Monthly Archives: May 2013

Forever without wheat

I don’t think I’ve talked about this specifically, but I’ve been wheat free for over three and half years.

I was having some odd issues where my face would get very flushed and hot, so hot that it would turn beet red and I’d have to hold ice-packs up to my face to cool down. My ears would get so red they would turn purple. I would get agitated and jittery, uncomfortable, wired like I was on no-doze (or I assume, since I’ve never taken it). I thought that this was happening randomly, and my first inclination was to see my gyno because it sounded like a hot flash to me. But my gyno felt I was too young (38ish) and my blood work didn’t scream hormonal imbalance, so they ruled it out.

One day, I was sitting down to lunch. I was having cous cous–which I love–with melted cheese and cottage cheese on the side. This was a normal lunch for me. I’d make a big thing of cous cous at the beginning of the week, then eat it for lunch because it was easy to reheat and tasty. So I was sitting there eating, and within about twenty minutes, I realize my face is getting hot. And as I looked back, I realized I’d been eating a lot of cous cous–which is all wheat–and that my hot flashes seemed to be happening after I had eaten. Sometimes it would be while I was eating, sometimes it would be within an hour of eating.

I immediately stopped eating things with wheat in it. Lo and behold, the hot flashes began tapering off. But not completely, which had me disappointed and confused. So I began researching wheat free and gluten free diets…and I realized I’d probably been eating things with hidden wheat in them. And likely every time we ate out, I was eating wheat in things I didn’t think had wheat in them. I got serious about going wheat free by limiting the things I was eating to things that were entirely free of wheat. In some instances, I would buy gluten free items because even though I didn’t think I had a gluten issue, it was easier to feel confident that I was buying things without wheat when they said “gluten free.”

The more consistently I was able to stay wheat free, the less I was having what I considered to be an allergic (histamine) reaction.

And not one doctor believed me.

To this day, I’ve yet to have a doctor believe me when I tell them this story. They tell me the reactions I had did not link up with wheat or gluten intolerance. No stomach issues, no skin issues, no “proper” gluten intolerance. And I try to explain again that we’re talking about histamine which means the reactions are more allergy than intolerance…and I get a blank stare. At one of my most recent visits with my primary, she said, “I’ll go ahead and test you for celiac, just so it’s on your record.” I tried to tell her I’ve been wheat/gluten free for 3 1/2 years, so there won’t be any antibodies in my system to show up on the test. Blank stare. “I’ll request the test” was all she would say. I didn’t ask for it, I knew it was a waste, but she did it anyway. It came back negative. What a surprise.

Eating out with gluten issues is a pain in the ass. If you can find a place that even offers a gluten free menu, or gluten free options, they are…plain. No sauces, no spices, no flavor. Sure, order the chicken entree, but expect it to come grilled without anything added to it. Veggies? No problem, but ask for them without the butter sauce. Rice? Plain. Potato, baked. No gravy, ever, when you are out to eat. Sadly, some spices have a wheat base to it and it’s doubtful the restaurant even knows…so don’t bother to ask. Want something fried? Nope…because it will always be fried in a fryer that has had batter in it. That almost always means no french fries. Are you one of those people who love them some appetizers? I do. Enh, nope, thanks for playing! Appetizers are generally almost always fried in some way, and that means either breading or the dreaded shared fryer. Chinese food fan? This is the end, my friend. Everything has wheat in it, or it has soy sauce in (or on) it, and soy sauce always has wheat in it (unless it’s special no wheat soy sauce…and in general chinese restaurants won’t have that). Teriyaki sauce is made with soy, which has wheat. Watch out, even some BBQ sauces have wheat or soy.

We’ve found a small grouping of restaurants where I can go and get food on a gluten free menu. The majority of them are as described above… plain food, no sauces, no flavor. It’s disappointing and frustrating. For a very long time I didn’t bother to eat out at all, which is a big change for me. We used to eat out all the time. I still have envy issues that my hub goes out for lunch pretty often and I don’t get to. But luckily we’ve found ways and places where I will go out to eat. A local Italian restaurant offers a gluten free menu that has a couple of things I will eat. Our local PF Chang’s has a gluten free menu and there are a couple of items I will order when I have a craving for Chinese food (it’s as close as I can get unless I attempt to make it at home). We found a completely gluten free restaurant in a nearby city that we tried…which was interesting but not great. We can go to Outback steakhouse, but I can’t have my beloved bloomin’ onion (waaaah). We can go to our local diner, but I’m careful to order a plain steak, which is so damn boring. I guess that’s my end result of eating out…most of the time it’s boring. I go when it’s an occasion, and expect that it’s just going to be blah.

