Eyeballgate 2015

By the post I made this week, you can tell I’m alive. But I thought I’d give an update to the illness that will not end: eyeballgate 2015. To recap, I had viral encephalitis in December. The second that resolved, I ended up with a corneal ulcer. They had a lot of the same symptoms, honestly, and so it was hard to decide how to diagnose the thing. My doctors thought it was one consistent thing, instead of a series of unfortunate events. But once we did figure that out, we thought it would be a breeze to fix.

I had what I’d hoped would be my last eye appt last week, and again today, and had to schedule a third next week. My eye doctor, who had been gone in between my first appt and the one today (she missed about 3 in the middle), made sure to tell me no less than 5 times that my corneal ulcer was “very bad”. In other words, never google “corneal ulcer” if you want to sleep at night. As mine was “very bad”, I cannot imagine what it looked like. Anyway, last week we’d hoped my vision would have cleared up enough for me to put my contacts back in and go on my merry way, but it didn’t work out that way. I had to keep on my antibiotic regimine and add in some steroids to the mix. The theory was that the steroids would clear upt he swelling, which would clarify my vision.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Today we discovered that my cornea is scarred from the ulcer, in addition to having secondary astigmatism and some pretty significant clouding on the cornea. The doctor is pretty convinced that we can get the clouding a bit further down, and then just adjust my contacts prescription to accomodate for my new lack of vision. The down side to this? I had an eye exam, in December, after the encephalitis, and got a year’s worth of contacts based on that exam. So I have a year’s worth of contacts for one eye which are pretty useless. But the bright side? If it had been any worse, I heard the words “corneal transplant’ thrown around and she told me it was almost that bad. Ugh.

So, for the next week, I’ll be putting some  serious eyedrops in AGAIN. Gosh darn, I can take drops like a boss now. By the end of the work day, the disparate vision gives me a headache and I’ve started to angle closer and closer to my computer screen. I’ve got a headache, and some crankiness I’d like to blame on my eyes/headache if at all possible. And I haven’t even begun to mention all the changes in my workplace over the last two weeks! As I can’t read this text with my left eye, I’ll leave that for another day. But it has been a hell of a few months, and I’m ready for it all to calm down so I can at least breathe. And, yes, Mike:

fish snatch

Blogging and the art of conflict resolution

Good Morning! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and I’d like to explain why.

When I started blogging, I found this great community of healthy living bloggers, runners, and people who did a lot of the same activities as me. Yay! Good! New friends! “WIAW (what I ate wednesday)” posts appealed to the voyeur in me. I loved reading people’s year end recaps and seeing the amazing accomplishments they had, cheering people on, and trying to encourage them when they hit a slump or an injury.

All these things were great. I loved them. I’d hit my bloglovin feed every morning to catch up with everyone while I drank my coffee. And then the comparisons started. “Blogger X loves smoothies? Maybe I should try them” or “Blogger Y ran 50 miles in one week? I need to step it up!”. Despite the fact that the comparisons were all in my head, and totally unintended by the bloggers themselves, I started trying to keep up. Have the healthiest eating habits. Run the farthest. Work out the most. Sometimes it gets easy to forget the simple things in life because you’re focused on metrics.

When I kept trying to run despite a few stress fractures on my left shin, I started to realize I had a problem. I switched my workout plan to let myself heal-and despite my greatest fears and strict monitoring, the sky didn’t fall. Birds didn’t fall out of the sky. And most of all-I stayed at the same weight and level of fitness. I started realizing that maybe pounding the pavement for 35 miles a week had been making me miserable. And then, a friend sent me this article. I saw a lot of myself in there, and I didn’t like what that meant. I’ve complained a lot in my life about falling into the comparison trap. But what I’ve come to realize is that I was walking into it. And after over 20 years of some kind of diet or exercise obsession or the other, I am just plain tired of it. I’ve treated my body as the enemy for far too long. I bullied it into being something I thought was “perfect”, and shamed myself when it didn’t. So I’ve started trying to stop myself when I have a negative thought. I think, “if you were having a conversation with your friend, would you say those words to her? Would you post this thought as a Facebook Status or Tweet?” and if the answer is no (and it almost always is), then I need to be my own best friend and knock that bitchy inner voice off my shoulder. Tell your demon to finally shut up:

