to take breaks to not feel nauseous which did slow me down a lot. But I got through almost everything so I was proud of myself. And on the rower was where I struggled the most. We started with 3 rounds of 90 seconds for distance. I did ok, but it was not easy to keep rowing for 90 seconds based on how I was feeling. And after that, we had rounds of 200 meter rows with squat work between. I was feeling pretty relieved when the workout ended because I was feeling done.

Obviously I couldn’t predict that I was going to break my toe, but my nausea is something I can plan for. I never know how bad it will be each month, but it comes without fail every month. I need to keep working on how to workout and not let it get to me since I can’t take a week off every month. But having a tough week like this past one was a great training week for pushing through whatever my health circumstances may be.

Not The Workout Week I Was Expecting (or At Least I Made It To My Workouts)

This past week of workouts was a bit crazy for me. I went into the week thinking it would be a 3 workout week. I was supposed to have a minor procedure at the dermatologist on Thursday and that would have prevented me from working out for a few days. But that appointment got moved to next month and that changed things back to my normal workout week. But then I got sick and it got changed back to a 3 workout week but different days that I planned. For someone who likes routine and planning, this wasn’t great. But I did still make my workouts and that’s sometimes all you can hope for.

Monday was the only workout I went into the week knowing I’d be doing that ended up happening. And it was the Everest Challenge workout. I’ve done that before, but this time it was slightly different because it was during a 3 group class and not a 2 group class. So the treadmill time was only 15 minutes and we went up by 2% each minute instead of 1% like you do when you have 30 minutes on the treadmill. But just because we had less time on the treadmill didn’t mean that it was easy for me. I was dealing with the combination of not working out for 5 days plus starting to get sick again. So while I wanted to walk the entire thing at my normal speed, I had to slow way down for most of it.

I was on the rower next. We started with a 100 meter row and then squat presses and woodchoppers. Every round we went up 100 meters and I made it to the 400 meter row. My rowing was slow and not powerful but I knew that the combination of feeling exhausted and sick was pretty much ruining that part of my workout. Then I went over to the floor where we had 2 blocks. The first block had chest presses, hammer curls, and shoulder presses. And the second block had plank rows, triceps, and leg lifts. I used lower weights than I’m used to for all the floor work, but again I was just trying my best when I knew I wasn’t feeling my best.

My original plan was to work out on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. After my dermatologist appointment was canceled, I switched to my normal Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. But on Tuesday I was feeling pretty awful and realized that working out the next day wasn’t going to happen. It’s a good thing I didn’t because I was exhausted just from working and I was feeling just off. But on Thursday I started to feel better so I decided to do my Friday and Saturday workouts.

Friday was a Friday the 13th themed workout. While I was feeling better, I was not totally better and I knew that I was going to be going very easy on myself. And it was a bit sad I had to do that because this would have been an amazing workout to work on my running. Everything in the cardio section was 90 seconds (or 1 minute and 30 seconds). It would have been amazing to work on running for 90 seconds at a time, but there was no way to run and I had to walk. And not only did I have to walk, but I walked pretty slowly. And it wasn’t easy to walk. I was surprised at how difficult it was for me but I did it. And while it was one of the lowest distances I’ve done on the treadmill in a long time, I’m proud for doing it at all.

The floor work was one long block and again it was themed with 13. We had a 130 meter row and then floor work that was all 13 reps. We had jumping jacks, chest presses, skier swings, biceps using the straps, and squats. I had to go slow again with everything and my rowing was pretty pathetic, but I made it through it. And I’m glad that I went to the workout because I was actually feeling a bit better after finishing it all.

Saturday’s workout was an endurance day and even though I was feeling better I knew it was still going to be an easy workout. Especially with it being an endurance day I knew it was going to be a day I had to walk slowly on the treadmill. But I was able to bump up the speed a bit compared to the day before so I was closer to my normal walking speed on the treadmill. And it was a 3 group class so I was only on the treadmill for 15 minutes. It was mainly 2 minute or 90 second push paces and I just kept my speed low and worked on my inclines a bit.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks. The first block was deadlifts, strap work, and plank work. For my deadlifts, I was using 20lb weights which is what I use a lot. And the second block was all Bosu work with hip bridges, back extensions, and crunches. I did those as I normally do. And on the rower, all the rowing was 250 meters. I didn’t do any spectacular times, but they were much better than the day before. And in between the rowing we had lunges, squats, and swings with weights. I had to take it easy with all of those, but it was much closer to normal than I thought it would be.

