Friday, May 14, 2021

I Went to the Doctor...

I went to the doctor today for the first time in seven years. Between the anxiety and being overweight, I've struggled to go, so I made an appointment for Matt at the same time/place so I would have the emotional support and accountability to actually go this time... see, I've cancelled this appointment several times over the last year. But today I was braver than I was comfortable and went to the damn doctor. And you know what, I'm doing okay. 

I saw a nurse practitioner, rather than an MD, and she was absolutely amazing. She was friendly and informative, we talked at length about my health, and she made me feel so comfortable. Considering how anxious I am about doctors, this is a feat. Fact is, not all doctors are created equal. I had initially wanted to go to the hub's doctor, but I didn't want to see a man for my wellness check-up (read: I'm a prude). So I decided on the female NP because, well, she's a woman. But, she was fantastic and got me on the meds I need for both birth control and my emotional issues (depression & anxiety).

I'm just waiting for test results now, which are hopefully okay, too. Everything she was able to check in the office was fine, so that's encouraging, hopefully my blood work will be equally so. She's even testing my vitamins B and D because I'm vegan.

I think the most surprising thing, honestly, was that even though we talked about my weight and exercise, she didn't treat me any differently than she would anyone else because I'm heavy. She didn't discount my fears and anxieties, she didn't chalk any issues I might have up to my weight, and she didn't ignore my concerns. The reality is, overweight people often face discrimination with doctors, so that I might face this obstacle was a big part of my anxiety. It's refreshing that I didn't and, I think, I've been lucky in this regard because the doctor I used to see in Texas was also great.

Overall, I'm just glad to have that done for the year. I have to go back in a few months, but just to discuss the meds she gave me for depression and anxiety. For now, though, I'm just going to leave this super vulnerable pic from today right here...

Quick update: I have to just put this here. Being overweight does not mean unhealthy. I am trying to lose weight for my comfort and to look better in my skin, and to curb any potential genetic issues, like diabetes. I got much of my blood work back and I am completely healthy. My A1c is 5, by cholesterol is all the lower sides of normal, my thyroid is completely normal. I'm still waiting for my pap results and to have a mamo scheduled, but my bloodwork is good. So far, I'm good. 😊

Monday, May 10, 2021

Being a Better Me, For Me

I don't know if it's the anxiety from the pandemic or the series of losses we've faced since the middle of last year, but I've (predictably) gained some weight. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but for me this is a huge problem because I'm already not at all a small person. So, in an effort to feel better and lose some of the weight, I've started trying to eat better and am getting some exercise... voluntarily, because I actually want to, which is a first for me. Every other time I've tried to take weight off it's been for reasons other than my own personal desire to make myself better. 

And, you know, I feel a bit bad because it's taken me until I'm 42 years old to try to fix all the damage I've done to myself all these years. Losing my gallbladder when I was in my early 20s wasn't enough warning, the scale ticking up and up wasn't either. My husband's best friend dying at 38 of a stroke didn't do it. I have a scale and mirrors, I know what I look like, but until recently and despite all the things that should have encouraged me to get healthier, I haven't had the want or will to actually do it. Which, is pretty damn stupid, but I struggle with all the work it takes to actually get healthy. As much as I wish I was a person who was just naturally thin, that's never been the case and, as I've gotten older, it's certainly not becoming the case. And, being manic depressive doesn't help either.

But then, last month, my 39 year old cousin died. She had many issues and was an addict, and she didn't die of being overweight, but she was overweight and in the end it was a contributing factor. She had many health issues, many of them stemming from her weight. Being my first cousin, we share genetics. I don't want to put myself in a position where I die early because of my weight. Especially since this is something I can try to control. And, while I may not be able to undo all the damage I've done to myself, I'm certainly not getting my gallbladder back, I can undo some and prevent others.

So with that in mind, I've been taking myself for walks and eating better. Being vegan doesn't always mean what we're eating is healthy, even if it is healthier than the non-vegan options. So, I'm focusing on making better choices and, weirdly, eating more meals per day. I'm not doing anything fancy, just energy in/energy out (calorie and exercise counting). And, though I'm scared, I'm going to the doctor for the first time in seven years. Because, and this probably goes without saying, seven years is way, way too long to go without going to the doctor, especially when my grandmother died of ovarian cancer, my great grandmother died of cervical cancer, and my mother is a breast cancer survivor. I need to get myself checked out and see how my blood work is looking these days. 

