May 16, 2019

Good afternoon, everyone. And by “everyone,” I mean the like, four people who read this. Hello from toasty Nebraska. It hit a lovely 94 degrees here today and boy howdy, it sure is a warm one! Hope y’all are staying cool! This heat, huh? Woooo! Oddly enough, thanks to losing some weight, I’m golden, comfortable, and not sweating my now tiny boobs off like I would have. Fun!

I may have mentioned a time or fifty in the past that I do not like the month of May. Detest it, really. May has brought deaths and other losses and I don’t much care for it now.

The beginning of the month in 2016–the 4th and 6th, if we’re keeping track–my father and grandmother died. Grief being the rotten cunt it is has not made this any easier over the last three years. Also, for some reason, due to my recent diagnosis of Crohn’s, a disease passed to me by good ol’ dad and the decidedly shitty Hoffmeyer genetics, his loss hit me a little harder than usual this go ’round. Why’s that? Well, because now having Crohn’s myself, it’s now more likely to get colon cancer, the dastardly thing that took Dad away. I’ve been reading all that I can about CD and I forget the exact percentage of increased cancer risk, but it’s terrifying, and since I am my father’s daughter, it’s inevitable, I think. Thanks a lot, DAN.

Speaking of Crohn’s, my new favorite thing to obsess over, I just got back from Omaha where I got my first two doses of Humira™️. Let me tell you about that and try not to go down a ranting wormhole of pharmaceutical and insurance companies forcefully giving the majority of the American public a brutal pounding, and not in a sexy way, either.

Humira™️ is a biologic medication, meaning immunosuppressant. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease where my body thinks something is amiss in my colon and starts sending an influx of science-y things to try to fight it. Silly body! It’s me! You’re fighting me! Humira™️, well, it suppresses the damn immune system so I don’t do that anymore. It has its perks: hopefully a decrease in symptoms and remission of the disease. To every up there is a down and those include but are not limited to the following: being immune-compromised now which will make me susceptible to infections of all sorts. Skin cancer! Or maybe even lymphomas! What fun!

I had to go to Omaha to get taught how to give myself the injections and I received two of them as the “loading dose.” My next round is in two weeks with one injection, then from here on out, I’ll be stabbing myself every other week until…? Good stuff. The medication comes in injector pens kind of like EpiPens. The cost of this shit is the real fucker, though. Ready for this? $6,344.58. Insurance covered a decent chunk and my total was $1,689.47, but I didn’t have to pay for it yet because the pharmacy was going to resubmit it to insurance under another savings plan through the manufacturer. Get fuuuUUUuuuUUUcked. Bonkers. I’m obviously glad they’re doing that but medication shouldn’t cost that fucking much, period. And that’s hardly anything compared to insulin or chemo drugs. My god. What a fucked up healthcare system this country has. It’s disgusting.

I feel okay-ish afterwards. Tired, but I’m always tired. My tummy where I shot myself up kind of hurts, but that’s okay. I kind of want to finish the rest of the day here on the couch and not do anything but wallow in a little pity party and maybe order Chinese food because fuck cooking dinner tonight. Fuck it!

And that’s one part of why I hate May and my dad.

The other part is this is also the time of year PIC moved away. Facebook was kind enough to remind me of the trip to Vegas we went on last year, and how today was the day he packed up and shipped out. I can’t get over how it’s been a year already. I’d say time flies when you’re having fun, but there has been little fun had. It’s a whole different kind of grief, and it took me a while to realize it was grief I’ve been feeling this entire time. Having a person around for almost seven years and then they’re not here? Brutal.

Don’t get me wrong–I still know it was a necessary thing for him to do. Life needed to go on and hopefully get better by doing so. Decisions had to be made and that was what came about. It doesn’t make it any easier to accept though, you feel me? I just want him to be happy or some semblance of it, that asshole. But Nevada can suck my flat butt. No offense.

And that’s all I have to say about that for now. Don’t worry; I’ll keep writing about it. Call me Ol’ Reliable Erin, I guess.

That’s all I have for today. I’m typing away on my phone and I’m annoyed with doing so, so that’s my cue to quit writing. The food I ordered is in its way, too, so I am going to stuff my gob soon and then go the hell to bed. Ol’ Wild Erin is my other nickname. I’ve got tons of ’em!

Be well, be good, and as always, thank you for reading.

Erin

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April 28, 2019

Greetings to you and yours on this Sunday afternoon, Gentle Readers. I haven’t written in a coon’s age, but not for lack of trying, mind you. I’ve found myself in one of those slumps where I want to write, I start to write, then I decide what I have to write is too whiny/boring/stupid/repetitive/annoying/etc, so I stop and delete my words. I’m fighting this as I type this, as well, but I decided this wicked woman needed to get some stuff out, so here we are. Hello.

Part of it is being more aware lately of how much I like to hide behind this blog in favor of reaching out to my select few people and sharing my worries and thoughts with them as opposed to tapping away at my keyboard. I’ve obviously chosen to type. I always choose to type. I’m sorry I always choose to type. I wish I could be like my father (may he rest in peace) and pick up the ol’ telephone and give a call to, in his words, “just wanted to hear your voice.” He never, ever had anything earth-shattering to say, unless you find the delicate nuances of southeastern Nebraska weather fascinating, then boy howdy, was Dan Valentine your guy. Do you, Gentle Reader, wish to express your strong opinions on why people should be eating real butter and drinking whole milk instead of margarine and skim milk? Well, buckle up, buckaroos! Dan Valentine would have agreed with you with gusto! That guy, I swear. What a kooky fellow he was. I obviously miss him tremendously. I’d always poke fun of him for being so passionate about the above topics, but I would do anything to listen to him ramble on about those again.

He is partly why I decided to write today. He was a fan of the fact I wrote, he said to me one time. I’d send him my more tame short stories to read (back when I actually dabbled in short story fiction, not this journaling horseshit I do now), and he said he admired my skill. He was obligated to say that, of course, being my father. My mom also says she enjoys my writing, and for the same reason: she’s legally required to do so. It’s in her Mom Contract that she signed upon my birth. It’s in fine print at the bottom of my birth certificate: you must applaud your child’s hobbies, no matter how mediocre they may be.

I do not like this time of year. Mid-to-late April and pretty much the entire month of May. It has been sullied. I can’t go this time of year and not be constantly reminded of my dad. It’s impossible. This coming May 4 will mark his third year dead and gone. Three fucking years. Side note–that also means it’s been three years since PIC’s dad has been gone. That’s goddamn wild. Time flies when you’re pretending to have fun. Facebook Memories, that cunt of a feature that I really should turn off by now, has made busy work of showing me pictures of DVH and posts I made back in his final weeks and days. Some are chuckle-worthy, like the day I was down in Deshler doing my usual weekend cancer watch with him and his condition was worsening to the point where I had to give him opioids and narcotics every three hours. He had been told a few days prior by his hospice nurse that since he was on such potent medications that it was not a smart nor safe idea for him to continue driving. Dan the Man did not take kindly to that news. No, sir. No one ever does, really. Revoking a person’s driving privileges seems to be the second-to-last nail in the coffin, at least it was for Dad. I left him late on a Sunday afternoon to return to my own home (aka guest bedroom in one of my closest friend’s basements) and while at work the following day, knowing his nurse would have just made her visit to him, I sent him a text asking how he was doing knowing our weekend hadn’t been so smooth.

“Good! Driving!” was his reply, followed by like, eight random emojis. GodDAMN it, Dan. If anyone ever wonders where my own stubbornness and general pigheadedness comes from, your answer is right there. I also got a fair chunk from Ma, too, so blame can be shared. At that time, that text and situation was vaguely humorous and mostly exasperating and infuriating. Seeing it again a few days ago? Heartbreaking but now hilarious-ish. What a fuckin’ jackass he was. My god! Ha!