Recently, a friend came to us and said, “A relative is going gluten free on doctor’s orders…can you give us any suggestions?”

In the 3+ years I’ve been gluten free, things have changed dramatically. More companies are making and advertising their foods (in the grocery store) as gluten free. Baking flour is being made with gluten free mixes. We’ve found fresh pasta and real (“fresh” vs frozen) gluten free bread. The grocery stores went from tiny gluten free sections, to expanded sections, to integrating gluten free foods in with everything else as if they were “normal” foods. It used to be we went to a local small-time organic hippie grocery store (read: expensive) to find gluten free items…now we can go to the regular grocery and find almost everything there in some capacity.

As I was telling the friend about the options, I realized how much more is available for gluten free people. It’s not spectacular, but in comparison to just three years ago, it’s a lot better. And on top of that, we are just as likely to try making things on our own here with gluten free ingredients…we try things on our own more often than we used to. Some successful, some not. But hey, we’ve fried chicken and chicken nuggets. I’ve made sweet and sour chicken (fried with corn starch and also fried with gluten free breading), and we tried to make the fried beef but that was only okay. You win some, you lose some. We continue to learn and find new items and recipes to try. It does mean that we have to do more work on our own and when we’re tired and don’t want to cook? We have less options…but so far we’re surviving.

*If you are going gluten free or wheat free, always always always read every single label before you buy or eat something. Just in the past two weeks, I was out and saw an individually packed Twizzler. I thought, woo, that’d be fun to chew on. Picked it up and idly looked at the ingredients… wheat. What the fuck? Wheat in a Twizzler? Goes to show, you have to read everything and you cannot trust any restaurant that doesn’t have an allergen menu specifically indicating wheat in their ingredients…otherwise you are taking a chance of getting gluten’d (or wheat’d).


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Insurance hassles

My hub is starting a new job soon. That’s the good news. He’s been pretty unhappy at his current job and finally found a new one, and so far the people there have been very nice. Even though he hasn’t even started yet!

So the bad news? The mental health benefits on the new insurance suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. When possible, we always go for a PPO (or POS), in order to go out-of-network when needed. Because of my chronic illnesses, we want to have the potential to pick our doctors when we need to, even though it costs us a fortune to have PPO insurance. At his present job, we have the PPO and the mental health insurance is pretty good. In network, it’s covered after the deductible is met, though as I have said before, finding a therapist in-network is near-to-impossible. Out-of-network, it’s covered 80% after the deductible is met, though it’s only 80% of what they feel is an appropriate amount. So in my case it’s about 69% coverage. Not horrible, though our deductible was hella high for me for some reason. And fortunately, no cap on the number of visits. The worst part is actually getting reimbursed. Sending in the paperwork is a pain in the ass, and when they actually receive it (the last time I had to send it 3 times), it takes them forever to process it and even waaaay longer to send the reimbursement check.

New insurance…ugh. The first five visits are covered (post deductible) for out-of-network at 80% (of what they feel is fair for our area), then visits 6-30 are covered at 65% of what they feel is fair. Visits 31 and past? 50% of what they feel is fair. WTF. This is how we try to care for the people who are actively seeking help? Instead of praising them for trying, we get nothing but punishment. And these coverages? Pretty close to equal whether is in or out-of-network.¬†Assholes. Of course, there will still be the reimbursement issue to deal with. *sigh*

I should be grateful because I know there are people who need and want help who do not have any mental health coverage, and who therefore cannot afford to get it. Or even people who have insurance but cannot afford (or are not able) to go out-of-network to find a provider. I am grateful. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be frustrated at the new issues I’ll have to deal with on the new insurance.

