I Need OUT! Of the HOUSE!

Oh my GOSH!  This staying home is HORRIBLE!  I want to be able to go back to school!  I want my LIFE BACK!  Yes, I have my work from home job, and yes, I'm going to school online now, but this is maddening and boring and lonely!!!  I'm too much of a social person to be locked in the house all day!

I went to the pulmonologist last Friday, and I did all of these breathing tests after doing so horribly at my family doctor, yet there, my tests were all normal.  Which is good and bad.  Good that, well, they were normal, but bad because, what the FFFF is wrong with me?  So we talked for a long time, and he gave me some inhalers, some cortisteroids, and a prescription for cough capsules, but the capsules do NOT work. 

So I go back in on March 8th I think, and then he'll try to induce an asthma attack, and do a blood allergy test.  I don't know why blood as opposed to skin, maybe because of all the medication I take, not sure.  He gave me a prescription for ambien because he said I can't take Unisom every night like I normally do before the allergy test.

I think I know where this is going.  I won't have asthma, I won't have allergies, and he still won 't know what's wrong with me.

What if my cough is in my HEAD?  What if it's psychosomatic?  Can you tell I've lost faith in this whole process?  I have no hope that this will be resolved and my cough will go away.  I just don't.  Yet it's so terrible.  Mark and I went out for dinner on Friday night, and all I could do was cough and cough and cough, it was so embarrassing, and I just wanted to leave because it's not exactly pleasant for me either, not feeling like you can breathe because all you can do is cough.  But sometimes, like now, it's bearable.  I'm barely coughing.  I don't know why sometimes I just forget about it and cough once or twice an hour, and other times, I can't stop coughing.  I just don't understand it.

I found out an old friend of mine died.  Social networking is so big now, I found out through Facebook of all things, but had it not been Facebook, I may not have known for a very long time.  I was so confused.  In an update from HIM, it said he had passed in a severe car accident.  I read and reread it.  Was he saying that someone with his first name had died?  Then I saw his girlfriend was tagged, and it hit me - he was gone.  I was in shock.  Once I got over my shock, I started thinking of the good times we'd had and how I'd never told him of things we had done in the past that were good memories for me and how much I wish I had.  But then I started thinking, who does that, really?  I mean, how weird would it be to start telling friends, old and current, random memories that you have that are special to you, just out of the blue?  And really, until someone passes, it doesn't seem like you really realize what those moments actually are, at least, I didn't until he was gone.  My Dad just passed away in August, and then I started thinking "I wish I would have told him this and that", and I kept forgetting he had passed.  I wanted to pick up the phone and ask him if he remembered certain things, and then I remembered he was gone and was so sad.  But when he was alive, none of those things ever occurred to me.  I didn't even think those things were special until he was gone.

But, my dad passing and now my friend, it's made me realize so very much how fleeting time is and how, in just an instant, like with both my dad and my friend, lives can be taken without warning, and you never have the chance to say goodbye or tell them how much they mean to you or what they meant to you.  Of course, my dad is on a much, much bigger level than my friend, but it still resonates.  I still cry about my dad, there are certain songs I can't listen to, yet sometimes I find myself going to youtube to listen to them just so I CAN cry to them.  I believe grief is not the same as depression.  I'm not depressed because my dad and my friend passed away, I'm grieving.  I'm okay about my dad, but it makes me very sad and I miss him when I think about it. 

The really weird thing about my friend?  The day after he died, his girlfriend of less than a year that he was living with, and granted, he seemed incredibly, incredibly happy since they had been together, happier than I had ever seen him, sent out a facebook message asking for donations be sent to her email address via paypal because she had no way to pay rent or bills since she had no access to his assets since he had no will and she had just quit her job to work on some kind of product that they were about to launch next week.  I thought that was so tacky.  She said he had always told her everything that was his was hers, yet he had 4 kids.  I don't know, call me over-protective of my friend, but something sounds fishy.  I'm not going to say he was mega-successful, but he had a good job, drove a Mercedes, you know, lived a comfortable life, not rich, but lived well.  She graduated from an Ivy-League school but hadn't established herself and apparently quit her job and was living off of him.  So, you tell me, is that fishy? 