It still hasn’t gotten any easier with him being gone. Three years is a good amount of time, but grief truly has no concept of it. Grief comes and goes as it pleases, helps itself to whatever is in the fridge and drinks straight from the milk carton. Grief, for some reason, reverses the roll of toilet paper to be under instead of over when it uses the bathroom because grief is also a rotten motherfucker like that. I mean, what the fuck, Grief? This is clearly an over the roll household and you gotta come in here and put it under. The nerve! Grief asks if you can take him to the airport early in the morning on a workday. Yeah, Grief is a cocksucker.

Fuck April and May for the reason of my father dying.

Also, April and May can get fucked because the one year anniversary of PIC is swiftly approaching, as well. I’m not over the initial departure to begin with and then to realize it’ll be a year since he’s been gone is further compounding things. A year? A whole fucking year? How in the fuck did that happen? Jesus Christ. I don’t really want to talk much more about that; it still crushes me…not to be dramatic, but I’m going to be dramatic.

So, yes, this time of year can forcefully go fuck itself. Thank you.

Switching gears, I would like to talk about myself for a moment, something I hardly ever do. That is supposed to be a funny joke at my expense. I know you were all polite and chuckled softly.

Between this post and the last, I finally got some goddamn answers regarding my fucked-up health. Drum roll, please! I officially have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Hooray! Yay! Pop the cork on that champagne! Let the confetti fly! Let’s hear it for Crohn’s, everyone! Come on! Yeah!

This sounds like such an asshole-ish thing to say, but it’s me, so it’s expected. In my best Chandler Bing voice: could I BE any more like my father?!

I’ve been painfully aware that I am slowly turning into Dan, but to now also have Crohn’s like he did before his cancer diagnosis? Are you freakin’ kidding me? Am I going to start wearing cut-off jean shorts, knee-high socks with heavy work boots now, too? For fuck’s sake. It kind of makes the fact that my mom wanted to name me Danielle when I was born that much funnier, I guess. Danielle Valerie, to be exact, so that I would have the same initials as Dad–DVH. Thank you for not naming me Danielle Valerie. Fucking me genetically is more than enough; I don’t need a goofy name like that hovering over me, too.

What in the hell is Crohn’s disease you may find yourselves asking if you haven’t taken to Google yet. Well, allow me the small pleasure of explaining it!

Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease of the colon, classified as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, not to be confused with IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, which is far tamer and not as severe). In layman terms, my immune system is being too efficient and thinks something is trying to invade my colon, so it attacks normal, healthy tissue causing ulcers, erosion, and inflammation. Symptoms vary from abdominal pain (yep), alternating diarrhea/constipation (yep…sorry…), extreme fatigue (oh, dear god, yes), weight loss (I fucking wish!), bleeding (thankfully no), bloating (yes), and fever (sometimes). Crohn’s is also not to be confused with ulcerative colitis, which is also an IBD, but UC is the entire colon getting fucked up; Crohn’s is spotty, but a tell-tale sign is ulcers in the terminal ileum, the very end of the small intestine and beginning of the colon. The two–count ’em, TWO colonoscopies I’ve had in the last nine months have discovered ulcers in this area, and a few others.

Now is where I get angry, and I hope you’ll allow me the luxury of being so, as I need to explain why I’m angry.

As I just mentioned, I’ve had two colonoscopies within several months. The first was done at a gastroenterologist office here in town–coincidentally the same GI office I worked at for a hot minute back in 2013 but hated the job so much I bailed on it after a week. At that first scope, ulcers were found and Crohn’s was tossed around, but my doctor decided that it wasn’t Crohn’s but rather irritation caused by overuse of NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Well then. Okay. I had clued him in on my extensive paternal family history of colon cancers and other diseases, reminding him that my father had Crohn’s before colon cancer killed him. Crohn’s tends to be familial…not always, but if a parent had Crohn’s, one of their kids will most likely also get it. This guy still decided to go with the whole “you take too much ibuprofen” schtick. Okay, jabroney. Okay.

Weeks and months went by and doggone it, I was still having symptoms: the ever-present pain in my lower right pelvic area, change in my bowel habits, etc. What gives, doc? I had heard from the medical director at my job that there’s a blood test available to check for antibodies present with IBD. Hey, cool! I’d like to have that done! I messaged my GI, apologized for being one of “those patients” who thinks my Google degree is far better than his, but I just wasn’t convinced ibuprofen was the cause of this shit, mainly because a) I know that long-term use of NSAIDs cause issues in the gastrointestinal tract, and b) I don’t take the stuff much, save a wicked headache or if my knee is being intolerable, or if I had my braces adjusted. I take ibuprofen maybe once every two months, if that. Chronic use, my achin’ ass. Much to my surprise and to his credit, he agreed. Unfortunately, it came back inconclusive. Cool.

A few more weeks went by, I’m still dealing with wacky shit, and at this point, I’m tired of this office in general. It’s impossible to speak to an actual person so you’re forced to leave a voicemail or write an email on their patient portal and it takes a week to hear back from anyone on either method of communication. By then, I felt like I was being brushed aside and dismissed, but wanted to try his suggestion of following the FODMAP diet in case my symptoms were being caused by the things I was eating, or in other words, maybe I have some food intolerances. Okay, doc. I’ll try it, but not with your help, jerkhead. With the help of the dietitian I have been seeing, the two of us tackled it together. FODMAP is an elimination diet to help determine what foods might be the troublemakers. If it was a fructose intolerance I’m dealing with, many fruits and vegetables have high fructose levels, like bananas, apples, pears, asparagus. If it’s gluten, try gluten-free things. Onions and garlic are big triggers for people, so try to remove those from your food, which is really motherfucking hard if you buy any food ever. Onions and garlic are in a ridiculous amount of foods, and not as tangible, observable food, either. Chicken broth, ketchup, pasta sauce, condiments…the list is endless.

Honestly, FM helped for a while. The symptoms did improve to an extent, and I have been able to identify foods that I can’t eat anymore (apples and bananas, goddamn it); foods I have to be careful of (very small amounts of onion/garlic); foods that are okay (bread is fine! I can eat bread! I don’t eat that much anyway, but if I were to eat bread, it would be okay!).

The last few months, however, it didn’t matter what the fuck I ate, I felt rotten. I was also sleeping so much. So, so much. My weekends consisted of and still do consist of taking a solid 2-4 hour nap every day and still going to bed early between 8-9pm, even though I had just woken up from an hours-long nap at 5pm, and I’d still sleep through the night. The last several weeks, I have actually had to either call in to work or go home early because I just felt like absolute dog shit hell. Good times. Perhaps I should seek a second opinion, yes? Yes. And I did.

I saw the new gastro guy at the end of March and what a goddamn difference it was. He expressed genuine concern for my family history and my symptoms and knew something wasn’t jiving, turkey. He asked if the previous practice had ever done an abdominal CT, to which I said no. He gave me the “…really?” eyebrows. He asked if they did labs. I said once and only when I asked for it. Eyebrows again. He asked about how much ibuprofen I take, and I truthfully told him I hadn’t had any in about three months because I was being an obstinate bitch and using Tylenol to try to prove the other office a point if I ever had a colonoscopy with them again. After listening to me, poking my tummy around, and reading my office and procedure notes from the other office, he asked if I would rather have a CT or another colonoscopy. Now, you’d think I would have opted for the CT, but he informed me that might not detect everything in the colon, whereas he could get a bird’s eye view himself with the colonoscopy. Butt scope it is, my friend. Let’s do this.

A week later, I had my second butt scope done and golly gee whiz, guess what he fucking found? Ulcers in my goddamn terminal ileum and some others, as well. Well fuck-a-doodle-doo! Stick a hose up my butt and call me a cab! Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit, son! After the pathology results from the biopsies taken came back, I got the most definite diagnosis of Crohn’s. Congratulations, you immunodeficient bitch!

This was just over three weeks ago and since then, I’ve been on an oral steroid and anxiously waiting for that to help, which it has not yet, but it sure makes me tired(er)! It’s okay though, because I go see him again this coming Friday to talk about what medication I’ll be on indefinitely. I have no idea what he’s thinking, but options include immunosuppressive medications like Humira or Remicade. We’ll see, I guess.

