Anyone seen my missing blog?

According to the email I got from WordPress this morning, I haven’t updated my blog in ten months…which is right when I did my first Whole 30.  Well, let’s be honest – my only Whole 30.  I haven’t exactly been a poster child for healthy lifestyle this year.  Or the back half of last year, if I’m really being honest.  The fun thing about me is you can judge my stress level and coping with said stress by the size of my ass.  (Spoiler alert – bigger than ever.  EVER ever.  Like bigger than any time I’ve talked to producers of weight loss reality shows.  All three times.  Bigger than the current contents of my closet…thank God it’s summer and I can throw a dress on these hips.  The no waistband Sundays from the summer of 2009 are my coping mechanism on the daily.

So the question is…how did my ass get so big?  And why did I stop writing my blog?

Well – a bunch of things.  The most reasonable excuse is that I was job searching, and blathering on about my weight, depression and quilting didn’t really seem like the best thing to put out there when I wanted someone to hire me.  I’ve been employed for a little over six months now, and while job security is iffy at best, the writing is cathartic and I’m going back after it anyway.

(Fingers crossed I hit the jackpot tonight…$330M cash leaves lots of blogging and quilting time.)

The second reason is that I totally lost my mojo…in everything.  I started this blog to chronicle all of the visits to allergists, hematologists, gastroenterologists and other fun specialists to figure out what the heck was going on with my insides.  I was kicking ass, taking names and had banished all of the food that were hurting me.  Sure, I couldn’t heal everything with lifestyle change – my sparse yet chunky platelets are a great indicator of that – but there was a lot that I was doing right.

And then life happened, and writing, clean eating, etc. all seemed to get away from me.  And I felt like a big, fat failure.

I was failing in my career, failing at my weight, failing at finding a house, failing in romantic relationships, failing at my diet, failing at everything.  Fail, fail, fail.  My therapist says I’m too hard on myself.  She’s a doll.

I’m still seeing her 2-3 a month (have been for about a year,) and she’s encouraged me to pick my writing back up.  She said I didn’t have to publish it, but I figure there’s nothing wrong with putting things out there.  Maybe someone else struggles with the same things I do, and they’ll find some words of encouragement.  Or maybe it’ll help knowing someone else is going through the same thing.

Something I touched on in my blogs last year is depression, and how much I struggle with it.  I put on one hell of a game face, normally, but some days its just beyond me.  And even then I’m only good for a few hours, and then I have to burrow in at home for a while.  I think depression is what makes me an introverted extrovert.  I have such a great time meeting other people and talking to them, but then I’m just exhausted after.  The kicker about depression is that you feel so alone, even when you’re surrounded by people.  And while I know deep down I’m loved by family, friends, and even people who don’t know me that well, it’s hard to shake out of that cloud.  The past couple of weeks have been particularly challenging, with great highs (Stitchfest!) and dark lows (work/house/boys/etc.)  I told my therapist I just feel like I’m on this horrible roller coaster, and I’m exhausted.  I’m just so done and I want the ride to stop, already.

One bright spot in this past 18 months has been quilting.  It truly took me by surprise, and I’m thankful for both the craft and the people I’ve met through it every single day.  If I’m bummed out about my lack of success at work, I can look at some of the beautiful things I’ve created and remember that I did it – I accomplished something with hard work, perseverance and asking for help when I needed it.  If I hit a roadblock, I found a way to work around it and make it my own.  If only it came so easily in a gray cubicle!

I had a great opportunity to be a spotlight speaker for my local modern quilt guild, and I truly enjoyed the process of pulling together my journey into sewing, especially pictures of things my mom did when I was a kid.  And all of the Halloween costumes she’s created over the years!  (Pam is a Halloween rock star.)  I took to quilting like a duck to water, and I think it was because I was able to create something with my own two hands and see a finished result.  Sometimes at work you put hours of thought and consideration into a project, and then it never goes anywhere.  So while a quilt might not ever leave a cabinet, I still made it, and can touch and feel it.  It’s hard to explain what it’s done for me.

