It’s here! It’s really here! March 4, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in education, older son, personal.
Tags: college, older son
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The older son recently celebrated another orbital trip around the sun, and it made me realize that it’s pretty much time to get serious about this college thing. Part of it was the realization that I teach in the fall (which came up because of other reasons), so if the older boy plans to make any college visits, it’d be ideal if they were in the next couple months. The fall will be difficult, at best.
Of course, we’re also sitting here wondering if maybe just staying local for a couple years would be fine. He could start here (or even keep on taking exams for placement), live at home, and transfer out should he so decide. However, I want him to evaluate all of his choices carefully. He’s starting to look at potential majors for college, we’re going through the mess of signing him up for standardized tests, and probably most importantly, Mike is panicking about the potential bills showing up in the mail which also has the older boy starting to think about scholarships.
You know, I thought looking for colleges was stressful when I was in high school. I don’t think it’s really any easier as a parent. In fact, in some ways, it’s worse (although in other ways, it’s certainly better). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I am glad that I read Crazy U a couple years ago, though. I think it made me realize that getting really worked up about the whole process is probably counterproductive.
New year’s…ahem…goals, Pt.1 January 1, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in personal, running, younger son.
Tags: goals, health, new years day, resolutions, running
It’s very easy at the end of every year to look at the numbers on the scale and feel disappointed that they aren’t smaller. Or I can take measurements of my body and be upset that my diameter is definitely not where it should be.
It’s frustrating to me because I watch my diet fastidiously and am very physically active (well, when I’m not in front of the computer). But here I am.
Granted, this year has been been better than most as a result of my celiac diagnosis. I’ve been on the diet about 4 1/2 months, and it’s unbelievable the amount of positive feedback I’ve gotten about how much better I look. So obviously things are going well on that front. However, progress, as always is slow.
I also am not one to make resolutions as they can be easily dropped. So instead I set goals.
I never try to set the goal of reaching a certain weight or size. It turns out that since I started the celiacs diet, I haven’t really lost more than about 5 pounds. However, people tell me constantly that I look it. And, from what they’ve said, they think I’m lighter than I am. Mike has made the observation that I appear to be denser. However, after that comment almost resulted in physical violence, he amended it to “more compact”, which was, in my opinion, a more agreeable euphemism.
My goal, therefore, is to continue to improve my health by watching my diet and running. (In fact, I have already signed up for a half-marathon in May.) I am hoping that my efforts toward these goals will result in weight loss, but I will try not to shoot for a particular number.
There is one thing that makes me sad about my becoming “more compact”. When the younger boy was about 4, I remember him wanting to cuddle on someone’s lap. He decided to try dad’s lap as it had the closest availability. He went and sat down on Mike’s lap…and proceeded to wiggle around for five or ten minutes, obviously unsettled. He got off Mike’s lap, looking disappointed. Then he came and sat on my lap. With just a few minor adjustments, he ended up completely still with a contented sigh.
“Mom, you’re soft.”
I want to be healthy and will work toward that, but I want to be soft enough for little boys to want snuggle on my lap.
Running Update: 1 year! October 17, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Tags: celiacs, Fargo marathon, running
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I haven’t been giving my monthly running updates because, since June, I haven’t been able to run. At least, not until earlier this month.
It turns out that I had tendonitis in my ankle. It took quite a while to heal up (nearly 3 months), and I got outfitted about three weeks ago with some custom supports to prevent this from happening again.
I’m excited to be running again because as soon as registration opened up for the Fargo Marathon, I decided to go nuts and signed up to do the half next spring. I’m using a very basic-level plan that takes 35 weeks to prepare. So yes, I’ve already started training.
It’s a run-walk program (one of the Jeff Galloway plans), and part of this is establishing the proportion of the time spent running versus walking. I did my first time trial last week and discovered something strange: I’m faster than I was last spring, even after three months of no running. I also discovered that doing the walk-run combination, I’m nearly as fast as just running…and a lot less worn out when I’m done.
I’m guessing the increase in speed is due to my change in diet. I have been getting a lot of comments about how I look like I’ve lost weight (despite the fact that I haven’t) in the past couple weeks. I think it’s simply a result of the inflammation going down now that I’m not eating gluten-filled foods any more. I guess this is another way to tell things are healing up.