I'm still running and losing weight - very, very slowly losing weight, but it IS coming off.  The last two weeks I've lost 0.8 pounds each week, but hey - that's 1.6 pounds less than I was 2 weeks ago.  And that would be 3.2 pounds per month, so 38.4 pounds in a year, and I don't need to lose that much.  I only have 23 pounds to go.  My diet isn't extreme, it's totally livable.  Actually, once I reach my goal weight, I don't plan on changing anything.  Whatever weight I end up at eating the way I eat now is what I will stay.  And I'll still be running 3 times a week - maybe 5 miles each run still, maybe more, I don't know.  Hopefully faster though!  The only thing that really SUCKS is that for each pound I lose and I track on my motoactv watch on their website, it then calculates how many calories I burn for that run, and it's always less than the time when I weighed more when I ran that same distance.  So it's SO much easier to lose weight when you're bigger.  You can burn more calories when you exercise, you can eat more and lose more weight, where I now have to eat smaller portions to lose the same amount of weight, or eat the same and lose less weight, which is what I do.  It SUCKS!  It's so much harder to lose weight now that I don't weigh as much.  But it feels great fitting into some of my old clothes, even if they are so old they are high-waisted shorts - HA!  I just put on a shirt that is long enough that no one can tell. : )  My more recent clothes that are more fashionable are still way too small to fit me.  They are 4's and 6's and uh, not quite there yet! : )  37 pounds down, 23 to go!

Mark and I are getting along so well.  He is incredibly sweet to me.  The counseling has helped beyond belief - just telling each other what we each need to feel loved - I can't even explain how much that has helped our relationship.  We still go once a month, we don't have much to talk about in regards to our relationship, but we do talk about it which I think is so healthy.  I don't think our counselor is about to kick us out, I mean, she is running a business after all - but she does leave it up to us each time.  I'm trying to become less inhibited which is so hard for me, but...as I lose weight I find it's easier for me to be more open.  When I was thinner, I didn't try, I didn't know it was that important, and if I had, I wouldn't have known enough to care.  But now I do.

I don't know if our relationship will stay this good, because I mean, it's really good.  That's why I want to keep going to counseling.  Because maybe, maybe it will. : )

I just want to start getting out of the house!  I mean, I do with Mark, and to the grocery store and errands and stuff, but other than that, I'm a SHUT IN!!!!!  I need someplace that I HAVE to be every day of the week (except weekends).  If I don't, I'm finding I lose my sanity!

Staying Home

I transferred attending school from on ground to online yesterday.  It was better than taking a leave of absence because of my persistent cough.  I couldn't keep missing school, and the pulmonary specialist appointment isn't until Friday.  Even if I somehow managed to make it to Friday and not get kicked out of school for attendance, he won't be able to "cure" me on Friday.  Best case scenario is he'll set me up with medication if he knows what is wrong with me, which I pray he does!  My family physician said he thought I had cough variant asthma, so we'll see.  I don't think I've actually been officially diagnosed.

Staying home is SO BORING!  I have my transcription job, though, which keeps me busy.  I'm waiting for the online instructor to call me and tell me how to attend classes online, but so far, no one has called.  It's nice not to have to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to go run before school, yet at the same time, it's not so nice to not have a reason to wake up at 5:00 in the morning.

I was reading my doctor's site that I'll be going to on Friday, and it sounds pretty standard that for asthma, he also does allergy testing.  For allergy testing, it said you can be on no antidepressants.  I assume that would include bipolar medications as well.  How is that going to work, exactly?  I have no idea if I have any withdrawal symptoms from some of the meds I take!  But I'm really freaking out ahead of time.

Last Friday I weighed, and I'm finally down to 149.2.  I tried on a bridesmaid dress that I hadn't worn in about six years and it fit!  As well as suits I bought for work that I started for a job that year.  I still have at least 24 more pounds to lose, but it was quite a breakthrough moment for me.  Today was pretty warm in Texas, and I wore a pair of old shorts that I hadn't been able to fit into in YEARS!  Let's just say they're high waisted they're so old - Mark laughed when I showed him the waist, but he also said I looked great.  I've been much smaller a lot more recent than that, while low waistbands were in style and have a closet full of clothes just waiting for me to get down to 125, but getting into the clothes I now do was a pretty big deal. 

