After the gloomy pictures and tone of this post
I'm overdue posting something cheerful that reflects how I'm feeling A BILLION TIMES BETTER, so here are some happy pictures from a recent members-only gallery
and an update on what's going on in my body and head.
It's hard for me to describe how profoundly different/healed I felt within a week of starting to treat my hormone problems. I can only compare it to what born again Christians feel like. Seriously. Only I feel like I just established a close personal relationship with NORMALCY rather than with Jesus. And now I am wondering how the fuck I was even getting out of bed at all, because I was really REALLY sick.
A lot of stuff that I was experiencing I couldn't even verbalize without sounding totally crazy and was effecting me on every level you can possibly think of: mentally, spiritually, physically, socially, sexually, etc. My muscles, joints, head, eyes, guts, boobs, feet, jaw, ears HURT and weren't working right. Pretty much everything was causing me pain and fatigue, from the sound of people's voices to the loud conversations being held in my head to the TORTURE of dropping something and having to go through the agonizing, soul-sucking motion of bending over to pick it up. I thought I was being a hypochondriac to worry that I had lupus or something horrifying going on. All I wanted to do was work and be happy and do the millions of things I want to do, so I tried to exercise more, to cut back on things that were especially tiring (which got to the point of being EVERYTHING except the bare minimum -- I haven't been seeing my family, friends, or doing anything except trying to survive). The slightest annoyances were sending me into paroxysms of mean-spirited anguish. If you think I was complaining a lot about headaches and stuff, you don't know the tenth of it. I actually didn't even want to recognize how incredibly bad it was.
But then last week I started to feel INCREDIBLY GOOD. Like I looked in the mirror and didn't see death warmed over staring back at me -- oh yeah, THAT'S what I look like without a sickly pallor and giant, deep, dark circles rimming my eyes! Like, getting out of bed in the morning IS EASY and something to celebrate instead of something that caused me physical pain. I'm not exaggerating, I had been feeling PAIN reverberating through every fiber of my being. I thought it was just me being not-a-morning-person, "sensitive", etc. but as it turns out? FUCK NO. The first three days of feeling awesome last week are my new standard for how I should feel 99% of the time and I'm not going to accept anything less ever again.
Here are the supplements I started taking:
*Evening Primrose Oil
*birth control (chick hormones)
*potassium (in grapefruit juice, etc.)
*awesome Vitamin B complex
and changes I made:
*maintaining a stable blood sugar level (not letting myself get hungry, eating way less simple carbs/sugars)
*continuing to use tools & learn more for anger management, concentration, calm, etc.
*continuing to make 8-9 hours of sleep per night my goal
A lot of these are things I've done before that yielded positive results, but I never did them consistently or all at the same time or appreciated the importance of spending the money to stay stocked up on all of the vitamins or understood the big picture of how they were helping me. I still don't have a thorough grasp of that, but getting as totally fucked up as I was forced me to do a lot of research and over the years a lot of people and circumstances have handed me clues. Like not being able to get pregnant and slowly finding out a whole bunch of possible reasons why not. Like having people tell me over and over and over again to have my thyroid tested. Like having almost no stressors in my life and often doing everything right and trying my fucking hardest and still feeling WORSE instead of better. Like having some really great health care providers in my life and then having to deal with one who was really bad. Like THE INTERNET being an imperfect but still fucking fabulous resources. Like having a trans partner and thinking more about hormones, identity, and the nuances of gender. Like having people tell me I have too much testosterone. Like having my hair stylist tell me I had an unnatural amount of HAIR FALLING OUT OF MY HEAD (ahhh, so it WASN'T my imagination that was noticing my part widening in pictures and on the webcam I have staring down at the top of my head).
I really am sorry for how impatient I've been, how easily agitated I've been, and for how little time I've had for people and issues and projects I care about. Mostly I'm sad that Delia
had to live with someone so unpredictable and "touchy". But I'm really happy for us now that we are both getting ourselves sorted out.
I think this year (or at least the next six months) are going to be a time of simply catching up on time I/we've lost personally and financially/professionally. I know I've made a lot of posts in the past couple of years about ways I was reorganizing and reprioritizing things, and while many of them were necessary, very few of them were productive or successful because of what I now realize was a significant health problem. I am going to be patient with myself and try to enjoy simply feel good. REALLY good.
