Convalescence

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

SO TRUE. Health is everything.

Yesterday I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia. I already knew in my heart I had this based on my symptoms and the blood test I had done last week. Still, it’s devastating to deal with, while simultanesouly comforting to hear one of the doctors affirm my conclusions. I am miserable with it. I am hoping to talk to a specialist soon and see if there is anything I can do outside of the dietary modifications I am already making (which are helping, but not enough). I have always had a hypersensitive adrenaline response system so I am also hoping that treatment for anxiety will help. I also have to say I am thankful for my psychiatrist ( I met with her yesterday) who is not only the only non-robot/real COMPASSIONATE HUMAN psychiatrist that I have EVER met, but who is very savvy and helpful regarding the connection between hypoglycemia and anxiety.

I got so angry and frustrated with this condition that I just went crazy and binged this morning and now I feel AWFUL! I hope I’m okay.

I have been doing much better implementing the following changes: eating no sugar at all, reducing carbohydrates (and never eating them alone without protein), eating whole grains when I do eat carbs, making sure I have a lot of protein at every meal, not eating too much at one time (struggling with that one sometimes), eating smaller meals more frequently (making sure to include snacks which I haven’t done in years), making walnuts and almonds my go-to snack.

I’ve been eating 3 meals a day, plus an afternoon snack and usually a snack before bed, but I think I need to decrease the size of my breakfasts and add a mid-morning snack. Still, I am doing better than I have in years, during which I had been eating very erratically because I developed an aversion to food because of the horrible symptoms eating created. Now I know why. Now I wonder how I ever skipped lunch or went 6+ hours without eating. I want to aim to eat at: 8am, 10:30am, 1pm, 3-4pm, 6:30pm, and maybe 8:30pm. I think I should write down daily meal plans. That seems to be comforting. I might start documenting my food because that gets me excited about eating healthy food. It’s definitely hard to eat that frequently but I am finally getting used to it and regarding that part I am starting to feel like a normal person again, which I actually feel excited about that I can go out to lunch now, etc., without feeling like my appetite is all wacky.

It is very hard to recover from this strange & severe disordered eating when eating has had an association with “poison” for so long. 😦 But I’m getting there. I just feel like I’m hitting a wall where I improved for awhile but have now plateaued and I don’t want that to happen. Any support from anyone with non-diabetic hypoglycemia would be much appreciated.

I’m also going to be even more diligent on taking my vitamins and minerals because many of them, including magnesium, are used in blood sugar regulation.

Reactive hypoglycemia (or alimentary hypoglycemia) is low blood sugar that occurs after a meal — usually one to three hours after eating. Once your food is digested, it enters your small intestine where the nutrients get absorbed into your blood. Insulin is the hormone that pulls the sugar circulating in your blood into your cells so they can use it for energy. In reactive hypoglycemia, what happens is your body releases too much insulin in response to food (unlike diabetes where you don’t produce enough insulin). Thus the sugar is pulled out of your blood too quickly and it doesn’t get everywhere it needs to go (ie. your BRAIN which uses 20% of your energy needs – this is what causes most of the symptoms). Signs and symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia may include weakness, shakiness, sleepiness, dizziness, blurry vision, lightheadedness, anxiety and confusion. I have all of these.

In my blood test, my fasting blood sugar was actually a little high, but then after I drank a 75mg glucose solution, my blood sugar dropped way too far when they checked my blood again 2 hours later.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many medical interventions available for this condition. It may help to pay attention to the timing and composition of your meals:

  • Eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day, no more than three hours apart.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet including lean meats and non-meat sources of protein and high-fiber foods including whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit sugary foods, especially on an empty stomach.
  • Be sure to eat food if you’re consuming alcohol and avoid using sugary soft drinks as mixers.

I am getting an abdominal ultrasound next week because of all the abdominal pain I have been having. The cause of RH is usually unknown, but it can be caused by an insulinoma (a benign tumor on your pancreas) so I want that to be evaluated. I really want to talk to the neurologist more about this because a) he is the one who ordered this test and b) my primary care doctor is an idiot so I want the neuro to counsel me and/or give me any needed referral (ie. to an endocrinologist).

I am in a convalescent period. I want it to be over. But I am being patient. I have to make good decisions day-to-day.

Yum. Meals like this are what I need.

Yum. Meals like this are what I need.

“Religion is to do right, it is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.” — also RWE

We went to church last Sunday again (sticking to my resolution!) We went to the local Episcopal church this time. Even though I am an Episcopalian, I didn’t really jive with this particular church. So maybe we’ll try another one. My husband went with me this time so that was nice.217px-Shield_of_the_US_Episcopal_Church.svg

I am just turning to God over and over for prayer in this hard time of illness and it is giving me strength to take care of myself.

