UPDATE: Forget the Politics, Just Get Covered…Documenting My Experience

KY’s Healthcare Exchange is kynect

In an effort to practice what I preach, I am going on to the Kentucky “Obamacare” site and apply for healthcare. I will then share my experience and give honest feedback. If you don’t know already, Kentucky, has been praised for it’s effort in making access to healthcare as simple and efficient as possible. I’ll give a grade later 😉

Full disclosure: I am in no way part of any political campaign or cause. I am not receiving anything in exchange for my opinion. I am doing this solely because I am sick of hearing people complain and quite frankly, I want to see what happens. In short, This is all me, people!

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Forget the Politics, just #GetCovered by 3/31/2014

healthcare.gov

healthcare.gov

On the Injured List: Pinched Nerve and Epidural Injection

ESI for Lumbar Pain

Monday, I went in for my first of three epidural injections. Unlike the injections given to women in labor, these injections are to help inflammation of the disc in my spine–which is pushing against my nerve. I was terrified of the experience. I hate needles and the thought of how it was going to go down, scared the crap out of me.

Here is a brief description, if you are interested: A nurse came in and took all my vitals and briefed me on what was about to happen. First step was to tell me that I would not be able to drive if given a mild sedative, but I could,  if I decided to go for the local, topical solution. I took the latter. I wanted to be fully aware of what was happening and I could not guarantee that with a mild sedative. Second, I went into a room with two nurses and the doctor. I was hooked to more vital checking machines and laid face down, with my stomach on a pillow. Third, the doctor came in and and numbed the area. As he was looking at the area he was also checking an x-ray machine to ensure accuracy. As the needle went in, I screamed! Yeah, I felt it and it hurt. The doctor, promptly removed the needle and applied more numbing medication. Then, he went in again. This time, I felt nothing. Before I knew it–we were done. After that, I was led to recovery for 10 minutes and given a cold drink. Finally, I was told I could go home, but to take it easy the remainder of the day and to ice the injection area later that night.

The Day(s) After

Tuesday the pain had decreased, however, I still maintained a low profile.

Wednesday (Today), the pain is there but, not as bad as it had been. The only thing now is –wondering. Wondering when and how severe the pain will be when it comes back and what should I do do to protect myself. I am terrified of going back to yoga, but I am going to go back and give it a whirl with a less intense class. Running is out of the question. I have also been researching natural alternatives for joints, bones, and nerve health.  And, I am  seeing a massage therapist in hopes of finding some relief.

Wish me luck, say a prayer, or whatever. This is going to be a painstaking year.

Workout Stalled: On the injured list

Frustrating–to say the very least. I have been dealing with pain down the rear of my back leg since December. Initially, I thought it was centralized below my left cheek.

So, after a month, I decided to go see my primary care doctor and she told me it was likely sciatic tension in the muscle. With prescriptions for a steroid pack, ibuprofen, and an anti-inflammatory in hand and instructions to take them over the weekend and follow up on Monday. And oh yeah, no hot yoga for a week!! This may not seem like a big deal but at that time it was a recipe for disaster. I needed yoga to protect my sanity.

However, I followed orders. I walked four miles for two Sundays and meticulously watched what I ate. Upon the other recommendation of my doctor, I went to my first physical therapy appointment. In physical therapy, I was told the same thing and given some new exercises to do but, this time I got the clear for yoga! After some moderation in yoga and a decrease in pain, I thought everything was okay.

I was wrong.

Toward the end of February, pain was starting back up. I began to notice extra shaking in my left leg during my triangle but I thought I could work it out. That was until February 25th, during Hot Yoga Fusion. I could not even bend over with a straight back to touch my toes!! Are you kidding me?! I had just started to conquer the standing bow on both legs and, a sloppy, but accurate-ish standing head-to-knee, and now I could not even touch my TOES! Downward dog and planks were completely out of the question. In shame and frustration I left thirty minutes into the class. Defeated. I headed to the drugstore and decided to start cool therapy. I bought ice packs and the whole shebang.

It didn’t work.

By Thursday I was crying on the phone to my mom and considering calling an ambulance. Instead I went to immediate care. My pain was so intense, I could not sleep the night before nor sit comfortably. I felt the pain radiating from my lower back, down the back of my thigh, tightening and sharpening from my need down, to a numbness and tingling in left foot. It felt like three different types of pain on one side of my body. Immediate care ran x-rays and gave me similar pills but this time included a pill which I needed to give my social in order to buy. However, the pain was still there and my foot is in a constant state of “sleep”.  Now, I have to get an MRI and speak to a neurosurgeon…whaa!! How did this even happen? I did nothing to warrant this–at all!

Anyway, the next day I was still feeling awful, so, to the ER I went. This time I got a CT scan and a shot of steroids to go with my pill cocktail…ugghh. Is this seriously what the medical profession is all about?? Medicating people and then giving them the side eye when you, the doctor, prescribes pain pills. Yeah, that happened.

So, here I am.  Three months after my initial pain and still not able to feel my left toes. I had an appointment for an MRI on Today but I can’t get in to speak with the specialist until FRIDAY. Yes, I have to go even longer in pain with no answers and no yoga.

