Sunday, September 30, 2012

7 Quick Takes--#6

Thanks, (other) Jen, for hosting!

Good times, bad times. Not such a quick Quick Takes this week.

--- 1 ---

Good: yesterday was our fifth anniversary. Where does the time go!?!? It sounds so cliche, but seriously, it doesn't feel like it was that long ago. I guess that's what the mommy blogs mean by "the days are long but the years are short." We didn't make any big plans for this year, for a lot of reasons, but we did go out for brunch to a new-to-us place, bought me another iPad (long story, but mine had an accident over the summer), drove around for a bit trying to think of something to do on a gray, cool day, came home for a bit to hang out, then off to Divine Liturgy, then to another new-to-us place for an excellent dinner. Back home to relax, then bed. I did not think this is how our lives would be by now, but that's for another post. As someone who thought she'd never get married, I am blessed and happy to be where I am today.

[Question though--I got the "new" iPad by accident. I told the lady at the Apple store that I wanted the 2, which I'd already had, but when I got handed off to another guy, I don't know if she said that or if she did, if he heard her, etc. When I got home and looked up my emailed receipt and compared the box and all of that, I realized I got the "new" one (or the 3 or whatever they're calling it). For some reason this is REALLY BUGGING ME. I don't know if it's because I was so set on getting another 2 or if it's because of the "bad things" I've heard about the 3 or what. For the record, I won my 2 in a trade show giveaway, so it's not like I had researched it before I bought it or knew the pros and cons. It was just there. So, should I just suck it up and enjoy the 3 or return it for the 2? Anyone?? ] Chris doesn't know why I'm SO obsessed with this, when....

--- 2 ---

Bad: Chris is having a liver biopsy this week. I haven't talked about this to many people, only family and one close friend (oh and WORK *roll eyes*). I am not that worried about this. I think Chris will be okay. Really. It's weird, because everyone keeps thinking I'm a wreck. No! I can't explain it, but while he could have something that's potentially serious, I think he will be able to monitor his health. Is this stupidity? Faith? I don't know. Those of you in the Catholic Sorority FB group know some of this, but here's the short version of the full story for EVERYONE!

Chris went for a physical in August and his liver enzyme levels were high. His doctor wasn't too concerned, but thought they should be checked again in a month or so. Ensue panic #1. Chris' mom died from liver cancer, so he didn't want to wait so long to have the levels checked (even though the doctor told him it was NOT CANCER and most likely a fatty liver). He went back to the lab a few weeks later. Levels were even higher. Ensue panic #2. Doctor thinks an ultrasound should be done, so off Chris and I go to the radiologist. Ultrasound comes back and looks pretty healthy, maybe a little fatty, but the only way to fix that is through lifestyle changes. Doctor says "Work on the diet and exercise and we'll retest in a month." He's very optimistic that things will improve.

Cue the healthier eating that I mentioned last week. Chris and I are eating super clean, working out, and all of that for about a month. Chris goes back to the lab for yet another blood test; the results comes back EVEN HIGHER. Ensue panic #3. Also, we find out that he has a positive ANA. (So do I, so does my mom--fortunately we are asymptomatic.) At this point, we're like, "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE???" Chris' doctor sets up an appointment with a specialist, a gastroenterologist, as he had mentioned a few weeks before that he'd do if the levels weren't improving.

That afternoon, we're sitting in the gastro's office at the local hospital's satellite location (suburban campus). We are fortunate, living where we do, being so close to one of the best medical schools and affiliated hospitals in the WORLD. (Yes, the one that begins with a Y.) Have I mentioned our appointment was for 4 PM on a Friday afternoon, made at 9:30 that morning? We were very lucky not to have to wait over the weekend. While the doctor didn't appear until 4:30, he apologized before he did ANYTHING ELSE. (Big props in my book.) He talked to Chris, who was EXTREMELY shaken, reassured him about what it was NOT (cancer, viral hepatitis, some random things that you and I have probably never heard of), and calmly explained what it COULD be--fatty liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis (unlikely, as mostly women have it), or irritation from the few gallstones that the ultrasound picked up. The gastro ordered even MORE blood tests, including one for Celiac. He was also interested in Chris' medical history related to the accident he had in 2004. I'd always felt that Chris should have been followed by a gastro after his bowel resection, so perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.

Last week, all of the labs came back, the liver levels were still high, but Chris doesn't have autoimmune hepatitis nor does he have Celiac. The labs told us what he doesn't have, but they didn't say what he DOES have. It's a bit maddening. Of course this all makes Chris even MORE worried, and the gastro does his best to reassure him that he thinks he'll be OK, he does NOT need a liver transplant, etc. What the gastro thinks is that Chris has something called NASH: nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Chris thought he might have this when he received the first results of his liver tests, but I tried to convince him that things weren't really that bad. FAIL JEN.