One of the things I left out of my quilting journey (because I knew I wouldn’t be able to share it with the room without crying) is how it came at just the right time.  I was at a really low spot when I took my first class at Urban Spools, and it gave me some purpose.   I really do think quilting saved me, and I have a lot of faith that it’ll play a big part of shooing away the dark cloud that’s over my head again these days.  I still have a hard time letting people in when I’m having a hard time, choosing to just spend quiet time at home by myself, but I’m opening up.  One of these days I’ll learn that people will still love me when I’m having a bad day, and it’s okay that I’m not always there with a smile on my face and a joke ready to tell.

I think like most women, we just put the mask on and power through when times get tough.  I don’t think I’m unique in this way, and I think social media does a lot to perpetuate that cycle.  No one likes a vague-booker or someone who whines about their life drama, and yet so many conversations are held through this medium, that we forget how to actually talk to someone in good times and bad.  At least I forget.  Everything is in bite size snippets.

It’s not like I’ve ever been great at sharing the lows, but I know I’ve gotten even worse in my old (er) age.  So as I journey through this last year of my 30’s, I’m going to strive to find some balance.  To get off the roller coaster.  To talk to my friends and family in good times and in bad.  At least I’m going to give it a good try 🙂  And maybe blogging will help.

Cheers,

Christina

 

 

Being Thankful :)

First, I just have to say thank you to everyone who has been following along, sending me sweet texts, emails and Facebook messages and giving me support.  I know I’m a big baby on my best days and the extra love has been so, so nice.  I’ve tried to handle all of this uncertainty with a sense of humor and I do better some days than others.  I suppose I’m allowed to be human 🙂

I really did hope to have more answers this week than I got, but I’m still in wait and see mode.  I likely will have some info back from my ultrasounds at the end of today, though, and I already know my stomach is functioning properly.  This is good!  I am being referred to a rheumatologist for the inflammation issue, though, and we still have Tuesday’s bloodwork to read.

One thing I did find out for sure is that despite having a low platelet count, the platelets I have are young, plump and strong.  That made me giggle.  So I may not have the platelets I should, but at least the ones I have are hearty.  It’s quality over quantity, right?  So, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP).  Mouthful, right?  It’s a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting. Persons with the disease have too few platelets in the blood.  For now there’s no treatment necessary, but I’ll have to keep going in and having my levels checked.  If they drop too low, then we’ll take action.  Also, my body is an asshole.  Stop destroying those nice platelets!

Let’s talk about Thursday’s adventures, shall we?  Started the day with an ultrasound for my gallbladder, liver, kidney and spleen.  I’ve had to have an ultrasound on my left breast several years back so I knew a bit of what to expect, but it’s a lot more poking around and digging in with a wand than a movie about pregnant people would have you believe. (BTW, the girls are fine.  They’re just apparently “lumpy” but having a mammogram and ultrasound when you’re 32 is super not fun.)

It was interesting to watch the process, though, and I had to laugh when FINALLY someone told my mom to stop taking pictures.  Thank you, radiologist!  Mom is excellent at documenting the process but thankfully also excellent at not posting 🙂  Don’t get me started on the first time I had a mole biopsy and stitches, and I bet she would have video taped my first eyebrow wax if given the chance.  I’ll add the selfie and the mom-taken ‘why am I waiting in this godawful room’ bitchface pic.  Don’t mind the beautiful bracelet accessories.  Hospital plastic is all the rage.

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After the ultrasound came the radioactive breakfast, and I will say again that it was disgusting.  I LOVE eggs and I was so concerned when I did my ALCAT several months ago that I would have a sensitivity.  Well let me just tell you that I’m pretty sure I have a sensitivity to slimy, scrambled hospital eggs with radioactive sprinkles.  Yikes.  And my first piece of toast in who knows how long?  I thought about skipping it to avoid any tummy trauma but I had to have it (along with the Welch’s extra high fructose corn syrup strawberry jelly) to choke down those eggs.

Like I said on social media – the ambiance in this restaurant is terrible.