I still remind myself every single night how grateful I am for the insurance coverage we do have, and for the opportunity to work with T every other week. What bothers me is how companies–insurance and/or employers–treat people with mental health needs. By making it difficult for providers to work with insurance companies, we are telling people they are not worthy of mental health services. By making mental health insurance difficult to obtain, use, and/or pay for, we are telling people they are not worthy of mental health services. We all have mental health just like we all have physical health. We should have the opportunity to be healthier mentally just like we have the opportunity to be healthier physically.


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Buzz buzz buzz

There it is, the buzzing running through me that reminds me that my anxiety is not under control. Last night the chattering/shaking started, but I was able to head it off before it got very far at all. As I posted the other day, Le Moo is not acting right. In the real world, that post was written the Friday before Mother’s Day…this one the day before Mother’s Day. Our vet office is open on Saturdays, but our actual vet only works there every¬†other Saturday, and today was an off day. I have scheduled Le Moo for Monday morning, so hub and I will be out and on the road early to get to the vet. I hope by the time this post goes up, I will have a post script explaining what is going on with Le Moo. I hope it is nothing, but at the moment I am still worried.

This all has my anxiety going up. I am focused too much on my breathing, worrying that it feels short and somewhat labored. I am focused too much on my left arm feeling uncomfortable–which could likely be attributed to other factors like having spent time outside yesterday picking up poo so the yard was clean. I am feeling the buzz buzz buzz of anxiety running through me, like electricity has replaced the blood in my veins. My stomach is upset and I feel shaky and jittery.

I keep telling myself that Le Moo is doing all the things she should be–and not doing the things she shouldn’t–so it isn’t likely there is anything emergent (otherwise we would have seen a diff vet right away). I keep telling myself that my breathing is fine, and my arm is just sore. I keep reminding myself that this is my anxiety talking to me, trying to convince me that there is something wrong and I need to panic. I am on the edge of it… remember my puke and get it over with post? I wish I could. I am torn between trying to go distract myself and “puking”. I am using every tool I have learned to keep the anxiety manageable. I am not yet at a point where I feel I can have NO anxiety in my life…I’m not sure I will ever be there. But I want to be–and am trying to be–in a place where I can manage it. I consider myself mildly successful at this point, as I have not gone into full or partial panic mode. I am learning to identify the physical symptoms of my anxiety as they are beginning, so I can try to manage them. That, to me, is success.

Also, for me, being able to talk about what kind of state I am in is a success. When I can tell my hub (or someone else) that I am feeling anxious or that something hurts without feeling like a specimen under a microscope, that is a success. I am not doing that as much as I would like, at least about the “anxious” part. My family has learned–after so many years of chronic pain–that they cannot fix the pain that I am in, nor am I asking them to. I am only sharing so they know what physical state I am. With the anxiety, sharing that is newer to all of us and they are still more likely to attempt to try to help me, which in effect does not really help.

Le Moo went to get her nails trimmed this morning. At the very least she visited with a couple of dogs at the petco like she normally would, then came home and pooped (she always poos after a car ride). But she still had no interest in being outside or investigating the fence line. Oh, Le Moo, what is going on with you??

P.S. Took Le Moo to Le Vet this morning. Everything is “normal” physically and with her blood work. Best we can do is keep an eye on her and encourage her to stay in her regular routine. And hope she gets herself back to normal soon.


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Love and worry

How do you love without worrying?

When we had to let Sweet Pea go to the Bridge, I was devastated. I loved her so deeply, I thought part of my heart had stopped working altogether. I lost my grandparents, with whom I was very close, and I still miss them every day. My uncle–a man who was an integral part of my life despite living three hours away–passed in a sudden type of manner…I still wonder what he would think of something that has happened in my daily life. I don’t think I really grasped what loss was like before these lives were gone. I suspect part of my anxiety is fed by the potential for loss now.

**I worry about my elderly aunt, who is still in the hospital and still struggling daily. I worry about my dad and how he has aged over his sister’s illness. I worry about my mom, because I think she does too much and doesn’t practice good self-care. I worry about my siblings. I constantly worry about my husband. I worry about Le Moo.

