Category Archives: Health crap

Change Tends to Snowball

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Since we’ve switched to a whole foods, plant-based diet here at casa Forcie, I’ve noticed that other things about my life are slowly changing as well.

I think if I’d become vegan for ethical reasons, I wouldn’t have made it until now.  I do have ethical concerns, but it turns out the real reason I’m sticking with it is pretty much my own survival.  Specifically, I want to live to be old, and I want to be healthy enough to enjoy it.  Hence: whole foods, plant based diet.

I’m not opposed to having animal products once in a while [as in, two or three times a year]. But I’m finding that every time we eat meat or cheese, we all get sick afterward.  Our bodies don’t like it anymore.

That’s been surprising to me. Another surprise has been that no matter how badly you stuff yourself on healthy vegan foods, you’re only ‘overstuffed’ for about thirty minutes or so and then you’re back to your usual energetic self.

Another thing that the kids, Steve and I have all noticed is that we don’t get sluggish as much as we used to.  Our minds are clearer.

The one downside is that whole foods means that the food you eat isn’t much different from it was when it came out of the ground, so you have to fix it. I’ve enjoyed figuring out how to make plant-based dishes that are full of savoriness [AKA Umami] because that is what keeps this enjoyable for me.  It has to taste good or I’m not going to eat it.

Which is all fine and good except for two things: cooking everything from scratch, while better for my family and me, is also WAY more time-consuming than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven or slapping some ham between two pieces of bread.

I spent at least two hours preparing dinner every day, and since I’m also the messiest cook who ever lived, I spend one to two hours cleaning up as well [although cleanup is usually done the next day before I start cooking again…I usually have the kids ‘clean’ up after dinner, but they’re kids and they generally suck at it.

It’s one of those ‘choose your battles’ things, unfortunately.  It ends up being less work to do it myself than to try to get them to do it.  I end up choosing between having them clean up, after which there’s no time to fix dinner, or cleaning up by myself, fixing dinner, after which I end up spending four or five hours in the kitchen.

Depending on how I feel, I usually do one or the other.

Which is why I’m writing this now, because one of the changes I’m undergoing is that I’m learning to stop fighting the way things are and go with the flow.

The reality is, I will never spend five hours in the kitchen a day, every day, in order to make sure we all have healthy food. There will continue to be days when I fling my hands up and say, “Screw it. I’m NOT cooking a damn thing today.”

And I think maybe that’s okay. I think I might be able to plan a little and freeze leftovers that can be taken out and thawed and eaten once in a while.  I also think we can have a baked potato night and the occasional ‘Dumpster Burrito’ night as well.

I tend to boycott fixing breakfast and lunch.  I eat them both every day, but they usually consist of easy stuff like PB&J, apples and PB, oatmeal, or one of my homemade TV dinners [Green Giant steamer bag and a veggie burger or veggie chicken patty]. The TV dinners are fairly processed, but not as much as the ready-made ones.

OH! That’s another  crazy thing. As my body adjusts to having healthy fuel, I seem to be drinking less coffee, tea, and soda.  I still have all of those things, but I don’t crave them as much as I used to.  It’s weird as hell to me that I really enjoy homemade lemon water these days.  I even like it without ice. It’s basically the juice from half a lemon in a quart of water, sweetened to taste [right now, that means enough sweet-n-low to represent the sweetness of about  8 tsp of sugar or 2 2/3 tbsp. I may switch to honey or some other natural sweetener at a later date, but sweet-n-low has been around forever and it’s cheap when you buy it in bulk].

It’s late now, and I’m actually getting sleepy, so I guess I’ll continue this another time. I was actually going to talk about something else tonight but apparently I needed to talk about this right now.

This is me, going with the flow. 🙂

 

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I’m Not Crazy, Just Bipolar

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Okay, so bipolar by definition pretty much means you’re crazy, but I read a book with that title and it made me happy.  Last week, I called my doctor and was talking to her nurse [named Joy, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the world] and I was talking too fast, and bursting into tears, and generally not making much sense, and she said to me, “Um, you need an appointment.  What are you doing this afternoon?”  It was 1:12 PM, and I was going to have to pick up kids from school at 2:30, so she said, “Can you be here at 1:30?”

