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Checking Back In

It has been a long, long time since I posted. The last six months have been mostly focused on work at my job- we had a couple major projects back-to-back but we’re finally out from under those. My health has had some ups and downs along the way, but overall I’ve been doing relatively well. I started writing short fiction again, and that’s where most of my writing energy has gone; it’s a lot of fun, and more rewarding than I expected.

After a false start I finally transferred to the endocrinologist at the same practice that houses my rheumatologist. This is a huge relief; it’s much closer and more convenient to my job, I can take a shuttle on days when I can’t drive, and it is much easier to share labs and communication between my doctors. I have a round of bloodwork and a fresh sonogram of my thyroid scheduled, but since I’m stable she’s not inclined to change my dosage or brand, for which I am extremely grateful.

Interestingly enough she didn’t bring up my weight- I did. My last doctor was insistent that I lose weight but didn’t provide any guidance. I tried a few things but nothing stuck for long. My new doc suggested I count carbs for a while and see how that works for me. A good friend has done well with this approach and hubby has cut back on carbs as well with some success.

I’m not making any big changes right now- just watching my portions and tracking again, but after four days I feel less bloated and my energy is up, so I have hopes. I’ve decided to not weigh myself until my next doctor appointment in six weeks and just focus on eating better, especially over the holidays.

I still use the treadmill but we’ve been doing a lot of yardwork lately and I’m trying not to overdo things. We’ve started house-hunting again and have looked at a few promising places; we’d really like a house with a pool and that will give me more exercise options.

We’ve had a few cold days, but other than stiffness my joints aren’t doing too bad. What has been more of a problem is that my office is chilly (it’s poorly insulated) so I have to run my space heater and get up to walk around often and stretch so I don’t stiffen up too much; this helps minimize my pain at work.

I am hosting Christmas dinner this year and might order a cooked turkey; the end of the year happened in a rush and I just finished gift shopping last night. I have one item to make but otherwise all I need to do is wrap and mail. Hubby has tomorrow off and will assemble the tree so I can decorate it, and I need to start getting the house in order for guests. My cards will probably go out post-holiday this year, and it may just be close friends/family instead of my whole list, but I’ll make sure that anyone who sends a card gets one in return. It’s not what I’d prefer, but I’m trying to spend my spoons wisely.

I hope that you are all doing as well as possible and looking forward to holiday, and you have my best wishes for the new year and every year!

Promised Photos

Both not much and quite a bit going on last week. Lots of things going on with both our families. Still working out med changes with doc. Caught the random fever that was running around the office- went home Tuesday and was out Wednesday, so with the holiday it was a super-short week and I didn’t get much done. Hubby and I went to our favorite fondue joint Thursday night just because- I felt delightfully decadent. Weekend was relaxed and rain kept most of the fireworks to the 4th, which was a nice change (usually it’s a week-long noisefest in our neighborhood). I readjusted to my anxiety meds quickly, which is a relief. Some vivid dreams but no more nightmares since the first few days- yay! Was super-productive at work today, and since it was so quiet last week I’m already caught up.

This was my suite at the conference hotel. It was by far the nicest place I ever stayed. I won’t bore you with pictures of the foyer/hallway/bathroom (even if it *did* have TWO sinks!).

Past the bathroom on the right was the kitchen:

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Full fridge and a dishwasher! The most I used the stove for was heating water in the kettle. Very nice though. Past that was the living room area:

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(Not shown off to the right- one of two flat-screen televisions.) To the right of that…

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Yes, that’s a dining area for six. And then to the left of that was the bedroom area (with the second flat-screen tv):

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All of this was amazing enough, but what really got me was the view out the window:

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Yes, it was June, and yes, that’s snow.

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Snow.

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Snow!

Labs Results

Jeebus- can’t believe that I forgot to post this. Heard back from my doctor’s office with my lab work. My inflammation levels are up, but nothing else unusual, which is a tentatively good thing. I left a message that I’m going to wait a couple more weeks to recover from travel and to adjust to the med changes. My next appointment is August 6, so I’ll wait until then (unless something else comes up). If I’m not doing significantly better, I will move to a new med. I think it will replace one of the ones I just started, rather then being added on- I’ll know more later.

I mentioned before that I’m restarting my anxiety meds. I’ve only been back on a for few a days, but today is the first day that I noticed a difference- I’m so much more relaxed. I carry a lot of tension in my shoulders (hubby and I have a running joke about the permanent knot in my back). I swear my shoulders are two inches lower though, and being relaxed will not only help my stress levels but will probably lessen my neck and shoulder pain. Definitely a “well, DUH” moment there. My only wish is that this med didn’t give me crazy nightmares. It should ease off after a few weeks- one of the nice things about keeping this blog is that I can go back through my tags and see how I’m doing this time around compared to last time.

