What does a diagnosis mean?

An answer to all my problems?! Maybe.

But I just got diagnosed with PCOS. While I haven’t done an ultrasound, my bloodwork matches up with exactly what you’d expect to see.

It was a naturopath I just started working with who made the diagnosis, so I’ll be going on a natural route instead of pharmaceuticals. Please note I’m not dogging meds, I am on some for anxiety/depression. But I’m hoping this natural route will help to solve some underlying issues rather than cover up symptoms. I’ve ignored my body for so long, it’s time to listen to what she’s tried to tell me and to finally give her what she’s been asking for all along.

So I’m on about 9 supplements. I’m supposed to be changing my diet, which is, of course, proving harder than it sounds. Low carb, no gluten, no dairy. Seems like a recipe for a sad life, if you ask me… But if it means feeling better? A happy body? Less symptoms? Maybe it could be worth it.

Funny enough, the diagnosis didn’t come with a wave of relief that I expected. Instead, I faced mourning. I have several friends who also have PCOS, and I’ve seen their struggles. I’ve especially seen the fertility struggle. Not to mention, with the diagnosis comes the ways in which I’m supposed to manage things- namely diet. As I’ve already said, I’m not thrilled with idea. So far, I’ve been able to live life on my terms, more or less. Restrictions don’t exactly thrill me. Plus, there’s idea that this will be a lifelong thing to manage. It’ll never go away, it’ll be as good or as bad as I let it be. I’m the master of my fate.

Which I have been all along, but now it feels like– My behavior will directly affect my health. My decisions will correlate with my life. It sounds so obvious, and maybe this change is a part of growing older, as well, by this diagnosis has really hit me. I’m not 22 anymore. And I’m not healthy anymore. I now hold my body in my hands, with every food choice I make.

There’s also the upside– I know that it’s not all in my head. My collection of symptoms are valid and experienced by a group of women who experience similar things. I’ve found several online communities which I hope to deeply connect with about these experiences. I have a name for the reason. And I have the hope that with good decisions, I can help walk myself to a better future. One with more energy, better mental health, a healthy cycle, and perhaps a pregnancy someday.

It’s all up to me. It feels so obvious and so shocking at the same time.

Friday nights

On Friday nights, I like to get wild. This summer, some of my Friday nights have included smoking out by my friend’s pool and laying on a friend’s living room floor allowing my face to be licked by his dog. Please note my definition of wild may be, in fact, quite tame.

But by far, my most often “wild” behavior is going onto a streaming service and watching WHATEVER IS BEING PROMOTED, WITHOUT ANY PRIOR KNOWLEDGE. Sometimes, I even watch a MOVIE (I’m a tv gal, myself).

This past Friday, I went even crazier and watched three movies. In a row. Now, tv, I can binge on forever. Movies? I can do one. Maaayyybee two. But on a Friday night? After working all week? I’m tired. Quite frankly, I go to bed early on Fridays. But I took a chance. On THREE movies.

The first was Palm Springs. I’m an Andy Samberg fan. And now a Cristen Milloti fan (The Mother from How I Met Your Mother). It was seriously a good movie that you should watch. I’d recommend going in blind, if you can.  **Next sentence is a spoiler– i keep thinking to myself now “what if today was the day you had to live over and over?” and this is maybe going to change my life**

Next was Buffaloed, with Zoey Deutch, from The Politician. Both are current favorites. I’m not sure so much about the movie. I did enjoy it. And I realized I know nothing about taxidermy. I was determined to explore more, and in fact started on the backlog of Ologies podcast episodes I’d missed out on recently, and wouldn’t you know! A taxidermy episode! I’m listening now, in bite-sized chunks on the way to and from work. I won’t lie, I’m a little grossed out, a bit like I was the other morning while tearing into a giant steak. All the muscle and sinew and ligaments and fat and previous aliveness. But I’m learning about a thing that Buffaloed made me realize I didn’t know a damn thing about and also the taxidermist from the Ologies episode creates her stuff with animals who have died of natural causes. Or like, cars. So, not trophy kills. So I guess that’s ethical.

Lastly, I watched Where’d You Go, Bernadette? since I’ve been meaning to for a while; I loved the book. The movie wasn’t exactly like the book, which I get. Different mediums, different storytellers… My main takeaway was that I liked it, that it must be so hard to live with a truly creative person (who can hardly function in reality), and that Cate Blanchet’s cheekbones are pure art. Also maybe I want to go to Antarctica? I’ve never been able to say that before. But maybe I’ll follow Cate and her cheekbones anywhere…

What movies have you watched recently? Do you ever watch things blindly? How wild do you get on Friday nights?

Bodily Betrayal

My body has started taking me hostage. My anxiety is playing along.

For the past four years, around Autumn, I start getting dizzy and maybe even fully passing out. This year, it happened early– around August. I thought I was done for the year until last Friday, when it happened again. I was with a client, to make it extra scary and embarrassing. I went to Urgent Care, just to see what my vitals were, and everything was fine!

I took the next several days off, since it was the weekend anyways. But today started my workweek. Everything looks great, I should be making some good money this week. But my very first massage appointment, this morning at 10, and I was out again.

I don’t know if my anxiety is making it worse. I don’t know why I keep passing out. I don’t know what my body is trying to tell me, and to make it all worse– I don’t have health insurance AND I’m stressed out about money.

None of it is a good combination. I feel like my body is betraying me. Not that I’m great at treating her wonderfully, but somehow, she’s decided that enough is enough I guess.

