Happy Easter! Or Whatever You Choose To Celebrate! : )

It's Easter, and I've been feeling so much better the last few days.  The weather has been sunny, warmer, and my mood has changed as well.  I got some things done - unpacked some boxes around the house, finally listened to the message on my phone from the hospital, scheduled an appointment with my doctor, although I rescheduled it for Monday because of cramps, but still - I'm no longer in "escape mode"!

It's strange, some days are brighter, they actually seem to have hope, life is worth living and experiencing, not just existing and wishing the world away.  Could it be the weather?  Could it be the chemicals in my brain?  Is it at all possible that I'm just a freaking normal person who has ups and downs?  It's not like I get so up that I buy tractors and a one way ticket to Cancun without my family, or I'm so down that I've locked myself in a dark closet with a knife.  (The up example is a true story from a bipolar guy - who lived in the city, not a farm -  I met in the hospital in 2001 after he crashed alone in his hotel room in Cancun.)

I am so lucky I have such a wonderful husband, a sweet and precious dog that means so much to me, I can never do enough to show either of them how much a I care and appreciate them.  I guess they are pretty much all the family I have in the world.  Yes, I do have biological family, but I'm not close to them.  On my mom's side, they tracked me down via facebook because I don't have a relationship with my mother and I lost track with them years ago and apparently she doesn't talk to them either.  On my dad's side, I don't know, I mean they would welcome me with open arms and I talk to them once in awhile through emails or facebook or texts or sometimes a call, but that's hardly a relationship.  I wouldn't feel comfortable calling them if I had a problem, yet I have no idea who else I would call. 

Then there's the family I moved in with when I was 16.  The mom likes to call herself "mother" to me, the girl who was my friend at the time does NOT like me at all anymore, for some reason she is over the top jealous of me, and now her mother seems to have a problem with me too. 

Is it just me, or is it true that misery loves company?  What I mean is...when you're not doing well, you have more company?  But when you're doing well, people can be jealous and don't want to see you doing better than they are?  With this "mother" that I moved in with when I was 16, the family moved into a house that she designed.  At the time, I thought it was a gorgeous house, the most beautiful house I'd ever lived in.  She actually told me, and at the time I was so shocked, that "you will never live in a house this nice".  WTF?  But in retrospect, it was an incredibly simple house.  I've invited her to visit us and do you know she won't even answer my emails?  I offered to pay for her rental car to the airport and buy her plane ticket.  I haven't even mentioned her visiting in a long time, and she either takes a very long time to answer, but lately hasn't bothered to answer at all, when normally I can't get her to shut up to even listen to anything about my life at all.  She just talks and talks about herself and never asks a thing about me.  She's mentioned several times that she has to get money from her son, does she expect me to send her money?  Sure, I feel like I owe her so much for getting me out of my situation when I was 16, but she was also pretty crappy to me when I was 18.  Now that I think about it, she started distancing herself when she told me she apologized to her daughter for the way she was raised, that she had been so strict, and my reply was only that I knew her daughter had been very bitter for a long time and I'm sure it made her feel good to hear it.  Should I have said she didn't need to apologize, she was the best mother in the world?  She wasn't.  She was totally bizarre.  She told me God told her that her husband was going to die, what day and what time, and who her next husband was going to be at our church.  So we watched out of the window and didn't expect to see her husband's truck to come home (because, you know, God told her he would be dead), and of course it did, and I was so brainwashed, I was like what the hell?   And  now, I can't even IMAGINE not expecting Mark to come home and marry someone else, I would be devastated if I really thought that, I would beg him not to go to work, I might go so far as to put sleeping pills in his breakfast so he physically couldn't go - I mean we're talking about his life!  I absolutely would not allow him out of the door, there is no way he would be leaving the house that day if I truly believed that.  So very, very weird.  That's just the tip of the iceberg.  Mark doesn't like her AT ALL - he's met her once - and doesn't want her to visit but said he would put up with her for me.  So...whatever.  I'm not pushing it.

So, on that note, HAPPY EASTER! : )  Hope everyone has a great day today!  I know I'm going to try to! : )

Space Out

I'm in some kind of mode that I've been in before, where I don't want to face situations so I put them off, ignore them, pretend they don't exist.  But of course they do, and I will pay for it later, it just seems overwhelming right now.

When I was much younger and living on my own, I didn't want to deal or think about money.  I just pushed it out of my mind, didn't open bills, maybe didn't check my mail for periods at a time, and then I would come home and the electricity would be off.  I'd have to scramble through all the unopened bills to find the cut-off electricity bill and hurry to pay it so it could be turned back on that evening.  A lot of times it's not that I didn't have the money, I just didn't want to think about it.  I have no idea why.  No, I didn't have a lot of money, I was a struggling working girl just trying to make ends meet, but I had the money to pay an electric bill for a one bedroom apartment.  However, I never balanced my checkbook, so at any given time, I really didn't have a clue exactly how much money I had.  So now, everytime the electricity goes out because of storm or who knows, I immediately panic, and Mark can't figure out why I am so frantic about when it will come back on, but maybe it's because in the past, it was always in my control and - ultimately my fault.  I search for the electric bill and call the company right away to report the outage, find out when they expect it to be back on, and go ahead and start making preparations in case it doesn't come on.  This is if it is off for even maybe ten minutes.  Mark will open the refrigerator door and I'll yell at him that the food will spoil - it does seem crazy when I'm doing it after such a short time of the power being out, it's just my intense anxiety that makes me do it.

So now..it's dropping out of school and the surgery.  I just can't deal with them.  It's been over two weeks that I've known I needed to drop out.  Dropping out of school requires me to go all the way downtown and apparently sign some document.  Can't I just fax them a letter?  Send them an email of intent?  Today is the last day to do it without getting a failing grade, but I don't intend to transfer anything from this school anyway, so does it really matter?

