Listening to YOUR body

Listening to YOUR body

In between my first and second surgeries, the doctors suspected I had a small tumor on my adrenal gland, which a CT confirmed.  However, the Endocrinologist didn’t seem too concerned about it and his recommendation was to just keep an eye on it.  Around that time, I decided to quit my job and go back to school to finish up my teaching certification, so I lost my insurance coverage and it took a while to get onto my husband’s.  And like an idiot, I never scheduled a follow-up appointment with and just kept telling myself that it was nothing to worry about and I’d get it checked out when I could.

Fast forward four years.  Four years!  I had just finished up my second year of teaching and we moved to Kansas City.  I got a new job and still, it took another year before I got established with a new primary care physician.  You know how most specialist doctors are – they require a referral from another doctor before they will see you.  On the day of my appointment, I had had a particularly eventful morning with work and when I got to the doctor’s office my blood pressure was through the roof!  It was something like 180 over 102 so my doctor and I never got around to talking about the tumor because my blood pressure was so high.  As it turns out, my heart is fine and long story short, I’m on blood pressure medication for now.  However, after running a battery of tests we found out that my cholesterol is dangerously high – GREAT!  You know me, overachiever!  What did this new doctor have to say about that…like a lot of doctors, she said I needed to focus on my diet and exercise and to join Weight Watchers and she’d recheck me in six months.  And I have to tell you, this was very disappointing to hear.  I’ll come back to that in a minute.

After getting my BP under control, I finally got in for a new CT, and the gal running the show pulled in two different doctors to look at the scans.  None of them could find an adrenal tumor so they told me they’d send the scans to my doctor and sent me home.  I have to admit, I was relieved, but still somewhat suspicious.  My doctor told me that everything looked clear but that she still wanted me to get set up with a new endocrinologist.  This was in February and I had to wait until June to get into him.  June!  This always slays me.  Why is it when you try to get in with a fancy doctor do you have to wait forever?  Anyway.  When June finally rolled around, and since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, this new doctor and I met via telehealth.  Of course, as these things tend to go, the other doctor did not send the scans over, so he walked me through some questions, and he had some concerns.  This led to more blood work, which I’m happy to report has all come back normal.  But what he said next really hit home with me.  We were talking about my hypertension and cholesterol level and his immediate response to me was that if he had been the first doctor that he would not have said, “let’s check it again in six months.”  He told me that since my cholesterol was so high that it was more than likely for genetic reasons, not due to diet and exercise and he recommended getting into a lipid specialist.  I could have hugged the man and probably would have had we been in person.  Here’s why.

I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve struggled with diet and exercise since I was 14 years old.  And all the doctors can ever say is join Weight Watchers, or here let me write you a prescription for Phentermine, or you just need to start exercising and it will solve all your problems.  They say you need to eat all the fat, or none of the fat, or only plants, or all the meat. Is it any wonder we’re all confused?  Kids, I’m here to tell you that this is all bullshit.  Sorry for the language, but it’s true!  Think about it, if dieting worked, there would not be an obesity epidemic in our country or the world for that matter!  Dieting is a billion-dollar industry.  Now, I’m not trying to turn this into an infomercial about weight loss, but I do want to tell you that I’ve had my eyes opened by new research and I’m going to tell you all about it next week so be prepared to have your mind-hole blown wide open.

You’re probably wondering if there is a point to this article, and here it is.  Sometimes, doctors can say really dumb things.  Not to completely bash the medical profession, but there are some doctors who are straight-up lazy and would rather write you a prescription rather than take whole-body measures into consideration.  I’ve not felt well for the last two years.  My sleep pattern is jacked, my anxiety level is sky-high, I’ve had bouts of depression, weight gain, and some days my body just freaking hurts.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret…I have a big birthday coming up in November and I do not want to go into the next decade of my life feeling this way.  And I will admit that I have sometimes struggled to take my own advice when it comes to my health.  Life has gotten busy and I haven’t made time for myself.  I’m here to tell you that denial isn’t just a river in Africa.  Sorry for the pun, but it’s true.  The biggest lie I think we tell ourselves is, “everything is fine.”  For me, everything has not been fine, and I’ve been kicking myself for wasting so much time feeling like crap.  The advice I have for you today is the same advice I’m giving to myself.  You know your body.  You know when it doesn’t feel right.  Don’t ignore it.  You have to trust that it’s going to tell you when something is off.  You must also go get wellness exams.  Ladies, you need to perform self-breast exams at least once a month.  Men, the same goes for your testicles.  Do it in the shower and call it a day.  Wear sunscreen and get your skin checked at least once a year – in fact, most hospitals hold skin checks in May so sign up for an appointment.  Have regular blood work done once a year and keep up on immunizations.  Ask questions.  Get second opinions.  Keep appointments.  I know that all of this is a lot easier said than done and dealing with insurance sucks, but it’s better than the alternative.  There are people in your lives who want and need you to be healthy.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.

What’s been going on with you lately?  Have you had a crazy experience with doctors or your health?  I’d love to hear from you.  Feel free to email me at cj@adultingwithcj.com.  Or, you can leave any questions or comments below.

 

 

 

Episode 9: Advocating For Your Health, Part 2

Today we’re in part 2 of Advocating For Your Health and I’m telling you all about my latest experiences with new doctors.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Doctors aren’t always right
  • Why I love my new Endocrinologist
  • How to get off the denial train and onto the feeling better platform

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.

