Category Archives: Health

Here’s an honest post

Not that my posts are never honest, just that this one is taking me a little bit of extra courage to post. I’ve got my big girl pants on here, folks.

I went to see my doctor yesterday to talk about anxiety. It’s something I’ve been struggling with for some time now, well over a year, only I’m just now realizing that’s what IT is. So I’m getting help.  And in case there was any shred of doubt in my mind that this was a real problem for me, I got worked up and nervous on the way to the doctor’s, worrying that we wouldn’t get there in time (with 50 minutes still yet to spare), and then the doctor’s office made me wait for a good 30 minutes. So I sat there, appearing completely calm, while my insides itched and twitched and crawled around. My heart was racing, my chest was getting so tight it was hard to breathe. When I describe all this to my doctor, and to friends who are familiar with anxiety, they nod in reassurance that it is a real problem and I’m not crazy.

These little anxiety attacks happen more frequently than they ought to. Very often, too often, they cause me to lash out in anger at my children. They don’t deserve that (usually lol). Also it’s just mentally exhausting to be walking around in an amped up state of mind, with your insides all twitchy and restless. Honestly, it didn’t bother me quite as much when I was fatigued. I’m not saying I want to go back to the land of fatigue, of course not, I’m just saying the anxiety wasn’t as evident. I didn’t really see it for what it was because I was blaming it on the fatigue and I could always just sleep it off. But no more. Now I am healthy and I’ve got energy to feel the things I’m feeling that need to be addressed. And now I’m addressing them. Lord, don’t leave me now. I still need You every day.

I’ve thought a lot about where this anxiety is coming from. Who knows, really, but I wonder if this is the residual effects of my vision and hearing loss. Now that I’ve reconnected with people and I’m in better physical health, maybe this is part of that grief and rehabilitation process. I certainly don’t like to give my disabilities more credit than they deserve, but it’s true that I live outside of my comfort zone almost 90% of the time. Nothing looks right, nothing sounds right. It’s all still very foreign to me. I have to believe that this won’t always be true. I have to believe that I’m going to find my new comfort zone. And when I do, believe me, I will move right in. I’ll decorate it with paisley, Wonder Woman, and maybe a cowbell or two. And all my favorite people will be invited!

 

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In sickness and in health…

You know, I try really hard to be as healthy as I can. I can’t undo the damage MS has already done to my nerves, but I can do the best with what I’ve got left and the body I’ve got now. I stopped eating meat back in November. It’s gone well, so I gave up dairy last week. Right after I cheated a few days eating meat. And then I got sick with some nasty chest congestion. Ugh. The cheating was certainly not worth it.

Then today, I’m having coffee with a friend and BAM! I started having an attack of vertigo. It was so weird, y’all, I mean I have experienced dizziness but this was so much more. I mean, everything around me seemed to be literally turning. And it lasted for a good two minutes before it calmed down. The problem was that the feeling never really went entirely away, even long after my friend had left. I texted another friend to see if what I was experiencing was normal, and if I should go the urgent care or something. I was still feeling super dizzy and I was having some numbness in my left arm. But as I was texting with her I realized that yes, I probably should go. So I called my husband to come get me. My knight in shining armor dropped everything and came as quick as he could. In the meantime my friend came over to check on me and keep an eye on my kids while my husband and I were at the urgent care.

Thankfully, all my vitals and an EKG were normal. The doctor explained that it was most likely inflammation from my recent chest cold that got transferred and consequently trapped in my ear drum, and that it should clear up if I just give it time. In the meantime he gave me an anti-nausea medication to take in case the dizziness is really bothering me or making me feel unsafe. The medicine has helped tremendously.

I was just so ecstatic that I wasn’t having a heart attack and that I didn’t end up in the hospital because I have a family reunion to go to this weekend that I am SUPER STOKED about. Because I have an amazing family full of aunts and uncles and cousins and cousins-plus whom I never get to see anymore. I was so afraid that my stupid health issues were going to ruin that, so I’m just happy. Happy, happy, happy.

I did tell my husband – who knows how hard I try to be low maintenance, and loves me despite my utter failure at it – that I’m ready to get back to the “in health” part of our marriage vows. Seriously.

April Update

I am running a 5k next week. I haven’t been training for it. Occasionally I’ll get a run in, and I do fine. So I think I’ll do fine on race day. I won’t be breaking any records, but I’m confident I’ll finish on my feet. Which I guess is the most important thing to me. Just keep swimming.