Le Moo is not acting right these days. We can’t pinpoint what it is, because she is doing the routine things…eating, drinking, sleeping, peeing, pooping, chasing treats. She is not coughing or sneezing or limping or vomiting or anything physically out of the ordinary. But she is not acting right. The last time this happened, it was SP and we chalked it up to aging. We were wrong and we lost our precious girl to a fatal disease. So I am now constantly worrying about Le Moo. I’m watching her wherever she goes, and analyzing the things she is or is not doing. I have infected this worry to my hub, who is normally the one who reassures me that there is nothing wrong, that I am seeing things that are not there. With him worrying, too, my anxiety levels are up. I’m not sure how I would make it through losing Le Moo. I know she won’t be here forever, but my stomach is all burbly and unhappy with the thought of Le Moo being sick and us not finding out in time. Of course, logically I know there was nothing we could do for SP even if we had known sooner, but I cannot help how I feel. And of course I cannot control if she is sick (or not), or whether or not she can be helped even if she is sick.

We’ve had Le Moo for eighteen months now. Because of my grief over SP, I have not really been able to tell Le Moo those three words we all want to hear from those who care about us. It is a mental block that I am aware of every single day…almost every time I hug her or talk to her. I try to show her how I feel, but I have not been able to say it. I know it is a misconception in my head that by not saying it I will protect myself from the grief of loss–whenever that time may come–but my brain simply tells me “does not compute.”

I try to hold onto the hope that Le Moo is just feeling “off” or that she was frightened by something outside and thus is acting oddly. But the grasp is tenuous. And my strength is waning.

**as you know from the previous post, my aunt has passed already. this post is “out of order” because of the scheduling vs real life thing.


Posted by on May 25, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, family, fear, Le Moo, loss, love


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The end is nigh

I talked about my aunt here. Since then, things have gone down hill. Progressively. We were never able to move her to any of the nice facilities we found locally. She just kept getting worse and worse, no matter what the doctors tried to do.

Today, this afternoon, they told my father that it’s time for hospice. There is nothing else they can do for her except make her comfortable for her last days on this earth. I am pretty sure the majority of us have seen this coming, though one of my siblings is not able to accept the inevitable. Yet. I am sorry for him, but there comes a time when the end is the end.

I am feeling sad. I love my aunt so much. She has been one of the least judgmental, most supportive person I’ve ever known. She and my uncle were such an integral part of our lives. They were so special to us. I am so so so thankful to have had them in my life for so many years. I am so very lucky to have known them, loved them, and been loved by them. I have cried hard, wrenching tears these past few weeks. I have cried “soft” tears, where they just roll and roll and roll down my cheeks. This loss is going to be huge…a massive hole left behind in our lives. I feel like the holes in my heart from the losses I have are covering more surface than are left whole.

I am feeling guilt. I saw my uncle before he died. I went to see him because I wanted my aunt to know how much he meant to me…he was not conscious so he had no idea. I saw my nana the day she died…hours before. I did that for my mom. I don’t want my father to think I care any less about his feelings…but to add another traumatic image to my already addled brain (I have the horrible ability to see images in my head over and over again), I’m not sure I can handle it. The guilt over this is wide and long, heavy on my heart and my soul. Crushing. I’m not sure one decision is even better than the other at this point, because either way I will harbor the emotions…yes or no? Go or not.

I am feeling fear. The fear of loss and grief yet to come. I can only feel so much pain right now. I am afraid of what is to come when the loss sets in and the grief comes hard behind it. I have known more loss and grief in the last 13 years than I’ve know all my life. I understand it is a function of life to lose those you love. That does not make the loss and grief any less. And although it has not necessarily been clustered together, it feels that way in my mind and in my heart. The fear of change, too, is boiling inside me. The fear of our lives uprooted as the change descends seemingly all at once. The fear of seeing my father age so fast as he handles this phase of his older sister’s life.

The fear of losing my parents nearly squeezes my heart until it struggles to beat. I am so close to my parents that I’m not sure I can even begin to comprehend what my life would be like without one or both of them.

I wanted to end this post with the things that I am thankful for. It is going to be a struggle because right now the grief is so big. Possibly–likely–by the time this publishes, things will have come to their conclusion.