“Yeah. Let me brush my teeth and I’ll be on my way.”  I might have changed my clothes, too, ’cause I don’t remember if I’d gotten dressed yet, but I was there by about 1:35.  They weighed me and did vitals, and in comes my doctor, asking what was going on.  I burst into tears mid-sentence, said I was feeling too crazy, told her about a trip through the internet I’d had earlier, and how I’d stumbled upon the term Bipolar 2 and so-called ‘Soft-Bipolar’ and that Bipolar 2 was scarily familiar.

I told her about seeing a psychiatrist years ago right after my son was born, and telling her about my crazy mood swings, and asked her then if I might be Bipolar.  She asked me if I’d every disappeared for weeks at a time, gambled all my money away, or gone on spending sprees or alcoholic binges. I hadn’t, so she said I was just depressed.

I was on Zoloft at the time, and it worked amazingly well. I’d been spiraling into a deep postpartum depression and Zoloft kicked me out of it.  I felt great. In fact, I hadn’t felt that good in forever.  I realized then that I’d struggled with depression since I was a very small child, like about age six.  I also knew that there had been times where I was really hyper and happy, but again, I’d never exhibited the ‘typical’ signs of mania, so my psychiatrist told me that was actually ‘normal’.

After a year or so, the Zoloft stopped working as well, so we raised my dose.  We continued to raise my dose until I finally decided I needed to find a non-med way of dealing with my depression. I found a book that was basically cognitive therapy written down, and put the lessons to work.  I managed to develop some coping skills, and thought I’d finally kicked my depression in the butt.

Looking back, I see now that I was probably rapid cycling for most of my adult life.  I know I’ve had normal days, and maybe even weeks or months where I was pretty okay. But the thing that stands out now is that about every six months or so, I would go through a time where I was having a hard time sleeping [insomnia is a given in my life and has been since I was a kid. The big difference now is that I take a LOT of meds before bed so they’ll make me sleepy enough I don’t have a choice but to go to sleep. In essence, they knock me out enough that I can’t think even if I want to, which allows me to go to sleep].

The creepy thing is, I can also see that there are times when I’ve been full on delusional and possibly manic, but due to geography and lack of opportunity, never got into nearly as much trouble as I might have. In other words, I was willing to do crazy things, but my friends kept me more or less grounded.  Growing up on a farm in the middle of nowhere may very well have saved my life.

In fact, once I could drive, I made some incredibly crappy decisions without any consideration of the consequences. The thing is, it’s still kinda hard to know what was just normal teenage behavior and what was outside of normal. I certainly wasn’t the craziest kid in town, but I definitely did things when I was hyper that I never would have done had I been thinking clearly.

There were definitely times that had someone offered, I would have done anything anyone suggested. But during my normal or depressed times, I was too shy to talk to the kids who would have encouraged that kind of behavior, and when I was manic [or hypomanic] I was angry at those same kids and hated them…so I avoided them anyway!

So much of my life makes more sense now.  I’ve been reading stories of people with bipolar disorder, and every once in a while, it hits me, “Dear God, that’s me.  It was always me.”  I’ve always had incredibly deep emotional highs and lows. I just feel more intensely than what can be considered ‘normal’.  Sometimes, I would have an intense high or low for no reason, and then go back in my mind to figure out what had caused the mood swing.  Now I know, there was no cause.  I mean, there might have been a trigger, but that’s not the same thing.

So looking back, I think my first manic or hypomanic state happened when I was about 13.  I spent the entire year completely hyper and pushing boundaries. The funny thing is, something always happened that prevented me from going through with some of my more erratic plans. My best friend and I had gotten caught skipping class and I believe we were suspended for a half day and got our parents called. So we decided we were going to run away from home. I missed the bus on purpose, and as my friend and I were walking out the front door to go somewhere that wasn’t home, my friend’s mom was waiting by the front door of the school and saw us.  My friend had an eye appointment she’d forgotten about.