And after days of freaking out that the doctor's office wouldn't call me back with a date for my hysterectomy, they finally did and sent me some documents via email.  When I received them, I was supposed to call back and verify with them that I received them.  It even took longer than I expected for them to send the email and I called to ask if they sent it to the right email address, and she said she was getting ready to send it.  But once she sent it, I panicked.  I didn't call her back to tell her I received it.  She called me back and left a message two days ago that I have yet to listen to and of course I haven't listened to it.

I used to call this behavior as "spacing everything off" and I thought I had overcome it, but apparently not.  It's just very hard for me to deal with these things and I have no idea why. 

In the paperwork, I saw that a requirement for the surgery is going to a family doctor and getting a physical and a "history" as well as a blood test and then they fax it to the GYN.  I'm even freaking out over that.  Who do I go to?  The doctor I last went to that I didn't tell him I was bipolar and neglected to tell him the medication I was taking?  Will he then not believe anything I say?  Yet he found something on my CT scan that would be helpful if anything came up in the future and maybe I want to stay with him, but that would require my coming clean.  I'm afraid of his reaction.  I think I told him I don't have any medical issues *at all* - I just went to him because I hit my head on the stupid train and had horrible headaches, why did he need to know my whole medical history?  And he was really nice, tried to get to know me as a person, yet I was dishonest.  I guess I could be honest about why I didn't tell him the truth, actually, what else could I say but the truth? although I might start crying.

I just want to bury my head under the covers and pretend I don't exist.  That sounds awesome, not existing.  Just being air, floating around, no responsibilities, no emotions, no thoughts, just there.

So...as I've been losing weight, yes, I've been fitting into my smaller clothes that I have and other clothes have become looser or fitting better.  Yet, I don't see myself in the mirror as any smaller.  Mark keeps telling me how awesome and how skinny I look, I wish I felt the same way.   Instead, I feel I look the same and see other women as bigger than I saw them before.  I know that all of these women didn't suddenly gain weight, it has to be my perception.  I'm not saying that thin women suddenly look fat to me, they just don't look as thin.  And I look the same as before I lost weight.  I wish I could see MYSELF as smaller and everyone else as what they still looked like instead of the other way, otherwise, I'll never feel like I've lost enough weight.  People will just continue to look bigger and bigger if I continue to lose weight and I'll never be happy with my body, although, that is a sure thing.

So...if I get this hysterectomy, and I'm assuming I will even though I'm scared to death, this will be my last period.  It isn't horrendous yet, but it's coming, so that may light a fire under me.  I've done a lot of research, and the recovery from this surgery - the same type of procedure - really depends on the person.  Some people are fine in about a week and go back to work but feel a bit fatigued for a few weeks, and other people it takes quite a bit longer.  I keep wondering about this tiredness and fatigue women talk about, why is that?  Is it because their bodies are using all of their energy to heal?  That's what my doctor said - I would feel okay, but I would just feel really tired for about three weeks, I would want to nap a lot.  The women in forums have recommended to just give your body as much time as possible because you can't predict what your body will need - maybe it will be short, maybe not, there's no way to tell.  At least the pain doesn't seem to last for very long, it's just some type of tiredness.  It really freaks me out.

I suppose I should prepare myself to do something productive today.  Yesterday I got out of the house and got the dog groomed.  I mean, it's SOMETHING!   

Date Set

I have a date for my hysterectomy - April 19th.  I'm unsure if I can go through with it.  It seems all too unreal, I can hardly wrap my brain around it.  The doctor's office just talks like it's an every day situation and yes, I'm sure to them it is and it's not a big deal to them, they are just reciting what they tell women every week about a liquid diet the day before surgery, blah blah, but to me, it's a freaking big freak-out deal.  I really am just going to have to not think and dwell on it.  That's a little less than a month away which could either be weeks to get completely frantic and upset about it, or try not to think about it much except to do research about what to expect.  Knowledge is power and the unknown is always scarier.

I feel better today.  I woke up in a much more positive mood, I'm not sure why, and that was before I knew the date of the surgery and was still "drifting nowhere".  Maybe part of it had to do with my guilt of staying home and not being a productive member of society while Mark works so very hard and comes home exhausted every night.  I tried to explain how it made me feel last night, but he said he loves it when I stay home because then I'm able to do extra things for him.  I don't really feel like I do and think he was just being nice and trying to make me feel better, but at least I felt like I was doing something to help *someone*, not a complete waste of space!  He mentioned my making dinner for him every night but I know that wasn't true because I always do that no matter what I'm doing - school, work, whatever, unless I get home late.  Not only is that for him, but I want to know what is in the food we're eating.  I buy the leanest cuts of meat possible, nothing with white flour (which made him pretty upset the first time he grabbed the hot dog buns and discovered they were wheat!), but he can't tell the difference between wheat lasagna noodles and white flour ones, and I wouldn't even be able to HAVE lasagna if I didn't make it myself and make it low fat low cal.  So yes, it is a way that I show him I love him, but it's also for both of our health.  I think it's the only healthy meal he gets every day - the rest of his meals are junk in my opinion, but he runs about 30 miles a week so he stays very lean.

Last Saturday we spent THREE hours at the furniture store picking out the details of some of the furniture that we had chosen.  It was exhausting!  We did two rooms, a dresser for the bedroom, got to a third room, and I realized I did not have a vision and we needed to stop.  I think what we picked is going to look so pretty and I was really excited, but then the designer who was helping us with colors and fabrics told us the furniture would be delivered in SIX to TWELVE WEEKS!  What?!?  And not even all at the same time - I think just as a piece is completed, it will be loaded on a truck and delivered.  I've never had custom furniture so...I assume that's how it all works? 