Overall, I can’t be too disappointed with my workout week. It didn’t go the way I planned at all, but I still managed to get there 3 times this past week and did my best considering the circumstances. I’m not feeling 100% better yet (this cold feels like it will never end!), but I have a feeling that this week of workouts will be much better. And we are coming up on Hell Week so I want to get back to normal as soon as I can!

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.

3 Workouts In A Row (or Using Fitness To Beat A Cold)

This past week of workouts was an interesting one. First, I had only 3 workouts in the week. Plus those 3 workouts were 3 days in a row. I don’t usually do 3 days in a row, but it was the only way I could do 3 workouts this past week. But it also ended up being a week where I was working out while not feeling my best. I was hanging out with a friend on Saturday night who ended up having a cold on Sunday. I think I caught it from them and was fighting a cold all week. But I knew I couldn’t be sick last week because of everything I had, so I was determined to sweat the cold out of me!

Monday’s workout was an endurance 3 group workout. That was the first morning I was feeling a bit sick, but I was mainly contagious and didn’t feel light-headed or anything. So I knew it might be tough to workout, but I could do it. There was no way for me to run, so I walked everything. It was a bit annoying to walk because this endurance workout was actually pretty ideal for me to work on my running. The first block was 1 minute intervals so that’s something I’m used to running. And the second block was all 45 second intervals. But I was just focused on being a good power walker and taking the breaks to catch my breath that I needed to.

Next I was over on the rower. The first block started with a 500 meter row with 20 bicep curls using the rower handles. Then each block the rowing went down 100 meters. I was very focused on keeping my rowing steady and not too fast. It means my rowing doesn’t get as high in wattage as I’m used to, but my form is better. And my coach even noticed that my rowing was improved and commented on how much better it was looking! That made me feel a lot better considering that I was not feeling my best that day. And the second block on the rower followed the treadmill block with 45 second intervals and again I just tried to focus on keeping my rowing speed lower than I used to and steady. The goal was to get 1300 meters in that block, but I only got about 1100 because my wattage was low. But I’m ok with that since my form was better and I was working on what my coach wanted me to work on.

Once I got to the floor, I was feeling better and worse at the same time. My congestion was better, but I was feeling a bit exhausted from all the other work I already had done. But I just told myself to take it easy and do what I can with taking breaks when necessary. The first floor block was rows with weights, squats, strap work, and plank crunches. And the second block was high row on the straps, plank leg lifts, and situps. It was a bit tough to do plank work or work where I was on my back because of the congestion, but I pushed through.

On Tuesday I was feeling a bit better and was thinking that maybe my workouts would help me beat the cold. But I was still not feeling like I had beat it completely so it ended up being another walking day for me. And again I was frustrated because it was a run/row day. I really wanted to try to run, but I knew that if I did that I wouldn’t be able to keep having good form on the rower. The run/row started with a .25 mile walk at 6% incline for me and then a 500 meter row. Next was a .05 mile walk at 10% and a 250 meter row. Then .2 miles at 7% and 400 meters on the rower and .05 miles at 10% and 250 meters on the rower again. I was just working on the .15 mile walk on the treadmill at 8% when time was called. I kept my speed on both the treadmill and rower pretty steady although nothing was as much as I could normally do.

After the run/row we had 4 blocks on the floor. And again I had the same problem I had on Monday with the congestion affecting when I was doing some of the work. The first floor block was squats, row with weights, and plank work. The second block was lunge and tricep work and this was the block I did the best in. Despite feeling off, I was using 25lb weights instead of 20lb weights. It helped that both moves were upright moves so the congestion didn’t bug me as much. The third block was lunges, pullovers on the Bosu, and situps on the Bosu. And we ended with a core blast which was the toughest part because my nose felt so clogged and I was coughing a lot. But again, I was so proud of myself for working out when I didn’t feel great and I was continuing to be optimistic that working out would get the cold out of my system.

I continued to feel a bit better on Wednesday, but I still wasn’t totally back to normal. Plus having it as my third workout in a row made it a tough workout even if I was feeling awesome. So it was another power walking day for me and again I was sad because it was a power day and I really like to work on running those. We had 4 blocks and every block was 4.5 minutes. Every block was a mix of 1 minute and 45 second intervals and I just has to focus on walking. I did all my push paces at 6% and all my all out paces at 8%. I didn’t bump up my speed or incline really at all but to me it was most important to just keep going.