The last three weeks have been rough, I’m not going to even lie about that. Now that I know what the fuck is going on, it’s been messing with me. I’m diseased. I have a lifelong disease. My risk of colon cancer just shot through the fucking roof. Anger at my dad of passing this bullshit on. Frustration on my end because it takes so little for me to get exhausted, and when I get exhausted, my symptoms flare. Frustration because so far, it is quite honestly a day-by-day thing with how I feel. For example, Thursday, I felt great. Very minor issues, none that I haven’t dealt with before, and easily handled. Friday, pretty much the same…got a little tired in the afternoon, but I had been to the gym twice that day–once for my cycling class, and second to meet with the trainer–so being tired is normal and expected. Saturday. Ha ha ho, Saturday. Saturday, I ate a ripe banana. Why did I even have a ripe banana in my vicinity? Because goddamn it, I wanted to eat a goddamn banana, goddamn it. And actually, under-ripe bananas are allowed under FODMAP because there isn’t a ton of sugars in those yet. It’s when they ripen to the point where I like them–slightly spotty–is when the trouble starts, and trouble it was. But it was my decision, I ate the fucking thing, so I deserved to feel like shit for a few hours. I paid the consequences for it later, though. I had to work yesterday morning for a few hours, and I could tell I wasn’t going to do well the rest of the day. I sat in my chair to watch Netflix and fell asleep at 4pm and slept until 8pm. I got up, smoked a cigarette (booooooo), and went upstairs to bed and promptly fell asleep to wake up this morning at about 4am. I’m still not feeling the greatest and have been laying low today, which caused me to miss helping pick up trash for Lincoln Atheists, which I feel bad about, but the thought of trudging through ditches in an unseasonably cold and windy morning just wore me out thinking about it, so I had to miss out. But hey, at least I don’t have grass allergies!

In summary, fuck April and May. Fuck cancer. Fuck Nevada. Fuck Gastroenterology Specialties. Fuck Gottfried Hoffmeyer for cursing his ancestors. Fuck budesonide for not helping me and for being so goddamn fucking expensive. Jesus wept. Fuck me for a wide variety of reasons, including refusing to edit and revise these things.

That’s it. That’s me. That’s all I got. I have no clever or witty ending, or funny anecdote to finish this rambling thing. Sorry. Thank you for sticking with me through it, though.

As always, thank you for reading.

Erin E.

Talkin’ Shit

That is quite honestly what this entire post will be about this fine Friday evening. I’m sure I’m sorry, but not really. Don’t worry; I’m sure I’ll throw in some PIC/weight loss/depression musings in here somewhere, too, as that is as the kids say “my bag.” And off we go!

First, some probably unneeded backstory, but this is my post and I can write what I wanna! You don’t know me! You don’t know my life! But you do because I write about it!

As many know, I lost my father (where did he go?!) almost three years ago to the dreaded C word. No, not “cunt,” but rather cancer. That nefarious, devious thing it is, stealing and ruining lives. Goddamn the stuff, and I’d be remiss not to exclaim heartily with my fist tightened, upraised and shaking: FUCK CANCER.

It was stage 4 metastatic colon cancer, caught somewhere between the stages of “let us ravage this poor soul’s gastrointestinal tract and hey, just for kicks, let’s take a trip to the liver and lungs while we’re at it. Just, like, go nuts inside this guy, you know?” At the end, I don’t know if there was a system inside my father that didn’t have cancer in it, and I’d place a hefty bet that it even advanced upwards to his brain, but when you’re as riddled with the stuff as my good ol’ da was, when he died, none of us had the thought to do an autopsy because cause of death was pretty clear-cut. Again: fuck cancer.

The fact he died of colon cancer is enough to cause concern in myself to be proactive in my health and ask for a screening colonoscopy several years before the recommended age of 50, and even the suggested 10 years prior to the age of onset in a first-degree relative, as he was. What makes this tale even more captivating is also the fact that there has been seven (7) deaths on the Hoffmeyer side from colon cancer, as well. If not a colon cancer diagnosis, a different disease of the GI tract has been given: ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease–which Dad also had–irritable bowel disease/syndrome, etc. If there’s an ailment of the large and/or small intestine, chances are good that any member of the Hoffmeyer family has it. Needless to say, at the ripe old age of 36, I had my first colonoscopy; not just because of the terrifying family history, but this old gal was having some symptoms, as well. Alternating constipation and runny stools, and some pesky pain in my lower right abdomen.

Aside from having to force the prep liquid down my throat–a sickenly sweet fluid and tons of it, each gulp of the two-step preparation causing me to nearly vomit, my stomach churning it around and around–it was a pleasant experience. You take the prep, you shit like an opened fire hydrant for a few hours until you think you can’t possibly have anything left inside your guts, but ope! Here comes more! and at this point, you’re convinced you have managed to liquify all your internal organs and just flushed your kidneys and ureters (oh wait, is that part of my right lung?) down the toilet, it mercifully stops. Then, you wake up in the morning, have a responsible adult with you to drive you home after the procedure, get taken back to the pre-op area, get an IV and doses of sedation, get asked to count backwards from 10 and I think I made it to sounding out the “s” in seven before the next thing I knew, I was back in the recovery area having my blood pressure taken. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

My colonoscopy results came back abnormal. I have ulcers in an area in the colon (aka large intestine) that normally are indicative of Crohn’s disease. The gastro doctor I saw took biopsies of the area, sent them off to pathology, and they came back “inconclusive,” to which my doctor said it was probably from taking too much ibuprofen, as chronic use is known for causing erosion of the lining of your GI system.

Friends, I didn’t cotton to that. Yes, I take ibuprofen as I have a rotten knee and braces on my teeth, so I have been known to pop some gel caps in my day to ease the pain of one or the other, or if I’m feeling extra feisty, both at the same time. Keep in mind, however, this is a rare occasion, as the knee thing is been a chronic issue for over 25 years and at this point, I am so tolerant of the knee pain that my leg will have to be dangling from a frayed tendon before I take any pain medication for it, and even then, I reach for the tiny hoard of opiates I have in my bathroom for such a special occasion. This isn’t a pain ibuprofen will touch. It’ll try, bless its little ibuprofen heart. As for the braces thing, that has also become a thing I’ve acclimated to mostly and the last time I took the stuff to ease my head from hurting was two months ago. Essentially, my point being is if I’m in any sort of physical pain, I just deal with it until I can’t tolerate it, then I turn to a two-year-old prescription for oxycodone left over from my last surgery that’s been collecting dust in a drawer and then I go to bed. Ta da! What I’m trying to say is, I don’t crush ibuprofen up and snort lines off the back of my toilet. I don’t give myself ibuprofen enemas. I don’t roll around naked on my bed in thousands of pills of ibuprofen. How this doctor reacted to my colonoscopy results suggests that he believes all of the aforementioned scenarios.

I’m not usually a forceful, direct, or assertive woman. I despise confrontation of any sort, and will often grin and bear it as to avoid causing any hurt feelings towards another person. However, there have been a few rare times in my years on this earth where a tiny voice inside me goes “eh…I smell some horseshit here” and I will muster up courage to say something. This is one of those times. I didn’t buy the whole “chronic NSAID use” thing and I contacted this doctor again and asked if there were other tests we could do because my pain reliever usage vs. the initial results of this procedure didn’t settle well with me. I was symptomatic. To his credit, he agreed, and a fairly new blood test called PROMETHEUS (that just sounds elfin’ cool) was ordered and through the miracle of science, it tests for different antibodies produced by the body indicating some irritable bowel disease that might have been missed with colonoscopy. Hey, it happens. Sometimes the disease is too far into the small intestine to visualize, as I don’t know if you know this or not, but the colonoscopy only scopes the colon and only kisses the junction where the small intestine meets the large.