I am so so thankful for

  • The amazing life my aunt and uncle had together.
  • The love I always saw between them
  • The love that was always present in their home
  • The way they loved me and took me in like I were theirs
  • The treasures of life they shared with me over the 40+ years I had with them
  • The knowledge and joy they shared with me over the 40+ years I had with them
  • The laughter
  • The rummy king my aunt always played with me
  • The wonderful child they bore and raised–a cousin so like me both our parents used to call us by each others names
  • The patience and understanding they showed toward me and taught me to have toward others
  • The way they loved.
  • The way they loved.
  • The way they loved.

There are so many more things I want to say about my aunt. Most of all it was the love that she never failed to share with me and with my siblings and with everyone around her. Everyone was family to her. And family was more than family.

She’s a blessing in this world.

And before I could even schedule this to post, I say good bye to Tante Freidel. She was a blessing to us all. Thank you for all you did for me. And thank you for all you did for Dad. I hope you and Yonkel are together again.


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We are family

I have an elderly aunt, whom I have mentioned before, who is not doing well at this time. She’s 84 years old and lives 3 hours away from here, where the majority of her blood family lives. Where she lives, she has some elderly friends as well as neighbors and acquaintances of hers and her husband’s. But her family–us–we live here.

About three years ago, her husband–my uncle–passed away after a short period of illness. They never really figured out what happened, but he got sick and went downhill quickly…within several weeks. We all worried a lot about my aunt. The two of them were so close and together for so long, we didn’t know how she would maintain without her husband. They had lost their only child about five years prior to liver cancer. Her brother died years earlier after suffering from dementia. She is my father’s sister, and she (and my uncle) were always important parts of our lives. So when her husband passed, my aunt surprised us by forging ahead. My parents helped her get herself organized in her home so she could manage her bills and medications and doctors and the like. She handled minor repairs with advice and support from my father here and her neighbors/friends there. And to our utter surprise and delight, she flourished with her new independence. She started taking trips, by plane when needed, or by train to come see us. She started going to the local casinos (couple of hours away) on a tour bus with friends, and sometimes without friends. She drove her friends places in her big old Lincoln Towncar. She played Mahjong four times a week with her lady friends. She went to movies with friends and alone. It was so beautiful to see how she took control of her life.

Here and there she had some minor issues over the last three years, health-wise. She’s had a type of lung disease for years, but it hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years or so. We later learned she had some anxiety issues, but apparently she was handling them with her primary doctor.

This past March, she came down on the train for a visit. We went over for dinner the day she arrived and she indicated she wasn’t feeling great. After dinner, she was tired and seemed to be having an issue breathing. My parents watched her overnight, but she seemed to be able to sleep. However, the next morning, she got up and couldn’t breathe. So my dad called the paramedics and they took her to the emergency room. The doctors did all kinds of tests and found fluid on her lungs and a touch of pneumonia. There were a couple of scares that turned out to be high carbon dioxide and low oxygen, but when they figured it out, they took care of that. They treated her for the pneumonia and drained the fluid from her lungs. When the doctors were comfortable, they sent her home to my parents’ house. And two days later, my parents took her back to her home. They found some home caregivers that my aunt knew to come check on her and help her, and my parents came back here to their home.

Two days later, my aunt had another attack at home, and was taken back to the hospital. My dad rushed up to be with her, driving the three hours in the middle of the night. The doctors were concerned that there was fluid on her lungs again, or that something had happened with her heart. They ran tests again, put her on antibiotics again, and decided that due to her extended and repeated stays in the hospital, she was too weak to go home. They wanted her to go to a rehab facility. They moved her to rehab, my dad came home, and the next morning she was back in the hospital. We are all pretty sure that the majority of the issues she is having is from both her anxiety/panic attacks, and the Xanax and Ativan that she (and the doctors) were treating her with. Both are too sedating for her, which causes her breathing to slow, which combined with her lung issues causes her carbon dioxide to rise and oxygen to drop. All bad. Her anxiety and panic attacks have steadily been getting worse. My father says when he was with her, she could have two or three panic attacks in a row. Now I’m not sure if he’s unclear on what a panic attack really looks like (i.e. is she having one looooong panic attack, or several individual ones in a short span of time), but either way she has thus far been unable to manage her anxiety or panic attacks. She has been unable to learn any coping skills at all…

So now she’s been in the hospital for several days, and the doctors are continuing to give her Ativan to keep her loopy…which is horrifying to me. Not only because the Ativan is hell on her breathing (and CO levels and oxygen levels), but also because the Ativan is probably causing her more psychological distress. She calls my father repeatedly from her cell phone, crying and despondent. She has asked him repeatedly to come get her and take her away from the hospital. She keeps crying and telling him to get her out of there…and sometimes she calls him, cries, and hangs up. This is all aging my father so fast.

