Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Very Long Response

This was a reply to a comment to my last post from MM, but it got to be so long that I just decided to make a post out of it...

Thanks MM.  It is always a relief when someone really gets what I'm experiencing.   I am looking for a DO, and fortunately, our insurance does also cover naturopaths.  Our family doctor is really good in that he doesn't make me feel anxious, and he does understand that a lot of my health issues are anxiety related.  I understand that too, which is really half the battle, but sometimes I am asking myself, what is causing me to be so anxious?

I think there are often real physical things going on that create that brain chemistry and hormone soup.  That's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of, and my doctor tends to pat my hand and say, "Just take an antidepressant; it's easier than trying to do the hard work of changing your lifestyle and diet when you're already depressed."  He also doesn't have the time to sort it all out with me. 

That's okay.  I've become a pretty amazing doctor of my own self.  I've also appreciated my doctor for recognizing that.  I usually go in and tell him what my problem is and what I want his help with and he'll do it.  For some reason, though.  I am really nervous about taking that step.  I think I've figured out the whys of that also.

Last time I saw my doctor it lead to a very scary series of events.  The possibility of cancer existed, and I was facing a procedure under anesthesia, which is something I've never done and terrifies me.  I managed to dodge that bullet because things worked themselves out before the date of the hysteroscomy arrived. I had developed a very thick lining in my uterus - over an inch thick!  I attribute that development to my dermatologist who insisted a shot of cortisone would make me so happy and change my life.  That shot did clear up my severe eczema very nicely, but I started bleeding a couple of weeks after that and didn't stop for a month. 

I went into a deep depression and period of severe anxiety after that.  I took both an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication.  My sleep became so disturbed and messed up even with the drugs or maybe because of them. 

I came out of all of that feeling fine and well, but I haven't seen a doctor since.  Which leaves me where I am now: experiencing uncharactaristic indigestion and bloating over the last year, which I think is probably a perimenopausal symptom.  I should see a doctor to rule out other things, which would relieve a lot of the anxiety I have about it all.  A really good doctor might even be able to help me balance the hormones which I suspect are creating the extra anxiety and related symptoms.

I'm still sitting on all of that. For now.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

(Jumping in and pretending it hasn't been 3 months since I last wrote...)

Two recent additions to my diet

I've had a lot of anxiety over the past few months.  I've been experiencing several "symptoms" that  have had me wondering if I'm experiencing heart problems or if I'm just a nervous wreck.  I know a lot of what I'm feeling is post traumatic stress over losing friends and nearly losing friends to heart disease and cancer this year.  The older I get, the more I see people in my age group getting sick and dieing.  It's scary.

Watching other people experience serious health issues has heightened my awareness of my own issues. More specifically, I'm experience several digestive problems: frequent heart burn, reflux, indigestion, bloating, shortness of breath (which I attribute to bloating and anxiety) and pain in my chest, neck, and back.  I find myself wondering constantly if these could be symptoms of heart problems instead of simple digestive issues due to being over-weight and under-active.

I'm overdue for a physical.  I know I should see a doctor to rule out more serious things.  There are many reasons I haven't made an appointment, probably the biggest one being that I have developed a slight distrust of medical doctors.  Fear, being a close second reason for procrastination.  I will go.  Eventually.  It doesn't matter who or how many people tell me to do it.  I'll do it when I'm ready.  I am currently looking for a doctor who has a philosophy of health maintenance more similar to mine and one who won't just had me an anti-depressant, some xanax and sleep medication.  I've been down that road.  It's a band-aid that covers up underlying problems and creates new problems.  I want real health, not an illusion.

Anyway, one day while I was having an episode of indigestion and pain, I remembered that my dad has a hiatal hernia, and my grandma had one, and the way they described feeling was exactly the way I was feeling.  A quick search on the internet led me to stories of others feeling exactly what I was feeling including the worry about heart disease.  So I've been paying closer attention to what I eat.  I found some exercises that are designed to ease the top of the stomach back through the diaphragm in case I am correct about the hiatal hernia, and I've added some foods to my diet that aid digestion.  It's helped.  The daily bloating and indigestion has become less frequent, and when I do experience it I've found that a pinch of fennel seeds really does help ease the problem. (I was skeptical.)

I'm still feeling depressed and very anxious at times.  I think hormones are a big part of the picture, but I'll write about that another day.  I've been doing a lot of reading and researching.  I'm trying to put into practice those things that I think will help (an exercise in trusting my inner wisdom) but it's a process that takes time.

I also think there is a spiritual/psychological component to the digestion problems I'm having.  Repressed anger, "biting my tongue," and things, "I can't stomach," but again, that's a post for another day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plan B

I stumbled through my weekend and abandoned some of my goals.  Well, abandoned is a strong word.  I ignored them.  I'm back on track this week, though, and I added a new goal for my daily routine.

