Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Work, Health, and the Holidays

I'm officially on break for a week and it feels awesome! This year, because of my schedule, I've managed to wrangle almost an entire 7 days out of the holiday. I worked yesterday from 8am until 2pm, and won't go back to work until next Monday at 8am. Let me tell you, I so needed this time off, both because I need to work on my thesis and because I need time to just do nothing here and there, and recharge my batteries. This semester is coming to an end, the last day of school is December 7, my classes take their final December 8th at 6:30pm, I have office hours every day during the week of finals and then we're done and Christmas break is here. Just like that! So, there's not a whole lot left to do, but there's a whole lot to do in the little time left... if that makes any sense at all.

For thanksgiving, Matt and I will just be staying home together this year. While we received a lot of lovely invitations, we've decided that this year we're just going to give thanks that we're together.  I'm going to make a ham, scalloped potatoes (from a box, because they're easy and we loooooooovvveee them), green bean casserole, cranberry stuffing, pink salad, and those yummy brown and serve rolls, which I really need to take out of the freezer. It's going to be delicious!! We'll still need a few things, but we'll get them as the week wears on toward the holiday. I think what I love most about it is that we'll have enough food to feed us for days and days. I can make meals out of what's left of the ham, assuming Matt doesn't eat it all. I thought about making a turkey, also, since HEB had a deal where if you bought a ham you got a turkey for free, but I decided against. Matt doesn't like it, we don't need that much food, and I didn't want to go to HEB. Thinking back on it now, I wish I had because we could have had the turkey later, another week, and it would have fed us forever!!

Among the many things we're going to be thankful this year, my health is high on the list. I think I mentioned that I had gone to the doctor and had a lot of lab work done because I have some problems that I need to get worked out. Well, I went to the doctor last week (on Friday) and we went over my labs. Everything came back normal, except my estrogen and progesterone levels, which are both very low. I have lazy ovaries, but otherwise, I'm healthy. All this time, I've been thinking I had PCOS, turns out I don't, which is absolutely awesome! Rather my amenorrhea is a result of those lazy ovaries, and not PCOS. Yay!! My A1C was normal (5.5), as was my thyroid--she said my trouble losing weight had to do with a slow metabolism. Both of the ultrasounds I had to have came back normal, which is awesome and hopefully means I won't have to go through that any time again in the near future.

So, I'm quite happy about that, all in all. She did put me on Sprintec, which is a BC pill, and Fluoxetine for my depression. So, between those two meds hopefully my biggest problems will be solved. Now if only I could drop some of this weight, we'd be all set. I feel like I really dodged a bullet with having such a good A1C and glucose levels. As much junk as I eat, my pancreas should have rebelled years ago. All in all, the fact that it hasn't has inspired me to want to eat a little bit better. Ease up on the carbs, particularly sweet foods, but that won't be/hasn't been easy for me. She told me to do Weight Watchers, which costs about $65 for 3 months. So I think, in January, when I can afford the extra cost, I may sign up for the 3 month period and see what I can do about losing some pounds.

All in all, finding out I'm healthy has been the silver lining to an otherwise miserable year, one I'm glad to see is coming to an end. For now, I'm off to take those rolls out of the freezer, so I hope everyone's having a lovely week and has a nice holiday. Season's blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Until the Legally Predetermined Period Has Ended, Do We Part?!

During a recent Shadowrun game (a dystopian role playing game), the issue of marriage came up. Matt was telling me that in the Shadowrun world that marriage is becoming archaic, that the marriages that do exist are purely secular, and that such marriages as polygamy are allowed. Somehow, from this, we ended up on the topic of marriage in today's world, a topic we're both interested in for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that we're, well, married. For whatever reason, issues of marriage have always been of interest to me. I love shows like Sister Wives, and maybe my almost obsession with issues of marriage comes from having been once divorced. I don't know, either way, this is a topic that commonly comes up between us.