Recently, my Mom has started to mirror my running habits and has developed a pretty terrible hip injury as a result. I’m trying to help her, but she’s in the place I was 6 months ago. It’s hard to watch her go through this. We’ve been in a strange competition all our lives, and I know she saw the weight loss I achieved and wanted to mirror it. But watching her now, I don’t see a healthy attitude. I don’t see a strong, independent woman. I see someone desperate to keep a measly 5 pounds off by running their limbs into the ground, no matter the cost. And I cannot become that person again-nor can I let her continue to be that person. It almost makes me relieved that we’re not having kids because I can barely teach myself a healthy body image-how the hell would I teach a child to love her body?

Try to stop caring about what people think:

well, this may be a good place to start…

This morning, I watched the documentary “thin” and it broke my heart. So many people are consumed with body image disorders-too thin, too much exercise, too much food, whatever. It seems like those with healthy attitudes and weights are the anomalies these days instead of those with the “perfect” bodies. And while thankfully my issues are a drop in the bucket compared to what those women were facing, I think everyone can watch that show and recognize at least one thought they’ve had before in regards to their body image. 

The world’s a funny place. We’ve advanced so much that more people die from an abundance of food than from the lack of it. We’re given a dollar menu in one hand and a photoshopped cover girl in the other and expected to balance them and stay sane. We’re basically sisyphus trying to balance the rock on the hill. It’s never been more important to find your happy place-whether that means following a strict diet or a loose one, boycotting media that glorifies retouched images or recognizing that it’s just as much art as the print on your wall, and keeping vigilant in your war against negativity. And for that reason, I’ve stopped blogging as much-if I don’t want to tempt myself to undo the work I’ve done, what’s really left to talk about? My life is not glamorous, wild, or particularly noteworthy. I don’t plan on being an insta-celebrity. So until I can find a happy voice on a subject that doesn’t put my toes on a dangerous line, I’ll probably be pretty sporadic in my posts. After all…


Hi, I’m Laura, and I’m a TV snob. Hi, Laura!

It happens. I’ve giggled at people in the past for talking about a show fervently that I also watch, but peripherally in a “2 screens” situation (where you’re watching a show while also using a computer or surfing facebook from your phone. I’ve covertly watched shows and then removed them from my Hulu profile-it’s shared! I don’t want my husband and the 2 friends I share my password with to know I just binge watched “Little Women: LA”.

I will, however, acknowledge when a show somehow affects me. And tonight, I was watching “Parenthood” and it got all life and death poignant. Circle of life, one chick having a baby while her grandpa is dying in the hospital poignant. And normally that always seems like a plot device, but this show is pretty well written. There’s plenty of good actors on the show (OK, good actors and Dax Sheppard. Seriously, how did Ashton Kutcher’s bro from “Punked” end up here?), and it just seems really earnest and real. Anyway, it’s a good show, check it out, and it moved 1/3 of a bottle of wine Laura to post a love note to my best friend and how I need to squish her baby soon.

I’m keeping things brief tonight, because unfortunately the light from my computer screen is enough these days to keep my headache blaring. Yep, I posted a bit back that the dr thought I had viral encephalitis. Well, a neurologist visit, an MRI, and a look at my case study by some of the finest neurologists in the country (my bestie has connections, how about yours?) has left us scratching our heads. It is sounding like I’ll be scheduling a spinal tap in the near future. Awesome, right? Let’s turn my diagnostics up to 11! Hey, when I’m willing to let them stick a needle in my back, you know I’m truly in dire straights. And for all the amateur doctors in the house, let me recap what’s been going on since roughly Dec 8:

Headaches. I get migraines, and this is NOT that. Sometimes in my eye socket, some at my temples, some at the base of my head. Tonight, it feels like someone has inserted hooks into my brain at the temples and is trying to lift my brain out of my head. I’m classifying the light sensitivity I’m experiencing also in this category.