This morning when my son went to pack his lunch, he found a gang of tiny ants in his lunch box. Eww. He freaked out, rightfully so I suppose, but he went a little overboard if you ask me. I mean, they weren’t biting ants, or even the flying kind. But still, what a mess. The kids managed to get out the door to the bus on time, while I did what I could to clean up before my ride came (dermatologist appointment today), but I’m sure there are still creepy crawlies hanging around here and there. I put his backpack in the garage because they were there too. This is per my son of course, because my vision, you know? They are too small for me to see, unless I know where to look. It didn’t help that his backpack is black, so the sneaky ants are camouflaged. 

Ugh. Then my ride came 15 minutes early, and I was still in my pajamas. But the driver was plenty patient, and everything was fine. The day could only go up from there, right?

And it did! The dermatologist seemed to know exactly what is going on with my face, and it turns out it’s not my fault! It broke out again when I was on the prednisonea couple months ago, and just won’t clear up. He said the prednisone was likely just a trigger for the underlying cause, which he believes to be rosacea. Stress is also a trigger, so I think I need less stress in my life. Anyone wanna take my kids for awhile? Or the dog? Or both? Anyway, the doctor called in a script for a cream, and I’ll go back in a few weeks to see if it’s helping. And he was a super nice doctor and didn’t make me feel crazy or neurotic, so I’m feeling better now. Amazing what a difference a kind interaction can do for your mood.

Now I have the whole day ahead of me, and with a positive outlook to boot. I’m thinking a nice cup of coffee and a good book are in my future today…

Thunder bolts of lightning

Get this, I woke up with a pulled muscle in my neck, and it has me in such pain. I mean, searing, sharp, throbbing pains. I’m in such flippin’ agony I’ve been whining about it on Facebook all morning. If it was just one muscle, I could deal, but this thing is connected to all these other muscles, so every time I move something – an arm, a leg, whatever – I don’t know if it’s going to be okay or if it’s going to shoot fiery bolts of lightning up through my neck. It’s a crap shoot.

I slept on a heating pad for most of the morning and then managed to fix myself some lunch – baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon YUM – and now I’m chillin’ on the couch with a cup of coffee. Coffee on the right, because apparently I can’t reach from the left or the pain kills me, and then the coffee spills. We can’t have any of that happening, now can we?

I went upstairs to get something and by the time I got to the top of the steps, I forgot why I was up there, so I distracted myself with laundry until it came back to me. Managed to rotate some loads, with slow and careful movements of course, and sure enough, it came to me! Drugs, I went up for the drugs. Because I can’t really deal with this pain. I normally boast a high pain tolerance, mainly because surgery and needles don’t scare me, but when it gets in the way of getting things done, that pisses me off. So I took some Aleve, and hopefully that eases a little of the pressure. If it doesn’t work, I’ll have to have the kids unload the dishwasher and take out the trash tonight.

Ok, I’m sorry, but that’s all I have for now. I’ve been a little neglectful of the blog so I really just wrote this to give you something, so as not to get out of the habit of writing. More will come. It always does.

It runs deep

I have a strong aversion to folding the clean laundry. Really strong. If I can think of anything else I can do instead, I’ll do it. 

So today I’m going to the YMCA!

I know what you’re saying, I was doing that already, so not a great excuse, but eh… I woke up this morning NOT feeling it. Almost cancelled my ride to the gym. But fortunately I procrastinated on that too, until the bus came, and now I’m on my way. I know once I’m there I’ll be glad I stuck with it.

And that’s my Friday snippet. Make today a good one!

Everybody does it

I drink a lot of smoothies. Just about every day, a smoothie packed with bananas, berries, yogurt, and spinach. Sometimes I’ll mix it up and add a little juice or milk, or vanilla for flavor. But always the banana, berries, and spinach. Because fiber, y’all. I need it. We all do, of course, cuz it’s an important nutrient, but I seem to be of the brand of human who needs a little help in the elimination department. Oh sorry, I didn’t warn you this post might be TMI for some. But seriously, folks, why does no one ever talk about this? Is it really that sensitive a subject? It’s not for lack of commonality, I assure you. I think it’s just because it’s icky. But I’m not afraid of self-disclosure (clearly, I have a blog for crying out loud) and I’m not afraid to share that I have trouble.

