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Stuck

Adult

As the title of this post suggests, I’m feeling stuck. My weight has plateaued so I’m making absolutely no progress toward my biggest goal of getting into shape. And, worse yet, I’m not doing anything about it. For about the last month I haven’t been feeling up to par.

For the first couple weeks I just didn’t feel well and had no motivation or stamina. Then I entered a week in which I slept pretty much around the clock. Now I’m back to feeling weak and with no get-up-and-go. It’s terribly frustrating.

Because I’ve had a heart attack, the first thing I thought of was a problem with my heart so I called my cardiologist and he scheduled an echo of my heart. Luckily, that turned out to be okay and my heart function seems to be normal.

The next thing I thought of was my thyroid problem for which I take levothyroxine every day. A low thyroid level can cause lethargy as well as a host of other problems. So I’ve scheduled an appointment with my internist for this Wednesday. I assume she’ll want to do a battery of blood tests. Hopefully that will get to the bottom of this.

Of course I’d be a fool not to consider a psychological problem due to my history with clinical depression. But it really doesn’t feel like that’s the problem. I didn’t feel depressed when all this started. I do, however, feel a little depressed now because of my lack of ability to get anything accomplished. I sit and look around at the pit that is my house and try to convince myself to get up and start cleaning. To this point I’ve had very little success. Instead, I sit around and beat myself up for not cleaning or doing anything. And that, my dear readers, will make anyone depressed. I’m still open to the possibility that it’s psychological but I want to rule out a physical problem first because that would be easier to deal with. Plus, I can’t get in to see my shrink until April.

I have a number of projects around the house that I want to get to beyond just cleaning but nothing’s getting accomplished on those fronts either. I feel like a prisoner in my own body; like I’m disconnected from my physical self and have no control over it. I was walking three days a week on the track at a local hospital but that has fallen by the wayside. Yet another reason to beat myself up and not make any progress on my weight loss goals.

So what have I been doing with my expanse of time? Sitting around watching bad TV, that’s what. It wasn’t until I got cable TV that I realized how many terrible reality shows there are. I’ve managed to avoid most of them, flipping right past them. But I do have a few favorites (“Deadliest Catch,” “The Voice,” “NY ER,” “Long Island Medium”). I avoid the Kardashians like the plague because I can’t fucking stand them. I’ve been watching a lot of “Sex and the City” reruns and classic TV shows. Oh, and listening to my neighbor’s loud music. That’s always a joy.

Stuck. I’m feeling it in so many different ways and it sucks. I need to shake things up and get off my ass and do something. Or at least cut myself a break and quit berating myself for NOT doing things. Obviously thinking negatively about myself hasn’t helped me get moving so I may as well be more gentle with myself and see how that works. I’ll keep you posted.

Julia

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Feeling Lucky

I’ve been feeling lucky lately. I watched the Rick Steves show on PBS the other day and he visited London and Paris. As I watched the program, I really enjoyed seeing the scenery and it was especially neat to see things that I had visited on my European vacation last fall. I felt all smug because I could say, “I’ve been there!”

IMG_1819Yes, it sucked that I had a heart attack in Germany, but the rest of the trip was wonderful. At the time I was just adjusting to my environment but in retrospect I feel very lucky that I got a chance to go to Europe. I’ve always wanted to travel there but was pretty convinced I’d never get to go. But there I was! The scenery was amazing and I still look at the pictures often and marvel at the opportunity I had.

Before I left for the trip I figured that Paris would be the best place I would visit but London was what really captured me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Paris and seeing the architecture and the Eiffel Tower, but London had a vibe that felt really good. I got to see Abby Road and in the process met a really cool cabby and rode in the most spacious cab.

We also traveled around London in a tour bus. You could get off and on at famous locations but my friend and I stayed on the bus and got some great pictures. It started raining toward the end of the day and we got chilled through, but it was worth it. We also visited Selfridges, the department store that is featured in a PBS series from England. Too rich for my blood, but beautiful to see.

Oxford was really cool, too. It is a college town and definitely had that vibe and we saw college students everywhere. The buildings are gorgeous and the hotel we stayed in was quaint. I will say, though, that the hotel rooms in Europe are much smaller than the ones in the United States. But they’re charming and comfortable and I loved it.

IMG_1671It can be really hard to live in the moment and really be present and this trip was no exception; plus I got caught up in the logistics of getting from place to place. But I’m really enjoying looking back and reminiscing about everything and just feeling lucky.