When we bought our bedroom furniture ten years ago, Mark and I debated about whether to get an armoire or a dresser.  I thought it was really stupid to get an armoire and not a dresser but we couldn't afford both.  He really, really wanted that armoire, so that's what we got.  A few months later, I saw that same dresser that matched our bedroom set and said we should buy it because it won't be around forever, but we didn't, and of course the moment was lost, so we've been without a dresser for ten years.  The crazy thing is, we have this bedroom furniture that is not expensive but I really like it.  People comment on how pretty it is, but I think they would be surprised at how inexpensive it was.  So I think Mark really wanted to make up for not buying that dresser that I wanted so very badly many years ago, and not having one all this time.  He went ALL OUT on a dresser, and yes, it will probably match what we have, not perfectly, and not look like it's a set, but it will match.  But the dresser he picked out by himself and made sure I liked is easily twice the price of all the bedroom furniture we now have put together!  No, it wasn't expensive furniture to begin with, but the best we could do at the time, but he went a little crazy in my opinion, although I think it was for a very sweet reason.  But other things we are planning on buying, I'm just not going to spend a lot of money.  I don't always think that just because something is more expensive makes it prettier or better.  Take art for instance.  I told Mark I would like original contemporary art work, but by struggling unknown artists in the house.  It wouldn't be expensive, it would be original art work, and how cool is that to have new budding artists work in your home?  Every famous artist had to start somewhere, there was someone who thought their work was pretty or interesting, and even if no one else but us like the art work, who cares?  It's our house, and art is very subjective.  I just think original art by unknown artists would be very cool. :) I don't want art from some snobby artist anyway who thinks their art is too good for everyone, and I'm sure I couldn't afford it even if I did.  I read their websites and am like, "seriously?"  Artists, just like everyone else, can get really big heads.  I like people who are still grounded. : ) 

Well, I put EVERYTHING off yesterday, never even leaving the house.  Guess I'll take one check off the list that I needed to do yesterday: go to the grocery store.  Surely THAT can't be too much?


What Is Wrong With Me....

I'm not doing well.  I'm not quite sure what happened, but maybe it has something to do with dropping out of school and planning to enroll in a school that was closer only to go to the doctor and decide to have surgery and skip a quarter.  But now I'm not getting a call back as to a surgery date and my life is up in the air with no purpose, meaning, nothing to look forward to, I'm currently not aspiring to do or be anything.

Today I needed to leave the house for two reasons:  I had a grooming appointment for my dog, and we need groceries.  I managed to do neither.  I rescheduled the appointment and I'll figure something out for dinner, I'm not sure what.  I just don't think I can bring myself to be around strangers right now - I mean if there was an emergency or I had to go to work or school, yes, I would do it, if there was a responsibility that had to be done but - it really is such a cruel world and I feel like people are constantly judging me - whether they really are or not, I don't know.  I'm always worried about what people think about me and I'm afraid I don't think much of myself so I don't expect others to think much of me either.  I'm pretty disappointed in myself, what I've become, where I am in life.  I live in a nice house and have nice things because of my husband's achievements, but not mine.  I feel like a loser, I'm no different than some kid who dropped out of college and is living with his parents without a clue as to what to do with his life.  Maybe I'm Dustin Hoffman in the Graduate - without graduating or having an affair with a married woman, but the illusion in the movie how he felt he was just drifting along without purpose or meaning and was depressed about it, yes, that's how I feel, except worse, because I'm in my 40's and he had his whole life ahead of him - and plastics. 

When I first moved here, to the Midwest in general, wow, I thought everyone was SO SO nice, I couldn't believe it, but maybe I was looking at everything with rose colored glasses, or maybe I just live in a very snobby neighborhood where I thought people were going to be so different.  The next door neighbor(s), I don't even know how many people live there or who they are, are right now having a tall backyard fence installed.  There are no other fences in sight, which I always thought was weird coming from Texas where everyone has a backyard fence but...when in Rome?  Such strange timing - we just moved in about a month ago and they never had a fence before and now they are getting one?  And I'm finding out my entire neighborhood is not the nice community I thought it was.  Yes, when I run on the trail and I see people they wave and smile, but I'm starting to remember from when I used to live in the Midwest that people are typically always nice to your face and can say horrible things about you behind your back.  True, it's that way everywhere, but it's not as bad where I used to live.  In Dallas, people pretty much acted the way they felt.  If they didn't like you, they didn't act like they did unless they had to,for business reasons for instance.  People could be pretty darn rude, but at least you knew where you stood, I didn't realize that was a good thing at the time.  So...I think when I first moved here I took the initial friendliness as being genuine, because that is how it would have been where I was, but now I see, not always of course, but sometimes that's just a culture thing.  And you know what?  That's how I am too.  People always think I am SO NICE when they meet me, and that's because I grew up in the Midwest.  That's just how we are.  The funny thing is, now when people meet me HERE, they call it "Southern Charm".  Ha!

Well, it's the end of the day, and once again, the doctor's office did not call.  Even though my doctor called me twice on Saturday morning saying he was looking through my file (randomly on a Saturday morning?) and left a message asking if I got an order for a blood count not even knowing yet that I had decided to get a hysterectomy, totally freaking me out, leaving his desk number instead of the office number wanting me to call him right then before he left but I had to leave him a message, no one has bothered to call me today.  Another day with no plan, no purpose, no will to do anything. 

My life is going nowhere.  And I don't know if I have the will or the strength to do anything about it, but I know I have to, somehow.   

Decision Made, Let's Go Already!

After doing a lot of research on the internet and considering all of the problems I've had and all of the surgeries I've already had and each time everything grows back by my next yearly appointment, I decided to go ahead and get a hysterectomy.  Maybe I could shop around and find a doctor who would prescribe birth control pills, but I think I've come to a point where I just want all of this to go away and not deal with it ever again as long as I can keep my ovaries so I don't get a hormonal imbalance. 

I called the scheduling nurse when I made the decision, and when I made such a monumental decision like that, I wanted to get moving on it, and she didn't call me back that day and I had questions I needed answered - like what type of recovery was needed for three weeks?  I need to decide if I should enroll in school for the next quarter and don't have much time left to do that, so I was, and am, very anxious.  The doctor gave me his email address, but I don't feel comfortable using it just yet, at least not for this.  She didn't call me back yesterday either which greatly annoyed me and I was wondering if this was even the doctor for me if his staff was so unresponsive, so I called the office instead of her main number and found out she is out until Monday.  So that's a relief!  She wasn't simply ignoring me or being incredibly slow to respond.