Can I survive being at home, working and going to school from home until the beginning of April?  I don't know, but I'm going to try.  I think LOTS of trips to the nail salon, hair salon, tanning salon, etc., are in my near future to get out of the house.  I really don't have a choice at this time, I should be glad I have options. 

I love this!  It is SO true!


I've been scared to go to school because I've been coughing, and I have been reading back through old entries of my blog when I was working, and how I used to "crash" and stay home for a couple of days.  Now I wonder...have I "crashed"?  But I don't really feel depressed at all.  Well, I do in a way.  I feel hopeless that the doctors can't fix my cough and I will keep going to school and coughing in the middle of testing, making me get up while everyone is trying to pass a test and breaking their concentration, making them mad at me.  Court reporting is SO serious like that.  So just a simple cough - and then when it gets out of hand and becomes a coughing fit - is incredibly serious.  It's a really big deal about why I don't want to go to school! 

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and did another lung capacity test after using the inhaler he gave me for a week, and went from a 48 to a 59 (no, I have no idea what that means except that he had told me that for me it should be an 85).  The nurse scheduled an appointment with a lung specialist as soon as she could get me in, but it's not until the 24th, and of course, he can't "fix" me on the 24th.  I am not even that hopeful he can even find anything wrong.  When I'm by myself at home, I don't cough that much.  But when I start talking on the phone or to Mark at home, go somewhere out of the house, or especially after I run, I cough like crazy.  It's really embarrassing.

I tried on some old clothes that I used to wear when I was in the process of losing weight last time - and they fit!  The dress clothes I bought before I started a new job about 6 years ago fit, the bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding fit - that was exciting!  I'm actually very happy about that.  That was the original reason I was reading back through my blog - to see how slowly I started losing weight at this point.  It seems like it was about 2-3 pounds a month, but that was without running. 

It's interesting to read back through your blog and see your perspective on things, and what used to upset you and make you anxious years ago.  Right, now, it's a mixture of good and bad feelings.  Good that I don't have so much anxiety about everything, but bad that I don't have a full time job, I'm going to school to hopefully get one in my chosen career.  I can see that Mark used to make me angry on a consistent basis, but he doesn't anymore.  The counseling has helped TREMENDOUSLY. 

I just don't feel like I'm doing enough right now.  I've been sick and not doing my part time job, I haven't been going to school like I should because of my cough, I'm just a major slacker and I feel incredibly guilty.  I know Mark would very much disapprove.  He's all about high achievement and big ambition.  He expects it of himself, and nothing less out of me.  But I can't always be him.  Sometimes...I'm weak.  I just am.  Maybe he can always be strong, but I just can't.  I don't want to say bipolar disorder is affecting me right now, but my cough is really getting to me.  The more I miss of school, the less I want to go because it will take more time to catch up, and I am afraid to go because I don't want to cough, of course.  That's not bipolar disorder, is it?  But then what is it?  I need a good kick in the pants.  No, I need my cough to get fixed and I think that will motivate me!

I don't even know what to do anymore.  Yes, I know what to do, I just don't want to do it.  Go to school, get up in the middle of testing if I start coughing/choking and interrupt the class, then go home if that happens.  Work on transcribing audio files at home.  Just get back in the groove until I see the doctor next Friday.  At least I haven't stopped running.  Not completely.  But I've cut back from 3 times a week to 2.  I just don't want that extra day of uncontrollable coughing before I go to school.   


Happy Day!

Today is my doggie's birthday!  Well, not really his birthday because I don't know when that is since we adopted him, but the first anniversary of when we got him!  I bought him a few birthday presents and got him a cake:

I hope he likes it!  It's a banana cake with peanut butter frosting.  It's way too much cake for a 5-pound dog, so I guess I'll give him a slice of cake every day until it's gone. 