If you guessed PROMETHEUS came back inconclusive, you’d be right. I had also undergone genetic testing to determine if I was the lucky carrier of Lynch Syndrome which is often seen in families who happen upon the same cancer diagnosis, and if you’re the winner, that means your chances of developing certain cancers is just, like, fucking ridiculously astronomically high. I’m talking about 80%-ish. It’s mad. Fortunately for me, I am not a Lynch carrier, my results were still abnormal and I do have an increased risk of getting colon cancer, but my percentage is a measly 35% greater risk. Pssshhhh. Lame. Forever coming up short, I am. I can’t do anything right!

This was all between July and September 2018. I had also done a hydrogen breath test somewhere in there to see if I had small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO for short), and that was negative–a result I had to strong-arm my way into getting from this doctor’s office nearly 3 weeks after I had done it because fuck me, I guess?

Side note: this gastro office has been highly unpleasant to work with on many levels. First, it’s nearly impossible to call and speak to a person unless it’s the billing office and those bitches must hover over their phones because they’re the only ones who answer their goddamn telephones. There’s the patient portal thing which allows you to contact via email, but those messages aren’t checked often and responses are just as slow. I got a letter in the mail reminding me of the appointment I had three days prior a few times, too. Pair that with the general dismissal of my ongoing and persistent symptoms? Yeah. Frustrated be thy name.

I just let my issues rest for a few more months. I had started losing my weight in July and thought maybe because I was eating fast food for three meals a day and drinking liquor almost every day might have been the cause for my stomach woes, and honestly, I wouldn’t have been too far off base with that assumption, but by the time November rolled around and I was down a decent amount of weight by then and my diet had completely straightened up and I had mostly given up drinking alcohol, but I was still having gut troubles, I decided it was time to ditch the doctor and sought the counsel of the dietitian I was seeing.

We then started the Low FODMAP diet in hopes that maybe the stuff I’m eating is making me miserable. Maybe I have a gluten intolerance. Maybe I’m also sensitive to fructose or sucrose, or any number of other foods that dastardly cause gut pains.

I’m loathe to use the word “diet” here in regards to FODMAP because whenever I tell people I am on the FODMAP diet, their eyes get all big and full of wonder, but in the way that I can tell they’re thinking “ooh! Maybe this will finally be the diet that helps me lose weight!!” No. When I say “diet,” I mean diet as in very specific items of food I am able to consume, not something Marie Osmond and her giant beaver teeth hawk on Saturday morning tv. You won’t see Dr. Oz peddling FODMAP on his tv show next to açaí berry colonics. You won’t lose 18 inches and 40 pounds with FODMAP, but rather, you’ll hopefully lose the feeling of your lower abdomen filling up like a balloon due to intense bloating and farting so much that you are just certain you have blown a hole into the seam of your trousers.

FODMAP can be intense as it is restrictive. If you love apples and bananas and have an orgasm over asparagus, I have bad news for you, my weird friend. All three are off limits in FM (I shall refer to FODMAP as FM from now on because it’s a real pain in the patoot typing out FODMAP). Get a hard-on over garlic and onions? Well, tuck that thing into the waistband of your underpants, chum, because garlic and onions are no-no’s on FM. FM identifies all the foods even normal people have troubles digesting, like cauliflower and broccoli, thanks to excessive gas and/or heartburn, but then takes it all the way up to 11 for people trying to identify food intolerances and hopefully a way to figure out what foods cause so much grief, learning how to cook without said foods, slowly doing a challenge phase to specifically pinpoint which foods are the culprits, and then hopefully going forward knowing what foods are cool and which cause you to expel lava from your anus.

At first, FM and I got along well. It honestly isn’t as awful as it seems. I haven’t been able to eat apples normally for two years anyway thanks to my braces, so cutting them out of my diet was no big whoop. Bananas, on the other hand, was rough. I enjoy the things, especially the brown, speckled, overly ripe kind. But guess what? The more ripe a banana gets, the more sugars it releases, and that is where trouble starts. I can have bananas, but they have to be goddamn near green and no one likes underripe bananas. No one. And it’s also a bit of masochism thrown into it because as I mentioned, I dig the bananas and I have to decide if it’s worth the gut ache later to eat a ripe one or not. More often than not, I will eat it because YOLO, but not as often as I used to. With FM, I’ve been able to identify that I have a fructose intolerance, so that was neat. I can also eat onion/garlic prepared in one meal and be okay, but if I have leftovers with onion/garlic in it and eat said leftovers for a few more meals over the course of two days, I will wish I was dead. My abdomen distends so much and the gas that comes out of me is nothing less than horrific. Like, PIC (oh! There he is! I did write about him!) used to let off some real disgusting butt bombs, and for the first time since he’s moved, I am truly glad he is absent because the farts I have been letting rip would make anyone cry, they are that noxious. And by “noxious,” I mean the kind of farts that make you angry at yourself for letting rip because the smell is ungodly, but because they’re farts and farts are always hysterical, you end up cringing and laughing at the same time. BRRRRRAAAAPPPPPP OH MY GOD, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? and then laughing at yourself. Farts, man. Farts.

And now for the poop! I don’t know how hip some of y’all are, and please excuse my talking about my turds, but it’s all part of the story, so…for the past year, my poop has either been massive and admittedly impressive to so loose it borders on diarrhea. Back and forth, back and forth. The last three weeks, though, has brought on a bout of constipation that I have no idea what to do for. My current eating regime suggests that I get plenty of fiber, thanks to healthy servings of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains like steel-cut oatmeal. By all means, I should have the bowels of a goddess, clean as a whistle and in that coveted sweet spot of poop: not too hard, not too soft, and a dream to expel. The kind of poops that make you feel alive. Instead, I have the feeling I need to poop, go to the bathroom, prop my feet up on my trusty Squatty Potty (trademark symbol here), and I wait. I’ll let a ridiculously long fart go, then maybe a little turd will come out, fart some more, sit some more, strain some more–sometimes to the point where I’m certain I’ll burst that hidden aneurysm in my brain and die on the toilet–only to be met with another tiny, hard turd.

Constipation is awful. I’ve never, ever dealt with such a long spell in my adult life. I’ve been a good pooper until now. I’ve tried taking Miralax, which caused some ease in pooping for my morning constitutional, only to revert right back to the strain-fart-strain-fart-fart-tiny turd cycle. I’ve also gone between 3-4 days without pooping now. That, my assumedly traumatized friends, is highly unusual for me. I usually poop daily, sometimes as often as 2-3 times a day. Nope. Those days are apparently gone now. The last three weeks has been awful. I even resorted to trying to take magnesium citrate, which is the highest over-the-counter laxative a person can get before resorting to the stuff prescribed for colonoscopy prep. Meaning this stuff is potent. The bottle promises a bowel movement within 30 minutes of consuming. I reluctantly chugged the suggested dose last week, braced myself for some Montezuma’s Revenge, but was only rewarded with more gas, so I went to bed. Convinced I was either going to wake up in the middle of the night realizing I had just shit myself and my lovely bed or that I needed to go poop NOW, I was rewarded with disappointment instead. Nothin’. Y’all, that’s some impressive constipation if mag citrate can’t make you poop. That’s the point where you need either an enema or an exorcist, which oddly enough, is sometimes the same thing.

Since December and doing the FM thing and noticing my symptoms have not resolved and in certain aspects have gotten worse, I decided time was right to seek a second opinion. This is getting stupid. I called up to Omaha to a gastroenterology practice there and requested an appointment with them, and this morning was my appointment.

In the hour I spent with the new doctor, I am already feeling slightly inflated ego-wise due to my decision to switch doctors. This guy listened, he asked questions, he seemed genuinely concerned about me and my issues, and was appropriately horrified at my “alarming family history,” and offered his advice and professional opinion on what we need to do about me. It has been decided that I will have a repeat colonoscopy to see if the ulcers are still present, and if so, proceed from there. It’s of his thought that my initial colonoscopy did not show chronic NSAID overuse, but instead the first showing of Crohn’s disease. As fucked up as this sounds, I am so glad he thinks that. A Crohn’s diagnosis will be admittedly awful because it’s nothing to scoff at and at its worst, can be severely debilitating to a person, both in symptoms and management, as some people require weekly infusions to manage it, while others are lucky and can get by with taking a daily medication…for life, but still. Popping a pill once a day is far better than having to have a port inserted and undergo infusions.

