I am slowly, painfully, clawing my way out of sickness and hopefully on my way to recovery. This is by far the worst I’ve had it, and I’ve had my share of UGH in the past few years. I am thinking about seeing the doctor, even though I’m getting better because I want to know if there is something at the root of all my sickness. I also want to start cooking, even if it’s just simple things. To that end, I bought gluten-free pasta and gluten-free spaghetti sauce. Yeah, I know it’s not really cooking, but I have to start somewhere. I want to say, it’s not that I can’t cook, but that I don’t like cooking. At all. I don’t like the prep work. I don’t like having to watch everything. I don’t like cleaning up after myself. I don’t like how you get such limited output for such copious input.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have found that I own a slow cooker. It’s from the seventies by the drab olive green looks of it, but my brother reassures me that it should still work. I like the idea of just throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot, walking away, and letting it do its magic. I’d probably start with a simple stew and then work my way up from there. Once I actually make it to the co-op (on my way to taiji), I’ll buy whatever I need to make a gluten-free, dairy-free stew.
We’re supposed to get a few more inches of snow tomorrow, which is just the icing on the cake for me. We ended up getting over fifteen inches of snow, and I’m deliriously happy about it. Here’s a better of Prince singing, Sometimes It Snows in April.
I’m fat. I have been most of my life except for the times when I was anorexic/bulimic. I’ve dealt with eating disorders (ED) for most of my life, and any time I try to lose weight in a sensible way, I plunge deeply into the abyss. No matter how reasonable I am when I first start, my ED-thinking takes over, and I end up in the same bad place. I will fully admit my desire to lose weight has always been for vanity reasons. I don’t give a shit about the health benefits–it’s all about looking in the mirror and feeling gross.
I’ve spent twenty years getting fatter and fatter. I lost weight more than once during that time, but it never lasted. One time it was because I was trying out antidepressants (for a second round), and they were making me feel deeply suicidal. I lost nineteen pounds in two months because every minute I was fighting the urge to kill myself. When I told my doctor, she kinda laughed and said, “Well, whatever it takes” or something like that. I immediately changed doctors because even though she was joking, that was completely inappropriate. Quick side note: SSRIs work well for me on the first go-around (Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa) for about a year. Then, the effect wears off, and I switch. When I re-try the same drug, it makes me suicidal. I don’t know why, but it’s highly unfortunate.
Anyway, I got off the Celexa right quick, and I stopped feeling suicidal, but I also regained the weight. I’m the fattest I’ve ever been, and it’s way out of hand. I would have thought cutting out gluten and dairy would have led to natural weight loss, but my guess is it’s the rice. I’ve added it back into my diet, and it’s calorie-dense. Jasmine rice because it’s delicious. It also doesn’t help that I don’t cook and mostly rely on deli food. It’s not so bad when it’s the co-op, but when it’s Cubs? Yeah, not the healthiest food of all. Also, I gave up fruits for some years even though I love them because my mom was very rigid about them when I was growing up. I’ve started adding them back. I eat an orange every day because it’s good at easing aches and pains (as told to my taiji teacher from a weightlifter), and I try to eat other fruits. I have grapes in my fridge right now, but I haven’t been very good about eating them.
I’ve also decided I’m going to do the ‘add one healthy item a week’ thing with the hopes that snacking on healthy food will slowly overtake my desire to munch. Earlier, I cut out chips and popcorn, but I added them back for whatever reason. Side note: There are two ways to deal with cutting out ‘bad’ foods. One, cut them out completely. Two, slowly wean yourself off of them. I’m more of a number one kind of gal because if it’s not there, I can’t eat it. But, I’m nominally a grown-up now, so I’m going to try a combination of the two. One, once I’m done with my current bag of popcorn, I’m not going to buy any more chips/popcorn. Two, I bought individualized bags of baby carrots and a bottle of pickle spears. In theory, I’ll munch on those when I have an impulse for the salt. It’s kinda working, but we’ll see what happens once the munchies are gone.