Julia Signature

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Here’s to Your Health

Healthy Cupcake

It’s a new year and so many people make resolutions regarding their health. I don’t really make resolutions, per se, but I definitely have goals that I work toward. This year it’s my year to work at losing weight. I need to do it because I need to get more healthy, but I also need to do it so I can have open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, telling me I have to lose weight in order to have heart surgery isn’t really going to motivate me because who wants to have heart surgery? But I do want to put the whole thing behind me and I do want to be more mobile and in shape so exercise, here I come.

In case I haven’t already mentioned it a million times, I HATE exercising. Hate. It. And now I’m a little scared of exercising very strenuously because I’m afraid I’ll have another heart attack. I’ve been going to cardiac rehab where they monitor your heart while you exercise. It’s been going fine with no heart episodes, but it’s not very strenuous exercise compared to what I used to do at Curves. But my time at cardiac rehab is coming to an end (insurance will only cover about 20 visits) so I’m being kicked out of the nest to find my own way. That’s scary. But I know I can make more progress as far as weight loss goes if I put more effort into it and exercise more than the three days a week I’m doing now. Do I really wish I could wake up in the morning and be at my goal weight and skip all the exercise? You betcha. But that hasn’t worked out so far so I doubt it’s going to come to pass.

The heart surgeon said he wanted me to lose 50 to 60 pounds before he’ll do surgery. I go to see him later this week and I think I weigh about the same as I did when I saw him two months ago. So I’m not really looking forward to his reaction to that. But I have to go face the music and let him know I’m going to be working on it harder than before. All I can do is the best I can do. So far I haven’t been doing my best and that has to change. I really need to get this extra weight off me because I don’t want the gastric bypass surgery to be for nothing.

My mantra for 2014 is HEALTHY. I’m going to try to eat healthy, exercise to get healthy, and take my medications to stay healthy. Oh! I just thought of another mantra that I totally want to focus on this year: DECORATE. I’ve lived in this house for about seven years and still haven’t really made it my own. I want to paint every room except one and I have wall hangings that need to be put up once the painting is done. I’m not planning on any big, expensive projects (like taking up the carpet and putting down a laminate wooden floor) but I think painting will be totally do-able. I’m shooting for early spring to get started on painting and I’m really hoping my bestie and her man will be willing to be hired out to do the painting for me. Not that I’m expecting to get all the rooms painted right away but it would be nice to at least get the living room and hallway painted. And maybe I can talk them into doing the small bathroom at the same time. I haven’t talked to them about it yet and don’t know what they’ll charge me for their services, but I’m hoping it will all come together. I’m also not sure where I’m going to get the money for the paint and primer but let’s not sweat the details yet, ok?

So there we go: 2014 is the year of being healthy and decorating my crib. It’s kind of all about surrounding myself with beauty; the beauty of a healthy body and the beauty of a well-decorated home. Hmm, maybe I should add a third mantra: BEAUTY. I think I deserve beauty in my life and it’s worth it to put some effort into creating that beauty.

Now that I have discovered my three mantras for the year I just have to dedicate myself to them. All of them are a little out of my comfort zone but I’m committed to making them work. I’ll check in here from time to time to let you know how they’re working out. Wish me luck!

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The European Broken-Hearted Tour

I’ve decided that I’m a rock star. I’m a rock star and I’ve just finished my European tour named “The Broken-Hearted Tour.” We went on The Big Trip. We started by flying into London Heathrow Airport and driving to Oxford where we checked into a quaint hotel with soft beds and accommodating staff. We saw lots of beautiful old buildings and lots of college students starting back to school for the year. It’s a lovely town.

One day, instead of going on the planned tour, we took a bus into London. I love London. It’s busy and energetic and has a great feel to it. We saw all the great sites and took lots of pictures. I even got to ┬ásee Abbey Road and got a picture of myself walking across the famous crosswalk.

The following day we took a bus from Oxford, through London (to see more of the sites), and then to a train station where we boarded the train for a ride through the Chunnel. We arrived in Paris later that day and checked into an expensive but not really nice hotel. I mean, it was ok, but hardly worth what the tour company must have paid for it.

The next morning we took a bus tour around Paris and saw some amazing things. The rest of the day we spent being quiet; we had travelled around a lot and just wanted to enjoy being in one place for a while. The next morning we boarded buses to drive through Luxembourg to Germany to board the ship that was going to sail us through Germany for the next week.