If it turns out to be nothing again, well, he wants to work on symptom management and dietary changes/restrictions. I got more out of this guy in an hour than I did over the last 9 months at the other practice here in town. Incredible. I’m too busy being happy over having someone actually listen to me and my problems to be angry at this, and if I can be an advocate for getting second opinions, please allow me this small luxury. You are not stuck with the first provider you pick. If some wackadoo does or says something you don’t pick up his jive, you’re absolutely allowed to part ways and find someone else to express your issues to and hopefully, you end up with someone far better this second time around like I was. Shit, for real. This new guy could have told me I have cancer and I have weeks to live and I’d still be as happy as I am now.

Obviously, I hope the second colonoscopy doesn’t show anything and that I am in fact a crazy bitch and making my symptoms up for needed attention because Crohn’s disease is incurable and a lifelong ailment, and correct my somewhat ill-informed medical knowledge on the matter, but I do believe those with Crohn’s have a higher risk of developing that goddamn colon cancer…I mean, look at my dad. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s when he was 41 and died of colon cancer 25 years later. I hope that isn’t my fate, as well, but you also have to keep that knowledge at the back of your mind and want to be as proactive as you can in getting a definitive diagnosis of anything, something so you don’t keep feeling like you’re out of your goddamn gourd until oh, oopsies, hey, sorry about that colon cancer we maybe could have prolonged a bit had we diagnosed you properly with a bowel disease when we had the chance, but you also can’t let that dig at you.

At this point, I’m just tired of feeling like hell a majority of the time. I’m exhausted, I’ve started getting night sweats which is new and different or maybe I have tuberculosis, I don’t fucking know. The constant pain I have, the bloating, etc. It’s tiresome. I’m worn out. I want to eat popcorn knowing that hey silly goose, that’s the Crohn’s making you wish swift death upon you, not “why god why can’t I eat popcorn without wishing swift death upon me?” Popcorn is one of those foods that’s a great snack option because it’s high in fiber and relatively low in calories, but also a nightmare to people with IBS/Crohn’s because the fiber will destroy your life. It is also a thing I eat regularly and another one of those YOLO foods. Oh well.

Well, I’m pooped! Ha ha ha ha ha! Pun intended! I’m silly! Before I go, let me stick to my literal word and get a quick shout-out to losing weight! Yeah! And I miss that PIC guy! I also have depression and anxiety! Hey! Did you know I smoke, too? No? Well, I do!

I feel this post deserves some massive and truly heartfelt thanks for reading due to the nature of the content. Not everyone can read a 3,600 word essay on the wonders of the gastrointestinal system and farting, so kudos to those who toughed it up and stuck it out. I hope it was entertaining, informative, and my deepest apologies if you learned more about me and my bowels than you ever, ever cared to know. Maybe you feel a little bit closer to me now. Don’t worry; I’ll try to fuck up this intimacy somehow. Just ask PIC!

Alright, I’ve reached the self-deprecating portion of the evening which means I need to stop writing now.

As always, thank you for reading, and again, so sorry for talking about my guts.

E

 

February 24, 2019

Sunday Funday, amiright?! This is the day THE LORD hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Remember the Sabbath and keep it goddamn holy!

The last time I wrote, I talked about starting antidepressant medication again and I’m here to provide an update on this continuing saga. Because of who I am as a person, I’m not the best at remembering to take medication daily, no matter what it is. I do well for about a week, devoted to my new routine, then week two comes and it becomes iffy. I’ll either forget to take it at the time I had chosen to do so, or I’ll forget it entirely that day which leads to becoming more forgetful as time goes on and then I’ll eventually forget it altogether and end up quitting taking said medication. You’d think being a healthcare professional that I would be far more compliant than I am, but sadly, this isn’t the case.

This happened to me this week. I had packed the pills with me to take with lunch at work on Tuesday, but I forgot to do so and then work got weird late afternoon and I had spaced it completely that day because I was just so dang glad to be at home and wasn’t thinking of anything else but decompressing from the day. Wednesday ended up being an unexpected snow day from work, so I got to stay home and of course, this threw off my normal routine. I did think about the medication and went to look for the package to take it, but I couldn’t find it, which led me to believe I had left it at work. Crud. No pills two days in a row. If you’re familiar with psych medications–or any medication, really– that’s not usually the best idea in the world. When I got to work Thursday, I found out I indeed did not leave them there, so that means they were hiding at home somewhere in one of the four bags I carry. By then, I wasn’t overly concerned about finding the things because I knew that Friday I was going to pick up samples of a higher dose and give 40mg a whirl, so I wouldn’t need the 20mg pills, but also because I’m a bit obsessive (“a bit…” ha ha ha!), I had to find the pills or I would drive myself crazy and lo and behold, I did eventually find them in my backpack, which I swear to you I checked but obviously not well enough.

I stopped by my doctor’s office Friday morning, got the samples, and once in my vehicle, popped open the package and took my pill. Good job, Erin. Way to still be committed to wanting to feel better. A+ work, gal. There’s hope for you yet!

And then an hour later as I was eating lunch, I started to feel awful. I was nauseous and felt like I was going to throw up. Luckily, I had some anti-nausea medication around and I popped one of those suckers in my mouth. Sweet merciful lord, to me, there is no worse feeling than nausea. Recalling a friend of mine had messaged me after I started taking this particular medication, she wished me good luck with it as she had been on the same drug but had to stop due to it giving her some digestive issues, which is actually a fairly common side effect of antidepressants. I know I sure had problems with a few medications giving me the same effects and I stopped taking them because being depressed and having diarrhea both is just a cruel, sick joke. I took to Dr. Google and saw that side effects of Viibryd include nausea and vomiting. Terrific. I didn’t have any problem on the 20mg dose, so I’m going to contact my provider and ask her if we should back down to 20mg for a few more weeks to see how that goes. I ain’t about to feel like shit on 40mg, brothers and sisters. Eff that noise. Not to be dramatic, but I’d rather remain depressed and extremely passive with suicidal ideations than deal with nausea every day.

To provide peace of mind, what I mean by “extremely passive suicidal ideation” is again being overly dramatic and having the recurrent thoughts of “my problems would be solved if I wasn’t here.” I am not actively wanting to end myself, I absolutely promise that. I’ve been to that desperate state before and I can only assure you I am nowhere near that point, so please try not to worry about my well-being. You know me–I’m passive as hell. I’m a giant teddy bear of a woman, but I still get those thoughts running around my skull when I try to imagine my life in a year or two and I can’t come up with any valid scenario, I automatically assume that means that maybe I’ll be dead. For example, here’s a thought I have frequently: thanks to the yet not properly diagnosed gastrointestinal issues I’ve been dealing with over the last 18 months, I imagine I actually have colon cancer like my father before me and it’ll get the best of me. Or the lump that’s been in my left breast for the last two years finally decides it wants to progress to cancer. My brain is wild, y’all. It’s also kind of a massive asshole, as you can tell. But again, let me reiterate there is nothing to worry about. While I battle my brain, the bitch is going to have to try a lot harder if it wants to get rid of me. Like those stupid Facebook quizzes I like to take told me the other day: I’m a fighter and I fight because I’m a fighting fighter.

This post probably isn’t coming off as lighthearted as I think it is, and I’m so sorry. I’m over here slightly chuckling at how my grey matter behaves, like in a “oh, you silly brain!” 80s sitcom character who got into some zany antics that caused a wacky situation, and I’m smiling while shaking my head at it, that rascally brain of mine!