Last week, I felt more like myself than I have in months, and I started amping up my morning routine. Then, I woke up coughing and feeling like shit Friday afternoon, and I had two immediate thoughts. One, Shadow had been sleeping on my chest while I was asleep (a new thing for him), and two, I ratcheted up my morning routine exponentially after babying myself for the past six months. I did the left side of the Sword Form. I did the weight set. I was feeling good. Until I wasn’t. I’m pretty sure the coughing was caused by Shadow sleeping on me. I woke up with a cough today as well, and Shadow was nestled on my side. I cut back on the routine yesterday (Saturday), keeping it to the bare minimum partly because I had class, but mostly to give myself a break, and I feel better today. I did the left side of the Sword Form (which totally came back to me, yay!), and I’m doing the weight set as well (I break it up throughout the day), so we’ll see how that goes.
I feel about 80%, which is way better than I’ve felt in a while. I’m having digestive troubles again, though, and I found out something interesting from my mother. She’s been having runny diarrhea, and she found out it was from eating raw vegetables. If she flash cooks them, then she doesn’t have that problem any longer. I don’t eat many raw vegetables except spinach, but I’ve recently added back a shit-ton of fruits to my diet. Cherries, grapes, blackberries, watermelon, pineapple, etc. Not all at one time, obviously, but right now my jam (ha!) is cherries and grapes. I fill a big bowl of them and munch them over the course of an hour or so. Fruits are mostly water, so that’s probably what’s causing the diarrhea. I’m not sure about the cramps, though.
When I cut out dairy and gluten from my diet, I immediately felt much better. However, now I’m realizing that they might not be the only things I need to avoid. Obviously, processed foods aren’t good for you, even ones that are made with healthier ingredients. I’ve been watching vegan* cooking videos, and I know that cooking for myself would be better than buying things from the deli, even the co-op deli.
Speaking of Shadow which I was earlier, I think we’re at a new normal. It’s been almost seven months(!) since Raven died, and I’ve seen several differences in Shadow. One, he became immediately more vocal just days after his brother died. I’ve come to think it’s because he was used to Raven being the one telling me it’s time for treats and so forth. He knew if Raven got treats, so would he. Now, it’s as if he knows it’s all on him–which is ridiculous because he’d get treats, regardless, but he doesn’t know that. Right after Raven’s death, Shadow became very clingy. He’s always been more aloof, spending a lot of time on his own. I understood that reaction, though, because his whole world had changed. The one creature he’s been with his entire life (they’re littermates) was suddenly gone, and even though I explained it to him, I’m not sure how much he understood.
It’s six months since I had my first round of flu/cold/whatever the fuck I had. I would say I’m at roughly 85%, but I’m still dealing with some digestive issues. When I went dairy-free, gluten-free, my digestive issues immediately cleared up. Yay, thought I. I solved my problem! Then, a month or so later, I started experiencing other digestive problems, and now I’m back in investigation phase. I know part of it was a mystery sauce that I didn’t refuse in time that probably had dairy in it. but now, I’m having trouble digesting something else. It’s either corn-based products, sunflower or canola oil, or something in salsa.
It’s frustrating because I’m not a very patient person. The smart thing to do would be to eat only one of the things at a time so I can eliminate an ingredient or identify it as the problem. Actually, I’ve somewhat done that with tortilla chips, and they’re not the problem, though they sit heavily in my stomach. It’s getting to the point when I don’t want to eat because I know I’m going to pay for it afterwards. Like, right now, I’m eating sesame rice thins, and it’s uneasily roiling in my stomach.
I will say that one unintentional side effect of changing my diet is that I’m losing weight. I don’t weigh myself, but I can tell by how my clothes fit and how my towel wraps around me. I feel better in general, too, which is a bonus. I just hate that I have this general feeling of malaise with my digestive tract, and I’m hoping I can figure it out soon.
Taijji-wise, I’m slowly working my way back to my daily routine. When I was sick, I stripped it down to the bare minimum, but I can tell I’m getting better because it’s not enough. When I was sick, I did the first section of the Solo Form because it’s the one I know best and could do in my sleep. Lately, however, I’ve returned to teaching myself the left side of the Solo Form. I nearly finished before I got sick, so I started from the beginning again.
Side Note: I also taught myself the left side of the Sword Form (the whole thing) before I got sick, but I haven’t practiced the sword at all during my sick days. The sword is a weight-bearing exercise, and I just didn’t have the energy. I mention this just so I can reference it easily later on.