I did find a support group for women online that's a forum where people can ask each other and answer for each other questions they have about their hysterectomies.  The initial questions I have they have answered or at least given me their experience.  One girl is in the exact same position as I am - in school, no kids, same procedure, new city.  It's comforting know you're not alone sometimes.

I hate when my blog turns out to be my medical woes! 

Today was my weigh day, it's always Friday morning when I wake up, and I lost another three pounds!  So now I'm at 133.6 with 8 more pounds to go.  I'm 5'6" and I think the best I've ever looked was at 118, but I would be happy with 125.  Since I started my weight loss program THIS time in February, I've lost 16 pounds!  That is a really huge number for me for that length of time.  My highest weight was 195 about...3 years ago?  That's when I started cutting back on medication (with my psych's permission) - Seroquel first, then a year later, Geodon.  At 195 was also when I had my driver's license picture taken, and I cringe every time someone asks to see it.  I had no idea at that time that even my face looked heavier.  I will be quite happy to get a new driver's license in Illinois!  But, I think Phentermine has taken a toll on me.  I don't think I'm as positive as I was before I started taking it.  I certainly feel weaker because I'm eating less, and I won't miss it when I stop taking it unless I feel like I want to eat everything in the house.  I only have this remaining prescription and one more month after that, and after three months I know they make you take a month off.  I don't think they would let me start again on month five, but if they did, that place is absolutely shady, but I know myself, and I know I'll at least try, no matter what I end up weighing!

The Shamrock Shuffle (8k) is in 15 days and I haven't been training for it like I should have been.  I can run four miles, but I haven't ran five miles in about a year.  I have two weeks to work up to that extra mile and I don't think that's long enough, especially when I should run lighter than normal the week before the race. Well - I'm not competing with anyone or trying to medal, I just want to finish running the whole way and not stop to walk.  This would have been a breeze a year ago, and it's hard to swallow that I've let my endurance go that I worked so hard to achieve.   

Tomorrow we're going to the furniture store and work with the designer to make some decisions and order as much as we can to get the process started!  I have no idea as to what we'll agree on - maybe just a couch, or the dining room table and chairs, or maybe a whole room, or everything, who knows?  I finally stopped freaking out over it and decided if I ended up hating everything in five years, recovering items was always an option as long as they were quality pieces.   I'm just really tired of looking at pictures of rooms and furniture and fabric and color schemes, etc.   But, not nearly as tired as looking at this horrible leather family room couch that has rips where you can see the stuffing! Not sure how that happened, but I'm sure it's because it's a cheap leather sofa we bought ten years ago.  My one rule to Mark - NO MORE LEATHER (unless it's his office, then he's free to do anything he wants).  I think leather looks pretty, but what a bad experience!  Oh yes, and no lazy-boys, but that has always been a rule.  Does that make me a mean wife?  He likes my hair to be blonde and has made it clear he does not want me to get bangs, so if I don't want a Lazy-Boy in the house when he wants one, what's the difference?  We put so few rules on each other and these are so minor, so if it makes each other happy, why not do (or not do) it?

Big Decision....

I went to a new GYN this morning and got news that I guess I was expecting.  It's not something that my old OB/GYN hadn't recommended to me in the past.  I have a lot of pain and heavy bleeding during that time of the month because of fibroids and endometriosis (after two surgeries of removing them and them coming back), so he recommended a hysterectomy.  Of course, just like in the past, I said "no way, what are my other options?'  While I don't intend on getting pregnant and having a child, just the idea freaks me out.  Mark has had a vasectomy anyway.  But then he told me that just the uterus would be removed, not the ovaries.  I didn't even know that was possible!  He said that was a big misconception about hysterectomies, but my big concern had always been going through menopause, the whole hormonal imbalance, hot flashes, etc.  I mean, come on, I'm bipolar, it's all I can do to keep  myself leveled emotionally without adding a hormonal imbalance into the mix!  He didn't want to put me on birth control like I had suggested to simply stop the periods because, YOU KNOW, all of the other medication I take!  Oh my God, if one more doctor tells me that I'm going to freak the frick out!  There needs to be doctors who specialize in prescribing medication to patients on psychiatric medications!  I'm serious - doctors are really freaked out about it!  I only told HIM in case something like this happened - I was half expecting him to recommend some kind of procedure and then I'd have to say, "Oh, by the way..."

So he does some kind of robotic procedure, called the da Vinci I think.  I talked to Mark about it and he didn't want to give his opinion at all since he felt it was a personal female decision, but after we discussed all my symptoms and how it hinders my life, he finally said after all I go through every month, if it made it all go away forever, it would be worth it which I absolutely agree IF there is no menopause involved.  But all the recovery time!  The doctor said three weeks!  Three weeks?  And I read on the internet that that is actually GOOD!  If it was an open hysterectomy surgery, not minimally invasive, it would be 4-6 weeks!  What the heck am I going to do for three weeks?  He said I will just feel like sleeping all the time, but I've had enough surgeries in the last 10 years to know how doctors minimize post-op recovery.  Three weeks is a hell of a long time! 

So...if I decide to do this, and I have to do SOMETHING *eventually*, I mean I can't just continue like this forever and let it continue to get worse, then I won't be able to start school at the new school when the quarter starts in April. No matter when the operation got scheduled, even if it was tomorrow, it wouldn't be enough time, and who's to say with 100% certainty that I would be completely recovered in three weeks? I don't even *know* what I would be feeling that I would be recovering from except for him saying I would want to sleep all the time.  I can't find much on the internet about post-op, but I haven't done a lot of research yet.   

