Thursday, July 31, 2008

T-Shirtte Shoppe

Is this about what you had in mind? Microfiber, in girlie or unisex style:

First one goes to Victoria. Victoria, if you'd like to claim your prize, send me an email w/ a place to mail it and your preferences re: style and size (doctormamamd is the name and gmail is the place, and don't forget the "md," someone else stole plain "doctormama"). (Will that circuitous address decrease the spamming, you think?)

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Hair Doesn't Work, and T-shirts

Upswing underway, I’m fairly sure. I am looking forward to things here and there—for example, I am really pleased that I get to meet up with a fellow blogger tomorrow. (Caution: if you let your location slip and it’s anywhere near me, I may hunt you down. I have made several of my best friends this way. I’d link to them, but then my own location would be obvious.)

Mignon noted the diversity evident at HB’s preschool. That this does make a difference was illustrated yesterday evening: I was sitting on the front stoop with him and he started trying to put cornrows in my hair. “This won’t hurt, but it will pull a little bit,” he said. “You twist it and twist it, and then—Mama, your hair doesn’t work!”

I am addicted to your running success stories. I really have to make up some shirts to send to folks with the best stories. If I do, what should they say? “At least I’m running”? “Another Maggot”?

And if you’re looking for something funnier and spicier than what I’m up to (not a very high bar, I admit), check out Feral. (Warning: if you’re at work and your internet access blocks “inappropriate” content, her page may not open.)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It’s Not You, It’s Me

You’d think I’d recognize the signs earlier by now:
Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.

depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities
significant weight loss when not dieting
psychomotor agitation or retardation
fatigue or loss of energy
feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
diminished ability to think or concentrate
recurrent thoughts of death
It’s always such a weird relief to realize what’s going on—like when you’re driving around lost and suddenly spot a landmark you recognize: I’ve been here before, and I know the way back. I have increased the dose of one of my medications on my own but have an appointment with my psychiatrist soon.

Probably the worst part of it is what a fraud I feel like when I’m counseling students and residents.

TH has not hung up his shorts (nor stopped shaving his legs), but no races in the near future and no discussion of two-wheeled conveyances. My father-in-law has donated a TiVo, so the Tour can be watched without me having to keep HB quiet.

I am running, and that feels good.

There are still things that make me feel happy. Things like this comment from Victoria:
Please count me as one of your success stories. In January, I was completely sedentary, obese, & suffering from pretty serious arthritis pain in my hips, as well as meralgia paresthetica & near-crippling referred pain from a bulging disc in my back. The orthos told me there was nothing to be done about the hips until I got old enough for a replacement (I’m only 42). I had a couple of steroid shots in my back for the disc pain, but they did nothing. The spine ortho was talking about surgery. My PCP told me that weight loss would help—but how can you lose weight if you’re in too much pain to exercise?

Then, I slowly decided to start trusting your advice that it’s ok to run even if you’re in pain. This is contrary to what the orthos were telling me, but then, they really weren’t helping me, and I knew something had to change. … I knew I had to lose weight to stop that pain.

So, I trusted you. I started running, very, very slowly (so slowly that my dog was walking on the uphill sections of our runs!), only half an hour at a time, only every other day. Running itself isn’t burning many calories, but there’s something about being active that makes every other challenge in life seem more manageable. It made me feel optimistic, and powerful.

I made a strenuous effort to lose weight. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve lost 35 pounds. I’m now “mildly overweight” instead of “obese.” Everyone keeps commenting on how different I look. But the most significant change—the one that nobody can see—is that I have NO PAIN. My hips feel tender when I run, but the rest of the time? No meralgia at all. No referred pain from my disc at all. And no arthritis pain at all (except a little bit during & after runs).

This is incredible. I would say I have a 95% reduction in my pain. Back in December and January, when the pain was at its worst, nobody was giving me any hope that I could recover from my pain. … I was panicking—I felt like a decrepit old lady with no hope. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t work. I was taking Vicodin every day, and feeling stoned all the time, and still in too much pain to think about anything else. Sometimes, I couldn’t even carry on a simple conversation with my husband about what to have for dinner because all I could really focus on was how much pain I was having … Now I am pain-free and I feel like I’m in charge of my life and my health.

I am convinced that there’s something about exercise itself (not just the weight loss) that helps my body manage pain.

Anyway, what is so incredibly helpful about your website is not only that you tell us not to be afraid of pain and not to give in to it, but also that you set really strict limits on how much we can do. In the past, I’ve always, always overdone it, gotten injured, and become discouraged. Now, doing only half an hour every other day, I have had no injuries. And I also have no excuse not to exercise. If I feel like having a glass of wine in front of the t.v. instead of going for a run, I tell myself, “Oh, come on, it’s only half an hour.” And I go.

I think of you every time I go for a run. I think you would be so happy to see what a difference your advice has made in my life.
And things like this picture of HB, HAPPY at daycare, sent unsolicited by one of his great teachers:

Note the evidence that he now chooses his clothes himself: (green) socks with sandals.