*Update: looking back, I made it a full six months without meds. It felt both longer and shorter than that.

I am back from my business trip and generally had a really good time. I was up in the mountains, and despite the altitude (~7,000 feet) I got in a fair amount of walking. And it snowed! I haven’t seen snow is years, so that was a rare treat (even if it meant the trails were too muddy for hiking). I had packed a windbreaker and layers, so other than having to buy a hat I was well-prepared for the weather. I hadn’t, however, taken into account that Utah is officially in the Southwest, and garlic is used to season almost everything.

If you’re new to my blog (and I’ll admit, I don’t talk about it often), but I have a fairly severe allergy to garlic. As in “my-throat-closes-up-and-I-can’t-breathe-carry-two-EpiPens” kind of allergic. I can usually tolerate a little dried garlic if it’s mixed into pre-packaged food (anything with “spices” on the boxes probably has trace garlic in it), as long as I don’t do it too often. The Southwest is pretty blatant about their garlic usage, so it’s easy to identify but hard to avoid. There was a “food allergy buffet” (lots of gluten-free, etc. foods) but 4/5 had garlic in it, and the 5th was pork (no pork or red meat either- sometimes it amazes me that I weigh as much as I do). It’s a rare allergy so I did notify the conference folks ahead of time, but I ended up having a cheese quesadilla and frenched fries that meal.

Speaking of, you know that I’m lactose intolerant, right? Even lactaid can only save me so much. I am currently going completely dairy-free for a few days/weeks until my body settles down.

None of this is really a surprise though- I came prepared with lots of me-friendly snacks and oatmeal so I could make breakfast in my room; every other meal I was able to find good alternatives, and every other single thing about the resort was amazing. They were super-kind about my feather allergy, swapping out my comforter, checking all my pillows and bringing me an extra blanket (which I ended up needing when the snow started!). I did them leave feedback, both good and bad, and especially praising the chef and server who helped with my food issues.

To be honest, I don’t think of my allergies and dietary restrictions as being particularly major or, well, restricting. It was just one of those cases where I’m reminded that I’ve shaped my immediate environs so I don’t need to worry about these things on a regular basis. The joys and tribulations of leaving your comfort-bubble, right?

As for other health stuff, my right hip was pretty bad the whole trip, which was very disappointing. The plane ride out was painful and I never quite 100% recovered from it (maybe just as well I didn’t try hiking after all). I also never managed distilled water for my CPAP and learned that dry air causes things to evaporate faster, so I need to refill more often. I had the usual dry-air problems: dry skin and nosebleeds, but I never needed to use my inhaler which I count as a win! Staying hydrated avoided any altitude sickness headaches as well, so go, me!

You’ll notice that I haven’t said anything about the actual conference so far- this is long enough so I’ll make it a separate post. I also have PICTURES! So I’ll post some of those as well. Stay tuned!

Migraine Day

Well, today was almost a total loss. Woke with a migraine and went back to sleep for five hours. It’s the rainy season in my part of the world, and the afternoon thunderstorms have been fierce. Add in all-over body aches and I mostly puttered on the computer and read (with a little dishwashing and dusting thrown in). I did wake with both cats on the bed, and Pilot was thrilled to have a captive audience for 20 minutes of dedicated snuggling. I am still pretty wrung-out and slightly hungover from the migraine. Ick.

Checking the Boxes

Still waiting on bloodwork results, but research has confirmed that 100% of the random symptoms I’ve been experiencing for the last few months are part of the fibro suite. Part of me still hopes that the bloodwork comes back clear, but then I’ll have to address each individual issue with my medical team- it’s a bit to think that a fibro diagnosis would be “easier”. *sigh*

Speaking of my medical team, the endo I hoped to transfer to is moving out of the area, so I am stuck with my current doc for a while longer. The medical centre where my rheumatologist is plans to add a new endo, so once they have someone on staff I’ll make an appointment.

All this is going on the week before I fly out to Utah for a week-long conference. Yesterday was a dental cleaning and today is my allergy shot. I am starting to think that this was foolish on my part, because by the time I get out there I’m already going to be worn out. This will also be my first flight carrying my CPAP machine, so that should be… interesting. As soon as I land I need to hunt up a pharmacy or grocery store to pick up distilled water; I can get by on bottled water for a couple days in a pinch. I think I will be glad for the humidifier though- it is very cool and dry there. Packing extra warm layers for chilly evenings- which reminds me, I should pack my largest heating pad. *adds it to the list*

And while I’m making my packing list, that reminds me that I need to do a review here. I have discovered the joy that is SmartWool socks! I’m practically giddy about them- one of the few times that I wrote a review for a commercial site. That will  probably happen after I get back (and recover) from my trip.

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