Blah.  I don't want to think about it anymore.  But I do have an appointment to visit the school tomorrow and I'm not sure if I should go.  They will want me to enroll, and while yes, it would be good to see the school, I don't want to go all the way there, visit the school with the expectation that I'm going to enroll for the April quarter, for me to just say "I won't be starting this quarter because I'm having a medical procedure....".  If I were them, I would be wondering what kind of procedure would require you to recover for THAT long, and I just don't want to get into it.  If I do tell them I'm having a medical procedure, I'd rather not do it in person, but short and sweet in an email, without possibly seeing a quizzical look.

So I'm really stressed about decorating the house.  I've looked at tons of pictures, we've visited several furniture stores and decided the style we like best, but now is the hard part.  The first time we bought furniture for our first house ten years ago, it was SO much easier.  You just went to the furniture store, picked out what you liked, and they delivered it.  I remember for our living room, they had one all set up, and I just said "I'll take this whole room!", and I did, picture and all.  I'd like to go back to that!  But now we're shopping at furniture stores that are quite different.  You pick out a style of, say, a couch, then you choose what kind of arm, then what kind of legs and what color of wood, then what kind of fabric, maybe even what it's stuffed with? then what fabric on the throw pillows, etc.  I think you even have the choice of having the cushions be attached or detached, oh my gosh, I mean *everything* is like that, a million questions.  I've got to decide the fabric on the dining room chairs and do we want marble on the top of the bedroom dresser?  Do I want the whole house to flow?  Do I want different colors in different rooms?  I DO NOT KNOW!  That's why I tried to hire a designer!  It's just too many details!  And that's just the furniture!  There are still rugs and artwork and lamps and, and, and.  Maybe if it was one room, but it's four, plus part of the master bedroom.  And I'm TRYING to include Mark - I don't want to hear in a couple of years that he hates everything and we bought it all because *I* liked it which has happened before on certain things, but he works so much and is very tired when he gets home and he tries so hard to look at pictures with me and works in saving pictures at work that he likes to show me at home, but I end up feeling really sorry for him.  I always tell him we'll do it another night, to which he objects but if I won't do it there's nothing he can say.  There's always the weekends.

So now I'm kind of bored and feel like my life is stalled, and it makes me feel even worse because he is working so hard and his job is so stressful, and here I am, just sitting at home.  I'm not going to school, I don't want to work on figuring out how I want the house decorated when Mark is just too tired to tell me what he likes anyway, and if he did I don't know if he is just saying that BECAUSE he is so tired. 

And I'm in a city where I don't know anyone hardly.  But you know, when I was in a city where I knew people, I didn't do anything with them, either.  So what's the difference?  Nothing.


Life in Transition!

I made a big move.  I dropped out of the school I was attending.  I was on my way home from school on Monday and I looked at my GPS and noticed the arrival time to my house was 5:45.  I thought back to when I left school - 3:30, that's when I actually left the building and started walking towards the train station.  Then I thought about when I left home to go to school - 9:45.  That's to catch the 10:28 train that, after my mile long walk to school, gets me there around noon.  I eat lunch, practice for about an hour or hour and a half, then have two classes, but only one and a half hours of dictation, which is the most important part.  The second class is kind of...well, I don't really need it.  It's transcribing a test if you want to which they encourage but you aren't even tested every single day so a lot of days I don't even have a second class.  So had I stayed for that transcription class on Monday, I would have gotten home even later - closer to 6:30 or 7:00.  So for two classes I spend 4 to 4.5 hours commuting to school and am gone from home from 9:45 - 6 or 7 each day?  And then I'm supposed to practice every day, which then I don't have any time left to do because I make dinner when I get home and then..well, it's not much longer than that and I go to bed just to get up and do it all over.  So I decided to just drop before it was too late to drop without getting a failing grade.

There's another school that doesn't go into the city that will take me about an hour to get there, no train, no walking, and I'll be home by noon every day.  I was afraid to tell Mark I was dropping out of school, I thought he would think I was a quitter.  But to my surprise, he said he couldn't believe I'd been doing that all along, that he'd wanted to say something, but it just seemed like I had decided on that school.  Well, I didn't really think I had any other choice, it has a certain accreditation that the other one I will be going to doesn't, but at this point, I don't freaking care! I just want to finish school, and that's it!  All I need is to pass that state test, and I don't think anyone will care where I went to school.  If I can write 225 wpm in a courtroom or for the deaf or for closed captioning on television or whatever, I don't think anyone would care if I learned on my own online from home!  And there's a LOT LOT LOT to be said about the quality of life.  I mean seriously, that was just awful.  If I had a JOB in the city and was working 8 hours or so that would be different, but it was just a waste of time, and in that 1.5 hours, what made me even more mad, was about 30 minutes of that time would be wasted by the teacher talking about nonsense or helping an individual student and I'd be thinking, really?  I came all this way for THIS?  And paid all this money in education for....an hour???

So...I start school again in April.  I'll have to get disciplined and practice at home every day until then, a lot.

