Here I Go Again

Two months since the last post (broken record).

I knew deep down I was drifting towards heightened anxiety and a depressive episode. I knew it. I kept busy to avoid it – watching the Cubs make a good playoff run, taking two classes, physical therapy twice a week for the knee, seeing someone close to me go through some medical issues from a thousand miles away.

But as soon as the Cubs lost the NL championship, and as soon as I dropped back down to two classes, and as soon as PT dropped to once a week, and as soon as things started looking better for that someone close to me… I fell apart. The past two weeks have been full of panic attacks and crying jags and being called out for performance issues at work. That last one stung. Hard. Really hard. 

It did help that I met with spectacular mental health professional last week and had the best appointment with her since moving to Denver. The thing is, neither one of us is convinced this is solely anxiety and depression, after reviewing the six years of notes. It could be that my thyroid is acting up (sleeping a lot, cold intolerance, hair falling out), or it could be that blood glucose levels are higher than they used to be (even though I’m finally exercising regularly again with the help of PT), or it could be that I just needed that release of stress that had built up – along with anxiety and depression.

Since I am supposed to see my endocrinologist in December, blood work is coming up for thyroid and A1C. While I thought I’d cancel the appointment and arrange to see someone closer to where I now work and live, I don’t think I can ignore the physical symptoms I’m having and let it go a few months. Once it is known what’s going on physically, then a determination can be made whether to add more happy pills or not. For now, it’s the usual anti-depressant and usual as-needed anti-anxiety medication.

I hate that I’m here again, whether it’s “just” anxiety and depression or if my other chronic conditions are playing a part, too. There’s a game plan, and I’m taking everything one day at a time, but I hate hate hate that I’m here again.


Almost a month since the last post, and not much has changed.

Yet everything has.

It’s a long story, but what was acute tendonitis of the right knee in the fall of 2012 has now produced a new diagnosis.

X-rays indicated arthritis. A follow-up appointment takes place Monday with a new primary care physician (who rocks, by the way, acknowledging the research that suggests type 2 diabetes might be autoimmune).

What I already know:

  • After a quick ten pound weight loss at the start of my new job last year, I regained fifteen back just as quickly, which is about ten pounds over my ideal weight. The knee pain became more persistent around my birthday in April, and has hindered my ability to do much exercise, the one thing that really helps my mood besides the daily medication I take for depression and anxiety.
  • Medication options are limited due to a NSAID allergy.
  • This will probably need to be ruled out as autoimmune, given the hypothyroidism already on the growing list of chronic conditions. That’s scary.
  • I am missing a lot of work between existing chronic conditions and getting a handle on this new one, and have nearly exhausted sick leave. It is difficult to make up time the way my manager suggested to avoid dipping into vacation time when I am also trying to get through school. And sometimes I feel like “what’s the point of going to school?”, particularly if all my expected extra income after completion just goes towards medical bills.
  • Work stress + school stress + health stress = feeling incredibly overwhelmed and sad and frustrated.
  • Overreacting is completely normal. Right?




This has been an eye-opening week.

One where someone threw out harsh words towards someone I love on social media. (Without knowing the truths behind why that someone does what they do.)

One where that someone I love admitted things that just needed to be said out loud to believe them. (That this person is riddled with anxiety, day in and day out.)

One where I admitted all sorts of things to that someone I love that just needed to be said out loud. (Everything I could not previously say about anxiety and how it affects every part of my life and that I truly understand how can take over one’s life.)

One where I then admitted all sorts of things to myself about being scared about whether I am making the right decisions as someone with escalated anxiety. (About staying in Colorado, about being in school, about leaving the apartment on weekends, about everything.)

I have not had panic attacks and was able to explain I was doing okay because they have not been taking over my life, but the underlying anxiety is so pronounced that I did not realize how bad it had become until someone I love explained what is going on with them.

And now I have to do what’s right for me.

