Adjusting Goals

As you may be able to tell, I am not the best at keeping a schedule. I have been trying to stick to my plan, but of course I get completely overwhelmed. I realized that it was because I planned to much for my break. I had this dream that I would somehow be able to clean, organize, and list a bunch online before I got back to work. The reality is – there is just way too much stuff in my house to get through all those steps in 4 weeks.

I obviously haven’t been able to get to my how-to page on here yet. I am keeping a list of what to write about, but I don’t have the time to do it all. I have to remind myself that a little progress every day will make a big impact over time. So, for now, I am just sticking to my to do lists and trying to knock out small goals in order to reach the larger ones that I have. I have adjusted my goals in order to decrease my stress. I think that is the best way to feel positive at the end of each day, instead of discouraged.

We got our first real snow this week!

I was able to find a system for documenting items as we clean into google spreadsheets so that when the time comes we can easily get them listed on E-bay, Craigslist, or Etsy.

I made a light box out of Ikea coffee tables to photograph items for sale. It’s pretty awesome, and I am proud of myself.

I assembled a desk system myself for the back office. It’s awesome, and gives enough space for both Champ and I to work. We also went through everything in the back room and organized it.

I found the black clips that we have been missing for months that go to an additional shelf in the basement! Which will be great because we have a bunch of sell stuff upstairs that needs to be shelved.

I even made an ugly sweater!

We have been sticking to our decision to not go grocery shopping until we eat what we have, and are getting creative with all the ingredients at the house. We have so much food at home. It’s amazing how we let so much food just sit in the pantry.

I started meditating using the application Stop, Breathe & Think which has been extremely calming and helpful for my stress levels. I am feeling very positive and less anxious.

Overall, it was a great week. I am excited for this week!

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One Foot In Front of The Other

This week things have been moving, slowly, but still moving. I started the week of excited, and then I ran one of my toes into the coffee table. I’m pretty positive it’s fractured. I broke my finger last year, and it feels similar. Also the small cracking sound I heard and the almost immediate bruising are both pretty clear indicators. However, it’s a toe – and you can’t splint a toe. I can walk around without pain, so luckily it wasn’t an immobilizing fracture!

IMG_0304Champ and I started sorting through all our clothes. We labeled all the drawers, and we are only allowed to keep what comfortably fits into each drawer plus what fits in our closet. We also decided that we can have one under-bed storage container for seasonal clothing. We have a lot of laundry to do, so we are going to have to re-assess our choices after all our laundry is done.

I did go to an estate sale yesterday. Counterproductive, but I haven’t been to one in over 4 months. All in all, I stayed on budget and actually purchased some helpful things. Champ and I are both horrible at sorting the mail, and we purchased 3 mail baskets for $2 a piece. I was able to get few things for the kitchen, a miniature whisk and a brand new mini muffin pan that set us back a whole $3.50. We also snagged a few christmas presents, and some posters for the house.

I wanted to go because they had some vintage 50s/60s pink Pyrex! I got there, and it was OUTRAGEOUSLY priced. They wanted $15 a piece for the 2 qt casserole dishes. I’m sure someone timed it to get there on 50% off day, but that would still be overpriced. So I passed on everything except a1960s casserole dish with the white daisy pattern because I have the divided dish already. I got it for $10 because it was caked in grease stains. Yes, I bought a piece that looked unsalvageable because I believed I could save it. I am 2 hours in, and it is SO CLOSE to being PERFECT! That’s right! When I finish cleaning it I will post on how to clean your own Pyrex.

IMG_0353My other big achievement for the week was that I officially posted an e-bay item! I have a 1957 Silvertone Radio that works, but I never use it. I am trying to imagine fitting myself into a 250 sq ft space and asking myself what is most precious to me. Unfortunately, the radio didn’t make the cut.

I am slowly working on my attitude, trying to look at things positively by choice and I have to say that it works wonders. I feel so much better. I just have to keep it up! It helps to accomplish things, even if they are small. In fact, tonight I am finally going to see some friends which I have not done in months.

Here is to a great first week of vacation!

Welcome Home!

In my last post I mentioned that I had been out-of-town for the last three months. In fact, in those three months I was only home for 10 days. Which meant that Champ was in charge of taking care of the house and the dogs. His priorities, let me tell you, did not fall on the kitchen.