The decorator.  I so don't know what to do.  She came over last weekend and showed us what she came up with and I don't know.  I like her ideas, but...I just think she wants to spend money in the wrong places.  Of course it's up to us what we choose or don't choose to buy, but now I don't know if I even want to use her, or a different decorator, or just do it myself.  For instance, we never said we wanted window treatments, that was her whole thing, but she kind of talked us into it, then came back with her drawings of them, which yes, they were very cool, and a whole suitcase of fabrics to choose from, but then the estimates just for the window treatments was $10k!  Are you freaking kidding me?  We want the whole first floor refurnished, and we have no furniture in the sunroom because we've never had one, and we're going to spend ten thousand dollars on draperies?  I mean what kind of decorator puts window treatments over furniture if they have your best interests at heart?  So the furniture - she only showed us furniture for the family room.  She didn't do any other room, like the formal living, the formal dining, or the sun room.  And just that was $11k, and didn't include end tables, coffee tables, rugs, lamps, artwork, etc.  I mean the couch by itself was $3500, and the chair and ottoman was over $2000.  No, I don't want cheap furniture, but I would like to spread the budget out so I could furnish more than one room.  Yes, I told her a budget, and while it's quite a bit more than what I told her, as far as she knows, she just spent most of our entire budget on draperies and a couple of pieces of furniture in the family room.  So the question is...do I tell her we don't want window treatments and let her continue with decorating the house, reign her in on the budget, or just ditch her altogether?  When she came, she showed us plenty of pictures of her work on windows, but none of the rooms she's done.  She was a referral from our realtor, so I had no information about her other than she had staged homes that sold quickly and she had also decorated our realtor's house.  But what exactly she did to her house, I have no idea.  She could have put a flower arrangement on the dining room table, I have no idea.  I'm actually quite frustrated.  I've always been very prompt in responding to her when she contacts me, even contacting her if I don't hear from her, but not since then.  She sends me texts and emails, and I may not reply, or I might reply but it's not right away and it's very brief.  I just don't want to send the wrong message, that everything is going well if we in fact are not going to do business with her.  And Mark thinks I'm too nice, he's afraid that I will decide to use her because I don't want to hurt her feelings and end up buying things that I don't want.  I mean, yes, I don't like to tell people I don't like their work or whatever, she obviously spent a lot of time on her presentation last weekend, but we did pay a fee for it.  I don't know, the more I think through it as I'm writing about it, the more I think I just need to tell her we're going to go another direction.

Tonight is my first meeting with our new city's women's club, we'll see how that goes.  I don't make friends easily.  I don't know if I seem shy, if I don't have anything in common with other people, if I try too hard or I don't try at all, I just never feel that connection with most women.  I used to - in my 20's, but not anymore.  I was looking forward to it, but now I'm not really.  It just seems like another place to fail socially.


Thursday I did as the doctor ordered - mental and physical rest - and it was so incredibly boring!  I took Motrin as he had suggested opposed to Advil, and found that it worked for my awful headaches so I felt fine.  I think I've taken a total of two hydrocodone, I actually didn't need it. 

I was by myself all day but emotional and I'm not quite sure why.  I would have short bouts of crying fits and then it would be over.  The day before I did really stupid things like searched the house for my keys for about an hour until I found them still in the front door.

So after feeling fine all day, Mark called toward the end of the day, very stressed about work. As he was talking, I started getting stressed out too, and as I did, my headache started coming back.  I finally had to apologize and just tell him I was sorry, but he was giving me a headache.  I realized how rude that sounded but hoped he understood, which he did.  I was shocked that the doctor was right - I really did need mental rest!  Just absolutely doing nothing with my brain was the only way to heal it. 

Since then I've been fine.  I've done little things like gone to the salon to get my hair colored/cut, bought a new dress and went to dinner with Mark and his friends.  All very low-key non-stressful events.  I suppose it doesn't fall under "sit around the house and watch television" category, but I'm definitely not doing math problems or learning new information like the doctor said.  Today I did low key things too, organized the kitchen a bit from moving and went to the store for just a few items.  I think Mark was pretty bored, but I'm trying, I really am.  

Oh!  I did one more thing today!  I went for my first follow-up visit to the weight loss clinic and I lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks!  I actually think their scale is a bit inaccurate, but that's okay.  At home wearing just a t-shirt, I weigh 138.  At the doctor's office with a sweatshirt and jeans I weighed 140.2, then at the clinic wearing boots I weighed 144?  No way do my boots way 4 pounds, but if they want to think I weigh more than I do that means I can go there longer.  The nurse asked how I was doing on exercise.  I wasn't going to tell her I had gotten a concussion and couldn't exercise, I just told her I hadn't been running because of the snow but would run in streets soon and she was okay with that.

I am so far behind in school, it overwhelms me.  I don't know how I am going to make it through this quarter.  I am absolutely the worst student in my class which is so strange because I've already passed this speed at my other school.  I know I'm supposed to have at least one more day of mental and physical rest, but I really need to start practicing again and I think I'm going to start tomorrow.

We have hired a decorator to help us furnish our new house and get rid of our old ugly furniture, but she is turning out to be really freaking slow and not computer literate. I'd like to go with somebody else, but I don't exactly know how to do that.  I only met with her last weekend but she seems to want to focus on window treatments which is the least of what I am concerned with.  Who cares what window treatments I have when my furniture is crap?  She's coming tomorrow, we'll see what she has.  If the main focus is window treatments and not furniture, then I'll have to move on.  I will tell her first, of course, that our main focus is furniture, but she just seems so pushy and wants to talk about that more.  I really hate firing somebody, I mean I really hate it, and Mark makes me do it when he considers someone to be *my* employee.  And I had to light a fire under her this week.  We talked to her on Saturday and on Tuesday and we hadn't set up another date to meet, had no clue what the next step even was and I was ready to buy furniture yesterday, so I had to ask her what she needed from us to get things going.  I'm assuming she *then* ordered samples of cloth  that haven't come in to meet with us today I also am assuming for the window treatments, so we rescheduled for tomorrow.  Again, window treatments is not my first priority!  I don't know how I can keep conveying this!  I'll say it again tomorrow.  We'll see what she has come up with.

Scared Medicationless?

I went to the doctor and he confirmed what I already suspected - yes, I have a mild concussion.  I had a CT scan which turned out to be normal except for an unrelated sinus cyst. 

I was told to get one week of physical and mental rest.  That just seemed a bit crazy to me - a whole week of doing absolutely nothing?  And I didn't have most of the concussion symptoms, mainly just horrible, horrible headaches.  So he finally said if I was symptom free by Monday, I could go back to school, but absolutely nothing physical or mental until then.  I had to ask what was "mental rest"?  He gave examples like doing math problems or learning new information.  Well, I don't make it a habit of sitting around doing math, but sure, that meant I can't do anything for school which is not good.  Not only can I not go, but I can't do anything for it either.  Maybe I shouldn't even be writing this post, I really have no idea what "mental rest" is.  He said to just watch television.  Or maybe I'm confused because I'm in a permanent state of mental rest?  No clue.