During that conversation, we broached the subject of contractual periods of marriage. I know, this is a touchy subject largely because the institution of marriage in the western world is a religious one, even though it's controlled by secular bodies and many secular people get married. I think it's also appalling because our culture has this silly, antiquated notion that the only reason to get married is to have a family--defined by two parents (of different sexes) with children, and excluding couples without children, or same sex couples.  Would you believe that young people, of the millennial generation, still say they want to get married to "have a family"? This is their go-to answer, not for the number of other reasons, like companionship or economic stability, but to have a family. This is something students in English 111 say, across the board. It's unbelievable to me.

Anyway,  I still think that contractual periods of marriage is an interesting idea, one that would reduce the divorce rate considerably. So this morning, when my lovely friend Amberly posed this Psychology Today article "Getting Marriage-Whys: What We Really Need to Change," by Susan Pease Gadoua, my interest was immediately peaked. The article talks about the "one-size-fits-all institution" of marriage, discussing, you guessed it, the idea of periods of contractual marriage--something under consideration in Mexico, it would seem. She says, "Instead of holding everyone in the culture to a single standard forever, people in this model of marriage would be set up to succeed. And then everyone would live happily ever after."  And largely, I agree with her... though I do have some problems with her ideas.

Imagine a world where you could be married for a certain period of time, renew your marriage or not, and be free without the stigma of divorce to seek a more satisfying union elsewhere. That would be ideal, wouldn't it?  My biggest problem with this ideology is that it doesn't take into account such issues as the pain that would be caused if one spouse or the other didn't want to renew. Right now, you make a choice and are stuck with it forever, unless you get a divorce, but pain is inevitable either way, right? So, is it really better than divorce? I don't know. It also doesn't take into account the financial feasibility of this option, which in my opinion is quite low.

What I do know is that a happy marriage is worth the promise to stay together forever, without the worries that having to renew a marriage contract would include. Matt and I have a very happy marriage, and though we have problems, I'm not sure I would want to deal with having to renew my marriage license, like I do a driver's license. Though Matt and I have gotten into a lot of conversations about the fact that a marriage license is one of the only licenses that doesn't have to be renewed. Ironically, the law assumes you may go blind, or be unable to drive, but it fails to assume that you may grow discontent with your marriage. Good job, government.

I think, rather than contractual periods of marriage, that putting stricter regulations on getting married in the first place would be a more reasonable answer. Maybe don't let 18 year olds get married?  Maybe make the legal marriage age 25 or after the successful completion of your first college degree, which ever comes first?  There was a time not all that long ago that people getting married at 18 wasn't a problem. People divorced less then. Today, it's a problem--and for the record, I also think young people shouldn't be able to go to college until they're 25 and have some life experience by which to be able to appreciate said education, but that's another blog post entirely.

So take a minute to read the article and then tell me what you think. You've got my opinion!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Oh Friday, How I Love You...

What a lovely week I've had.

If you didn't read that with the utmost sarcasm, go back and re-read it, I'll wait. Done? Okay, now that we've gotten that squared away, it's been a pretty unpleasant week. I had to go to the doctor on Monday, which wouldn't be a big deal except that I haven't been to the doctor for a wellness check-up in, oh, let's say 12+ years. I was so nervous, which is both silly and completely justified, given how long it has taken me to get around to going. I mean, I've had medical insurance for a year and a half, or so, I should have gone before now, but I procrastinated.

The only thing that prompted me to go right now is that something really strange happened with my system, a strange reaction to a steroid shot I got a month ago, which made me worried--thanks, Kenalog shot, you're awesome (*eyeroll*). So, begrudgingly, I went. Of course, my nerves about it meant I couldn't focus at all on Monday, so work was absolutely torturous. I did get through both work and the appointment okay, without bursting into tears randomly, so that was positive. I saw a really lovely doctor, who listened to my plethora of medical problems with patience and made me feel like much less of a basket case.

She said she thinks I have PCOS, since I have all of the classic symptoms. Not, cool... but if that's the case I want to know it so I can start to treat it. Of course, now I'm worried because next year my insurance ends when my job is over, in May, I think, and how am I going to afford to keep being treated. I figure I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. In order to check for that disorder, however, I had to have bloodwork, which I went for yesterday, and two rather unpleasant ultrasounds, which I go for this coming Monday (Nov. 14th). So, now that I'm done being nerve-wracked about the doctors appointment, I get to be nerve-wracked about the ultrasounds. Sometimes, being a woman just doesn't pay.