I have SO many dreams and I want to get better so I can pursue them. I want to be a medical practitioner. I want to TRAVEL again. I don’t want to just lay around my house all day because I feel so weak, tired, and dizzy. I am an intelligent person and I want to use that gift to give back to this world.

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand...I.Was.Here.

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand…I.Was.Here.

Apparently, our offer just got accepted on a townhouse. I have surrendered control of this situation to my husband because I got tired of worrying about it so much. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the flow. He’s the one with the economics degree anyway! I have a Biology degree. It’s kind of exciting though!

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Golden Globes 2013 Best Dressed

I watched the Golden Globes awards last night – I love to see the fashions, even though I am starting to think the GG’s sort of undermine the Oscars because all the same people win in both ceremonies.

Here are my best-dressed from last night:

Kate Hudson, as always

Katie Hudson, credit:people.com

Katie Hudson, credit:people.com

Jennifer Garner: her and Ben Affleck are SO CUTE

Jennifer Garner, people.com

Jennifer Garner, people.com

Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Alba: although I’m not sure why Jessica Alba was even there…she’s always there

Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Alba, people.com

Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Alba, people.com

Amanda Seyfried and Michelle Dockery

Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Dockery, people.com

Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Dockery, people.com

Taylor Swift: Yay! She is finally rocking some grown up style lately and she looks gorgeous.

Taylor Swift; people.com

Taylor Swift; people.com

Eddie Redmayne: I just love him, don’t know why.

Okay, I just love Eddie Redmayne

Okay, I just love Eddie Redmayne

Amanda Seyfried, again, because she’s so cute

Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy

Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy

I really want to see Les Mis, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook before the Oscars!

Have you seen any of the Oscar best picture contenders? Any recommendations?

Spiritual Resolutions on the Epiphany

I decided what my non-traditional (I say that because it’s not health or self-improvement related, not directly…although it definitely is indirectly) resolution is this year: TO GO TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY UNLESS I AM OUT OF TOWN.

I went last Sunday, January 6th, on the Epiphany and it was wonderful. I went by myself since B was out of town but this weekend we are going together (I was shocked when he said he was excited to go with me – see, he’s an agnostic at best. 😉 ). I am just trying to be really faith-centered this year. It feels so good to have a resolution that I am excited about and that is totally attainable. I am excited for church this Sunday, it brings me such strength.

Cool things:

  • I finished “Fall of Giants” AND Catherine Cookson’s “The Glass Virgin” and now I am reading her book “The Black Velvet Gown”. ON track with my reading goal! I am also trying to watch way less TV (and succeeding).
  • Except I am going to watch Downton Abbey today!
  • What do you think of the Duchess of Cambridge’s official portrait? I think the artist is great but he didn’t do her justice at all!
  • I decided that by two years from this summer, I am going to be in France again! So by 2015.
  • I’ve been studying my French every day again. BRINGS ME JOY!
  • I have so many motivators to get healthy for and I am DETERMINED.

Have a great weekend everyone! We are doing more house hunting, going to the gym, and going clothes shopping (a rare occurrence and one that I am very excited for)! I love GUESS!

15026435

Good Luck

I read 33 books in 2012. Please note for the sake of my pride that this includes 8 books that were over 1000 pages.

Goal for 2013 is to read 40.

Right now I’m reading:

fall_of_giants_us_2010It’s amazing! Love Ken Follett’s books.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I made Hoppin’ John last night for New Year’s good luck. If you don’t know, Hoppin’ John is a dish made with black-eyed peas that is traditionally eaten in the South for good luck in the new year. I based mine off of two recipes: one from Woman’s Day magazine and one by Emeril Lagasse from foodnetwork.com. Hoppin’ John is made with black eyed peas, ham hock, collard greens, onions, etc. and served over rice. Instead of the ham hock, I served it with sausage. I wanted to add sautéed spinach, but I forgot. I did use sautéed celery, and totally eliminated the onion and garlic because those are the two foods I hate the most! To the black-eyed peas, I added salt, pepper, and cayenne. Once we served it up, we added Tabasco sauce. I had never made black-eyed peas before. Actually, I only tried them for the first time a few weeks ago in a frozen Amy’s meal. They are delicious and also very nutritious. One cup of black-eyed peas contains 20% of your daily value of iron, 11 g of protein, and 5 g of fiber.

Some other good luck New Year’s foods:

  • In many parts of Asia, people eat long noodles New Year’s. They are supposed to symbolize a long life.
  • In South America, they eat pork on New Year’s Day. Pigs are thought to be industrious, and this symbolizes ambition and prosperity.
  • In Italy, they eat lentils. Their coin-like appearance symbolizes wealth and prosperity.
  • A lot of areas eat sea food, which symbolizes abundance.