My life is kind of littered with weird little coincidences like that. Things would happen to prevent me from going as far as I’d planned or been willing to go.  The few times nothing was there to stop me from making a bad choice, the experience was horrible enough that it scared me out of trying it again [or else it triggered an episode of depression, which sucked away my motivation].  One of the weird things about mania is that everything seems connected. It’s all a sign from God, or the Universe, or whatever.  It’s common to have spiritual experiences. It’s basically an altered state of consciousness without drugs.  It can be a time of wonderful creativity, or it can be horrible and incredibly self-destructive.

I never became suicidal to the point of actively trying to take my life, but I’ve been to a point where I wished I could die, and would do things that I knew could kill me if I got lucky.  Or unlucky, depending on how you look at it.  One of my more brilliant slow suicide attempts was when I started smoking at 18. I didn’t have the guts to attempt suicide, but I knew that smoking could eventually kill me, so I started.

So my first manic state was around age 13, and my second started right before I turned 19. Once I was 18, I had my driver’s license, so I was able to get into considerably more trouble than I had been at 13.  In fact, thinking about it today is still a little traumatic.  During that year or so, I lost my virginity through sexual assault, flunked out of nursing school, was sexually promiscuous with multiple partners, experimented with drugs and alcohol, and was generally a complete basket case.

I see now that my behavior during that time was completely out of character for me.  Looking back, and having read real accounts of what a mania episode looks like, I see that I more than qualified during that time.  In fact, writing even the briefest rundown of what happened to me during that year makes me cringe in shame.  I don’t want anyone to read it, and I didn’t even go into any real details.

It’s highly disturbing to realize that while most of my episodes have been with depression and hypomania, I’ve had distinct breaks from reality, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that they were far more frequent than I’d like to think about.

During the semester in which I managed to get kicked out of nursing school [I find that I want to tell you that I didn’t actually flunk out. I still had passing grades, all As and Bs, in fact. The reason my teachers didn’t let me continue was because I didn’t do my clinical papers.  Seriously. I didn’t graduate because I didn’t get my homework done. I could have sat and recited every disease process I’d seen, word for word, during my clinical time, but because I hadn’t written it down, I didn’t get to continue] I can’t help but wonder what might have been different if someone had been able to see my behavior as a manic episode.

It was 1993-1994, so chances are, I would have flunked out anyway, but still. If I’d have been diagnosed, they might have let me come back the following year if I’d managed to get stabilized by then.  There are some colleges that allow you to drop classes and take a leave of absence due to mental health issues.  God knows I needed one.  As it was, I got a mood stabilizer of sorts within a short time anyway. I met my future husband.

Which is where I need to end, because my current husband [who is the same guy! Let’s hear it for my beloved having the patience of Job dealing with a crazy wife all these years] is waiting for me to finish this so we can go on a motorcycle ride.  Cannot say no to motorcycle rides.  They are magnificent.  😉

Flu Sucks

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Ugh.  Matthew started running a fever on Sunday morning.  By Monday morning, Steve had it.  Late Monday morning, Michaela had it.  She cried and said she felt like she had a fever.  She did.  She asked to go to the doctor.  I took her.  Doc said we all had influenza, the wicked killer kind that everyone is getting.

He gave Steve and me samples of Tamiflu, and gave me scripts for all three kids, even though Shaya wasn’t sick yet, and neither was I.  Our prescription plan sucks ass [$100 deductible per person in the family, with no family maximum.  For those of you who are bad at math, or don’t know how many people we have in our family, that’s $500 deductible a year.  Heh.  We can’t afford that, but whatever.].  The co-pay after the deductible is supposed to be that we pay 40% but that doesn’t happen every time.  It’s only certain drugs, and naturally, my family sometimes needs meds that aren’t covered [non-formulary, whatever the fuck that means…I think it means they’re cheap bastards, but that’s just MHO].

So anyway, the bill for Tamiflu for just my kids?  $200.  If he hadn’t had samples, I couldn’t have gotten Steve’s and my prescriptions filled.  That shit’s expensive!  And I honestly don’t know if it did anything, but whatever.

