Breaking Away

I think I might be breaking away from my health-seeking adventures.

It occurred to me today that I might be increasing my state of disease by focusing on my state of disease.  After all, what we focus on grows.  I don’t know anymore if I’m actually interested in health or if this is all one giant elaborate way for me to avoid moving forward in other areas of my life.

  • If I’m sick I can’t leave my job.  Cuz health insurance.
  • If I’m sick I can identify as someone who heals.  An identity.
  • If I’m sick I can garner sympathy and attention.
  • If I’m sick I get to justify breaks from the hectic schedule of crap that I don’t enjoy.
  • If I’m sick I’m distracted from painful life events that I can’t control.
  • If I’m sick I get to feel proficient in healing
  • If I’m sick maybe I can help others get well and gain appreciation.
  • If I’m sick I can avoid intimacy.
  • If I’m sick I get to punish others by withholding myself.
  • If I’m sick I get to have a direction in life.
  • If I’m sick I have a meaningful hobby.
  • If I’m sick I get to make impressive graphs and do important research.
  • If I’m sick I get to pretend I’m a doctor.
  • If I’m sick I avoid the rejection of trying and failing.
  • If I’m sick I have an excuse for not taking risks.
  • If I’m sick I have an excuse for not doing the work to live my best life.
  • If I’m sick I avoid being in charge in my life.
  • If I’m sick I avoid the guilt of outgrowing people.
  • If I’m sick I avoid the guilt of putting myself first sometimes.

I’m just wondering if maybe it’s not serving me so well to identify myself as sick.  Collecting diagnoses, researching them and learning about treating myself.  I’m not healthier since I started this.  I’m a little wiser, and I’ve found a few really good tools, but I’m not significantly better off.  (Updated to add….actually my mood is significantly better than when I started.  I really shouldn’t discount the road I’ve traveled here. I’m just not sure it’s a road I want to continue traveling.)

I think I need to break from this blog for a little while, and see who I would be if I wasn’t this person that needs to be fixed.

Still Here

It’s true that I’m more prone to disappearance when things aren’t going so well.

My family moved to a new home, which disrupted all of my routines, my free time, and my environmental comforts.  Eventually this move will be a good one, but right now it’s still a mess. The house is a fixer-upper.  I’m struggling with this change, with traveling for work, and with things being very busy with both my full-time job and my side job.  We’ve also had some unexpected financial expenses: replacing a car, dealing with a flooded basement, and fixing parts of the new (old) house that we didn’t know were broken.  I’m happy to have the house. The adjustment is just difficult.

I’m struggling with eating the “right” things. I gave up and just started eating “whatever” again and my lichen sclerosus (LS) became really inflamed, as well as a sore patch of skin in my armpit – it’s been there for several years but tripled in size in the last week.

I’ve stopped concerning myself with losing weight. I just don’t have the time. I don’t have time to log food and figure out how to shop smart and cook a variety of antioxidant-rich meals.  I know this is not how it’s going to be forever, but right now it’s difficult.  I feel like I’m making excuses, but right now my “free” time is literally the time I spend driving to work, and the freedom is just listening to the podcast of my choice.  Yesterday’s Quote of the Day Show was based on this awesome video:

My mood right now is highly variable, and gets worse when my LS is worse, which makes me think they’re related, with the common theme being mast cell activation. My weight is up about 5 pounds, and my blood sugar is up about 20 points from 1 month ago.

Hanging in there, waiting for the storm to pass.

Broken Blog – Update: Fixed

WordPress tells me there’s been a glitch with my blog, resulting in it being stuck in this weird template.  My choices at this point are to revert to an earlier saved version of the blog, resulting in the loss of some content, or keep it in said weird template forever.

I’m wondering if this is a sign from the universe that’s it’s time to do something else.

Update: Blog fixed.  Thanks, WordPress.

No Foundation

I moved to a new home a few weeks ago.  Since then I feel like I’ve been walking on Jello.

No Foundation.

No routine, no familiarity, no security.

Things keep going wrong.  After moving I had no internet for weeks, and when I would call to ask when we can expect service I’d get representatives insisting I already had service.  I have 2 laptops – one for home and one for work – and even after getting internet neither one would work.  The Mac wouldn’t even turn on and the PC would just spin and spin with a perpetual “Connecting” taunting me from the top of the browser.  I got a flat tire on the interstate.  I had chest pains and went to the ER.  Our new basement flooded with 4 feet of water.  I notice my blog has changed it’s template to this weird stark black and white theme, and now for some reason there are no other choices available.

I’m in a weird psychological space right now.  I’m having some pretty profound insights – the kind you get when you have no routine to buffer you, like when you’re traveling or on vacation.  I notice routine is kind of an addiction – a way to remain numb.  And when the routine is removed you’re forced to deal with yourself.  I’m realizing I don’t like or respect myself much.  I’m realizing I don’t take care of myself.  I’m realizing my dreams in life are pretty limited to just escaping what I find to be annoying.  I’m realizing I don’t really want to help people as much as I just want to feel appreciated.  I’m realizing I still suck at managing my emotions – all it takes is a little stress.  And I don’t really know how to make any of this better.