I am going to make it a tradition to make a good luck food every year on New Year’s Day.

I’m drinking my green smoothie right now! 1/4 avocado, 1/4-1/2 of a green apple,  2 cups spinach, filtered water, squeeze of lemon. My goal is to drink one at least 5/7 days a week. If I miss one of those days, I have to eat at least 2 cups of spinach in salad form or in other dishes.

What are you reading right now?

Do you have a New Year’s food tradition? *My parents always make seafood on New Year’s Eve.* And my dad made pork green chile yesterday.

2012 to 2013

Five years ago on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day (sorry I can’t remember the exact time-it was the famous NYE toilet-breaking party —> don’t ask!), B and I officially got together. ❤ And I will always remember 2012 as the year we got married. We had a wonderful, wonderful wedding, and I am blessed to have a man that absolutely adores me.

In many ways, this has been a rough year for me, especially the second half of it. I’ve dealt with even more health issues and a descent into a major depression. But, I am extremely proud that this fall and winter I have taken back control of my mental and physical health. At the beginning of 2012, I had a loose goal in my mind that I wanted to accomplish that this year. It took me until the end of the year, but I got started on the journey. Although I am far from being really there yet, I am moving forward more and more, taking my life back. I am determined and absolutely motivated to achieve LIFE again in 2013.

While I am glad this year is coming to a close because I love New Year’s for the fresh beginning it brings, and I’m excited for 2013, here are the blessings from 2012: we got married, B got promoted (TWICE!), and I began the journey of taking back my life.

In 2013, I am looking forward to:

  • buying a house!
  • Taking a class starting in March to begin my journey to have my own career
  • moving more and more towards being healthy and ALIVE again
  • becoming social again – making friends and starting a new volunteer job at the animal shelter
  • loving myself and doing ME
  • our trip to Montana in July for my cousin’s wedding
  • continuing to grow my relationship with God

{I’m really scared to buy a house, it’s probably one of the biggest leaps for me of anything I’ve ever done. But it’s one of those things that I just have to leap into. It’s not just the money, it’s also that it’s overwhelming to me to move again, even just across town, when I’ve just gotten used to the bus stops over here and how to get around in my little area. I have moved every single year into a different place since I turned 18. But it will be so worth it if/when we find the right place. House buying right now is a different experience than I imagined having for buying my first home. I say this because we will most likely have to move again in a couple of years. I always envisioned buying a house that I would get to settle down in. I was even willing to wait until we got back to Colorado someday to have that. But I am having to remold my expectations. We put an offer in for a house yesterday. It’s the house I’ve liked most of everything we’ve seen. Besides the scary part of physically moving, I would LOVE to own this house. It’s still near a bus stop and there is a community pool. I COULD WALK TO A POOL! It’s the perfect size and layout. And it has a great little yard. Also, it’s in our price range and actually in a safe neighborhood! I love it. Some things are scary, but you have to think of the greater potential for happiness once you get over the fear—> my motto right now. I would totally not mind to stay in this townhouse either. It has been my lifelong dream to own a house, but I know it will happen someday. B is the one who really wants to buy one now.}

One thing I’m going to have to do in the new year, is find a way to live my own life while being in a relationship. I have to have faith that my husband will always love me and only me. I can’t let marriage hold me back. Being married, I have the potential for even greater happiness. If I would just let myself fulfill my own dreams, I could have love and my own life too. The fact is, I’m already married, and I just have to believe—> KNOW —> I can have both things. I deserve that. I can spend my life being afraid, or I can live my own life and KNOW that everything will be wonderful. I have to simplify things: life is about good experiences, loving people, and giving back. That’s what I want. I want to be a person of integrity.

See a theme here? FAITH.

drop every fear

Here’s to an amazing 2013, in which I find myself again, embrace myself and believe in my right to enjoy and own my own life, get healthy again, and surrender in ways that will lead me back to living. It’s going to be hard, but I’m never going to stop fighting or seeking God for strength. I’m going to, finally, find faith in the possibility.

I repeat: some things are scary, but you have to think of the greater potential for happiness that will be there once you get over the fear.

Enjoying the sun

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!

Closing Words for 2012…and Opening into 2013

These are amazing last lines from some wonderful books. To me, they created a great image that I envision going forth into the New Year.

Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
“I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

Gone with the Wind

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Watership Down

“He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.”

Watership Down, Richard Adams {one of my favorite books as a kid}

P.S. I Love You

“In the meantime, she would just live.”

P.S. I Love You, Cecelia Ahern

 

Missing Colorado and What’s Next

I had a great Christmas trip to Colorado. I nearly felt like my old self again. I had a few jitters but overall the trip went wonderfully. Now I am back in Colorado and feeling lonely and homesick, although I’m doing better today than yesterday.