Seriously, though. I’m doing okay, I promise. I just have to get this medication thing sorted out, which is always a frustrating trial-and-error process. That’s the shit of these kinds of things; they are not a one-size-fits-all solution, unfortunately. What works for one person will not work for another. Thanks to the genetic testing I did, I know what medications will hopefully work and those that will not, which apparently most of the ones I have tried in the past do not metabolize well, which makes a fuck of a lot of sense and gives me some much needed validation that I’m not just being a wiener about it and not giving the medications a chance. Nah son, it’s just me and my body not being able to process certain types efficiently. It’s actually kind of sad because Ma messaged me to apologize for that. I mean, technically yes, thanks for that, lady…but it’s hardly her fault at all. Dad also had a hand in this, and his dad before him. I guess I just drew the genetic short stick. Intelligent design, my achin’ ass.

What else can I bitch about? My knee, of course! Yay! It’s been a real cunt this last week, even more so than usual. I blame the weather, which I’d like to congratulate everyone for surviving this latest shit snow show. Good job, you guys. It was a little touch and go there for a while, but we pulled through. Anyway, my knee has not taken kindly to it and my already abysmal range of motion really took a header this week. I tried to cycle on the trainer on Wednesday and after thirty seconds of trying to get the joint to cooperate enough to pedal, I quickly gave up as I couldn’t make a full revolution without leaning dangerously to my left side. That’s hardly the way to ride your bike and sure pissed me off. Fortunately, while at the gym yesterday, I was able to use the stationary bike without nearly as much difficulty, thank goodness, so I guess until my knee decides to cooperate with me, I’ll have to use the gym as my way of riding. Oh well. Better than not pedaling at all.

I don’t really want to write about weight today. Enjoy this brief break. You’re welcome. Don’t say I never do anything for you.

I will write a quick blurb on Crime Partner, though. I miss that goofy bastard every day and try to remind myself that he’s doing what is best for him, but because I’m selfish, I can’t help but think about him and wanting him closer again. It’s wild to think he’s been away for nine months already. Like, damn. I accidentally pulled a cord from my record player that was grounded into the electrical outlet and I’m too scared to put it back because I’m certain I’d electrocute myself, so if he could like, come back to put it back for me, that’d be great. Thanks. I mean, it’d be great to see him or whatever, but this is important. 

Alright, that’s all for today. I’m somewhat impatiently waiting for the fellas who plow the streets around my ‘hood to finish doing so–a task I am truly grateful for, by the way, but I’m a little antsy in my pants because I want to go to the gym, sweat a lot, and then sit in the hot tub to soothe my aching bones. I always thought I was a patient person, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m realizing I really am not as much as I want to give myself credit for. I can hear my father’s voice telling me to calm down, which we all know works about as well as baptizing a cat, may he rest in peace.

Stay safe and warm today! Bundle up! Don’t go anywhere unless you absolutely have to, which doesn’t apply to me, obviously, because I’m special.

As usual and always, thank you very much for reading. I swear to you I’m okay.

Erin E.

February 17, 2019

Hello. It’s your girl, Erin. Que pasa?

February hasn’t been the kindest to me, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t. Outwardly, things are normal and regular. Wake up in the morning–still at the ungodly hour of 3am, which now I’m certain is my bizarre way of displaying depression because I can’t ever do anything normal, but at least I cycle on the trainer around 4:30-5:00am, so I guess it isn’t all bad. I cycle, I get ready for work, I go to work, I come home, and usually head to bed around 8:30pm…even on the weekends, which I’m sure is another depression/isolation thing because I can use the excuse of “oh gosh, I’m sorry, but I’m too tired and going to bed soon” if by chance I’d ever get invited out to do something, which I don’t because of isolation, but if I ever did, I’d use my excuse.

Why so depress-y? Loneliness, sadness, missing PIC, and being mad at myself for becoming somewhat lackadaisical with my eating which in turn reflects on my stagnant weight loss, which then spurs fantastic bouts of self-loathing and hatred. It’s truly the best. I’m ecstatic about this.

I had thought I was slowly getting used to all the changes that have happened during the last nine months, but I’d be wrong. Sure, I’d have my moments during that time, throw a fun little pity party, then wipe my eyes, pull up those bootstraps, and forge ahead. Not this month, by golly.

**Note: my apologies if this seems all over the place; I’m tapping away while trying to watch “Abducted in Plain Sight” and Jesus Lord have mercy.

My despair (so dramatic!) has led to letting my eating habits slide. I’m partly to blame because Trader Joe’s was selling these Valentine’s Day gummy candies and I’m goofy for gummy candy and I tried hard to limit my servings, and to my credit, I didn’t eat the entire bag in one sitting like I would have before, but I was eating these damn things every day as a “hey! You deserve it, kid!” reward, and that isn’t a path I want to go down again. I also bought four goddamn boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and I’ve actually done well with those–they’re in my freezer so I forget I have them and when I do remember, I can eat one and call it good.

However. There’s these other cookies and snacks that I can’t quit shoving down my gullet and those are Complete Cookies. The marketing wizards at this company sure know how to target folks like me: the fat trying not to be, so the wording on the package makes these seem like they’re “healthy.” Vegan! Soy, dairy, egg, and gluten free! Sixteen fuckin’ grams of protein per cookie! Two hundred calories, and it’s a huge cookie! Holy shit! And they’re good as hell, too. Soft and they come in delicious flavors, to boot. My favorite is peanut butter. Good god on high, it’s delicious. But…unless you truly read the food label well, you’ll discover that ha ha ha, you ignorant consumers, a serving size is half a cookie. So I’ve been mowing these bad boys down and not realizing I’m snarfing 400 calories and too many grams of sugar. Fucking fuck it!

I also love these things called Bobo Bars and same goddamn thing: eat half of it, asshole. Basically what I’m saying is, in an attempt to find decent snacks to eat at work when I get too busy to eat or when I get home late and want something of substance and I’d reach for one of the aforementioned because they are good for me, what I’m really doing is just eating a goddamn huge fucking cookie. Oy fucking vey. Needless to say, I was truly puzzled by not losing weight the last several weeks. Huh. Oh well. They really are good cookies, even if they are baked with lies.

Not losing weight despite still busting hump at the gym puts me in A Mood™️. Missing PIC puts me in A Mood™️. Honestly, at this point, everything and everyone puts me in A Mood™️, which is why I started–rather reluctantly, mind you–I started taking medication again for Dickhead Depression and Asshole Anxiety. I say “reluctantly” because I was trying to convince myself that I didn’t need no stinking medication again! I have control over this! Medication be godDAMNED!! But when all your bad days start blending together and you become irrationally irritated by every little thing, perhaps one should get over oneself and swallow your pride and the goddamn pill at the same time.

It’s been nine days on the stuff and it’s too early to tell if it’s being helpful to me, and I can definitely confirm this as today is A Day™️. I’m still messing with the lingering effects of the viral infection I picked up earlier this week, and had felt fairly good the last few days, but today kicked my flat butt again and I’ve been snacking on bullshit (typed with popcorn fingers) and I swear to you, I think I have watched every video Facebook has to offer, which is why I have moved from upstairs in my bed to downstairs on the couch watching this fucked. up. documentary.

I had a moment yesterday where I briefly broke down while taking the medication. Ideally, you titrate the dose up from 10mg the first seven days to 20mg on day eight and as I reached for the much bigger pill, I looked around the kitchen at the mess that’s been piling up over the week that I just can’t bring myself to clean and I shed some tears. I cried for myself, for what my brain does to me, for the things I do, for the things I don’t do, and while initially disgusted I was crying because ew…crying…I was also relieved to be doing so as I haven’t cried in a while, which is highly unusual for me. For a gal who claims she detests showing emotions, I sure do cry a lot!

I hope this crap kicks in soon. I’m tired of this shit, both the literal and figurative sense. I hope it works and the genetic testing done to determine that this medication “should” work based on how I metabolize it wasn’t done in vain and a struggle that has been over ten years in the making ends. I also hope it makes me less dramatic (that’s supposed to be a joke).