We celebrated Valentine's Day early this year since I only "cheat" on my diet/lifestyle eating habits once a week, and usually on Friday, never Tuesday, which is Valentine's Day.  I was so sick on Friday, so we went to dinner last night (Saturday).  We had a lovely time, Mark spent a small fortune on dinner which isn't ununsual for us, but this was really over the top.  He surpised me with a ring I had been wanting since Christmas:

He pulled it out of his jacket pocket, and when he handed it to me and I opened the ring box, I announced "Yes, I WILL marry you!" which got a few laughs from the tables around us.  I've never had a ruby before, and had been wanting one so badly!  I used to always lose jewelry he gave me, but recently I convinced him that I'd never lost my wedding band, engagement ring, Rolex, or diamond cross he'd given me, so I guess he decided I was "responsible" enough to try jewelry again.  Ha!  But really, I have been pretty irresponsibe with the jewelry he's given me in the past.  I can't count the number of diamond earrings I've lost.  But I think I'm a different person now, I'm not scatterbrained any longer.  At least, not as much!

The doctor gave me Flovent as an inhaler for my cough variant asthma, and when I started it, I also stopped the antibiotic for the dermititis the dermatoligist had given me, which had seemed like made my coughing much worse.  Well the day after I stopped and started both, I got really sick.  That night I went to bed, and I stayed in bed for the next two days.  I felt like I had the flu, I couldn't eat, I took everything we had in house to try and feel better and NOTHING worked.  I had considered Thursday night calling my doctor the next day and going to see him on Friday, but when Friday rolled around, I just wanted to stay in bed.

Yesterday, Saturday, I felt better, so I searched for reactions from Flovent.  One of them that you should "call your doctor immediately" about is flu like symptoms!  Ugh!  But if that were true and I'm still using it, wouldn't I still feel like I had the flu?  I honestly don't know what is wrong with me at this point.  Sometimes I think, "Is it all in my head?  Am I making myself cough?"  I know I can't help it, but if I think "don't cough", I cough so much more.  When I forget about it, I cough so much less.  But there are "triggers" that make me cough uncontrollably, just like there are triggers in bipolar disease.  Of course, I cough all the time, but just when it gets really bad.  I'm afraid to go back to the doctor on Tuesday and he'll say "There's nothing wrong with you!", and then what will I do?  It's SO like being bipolar, you just want a LABEL on it, for someone to tell you, "YES, there IS something wrong with you, and YES, there IS something we can do to fix it!"  Mark still keeps hoping I have an infection.

I plan on running today, even though it's freaking cold and that's one of my "triggers".  I haven't run since Monday because I've been sick and frankly, I've been scared to worsen my cough.  But I can't lose momentum, I worked too hard to get to where I am and to just stop and have to work back up to where I am now, that would suck majorly.  So even though it's about 20-30 degrees outside, I'm going to see if Mark will go to a trail with me and run this morning when he gets up.

I Want To Run!

My doctor's office called this morning and said my chest xray came back normal, so I'm assuming his original diagnosis of cough variant asthma is correct, which I would have originally not been happy about, but now I'm thinking "Whew, that's all?  Thank God!".

He gave me what he called a "gentle inhaler" when I saw him yesterday, and said I wouldn't see improvement for about 3-4 days.  I see him on Tuesday when he wants to check my lungs again.  I'm hoping he puts me on something stronger so I can breathe when I run and stop this coughing all the time!  It's so bad that Mark has said, "If I were sitting next to you on a plane, I would freak out!".  Yes, I know it SOUNDS bad, but I'm not contagious and I feel perfectly fine.

I'm not running this week when I have school because I don't want to have to leave the room during testing and interrupt everyone again because I can't stop coughing.  I'll wait until this weekend when we go to a trail to run next, then see how I feel on Monday morning if I want to run.  I'm not giving up running unless he makes me, and from everything I've read, it's totally managable and I should be able to continue running with proper medication.

Is it Asthma? Really? What's Next?

Since I started running last July, I've had a problem breathing.  At first, I thought it was because my lungs needed to build capacity and that was causing a lot of mucus and coughing, even so much that it would block my airway for a split second when I was running (and scare me!). 

It never stopped, though.  I never did build up what I thought was lung capacity, and when I started running outside in December, out in the cold, it got worse.  I thought that my lungs once again had to build up capacity for running outside and dismissed the additional shortness of breath and additional mucous that had accompanied it, but the airway blockage still scared me.