Tuesday morning, Shaya was sick.  I took care of everyone in the house.  By Tuesday evening, Steve was coherent again, as was Matthew.  Michaela was getting better, too.  Shaya was still dying [she and Michaela threw up with this stuff, Matt had diarrhea and coughed his head off, and Steve was mostly coughing and aching bad enough that he just lay there and moaned most of Tuesday..so not fun for me]

Wednesday evening, after everyone was mostly recovered [except Shaya] the adventure began for me.  Aches, pains, some coughing, a little nausea, and today, diarrhea.  Let it be known that I hurt like hell, but refused to moan.  I even got up in the middle of the night to get my own medicine [it’s easier that way, trust me].

Steven is almost perfect as a husband.  His reaction to his own illnesses takes away a couple of ‘perfection points.’  There are a couple of other things that drive me nuts [like why the hell has he been watching Walker, Texas Ranger lately?  I think he does it to torture me.  That definitely shaves off a couple more points!] but I didn’t come here to tell you this!  The Walker thing is actually cute, even though it reaches new levels of annoying [is Chuck Norris the world’s WORST actor or what?!?] And everyone is looking pretty shitty through these flu-dimmed eyes of mine.  So don’t take it personally, Stevie.  You know how much I love you! [and I did say, truthfully, that he’s almost perfect.  Way better than I ever thought of being, which I am currently proving by bitching, eh?].

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a post, but damn.  All I want to do is be a bitch and gripe about stuff.  I’ve got snark, sarcasm, and meanness coming out my ears, and rather than plague you nice people with it, I’m going to sigh and sign off for now.

See you soon, I hope!

Still Not Quite Right

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And it’s bumming me the fuck out.  I mean seriously, how long can one person feel like shit?  I’m all sluggish and nauseated and having cramps and headaches and I’m tired and I can’t think most of the time.  I dunno.  I think I’m a mess.

So whiny is me.  I’m losing weight, though, so yay for that, but still, is it worth it since I feel like shit?  Not only am I back to my pre-pregnancy weight [as in, before Shaya pre-pregnancy] I’m also back to what I weighed when I got married [125 lbs, if you’re curious].  I’m not, however, back to my pre-pregnancy shape.  Heh.  Probably gonna have to do some crunches to accomplish that one.

The weird thing is, I feel all yucky and fat and stupid… it’s not a literal ‘fat’ feeling, but my body just feels wrong.  My stomach isn’t back to normal from my lovely stint of salmonella poisoning, and my heart’s wonky from my period, so that doesn’t feel right either.  I dunno.  I think I need to sleep for the rest of the week and come back next Monday and see how I feel.

Heh.  If only.  No, I gotta get up and get my kids to school tomorrow, and find the will to make a menu, grocery list, and go grocery shopping [and then come home and cook something… ugh].  Steve gets paid tomorrow, so we can actually buy food again [yay!  thank God we had a full pantry two weeks ago when we realized we were out of money way before we were supposed to be… yikes.  That is so not fun.]

But, feeling like I do, I really just want someone to come over and cook comfort food for me and let me sleep.  Steve’s off, but he’s not much of a cook, so I’m gonna have to suck it up.  Eating is making me nauseated.  Doesn’t matter what I eat, it makes me sick.  Potato soup made me have heartburn from hell the other night.  Vegetable soup made me nauseated today.

I ordered pizza tonight for dinner.  I just couldn’t make myself cook anything, and we’re out of everything except meat anyway [and it’s deer meat… yuck when you’re sick].  So naturally I’m suffering the consequences of pizza.  A wonderful double whammy of nausea and heartburn.

I probably need to get out and force myself to do some exercise or something, which brings me to my next whine.  It’s 14 degrees here, and the forecast says a low of 10 tonight, with a whopping 38 as a high for the week!  Ugh.  I have to wear two pairs of socks and my boots inside my house to try to stay warm, and I’ve still been cold all day.  And it’s not cold in here!  Seriously, it’s like somewhere between 72 and 75 degrees. I should not be cold, and yet I am.