Vision/Eye issues. I have experienced redness so bad the checkout guy at the grocery store asked me if I partied hard the night before, blurred vision despite the recent eye exam 2 weeks ago, and twitching of the eye enough to drive me crazy. It sucks.

Dizziness. My coworkers must think I’m wasted half the time. These days, I’m always standing up and saying “whoa!” and grabbing the closest piece of stable furniture. Suck town.

Nausea. Sometimes, but not always, it comes with loss of appetite. This means some nights lately I’ve been having chex mix for dinner, some nights none at all (until I go to bed super early, wake up at 11 with a growling tummy, and eat a handful of baked cheetos), and on occasion I’m my normal self. This doesn’t help, seeing as I am mostly unable to work out lately because my brain is pounding the second I increase my blood pressure. I’m up 5 pounds in a month, people. Boo.

Aural Fixation. Yeah, I keep having a ringing in my ears, most of the time at night. What did you think I meant, perv?

Exhaustion. Some of this is the fact that often the only way to get rid of my headache is to lie down in a dark room, but I’m routinely going to bed at 8:30 these days. Weekend naps are stretching longer. I am suddenly a bigger fan of caffeine than I used to be.

So, our online diagnosis (Lyme disease or IHH), coupled with the doctor’s suggestion that if the MRI that I took didn’t yield an answer (all it said was that I had “white matter hyperintensities”) that I was looking at a spinal tap, means that I’m getting a needle straight in the back soon. Hey, it’s like the hyster sister’s epidural, right?

Hopes for the Future

Looking back at 2014, it was a great year. We made it through that allegedly rough first year of marriage with nary a fight between us. We weathered a surprise surgery, a boatload of running miles, a few random chafing injuries, and some hard learned truths about my 36 year old body. I thought putting my goals/resolutions/serious pipe dreams into cyberspace would make me more committed; I pretty much failed on all fronts. I DID make strides to stop the comparison trap, did grow some edible things, and took baby steps towards eating less chemical laden food. But biking a century, running a marathon, changing my look, and drinking more water? Didn’t happen. And so this year, I don’t want to set goals, resolutions, or anything that is measurable or tangible. Instead, I have a few hopes for the upcoming year.

1) Do LESS Multitasking. I tend to have scattered focus at home, at work, wherever. And it really detracts from my happiness. I see parts of a TV show while also facebooking or playing whatever game has my attention. I want to like what I’m watching. I want to spend more time with my husband while he cooks instead of heading to the couch to drink my wine instead. I want to create things with my spare time and not just waste it.

2) Engage in Conversation More. People at work in passing conversations ask how I am, I respond fine, we all go about our business. I tend to cut people off at the pass, or worse, answer without asking in return. And with coworkers these days? We all have facebook, there’s no reason for me to know about their life and not ask how they’re REALLY doing. There’s something for me to learn and to give in each interaction, it’s what I make of them that counts.

3) Embrace my Hermit-ness or Get Out There. I shame myself for preferring to stay home over most social invitations. Do I really value their comeraderie? Then go. Otherwise, quit beating yourself up. Your life is fine either way. I promise.

4) Help When You Can. Yeah, every damn ASPCA commercial gets me. Yes, I read an article about how it took 3 years for people to adopt Haitian Orphans and I can’t understand why. But reallly, start small. Make a difference whenever you can. Smile at people. Buy someone behind you a cup of coffee. Make a one time donation if you get a surprise bonus. I may not posess the means, motive, or even desire to change the world, but I can do little things. And if I question whether or not I SHOULD get involved…then the answer is probably yes.

5) Quit Apologizing. Accidentally walk into someone’s path? Oh, I’m sorry! Ask a question? I’m sorry but….You know what? Sorry I’m not sorry. And I don’t need to make like I am. I’m a 36 year old woman. I’ve seen some shit. You’ve seen some shit. We’ve been through things. Why do I feel the need to apologize for merely being in a doorway at the same time as you? I could blame a lot of things, but I’ll just stop it instead.

That’s my plan. No funny pictures, no smiling Laura, just me and some hopes. Do better. Be better. Act smarter. Think more. Not that hard to do in theory, we’ll see how I do in practice.
OK, I lied.