The floor was also 4 blocks that were 4.5 minutes each. The first block was a rowing block. We had 150 meter rows with medicine ball work between each row. I knew I only had 1 good row in me (even though we were encouraged to improve on our time each time we rowed), so I told my coach I was going to go all out on the first one. Because I can be pretty powerful on sprint rows, she stood on the end of my rower to keep it steady and I went for it. I didn’t worry about form, I just wanted to go as quickly and as hard as I could. And it paid off because I got a new 150 meter row PR! I did it in 27.8 seconds which is pretty impressive (you know I wasn’t feeling 100% myself because I forgot to take a photo of my row time with my phone). After that first row, I went pretty easy on all the other times I rowed.

The second block on the floor was shoulder work with weights and push ups. The third block was more 150 meter rowing with squats and plank jacks. I didn’t worry about speed with that row because I knew I was exhausted. And the last block on the floor was pull ups on the straps and more plank work. Even though I was still feeling a bit sick, Wednesday was the day I felt the most like myself and that was an accomplishment.

I went into this past week thinking I would just have an awesome 3 workout week with 3 days in a row. And it ended up being a week that I had to put my mind over what my body was saying and trying to do my best. If I was really sick, I would have skipped the workout. I’ve done that before. But I knew that I could fight this cold and it seems I might have actually done that with this past week of workouts!

Mixing Up The Workout Week (or Still Working On Being Easy On Myself)

This past week of workouts was another 3 workout week. I originally planned for it to be a 4 workout week, but some plans for Saturday changed that (more on that later this week). But honestly, having it be a 3 workout week was probably for the best since it was another tough workout week. I hate when my body isn’t willing to do what I know it can do and I struggle with not pushing myself to do more than I’m able to do. But this week allowed me to practice being easy on myself and hopefully that will get me ready for this week since it’s Peak Performance Week again!

Monday’s workout was not what I was expecting. First, I arrived at the same time I usually get there at but all the treadmill cards were already gone! It’s pretty rare for me to not get a treadmill card (maybe under 5 times in the 3 years I’ve been working out) so to have to start on a rower was very weird. But while I was preparing for that weirdness, we also found out that the workout was going to be a 3G workout too. That time on Monday may be 3G from now on so that will be different. But maybe that will be a nice since then in a 4 workout week I’ll pretty much have 2 3G and 2 2G workouts each week.

With the 3G workout we had 2 blocks at each station and we switched between each block. On the rower we started with increasing row distances and had squats with medicine balls between each row. And on the second block we had decreasing row distances with shoulder work with the medicine ball between each row. That went pretty well for me even though I wasn’t going that fast and didn’t have times that were close to my PRs. On the floor, it was a mix of upper and lower body work. Between the 2 blocks we had bicep curls, lunges, deadlifts, hip bridges, shoulder work, and back extensions.

But the treadmill is where I really struggled. I can do fine in switch or partner classes so I thought maybe started on the rower would have been ok for me. But I think I’ve realized that the problem comes from not warming up no the treadmill. Maybe my hips need that walking time to get ready to run? I’m not sure but whatever the reason the treadmill was not my friend during class. When I got to the treadmill for the first time, we started with a 2 minute push. I started by running but had to stop within the first 30 seconds. My hips were hurting so badly and I was scared that I would hurt myself if I kept running.

It’s frustrating to not be able to run and it seems like this is happening more and more often. I need to look into more stretching and hip strengthening work because there is something happening that I need to work on. I did everything in that first block as a walk and just tried to think about it as something I had to do to stay healthy and safe. But fortunately the second block had 30 second all out paces so I did run those and felt a bit better about myself. But for this class, I had my lowest calorie burn ever (even lower than when I was on the bike or just starting out). That’s tough to see since I know I worked hard, but again I also know that I tried my best given the pain I was in.

Wednesday ended up being my best workout of the week. It was an endurance day and we didn’t switch between blocks. What we had were 2 different 11 minute distance challenges. Lately when we’ve been doing distance challenges, I just try to run for the entire distance. But I’ve been feeling like I’ve been burning myself out lately and I haven’t been doing a lot of speed training. So I decided to follow the coached program and run for the push paces and walk for the base paces.

The first challenge was decreasing push paces so I tried to bump my push pace up .1 mph each time. And for the second challenge it was increasing push paces. But since I knew what I was able to do with the decreasing push paces, I went even faster than I had with the same time in the first attempt. It wasn’t my fastest running ever, but it was pretty good. My distances aren’t records for me, but I’m still happy that I went further on the second attempt than I did on the first and that I did get my speed training done.