Again, let me say that this documentary is wild. Wild wild.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’ll try to get over the slothful day I am having now and get right again this week, and also try to be more patient and kind to myself in the process. Shit isn’t linear by any means, and shame on me for forgetting that and setting too high expectations that my process would be. What an arrogant thing to think, too. My god, woman. Ebbs and flows, comes and goes. Cut yourself the slack you dish out to other people for once, you daft broad!

That’s all I have to say about that.

As always and as usual, my humble thanks for reading. We’ll be okay.

E

February 9, 2019

Hello and good morning to you this ninth day of February in the year of our lord 2019.

It is 4:50am as I type this sentence and I’ve been up for two hours already because I royally fucked up my sleep schedule. I was not feeling the greatest yesterday and couldn’t decide between a few options as to what was causing it: was I finally catching the illnesses going around the office this week? Was it feeling poorly due to not eating the best this past week? Was it fatigue caused by working out hard yesterday morning via the bicycle and meeting with the trainer at the gym? Who knows, but I will tell you that I laid down for a brief nap yesterday afternoon at 4:30pm and that turned into sleeping for almost 12 hours. Oopsies. Even more oopsies because I had plans last night that I most definitely slept through. Good one, Erin. I feel okay as of now, so I guess my Rip Van Winkle-esque “nap” was needed. Oh well. I’m slightly ticked off at myself though because I was to travel to Omaha last night for a show to see the band Guster perform with the Omaha Symphony and I slept my ass right through it. Goddamn it. I woke briefly at 9pm and once the time registered in my brain, I got mad because I was to have been in Omaha by 8pm for the show. Shit.

Truth be told, I wasn’t up to going to that show yesterday, which proves that my anxiety decided to kick my ass yet again. I had been excited for it the few days leading up to it, but once yesterday rolled around, I very much had the feeling of dread set in. I was trying hard to convince myself that it would be good for me to get out and about, but I wasn’t buying it. Had I been going with someone else, like PIC, I’m sure I would have been more willing and able to go, but because it was just me, I wasn’t. Thanks, brain. I hate you.

Speaking of anxiety, I’ve been cognizant it has been kicking my ass more frequently as of late and mentioned it to the nurse practitioner I see for my primary care. She ended up having me do genetic testing to help determine which medications I metabolize well and which ones are pointless to take since I have a long list of medications under my belt that I’ve failed miserably at, and I had a moment of smugness when the results came back and nearly all the medications I’ve taken in the past were on the poor metabolizer list. Ha HA! Take THAT! I’m not crazy after all! My body is just shit at what it does with some things! Validation is mine! Having said that, I was given a sample of Viibryd to try but because of who I am as a person, I haven’t started it yet. What was the goddamn point of me bringing it up and going through all this to not even take the shit yet, then? Excellent question and my only answer is because I am ridiculous. Like my least favorite musician Meat Loaf said, “I would do anything to feel better…but I won’t do that.” Jesus Christ, woman.

I’m being stubborn about taking the medication, a behavior I very rarely display (that’s sarcasm, folks). I’m wary of starting to take something again because to date, this will be the like, twelfth drug I’ll have tried in as many years and honestly, I’m tired. I’m tired of the process of elimination. I’m tired of the side effects. I’m tired of feeling like my brain is out of control, though, too, so I should just swallow the goddamn pride and the pills and get over it, but fuck. I am trying very hard to convince myself that I don’t need no stinkin’ pills to help me and that all the exercise I do alone is the only medication I need, but that’s dangerous of me to do and sets back the progress we’ve made with mental health over the last several years. I’m feeding the negative stigma by refusing medications and having the mindset that “all you need is fresh air and exercise to help squash those negative thoughts! Don’t poison yourself with unnecessary pills! Take a walk, you sad sack!” I swear, I am a fairly smart woman in many areas but this one obviously escapes me.

Speaking of exercise, I haven’t sang the praises of the indoor bicycle trainer enough lately, so allow me to rectify that situation now. I am in love with this thing. In the month I’ve had it, I have ridden my bike almost every day and have logged over 120 miles on it–which is half of the miles I rode all of last year alone. Once the weather turns from the frozen tundra that is Nebraska during the winter months and I’m able to ride outside, look out, world! I’m pleased with my progress. I also ordered and received the special pedal extender for my bike that will hopefully help this asshole knee of mine. I haven’t installed it yet because I don’t know how and I had one of those moments of almost inconsolable sadness when I found myself wanting to reach for my phone to ask PIC if he could come over to help put it on for me and realizing ha ha ha silly bitch, he doesn’t live here anymore and can’t help you with that. If I’m honest, I would state that has been a factor to my piss-poor mood this week. Fuckin’ shit goddamn. So, I’ll be honest and admit that has most definitely factored into my mood this week. Funny how shit like that works.

Another factor is realizing that I’ve been living where I am for two years and thinking back to when I moved in and how much he helped me when I did and having the ol’ heartstrings get tugged by nostalgia regarding that. He helped me pick out furniture, assembled said furniture, arrange said furniture, etc. It’s been a bitch thinking about that, too.

This week hasn’t been all sad-sackery, however. I also went in to have my braces adjusted and was told in a roundabout way that I’m “in the homestretch” of having them taken off. I still don’t know when for sure, but May will mark two years since they got put on and I’m hoping I don’t have too much longer with them. We’re working on my bite now and it’s absolutely wild to know that the tiny rubber band in my mouth is fixing that. When I try to move my jaw to the position where it used to be when I bite down, it feels foreign and bizarre. Braces are wild, y’all. I’m glad I got them, but will be even more glad when they get taken off because I’m getting real sick of them. Oh well.

Hey! Let’s talk more about weight loss because I haven’t mentioned it yet! Okay! It’s been a week with that shit, too. I’ve gotten somewhat lackadaisical with my eating habits, meaning I have sought out solace in carbs and shunned vegetables. Throw in a food day at work for a birthday and well, there were whispers of eating habits past that came to visit. Granted, I didn’t overindulge like former me would have, but it still feels like I did. I never fancied myself an emotional eater but rather just a lazy one, but given my mental status this week in conjunction with how I’ve been eating, then yeah…pass the refined carbohydrates, please. Mmmm…the homemade bread I made on Sunday…(insert Homer Simpson “nnnngggggggaaaaaahhhhhkkkk” noise here).

I also seem to be in the throes of my third plateau at the moment and keep gaining/losing the same two pounds for a month despite my increased activity. I know that means somewhat good-ish things, as in perhaps I’m gaining that coveted lean muscle I’ve heard so much about, and also having the body fat shift without weight loss thing going on, which is also good, but also frustrating as all fucking hell. Clothes fit looser, and I can see more defined muscles in my arms, shoulders, and legs, as well as noticing my tummy fat isn’t nearly as fatty, but goddamn it, I want to see pounds gone, too! But that’s further proof people absolutely define their successes with losing weight purely to what the scale says, not those other subtle differences and changes.

This weight loss challenge at work isn’t helping much, either. I find it fascinating how people react to what they weigh and how they treat themselves, myself included. I weighed in with a coworker and her weight is very much a number I’d give my left tit to weigh, but she sees it as being fat and a failure at her own struggles to lose pounds. Again, people are so weird about weight loss. As of this morning, I weigh 195.8 pounds, and to some people, that’s fairly heavy and would still consider overweight. To me, that means I’ve lost 65 fucking pounds.

Another weird thing people do about weight is size clothes they wear. For example, this same coworker and I are the same size now and to me, I’m like, “holy fucking shit, that’s amazing! I honestly don’t remember a time when I was a size 12!” To her, she feels even more fat because of the fact we are the same size because she sees that same size 12 as being obese and the biggest size she’s been, when I look at her and am in awe I’ve been able to whittle down to her size because I have always admired how she looks and often wished I was her size. Now that I am, I’m goddamn proud of it (mostly) and she still thinks she’s too heavy. Wild, I say. Wild. People are funny that way.

I think that’ll do it for today with what’s on my mind. I hope I get over myself and start that medication and come to the realization I want to feel better and need the help of the medication to do so. There is zero shame in taking medications for your brain, and I know this and advocate for it, but again, I’m a stubborn mule and think I’m the exception to that rule. Oy.