But, I'm going to be honest here, going to the doctor when you have depression that makes it hard to get out of bed some days, anxiety that makes it hard to leave the house most days, and are overweight is hard. This is not an excuse, it's just a fact. I struggle to function some days, most days, and going to the doctor is terrifying for me. Getting a well woman check up is, frankly, humiliating and it's the #1 reason I haven't gone to the doctor. There has seriously got to be a better way to get this whole thing done than poking around up there, right? It's 2021, people, let's make this less traumatizing.

Cross your fingers for me and hope that I'm okay. Meanwhile, I'm just going to keep trekking along, trying to make myself better. So far, I've lost about six pounds, which isn't a lot but it's progress and that's what matters. I feel like it's six pounds now, but in a few months it could be 60 pounds. My goal weight is 165 lbs, for now. I'm looking forward to being lighter! 

Awful, vulnerable picture from a year ago... when I was 10 lbs lighter.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

2020 Hyundai Kona

Sooooo... you know how I got a new car in March 2019? One I didn't need, but that I had really wanted? Yeah, um, I traded that car last week. It's kind of a long story, but let's sum it up like this: The Veloster N was just sitting in my garage. In two years, I had only put 2,730 miles on the thing. It was time to suck it up, face the truth about why I wasn't driving it, and do something that would make it easier for me to get out of the house more. So, after talking to Matt who was as supportive as he could be, I did just that.

The thing is, I loved the 2019 Veloster N, but I realized that part of the reason it was just sitting in the garage undriven was that I wasn't terribly comfortable driving it... which, let me say, was a really hard for me to admit. I used to love to drive a manual, but over the years it's become something I'm not as comfortable doing. I don't have good coordination to start with and it's gotten worse as I've gotten older. Between my ears and my depth perception, I'm just not as coordinated as I used to be. So, when I'd go out, I'd find myself avoiding certain routes so I didn't end up on a hill (not easy around here, by the way!) and not being able to take certain exits/entrances into parking lots because the car sat too close to the ground. What's worse, I would avoid going out at all because that car wasn't easy to drive and it was causing me unnecessary anxiety. And let's not even talk about how I didn't go out all winter because, thanks to the car sitting very low and the sports tires, it couldn't handle the ice and snow, at all. 

So, I had been seeing, for a while, on the Veloster Facebook group that Carvana was offering a lot for the Veloster N's. When I got my quote from them, I was completely astonished. They wanted to give me $26,500, only a few thousand less than I paid for the car two years ago. So, I started the process to sell it to them so I could get into a Hyundai Kona. During this time, while my sale with Carvana was pending, I talked with the salesman who sold me the Veloster to see what they had on their lot because, though it had originally been my intention to buy from Carvana, I wanted to see about buying the new car locally instead. He convinced me to bring the Veloster in to them and, through some discussion that I won't go into here, I ended up trading the Veloster to them for a 2020 Kona Limited on their lot.

To say I love this car would be an understatement... I LOVE THIS CAR. It's a bright, shiny green and has all the bells and whistles I've been missing the last few years. It's a an automatic with a turbo engine, has heated leather seats, a sun/moonroof, and so many other cool features, I'm so stoked. The mirror on this car has a RF button that will open my garage door. Goodbye ugly garage door opening clicker! Best of all, it's very easy to drive, in that it drives a lot like my 2014 Veloster did, except that it's larger and sits up higher. It's a small SUV (smaller than Matt's small Jeep), but it's big enough that I feel safe, which is important. Best of all, I feel comfortable enough driving it that I'm going out more and not hesitating to leave the house because of my car. I am thrilled! 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Kittens and COVID Vaccines

Every time I sit down to blog, I can't quite figure out how to get started. You'd think after being a fairly regular blogger for more than 15 years, I'd have some notion of how to jump in, but there you have it. Maybe the issue is that my life isn't particularly interesting right now or maybe it's just been that the irregularity with which I've been blogging this last few months has made starting again hard. Either way, it's looking like writing about not being able to write is helping me break through, so that's something. But, not writing much also means a bit of a brain dump is coming.