Once I got to the floor, I was a bit tired from the running, but nothing too horrible. The first block on the floor had squats, abs, and lunges and then we had a 2 minute row for distance at the end of the block. The second block was strap lunges/squats, pull ups on the straps, and more lunges. And again a 2 minute row for distance at the end of the block. I was feeling a bit off (my period was starting and I’m still having issues with feeling sick when I have my period) by the end of the floor, but again it was nothing too horrible.

Friday was another off day for me. I knew it was going to be a strength day so I assumed I’d be doing a lot of walking. But within the first 2 minutes of the warm up in class, my nausea took over and I was feeling like I needed to throw up right away. This is exactly how my period was for me as a teenager (and the reason I went on birth control originally to stop my periods) and it’s annoying that I still have the same problems now. Fortunately I didn’t get sick, but I did step out of class to take one of my anti-nausea pills. Most of the time those pills kick in right away, but I don’t know what happened because I never felt better in class. I tried to focus on walking on the inclines the best I could, but I was taking breaks every few minutes to put my head down because I was pretty much dry heaving. I wasn’t feeling so horrible that I didn’t think I could continue with class, but it was pretty bad.

Once I was on the floor, I decided that I was going to take it easy and just do what I could. There were 3 blocks on the floor and the first block was triceps, chest, and squats with burpees. Fortunately most of that didn’t seem to make me feel that nauseous. The next block was squats with shoulder work and then rowing. I wasn’t focused on making my rowing fast or strong, just good form. I did the 400 meter row in just under 2 minutes which really impressed me. I wasn’t expecting to be even close to what I can normally do. The last floor block had arms, strap rowing, and running man work. During that last block I was finally feeling a bit better although still not 100%. I was pretty happy that the workout was done since I knew I just needed to get home to rest.

It’s weird to me how much having my period back affects my workouts. But I guess I should just consider myself lucky that I got a 15 year break from this and only started to have my period again at the end of last year. But I do need to think up a better plan on how to handle the issues I have in my workouts during that time. I don’t want to have to take a week off each month because I feel horrible.

I was originally going to work out on Saturday, but I had some plans change and ended up cancelling that workout (more on that later this week). But it was probably better that I skipped the workout since I was feeling so off. And I know I needed the rest and break time so that I could do the best I can during Peak Performance Week! I’m excited to see what I’m able to do now and can’t wait to report back to you all next week!

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Losing Some Weight (or Confused If This Is Good)

When I got sick, my food got weird for a while. The day I spent in the hospital, all I had for food was a cup of chicken broth. The next few days were pretty similar and I slowly added more soft foods in. Even at Disneyland, I was eating soft foods with having a Dole Whip and soup. I’ve been keeping this toward soft and bland food for 2 weeks now.

I’m finally starting to eat a bit more normally, but I’m still restricting things a lot. I’m a bit paranoid because I know I ate poorly right before I got sick. I have no clue if that is what caused the stomach pain, but right now it’s not worth the risk. I’m trying to keep things very basic, but my calorie counts are much closer to what I know I should be eating in a day (compared to being under 800 calories in a day with the broth and limited soft foods).

I will be asking the doctor that I see next week if there are any food restrictions I need to be aware of to help my liver, but I don’t think I’ll be eating the way that I did before for a while. This could be a very good thing. Maybe this shock to my system will help me get over binge eating. I’m trying to not be too optimistic because I know that a relapse is always possible. But with the exception of the time that I was doing the RFO diet, right now is the longest I’ve gone without a binge episode.

Because of my restricted food and lack of bingeing, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight recently. Since getting sick, I’m down almost 20 pounds. It’s insane to me and I know that type of weight loss is not realistic and is a result of not eating enough several days in a row. I don’t want to gain the weight back, but I’m aware that some of the loss might be water weight and might come back before I’m able to lose it again.

I personally didn’t notice a huge difference in how I look even with that much weight loss. I figured that my clothes were fitting looser, but nobody could see that so I figured nobody would notice the loss. But this past week especially, people in my life have been coming up to me and saying how I look like I’ve lost a bunch of weight. It’s great to hear compliments like that, but I also feel like I don’t deserve them.

This weight loss wasn’t because of hard work. It was because I got sick possibly because of my eating disorder and the results of being sick (ironically, in the past I usually gain weight when I’m sick so this is very odd to me). I didn’t do anything to earn the weight loss. There’s a chance that it will come back so I don’t know if I want others to see it because I don’t want people to notice if I gain it back.

I’m trying to be gracious when people compliment me and say thank you. But when close friends say something, I’m usually honest and say that I only lost weight because I was sick and I didn’t do anything for it. It’s a confusing place to be in since I’ve been working so hard to lose the weight, but I don’t feel right that I made the scale because of this.

