Tag Archives: worry

Trusting It Will Be Ok (or Dealing With Stress In A Healthy Way)

Even though a lot of recent events should have added a ton of extra stress in my life, I’ve been doing ok. I’m not letting any of my health issues get me down since I know that having a bad attitude won’t change anything for me. Money issues are still toward the front of my mind, but I’m also trying to not stress about those. I have had some things get better for me financially recently, but I think understanding my financial status by budgeting has been really great at keeping the stress down. But in the past week, things just have taken a crazy turn for me.

First, my weight loss is going a bit haywire. I know I should be losing weight, but it’s not showing up on the scale. In fact, the scale has been going up a lot recently. I don’t know what’s happening or why things aren’t going my way, but I’m trying to figure out what I can do to control the situation. This is stressing me out because I’m worried about trying different things when other things have worked for me in the past. But I also know that I need to get this under control and going the right way again sooner rather than later. But I also know that stressing about it is not going to help (and telling myself to relax just stressed me out more).

I’ve been stressing a lot about time management lately too. I don’t know why my days seem to be going so quickly and that I don’t have time to do everything, but that’s how I feel. I have a huge list of things to get done every day and I’m not making a huge dent on them each day. I’ve been tracking my time and there isn’t a ton of wasted time each day. Maybe I’m just taking on too much, but I feel like it shouldn’t be too tough to get all the things done each day that I set out to do. I know that going on Disney adventures doesn’t help, but those were on days where it seemed like my week was going to be super calm. But as the week goes on, things start piling up. I’m just trying to keep up with my to-do lists and hoping that something clicks soon.

And the thing that is causing me the most stress, especially in the last week, is the film festival that I run. The festival is happening this weekend, and everything was perfectly in place until last week. We discovered that our contact at the venue was no longer working with that venue and there was no record of our festival being scheduled to be there. Fortunately, the owner of that venue has another venue that we are going to use. But it is causing a lot of unknowns with the festival. I’ve never run it at any other location than our old one so I’m worried that things won’t be ok. I went to the venue for a site walk through earlier this week and that helped. But until Sunday is done, I think this will be causing me a ton of stress.

I hate that things are causing me so much stress, but it is also a good thing for me. In the past, I haven’t always had the best coping skills. Having a binge episode was a common way for me to deal. And when I found out about the venue for the film festival not having us scheduled, the first thought into my head was what I wanted to go eat for dinner that night. Even though I had planned out my meals for the week, I wanted to go get something that wasn’t a part of my plan for dinner. I wanted to eat something that would distract me from worrying about things. But I didn’t do that. I drove home and while I didn’t eat exactly how I had planned to do so that day, I didn’t do anything too extreme. I had to deal with my feelings the way a healthy person does and it wasn’t easy. But I did it and I got through it.

I hate feeling so stressed out about so many things, but this is just how my life is right now. I’m trying to trust that things will turn out ok, and in most cases I can see how things can get better. But until they do get better, it isn’t easy for me. All I can do is trying to get through these issues and know that when it is done I will have better coping skills to get through things in the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day One Of Unemployment (or Trying To Not Stress Out)

I’m out of work again for the end of the season. This is now the third time we’ve had this break, but this time it’s different.

We aren’t sure when/if we are returning to work.

Nothing has been communicated with us officially, so I’m still waiting to see for sure what is happening. But just in case, I cleaned out my desk before I left after my last shift on Saturday.

I’m still working some show shifts (I did one after my last shift on Saturday and I have another one tomorrow), so I’m not completely out of work, but those show shifts aren’t enough to live on.

I’m going on unemployment again, but I’m looking hard for a new day job. I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m out of work for too long. And best case scenario, we do get asked to come back to work for the next season and all of this looking is unnecessary.

But this uncertainty has kind of screwed up my plans for this time off. I was planning on taking an improv class (finally). At UCB, they have an intensive class where you go every day for 2 weeks instead of 1 day a week for 8 weeks. But now I don’t want to take that because I don’t want to be unavailable if I get a new job.

And I have my trip in March with my sister-in-law to New York. No matter what, I’m still going on that trip, but I have to remember to mention that to any potential new jobs as a non-negotiable vacation.

I’m still planning on having fun, I just have to be more structured with my time. I’m hoping to make it to Disneyland this week (my pass expires soon and I want to make sure I get a few more visits in before then). And I’ve made plans to see friends who I feel like I haven’t had a chance to see in forever.