So while I was there, I found it interesting that the nurse never asked me if I was on any medications.  I was glad, but thought it was weird.  She left and the doctor came in and asked me some of the same questions, and always for some reason here, the biggest question is "do you smoke? have you ever been a smoker?  do you ever plan to smoke?".  That is a bigger question I have found so far by doctors than what medications you take, I have no idea why.  I find it odd. So then he worded the next question like this, "And you're not on any medications?", so...I said "No."

I now realize if I'm going to the doctor for a head injury that could affect my brain, disclosing psychiatric medications I'm taking could be a very crucial piece of information, but I didn't consider that at the time.  I'm very concerned about this whole disclosure of who is mentally ill to the government and what I tell to whom and what they could do with that information.  So then he added to my paranoia!

He was looking on his computer, and asked me who a certain doctor was, someone who had prescribed medication for me and I had no clue who or what he was talking about.  I had told the nurse I had tried taking some old hydrocodone from a surgery in 2010 and it hadn't worked on my headache, so I thought maybe he was talking about him and looked at the name on the bottle, but he said no and then said it was in liquid form.  Then I remembered I had bronchitis when I first came to Illinois, went to an emergency clinic and for some bizarre reason he prescribed it to me as a cough syrup.  But THAT was in some kind of database?

That totally freaked me out.  I tried to keep my cool, but I couldn't help but wonder what else he was seeing in whatever database he was looking at.  And if only from Illinois, what else would everyone be able to see once I started going to all new doctors, like a psychiatrist?  That is *so* not cool.  Sure, I can understand wanting to make sure that someone isn't addicted to pain killers or whatever, but where does it end?  How much are they going to track? And does that mean if I go to a psychiatrist and then get pulled over for a ticket, the cop will know what medications I'm on?  That I'm bipolar?  What about future employers, what if they get access to this database?  They could definitely make a case for it - wanting to know what drugs their employees are legally taking, like when people take drug tests if they disclose anything that might effect the outcome.

So that made me realize that my appointment with my new GYN - they asked me to have my records faxed from my old OB/GYN and I was going to do that.  I have issues that would probably be very important that a new doctor see the past history.  But in my records, of course it lists all of my medications. 

I don't know.  Maybe I need to rethink this whole medication thing.  My depressive side is so freaking scary though, it really scares me to think of how low I get, and now I don't have my old psychiatrist who knows exactly what to do to pull me out of it and how fast it needs to happen. But what are my choices?  He looked in his database and told me what doctor I saw and what he prescribed!  Yes, it was just the hydrocodone that he saw for all I know and it was no big deal, he prescribed more for me and I didn't ask for it when he asked if that's what I wanted.  I totally don't care what they give me as long as what they tell me to do will make the pain go away.  Tell me to stand on my head for 20 minutes and I'm fine with that too, I don't care as long as it works.  Mark doesn't understand why I don't understand how people get addicted to substances, but I just don't.  It's never happened to me.  I even wanted to become a smoker once but there was no appeal.  I didn't "get it" and gave up after a few days.

Maybe this is the concussion talking and I'm super emotional right now.  I don't really think I have any concussion symptoms beyond a headache that is nonexistent with lots of Motrin, but I don't like everyone knowing everything, not people that I don't choose to tell and that I don't want to know, and not knowing who knows what and what they will do with that information.  It's unsettling.  It's scary.

I feel...victimized.  I do, I really do.  This whole thing about "the mentally ill" and gun control, and I don't want a gun and I don't have a gun, but this whole fear about "the mentally ill", I mean really?  So now my rights to privacy are being trampled on because of fear?  I don't know about my right to privacy about hydrocodone, that's not my battle to fight because I don't care, but for those who do, more power to you, but if it's about privacy in general, yes, I care very much.  What about HIPAA?  Is that not included in HIPAA?  Maybe the HIPAA forms are different here.  I should read what I'm signing in Illinois because I haven't been.

Horrible Day, But All Days Can't Be Roses

I hit my head really, really hard sitting down on the train on Monday.  I don't remember ever hitting my head that hard, it almost knocked me down.  It made a loud sound, at least to me, and I looked behind me to see if people were looking at me, but no one seemed to notice or perhaps they were being polite to save me the embarrassment.  Anyway, that night I started getting a headache, and it has been slowly progressing into being more and more painful until last night it was almost a migraine.  Almost - but not quite, but it was bad enough that I knew from when I used to get migraines to get away from light and sound and it might feel better.  I felt sick to my stomach yesterday and last night was really bad.  I finally made myself eat dinner around 8:30 because that's when I take all of my medications and went back to bed.  This morning I still have that headache, but so far, it's not as bad as last night, but it's not good.  And the knot on my head hurts, too.  It's just very sensitive and feels like...just hard to explain.  Like it is always letting me know it's there.  I've never quite encountered this before, this is totally a new one for me.  I could go to the doctor and see if I have a concussion, but what is he going to do for me?  Give me some kind of x-ray, and then what?  Whether he finds something or not, and probably not, just tell me to rest?  Advil does nothing, and I'm not dying.  I have some old hydrocodone which I only use in very desperate times and I took one yesterday.  It did nothing either.  This headache is extremely persistent.