We had to walk a little distance to get to where the ship was docked and by the time we got to our room on the second floor I felt awful. I was out of breath (no big surprise considering my size) and starting to feel nauseated. I vomited a few times but was mostly concerned about the pain in my chest, left arm, and left jaw. I knew I was having a heart attack but I didn’t want to face it. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell my friend about the pain. We went down to dinner during which I just tried to stay conscious. Finally dinner was over and I made my way back to the room where I vomited some more and generally felt lousy. I still had pain and was worried. I knew I should get help but just didn’t want it to be true and didn’t want to ruin the trip. I spent a completely sleepless night thoroughly miserable and, finally, in the morning I told my friend that I needed a doctor.

The doctor and ambulance workers arrived a short time later and they performed an EKG after which the doctor told me they were taking me to the hospital. Luckily all the other passengers had already left for the day’s excursion so I didn’t make too much of a scene as the settled me on the stretcher and pushed me into the ambulance. Shortly afterward, thanks to the emergency lights and sirens that got us through a traffic jam, I arrived at a hospital in Trier, Germany. They examined me and asked me questions and tried to convert pounds and inches into kilograms and centimeters. They told me I had indeed had a heart attack and would need to undergo a catheterization procedure.

They hurried me into the radiology department and performed the procedure during which they inserted a stint into one of my arteries that lead to the heart. Afterward they told me that the other two arteries were blocked and that I’d have to have a heart bypass surgery within six to eight weeks and that I’d have to stay in the hospital for five to seven days before they would allow me to travel home. They really wanted me to have the surgery there, but there was no way that was going to happen if I could help it. I wanted to be at home for something that major.

I spent the next two days in intensive care and then six days in a regular cardiac hospital ward. During my first day in the cardiac ward I received a visit from Mr. Billen, the lovely man from billing. A mere two days after a heart attack he informs me that I most likely won’t be allowed to leave the hospital until I’ve paid my bill. Ok, that scared me. Was I going to be stuck indefinitely in a German hospital? Luckily we had purchased trip insurance and after a few days of numerous phone calls we started the process for getting the hospital bill paid. My mother ended up having to wire 5,000 Euros to the hospital (this would later be reimbursed by the insurance company) thus ensuring they would indeed release me.

I spent eight days in a German hospital where most of the people did not speak English (although there were a few nurses who were pretty fluent). There was no TV to watch and I read in one day the only book I brought. It was decided that my friend would travel on with the tour rather than stay with me in Trier because the tour was already paid for and the hotel for her to stay in Trier would be an added expense. I was feeling physically ok and was bored out of my mind. I had plenty of time to worry about things and that’s just what I did. But I knew that stress would only make my situation worse so I tried to redirect my thoughts to more positive things. During this time I lived for the phone calls from home that would bring me updates on my friend who was travelling with me and how things were progressing through the insurance process.

One of the phone calls from home, however, brought quite a shock: my friend had had a seizure and was in the hospital. Oy. She spent the night in the hospital then continued on with the tour, although she felt terrible. By the time she got to Prague, she felt bad enough that she went back to the hospital where she spent another night and then was cleared to travel by the doctors.

During this time the insurance company was waiting to hear my release date to make the arrangements to travel home. Finally, on a Friday, they told me that I could leave the hospital on the following Tuesday and was free to travel on Wednesday. Now it was just the matter of getting plane tickets. Luckily the insurance company has some great employees and Terry was able to get us flights on Wednesday to return home. I would fly from Luxembourg to Amsterdam where I would meet up with my friend and we would travel to Minneapolis together then fly into Cedar Rapids. My first flight was delayed, however, and I missed my flight. But it worked out because they were pulling my friend off the plane because they questioned whether she was fit to fly. After a trip to the airport hospital (who even knew they had such a thing?) we had new tickets arranged for us and were back on track to get home that night.

Finally we arrived in Cedar Rapids after a very long day of travel. The next morning I called and made an appointment with a cardiologist for the following day. That day was today and I left the doctor’s office with the possibility of either having more stints put in or having bypass surgery. I REALLY didn’t want the surgery but I just got off the phone with the nurse and, after looking at the images from my catheterization, told me it would be surgery for me. Not what I wanted to hear. So now I’m facing a very scary surgery, a scar on my chest, and possibly the disfigurement of one of my tattoos.

I feel like I should have a t-shirt made up that says, “I went to Germany and I’ll I got was this stinking stint!”

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