This new blog template is kind of a metaphor for me right now.  I feel raw and stark. Scared. Unprotected. Uneasy.

I’m reminded of all the times I’ve felt alone.  And I wonder why alone keeps showing up in my life.  I know I’m not really alone, but I’m having a hard time shaking this feeling.


Anxiety, Blood Sugar, and Weight


After reading about a tick that can cause an allergy to red meat I decided to lay off the meat of mammals (like beef, pork, and lamb) and see if there was any effect.  Do I have a tendency to think every disease on the internetz applies to me?  Yes.  Yes I do.  But as they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t actually someone out to get you.  Just because I have a tendency toward hypochondria doesn’t mean I don’t actually have a tick-borne meat allergy.

So I stopped eating red meat products 4 days ago, opting instead for chicken, turkey or fish for protein.  For context I’m in the middle of a move to a new home, and my old kind-of junky car just failed an emissions test resulting in the need to buy a new (used) clunker.  So there’s a fair share of stress in my life, and I wasn’t sure if the anxiety I was feeling – worry, tension, inability to relax, obsessing, hair-trigger reactions – all the stuff I’m least proud of about myself – was caused by the environmental stress or something in my diet.

Because one thing I’ve learned – when my gut is bothered, or when histamine is high, anxiety and depression tend to be the result.

Well I have to say, since I stopped eating red meat my anxiety has dropped way down.  It’s still there – not gone or anything, but not consuming my thoughts.   This makes me want to get the Alpha-Gal antibody blood test and see if this is a real thing.

Blood sugar and weight updates:



Blood sugar is still really well managed, hovering in the “normal” range (under 100).  I can’t honestly say I know for sure why this happened.  Did eating low fat and losing 20 pounds result in less stored PUFA and therefore less competition with blood sugar for cellular absorption?  Or is this fake and about to rebound?  I’ve been eating a less restricted diet for the last 5-6 weeks (see weight graph for evidence of that…) but blood sugar stays stable.

Not sure why it’s happening, but I’m really happy it is.

Heart Scan and Calcium Score


I had a heart scan a week ago.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time because of my familial history of heart disease, combined with the bazillion risk factors I have that indicate I’m likely to have a heart attack.

A summary of my risk factors:

  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Type 2 Diabetes (but maybe I can lose this diagnosis soon!)
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal obesity
  • First degree relative with heart disease
  • Genetic risk factors, according to 23andme, that make me more susceptible to heart disease than other people in my demographic.  Check it out23(FYI- 23andme no longer offers this kind of health report – they’ve evolved by necessity, due to government intervention.  But before they shut down these reports I made PDF copies of everything in my profile.  I’m apparently also genetically vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, Atrial Fibrillation, Colorectal Cancer, and Rheumatoid Arthritis.)

So, when I say I’m trying to avoid having a heart attack, I’m pretty serious.  It’s a legit concern for me.

I had heard about getting a coronary calcium scan (heart scan) done in order to get a calcium score – a direct measurement of the severity of heart disease.  They measure the amount of calcified plaque buildup in your coronary arteries.  I wasn’t sure how to do it – do I have to find a cardiologist?  Do I have to convince my doctor to look at something other than my total cholesterol?  I hate trying to convince doctors of things.  Actually, I hate trying to convince anyone of anything.  That’s why I’ve gone rogue and order my own damn tests.  Anyway, I finally just googled it and found a local clinic that does heart scans for $99, direct to patient – no cardiologist required!

So I set it up for a couple days later.  They instructed me: no caffeine or exercise the day of the test.  Well, that was a long day with no caffeine, lemme tell you, but I managed.  It’s essentially a CT scan of the heart, so there is some radiation involved.  I didn’t care.  I wanted the test, and I don’t plan on doing this very often.  My results:


My coronary calcium score is 23.  On a continuum starting at 0 (no plaque present) to scores in the hundreds for people with lots of plaque, 23 doesn’t sound so bad at first.  This score correlates with “mild heart disease” (which doesn’t sound like good news to me), and my chance of having a heart attack is “moderate”.  So, only moderately awful then.

The supporting materials go on to say:

The total calcium score of 23 is between the 90 and 100 percentile for females [my age].  This means that 90 percent of people this age and gender had less calcium than [me].

Hm…also less awesome than I would prefer.

And the notes from the doctor who evaluated the test:

1. A calcium score of 23 implies presence of definite at least mild atherosclerotic plaque with the risk of mild or minimal coronary arterial narrowings considered likely.
2. Small pericardial effusion with mildly prominent mediastinal lymph nodes. These correlate clinically.

Pericardial effusion means fluid around the heart.  I don’t know if this is a lot bad or only a little bad.

At least I have a baseline.  I’m hoping this can be reversed or at least stopped.