In fact, I’ve always had trouble, so I can’t really blame it on MS – although MS can certainly compound the issue. No, I remember as a young girl having to drink mineral oil and being given enemas. I still vividly remember drawing a picture of my poop once so I could show it to my mom, I was so proud. (You realize what we’re talking about now, right?) She doesn’t remember this, but I do. I don’t know if I should be hurt by that or thankful she didn’t save the picture!

So, back up to the smoothies. It’s really just been the easiest way for me to consume enough fiber. Berries are packed with it, as is spinach, which is virtually tasteless when you grind it up in the blender. Not that I mind spinach, I love it, just not with my fruit so much. My doctor recommends I consume 30 grams of fiber every day and OH MY GOSH, that’s a lot of fiber. So it’s been a struggle, but most days I hit the goal. And it has been helping, but not always enough, so once a day or so I go for a glass of your good ole prune juice. Yech. It’s the most unpleasant beverage I’ve ever consumed, but if you water it down it’s not so bad. It certainly beats mineral oil.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention the best part of this development. In recent weeks I was having a lot more balance problems than usual, and I was starting to use my cane on a pretty regular basis. It had not occurred to me that one issue could be related to the other, but when I started getting “regular”, my balance issues almost disappeared. I’m walking so well now! Now I know I could attribute this improvement to other things like exercise or the change in the weather, but the improvement was so sudden, like within the following day, that I have to give it credit. And the fact that my balance has remained well as I’ve been on this increased fiber – and resulting regularity – just confirms it for me.

I have so much more on my mind regarding food I want to share with you, but I’ve got a lot on my plate this week so it will have to wait for another day. Eat your fruits & veggies, people!!

**If you caught my puns, I applaud you. I love puns 🙂

The Social Security Office

I had to visit the Social Security office today. Here’s the long version (because that’s the only way, really):

I’ve been receiving Social Security Disability Income for a full two years now. After you’ve received benefits for two years, they automatically enroll you in Medicare. I have health insurance through my husband’s employer, so I wasn’t real interested in Medicare, but if it’s free, I guess I can’t complain. What I learned, however, is that Medicare comes in different forms, and the two I was enrolled in were Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). Now Part A is free, but Part B is not.

Now Part B could be advantageous, if it covered what my current health insurance doesn’t, and saved me more than I would be paying for the premium. But I never looked into it, because I learned that my participation in Part B would deem me ineligible for another program I’m part of. I currently receive assistance paying for my monthly Tysabri infusions (for MS, $20,000 before insurance PER infusion), and if I didn’t receive that assistance I would be stuck with about a $5,000 deductible. (I did warn you this was the long version.)

So basically, I could pay $120 per month for Part B Medicare and possibly $0 deductibles OR I could pay $0 premium and definitely $0 deductible. Now I was a straight A student, and I went to college. I chose the latter.

Simple, right? Not so. In March, when they sent me my Medicare welcome packet, I returned the card stating I was opting out of Part B. Then June came, and with it a welcome letter – and a statement of my insurance premium for PART B. I called to say W-T-F and they told me that was just a standard letter and that I would receive another one telling me it had been cancelled. Another month went by and my benefits came, less the $120 for Part B premium. I was not so happy, and I called again. They acted like they knew nothing about my opting out, and told me I needed to sign a form requesting cancellation, and that they would mail it to me.

At this point I didn’t believe a word they said, but I gave it a week to see if the form showed up. It did not. I called once again, but this time made the call to the local office, in case I needed to make an appointment. They said an appointment was not needed, but that I should come down and they would get it all straightened out. They made it sound so easy but I was still doubtful. I made arrangements (thanks Grandpa!) to get to the office today and guess what? It really was easy. The hardest part, literally, was signing myself in at the kiosk to get in line, when they asked me this question:

Are you….
1) Blind/low vision
2) Deaf/hard of hearing
3) (to be honest, I really don’t remember what was after those first two, but I was looking for an “all of the above” option)

I waited for about an hour, which is what they warned me it would be, and when they called my number I had to ask a few of the people waiting where #10 was, but they were all happy to direct the obvious newbie to her station, and I found it just fine. The gentleman was exactly that, a gentleman, and immediately put me at ease. He reassured me that cancelling was a simple process, and showed me where to sign, and before I even had a chance to ask, he was telling me they would be refunding me the two months of premium I had already paid, and the check will be on its way within the week!

I was so pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went and I felt pretty silly for having been such a nervous wreck. No worries though, it’s done now and I can move on with the rest of my week. Is it really only Monday still?