Being a Vampire’s GF Ain’t Cheap

You’d think for as much as much blood as I’ve been donating the past couple months, I would start to get some nice dinners, handbags, flowers.  Being a vampire’s girlfriend is so glamorous in the movies.  Sheesh!  All I get is anemia and a bundle of envelopes asking for money?  I swear…

Anyhoot – I’ve been such a blog fail the past few weeks!  Too much going on at once – ramped up marketing campaigns at work, housing madness, shuffling in and out of UT Southwestern’s facilities, etc. etc. etc.  I started this blog as a place to journal about my lifestyle changes, and it’s been cathartic for me to vent about the bad things or share excitement over new quilts, recipes or things I’ve tried.

Most of you following along have seen my frequent flyer status at UT Southwestern.  I’ve been through a zillion labs, two specialists (with one to come) and taken all kinds of tests.  The good news is that the Big Bads were all ruled out – no cancer, no lupus.  The bad news is that my stomach is still a cranky asshole (for no good reason) and my platelet count continues to drop.  And drop.  And drop.  There’s no treatment until I hit a critical place, so the best thing I can do in the meantime is continue my weight loss, take good care of myself, and check back every six weeks for more testing.

At the rate my platelets are dropping, I’ll hit the critical place this year, so I need to be as healthy as I can when I start getting force fed steroids and God knows what else to get my blood in line.  And that’s without knowing what the rheumatologist has in store.

The scary thing is paying for all of this mess.  Well, scary and annoying.  I’ve been squirreling away cash for a new house, so being hit with $2k of lab and hospital bills really stinks.  Sure, I’m happy to have insurance, but let’s be honest – insurance sucks.  Health care is just really expensive no matter which way you cut it.  I dropped down to a lower plan this year because I NEVER go to the doctor, but also because I know I have the financial security to pay up to my deductible.  And lucky me…I already hit the deductible this year.  I’m still a ways from out my out of pocket max, but at least Aetna will pick up 80% of the tab for the next few months before finally committing me to me and going for 100%.  Sheesh.  Worst date ever.

Oh well, such is life my friends.  I’m thankful to be relatively healthy and thankful I can pay for my care.  I know many people aren’t as fortunate as I am!  I was also fortunate to have my momma with me during most of these tests, and she’s been a great sounding board for my freak outs.  Because heaven knows I’ve had them.

More good news – the inspection round for my accepted home offer went well, and I’m just waiting to close!  May 20th is the big day, which also happens to be my Pop’s 65th birthday 🙂  Fingers crossed that the house appraises…one less thing for me to worry about.

  • Health – managed
  • House – in process
  • Quilts – still a go
  • Dating – meh.  Maybe once H & H are done.

Cheers!

Good News, Bad News and the 50 Pound Mark

Good news first, yes? I officially hit the 50 pound mark over the weekend. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around being 51 pounds heavier this time last year. I’m still struggling with how I look and how my body (poorly) functions at this size, so how on earth was I doing it last year?

Oh that’s right…I wasn’t. I was a mess 🙂

I was worried the loss was a fluke, since this weekend was mostly ridiculous, but the scale said the same thing today so I guess I’m in the clear. It’s so great to drop into the next set of numbers too.

On to the bad news – turns out my house had TWELVE other offers. Isn’t that insane? I have no idea if their realtor even shared my awesome cow note, as it wasn’t mentioned with any correspondence with my realtor. I was surprised by that in particular – the last time I got into a bidding war of sorts on a house and wrote a note, the realtor thought I was the cutest thing ever and wanted to set me up with the homeowner. I can’t remember what came of that, but I think I actually talked to him a couple times.

Anyway, I’m not shocked about the house, as I did offer over asking but not by much. The selling agent told us how popular it had been, albeit in a seriously unprofessional way. My cow house with a fireplace and pool was at the top of my budget, so I couldn’t exactly get crazy. I am being kept as a back-up option, so we’ll see.