Graphic from painkickers.com

Hot Yoga, periods, and PMDD…oh my

I have been promising to do this post for months. It was meant to be at least three separate post as there is so much going on here, but it all relates back to the same awful topic–periods or as Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory would say “menses” . Oh the menses. It is generally the worst days of life. You spend so much time working out, eating right and one (in my case two) weeks before the “ball” drops all that goes out the window. I’m tired, angry, irritable, moody, bloated, nauseated, hungry…and oh so much more. This is the worst time and honestly only my close friends tolerated this—I could get mean and pretty hard core.

Me & PMDD

Fortunately for me I was diagnosed with PMDD around 2005. I knew something was wrong and I worked with my doctor to figure it out. This meant several months of journal writing and paying attention to my body, then reporting back to my doctor.  The journal writing allowed me a chance to reflect on what I was doing. For example, I would verbally send people, mostly my friends into tears–it sucked. I won’t go into too much detail but I was awful and I knew if I kept it up, I would not have any friends at all. My doctor prescribed medication for me to help balance out my serotonin levels. I am far from a MD or PhD in the appropriate field to give you advice, but I can share my experience. To help, she prescribed a moderate dosage of a generic form of Zoloft, called Sertraline. Unlike folks who take Sertraline for other reasons I take mine when PMDD symptoms start to rear their ugly head. Luckily, you can set a calendar to my period –to which now I am happy to share, there’s an app for that! I use My Calendar in the Google Play store and a cute little dog helps keep me in the know.

My Period

It sucks…I hate it.

If you want to know more about what it’s like and what I go through, check out this blog post from My Bikram Yoga Life. It is spot on. Take note of the way your period can screw with your mind and mess up your poses during practice. 🙂

photo from Jezebel

Hot Yoga & the Period

My first few months doing hot yoga I avoided going during my period like a junkie to rehab…seriously, though, the thought was just disgusting to me. Until one day I just went. The worse case scenario was that I would have to leave early (by the way, my studio is pretty awesome and they are not crazed wackos like at some places). Don’t get me wrong, it is not the most pleasant experience, having your period in 100-degree plus room. All the while you are contorting your body in 26 different positions. When I peel out of my soaking wet clothes after yoga during my period, I find out just how absorbent my maxi pad is…I use Always by the way. Okay, this may have gone a little too far, but this is need-to-know stuff, in my opinion. On a more positive note, my cramps have become much more manageable and my flow is less.  I am having little to no cramps during my time. This is a vast change from before when cramps made me dizzy, gave me headache, and made me want to vomit.

Okay, this enough. Until next time.

Hot Yoga and Stress Relief

No equipment, just you.

It was a ridiculous summer. I took a break from my masters program and decided to get some rest and regroup. On top of that there were things I had to deal with at work and a  lot of  other stuff. Through all the change and challenge what kept me sane was the stability and peace of mind I received from doing hot yoga. I’ve done Bikram, Hot Vinyasa, Hot Fusion, and Hip and Torso conditioning to keep my knees and hip aligned for running.

Looking back I don’t know what I would have done to cope this summer without hot yoga being an option. I enjoy the fact I can go into a yoga class and be led with a group but I don’t have to talk to anyone and I don’t have to focus on anything else but my movements and my body.

I have become so in tune with my body that in late August when I felt my energy level drop and my temperature spiked a bit, I new something was wrong. A week later I found a lump on my neck. Never look on WebMD when you find a lump anywhere and take it as law. WebMD made me think I had a tumor and I freaked out the best way I knew how–by trying not to take it seriously. However, I did decide it was prudent to go to the doctor. The doctor informed me it was a swollen lymph-node.

I credit being observant of my body to hot yoga. Before I was so blah that I would have never noticed much of anything except craving toxic foods which can also lead to stress.

Hot yoga allows me the chance to sweat out the small stuff literally and figuratively. I get a lot of thinking done in the hour and a half I am there and one of my favorite things is coming to the realization that somethings are not as important as I initially thought they were.

🙂

Careerist: Life or something similar

Photo of Parry Ernsberger from HelloGiggles.com

I ran across this great post on HelloGiggles.com this morning and I had to share. Parry Ernsberger wrote a very relevant article titled, Finding Happy Things in Unhappy Places. The awesomeness and amazeballs timing of this piece is ridiculous. I have been having this conversation with a couple of my friends and we are honestly making plans to work together to get our crap in check.

Fortunately, none of us are dealing with a broken heart but unhappy, negative places we can write volumes about. Personally, I can fill the first two…just being honest. There are several things that Parry hits on that are so spot on that I felt like I wrote them myself.

Before the critics jump in and say she is whining or our generation is full of babies…blah, blah, blah. I believe this article is the complete opposite of that. With most slumps, in order to get out of them you have to go through the phases. The most important thing is how you handle moving forward. Anyone can sit and complain but Parry does something awesome by making a plan and taking a risk.

So here is snip from the article below. To read the entire article hop on over to HelloGiggles.com.

Most people think you’ve already made it when you move to New York City. “New YAWK!” they would exclaim when I returned home to North Carolina for the first time since my move. “Don’t you just looove it?” people would coo before offering up their own favorite part of the city, which usually included a department store trip or a Broadway show or some “cute little restaurant” in Soho. “Best city in the world!” I’d nod with gritted teeth. I didn’t just love it. And I wasn’t going to Soho for anything, ever.