In February, after losing Chewbi in August and Ani in January, we decided the house was far too quiet. Animals bring something to a space, even when they're not interacting with you, they make a house more full. With that in mind, we adopted two kittens from PetSmart (through a local animal rescue, 4Paws) in mid-February. They're were 10 months old at the time, two scared little black cats from the same litter, so we adopted both of them instead of just one. The little name plates on the glass said they had been surrendered, with their mama and littermates, to be euthanized. That broke my heart, because I cannot even begin to imagine what would make someone believe that euthanizing a mama cat and all her kittens was even remotely okay. That just seems cruel.

Their names were Venus and Luna, but as we do, we renamed them Eilistraee and Selûne (Goddesses from Dungeons and Dragons). They are so stinkin' adorable and have really brought life back into our house... after they stopped hiding under the furniture, that is. Eilistraee is a healthy girl, while Selûne has some minor health issues that we're working through with the vet (ongoing tummy troubles and conjunctivitis in one eye). Both are still a little skittish, even though they've been with us for several months now, but Eilistraee has warmed up to me quite a bit. Selûne still hides under she seems me coming, except when I'm laying in the bed, then she's come to me. It's been lovely to have them, even when they're getting into mischief. 

Selûne (left) and Eilistraee (right)
In March and April, we got our COVID-19 vaccine. It's probably true of every community, but there's a large group of mostly middle-age and older, mostly conservative people who're vaccine deniers/refuseres. They claim it's "a personal decision" but that's a little bit hard for me to swallow because it's not just a personal issue, it's a community issue. The more people who're vaccinated, the better off are we all. But, living in a small community that's been hit by the virus to a lesser extent than some larger places has lulled them into a false sense of security. 

I digress... We both got Pfizer and with the first shot I had arm pain and was a little bit tired, but that's it.  Matt had absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, not even a little bit of arm tenderness. It was the second shot that really hit me. While Matt again had no symptoms, I wasn't so lucky. The arm pain was extreme, much worse than the first shot, and I felt generally crappy for a couple of days. About two days after the shot, I started to have pain in my underarm on the side where I'd gotten the shot. The lymph nodes in my armpit swelled up and were pretty sore for almost a week. Turns out this is a known, but less common, side effect and is more common with Moderna, than with Pfizer. Something like .3% with the Pfizer vaccine, so I was one of the very few lucky ones. Once that went away, I was back to feeling 100% relatively quickly. All told, I was feeling cruddy for a little more than a week, but that's still so much better than the alternative. 

In April, Matt took vacation time because he was concerned he would get sick after the second shot and didn't want to have to work. When it was time for him to go back to work, though, his boss asked him to go to nights for a month to help with that shift. This means he went from working days (3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off) to working nights (4 on, 4 off). He's not as young as he used to be, even though he hates it when I say that, and going back and forth from days to nights is tough. But, he's handling it like a pro and is always happy to do whatever is needed to make sure his department is running as smoothly as possible. He's very much a team player and very invested in the success of the process. I, on the other hand, am salty AF.

I don't believe he should have to go to nights, that's my first issue. He's put in the time and paid his dues, but he's willing to do it because it has to be done. Fine, okay. My second issue is all about me and how, thanks to my anxiety, I deal with these sorts of changes. I struggle to sleep when he's not home. This is a security issue for me. Matt = security, so when he's not here my anxiety allows my imagination to run away with me and every little sound the house makes triggers an anxious fear response. When Matt's home, on the other hand, I feel safe and am able to sleep at night. You can see where this is going. With him on nights, I'm sleeping like crap. Some nights, I'm awake until 3 or 4am, then up at 7 or 8am. I'm not getting enough sleep, which is making me exhausted, and the anxiety, which is already exhausting, is compounding the issue. Thankfully, he's not on nights much longer and things can start to get back to normal soon.

And...yikes! I just realized this has gone really long already. While I have one more thing to talk about, I'm going to leave this here for now and write about the other thing another time. Not only is this going way too long, but I have an eye doctor appointment in a bit that I need to get ready for... yay. 😂