The search will continue, and I definitely will be looking at places with pools. Since I’ll be living in the middle of Dallas, it’ll be a great way to bring people together this summer, and I love hosting parties. As fun as my house parties were in Richardson, I can’t imagine how great they would be during the day with a pool, especially since so many of my friends now have little ones. Yay for barbecues!

The other piece of bad news I’m still trying to wrap my head around. This whole blog was started as a way for me to journal about my experience changing my lifestyle and adapting to a much more restrictive diet, all in the interest of fixing my random health issues. I’m thankful I found a doctor that I like – she’s my age, accepting, a great listener – and I wish she had better news for me.

I had nine different vials of blood drawn last week, and though the tests haven’t all come back yet, the ones I was most concerned with did on Friday. The one that go all this started, the C Reactive Protein (hs CRP) that serves as an inflammation marker and is used to measure cardiac risk, among other things, has actually gotten worse. My last measurement was 22, where it needs to be under 5. Now it came back at a 24.7!! Alarming!

Where would it be if I wasn’t essentially following an anti-inflammatory diet? Part of me wants to say fuck it and eat some pizza with a side of Chinese food, but an unsuccessful effort at lowering inflammation doesn’t mean I don’t have severe food intolerances. I actually had some gluten over the weekend, tiny amounts, and was rewarded with skin breakouts and severe headaches. Guess that ish is for real after all. Sigh.

I already had an appointment made with a GI to have a scope done before any of my test results came back, so I guess I’ll just keep moving forward. I’m getting kind of sick of the doctor’s office at this point, though. I do feel better than I did before I changed my diet, so I’ll stay the course, but I’ll admit I’m pretty damn devastated that the hard work hasn’t given the results I was after. Losing weight has been great, but it’s just not enough.

The other bad thing was my platelet count. I don’t know if I’ve even blogged about this one, because it’s frankly not as interesting as the whole change your diet thing, but my platelet count came back very low back in October. Normal minimum is 150, and I measured 125. Dr. Brown is pretty unflappable, and she was concerned enough for me to have it retested. November I read 140, still low but better. Now it’s even lower – 116.

New doctor told me not to be too worried, since it’s only gets super alarming when it drops below 100, but I’m still being sent to a hematologist. That’s right, friends. I get to see two different specialists this month. Yay? Hopefully it’ll just be ideopathic and a low platelet count will just be my new normal. I won’t even wrap my head around the things I found on Google.

Bah.

I was so down when I got home from work Friday night, and I’m so thankful for friends and family that distracted me, via text or barstool (I amended Lent to veto vodka and other liquor – it’s still a sacrifice. There are only so many ciders a belly can hold and vodka is my favvvvvvorite.) I was planning to wallow that night in some happy pants, but got pulled into a very fun evening that cheered me right up. More the same the rest of the weekend, and I’m just feeling thankful to be so loved.

I might not have been up for chatting on the phone or FaceTime, but even the sweet texts I got from my bests made a world of difference. From the ski slopes, house hunters, long weekenders and moms chasing their babies, Seattle, Springfield and Dallas, I was feeling the love ❤️💙. You guys know who you are. Xoxo.

Dreary day in Dallas and the city is practically shut down, so I’m going to work on some pretty quilt blocks between conference calls and the usual Monday work day. And I’ll keep counting my blessings until I have more concrete reasons to worry.

Cheers,
CL

Adventures in Dermatology

I think I might have found the best dermatologist in the world.  Well, my friend Rachel found her for me, but still.  She’s amazing.  Several years ago, I started getting bi-yearly body scans to check my four million moles for skin cancer.  Nothing beats stripping down to your undies (just undies) in a freezing cold doctor’s office while a person you hardly know takes a magnifying glass to every square inch of your body while a nurse jots down notes.  I would almost rather go to the gyno.  Seriously.  At least it’s quick.

A few years ago, my then derm found a couple of bad spots on my back, which she excised and sent in for testing, leaving me with 19 baby stitches.  Thankfully, those came back just fine.  Mom took pictures of the entire process, naturally, so maybe if we’re lucky she’ll post them in the comments section.  (Side bar – mom loves being around when I’m getting tortured, whether it’s my very first eyebrow waxing, hair removal, skin removal or using a laser to remove age spots.  She’s wicked.)  Aforementioned Rachel works at a place with a giant laser, which helps with the redness of my scars.  You can hardly see a thing!