We have spent the last four days visiting multiple facilities here, trying to find someplace appropriate to get her rehabilitated physically. We want her here in the area where all the family is, so we can support her and be with her as she gets stronger, and as we attempt to get her psychological help for her panic attacks. I’m semi-hopeful that by the end of the week she’ll be here and on her way to getting help.

Why I write this? I am kind of afraid that I’m seeing my future. The last time my aunt was here, we all went to dinner, and when she said something to my mom about a candle, I saw myself in her. Or I saw her in me. She was lighting a candle for my uncle, and the candle lasts for 24 hours. But she was worried about leaving it out o the table, so someone suggested she put it in the sink to finish burning…and she said she was worried that there were curtains over the sink and what if they caught fire. From the candle down in the sink (it’s a short candle in a tall glass). But first of all, I have a thing about candles and potential fire. Second of all, that progression of worries…it could have been me. I don’t want that to be me.

I told T about this during one of our sessions, and she said that we’re working on it, so that is not my future. But the fear lurks there in the dark recesses of my brain.


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Doggone it

I sometimes cannot understand how hub deals with me. But I’m trying to get better at apologizing for the times when I snap at him because I’m anxious or fearful about something. I don’t do it all the time (snap at him), but it does happen. Actually, I often cannot understand how hub deals with me. But I’m so thankful he can (and does).

So you know from previous reading that we are dog lovers. Prior, we had a dog who had no interest in allowing us to add a second dog to our household. But bless my Sweet Pea, she left us in fall 2011. A few months later we adopted our current rescue…we’ll just call her Le Moo. She’s as big as a small cow. Well, she is! But she’s a good girl, a bit independent, but loving when she chooses to be so. And she loves herself some food. She seems to be pretty darn social with other dogs…we have yet to have her meet one she either doesn’t tolerate or like. Even my parent’s cray-zeee lab, who tries to run her over and chew on her when they play. And Le Moo only plays when she really wants to, which isn’t nearly as often as Cray-cray Lab. So we had hoped to adopt a second dog since Le Moo is so easy-going with other dogs. I’ve been looking pretty constantly for the last year or so, and we’ve been working with several breed rescues during that same period of time. Meanwhile, we’ve had some issues finding the breed and gender and size and age dog we want. In that order, Newfoundland or Bernese Mountain dog (or mixes), female, BIG BIG BIG, 2-4 years old. In both the breeds that interest us, males seem to be more available than females for some reason. And our area doesn’t seem to have a lot of rescues in those breeds. We’ve considered one or two adoptions, but for some reason or the other did not pursue them past contacting the rescue for more information on the dog.

But as you now suspect, this issue has come to a head. I found a dog that meets our criteria, with the minor exception that she is supposed to be around 18 months old, and she’s slightly smaller than I would have preferred. But I’m hopeful that she’ll fill out a bit more (she’s underweight, actually) as she gets a bit older, and the foster says she’s pretty easy-going. And in fact, the foster admitted that he had considered keeping her because she’s such an easy dog to have. Meanwhile, the big issue…she’s almost 1400 miles away. Ye-ah. But fortunately, in this day and age there are many transport options available for people rescuing dogs out of state. And also fortunately, the rescue we are dealing with has a transport they use often (the foster has actually used PERSONALLY), so we’re not going in blind. But we missed the transport from this past weekend and the next one isn’t until the end of the month! That’s three weeks from now (future publishing on WordPress! Woo!), and I think I might go nuts waiting.

It’s not necessarily the kind of excited nuts you would be expecting, though. Making this decision to add another dog (sight unseen) is very stressful and anxiety-inducing for me. I talked it “to death” says hub, and worried over every potential bad thing that could happen. Even tonight, after the decision was made, I was walking through a store and I thought “we need dog bowls” and I felt that ripple of anxiety go through my chest and stomach. It does go away, but it means it’s going to be a repeated “ripple” every time I think of the new dog, or something we have to do in prep for the new dog, or what’s going to happen when the new dog arrives… Oy.