So I guess I’m done whining for the night.  I have some memories to write about later this week.  Maybe I’ll feel up to sitting down at the computer tomorrow and working on it.  We rearranged our bedroom a couple of months ago, and there’s no room for our office chair, so I’ve got a folding chair with a pillow on it to sit in, and it’s wreaking havoc with my back, neck, shoulders, and feet [they get cold when I sit too long].  Oops.  I said I was done, but I was wrong.

I’m going to have to figure something out with this stupid chair and computer desk, though.  It makes it very painful to sit at the desk for longer than a few minutes, and I spend most of my day at the computer.  I need to be better soon.  This is getting really old.

Man, does this shit ever go away?!?

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I am still not feeling very well.  I got sick on Thursday [I think] so I guess it’s only been three days, but damn!  I should be over this by now.  I’m not throwing up or anything, but I’m having to be very careful what I eat.  Still doing pretty much the BRAT diet [Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast] because everything else makes me feel questionable in my tummy.

Steve’s kinda feeling the same way, so I guess I’m not alone, but I’m used to getting over GI illnesses within a day or two.  Still whining, I know.  Okay I’ll stop now [for this post :P].

I’ve been thinking about writing.  Which is not exactly the same as writing, but this is kind of profound for me.  I’ve decided that I want to write stories that are purely for entertainment.  If anything profound or life-changing ever comes from something I write, I want it to be completely unintentional on my part.

That sounds weird, maybe, but I’ve been putting this invisible [and completely ridiculous] pressure on myself to write something ‘worthwhile’  and worthwhile in my mind has always meant something wise, or profound, or something that would change people’s lives… and you know what?  I think maybe I was an idiot for wanting that. 

I think [for myself, at least]maybe it would be better and more ‘worthwhile’ to write stories that just entertain people for a bit.  Yeah.  I like that.  In fact, I think I want to write stories that entertain me for a bit while I write ’em.

Hmm.  I like it a lot!

I feel free somehow.

Ouch!

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Hey there.  I don’t have anything special to say.  I just needed to whine a little bit about my stupid freaking neck, and you seemed like as good a victim as any.  I took a muscle relaxant, a pain pill [it’s not quite a narcotic, but stronger than ibuprofen] and ibuprofen, and my neck still hurts.  Bad.  It cramped up while I was IMing today, and it’s been hurting like crazy ever since.
So here I am, and my consciousness is altered, but I still hurt. I had profound inklings when I sat down here, but now they’re gone.  Bummer.  One of my dogs just came up and decided to use my lap blanket as a bed [it’s on my lap] so she turned in a couple of circles and flopped down with a satisfied grunt.  She’s a cocker spaniel, and dumber than a box of rocks.
I think my TV is possessed by a volume gremlin.  I had it turned down, but it keeps getting louder periodically for no apparent reason, and it’s quite obnoxious.  Now I’m imagining sounds in my house, which is creeping me out.   Steve decided he was well enough to go to work.  I think that just means that he’s more sick of his sick wife and daughter [Michaela came down with a lesser version of this horrid shit yesterday] than he is actually, um, sick.  Did that make sense?  Not that I care, mind you.
OH!  He’s here!  Yay!  I’ll go bug him now.  See y’all later!
<edited to add>
Grrrr.  and now my formatting is all jacked up.  I put the proper paragraph dividers in, but they refuse to show up.  oh well, at least it’s a short post, right?

Ugh.

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Fibromyalgia kinda sucks.  It’s not fatal or anything, but it makes your muscles hurt like hell, and it seems to get worse, for me at least, when it’s cold outside.  My muscles burn, I’m exhausted without doing anything, and I’m still coughing up phlegm from my bronchitis adventure, so I basically feel like shit today.

So for today, I’m going to struggle to stay awake until I can put the kids to bed, and then I’m going there as well.

I’m even too tired for my favorite free computer game site.  And that’s saying something, because I can waste hours there in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping.

Later, friends.