I know that I’ve been saying for forever that I want to get a new job. Now, I pretty much think I have to. I don’t have the crutch of my other job anymore to rely on. I am going to see if there is another job at my workplace for me, but I’m not sure there will be one with enough flexibility for me. But it can’t hurt to ask.

I’m really not trying to worry about things, but when everything is up in the air like this, it’s hard not to think of the worst.

The New Normal (or Worrying From Far Away)

Yesterday was my mom’s first day of chemo. She did awesome, I had a weird day.

I was at work for the day (only a few more days left before unemployment). And my whole shift I was wondering what was happening with my mom. I know that my dad was with her so she wasn’t alone. And I helped her get her laptop set up for Netflix so she could watch tv shows while getting the treatment (she picked out “Orange Is The New Black” and “How I Met Your Mother” as the shows she’ll watch during chemo). But I had the weirdest thoughts in my head.

I was curious if she made any friends in the chemo room. I wanted her to have a good time while there (or as good of a time as you could while getting chemo). I wanted the nurses to be super nice to her (turns out, my mom gave them all triple-layer brownies so they love her even more than they already did).

A friend joked to me that I’m almost worrying about her like a parent worries about their kid on the first day of school.

My mom texted me as soon as she was done yesterday and I also talked to her on the phone, so I know that she’s ok. And I really have no question that she will be ok.

But it’s weird not being there for her and my dad. I’m planning on flying up there sometime next month to hangout and do some more cleaning on my old bedroom (which was turned into a gym about 10 years ago). But somehow I feel like I should be there 24/7.

I know that that isn’t a reality, nor do my parents want me there all the time. But I feel kind of helpless in LA. When I talked to my mom yesterday after her chemo, she was talking about how she was making dinner for the next night so she didn’t have to worry about it then. She shouldn’t have to be making dinners (but she does love to cook so it isn’t a total chore for her). I should be. And yes, I’ve looked into the cost of me making food and shipping it to her and it is beyond ridiculous. Maybe if I win the lottery or something I could do it, but it won’t be happening otherwise.

So for now, I’m just at my house waiting and worrying. I know that eventually, all of this will feel normal to me. I’m just hoping that that eventually comes soon.

Fearing The Worst (or Trying To Hope For The Best)

I’ve previously mentioned my hip issues on here. Also, my hip defect is pretty popular now since Lady Gaga has had surgery to correct the same issue that I have. This is something I’ve been dealing with since 2005. My right hip surgery was July 7, 2006 and my surgeon was sure I’d need my left hip done within 5 years.

And until recently, I’ve been doing pretty great! I have the occasional pains, but nothing like what I was having with my right hip prior to surgery.

But last week, I started to feel more pain more often. My left hip was having a catching sensation about 60% of the time. That’s not good. I was in a little pain, but it was more of a dull pain, and I am used to feeling a sharp almost electrical shock sort of pain.

So I decided to make an appointment with my hip surgeon to get checked out. My appointment isn’t until next month, but I’m already starting to freak out a little.

Maybe it’s because I’m starting to realize that my next surgery might end up happening within the next year or two. I don’t want to have surgery soon, because it will affect my brother’s wedding. I know that when I have surgery I will be on crutches for 2 weeks prior (due to not being able to take pain meds) and for about 6 weeks after. I don’t want to be on crutches in Maui, nor do I want to be in the first few months of recovery (it’s not the most fun time of my life).

Freaking out like this about my hip is all new to me. The way my right hip started to hurt was pretty sudden. I was walking in the Portland airport and I collapsed. I was barely able to walk after it, and the pain was so intense that I was scared that I did some serious damage. When I got back to LA, I went to the ER (I had pretty awesome health insurance then), and ended up being misdiagnosed. 6 months later (and after having to be on constant pain medications), I found out what was wrong with me and made plans to have surgery.

This time, I’m aware that I have a problem and have to wait for it to get bad. I was warned that this time, I might not have a sudden tear in my cartilage. It could be a slow process. I’m scared that the pain and catching sensations I’ve been having are the start of it.

But I’m really trying to stay positive. I have about a month to go before my appointment so there’s no use worrying yet. And after my appointment and x-rays next month, my surgeon might tell me I still should wait to have surgery.

All this freaking out might be for nothing, but since I know my left hip is a ticking time bomb, I’d rather freak out more than I should than neglect a problem that might be starting.