Then my dermatologist gave me an antibiotic for my dermatitis, and for some reason, my coughing got out of control.  Mark started counting how many times I was coughing when we were on a call (that's 12, that's 13, that's 14...) to bring it to my attention.  Yesterday I had to leave the class because I kept coughing and then had a serious coughing fit in class and just left school.  I had run that morning and hadn't been able to stop coughing all the way to school, even though I took cough medicine.

I went to the doctor today - first time I've been to a family doctor in probably 20 years, and he thinks I may have cough-variant asthma, which is so weird, because I've never had asthma.  But I'm not sure that's what it is, I mean, I took the breathing test (lung capacity test) at the doctor and it was 48 when he said 85 was normal (what that means!), I had a chest xray done and go in to see him in a few days for the results, and he gave me an inhaler.  The breathing treatment they gave me (which was weird to me) has made me cough even more, I don't know if that is normal. 

He said he may send me to a lung specialist, and the xray technician acted really weird after she took my xrays.  Maybe I was reading too much into it, but she asked me about symptoms she couldn't have known and only if she had seen things that he told me she wouldn't be able to see.  She could have just been guessing, but isn't there a million reasons to get a chest x-ray for coughing, which is the reason I listed?  But wouldn't she have just said nothing if she hadn't seen anything?  Why would she have been curious unless she had seen something?  So now I'm waiting for the doctor to call, now that I've read all the reasons my lung capacity test could have been 48 besides it just being asthma.  Now I see that I will breathe a sigh of relief if it is just asthma.   

When the doctor gave me the inhaler, he said normally he would give me stronger drugs along with it, but since I was already on so many medications, he didn't want to do that.  But I told him I just wanted to be able to run and breathe, and to stop coughing!  I felt like he was holding the golden ticket and wasn't giving it to me!  But he repeated what he said, and that we would discuss it again after the xray came back. 

I feel like my health is quickly declining.  Yes, it could be so much worse, I realize that.  I don't have cancer (at least I hope not), no debilitatating disease, yet really?  Hearing loss and probably asthma diagnosed in four months (I guess okay, dematitis too), along with sinus surgery?  It really sucks.  Is this what happens when you start getting older, because if it is, it sucks.

I Passed Test #1!

I passed my first 120 test today!  I have to pass 6 tests to move on to the next speed (2 Jury Charge, 2 Question & Answer, and 2 Literary), and I passed my first Jury Charge today.  I didn't know I was getting close to passing a test, and then I did it!  Staying after school with the extra practice the last couple of weeks has really helped, I think.  Everyone was so happy for me - my teacher gave me a big hug, my friend was really happy for me, people I rarely talk to was telling me congratulations.  It's SUCH a big deal when people pass a test because you go so freaking long not passing tests and it gets SO discouraging that you really have to lift each other up.  Just think about it:  every day you fail tests, week after week, usually month after month:  how would that make you feel?  I really understand why so many people drop out of court reporting school.  It's really crazy - the percentage of people that start court reporting school that actually finish is like 6%.  Out of the 15 people that were in my original class, I think maybe three or four of us are left two years later.  I keep thinking of that Eminem song from 8 mile - the lyrics that say "success is my only mother fucking option!".  (I've never seen the movie, just like that song.)  But that's really true.  If I go to school all this time and I don't succeed, I have no back up plan. 

I was at school working on typing up that test and a transcript for school that's due tomorrow, and didn't get home until almost 4:00p.  I hadn't had lunch yet, so I was starving!  Now I have a TON of work to do - finishing a transcript for work that I started yesterday without knowing I'd be coming home so late from school today.  I am SO tired, but I'm drinking coffee, which I never do during the day because I have such problems sleeping.  I guess I'd better get used to this.  In the "real world", you have to go to work whether you're tired, you don't feel good, whatever.  Welcome back to the "real world", KansasSunflower!  It's just...with this job and school, some of my days have been 12+ hours!  I think today will be no exception.

Guess I'll finish making dinner before Mark gets home, then start on work and prepare for a long night before bed, then get up and do it all over again!

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