I’m also signed up to do the Jingle Bell Run at the beginning of December. It’s a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation, so if you care to sponsor me and/or my team, click here. (Also, I appreciate efforts to sponsor me because my teammate is the lead fundraiser so far, and she’s making us all look bad.) ;)
Stupid school year August 20, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in education, Fargo, personal, teaching.
Tags: celiacs, health, running, school, teaching
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I may be in the minority, but I really, really hate the fact that school starts here this week. I’m of the opinion that school should not start before Labor Day and should not go past Memorial Day.
Part of me would like to say that this dampens my productivity, but I’m not entirely convinced of that. I think it just lowers my stress-level to not have to worry about running kids around while teaching and trying to get some research done. I just hate being tired all the time.
Another reason I’m tired is that I’m still not running. I apparently had tendonitis in my foot, and most likely there was no sprain. I’m getting lots of ultrasound and massage treatment. It seems to have improved a lot, and in a couple weeks, I’ll have some new custom orthotics for my running shoes. Then I’ll get to start running again. This is good because aside from helping me from feeling so run down all the time, it does a lot to keep my mood up. I’ve been grumpy for about two months now.
I’m also getting used to being gluten free. It’s not all that bad, but I still can’t eat things with lots of fructose or lactose. Those problems should hopefully disappear as my insides heal up. I just wish I weren’t so hungry all the time.
But in the meantime, I better get finished with tomorrow’s class prep.
It’s my birthday, and I’ll post if I want to… August 14, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking, personal.
Tags: birthday, blogiversary, celiacs, gluten
It’s not my birthday today. I didn’t post on my birthday. But I thought I should mention it since that was one of the reasons posting has been light. I always like when my birthday shows up because I get to tell people all the famous people who share my birthday and watch as they look confused. I think it’s quite possibly the slowest day for celeb birthdays all year.
I also forgot about another milestone: I’ve been at this new spot on wordpress for over two years now. My second ‘blogiversary’ was July 1st. It’s kind of scary to think it was over 8 years ago that I signed up on LJ and have been putting crap on the internet ever since. (Actually, if you check the way-back machine, you can find the web page I put up in 1994. Yeah, I’ve been putting crap on the World Wide Web since 1994. Remember when we had web pages and not profiles? Just saying that makes me feel old.)
And mostly I wanted to let people know I’m still alive. I’ve been spending a lot of time researching gluten-free diets and am attempting to change some eating habits. I’ve managed to have small bits of fruit here and there, so fructose may be safe for me. Dairy still gives me fits if I don’t take lactase with it. And I have already discovered that one food I ate quite often and assumed to be perfectly safe was, in fact, very bad for me. (Who puts gluten in sausage?!) Our waffle Sunday breakfast menu will have some new items in the coming weeks.
I will have more productive things to say in the coming days, especially with the beginning of the semester. In the meantime, how was your weekend?
I will never attend another bake sale August 7, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal, Uncategorized.
Tags: celiacs, health, IBS
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for me.
I have had a lot of medical problems…well, most of my life. It got really bad when I went to college, however, and a year and a half after starting, I found out I had fibromyalgia. I was 19 at that point…the youngest FMS patient most of my doctors had ever seen. In an effort to get a hold of my health, I started a restricted carb diet about 3 years after my diagnosis. Low and behold, I went into remission…something else most doctors had never seen.
About 3 years after that, however, I started having GI issues. First doctor I went to said I was just constipated and needed to drink more water. Second doctor thought I had GERD and abdominal tendonitis. Third doctor told me to take beano when I ate. As time went on, however, the symptoms got worse, leaving some doctors scratching their heads. I’ve had tests and ultrasounds on my gall bladder about 4 times, at least 3 cat scans, a multitude of blood panels drawn, 3 or 4 trips to the ER, etc. The one that really pissed me off was the diagnosis of “anxiety producing IBS”. The problem with both IBS and fibromyalgia is that there are a lot of doctors who think that this is all in your head. Problem is, the meds make you feel stupid and careless but don’t do a thing for your GI symptoms.
So I was relieved when I was finally sent to a GI specialist in 2009, about 8 years after my GI symptoms had started. He did another blood draw and did a breath test, and I was diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Like all my other diagnoses, I was better for about a month after beginning the new medication, in this case a super-duper expensive antibiotic. He also sent me to a pain clinic to load me up with cortizone shots. They helped…for a while.
