It only matters what works for you.

Archive for the ‘emotions’ Category

What an amazing thing

I’m sorry that I didn’t find time to write this post immediately after my second appointment with my new doctor. Because it was a completely new experience and I was so excited in the moment.

My new primary care doctor is amazing. An annual physical is not something anyone gets excited about, but I think it may have been the best medical experience of my life.

When I went in for my appointment, the first thing I said was “The most important thing for you to know about my health today is that yesterday my husband failed his angiogram and he needs to have bypass surgery.” And for a miracle, she agreed that was very important, and she spent a significant amount of time talking me through my side of the experience and helping me dial down my stress. Who does that any more?

Then she took the time to discuss and or address all the things on my relatively long list. It was only our second visit after all and I have a number of active health issues.

It is both horrible and wonderful to realize that for the first time I really felt listened to, and yet also supported. She didn’t dismiss anything I offered, but she didn’t hesitate to correct me when I had a misconception or suggest alternate ideas for me.

Finally, I don’t feel like I’m on this health journey alone without a map.



We are having a cool wet spring. It has been 12 days since the last smidgen of sunlight.

I have lost any vestige of ability to be productive unless every possible light is on and the music is up slightly too loud. It’s a real challenge.

I have a friend in San Francisco. She gets a lot of grey weather too. We’re complaining-buddies. SAD buddies. When it’s grey for too long our will to live slowly drips out the bottoms of our feet, a little with each rain drip. Erm, drop. Possibly that’s a little melodramatic. It’s that sort of day. Drama produces it’s own energy.

Full spectrum lights help. If your vitamin D levels are low, certainly fix that immediately. But some people just don’t do as well.

I found this article. I think it’s hilarious.

People with Sad have an unhelpful way of controlling the “happy” brain signalling compound serotonin during winter months, brain scans reveal.

Unhelpful. Yes, a bit.

Lead researcher, Dr Brenda Mc Mahon, said: “We believe that we have found the dial the brain turns when it has to adjust serotonin to the changing seasons.

“The serotonin transporter (SERT) carries serotonin back into the nerve cells where it is not active – so the higher the SERT activity, the lower the activity of serotonin.

“Sunlight keeps this setting naturally low, but when the nights grow longer during the autumn, the SERT levels increase, resulting in diminishing active serotonin levels.

So not only does my body hoard calories, apparently we’re also socking away seratonin for…obviously not rainy days. What are we storing it for I wonder?

Sunshine is due to resume briefly on Sunday. I hope.


Appreciate the journey.

Not long ago I got philosophical about the difference between gratitude and appreciation. I think we all need more appreciation in our lives. Certainly I do.

An issue I’ve had for a long time is the admonishment to ‘enjoy the journey’. That life isn’t about the end result. It’s extremely difficult to ‘enjoy the journey’ when you are limp and in pain, but now that I’m feeling better and moving forward with my life again, I’ve come back to that idea with some new insight.

By taking time to appreciate things in your life. To “to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something”, really can help you to slow down and enjoy the journey by reminding you that each minute can be precious, just like the books say.

We have a practice in our house where, should you see a moment of amazing natural beauty or a particularly adorably sleeping cat, then that moment should be mentioned immediately so that the others in the area can admire and appreciate it too. This does not count as an interruption of whatever is going on around it, rather it’s an elevated moment that is much more important that what was going on.

It can be very difficult to do that with more prosaic things. It’s easy to give thanks for the amazing spread at a special holiday meal. We’ve lost, many of us, the habit of giving thanks for the smaller meals of every day. It used to be a very common part of religious observance. The understanding of religion is changing, but maybe we should look back at some of those regular observances and see what they still have to offer.

A recent topic of conversation in our house has been the untempered need in American society to increase. Every business must get bigger. Every person must become richer and more successful. My beloved’s company has been small and doing extremely well. Somehow they determined they had to grow, and suddenly things haven’t been doing nearly as well. The partners were all making a very nice living and running a company that did excellent work and had very happy employees. Why did they have to decide that wasn’t enough?

Have we always been that way, or have we lost the understanding between wanting to be more versus wanting to have more. Certainly if I look around it isn’t difficult to see that the dollar has become the bottom line for everything.

I’m pretty sure the value in the journey isn’t supposed to be about the price tag. How do we get away from that? I guess I’ll stroll along for a while and see if I can figure it out.


Positive outlook, positive outcome.

That’s what they say. Attitude is everything. Create your reality. You get what you expect.

Well, here’s my chance to prove that. I recently got a letter saying that the doctor I like and trust and worked so hard to find is leaving practice to spend more time raising her children. I completely respect her choice. But my first reaction to that letter was panic. It took me 5 tries to find her.

I could continue to panic. To rehearse in my mind all the various problems that I’ve had in the past. How much trouble others have had.


Or I can take this as an opportunity to walk my talk. I can trust that I’ll be given what I need. I can believe that this is an opportunity to improve my situation, rather than an irredeemable tragedy.

I’d like to think I deserve better health care than ‘pleasant’ and ‘non-obstructionist’. This could be my opportunity to find someone who will invest in working with me to figure out how to optimize my health, rather than just keep it from deteriorating. Dare I say, someone I can trust to actually know more than I do about what is currently not functioning correctly?