Reduce as much stress as possible. Leaving Colorado now is unrealistic financially due to the lease I renewed and the penalties for moving out early, but I can take off to see loved ones more often than I have in the past couple years as well as plan a much-needed vacation to the ocean. Finishing school is not going to be a sprint and it is perfectly okay to go at my own speed. Fun things are quickly piling up on my weekend calendar, and soon football Sundays will be back.

Bring back exercise. Developing a 31-day workout challenge was the easy part, following through will be a little more difficult due to all the excuses I have told myself over the last few months.

If all else fails, just spend a few hours napping next to a purring feline friend.




Pattern Recognition


Within the mish-mash of diagnoses of chronic conditions I have collected over the past ten years, pattern recognition is important. Whether blood glucose levels remain steady or have certain responses to certain foods or exercise, noticing the patterns are key in managing type 2 diabetes. If fatigue shows up with its friend weight gain, it is time to have thyroid levels tested and possibly move up to the next dosage of synthetic hormone. When the calendar reads late September, the light box makes an appearance to battle with seasonal affective disorder.

It has been a little over five years since the burst appendix that led to triple incidental diagnoses – a dermoid ovarian cyst needing its own removal, a misshapen uterus, and pre-existing endometriosis complicated by the effects of that newer abscess that left internal organs further scarred. All of this explained several years of undiagnosed pelvic pain, and the second surgery was meant to clean up as much of the mess as possible.

Old patterns started developing not long after I changed jobs and moved to the city last fall. (The male gynecologist who told me about ten years back that symptoms were all in my head might tell me now it is all psychosomatic, and if I could just settle on what I want to do with my life and where I want to live it, the pelvic pain and its new associated symptoms might subside and I would not have to call into work sick once a month.) But I know better, I know so much better after all I went through five, six years ago.

There is nothing that is of immediate concern, not like back then. My body is changing as it approaches forty, and these new symptoms are annoying, though I hear from plenty of women my age who are tackling similar annoyances, some of whom have never faced chronic conditions.

I should be ashamed to admit this, but I have not seen the gynecologist in nearly three years. (I do not see much of a point with the lack of… well, you know.)  As another month arrives, and another sick day has been taken, I know there is a point in me going. If nothing else, just some kind of validation that my symptoms are real and that if I need to take sick days, there is a medical reason why.

Is that not the reason those of us with chronic conditions look for the patterns? To validate our symptoms (or lack thereof), to remember the medical reasons behind why we need to be kind to ourselves?

The Love We Deserve

A month ago, I felt like I was getting settled, like I was content.

Add in some significant family news (bordering on the good), some job dissatisfaction, and one nasty hangover, and I found myself questioning all life decisions again. A move back to the Midwest is on the table again once I am done with school next year, though work issues seem to be getting better…so…who knows?

For a few weeks, I was acting like a 21-year-old without significant health issues and trying to prove something to a new group of friends who can handle more than I can. Then that ridiculous hangover happened and I started questioning what kind of social life I need. Do I want to drink a couple of beers while watching football in a bar with these people? Yes. Do I want to hang out bar-hopping all day? No.

It took a night with other friends who are more my speed to realize this. Beer flows, but in a backyard or someone’s living room or anywhere but a bar (unless it’s the tasting room of the best brewery in Denver). More importantly, this one particular close friend knows that I manage chronic health conditions and I can be totally open about that. Those are my kind of people – the people I can be real with, the people I can cry with, the people with whom I have deep conversations, the people with whom I have nothing to prove.

I lost sight of how the people who lift me up and overlook the flaws, are the people who matter most – whether the Colorado family that has evolved, the family by blood, or the networks of friends who would welcome me to the Twin Cities or Chicago. No matter where I end up in a year, I am loved and accepted for who I am. And that’s a pretty incredible realization for someone who has fought through so much low self-esteem.