Also, at my appointment on Monday, I asked her to put me on the pill. This is two fold, both because that random crazy occurance made me concerned that my infertility might be less infertile, and that I might be ovulating (heaven forbid!), and also because the pill helps with the symptoms of PCOS. She agreed and put me on Orthocyclen (Sprintec), which is fine, except that she told me to take one Monday night, one Tuesday Morning, and another Tuesday night to get caught up with the usual Sunday start date. This is where the problem came in. Monday night I took it and felt fine, but on Tuesday morning after taking the second one I got pretty sick. Like, very sick. Like, throwing up all over the place sick. I called the doctor's office Tuesday afternoon, after being sick all day, and they told me it was the estrogen from the pills, to go ahead and take the third pill (Tuesday night), and prescribed me Compazine for the nausea. Fantastic (and I mean that!!), it worked wonders.

Now I feel fine, but after having blood work yesterday, I'm starting to worry they might find something horrible in my test results. I wonder, do people who go to the doctor regularly worry so much about blood tests and pap results? They're testing me for a whole bunch of hormonal problems, most of which are associated with PCOS, for thyroid problems, and all the regular stuff like A1C (tests for diabetes), cholesterol, and all that good stuff. It should be another week or so before I know anything, which makes me stressed out in a major way. Stressing is so stupid, too, because now there's nothing I can do at this point, either way. Ugh. Maybe my problem is the overall feeling of helplessness at not being able to do anything. I'm sure I'll feel better once the results from all those tests are in and I know that I'm fine, or not, or whatever.

Okay, it's time for me to go. Both because I'm writing this on a break, at work, and because I've already said too much for one post. Besides, who really cares about my medical issues besides me and my family? No one, I know. I hope everyone's had a better week than I have, and has a good weekend to come.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Overwhelmed and Alone

I am in such an amazingly frustrated place right now. The year's almost over, I have so much to do, and seems that for all the world I can't get my feet under me. No matter what I do, we can't get ahead and do the things that need to be done. To make matters worse, I feel so utterly alone, it's not even funny. I have thesis, work, and grading which are things I have to do by myself, and it would be fine, if I didn't have to do everything else alone, too. And, to compound the issue, though I'm not much of a crier, I feel like I am going to cry all of the time.  The pressure in my head from holding back the tears is making me feel sick, and I have moments where I feel like I just can't go on another moment... like the only thing I want to do is crawl into bed and not crawl back out until things are better.

The irony, of course, is that if I don't put them in a better state, they're never going to get there, so sleeping off the weight of everything is impossible. Besides, I can't seem to sleep lately, and when I do, I have nightmares. I know not sleeping well is adding to my malaise, but sleep is not something you can force one way or the other. I've considered taking melatonin, but with the nightmares, I'm worried the melatonin will make them worse and the idea of being forced asleep makes my stomach turn with anxiety. So, any sort of sleep inducing medication is a no-go.  A definite no-go.

All of this makes me mostly glad I'm going to the doctor on Monday. But, I'm also afraid, which is adding to my restlessness and anxiety. I haven't been to the doctor in YEARS, so to go now is making me feel shaky and a little sick. But, it's better to get this stuff out of the way, to find out that I'm okay, or not okay, and deal with it. My body chemistry has been all screwed up, thanks I think, to a Kenalog shot I got for a sinus infection, so going to the doctor is a definite must, to avoid babies, which is about the last thing I want, or need in my already frustrated life right now.

There are other things, too, but this being a public forum, I don't think I can rightly talk about them. Besides, Matt would get mad at me if I talked about him or the problems we're having--even though it's my blog--so just assume that we're going through some things that I'd like to talk about but can't. How fucking sad, too, since this should be my place to discuss whatever I want. This should be my place to say how I feel, but I can't. Censorship is not cool, seriously. They say blogging is cheaper than therapy, but it looks like it may be therapy for me anyway... yeah, because we can afford that. Awesome.

Okay, enough pity party. I'm off. I have to proctor an exam in a little while, then teach my classes. Then I have grades to input in my gradebook before I can go home, where I have to finish up my thesis chapter, make dinner and clean the kitchen. So much to do, so overwhelmed.