I'm not saying my life has been nonstop misery because that's not true at all -- hormones are shifty fuckers so there've been lots of highs and lows and near-normalcy, but I've likely been suffering from this for most of my post-adolescent life to one degree or another judging from how rarely I ovulated on time or at all; most people would say "judging from how rarely my period was on time", but I now refuse to refer to on-time periods as the sensible indicator of health when it totally ignores that timely menstruation is reliant on timely ovulation. It's not that I think ovulation is some holy fucking grail or that every woman should strive for FERTILITY, I just think there's so much MISSING from (and deceptive about) our language for talking about how our bodies function and how to identify problems and heal them. And you know how women who understand their clits and their g-spots and the rest of their bodies and how they work and where those parts live CAN MAKE THEM OPERATE BETTER and experience more pleasure? I don't think the rest of our anatomy and functionality is any different. If I understand that high blood sugar and cortisol and stress and testosterone and estrogen suppression and ovulation and concentration and happiness are all linked up and I can visualize those things and better know how to achieve stability there, then I am going to be a happier, better-functioning person.
Personally I'm excited about the discoveries I'm making about myself and feel so fired up about so many things I'm back to my "normal" scatterbrained whirlwind of divided attention (and haven't been taking Ritalin since I started my little regimen above). I'm also really angry and thinking a lot about how most health care providers are totally incompetent and uncaring when it comes to endocrinology (unless it has to do with diabetes) and SUPER COMMON hormone problems. I believe to my core that misogyny is the root of the ignorance and lack of care; people believe and want women to age a certain way, to become dried-up shrews. They believe we'll complain about anything and are still mostly just hysterical, crazy bitches and that our problems are all psychological. Everyone thinks it's so "advanced" to treat depression and anxiety as real stand-alone illnesses now that we can throw fucked-up, addictive drugs at when so much depression and anxiety and other mental illness are probably caused by hormonal problems that don't always originate with (or aren't limited to) poor brain chemistry or treated best just by addressing them. I'm certainly not suggesting we all go Tom-Cruise-Vitamin-Crazy, I'm just saying that health care professionals aren't even bothering to test for or treat underlying hormone imbalances, and most people like it that way. It makes a lot of women sicker, not healthier. Just to give you an example, this doctor I went to was ready to put me on anti-depressants, didn't believe me when I told her I knew the birth control itself would help a lot, and refused to test my thyroid (the most common "thyroid" test done is for TSH -- thyroid stimulating hormone -- and it doesn't really test your thyroid gland, it tests your pituitary gland AND the results are months old by the time it reaches your blood). You have to wonder how this woman thinks that anti-depressants are going to cure me of hair loss, weight gain, constipation, lethargy, etc. when you know it will make most of those symptoms WORSE. To her I was just a crazy, miserable bitch demanding a "complicated" explanation for what seemed obvious to her: THAT I'M SIMPLY A CRAZY MISERABLE BITCH.
If we removed the stigma and value judgment from the statement "she's got hormone problems" we'd lose one of our most precious and reliable punch lines. So many women would feel so much better the world would be turned upside-fucking down. It probably wouldn't be very good for the sex industry, I imagine, if more middle-aged women felt like a million bucks. Or maybe it would . . . . My sister, a nurse, said she thinks endocrinology is too nuanced for traditional western medicine to deal with and that it's not a "sexy" field like surgery. I think it's the opposite. It's the sexiest field of all. It IS the source of what we think of as sex and gender and for us to really understand it and the role it plays in our lives and how it is the foundation for so much of our identities would pose such a threat to the status quo and to the people we rely upon to make the rest of us feel normal by comparison that it's just a giant taboo. In generations to come I think it's transgender and people who defy gender stereotypes and limitations who will force the medical community and other people to understand endocrinology a whole lot better and how hormones can be manipulated to help us lead our best, most authentic and healthiest lives.
Anyway, long post short, I was feeling pretty bad. And now I feel really great. And that makes me really happy. I'm fueling up now for good things to come.