After moving back to Fargo, I spent a year and a half trying to get into a GI specialist here. My regular doc was convinced I just had GERD. After an abnormal catscan resulted from an ER trip, I finally got in to see him.
This doctor, for a change, has been approaching my issues like a scientist. Rather than saying, “You’re symptoms are consistent with xxx diagnosis,” he’s actually been going in and *looking* to see what’s inside me. He’s trying to rule out everything he possibly can. While I admit I really haven’t been enjoying all the fun dietary gymnastics for these procedures, I finally have an answer.
I probably have celiacs disease. There’s a good chance this has been my problem all along, maybe even being the cause of my FMS. (This is apparently a pretty common misdiagnosis.)
The most frustrating part, however, is not that it’s taken this long to figure out what’s going on. I can understand when so many diseases present so many similar problems that it would be hard to tease out the root of the problem, especially when I didn’t start with GI symptoms. However, the first GI specialist I saw gave me the blood test for Celiacs, and it showed up negative. The information on the test specifically states, however:
A negative result (absence of circulating IgA-endomysial antibodies) does not exclude the diagnosis of dermatitis herpetiformis or celiac disease. Patients with mild gluten-sensitive enteropathy may have a negative result.
I am very disappointed that the first GI didn’t follow up further. Although this has probably been going on for half my life (or more), three less years of problems would’ve been nice. Also, this led me on years of a wild-goose chase to figure out exactly what the issue was. I always excluded wheat as a possible factor because I was told the test was negative, leading me to omit from my diet a lot of foods that I probably could and should have been eating.
In the meantime, I have one final test to confirm the diagnosis and then can start on a gluten-free diet. I honestly don’t anticipate this will be as huge a problem for me as some other people given I’d already spent years watching my carb intake and really enjoy eating veggies. (I just never thought to cut out gluten entirely.) However, I do like a treat now and again, so I’ll be on the hunt for some good gluten-free donut recipes…
Chronic illness July 23, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in family, personal.
Tags: health, illness
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I’ve had a lot of stuff going on, so the blogging has been light. I also have a lot of things I’d like to talk about, but the blog isn’t the best place to do it.
However, I’d like to throw out some questions. For those who have a family member with a chronic illness (of any kind), I’d like you to comment on how you deal with it. Specifically, how do you handle financial concerns related to treatment costs? How do you avoid feeling ‘trapped’ when helping support the person who is ill? And finally, how do you deal with all the other people who just don’t “get it”? What kind of support have you been able to get and how difficult is it to find?
Please feel free to comment anonymously as I know this is a touchy subject. I’d just like to see what brilliance the intertubes can provide this week.
Tags: fostering, Gigadog, illness, reading, west nile, writing, younger son
I never thought I’d be thankful for my child being sick. I suppose I should as it means he’s acquiring another immunity.
I’m guessing the younger son had West Nile. At least, the symptoms were consistent with West Nile, and it showed up a couple days after his daycare took the kids to a nearby state park to swim. Swimming hole = mosquitoes = contagion. The younger boy is usually pretty healthy, but it was obvious he was pretty sick this time. He spent two days solid watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, eating jello and yogurt, and sleeping.
I constantly had a thermometer in my hand. The worst was reading temps of 103.5°F, because then I had to convince myself that it was really better not to give him Tylenol. See, the kid wouldn’t sleep unless I let his fever run up, and I know from past experience that you’ve got to let them hit that spike or it just drags out for days. It seemed to work because less than 24 hours after we initially discovered he was sick, his fever dropped down in to the below 101°F range. Yesterday, which was 48 hours after we found out he was sick, he was going stir crazy and taking Mike and myself with him.
In the meantime, I was stuck at home, and it was the probably some of the best uninterrupted time I’ve had in months to work on my dissertation. This resulted in a big jump forward, at least from my perspective. In that time, I learned how to use the debugger and managed to fix a couple major issues with my code. On top of that, I managed to finish a fictional novel I’ve been reading for the last six months. (Yeah, I know…) I even spent some time doing some fun writing of my own (though obviously not the blog).
I also was asked to take care of a rescue dog for a couple days. He’s a very sweet boy, but he makes Gigadog look tiny. (Maybe we should call him Teradog?) I’ll probably be picking him up tomorrow, so I’ll try to get some pics up. (Depends on how busy he keeps me.) I think we’ve decided to call him Rainier, since he’s huge as a mountain. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he and Gigadog get along well.