Let’s see, worry list coming:

  1. New Dog and Le Moo will not get along and there will be fights and potential harm in either/both direction
  2. New Dog and Le Moo will need to be constantly separated
  3. New Dog and Cray-cray Lab will not get along
  4. New Dog will not be able to go with us to my parents where Cray-cray Lab lives
  5. We will not be able to dog sit (short or long-term) for Cray-cray Lab because New Dog does not get along with her
  6. New Dog eats the house
  7. New Dog spends the next six months peeing in the (relatively newly built) house (been there, done that)
  8. New Dog will bark all the time
  9. New Dog will run away
  10. New Dog will get sick
  11. I will spend my days following New Dog around the house because I can’t trust her not to destroy, pee, or leave Le Moo alone
  12. The cost of food will bankrupt us (two dogs the size of small cows? OY!) Also see: vet bills.
  13. The dogs will fight over beds, food, toys, us, etc, requiring constant monitoring of “are they okay or are they going to attack one another”
  14. Did I mention I am home all the time? Alone? And therefore will be responsible on my own for both dogs from the time hub leaves for work at 7am until he gets home at 5:30 or 6pm?
  15. How the hell will we bathe two big cow-sized dogs at the same time? Right now we take Le Moo to a do-it-yourself doggy wash (they clean up! totally worth $15), but alone she’s a handful. Now we’ll have TWO that need bathing??
  16. Having to monitor both dogs out in the yard until they either get used to each other or we have to make other arrangements. Esp when I’m feeling poorly. Ugh.
  17. These things all above, especially when I’m feeling poorly.
  18. Feeling guilty when I don’t have the energy to give as much attention as I think they deserve, especially when I’m feeling poorly.
  19. What if we don’t actually *like* her? I have an issue of not being able to connect with dogs right away…or maybe it’s an expectation that I should connect with the dog right away and when I don’t I figure I won’t ever. Hmm. I don’t think I particularly connected to SP right away, and I know I didn’t connect with Le Moo very quickly. I, in fact, cried about adopting Le Moo both before we decided to adopt her and after we adopted her (for quite some time). Pretty sure that was a grief thing from the loss of SP and knowing I’ll never have her back again.

So my problem really is that I now have 3 weeks to sit and stew. And worry. And be anxious. And every time I do anything, I think of how much harder it might be with a new dog in the house. But I done done it to myself. I’ve already checked to see that I have two whole appointments with T between now and A-day (arrival day), so at least I’ll have someone to attempt to calm me down. And fortunately for me, she’s a dog person, so she’ll understand. One of the appointments is actually ON the day of arrival, but several hours earlier. She’s so going to get an earful on that day.

Woof. Oy.

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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in anxiety, dogs, Le Moo, worry list


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Judge Dread

I know that isn’t how you spell the title of the movie, but this applies to my post more semantically than movie-cally. Which is so not a word.

Today was my appointment with T, and we were discussing shame and what might be causing it for me. And dammit I’ve just now realized that I forgot to talk to her about the rainbow connection. I was so caught up in talking about my aunt and how I’m handling her issues, and how my mother is super-woman. And what I recall liking when I was a kid. And before I knew it, the hour was over. I really want to have a two hour session with her. Humph.

During our conversation, along with my inability to be empathetic and understanding to myself and my issues, I’ve come to understand I am also very judgmental and critical of myself. Surprise! Wait, you’re not surprised? Me, either. Problem is, I have no idea how to not be judgmental or critical. I’m supposed to see things about myself and not note them as “good” or “bad”. Arg. I have no concept of how to do that. It’s so bad that even sitting here thinking that I shouldn’t be so self-critical has me judging myself as “bad.” Not good, eh?

T wanted to know what I judge myself most harshly on and I told her that no matter what I’ve done over the years–from childhood to adulthood–it’s been my weight. When I lose some, I’m “good” and when I gain it I’m “bad.” The thing is, no matter if I lose or gain, I’m fat. Pretty much always have been for as long as I can remember. So what difference does it make to me if I’m ten pounds up or ten pounds down? That I’m healthier should be the guide for me…but even that is a trap, isn’t it? How do I note my own health without thinking it’s “good” or “bad”? I feel lost in this, just as I felt with the concept of “control” and what I can and cannot control.