I also hope I finally stop obsessing over the scale. It’s gotten better over the last eight months, but not to where it should be. I need to focus on how I feel and look, not what a number is. Easier said than done, but wilder things have happened.

As always and as usual, thank you for reading. I sure appreciate it. Namaste, y’all.

E

 

Mea Culpa

Due to my admittedly severely lacking vocabulary…and a stupid quiz on Facebook about a year ago that tested your word stock, I signed up for a daily word through Merriam-Webster in a small effort to help boost my knowledge. I’m happy to report there has been a small amount of words I didn’t know, so good for me for expanding my little world. One of the WoD this week was “mea culpa”: noun: an acknowledgment of one’s fault or error; Latin meaning “by my fault.” I wish to have this phrase inscribed in my tombstone, please and thank you.

I would like to mea culpa the fuck out of this post. I also apologize for not knowing how to use the phrase in context, apparently. Mea culpa…?

I would like to start off by confessing I have had a week. Not necessarily good, not exactly rotten, but that kind of week where you teeter precariously between the two. Why? Because I bought a scale shortly after Christmas and have been weighing myself daily, that’s why.

I’m not sure what happened exactly, but after Christmas, I lost weight. I lost a decent amount of weight, as in six pounds. I have no idea how I lost six pounds, but by golly, I lost six pounds. And then I lost two more pounds. At one point, I got to 194, which of course put me over the goddamn moon. Elated, I was. Thrilled.

Then, then I gained eight pounds last week somewhere. I’m participating in a clinic-wide weight loss challenge at work and we weigh in weekly. It was $5 to sign up and if you gain weight at the weighing in, you have to pony up $0.50. Imagine my utter dismay and feelings of betrayal and inadequacy when I hopped on the scale and found out I had gained. This obviously and clearly paved the way for my mood the rest of the week and boy howdy, was it ever a foul one. Enter the familiar thoughts of “you fucking suck,” “you’re always going to be fat,” and “give up now, you fat fuck.” You know, real positive, happy-feely shit like that.

What could have possibly caused me to gain eight motherfucking pounds in a week?! I haven’t eaten anything to constitute an eight pound gain! I’ve gone to the gym! I met with a friend of mine to ride our bikes in her basement on her trainers! What the motherFUCK?!

I had to try to talk myself off the proverbial ledge. I hadn’t been the best with drinking water, so most likely fluid retention because I would have had to gorge on over 3,500 calories a day in order to gain fat weight. Okay, that’s feasible. The trainer at the gym also kicked my butt fairly solidly, as well. I did the other days I went to the gym, too. This could be my body going “you know what? Fuck you,” and adjusting to this. I also know a person’s weight fluctuates naturally throughout the day, so okay, start tiptoeing away from the edge, woman. Be rational and logical here, for chrissakes (lollolol).

Despite my talking to myself about probable causes, I couldn’t shake it. I felt disgusting. I felt I looked like I still weighed almost 260 pounds. Ridiculous. I fell off the wagon slightly for about two days, too. I had the feeling of defeat and well, I wanted to give up. Might as well, right? You’ve proven you can’t maintain this, or make any more progress, so let me throw this towel in. Fuck it. We had a food day at work mid-week and I grazed off all the snacks all day long. In retrospect, I don’t think I ate as poorly as I certainly could have and used to frequently and daily, but after six months of changing my food habits, it definitely felt like I was eating nothing but pure garbage.

I think I finally snapped out of it Thursday. The friend I rode with Saturday sold me her old trainer for a song and a dance, so when I got home that night from work, I rode. I rode Friday morning and met with the trainer in the afternoon. I rode this morning and then went to the gym afterwards. I’ll ride tomorrow morning and hit the gym again. I’ll ride, I’ll ride, I’ll ride.

On a positive note, I am rather fond of the bike trainer and am so grateful my friend decided to sell it to me. It’s a simple gadget, but effective. I have not been that drenched while performing an exercise in a while, so to pretend my sweat was all the negative, nasty things I’ve said about myself this past week was pouring out of me as I pedaled? That was a good thing. I’m still fairly green when it comes to this cycling game, but that’s okay. I know enough to make it work, and you only get better by repetition, right? Right. I also somewhat foolishly signed up to do a 62 mile ride in May, in addition to the other long charitable rides I like to do, so hopefully this spring and summer is the one where I am efficient at cycling and don’t feel like dying after I ride…save the still smoking thing, which you know, but whatever.

Thank you for the trainer, Sandra. It might be my savior.

I was texting with my best friend earlier today and she mentioned that she would always be there for me if I needed to talk and I had to chuckle at that. This bitch has known me for fifteen years and I would think by now she knows getting to open up and be that dreaded vulnerable word is excruciating to me, but bless her heart for offering. I’m glad she hasn’t given up on me yet, despite having plenty of opportunities to do so. I’ve discovered I must be truly awful to be around because my friend base seems to be shrinking. Mea culpa…? Did I use that right this time? Probably not. Dang it!

Since PIC left, I’ve been isolating myself, even more than I usually do. I eat, I work, I go to the gym, and I go to the grocery store. Those are my three happenin’ hangouts. Truth be told, I’m mostly okay with this. I have learned I do actually enjoy being alone, but feeling lonely gets to me. I miss PIC, not that he and I were constantly together, but quality not quantity. I haven’t been right since he’s been gone and I suspect it’ll be a good, long time before I am.

When my dad’s last wife died (Jesus Christ, man) in 2009, I don’t know if I’ll ever forget him falling to his knees beside her hospital bed in the living room, clasping her cold, dead hands in his, and wailing about never loving anyone ever again, and by god, that stubborn fuck kept to his word. He spent the remainder of his life by himself. I remember thinking that so overly dramatic and attributed it to the intense grief and pain he felt at her unfair loss due to cancer, but I admit I kind of understand it now to an extent. PIC and I have/had a unique dynamic. I mean it when I say that he’s one of the very few people that I can tolerate for extended amounts of time and not feel like murdering him. Only a little bit. (Joke, mostly.) We have a tremendous rapport, or at least I think we do, and I love(d) being around him, even though I wasn’t always the best at showing it. He quieted my constantly thinking mind, and to find that kind of peace around someone is rare. But he’s gone now, and I feel empty. I use the gym as a way to preoccupy myself. I mean, the poor guy didn’t die, but some days it feels that way. I don’t mean to equate his moving away to how my father felt losing his wife because that’s a bit over the top, but I do understand it much better now.

The dramatic apple doesn’t fall far from the dramatic apple tree, I type as I flail my arm over my face, falling onto my velvet chaise lounge, waving my silk handkerchief, as I sob loudly. Kidding. My chaise lounge is more of a tweed fabric.

Sorry for the weirdness; I decided to imbibe in some wine this evening and apparently when you go from being a borderline alcoholic to drinking rarely now, this shit hits you a little harder. I’m also sleepy as heck, but that could also be because I get up at 3am. Or the wine. Or both. I’ve had a single glass and I’ve been nursing it for the last hour. Jesus wept over my intolerance to his sauce now! Not a bad thing, by any means.

Speaking of booze, the popular thing all the kids on Facebook have been sharing this week is the 10 year aging thing, aka “thanks for updating our facial recognition, schmucks!” I found a photo of myself from 2008 that truly horrified me for a lot of reasons. It was taken in the bar I used to frequent twice a week. I am at my absolute heaviest weight, almost pushing 270 pounds. My cheeks are red–guessing from the copious amounts of alcohol consumption I used to drink back then–and my skin looks awful. It’s pale save the cheeks, and I had a breakout. I saw that picture and gasped. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it and I did the side-by-side comparison and sweet lord have mercy on us all. It was quite stark in the contrast. Yikes.

That’s all for tonight. I’m tired. I’ve lost steam as I write, so no rambling on for over 3,000 words tonight. Consider it my gift, but thank you for reading, as always.

E