I came home to beautiful flowers, a welcome home balloon, and a house full of stuff. I was tired of eating out, tired of picking which restaurant would be my best bet on Yelp, and then trying to decipher their menu. I was so glad to come home, and to cook my own meals.

I got home the week of Thanksgiving. I flew in Sunday night, I had two days at home before we drove down to Champ’s parents house. Grocery shopping on Monday was for non-perishables and snack food for the road. Looked like eating out for a couple of days was our best option. When we got home from the holidays, I avoided my kitchen. I knew that I would be on vacation soon – so every encounter was the ‘get in and get out as quickly as possible’ kind. Sunday I finally rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

photo (7)We don’t have a big kitchen. It’s a galley kitchen with cabinets only on one side. The other side is the stove and refrigerator. In between them I have a vintage formica table, but it is taking up too much space (so it’s on my sell list). I could barely walk through my kitchen when I got home. There were 4 bags of glass recycling, a giant bag of more plastic bags, the dog food container, a step-stool, and other nonsense taking up all the floor space.

We cleared out the recycling, and Champ started on the dishes. I wiped down the counter, the blender, the Cuisinart food processor, and other miscellaneous items. He had to leave for work, and I decided to go through my pots and pans. As I sifted through them my thoughts drifted to my food processor. I had bought it at an estate sale for $20, and it has an 11 cup capacity. I have all the attachments, and even found their holder at a thrift store. However, the only thing I have ever used it for is chopping vegetables. I figured I would sell it if I didn’t really need it, or I could get rid of some items that the food processor replaces. So, I settled down on the couch and watched, “How to Use Your Cuisinart 11 Cup Pro-Chef Whatever Food Processor.”

I should have done that WAY sooner! That night, I shredded cheese with it, and it worked in about 10 seconds. Champ was freaking out – because now when I ask him to grate cheese he gets to basically use the kitchen equivalent to a power tool. I am super excited about this machine, AND it is allowing me to get rid of an older chopper that fits my blender, a few older knives and some cheese graters. More in the sell pile!

photo (6)Today was day 2 of Kitchen de-clutter. It still isn’t there yet, but the end is in sight. My younger brother had rented this place before us, so when we moved in the fridge was full of food. Champ thought he would eat it all, and 6 months later it was still there. Today we undertook the disgusting task of cleaning it all out of the fridge.I have such an amazing partner, because I almost hurled a few times. He took charge of emptying them into the trash, and I rinsed out the containers. We had a brown paper bag full of glass recycling, and filled up our regular recycling bin with plastic and some cardboard from the freezer. We cleaned out the inside of the fridge, and I am glad to report that it is no longer a health hazard.

Tomorrow is the final phase of kitchen clean up, and I am so excited to take back my kitchen and start experimenting with some recipes!

Here’s to a clean kitchen!

Mary Jeannette

I’m Back! A Pre-New Year’s Resolution

Hi!

So I have been gone for a long time now – over a year. My job changed, my life changed, and changed, and kept changing. It still really hasn’t stopped, and I have realized that writing is a huge way for me to help myself.

A huge challenge that I have learned in my adult life is self-support. I never knew as a child that I wasn’t learning how to do that, and it wasn’t until I was in and out of serious relationships that I started to realize that self-support was the thing I was the most terrible at.

As you may know, being unwell and bad at self-support can make getting better a much larger obstacle.

My boyfriend, we will call him Champ, and I have been together for 1 year and 8 months. We made the decision to move in together after only dating for three months (which I don’t recommend unless you have known one another for more than a year). Champ has been an amazing support, but with the hurdle of not knowing one another we have been balancing getting to know one another with being roommates and my changing lifestyle habits.

So, new relationship, new house, new diet – new life.

The last three months I have been traveling for my job, and I am finally back home. In fact, I have 30 days off work to focus on my life. I didn’t get a promotion that I was wanting, and it gave me a new perspective. I’m too young to sit around sulking, or hoping things will be different. It’s time to take charge of who I am, right now, today.