I am now in the 1% June 6, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Tags: health, medication, transit, venus
I had to go to the doctor for a checkup. While doing the checkup, she asked me some questions as to whether something or not was bothering me. I said yes, and she said she thinks I have an infection. She wrote me up a script for some antibiotics, and I was on my way.
I took the antibiotics on Monday night. As you probably read in my post on Tuesday, I was feeling pretty awful that day. It only got worse from there. I am currently writing up a proposal and got involved in a couple very technical discussions on Tuesday morning. Problem was, I couldn’t follow what anyone was saying. They may as well have been speaking Greek. (The only Greek words I know are the names for variables.) Mike said I seemed rather confused. I tried to go for a run after lunch. Usually my runs are 45 minutes. This time, I had to quit after 20 because my whole body was aching so badly. I felt like I had the flu. By dinnertime, I was feeling tired and weak and a bit dizzy. First I googled the meds I was taking to see if there was any relationship to fatigue. The one place I found that relationship explicitly stated, it said to call your healthcare provider immediately, so I called the nurse.
“The doctor prescribed this medication for an infection, and I think it’s making me extremely tired.”
“Of course you’re tired. You have an infection.”
“But I didn’t even know I had the infection until she told me. I had no symptoms until I started taking the medication.”
“Well, take it tonight and call your doctor in the morning.”
I sat down to eat dinner, and contemplated whether or not to take the next dose of meds. However, my left arm started to feel incredibly cold, and I just didn’t feel right. Rather than going to see the transit of Venus with the local astronomy club, Mike brought me to the walk-in clinic. By the time we got there, my left arm was tingling, and the sensation was moving up my arm. Also, I started having problems focusing and kept blinking my eyes.
The doctor guessed that I was, in fact, having a pretty rare reaction to the medication and told me to stop. He said to wait a couple days, and if my symptoms cleared up, I should call my doctor and let her know.
I went home, glad I decided to forego another dose of the meds. Going to sleep was a problem because now my whole left side of my body was cold and tingling. My arm was the worst, but I could feel pretty strongly in my ear and knee, as well. I was exhausted and fell asleep quickly….and apparently said some odd stuff in my sleep, too.
I woke up this morning feeling better than the morning before, but still feeling like I was moving through molasses. My arm has mostly stopped tingling, but I did have off and on sensations of burning or cold in it. And then there were a couple of serious episodes of vertigo. Fortunately, all of this has decreased as the day has worn on, and I’m actually much more awake now than I was this morning.
My conclusion, therefore, is that I better be more careful and NOT make the assumption that a medication is safe. The symptoms I had aren’t as weird as the anti-nausea medication they gave me a few years back (which made me want to crawl out of my skin and then claw out my doctor’s eyes…that was very freaky…and apparently so common they almost never use the medication now), but they were nothing to sneeze at. (Incidentally, sneezing and flu symptoms are also considered dangerous side-effects of this medication.) I guess I didn’t think anything of it because I’ve had to take antibiotics about once a year for various sinus and ear infection-type problems. I really never expected to have any problems…and apparently only about 1% of people do.
Sometimes you don’t want to be in the 1%.
I can’t help feel disappointed that I missed the transit. Episodes like this also make me feel more unsure about modern technology. But I guess when you’re going to lose your faith, you can restore it by looking at images like this:
Dragging June 5, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in personal.
Tags: health, lawnmowers, sleep
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I hate, hate, hate the end of the school year. I’m glad school is over, but the last month is essentially madness. All the end of school programs, activities, banquets, etc. I swear that we had one or more activities going on every evening in May.
On top of that, with the warm weather, we’ve hit lawn mowing season. Apparently the only thing my neighbors have to do is take care of lawn work. It seems like there are lawn mowers going constantly in my neighborhood from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.
And now I’m just exhausted. We had to run an errand before work this morning. While Mike ran in, I stayed in the car. Things took much longer than anticipated, and so he came out half an hour later and found me sound asleep despite all the ruckus going on outside. It’s pretty bad when I can actually sleep someplace other than my own bed.
The good news is that I looked at the calendar for June…and it looks like things are finally starting to settle down. Maybe I’ll even get a little sleep…in between lawn mowers.