I don’t want this all to be in my head too much. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue the weight loss on my own and this will be a trend that is able to continue. It is weird to me to lose weight normally since I usually have only done it in an extreme way and it was expected that I would lose weight quickly. I hope that this feels normal to me sooner rather than later because I am loving the fact that I’m doing so great with food right now. I don’t want to go back, but I know that I have to work really hard to try to make that not happen.

MRI Again (or Hoping For Some Answers)

When I did my breast MRI to check for breast cancer, I assumed that the next MRI that I would need would be whenever I get another one on my hips. Since I’ve had very limited MRIs (just my original hip one and the breast one), there was no reason I would think I’d be getting another one soon. But after my stomach issues, I was told I needed an MRI to figure out what was going on.

I ended up getting one scheduled earlier this week. I wanted to do it on a day that I didn’t have to work because I knew they would need to put an IV in me for contrast. I had the IV and contrast in the breast MRI and didn’t enjoy it too much, so I was prepared for the worst but hoped for the best. When I arrived at Kaiser, they were running about 45 minutes behind, so I sat in the waiting area reading a book and trying not to think too much about what was coming up.

When I was taken back to the MRI area, I was expecting to be led into a changing area where I would have to take off any clothing that had metal and I assumed I would also need to be either nude or down to underwear only under a hospital gown (that’s what the other MRIs were like). But to my surprise, the only thing required was to remove any clothing that had metal in it! If I had known that, I would have worn a sports bra so I wouldn’t have had to change. I didn’t get a fun hospital gown selfie, but I did take a quick photo of my MRI outfit before going into the machine.

mri

Once I was brought into the room, I laid down on the table that goes into the machine. The techs tried to get me comfortable with pillows and settled before putting the IV in me. I had warned them about my needle issues but said that since I was laying down that if I fainted it wouldn’t be a big deal. I didn’t faint (yay me!) but I did have a brief moment where I blacked out but could still hear everything around me. It wasn’t too bad and I was glad the IV was in and done.

I didn’t really do any research about abdominal MRIs before going in, but I assumed I’d be laying on my back and just be put into the machine. But they actually had to put this plastic and foam cage type thing around my stomach first and then I was strapped down to the table (I’ve never been strapped down for an MRI before). I wasn’t able to move at all, and it really sucked when they pushed me into the machine and all of a sudden my nose was itching like crazy and I couldn’t scratch!

I’ve got some issues with claustrophobia and this really tested me. I was completely in the machine and my nose was pretty close to touching the top of the tube. My arms were pressed against the sides and I did feel a bit trapped between the closeness of the machine and the straps holding me down. Fortunately, I could tilt my head back a bit and see a bit of the room behind me. So whenever I felt like I was going to panic I did that and tried to focus on my breathing.

The contrast in my IV hurt like it did last time, but it hurt much less than it did before. I’m thinking that is because my IV was placed in a better spot this time where my body wasn’t as crunched up. But they still removed the IV from me once the contrast was done so I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

The entire MRI time was under 30 minutes and while I had moments of panic in the machine it did go by quickly. I tried to talk to myself in my head and recite lines from scripts I know or plots from books to distract me and help pass the time. Once it was done, I was finally able to relax and only then did I realize that I was pretty tensed up the entire time inside the machine. It’s wasn’t too bad, but some of my muscles felt sore like I had done a workout.

While I’m not happy I’m going through this medical unknown right now, I’m working on thinking of the positives. I’ve had more opportunities to work on my issues with needles and I feel like it is getting better. I’m hopeful that maybe in a few years I won’t have even the little blackouts with needles. I also was able to test my claustrophobia and panic disorder and had to force myself to settle those issues without medication or any distractions.

I haven’t heard anything about the MRI since going in, but that’s a good sign. I have an appointment to discuss what’s happening and what the plan is with a surgeon next week, and if I heard something sooner that would only mean something really bad and urgent is wrong with me. I’m very hopeful that this is going be a situation that will just be something that needs to be monitored from time to time and not something that will require surgery soon. But no matter what the plan and situation is, I know that it will be fine and I will be ok.

Learning Lessons (or What Being Sick Taught Me)

I’m finally feeling almost 90% better now. This past week seemed to drag on as I felt off, but I’m glad that I almost feel like myself again. I’m questioning if the residual uncomfortableness is related to my liver, but I won’t find that out until I meet with the surgeon in a week and a half. And I think that going to Disneyland was good for my mental health and that helped me to feel better.

I’m still being very careful with what I’m eating and trying to take things easier than I normally do. I don’t want to do anything that will make me feel horrible again and being cautious makes me feel a bit in control in a situation that feels very out of control to me right now.