“If you try to put things in place for the future, than your future will never be what you want it to be or if you get there you may find out that it’s not the present that you wanted. If you make decisions everyday to make your life, in that moment, the life you want then your future will be exactly what you want everyday” – My (sometimes much wiser than me) Younger Brother

So I’m back. I’m back and I am going to find a way to love myself, and grow as an individual while I take on more of these new challenges and turn my life into exactly what I want.

Here is to a new year of learning, adventures, and dreams.

Mary Jeannette

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Yesterday was the day of my colonoscopy and endoscopy. Monday I took the day off of work to just rest and drink a lot of fluids. I fasted for two days instead of one because I wanted to be 100% sure that everything would be visible. The morning of, I had to check in at 8:30. Despite them asking me to not drink fluids that morning – I did have some water because I always have a hard time getting my blood drawn. I knew I would need to be hydrated. Everyone at the outpatient center was extremely nice. Check in was really quick. I went upstairs and filled out paperwork. Didn’t have a long wait, and went right back into my room.

The issues came when they tried to get my IV in, just like I suspected. Although – because of the laxative it was 1000x worse than it has ever been before. Usually it takes about 3-4 tries. Well, the first nurse came in and she tried 3 times. The second RN came in and tried 3 times. Then a nurse anesthetist came in and he gave it 3 tries. Then another nurse anesthetist came in and gave it a try. Finally an anesthesiologist came in and she got my IV in. All in all it took 5 people and 11 attempts.photo (17)

I will say that I kept a good sense of humor, but after try # 4 – tears were running down my face. They kept saying my veins would not advance. One nurse flicked my right hand so hard she told me she was just bruising it and kept apologizing. The way my arms look – you wouldn’t think they were as kind as they were. Everyone was extremely pleasant. One of the nurses even held my hand for a few minutes and tried to make me laugh.

photo (18)They had to do the colonoscopy scheduled after mine before mine because of how long the IV  took. They rolled me into my room – and they let my boyfriend come back to see me. He is so amazing at lifting my spirits, and reminding me that everything is alright. My nurse, Jimmy, was talking with us and my BF was looking at this picture of your intestines and asked where all they would be looking. So Jimmy charted out how and where they would be going with the scope.

Once they sedated me – it was like nothing happened. I woke up, and its all on video. haha. Apparently I was convinced they did not have enough time to see everything. The doctor came in and told me that everything looked good on the scope. Crohn’s Disease has been ruled out thankfully. They took a couple of biopsies in my small intestine to send off to check for Celiac. So now, I just have to wait.

Luckily, I can return to my grain free diet. My doctor even suggested I start it again because I feel better on it. He let me know I have some hemorrhoid issues, and gave me a prescription to help me pass things easier. It feels like I am back at square one, but I know I need to be patient. I am looking forward to starting over and getting healthier! Especially since my guts have been cleaned out!

“Paging, Dr. Jonnalagadda!”

I had an appointment finally scheduled with a specialist. Usually I get a reminder phone call – so I am glad I wrote down the appointment on my google calendar. I apparently tossed the sticky note that I wrote it on. Very like me. Although, in the end – Dr. Jonnalagadda was MIA. The nurse forgot to call me to reschedule my visit, because the Doc had gone out of town. So, I show up – after being dropped off, have no car, no appointment, and have to wait an hour to get picked back up. Luckily, I don’t care who I see, so I was able to get an appointment for just a few days later.

Tuesday, I went to another gastroenterologist. I think I was waiting in general for an hour, while I tried to keep from falling asleep. I saw the doctor for about 20 minutes. We just talked about my symptoms, as I expected. He felt my thyroid and my gut – asking if I was always bloated. Yes! Then I waited to hear what he had to say. He agreed that we should check for Celiac, but then – he said he think’s I should also get a colonoscopy. I felt a wave of anxiety come over me. He said he wanted to also rule out Crohn’s Disease.

There I was, not prepared for that conversation and having to decide if I wanted to schedule a colonoscopy for the same day as my endoscopy. Ultimately, what choice do I really have? I have to find out whats going on – no matter what it takes!

In a few short weeks, I get to be ultimately explored! Hopefully this will provide some insight!

Until then, I am just going to focus on moving into my new apartment!

“Isn’t that like, the trendy thing to have?”

I heard back from the Doctor! Everything looked normal – except my iron. I have low iron, but I am not anemic yet. So that is a positive!