I am definitely up for something better.

Quivering with anticipation

Nope, actually it’s something called essential tremors.

My dad, for a number of corporate political reasons, recently and abruptly retired. My step-mother is still working and enjoying her job, so they haven’t moved. But since they live in the Middle East where a stay-at-home husband is practically unknown, his social opportunities are limited. One thing he’s chosen to do with his excess time and excellent non-US insurance is to have a number of health issues looked into, just in case.

My hands shake. Recently I was carrying a plate into the living room to eat dinner and watch The Voice. My hand was shaking hard enough to make the fork clatter against the plate. I thought I was just hungry. I used to assume that my hands shook because of my asthma medicine. Which, if you’ve ever taken albuterol is a perfectly reasonable assumption. It does make you shake. Of course, I haven’t taken medication of any sort for asthma in years. But there’s always something that would make it perfectly reasonable.

My dad’s hands also shake. It’s one of those things he was getting checked out. And, you know, my grandmother’s hands shook, and later in life her head jerked a bit and her voice quavered.

Essential Tremors is one of those things they diagnose by your symptom not being caused by anything else they have a test for. Parkinson’s is a biggie that it looks like, but apparently the Parkinson’s test is readily available and quite definitive. It’s not that. Essential Tremors is also genetically dominant. Like Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder, which causes me and my father’s other biological children* to naturally get up at the crack of dawn and to fall asleep about an hour before the party ever really gets started. There are no dedicated treatments for this, it doesn’t have a high enough profile. There are some medications that can help, but oh, get this, they are contraindicated for asthmatics. I’m sensing a cosmic joke here.

Me: “So, you’re saying that we have another highly irritating medical condition that can’t be treated except by drugs we can’t take.”

Dad: “Yeah, that’s about the size of it.”

Me: “Gosh, isn’t this fun.”

And then I gently explained that in my next life, I was really going to have to find a new genetics purveyor.


*See, I have siblings who are not my father’s biological children, hence the cumbersome description rather than just saying ‘my siblings’.


Things in the media

I was thinking this morning that when I first started this blog I would often post a link to an article or a video that talked about food or health in some way. Then I got in the groove of having things to say myself, or, to be honest, I’d get away from posting for months at a time. Busy, or just limp and not excited enough about anything to write.

As I was thinking this through this morning, I realized I had just seen something that belonged here.

The idea that a woman can be ‘too fat to be raped’ is so wrong I might be frothing at the mouth.

It starts with the idea that rape has anything to do with sex instead of everything to do with power. I promise, ugly people get raped every day.

And then the idea that just being fat negates us as sexual beings.


The problems fat people have with sex (aside from fat-phobic jerks) are that of our own self image. An unwillingness to be vulnerable to others when you perceive yourself as less. A fear that your bed partner will find you as unattractive as you find yourself, in your culturally brainwashed mind.

For all I’ve been fat my whole life, I’ve never had trouble finding a sexual partner when I want one. I’ve been turned down, maybe more than someone thin and conventionally attractive, but I’ve had plenty of admirers too. Some smarmy, and plenty of perfectly nice people looking for fun and companionship. And I definitely haven’t had any complaints after the fact, so you can be sure a good time was had by all when things went down.

Our culture is so determined to reduce fat people to non-people, now even the satisfaction of surviving something horrible and coming out the other side strong and sane seems to be something they’d like to deny us.

Meatloaf anyone?


Are we there yet?

One of the hard parts about blogging about health is that sometimes, when your health isn’t getting anywhere, you’re just so darn tired of fussing and so frustrated with lack of progress that you can’t stand to think about it. Or blog about it.

The really excellent news is that continued selenium supplementation, along with my other table full of supplements, is making a big difference. I have more energy and desire to accomplish things than I have in ages. Possibly a year.

The down side is, it makes me reflect back on the progress I didn’t make this year, and my conditioned response is to berate myself for not doing better. For not being able to do better. For not figuring the answer out sooner. For not fighting harder.

I’m very disturbed by this reaction.

Why is my first reaction always self-hatred? Ok, I know the answer to that one, I just don’t like it. It’s programming. Somehow we’re always supposed to give %150 of every thing we do all the time, despite the complete impossibility of doing any such thing.

I usually react to this in one of two ways. One is to get depressed all over again and need to withdraw because I can’t deal with it. As my minerals get better balanced this happens less.

The other way is to get angry. Really angry. In part because I am very, very tired of trying to meet an imposed set of standards that don’t matter. And in part because I am so very, very, verrrrrrry tired of having to do this alone.

I have a doctors appointment this week, can you tell? I always get very worked up before them, even though I really like the one I’m working with now.  I like her, but the amount she’s been able to help me is limited. Western medicine has become entirely about boxes, and I don’t, and can’t, fit into one. Why didn’t a selenium deficiency show up on my blood work? For the same reason I wasn’t diagnosed with a thyroid issue until I was in my 30s I assume. They don’t look in the right place. Our medicine is looking for major diversions, single causes, one broken place instead of a thousand tiny cracks.

Oh well, at lease I’ll get refills on the few medications that help hold back the tide.