Wrapped up in the weight is the judgment of how I look physically. I can’t separate the two parts. My looks are about how much I weigh.

Sorry, this isn’t really helping me at the moment, so I’m going to just stop. I know T would say if it’s hard then it is important. But at this point, it’s making me feel kinda crappy, so I’m going to have to come back to this.


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One giant step for mankind

Yeah, I’ve been trying to do better with my anxiety. I feel like I’ve been doing better. Not more conscious of it, but less wrapped up in it. Despite the fact that I’ve been trying to help my parents understand my elderly aunt’s panic and anxiety issues…she is still in the hospital with some issues. Some of it stems from her anxiety and panic, some we are not sure about.

My giant step forward was me doing better. I was really doing okay for a while. We went out to dinner in the city to a restaurant we’ve never tried, which means I hadn’t had their food and had no idea of my reaction. But I didn’t worry! I dressed up a little and we had a really nice time. I’ve also been driving myself to PT (even on wet roads) and taking care of my parents’ dog while my father is with my aunt. Stressful, yes, but I have been trying to keep a handle on everything in my head. Yesterday, hub and I went out after dinner so he could run a couple of errands, then we stopped to get custard from Rita’s Italian Ice on the way home. I don’t do chocolate because of my stomach issues, but I decided to go for it because I’ve been doing well with my stomach. And I figured the caffeine in the soft custard couldn’t be much…the custard is a really light color. Duh, probably a stupid thing to think. I’m not necessarily blaming how I feel this morning on the custard, it just happens to be the only thing I did differently in the last couple of days.

So I had to wake up early this morning (boring reason), and I’m sure that screwed me up as well. And my stomach started getting upset. And I started feeling nauseous. And dizzy. And I could feel my health anxiety poking at me. Hey, you, wake up. You’re not feeling well! You’re nauseous…and you know what that means! Your heart! Your heart! Now you can’t breathe right! Now you’re dizzy…and that all means bad heart! Henh henh henh. Yeah, that’s how I hear it in my head. So for a while I curled up under the covers and wallowed…thought about it, tried to breathe properly and deeply. Reminded myself that I had that custard last night and this was probably the after-affect of that. I’m fine, I’m okay.

Roused myself to go let the dog out and give her lunch, then decided instead of grabbing a yogurt, I would eat a regular lunch. Routine, normalcy, fake it ’til you make it. Ignore the nausea, ignore the dizzy, ignore the short breathing. Go, do, be as you are. So I did, and then I put laundry in to remind myself that I can. Lifted the baskets, carried them to the laundry room, put the laundry in.

Physically, do I feel better? No. Stomach still unhappy, nausea came back after I finished eating, dizziness/imbalance still there, breathing still feels too fast. Sucks, but I’m in it and I’m letting it be in me.


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The rainbow connection

Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me.

I’m still working on where my shame might be coming from. I’m trying to figure out why I don’t feel I’m worthy of my own compassion and empathy. T has asked me what I was like as a child. I don’t remember much of my childhood specifically, and I worry that it’s because something happened. I don’t really think anything tragic happened…I really don’t. I think I just have a bad memory for things that are not important to my life right now.

So anyway, I asked my mother if I was a happy child, and she said yes. She told me I was happy and smiley, and I loved my Barbie dolls (but not baby dolls, much to her dismay). She told me I used to play with my brothers in our living room with the green carpet. I remember the living room and the (ugly!) green carpet, but I don’t remember playing with the boys there. I remember them playing with their matchbox cars, but I don’t remember participating.

Well, that was slightly off-topic. The issue I’m struggling with is whether or not I’m really finding a connection to the “shame” or if I’m pushing a connection that is not really there. How am I supposed to know? Did I make up a connection that isn’t really there? Did I over-analyze it so much that I forced a connection between a potential reason for my shame and the actuality of where the shame is originating?

Humph. Seems like no matter what I think, I bring up more questions than answers. How am I supposed to move forward if that’s the case? (another freaking question)

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in anxiety, shame


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