I got out of the habit of going to the dermatologist while I was in Seattle, which is bananas for two reasons:  everyone in Seattle is pale and super active outdoors (hiking and skiing), likely making Seattle a market with great dermatologists.  Two, a friend from grad school died of skin cancer.  Well, maybe that’s not what got him in the end, but it’s certainly how it started.  Go get your moles checked, people!

Anyhoot, I’m now back in Dallas and didn’t want to go back to my old derm, who was inconveniently located and had zero bedside manner.  Enter Dr. Kingston.  Super lovely, beautiful office with fantastic views and she stocks pink polka dot dressing gowns.  I was so tickled that I took a selfie and sent it to my mom, who no doubt was bummed to miss the entire process.  I have no pride on the blog, so I’ll post for you guys to see too.  Don’t judge my hair – I promise I fixed it before I went to the office.  Plus, this was in December and I’ve lost a few pounds since then 🙂

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Same process of a magnifying glass and notes being taken, but they did it section by section so I never felt exposed or awkward.  That’s no small thing when you have a boatload of body issues in the first place and your doctor is in Highland Park.  If any of you need a dermatologist, please go see Dr. Kingston and her fabulous staff.  Click here for her website.  She also does the cosmetic side of dermatology, so if you need Botox, laser resurfacing, hair removal, etc. I’m sure they are just as awesome.  And no, she is not paying me to say these nice things 🙂  I was just so genuinely happy after leaving the office I want to let others know.  I should probably write a Yelp review.

I think waaaaay back in my first blog, I told you guys the quest for food allergies all started when my mom told me she didn’t like the blush I was wearing.  Well, I wasn’t wearing blush.  Turns out I have regular old rosacea. There’s a lot of info out there, but it boils down to this: Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition which principally affects the face. It causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps). Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated, and is often mistaken for acne, eczema, or some other skin allergy.  Wow, imagine that!  My inflammatory problems are screwing up my face and my insides.  Lovely.  I always had perfect skin, even in high school, so having breakouts now is not okay.

Plus, it can lead to thickening of the nose, and while I’m mostly okay with my nose as is, it certainly doesn’t need to be any bigger.  So all those cute old men you see with giant noses?  They’ve probably had rosacea forever.  I’ve heard it called “gin nose” which would work too, since alcohol is an inflammatory and inflammatory problems cause rosacea.  Crazy how the human body works.

I’ve got some good medication to work with that, and between the diet change and the medicine, my skin is getting better too.  Hurrah!  I know in the grand scheme of life, my face isn’t nearly as important as getting my blood right so my heart is okay, but I might as well be pretty while I do it.

I also snagged a great sunscreen at the office, which was reasonably priced, has no weird smell and doesn’t feel sticky and gross on my skin.  Now that I’m back in Texas and under the sun (well, not this past couple of weeks) I have to be more diligent than ever to keep my skin covered up and protected.  I’ll take all the teasing anyone wants to give me about how I reapply every 30 minutes, no matter where we are on the river or how many cocktails I’ve had.  Skin cancer isn’t taking this girl down, and even if it tries to creep up on me, I’ll catch it early.

Dr. Kingston added to my collection of scars by removing two more moles, but thankfully these didn’t require stitches.  One came back fine and the other dysplastic, so we’ll have to keep an extra close eye on it.  No shock that I’m having the most issues on my back, since it’s tricky to get sunblock on there…don’t be surprised if we’re out and about and I ask you for help to reapply 🙂  I also bought a sunshirt and have learned where to find the shady spots in the pool, so hopefully I’m covered.

Hopefully next time I see Dr. Kingston it’ll be for a beauty treatment and not because of my weird rashes and patches caused by inflammation.  That would be ideal!

Cheers!  And wear your SPF, friends.