Labels: dildo, health, hormones, identity, migraines, natural boobs, PHOTOS, pop culture, PORNOGRAPHY, rants, thanksgiving
This will be a very boring entry to read if you aren't interested in health issues:
Today I *had* to cancel my shows because I woke up with a headache that developed into a full-fledged, obvious migraine. I've done shows before in spite of them and just kept the lights down low and abstained from masturbating to keep all that blood flow in and out of my head consistent, but that wasn't an option today as I had diarrhea and was almost puking my brains out.
Of course, I thought I'd been very good lately about avoiding triggers like bananas, peanut butter, caffeine, etc. but then we realized that yesterday? I ate smoked salmon, bacon and avocados -- all yummy things on the food trigger list. And for some reason I just thought turkey bacon would be exempt from what makes bacon be on that list, but I was SO wrong. On top of that the entire past week I've been very light sensitive with sun spots, etc. and have had a metal taste in my mouth often and other weird flavors on the roof of my mouth; I think I've been teetering on the brink. Today before I got nauseated I was standing in the bathroom and suddenly smelled an overpowering scent of bread mold for a few seconds and then it was gone; it was an olfactory hallucination which I do not think I've ever had before, but apparently is a less-common type of aura preceding migraines.
I was diagnosed with classic migraines as a kid but they were much worse back then with guaranteed puke-fests and a very distinct tunnel-vision and other weird feelings warning me they were coming. As an adult I've been sort of dismissive of them because they're different and less severe than they were as a kid and teenager when they were absolutely incapacitating. The thing is, they were a lot more RARE when I was younger, too. They might not be as bad now and I might be able to avoid barfing my brains out, but they're more frequent and last a lot longer (maybe because I'm not puking?) so I don't know why I just keep trying to pretend they're not a big giant deal.
Low and behold, I discovered today when frantically googling that migraines can also be caused by thyroid problems
. It will be such a relief if that's the reason for a bunch of symptoms on my mounting list of health complaints. I feel like I'm wasting so much time in my life trying to figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. I used to think I was the picture of health, not in an athletic way, but in an indestructible-nerd way. Quirks like attention deficit disorder weren't things I saw as vulnerabilities or symptoms of poor construction, they were what made me SPECIAL and amazing! Now I feel like a whining puddle of annoying health problems from my lactose intolerance to my allergies to animals to my inability to conceive to my insane levels of PMS to my anxiety to my sensitivities to every little morsel of stimulation to my inability to hold conversations on cell phones. Yes, I still find it very hard to believe other people are able to separate the noises on the phone and the road from the voice and then actually piece the sounds together into words that are strung into sentences intended to convey meaning. If I were a character on a video game with a full life counter who had to talk (and listen) for three minutes on a cell phone, you would see my juice depleted to almost nothing in that amount of time.
Anyhoo, we're getting up early tomorrow to trek to Tacoma for an appointment with my brilliant and wonderful psychiatrist. I haven't seen him in at least five years and am looking forward to being re-assessed by him and getting a Ritalin scrip. I will definitely talk to him about my other brain stuff like the migraines, potential thyroid issues, etc. That is the benefit of going to a really good psychiatrist rather than just a psychologist; they are DOCTORS who know lots of interesting shit.
After that we're meeting up with Delia's ex-girlfriend and her partner for dinner, then spending the night with our friend Ron; all of these people are creative-thinkers so it's fun to brainstorm with them, not boring "regular" socializing. On Tuesday we have to do some shopping (our threadbare flannel sheets bit the dust and are ripping on my side of the bed and my good hot water bottle is so thin it's about to burst) and meet up with my mom to give her a birthday present (which I also have not picked out yet).
FYI: if you've gotten an email from me in the past three months, you are one of about a dozen people who can say that. I'm just mentioning it so everyone else will know that it's not just YOU who hasn't heard from me personally, I'm just having a hard time getting it all done. My computer time is prioritized to be eaten up doing stuff that's meant to be consumed by more than one person at a time. It sucks, but there's not a whole lot I can do about it unless I want to stop sleeping and give myself more migraines.
Labels: health, migraines, shopping, therapy, work