Now that I’m almost over whatever stomach thing I had, I’ve been reflecting a bit on what good things came out of this. Obviously, discovering that there may be a cyst on my liver is something good to learn about. If I didn’t have the stomach pain, I wouldn’t have known until it was worse and it may have been a more urgent situation. And I’m starting to wonder if my stomach pain was my body telling me to get checked out. I know when my mom found out she had cancer, it was because of a suspicious bruise that wouldn’t go away. The bruise had nothing to do with cancer, but it was what got her to the doctor and to do all the medical testing. Maybe my body was doing the same thing.

I’ve been on a pretty restricted diet since last Wednesday. At first, it was just clear liquids (chicken broth and jello) and has moved to soft foods. I’m starting to eat more normally now, but I’m still keeping things a bit restricted. This doesn’t feel like a weight loss diet, but that’s what it is. I’m eating mainly fruits and some vegetables with very little meat. This is not the most restrictive diet I’ve been on, but it’s up there.

But because of these restrictions I’ve been rediscovering foods that I love or that I forgot could be just fine for a meal. I’ve rediscovered cream of wheat (although the exact packets I loved before don’t seem to be in stores anymore). I make it with water and have a banana with it and it’s a pretty filling breakfast or lunch. I’ve had cheese and crackers for dinner one night when I was feeling a bit full and knew I still needed to eat something. And I’ve been looking at making the sautéed vegetables again that I used to have a lot when I was on the cleanse I did last year.

All of those foods are things that I could have had before, but I either forgot I enjoyed them or was so focused on other things that I wanted to eat that they just didn’t come to mind. These are all good and healthy things for me to eat and I need to work on keeping them in regular rotation. While I’m still a believer that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, there is a difference in how you feel when your calories are from a variety of foods versus a binge of one food.

I’ve also learned how to be gentle with myself. It’s not easy to take things easy, especially when you know you have so much you need to get done. I don’t want to be lazy and sit on the couch all day because that reminds me of myself when I wasn’t working hard at bettering myself. But sometimes, you need to have those days on the couch doing nothing. It was important for me to do that so I could get better and if I had pushed myself I know I wouldn’t be feeling as good as I do now.

And finally, I’ve learned to accept the out of control feeling again that I really hate. Right now because my liver isn’t healthy, I can’t take any painkillers. I hate the idea that I might be in pain and can’t take something to make it better. But I have to deal with that now and it’s been a good thing for me. I may have been taking too many painkillers for what I really need (I usually took 3-4 a week so it wasn’t close to what the maximum I could take would be). I’ve had to tolerate a bunch of needles lately. In the last month I’ve had 3 blood draws, 3 shots, and 1 IV for an MRI. And I’ve got at least one more IV coming up next week. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, and I can’t do anything to change it. So I have to learn how to accept something I can’t fix and make it the best situation I can.

While I wish I could have learned all these things without getting sick, at least knowing something good came out of it makes me feel a bit better about the situation. I know that I may need this positive thinking to continue as I do more tests on my liver and find out what a surgeon thinks needs to happen. Maybe I will learn more lessons from this whole liver situation to make it even seem more worthwhile that I had to go through something that isn’t that great. I know how easy it can be for me to get sucked into feeling sorry for myself (I had that happen when I got sick last week) and I am refocusing my energy on learning what I can from the circumstances I’m in.

Recovering At Disneyland (or A Never-Done List)

After going the hospital last week, I spent several days not really doing much. I worked from bed, I rarely left my house, and I tried to make myself get better. I wasn’t getting better as quickly as I wanted to, but I was finally noticing some improvement toward the end of the weekend (during the headshot day). And it’s a good thing that I was getting better because I had a Disneyland day scheduled for Monday and I didn’t want to cancel it!

My friend Michelle knew that I was at the hospital last week and what was going on with me. She was checking in with me to make sure that I still wanted to go to Disneyland. I knew she’d be ok with me if I had to cancel it, but I was feeling like I could do an easy day there (no crazy roller coasters) by Monday and around lunchtime we headed down to Anaheim.

On the way, we picked up one of Michelle’s friends who also has a pass for Disneyland and has Mondays off like we do and we were at the park by about 1:30 to have a low-key day. I’m glad all of us have passes because there was no pressure to get a ton of stuff done and I didn’t feel too guilty about being limited in what rides I was ok with going on.