Clearing One’s Mind on a Sunday Evening

So, yeah, there I go again with two months between blog posts. This will be yet another rambly post, as I just let loose with what’s been happening.

Life has been busy. The good kind of busy that shut down the anxiety and related depression that clouded my winter. The bad kind of busy where I kind of forget that I have multiple chronic conditions that still need managing.

My parents celebrated 50 years of marriage with all three children and all five grandchildren. I turned 39, and it was the best birthday of my thirties. And there’s the hockey playoffs that always keep me occupied this time of year.

Two more weeks left of the eight-week term, and I will be two classes closer to the accounting degree. But that’s at a price, both a financial one and a “desperately seeking balance” one. No reading for fun, no writing, and careful planning of a blossoming social life. It seems uncertain at the moment how much this degree will help me get ahead, maybe in title but maybe not in the rewards of a little more financial breathing room. The result being that sacrificing those other important things (and the management of those chronic conditions) seems a bit ridiculous. But there’s something bigger, and it holds the key to why I was so unhappy after the job change and move to Denver.

For years, I have been waiting waiting waiting. Waiting for the divorce to be final, waiting to move back to the Midwest (2012) or to buy a place in Boulder (2013) or to move to Denver (2014), waiting for the right moment to go back to school. Now, there is no waiting, and not being in limbo frightened me for awhile this winter. I could not get the hang of just…living…until a newer group of friends brought me out of my shell the past few weeks. To speed up school too much would put me right back in that waiting waiting waiting mindframe, and yet I need to keep busy enough to not let my mind wander to darker places.

Such a delicate balance, the anxious mind. Sigh.

A Very Rambly Ten Years

March, 2005.

The weekend before everything changed.

In Wisconsin for family celebrations.

Waiting on glucose tolerance test results along with an A1C.

Eating a giant chocolate mint brownie and drinking what would be the last regular Coca-Cola I would touch.


On Monday March 14, the news came. This time I could not escape the “short end of the genetic stick” of type 2 diabetes, as the primary care provider told me at the time. Not like the last time four years before when I followed doctor’s orders regarding prediabetes strictly and lost thirty pounds through diet and exercise. A busted thyroid, perhaps some questionable lifestyle choices, and certainly genetics sent me back to the place where I could no longer ignore the impact extra weight made on my health.


March 14, 2015.

The weekend before an even bigger family celebration.

Ten years since that day on the telephone with the doctor’s nurse, asking me to come in as soon as possible to address next steps towards better health.

The journey has not always been “better” – losing weight upon diagnosis, gaining it back a third time with the stress of the end of my marriage, and losing it again.

The important thing is lack of complications. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes can say that after ten years. That is the most comfort I have on this anniversary after a very rough winter for both emotional and physical health that left me wondering when that other shoe will drop.

Today, I will run (some of) a 5k. Today, I am living up to this:

image (5)

The Bullying Effect

Remember what I said the other day about seeming to attract co-workers who know how to ruffle my feathers?  I sat in a meeting today where that exactly happened. Afterwards, I wanted to run away from the building with all my personal belongings and never come back.

Tonight, as I treated myself to a dinner out, I read somewhere or other about a woman who ended up good enough friends with someone she bullied in middle school that she earned the title of maid of honor. That’s nice, I thought. While I have made peace with the bullying I faced back then, I made the conscious choice once I reached my mid-thirties that it was okay to not be friends on Facebook (or anywhere else) with anyone who brought me pain.

These two events from today are incredibly interconnected, and the power of that connection reduced me to tears upon the realization.

Just like everything else that has happened to me in the past twenty-five years that would start a domino effect of events that followed – falling in love, falling out of love; choosing health upon diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, fighting with all my might when I got so very non-diabetes-related sick which required two surgeries; quitting jobs without anything lined up, quitting jobs with a dream job lined up – just like all that, being bullied has impacted future events.