The only way to determine if Chris has NASH is via biopsy. The gastro did not recommend that we do one immediately; this is Chris' request. The gastro suggested waiting 3 to 6 months, doing more lab work to check the levels, and then, only if they hadn't improved much, to proceed with the biopsy. Chris, thinking that he'd have to live with that knowledge (or lack thereof, really) for months, knew that he'd be driven crazy with it hanging over his head, and asked if he could go ahead and have the biopsy now. It could be "just" a fatty liver, or it could be NASH. Either way, we'll have a definitive answer; if it is truly NASH, we'll also know what stage it is in. So, biopsies aren't great, but answers are always good. After waiting a week to get the results back, that is. Have I mentioned that Chris is a worrier and nervous by nature? He is obsessive with this latest health news; I've asked/demanded/yelled/screamed at him to STOP. LOOKING. THINGS. UP. ON. GOOGLE. I have to constantly reassure him that he's going to be okay, and that his doctor isn't too worried since he didn't want Chris to go for the biopsy immediately. It's been a tough few weeks at this house, for sure. I'd appreciate prayers not only for good PHYSICAL health, but good MENTAL health as well. And yes, we are looking into seeing a psychologist for help with how Chris has extreme panic/worry/obsession over his health.

--- 3 ---

Good: I'm seeing lots of progress at the gym. Once a month, during my weekly nutritionist appointment, I am measured so that we can see how many inches I'm losing (besides just pounds). In the past month, I have lost six pounds. Meh. I know, a loss is a loss, but I don't know, I thought I'd have lost a little more than that! Inches-wise, I have lost OVER TWELVE. Yup, a foot is gone from my body! SEVEN of those inches have disappeared from my hips alone and two from my waist. The other 3 were split between my upper arm, my thigh, and my chest. I was SHOCKED by those numbers!!!

--- 4 ---

Bad: Chris is really really really nervous about what's going on with his liver. I wrote the actual bolded parts of the QTs before I went back and filled them in, sooo just go back to #2. It's been hard on me, because I can only take so much. I'm not really a super patient person to begin with, and I've gotten a lot better, but I am honestly getting tired of having to reassure him several times a day, when it doesn't seem to do much help. He's called me almost every day at work, and I've been spending my break times talking him down from his heightened anxiety. His regular doctor gave him some medication to take when it gets really bad (Ativan, a mild tranquilizer) but of course, since he's so hyped up about the liver, will he take a pill or two? NO.

I'm getting snippy and annoyed, when I KNOW it's not his fault, especially as someone who experienced a similar panic disorder years ago. It's probably knowing that I got through it with therapy, and that I know how to take care of myself so I don't fall back into those thought patterns which makes me this upset. Ironic, huh? I know what it's like, but I hate that I can't just say to Chris, "Do XYZ and you'll be okay" or that I can't just share the "files" that are in my brain to help me process things, so that he'll be instantly "cured." I think that's the worst--when you've been in a similar spot as someone and know how to get better, only you can't really help that person because they are your spouse and you aren't a trained professional. (Even if I was a trained professional, it might not be so ethical that I help him in this manner.)

I actually went to confession about it last night and our priest told me that I can only take so much and that I'm doing everything I can. He agreed; it's not really a sin, it's a limit of being a human being. (He's known about all of this since the beginning.) Then he told Chris to suck it up a bit during HIS confession. In a nice way. It's seriously affecting EVERYTHING. Chris was anointed after DL last night, so hopefully that will help to ease his mind a bit as we approach Friday. Oh and waiting about a week for the results. I plan to try my damnedest to keep him busy. Even if it's with a "Honey Do" list.

--- 5 ---

Good: Two weeks into Creighton/NFP and things are going pretty well. aking charge of my life in one area lead to a snowball effect. While I've been off of the pill since mid-August, I wasn't able to start the Creighton classes until two weeks ago. Thursday I had my first follow-up with my instructor and so far, so good. I was pretty nervous that I wasn't observing my signs correctly or that I might have been incorrect in those observations, but I was wrong. Since I'm a fairly nervous person by nature, the frequent contact with the instructor is EXTREMELY helpful. I also have to say that I'm pretty pumped that it's not centered on so much religion. My instructor is Catholic and so am I (duh) but I am always sensitive to things that are overtly religious when they might not need to be, probably because not everyone is religious, and for religious people, not everyone is the same religion or even the same level of faith. And yes, I don't send out Baby Jesus Christmas cards. (Note to self: might be a good future post!) So, would Creighton be a good method for ANY woman wanting to know more about her body? YES. I do plan on writing a post about my experiences--going from contraception for health issues years before I was married to being married still on the pill to going OFF the pill and all of that. It will probably be over at IuseNFP, since Kayla was very interested in my post. But there might be something here too.