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The cool thing is standing up against the machine (top right with the squares in the pic) and seeing where the eggs were hanging out in my stomach, though.  Wait an hour, then have another pic taken.  Wait an hour, have a third pic taken.  I lucked out that my eggs where mostly at the bottom of my stomach where they belong at the end of the third hour, so I didn’t have to wait for a fourth.  End result is that my stomach functions on the lowest end of normal, but normal is good!  We still have to figure out why I get sick so much, but at least I know it’s not my stomach being hateful.

Well, no more hateful than usual.  I felt awful all day thanks to that stupid breakfast.  I was able to keep it down and had an insanely delicious lunch at Zoe’s, but still felt gross all day.  Oh well, suppose spending five hours at a hospital is enough to make anyone feel gross.

Thankfully, mom hooked me up with some delicious eggs this morning for breakfast.  (Along with avocado, chicken sausage and freshly peeled grapefruit and OMG yes I am totally stuffed.)

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I’ve got her one more day while we wait to get blood and ultrasound results back today.  I will hang onto her as long as I can!  Love my momma.

Cheers!

Answers…Maybe I’ll Get Some!

Okay friends – big week ahead.  Hopefully I will FINALLY get some answers!  If you need me, you can find me at UT Southwestern donating all of my blood.

To recap:  a few weeks back, I had extensive blood tests done and came back with a trifecta of doom.  Highest inflammation levels ever (despite my extensive lifestyle changes), lowest platelet count ever and a positive test for ANA.  The last one, at least, means that my body is attacking itself.  That can lead to all kinds of sucky autoimmune diseases like lupus or polymyositis.

I’ve been trying not to worry until I had something concrete to worry about, but while my head has remained relatively cool, my body has been unimpressed.  My anxiety has been sky high, making my stomach a train wreck (not helping my unrelated vomiting problem, sorry for the TMI) and I’ve had a bit of bitchery too.  Sorry, friends and family.  While it’s better that I couldn’t drink myself silly on Collin’s sangria at Joey’s 40th birthday, I certainly would have been more fun with a couple of glasses 🙂  (Great catching up with everyone, though!!  Love you guys!)

Plus, I got to jump into a pool on Saturday!  YES!  At an awesome new friend’s house to boot.  Maybe that extra boost of vitamin D can help kick all the nasties away.

As usual, I digress.  Back to blood – that’s my Tuesday trip to UTSW.  I’ll meet my hematologist and probably get sent for more tests.  I’m truthfully hoping for some answers, though, because I want to find out why everything in my blood is so jacked up.  We thought food allergies/intolerances were causing the inflammatory reactions, and they may well be, but it could be other stuff too.  I have no illusions that gluten will be a regular player in my life ever again, but I’m still irritated that cutting it out of my diet didn’t fix everything.  And it’s a catch 22, because both my regular doctor and gastroenterologist want to retest me for Celiac, which means I need to put guten back into my system, which means I’m going to want to die.  That’s going to feel wretched after so long without.

Part two comes on Thursday as a follow up to my gastroenterologist appointment.  First up, an ultrasound for my buddha belly!  Then I get to eat some radioactive scrambled eggs and have my stomach activity studied.  The working theory is that it isn’t processing food properly and somehow that’s triggering me to throw up all the time.  I’ve said a million times that I’m only overweight because my body hangs on to dinner and processes calories twice.  Maybe I’m on to something!

Or maybe I should just come to terms with my fashion degree, even though it’s a Bachelor of Science, and admit I know nothing medical.  I only enjoyed science class when it was earth science and geology because I could daydream those rocks would turn into gemstones which would turn into jewelry.

So that’s where we are.  Mom drove down from Missouri today so she can go with me.  I’m in excellent hands, because ain’t nobody better than my momma.  Work knows I’ll be out for two days this week and I’m full of well wishes.  Part of me thinks I’m over-reacting, but the rest of me is beating myself up for not doing something about all of this earlier.  I’ve known about my elevated inflammation levels for two years now but whine whine whine it’s too haaaaaaard.  Bah.  The low platelet count is relatively new, though, and the ANA as well, so I’ll try not to be too hard on myself.

All I want is to feel good and to be healthy.  Seems like it isn’t too much to ask 🙂

I’m sure I’ll blog all week about my experiences.  It definitely makes me feel better to share.  Trouble shared is trouble halved, right?

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