I don’t have any point to this post except that I keep wanting to write, and I keep not being able to massage, which is my only source of income right now. And I think, too, if you’re out there, and your body is betraying you right now too– I hear you. I’m sitting on my couch, worrying about bills, questioning my life, wondering what is going to happen. And I hear you.

Lately

Something just whispered in me it’s time to create your own content. But I don’t really know what that means– except it’s time for me to write. I often feel inadequate– what do I have to say? Why add another voice to the collective? Isn’t someone else out there going to say it better?

Well, probably. To be honest. But I still feel a pull to write my own things. Post my own pictures. Fill up a space with my thoughts. Maybe engage with a few people along the way.

Recently, I’ve taken a food photography class (I’ll share photos and a writeup later), I took a quick trip up to Michigan to see dear friends, I bought a camera off of my roommate, I bought MORE cookbooks, I signed up for more classes, I have become obsessed with certain podcasts, and I passed out at work again.

This all sounds like a lot to brush over in a single paragraph. But I’ll plan on elaborating on them at later dates. Suffice to say, I have a lot percolating. Maybe a lot to say? Maybe I’ll realize that the more I say, the more I’ll have to say– that I won’t run out of words or ideas like my fears tell me I will.

Today, I’m taking it easy. I’ve had a rough few weeks. But also inspiring. I’m not beating myself up for taking a day off (she tells herself firmly). I’m listening to my body, because it’s been screaming. I’m sitting on the porch and petting my cats and thinking about what’s for dinner.

How is your Wednesday?

Life Self-Employed

Sorry for the accidental hiatus last Friday! Last week was my first full week of DOING MY OWN THING and the days sort of got away from me. First, I took a four day vacation (something I never do) to see friends, then I watched my adorable baby niece, and then… I just worked. In my first week full-time massaging, I did 12 massages. Which felt like a pretty good confirmation that– It’s all going to be alright.

But– I am doing pretty badly about the whole schedule thing. I thrive on schedules. So I have been going to bed at a decent hour and waking up… never. Why is waking up so hard? How do people bounce out of bed with hours to spare? The constant rain recently hasn’t helped, either. It all feels like time to nap for me!

I’m not sure actually how to get out of this. I’m working and doing those sorts of things, but things like… say, cleaning my house, or mowing my yard… well, it’s getting left behind in only the way it can with me sleeping on my couch.

I think one of my solutions is coffee. (I mean, what? HOw could that be a solution?) Hear me out. I normally didn’t drink coffee at home on my days off before. A day here or there without coffee, well it hurt, but I could manage. But I AM up early every morning for kitty breakfast and I think I need to just start throwing coffee down my throat at that point– no going back to sleep for me!

But more than anything, what I’ve been reminding myself today is to give myself grace. No name-calling. No chastising. No hating on myself because I was extra tired or didn’t get the yard mowed before it rained (again). Things will come. Schedules and routines will be built again. Yes, I need to put in effort towards that. But when I have a day when it all seems like a failure– that’s okay! I just needed that time off.

Back to getting things done– how do you self-employeds do it? How do you wake yourself up? What is your motivation? What names don’t you call yourself?

My Dad’s best advice

I have a great relationship with my dad. We are pretty much the same person (though I do have a bit of my mom sprinkled in, too. I’m just a walking paradox.) Even in my angsty teenage years, I would sit and talk with him for hours. We’re not big phone talkers, but get us in a room together, and we’re going to hash out life, we’re gonna try to solve the world’s problems, we’ll probably yell a bit (we don’t exactly agree on how to solve everything), and we’ll agree in the end that the best thing to do is spread love wherever you are. He’s a good guy.

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d share some of my dad’s best advice to me.

You take who you are with you. For a good chunk of my life, I tried to run away from myself. Like, literally– hopping states, traveling places, and guess what– I was still me. This was my dad’s way of saying the only thing that’s gonna change me is me, not an alternate location.

You know, you don’t have to go to college.  This was the first time anyone had said this to me, the summer after my senior year of high school. I did go to college (two of them), but this felt like the first time someone acknowledged my autonomy.

The worst day working for yourself is better than the best day working for someone else. My dad’s an entrepreneur– he’s been a general contractor in his own business since before I was alive. I watched him set his own schedule, work HARD, and take time to spend with us. He set a good example, and ultimately, I decided I wanted what he had– freedom. Let me tell you, watching someone live that life— it looks good. I’m excited to start spending my energy on MY dream instead of someone else’s.

What great dad advice have you received, from your dad or a father-figure?

Happy Father’s Day!

Bigger

I know, I know. It’s the end of January. Any well-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions have worn out (my own– the “Sugar Free January” only lasted nine and a half days…)

But– It IS still January. So I’m doing this. This being, my word for the year. I’ve always liked this better than a resolution, anyways. So the word that keeps resonating with me at the beginning of this year, and all through this month has been– BIGGER.

“I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small…” Kathleen Kelly, You’ve Got Mail

It’s true, I do lead a small and valuable life. But I’ve got a desire to expand a bit. Not to make my life worth more, because it’s already full of worth. Not to fill voids, not to try to make myself happy. It just seems like time to grow  little. I’m not sure what this will look like yet. But in the decisions I make through the year, I’ll look at it through the lens of BIGGER. Not for the sake of bigger, but for the sake of growth.

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My action plan so far is this: try 2 new things every month. I tend to hole up, in the winter especially, and I am what my therapist calls “a TRUE introvert,” but I need to try new things in order to expand my horizons. So far this month, I went to a day conference on interpersonal behavior in the workplace, I took CPR training, and I bought a new laptop to make all my blogging dreams come true! (Is this last thing a new thing? Not exactly, but this venture will hopefully produce growth in me as I pursue something I’ve wanted for a long time)