Speaking of IuseNFP and Kayla (and KATIE), my instructor gave them a shout-out in our intro session, soooo I guess they are famous. And I was all "yeah I know them." Chris looked at me as if I was an alien. I don't know what the other people in the intro session thought.

--- 6 ---

Bad: (TMI WARNING) It's been 52 days since I started my last withdrawal bleed (aka fake period) and I would really like it to return. Sorry, I had to, haha. I'm so annoyed. My first few weeks off of the pill were great. My Creighton instructor's boss (who I'd contacted first) warned me that I'd feel like I was going through puberty again. I thought that was an overly cautious statement. HA.

I was wrong. These past two weeks or so have been MADNESS. Crying at all sorts of weird things, getting easily annoyed (no, really MORE than usual). Ugh. This is horrible, and I can't really tell people why I'm like this. My mother already thinks that anytime I'm sick or tired or cranky that I'm pregnant, soooo I don't think she should know I'm off the pill just yet. I don't need her to ask me even more than she does now, haha. My boss? Ew, none of his business, although I am wondering if HIS boss (one of the owners of my company) thinks something's up. I was in a meeting with her and my boss about a quasi-serious issue involving our company and social media, and I started CRYING. It was more out of embarrassment/fear, but yeahhh way to go on the professionalism, Jen. I'm sure she's now thinking "Greeeeaaaaat, she'll be gone in a few months." Hopefully she notices my smaller hips instead. These hips don't lie! Shameless Shakira mention, hahaha. If only there was a gif for that!

[In case anyone is worried, my endocrinologist told me at my last appointment in August that if my period hasn't returned by my 10/12 appointment, she would give me a prescription to induce it. Yes, I will be using Prometrium.]

--- 7 ---

Good: I knew I had another one, but I forgot it. Anyway, just thank you for reading and commenting (if you do). I'm really glad I'm back to blogging and that I've met so many great people through blogging and social media.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Just reviewed my stats and I have to know....

I do love penguins, hee.

WHO is looking at my blog via Linux!?!?!?!

I'm not asking that in a raging, crazy way. I'm seriously curious, because I don't hear too many people using that OS. Not that I'm a techie by any means, but I know what it is. This week, I had 29 page views (not sure if they were unique) or 19% of the total; Linux was the second highest operating system, of course, trumped by Windows.

Nice to see that my participation in this week's 7 Quick Takes over at Conversion Diary has helped bring me some traffic. Thanks Jen and visitors! And Priest's Wife! Your newer blog brought some people over here too :)

I have to laugh (or should I say, LOL?) at this weeks' search keywords. Here we go, in order from the most views (5) to the least (1):
  • oxford comma funny
  • catholic memes
  • funny greek memes
  • greek meme
  • byzantine catholic memes
  • catholic meme
  • greek memes
  • memes greece
  • memes greek
  • young women having fun
I did a 7 Quick Takes a few months ago and used an Oxford comma cartoon. That explains the first one. The next 8 are related to this meme. Remember that trend a few months ago on Facebook and blogs? (If you are confused, no I am not Greek, but Byzantine Catholics used to be called Greek Catholics. You can learn more about that, here.)

The last one? I don't think of myself as a young woman who has a lot of fun. Am I looking to have more fun? Sure. 

This was just a random little post, since I am a bit of a data nerd at times. If you read it, thanks!

7 Quick Takes--#5

Let's call this the "What Happened During the Almost Five Months I Was Away from the Blog" post, 
a.k.a. "Things I've Learned about Myself."

--- 1 ---

I need structure. I took a week off in July and did almost absolutely nothing. It was lovely, yet at the same time, I felt really weird afterwards. Like I wasted time. It was fun being a "housewife" for the week, but I really think that I do better with structure, so I don't foresee a career in the house as much as I think I want that to happen someday. We'll see.

--- 2 ---

I like where I am (most of the time). I looked for a new job. I got two phone calls, passed up one interview, went on one first interview, went on one second interview. No offers. It's okay. I realized during this time that I really like my work, and it is getting more interesting. My company is growing; we're going to be publishing more types of books and I am having more opportunities to work closely with our authors, which for the most part has been a lot of fun.