I’m always in a conundrum (one of my favorite words) because I want to show you guys more pictures but I want my blog to remain anonymous too.

We flew into Denver on Saturday the 22nd. On Sunday we went to the Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. I feel like my anemia is getting a little better and I had more energy there. I really enjoyed the exhibit even though I got a little exhausted towards the end from walking around so much. They had a lot of his earlier works that I had never seen and you were able to really see the evolution of his painting style. I love art museums. Except for when they have exhibitions, the Denver Art Museum isn’t my favorite, but this exhibit was awesome.

On Christmas Eve we had a seafood boil, perhaps a new tradition we are starting! It was delicious! My dad bought crab, shrimp, mussels, sausage, corn, and potatoes. The crab legs were the best. I hadn’t had those for years. We got a plastic tablecloth and bibs and just ate all over the table. B and I stayed with my parents, obviously, and my two sisters were there every day during our stay. My grandma was also in town and staying with my parents. For the seafood boil, my uncle and his family also came over (from my dad’s side). Since I was little, we have always spent Christmas Eve with my dad’s family and Christmas day with my mom’s family. That’s always how I imagined doing it with my own family, but B’s parents live in Washington state and mine live in Colorado, so we have to split the holidays. If I had it my way we would always spend Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine! That’s what we did the last two years. But of course that wouldn’t be fair. One of the unfortunate compromises of marriage. Next year we will most likely spend Christmas with his family. It will be my first Christmas not with my family in my whole life. Maybe I can convince his family to come to Denver for Christmas! They don’t have any extended family in Washington anyways, it’s just them. That would be fun. Our families really like each other. We want to buy a house next year, so I also look forward to potentially hosting Thanksgiving here. Well, I would also be really nervous about that because I’ve never cooked my own turkey before! We’ll see.

All of the time spent with family made me realize how much I want to live near them and at least be more social here in California. I always thought of myself as someone who likes to be alone, but I realized in the past few months that that’s not really the case as much as I thought. I am definitely an introvert, but that means that I de-stress by being alone, and just need more alone time than an extrovert, but not that I don’t like people. Everyone needs social time and companionship, and I am not getting enough of that in my life. I get some social anxiety, but every time I am around people, I feel so good! I always wonder later what I was anxious about.

Last night, I joined several groups on meetupcom. I joined two women’s groups for women in their 20s and 30s in my area, and one dog-related group. I really plan to go to some of the events to make some friends. They have coffee dates, movie nights, dinners, etc. Oh, and I also joined a book club! I’m really excited about that one. I’m just so isolated and really need to meet people, which is hard to do when you’re not in school anymore and you don’t have a job. I also have a friend that my husband works with that I want to invite to do more things. Our social life together has gone down quite a bit because my husband got promoted, which is great!, but now all of our old friends work for him so he isn’t really allowed to hang out with them because it’s not appropriate. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hang out with them! So I want to invite this girl he works with to go to a movie or something just me and her. I sound so pathetic right now, but this is something I really need to work on. I am also in therapy group right now that is only women and I have made one friend there that I want to try to hang out with.

Tonight we are going to meet up with B’s best friend in San Marino because he’s in town so I am excited for that. I also get to bring my dog to play with his dog. They just love each other so that will be fun! I did miss my dog while I was in Colorado. He had to stay here at the boarding kennel. I found out they only let him out two times a day, so I am going to try to find a different one for the next time I travel because that made me angry. I want him to be well taken care of.

Ralphie

Upcoming plans:

  • I am all signed up to take a microbiology class in March to fulfill a prerequisite I need to enter a Master’s program in nursing. I’m really excited about it. I finally decided that it was worth spending money on myself to pursue this dream. I’m still scared I will fail. But I would rather try than regret never trying. That type of regret is the worst.
  • B will be traveling a lot for work in January and February. I don’t want to be left here all by myself, so I am trying to plan some things. I want to go to Colorado again this spring so I am going to plan a trip in either February or March. Also my dad and my sister are going to San Diego to do some work on the house there in late January or February so I am planning to go down and stay with them during that time. I really had fun with my sisters over this recent trip. The one I have been estranged with for two years… we are slowly starting to talk more and more.
  • B and I are planning a trip to Santa Barbara sometime in the next couple of months. I can’t wait. I have been wanting to go visit the central coast for a long time.
  • I am going to begin volunteering at the local animal shelter in February. Still need to get my anxiety and agoraphobia under control, but I am determined to so I can do all of these things.

The best Christmas gifts I got? I got a pug shirt, pug calendar, and pug socks! I also got Rachael Ray’s new cookbook called “My Year in Meals”. It’s a really beautiful book and I can’t wait to try new recipes from it.

rachel-ray

How important is social time to you? How have you made new friends as an adult?