When that popular boy asked me out sophomore year of high school after months of becoming friends through incredible conversations, I turned him down. Not because I did not want to, not because I was scared to ask my parents if it was okay (well, a little), but because I worried what I would do to his reputation. After all, the most prominent bully had been good friends with him for years.

When someone points to type 2 diabetes and says those people brought it all upon themselves, I take it very personally. Not because it feels like bullying, but because I know the impact that bullying had first on my mental and then physical health. After all, the first seeds of depression were planted with bullying and the first occasion of suicidal thoughts materialized at a damaging sleepover when I was thirteen. Lingering depression’s effects undoubtedly played a role in the development of diabetes in my late twenties.

When there is someone at work who thinks I have wronged them by getting the job they wanted or by being treated more favorably by a manager, they figure out fast that I am also introverted and sensitive. They play on that (oh, do they play on that), and make sure they are able to reduce me to tears all the while silently threatening to expose that I am not what I seem to those who wronged them. After all, I am the girl who could not speak up to the bullying that happened twenty-five years ago, and why would I start now.

It is all related. It brings me fear with respect to attempting to combat the sensitive introverted side of me that such people seek out…and it brings me more peace than I ever thought I could achieve.


Lightening Up: A Meme

To lighten things up a bit, I present.. a meme. They used to be more common in my early days of blogging, and Kerri’s meme brought back some nostalgia.

Four names people call me other than my real name:

  1. Bucko (sister’s nickname)
  2. Rascal (dad’s nickname)
  3. Rach (only certain people can call me that)
  4. Cutler (how the wait staff at my Chicago Bears bar distinguishes my tab)

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Student Custodian (summer conference staff at my college)
  2. Administrative Assistant (medical device company)
  3. Accounting Technician (private sector)
  4. Accounting Technician (government)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Miracle on 34th Street
  2. High Fidelity
  3. This is 40 (preparing…)
  4. Good Will Hunting

Four books I would recommend:

  1. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
  2. Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson)
  3. The Marriage Plot (Jefferey Euginedes)
  4. The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes)

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Prospect Heights, Illinois
  2. Stevens Point, Wisconsin
  3. Boulder, Colorado
  4. Denver, Colorado

Four places I’ve visited:

  1. London, UK
  2. Boston, Massachusetts
  3. Portland, Oregon
  4. Munich, Germany

Four things I prefer not to eat:

  1. Olives
  2. Sea urchin
  3. Anything anise flavored
  4. Chicken

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Dark chocolate
  2. Fish/seafood (except that as described above, in prefer not to eat)
  3. Steak
  4. Pizza (but, oh the carbs…)

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. Grey’s Anatomy (it’s so bad it’s good, and I’ll keep watching until the end)
  2. New Girl
  3. Hindsight (mid-90’s nostalgia for the win!)
  4. Friends (reruns available all…the…time)

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. Parents’ 50th anniversary (surprising my mom about my visit…shhh!)
  2. Starting the second decade of type 2 diabetes pretty darn healthy.
  3. Jazz in the Park with friends from all areas of life (it’s a Denver thing)
  4. The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series (because Back to the Future II said they would in 2015)

Four things I’m always saying:

  1. “WTF???”
  2. “I missed you today.” (To the cat when I get home from work.)
  3. “Whatever.”
  4.  “Love you and miss you.” (To the family too far away.)

Need Versus Want

Things are a little better.

It has been only a few days worth of added medication, so it cannot be that. (In fact, it’s causing some unpleasant side effects that may not allow me to continue with the increased dose.)

A combination of writing about the stuff that bothers me, and dealing with work issues head-on, and finding creative ways to exercise amidst all this snow… that is what is making things better.

The next step is that I need to start paying attention to diabetes. It is time to stop denying that easy but carbohydrate-heavy food choices have fed this depression. If it turns out I cannot keep going at the higher dose of medication for depression, this is what must be done. Exercise alone cannot help.

Because you know what?

For the first time in two months, I want to feel better.