Since I am on a soft food diet right now, I knew my food options at Disneyland would be limited but there was plenty that would be ok. And one of the first things we did in the park was to go get a Dole Whip!

dole-whip

It turns out that Michelle’s friend had never had a Dole Whip before, and as soon as I found that out I decided we needed to figure out what else she hasn’t done at Disneyland before so we could check things off of her list of never-done things! We ate our Dole Whips during the Tiki Room show and then were off to our next ride!

I was limited in what Halloween things I could do, but the Haunted Mansion is a smooth enough ride that I was totally ok riding it! I love how it is decorated for the holiday season and every time I ride it I notice more and more stuff. And it was a gloomy day outside with lots of clouds so it seemed like the sky matched the ride.

haunted-mansion

Our next stop was the Jungle Cruise (another smooth ride) and we had a pretty fun skipper on the ride. Lots of good cheesy jokes and there were a couple of jokes that he said that I had never heard on the ride before! We were trying to figure out what other rides would be easy smooth ones, and we saw Buzz Lightyear and headed over to that. Michelle and I have been battling each other on that ride since we started going to the parks together. This time, I was beat but I have a feeling I’ll have a comeback soon.

buzz-lightyear

Next was another never-done thing for Michelle’s friend: the Nemo Submarines! None of us are huge fans of going in the submarines (they are a bit tight inside and sometimes they don’t smell very fresh), so we watched the video in the alternative viewing room. The video is just as good as the ride, plus since it was a grey day outside I knew that the stuff in the water wouldn’t have been as nice and bright as it is in the video.

We then tried to ride the monorail (riding in the front of it with the driver was another thing on the list), but the monorail ended up breaking down in the station while we sat on it. It was unfortunate, but we figured we could walk over to California Adventure to continue our day. But right when we were ready to ride the monorail, it started to rain pretty hard! None of us were prepared with umbrellas, so we just tried to walk as quickly as we could across to the other park.

We wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers, but it was closed before of the rain and possible threat of lighting. And by that time, we were all feeling a bit hungry (Dole Whips aren’t that filling). And all I really wanted to get to eat was soup in a bread bowl. I hadn’t had one in a while and was really craving it. Plus, it was a soft food that I could eat and I knew it would fill me up! We found a table out of the rain near the bread bowl place and sat down to enjoy our dinner.

By this time, my stomach was starting to hurt a bit again. It may have been due to hunger or walking more than I was used to, but our dinner break really helped to get me feeling almost normal again. After dinner we were headed over to the Little Mermaid ride (another thing on the never-done list) and realized that after the rain stopped there was a gorgeous sunset right behind the ferris wheel!

mickey-sunset sunset

The last 2 rides of the day were going on Little Mermaid and then Soarin’ Around The World, but we weren’t done yet! We were getting ready to head over to the Animation Academy to draw a bit (another never-done thing) and we decided to look around the stores a bit to see what they had. Sometimes there are some really cute things and even though my budget didn’t really have extra money, I was happy to check out what was in stock.

One of the things I love checking out are the Dooney and Burke Disney purses. They are limited edition collections that are released from time to time. There have been a few patterns that I love, but I never have been able to get it because all the purses were sold out. So we were totally surprised to discover a new pattern in the store that was Disney villain themed that we had never seen!

birthday-purse

It turned out that pattern was released that day and there were still a few purses left in stock! Michelle was celebrating her birthday the next day (which is why in that picture you see the birthday button) and decided that the purse was going to be her birthday present to herself! It’s such a cute purse so I’m super excited for her! And to know that we happened to be in the park during the first day of the pattern release made us say that it must have been fate for her to get that purse!

Our final stop of the night was one more thing from the never-done list for Michelle’s friend: the Animation Academy. We ended up doing the last 2 classes before park closing. The first one was drawing Sally from “Nightmare Before Christmas” and the second one was Winnie The Pooh. I think that my Sally looks much better than last time and my Winnie The Pooh wasn’t too bad!

sally winnie-the-pooh

My Sally is the big one on the right and my Winnie the Pooh is the one in the middle.

After drawing, California Adventure was closed (Disneyland had one of the separately ticketed Halloween parties so we couldn’t go back) and we went to the trams to get back to the car.

I’m so glad that I didn’t skip going to Disneyland. I think knowing I had this coming up helped me get better and kept me motivated. And I was able to push myself to see what my body was able to handle and realized that while I’m still not 100% I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was. I’m glad that I had done the earlier trip to ride all the Halloween rides since I only got to do 1 of them this time. But even with doing the easy low-key rides, I still had an amazing time with awesome friends!