It snowed yesterday like I've never seen it snow before, well, at least not that I've been out in snow before.  In Kansas when I was a child, I was in blizzards, but not walking around in them.  I've always been inside or once in a car. Yesterday at 9:15 I called my school to see if it was open and told them my class was in the afternoon, and they said yes, they were open.  So...I made the treacherous drive to school, rode the train to the city, walked the mile in this blinding snow that was blowing and stinging right into my eyes so hard that I couldn't even look up and straightforward for a whole mile to get there and the second I walked in the receptionist said "We're closing the school at 12:45."  My class starts at 2:00.  I was really mad.  So then I had to hurry and walk that same mile back in the snow to get to the train station by 12:30 or I'd have to wait a whole hour for the next train.  Why do I take the train and not drive?  Because the cost to park in Chicago is *outrageous*. Maybe if you get there before 6:00am or 7:00am you can get early bird specials of $14 dollar a day, but for me it would be at least 30 or 40 dollars a day - at least.  But even then, $14 a day? Plus your gas to get there?  Plus the hassle of Chicago traffic when you could just sit on a train and relax without worrying about it? And normally I don't hate *too terribly* the walk, it just really, really sucks in bad weather.  I do like getting the extra exercise.

So I was gone for maybe four hours, tried to pull in my driveway, and got stuck on the edge of my driveway!  Somehow in that short amount of time, it had snowed so much that I couldn't even begin to get my car in the driveway.  I called Mark in a panic because it's illegal to park your car on the side of the road they told us when we went to the "Village Hall", but that's only from 1:00a to 6:00a, but still, and I'm assuming that's because of snow plows.  And the neighbors were already outside snowblowing their driveways, already!  It was maybe 3:00 and still snowing!  I kept hearing the sound of snowblowers starting up around the neighborhood, I had no idea they were so loud.  Not sure if they are as loud as a lawn mower or if they are even louder.  So he came home, snowblowed our driveway and parked my car in the garage.  Yesterday was NOT a good day.

So today I still have this headache, there is fresh snow outside in the driveway and Mark is sure they are going to plow the road in front of the street leaving a big pile in front of the driveway, which will keep me from backing out of the garage.  Sure, I have a shovel, but I'm thinking...maybe this would be a good day to stay home.  I'm not doing very well in school, but I think I'd be pretty worthless today.

Moved In!

We're all moved in to our new house, but not unpacked and it's a mess.  The house is so beautiful, I love it!  But it really shows how awful our furniture is.  The decorator came over yesterday and we went through the house and talked about what we wanted done and what she thought needed to be done which was actually less than what we thought we needed, went through colors, styles, just a lot of things. We probably gave her too many things we wanted to do all at once.  I think we meet with her again in about a week, not sure.  She is so super nice, I love her.

The town, or "village" as they demand to called here is really friendly. Except our only next door neighbor.  We haven't actually seen them yet so we have no idea what they look like, how old they are, what their ethnicity is, etc. All we know is that someone asked the movers, not us, if we have kids, and they knew we didn't so I'm sure they told them no. Then our realtor sent us flowers to congratulate us on our home and we had just left so the florist called to tell me he had tried to leave them with our neighbor, but they wouldn't accept them because they didn't know us.  Mark said well wouldn't that have been a good chance to get to know us?  So then we were backing out of our driveway and a car was coming from the other direction and as we pulled into the road, they turned into their driveway, so they obviously knew we were their neighbors before we knew they were our neighbors, and Mark said they didn't wave or anything.  I didn't see it but I asked how old they were and he said very young, maybe even a teenager, so maybe the florist and everything happened with a teenager and not the actual homeowners.  It's hard not to jump to conclusions though.  I just don't want to live next door to jerks.  I looked online to see who lives next door and got the homeowners name but it's strange.  I can't find any information about him online.  Maybe he goes by a middle name or something.  The whole Chicago area's real estate market has really depreciated so I thought maybe they were upset that someone got a home for so much less than what they paid, but no, they bought their house just a couple of years ago for even less than us, but it's a smaller home. I can't figure it out but we've only been here three days.

I haven't practiced for school in so long and I was doing so much better!  I'm mad at myself, but there's so much work to be done in moving that I don't have time, although I should simply make it priority, I know. I'm really going to regret it on Monday.  I haven't even been to school since last Monday.

I lost two more pounds last week, so I think my total weight loss is 8.5 pounds now!  I'm at 141, and I think if I can just get down to 139 by next Friday when we're going out with Mark's friends to celebrate their bonus day I can fit into a little black dress that I have that I love.  I haven't tried it on since I gained ten pounds so who knows, maybe it fits now, but it would fit better if I were out of the 140's, or at least in my mind I would think it would.  I haven't run this week because of the move and then the snow.  We have miles of running trails in our new neighborhood, but Mark ran this morning and said that not all of it has been snow plowed - most of it, but not all of it, and after my last running experience in snow, I did not want to go through that again.  And running on the treadmill is torture.  I suppose I should have gotten out there and at least run in the streets.  I'll do that tomorrow.  Tomorrow is the day the running club meets to run together, but I just don't feel ready to run with them again.  They made a big deal this week how all runners at all levels should come out and run, but when you're the slowest and you don't know your way around the forest preserve, it isn't easy and...the snow won't be gone.  I'm trying to get Mark to go to represent us at least, but I don't know that he will.  They were SO NICE that I would feel bad not going again and having them think we didn't like them or they did something wrong for us not to come back. I do plan on going back eventually, I just need to build up my stamina and speed again, although I've always been a slow runner.  I did tell that to one guy, and he said the way he built up his speed is to run with faster runners and keep up with them as long as he could, so that would be good for me to run with them, I just couldn't run that distance yet, although yes, the email did say all distances were welcome to come out.  I kind of felt that email was directed towards me, but then again, sometimes I think everything is all about me when of course it isn't!

It's very hard unpacking boxes that have been in storage for two months when you're allergic to dust mites. The first day I tried it I had a huge allergy attack and it finally struck me what was wrong with me and I took a couple of Mark's allergy pills but they didn't help.  I went to the store and bought Allegra which my doctor had told me to take and after a bit started feeling a bit better, but the thought of unpacking again or getting around dust was unbearable so that was a wasted evening.  But ever since that evening I've been faithful with my Allegra and the dust hasn't bothered me at all.  I'm guessing a lot of people are allergic to dust mites.

Still so much to do, I just wish our house was already decorated and I was done with school!

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