He finally offered me a referral! It was for a specific doctor – so I called their office. He didn’t have any openings until the end of June. I asked if they knew of anyone else who would be good, and now I have an appointment with the gastroenterologist Dr. Jonnalagadda on May 16th! I had to ask the nurse how to spell his name – and yes, that is accurate. 🙂

So, in preparation for said appointment, I am intensifying my wheat ingestion. I had a scone this morning. I had a hotdog on a white bun this afternoon. I ate some vanilla cake. Honestly, I forgot how chewy and flavorless white wheat is. I really don’t even care for it now that I have cut it out – which makes it easy to stop eating it after this appointment!

I am really excited because I did meet a girl at a friend’s birthday party who is a diagnosed celiac. Did you know if you have the endoscopy done and are a confirmed celiac that you can write off the cost difference in food on your taxes? There are a lot of things I can learn from her if I am actually diagnosed. Regardless, I am excited to sit down with her to talk about everything.

While we were at the party, this girl overheard us talking and was like, “Oh, isn’t that like the trendy thing to have now? Like, oh I can’t eat wheat, and all this gluten free stuff.” Melanie and I both jumped at the opportunity to correct this method of thinking. I immediately responded with, “No, I loose circulation to my fingers and toes.” and Melanie followed with, “How would you like to be running to the bathroom within 30 minutes of eating every time, in a not fun way?” After we gave her a few examples, she surprisingly was wowed. She even said when she eats wheat she gets super sleepy, but she never thought the correlation could be gluten intolerance.

I am constantly amazed at how many people think gluten intolerance, or celiac is all in your head. If you were living with these symptoms, you would know that it is very, very real.

I mean – I am having to force wheat back into my diet and I know I will be successfully screwed up once I start getting diarrhea. It’s a sad reality. No one wants to have to deal with that every time they eat. It’s amazing, but the symptoms can really only be understood by people with similar issues.

I guess all we can do is keep trying to educate people on the reality of intolerance and autoimmunity.

Needle in a Haystack

Today has already involved blood, sweat, tears – and to top it off I had a piece of cake.

I went to my general practitioner today to get referrals. Guess what I didn’t leave with?! I feel like having internal imbalances, and trying to get a diagnosis is literally like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I know it’s there, but everyone else thinks I am a nut job.

I was all prepared with what I was going to say, and how this was going to go down. I already do not like my Doctor. He is really creepy, he does not listen to you, and he is a by the books guy. I need a new Doctor, but I have just been going to specialists so I haven’t worried about it. Of course when I tried to make an appointment with the Endocrinologist, they wanted a referral from my GP. So off I go, to Doctor Creep.

I sit down in the office. I have gained some weight back, so that is a positive! I get my blood pressure and pulse taken. Then I wait, and I think about what I am going to say. He comes in, sits down, and we start the regular ol’ doctor chat:

“So what brings you in today?”

“Oh, well actually this past year has been kind of crazy as far as health; so a lot of things! I had skin cancer on my back.”

“Really? What kind?”

And it continues on. I get to how I have been allergy tested – and everything falls apart. I tell him how I know I am a little high anxiety, so I chose to pursue a method of non-invasive allergy testing before doing anything invasive. I asked him if he knew what NAET testing was. No, of course not. I tell him I think about it like a placebo affect – and that they use muscle testing. He doesn’t get it. He is cracking a stupid grin that makes me feel like he is trying not to laugh in my face. He keeps shifting in his chair. “Did they do any prick tests?” No. “Did they do any scratch tests?” No, this is strictly non-invasive. “So, tell me, how can they tell if you are allergic to something if there is no exposure?” I am not going to try to explain that to you. I am an artist, not a scientist. It doesn’t even matter, because I have already charted everything I ate, and done an elimination before I ever went in to have allergy testing done. Everything he found was in line with what I found.

He still is not getting it.

FINALLY, I burst into tears. “I am sorry, I am getting emotional. I have gone from doctor to doctor. You all tell me the same thing. I have A and B but not C. I’m sorry, but I know what is going on with my body. I can not live like this anymore.” He finally got on bored.

I had blood taken, and a urine sample. He still doesn’t get it – but it’s something. He said he would call me to talk about my blood results on Monday, and we could talk about referrals then. After that conversation, I am getting a new doctor.