 

How to Cope with Burnout

How to Cope with Burnout

For several years now, the term “self-care” has generated a lot of buzz.  And with it comes a lot of mixed emotions.  The older and younger generations seem to really pick on each other when it comes to how they take care of ourselves, not only physically, but mentally as well.  I would say guilt is one of the deepest emotions we associate with self-care.  Guilt over taking time for ourselves.  We feel selfish for wanting some alone time when there are daily chores, work, and family members awaiting our attention.  I would guess that women have these feelings more often than men, but I know men have them too.  In fact, my husband and I were just talking about this very topic over the weekend and how he sometimes feels guilty for wanting to play video games all weekend.  But here’s the thing, it’s his hobby, just like singing is my hobby.  It’s his way to unwind and let his brain wander where he doesn’t have to think about work.  It’s how he recharges his batteries.  Plus, it’s not like we have kids running around and we’ve both played video games since we were kids.  So I get it.  But, what do we do about these feelings of guilt?  Step one, understand where this feeling is coming from.

I recently read an article about how Millennials have become the “burn-out” generation.  Although I am on the cusp of the Millennial generation, when I read this article it resonated so deeply inside me.  First, the author talks about how our parents are a mix of young boomers and old Gen-Xers, and we were reared in an age of relative economic and political stability.  As it was for many generations before us, there was this expectation that our generation would be better off than the previous one.  However, this has turned out to be false.  Financially, we have far less saved, crippling student loan debt, the Great Recession, and the decline of the middle class to name a few.  Schools have taught students that in order to be successful, they must go to a 4-year college and get that degree if they want to make any sort of living.  This is partially why I loved my content area so much.  Family and Consumer Sciences fall under career and technical education, which I whole-heartedly agree with.  Not everyone should go to a 4-year school.  We still need plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, electricians.  In the past, kids were allowed to be kids.  They played outside, used their imaginations, fell down and scraped their knees, and ran around the neighborhood.  Now, kids have supervised playdates, structured daycares, and highly regulated organized league play that spans the entire year.  We were raised to win, to be competitive, to get the best grades.  And, kids are still being raised in this way today.  I saw it with my students.  I had kids who could barely live with themselves if they didn’t have straight As.  Their sense of self-worth is so heavily tied to grades.  Plus, by the time they got to me, they couldn’t do work without a rubric telling them what was expected.  When I would assign projects without a rubric, I had so many students who would practically shut down because all of their imagination had been brow-beaten out of them and they had a hard time thinking for themselves.  This is why Millennials and the newest generation have gotten such a bad rap in the workforce – the ability to think on our own was taken away from us, yet the older generations’ expectations haven’t changed, nor have they embraced that it’s time for a new way of doing things.  Now, that sounds pretty doom and gloom because I have seen a lot of companies who are and have taken a step back and realized that the old way of doing work is just plain outdated.  But is it any wonder we are flat out tired and burned out?

So what can we do to overcome our feelings of guilt?  First, we must take pause and determine where this sense of guilt is coming from.  I hate it when people tell you to meditate because for so many it conjures up this image of a guru in an ashram who is chanting.  Rather, I like to think of it as a timeout.  Just take a few quiet minutes to think about why you feel guilty.  And maybe you truly don’t know why you feel guilty but keep up this practice until you do. It may not come to you right away.  Or, maybe journaling is your thing – write out what you’re feeling.  Or, perhaps you just need to go wash your hair. Random thoughts and ideas typically come to me while I’m scrubbing my head.  The key here is to be honest with yourself.  Don’t deny yourself of feeling your feelings.

Second, adopt a new mantra to help you cope.  If you can’t find one you like, you can steal mine.  “You can do anything, but not everything.”  Let that sink in.  You can do anything you put your mind to, but you cannot do everything.  And that’s ok.  We all need help and that leads me to my third step – which is to ask for help.  There is no shame in asking others for help, yet so many of us struggle with this.  For many, it’s viewed as a sign of weakness.  But truly, it’s a sign of strength.  Knowing your limits is half the battle.  Plus, your relationships will be better for it.  I’m guessing no one in your life is a mind reader, so getting angry when your significant other doesn’t pick up on how you’re feeling is unproductive.  Rather than allowing yourself to get to that boiling point, ask for help.  Do you know the old saying about “it taking a village”?  Although this is a reference for child-rearing, I also think it’s fitting for our lives as a whole.  Who do you surround yourself with?  Do they lift you up or drag you down?  Are you all willing to jump in and help each other when it’s needed?  If not, then it may be time to find yourself a new village or tribe.  If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

Finally, take time for yourself.  Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day – that’s a start.  Go for a walk, sit quietly in your bedroom, take a NASA nap.  Do whatever you need to do.  When I start feeling anxious, I like to practice 4 count breathing – this a technique used to train the military in combat situations.  Breathe in for four counts, hold for four, and exhale for four.  This will immediately start lowering your blood pressure and slow down your heart.  Or, maybe it’s time to schedule an appointment with a professional.  You can’t take care of anything else until you take care of yourself first.  If you’ve ever flown, what’s the flight attendant tell you?  Put your mask on first before helping anyone else.  In an effort to put your own mask on first, take some time today to check in with yourself.  Ask yourself, What’s on your mind today?  Is there anything weighing you down?  What brings you joy?  What do you need more time for?  Is there something you need to do that you’ve been avoiding?  If so, why?  What is one thing you can to do take care of yourself today?  Make sure you’re treating yourself with kindness, just like you would your best friend.

Episode 7: How to Cope With Burnout

Today I’m discussing how you can cope with burnout and the feelings of guilt associated with self-care.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why the Millennial generation has become the burnout generation
  • How to overcome feelings of guilt
  • Adopting a mantra
  • Asking for help
  • and more!

Resources mentioned:

Connect with Me:

Please leave a Rating and Review:

If you enjoyed this episode, I would really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to do a review on Apple Podcasts.  Reviews on Apple Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the word out about podcasts.