I remember what a difference taking B vitamins has been for me before, so I decided to start taking them again, along with a couple of others that I have in my cupboard but stopped taking, mostly because I never remember.  I stopped taking the B vitamins because the taste makes me gag a little, but I decided a moment of *gag* is worth the positive effect they have on my mood which could use a little help right now.

Having my phone send me reminders and encouragement via the Lift app is helpful too!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Finding The Track and Getting Back

It's time for me to wake up and become a major player in my life again.  I've been disengaged the last couple of months, but I'm ready to stop thinking about the things I could do to feel happier, healthier, and more present and start doing them.  I had a wake-up call regarding my health recently.  I'm fine, I think, still probably need a trip to the doctor, but a wake up call was needed, and I'm working proactively to live as well as I can.

I installed an app on my phone called, "Lift," to help me track my goals.  I've only started with a few, aiming to get a daily yoga practice happening five days a week, fifteen minutes of tackling problem areas in my house each day, and clean eating five days a week.  Oh!  And I added a goal to actually check in with my calendar and to do list each morning.

I did my yoga this morning, and I'll admit that the main reason I did it was so I could check it off in the app -- it would be a shame to fail on the first day --

but I did it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ready for Change

Last night while I was lying awake in bed I was doing the math.  In the last two months, six people that I have known have died.  Two people that I know have had brain surgery, one of those is still in the hospital recovering, and she lost her son in a logging accident this week (one of the six and a former playmate of my own kids'). The other one who had brain surgery is the son of a friend of mine.  They will be meeting with an oncologist in a few days.  Another friend's husband is in the hospital recovering from the stroke he had the day after his quadruple bypass.  He's relearning how to walk and talk and eat and breathe. 

Of the six who died, three were due to heart ailments, one from breast cancer, and two from tragic accidents.  Three of them were my age, one was my son's age, and two were my dad's age.

This seems quite remarkable to me.  Has there been this much catastrophe in my circle of friends and acquaintances before, and I just haven't noticed?  I don't think so.  I think this is really odd, and it has me a bit shell-shocked.  I'm not wallowing, really I'm not, but I am experiencing some post traumatic stress.  I'm hyper-sensitive in my body.  Every twinge or pain catches my full attention and has me wondering if something serious is beginning.  I'm watching my husband and my kids more closely, and when I'm not being overly cautious and sensitive I'm numbing myself and trying to just not think by playing stupid games on the computer and sleeping as much as I can.

My mind has turned to spiritual things, to end of life things, to big weighty things, and I've been battling a lot of negative thinking.  I'm hoping and sensing that change is in the air.  The weather has improved, we have our pool set up and the deck cleaned off.  We'll be attending a couple of weddings in the next two months, and I'm looking forward to a big group camping trip with friends.  I don't know what purpose this season of painful change has served for all of us, but I sense it has served a purpose.  However, I'm ready for some lightness and joy, and I'm not going to take a moment of it for granted.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Yesterday I found out that the dad of one of my best friends in high school died of a heart attack while he was riding his bicycle.  Today I found out that an acquaintance of mine from high school died after an 8 year battle with breast cancer, and while I didn't know her well, we were friends on Facebook and I had been following her story.  My husband and I are attending two memorials over the next two weeks for the two friends who died last month. 

These things weigh on me.  I know people die every day, and we all lose loved ones and friends.  It's part of life, but when these things occur so close together, one on the heals of another that I haven't yet fully recovered from, the sadness of it builds up in my system on a cellular level and interferes with my ability to function.

I'm not trying to draw any conclusions, learn any lessons, or strive to improve myself through this.  No, for once, I'm just going to acknowledge and honor this part of myself.  I'm affected by this.  I know I'm not suffering in the same way as those who lost a partner, a dad, or a brother, and I'm not looking for sympathy or support.  I just want to say I'm sad.

Monday, May 12, 2014


I'm still struggling a little bit with the carb cravings since I've allowed myself to give in and eat some of the things I had been avoiding.  I'm also afraid to get on the scale and see what I've gained, so I'm avoiding that.  I am, however, eating very low carb today.  One thing I've managed to continue doing is eat under 25 grams of total carbohydrates every Monday and Tuesday, no matter how badly I might deviate from my plan for the rest of the week.

For Mothers' Day my husband and kids made me mimosas for brunch and prepared Chicken Pad Thai, as per my request, for dinner.  It was delicious.  They also gave me a new iPhone, and this whole post was just an excuse for me to play with the camera on it.  So, here are pictures of my dinner last night, and my low carb breakfast this morning.