--- 3 ---

I need accountability. I joined a gym and started working out with a personal trainer three days a week. I also see a nutritionist once a week. This is included in my package, and is the point of the gym. Everyone works out with a trainer, unless they are there to do cardio. I've been going for about a month--in that time, I've lost almost five pounds, am much more toned, and just feel better overall. Having set appointments has been great for me. I couldn't do the "make time for yourself" schpiel that so many life coaches preach, especially regarding fitness. I have to be accountable to someone else in order for me to be accountable to myself. I have an appointment at 5 o'clock, I will be there. No excuses, not even work. (And that was a big one for me, to get up and leave when I needed to go.)

--- 4 ---

It's easier to do something big when you have help. Along with the gym, I've also been closely monitoring my eating habits. So has Chris. His change was much more sudden and drastic than mine; I've been slowly trying to do better for years, but it was tough when you live with a foodie/amateur chef. Chris had some questionable blood work after a physical in August, and ever since then, we've both been supporting each other and working together to get healthier. In all of the years I've known him, he could eat whatever, and I had to be the one passing up on things. It was hard and I gave up a lot of the time--much to my detriment. I'm not happy that his food change happened in the way that it did, but it's been really nice having a partner in this, too. I know he's glad that I know much more about healthy eating than he does, as I can guide him and answer his questions. These changes that we have to make aren't so bad after all!

--- 5 ---

Taking charge of my life in one area lead to a snowball effect. In August I found out that one of my medications was on back order. So were the two generics that I had also taken over the years. At that moment, I had to make an important decision--I could call my doctor and ask for something else or I could try to listen to my body and work with what it was doing, naturally. I chose to go natural. It was a little scary to say that out loud (to myself, to Chris, to my doctors) but I've been met with nothing but support and love. And it's been very empowering!!! So much that I started the gym soon after, and the better eating followed that. Just recently, I was able to attend a class to learn about caring for myself in this natural way.What was the impetus for all of this? Keep reading...

--- 6 ---

There are no perfect Catholics. We are all practicing Catholics, because you don't get to perfect unless you keep practicing! Yes, I ripped that off of the old saying. I think it fits. For a long time, I felt like I was a fake, because I might have done X or not have done Y. What did that say about me? Was I not as holy as someone else in the blogosphere? As the guy three pews up from me at church? As Chris' grandmother? No one is perfect. My sins, my background, whatever you want to call it, that's what makes me, me. And if God made me, and He loves me, sin and all, then I can't be so bad, right?

--- 7 ---

Never EVER think that what you say doesn't matter. You never know who is reading your blog. Or what they are taking away from it. This goes for you as much as it goes for me. I've learned so much from many of you bloggers; I can't be the only one. Maybe someone reads something and it plants a seed. It doesn't mean they'll change or try something different right away. Maybe it'll sort of bug them, like a tag in their shirt. Maybe they'll come back to the idea that they got from your blog days later or even weeks later.

This is sort of an announcement. Take #5 and #6, mix them together, and what do you get? Do you have a guess?

Come on...

Medications and religion...

I even said "class."

I've hinted about this on Twitter to some of you. Others know about it from the Facebook groups we are in together.

Well, in a few words, I had a conversion story of my own. It's getting late, so I'll fill you in on exactly what happened in another post, but I think this is the best way to sum it up right now:

Yup. It's true. It didn't happen overnight, or even in a few days. Ha, more like months...or maybe even years. I promise, I will write an entire post about my journey. Looking back on it, it was pretty freaking cool. Magical maybe? Of course, I'm still playing with white baby stickers, so check back with me in a few weeks. ;-)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Oh look who's back...

No one has hacked my account; it's really me! I didn't realize I'd taken such a long hiatus. This Sunday would have marked five months of silence.

That's sort of silly, I've been chatty, just in other areas! Facebook, Twitter...  I had planned coming back around Labor Day with a post related to "what I did over my summer vacation" but now we're through the middle of the month, so a summer post seems a bit silly. 

I have lots of things I want to write about, some new things, some are things that I've been meaning to get around to posting about. Some are serious, some are funny. Some might shock you, some might make you smile. It would probably be best if I started tomorrow with a 7 Quick Takes Friday but that can be hard since I'm at work all day and while I could schedule my post to appear on my blog tomorrow, I can't get it to automatically link over at Conversion Diary. Hmm. (My apologies if this doesn't make sense. It's late. I'm tired. I'm out of "blogging" practice.) Hopefully I can get up early tomorrow to write a strong 7QT post and link it up before heading off to work.

If I don't...will it be another five months of silence??