My Day At Kaiser (or I Guess This Was For The Best)

If you follow me on social media, you saw that I spent Wednesday at the hospital. I was there for about 6 hours doing medical tests and things, and in the end I got some interesting news.

kaiser

First, I need to explain why I was in the hospital. On Tuesday afternoon/evening, I had a pretty bad binge episode. It wasn’t the worst one I’ve ever had, but it was pretty significant. I’m not proud of myself, but it is what it is and I can’t go back to change it. About the time I was getting ready to go to bed, I noticed some symptoms that usually mean I’m about to have a gallbladder attack. I wasn’t looking forward to having an attack, but this happens from time to time after a binge.

Usually my gallbladder attacks follow a very predictable pattern. I feel the signs that one is starting before going to bed and I usually can fall asleep before it happens. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night in pain and within an hour it is over and I am able to get back to sleep. But this time, it was very different. I couldn’t go to sleep and the pain was not ending. I didn’t get any sleep for that entire night because the pain was so intense. There were times in the middle of the night that I debated calling my mom for advice or going to the emergency room, but I decided to try to tough it out.

By the time my alarm went off on Wednesday morning, I wasn’t doing any better. I was exhausted from not sleeping and feeling horrible that I did this to myself. If I hadn’t binged, I wouldn’t be in pain. I tried to see if I could make it through the work day and go to the hospital after, but that wasn’t going to happen. So I made an appointment with someone in internal medicine for 9:45am and went over to Kaiser.

I was very honest with the doctor I met. I told her that I binged and that I have a history of gallbladder issues. But she didn’t feel like it was gallbladder stuff this time based on the pain I was in. So she ordered some blood work and an x-ray and instructed me to come back once those things were done.

The blood work wasn’t fun (I passed out a few times while the blood draw was happening) and while the x-ray was easy I was still in very intense pain. By the time I got back to the internal medicine department, I couldn’t find a way to make myself comfortable.

The good news and bad news was that there was nothing weird in my tests. I had elevated liver enzymes, but I had that issue the last time I had blood work and I knew that it was something I was supposed to work on. So the doctor ordered an ultrasound to be done so that my stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas could be looked at to see if there was anything that would explain the pain I was in.

The wait for the ultrasound was excruciating. I was sweating and crying in pain and it took almost an hour for them to get to me. And in the ultrasound, they had to press really hard where my pain was located and that was causing me to tear up and have issues breathing. I was really glad when that test was done and I went back up to internal medicine again to see the doctor for her response to my tests.

When I went back up to internal medicine, the first thing they did was give me a shot of a painkiller to help me a bit. At that point, I didn’t even mind that the shot was happening because I just wanted to get out of pain. It didn’t take the pain completely away, but it dulled things a bit and helped to make it more tolerable.

But again, the doctor couldn’t find what was causing my stomach issues. She let me know that it wasn’t my gallbladder as there was only one tiny gallstone in there and it was not in a place that could cause me pain. And everything else they were looking for looked normal. So her best guess was just really bad indigestion or a stomach ache or possibly a small ulcer. She told me to get some antacids and heartburn medication down at the pharmacy and said that my pain should go away within a week.

I was still really mad and embarrassed that I did this to myself. If I hadn’t binged, I wouldn’t have had this problem. And while I want to believe that this will stop me from binge eating, I’m not thinking that would be true. It’s a very tough addiction to get over (can you imagine an alcoholic having to have 3 drinks a day without going crazy?) but I’m trying to focus on getting myself better as much as I can.

But my appointment and time at Kaiser wasn’t a total wash. While my ultrasound was happening, the tech scanned over my liver and noticed what may be a cyst on my liver. If this is accurate, this would explain my weird liver enzymes on my blood work and would make things easier to figure out. Since the ultrasound isn’t the best diagnostic tool to look at cysts, I now have more blood work scheduled plus a MRI with contrast (which means another IV) to look more into things. And I have an appointment with a surgeon after that to hear what needs to happen if there is something I need to do.

If I hadn’t had the binge episode and the stomach distress I never would have found this possible cyst. It is something that explains the weird things in my recent medical tests which is a relief since I couldn’t figure out why things were so weird. But it also is now taking me down a crazy rabbit hole of more medical testing and doctors. I’m hoping that they will tell me that if it is a cyst nothing needs to be done with it. Some cysts go away on their own and maybe this one will do that. But I’m also preparing for more stuff I might need to do.

Either way, I’m a bit grateful that I did something stupid because it lead me to find out something that I needed to know was wrong with me. I wish that this liver thing was what was causing my pain or we could find out what was causing it, but at least I have some medication to take for now and a plan for what else I might need to do.