Back to the left side of the Solo Form. The way I teach myself is to start from the beginning of whichever section I’m learning and going as far as I can before I get hopelessly fucked up. When I revisited it, I was resigned to having to take quite some time to reteach myself. I breezed through the first section, which wasn’t surprising. I didn’t have to teach it to myself because we’ve done it in class often enough. In the second section, I hit a snag with Fist Under Elbow (which was the hardest posture for me to learn on the right side as well), but it was brief. I moved steadily through the second section with only a few hitches. I was astonished how easy* it was to relearn. I did the whole second section in two days, and I only stopped because I got tired. Then, the third section. Oh, the third section. I had taught myself maybe two-thirds of it before I got sick. My first trouble was with the My Fair Ladies, one of the harder postures in the Solo Form. My teacher’s teacher has refined the posture twice, once to the arms, and once to the footwork. It’s much simpler now, and the arms are much more intuitive, but I liked the old footwork better. In addition, there’s some pride in learning to do it the difficult way, but that’s not important.
One of the biggest problems I have while I’m recovering from being sick is overdoing it the second I feel even a modicum better than before. A week into the flu*, I started feeling a little better. I went to taiji and did a bit of practice. Not much, but by the time I got home after class and grocery shopping, I was exhausted. I was wiped out for the rest of the day, and I felt like shit when I woke up the next morning. I had thought I was being careful, and I had thought I hadn’t overdone it, but I was wrong. I don’t think it’s the taiji part that did me in, but the driving and the shopping. I spent the next week even more worn out than the week before. I started to feel a bit better near the end of the second week, so I went to taii. I made sure to take it very easy, and I only took a few minutes to grocery shop, yet, I was still drained by the time I got home, and I had to spend the rest of the night laid out on the couch.
Another part of the problem is that I have hypothyroidism, which means my auto-immune system isn’t great to begin with. I’ve had bronchitis more times than I care to count, and when I get it, it lingers for months on end. I had it once for nine months, which is enough time to gestate a baby. I haven’t had bronchitis for several years, but I’m still afraid it’s what I’m getting any time I feel the slightest bit ill. This time, however, I knew it was either a cold or the flu. Don’t ask me how I know because I can’t tell you that. I just knew it wasn’t bronchitis, for which I was grateful, but it still felt shitty. In addition, I had just been to my doctor, and we had to adjust my thyroid medication dose. I think I might have gotten sick from going to the clinic (ironic, but often the case), and I had a negative reaction to my new dose of Synthroid**. It had been too high, and she had to lower it. She told me to get it rechecked in six-eight weeks, which meant I had to suffer the repercussions until then.
New Year’s Day came and went without any attention from me, which is not that unusual for me. Longtime readers know by now that I’m not very fond of holidays in general. I can understand the symbolism of ushering in a new year, but I can’t get too hyped about it myself. Sometimes, I would make resolutions, and sometimes, I wouldn’t, but the one thing I would always do is ruminate on my life and what a waste it’s been so far. It’s gotten better in the last few years, but it’s still something that dominates my mind on New Year’s Eve. This year, I was too busy grieving to even give it a passing thought. I will say, however, that 2016 was not a great year for me, and I’m more than happy to see the back end of it. At least, I would be if it weren’t for the fact that we’re going to have President Trump in two and a half days. This post is not about that, however, so just note my displeasure and move on. There were three things in 2016 that sucked balls, and I’m listing them in chronological order.
Alan Rickman died in February, which some of you might think, “What’s the big deal? He’s just an actor. It’s not as if you knew him or anything.” You’re right, and you’re wrong. I’m not someone who usually goes gaga over celebrities, but Alan Rickman was different. He first came to my attention when I was watching one of the Harry Potter movies. Something about his velvety voice and precise distinction plus his piercing stare thrilled me. It was the second movie, I believe, and when he was spelling Kenneth Brannagh, I nearly creamed my nonexistent panties. Once I noticed how hot he was, I started watching every movie I could get my hands on. This was before streaming was a thing, so I had to order the DVDs myself or buy them off eBay. The more I watched his movies and read about him, the more I was enamored with him. Not only was he a great actor, he was a terrific person who was a generous and supportive friend, and he was firm believer in class equality (as well as feminism and equality for other minorities). The day he died, I woke up to hundreds of messages on my social media offering their condolences. I joked through my tears that it was my dream to have people associate me with Alan Rickman, and it looked like I had accomplished that goal. He had had cancer, but didn’t tell anyone, so it came as a shock to the world at large.