29 August 2009

Day of Reckoning

It's time! VOTE VOTE VOTE! And for goodness sakes, VOTE!

Fellow patriots, raise your voices and cast your vote(s) right here at this website for Ms. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. {inspirational music swells}  We can make a difference. Yes, yes we can.

And in case you forgot which entry was your favorite (as there was quite a bit of (un)healthy competition in this e-pageant), remind yourself why PCOS is the sexiest of all chronic diseases right here.

Oh, this is so exciting. I'm getting weepy already.

25 August 2009

Safety First

This is our pool.

This is an excerpt from the safety insert.

I hope I never need a manual to tell me diving into 8 inches of water is a bad idea.*

*But then again, I asked my husband to pick up a movie so we could watch it on the movie box. When he inquired as to what exactly I meant by movie box, I was mildly irritated by his lack of focus until he kindly reminded me that regular people call them DVD players. Chagrin set in swiftly. Perhaps safety instructions (and a healthy dose of common sense) could be of some benefit.

PS Didn't catch my announcement yesterday regarding my rise to stardom on The Meanest Mom? You can read it here and vote at the end of the week.

24 August 2009

Who says only Brits can throw a good coming-out party?

In high school, I was crowned our year's Brotherhood Queen. This is a title I have worn proudly, requiring all of my friends, acquaintances, and bank tellers to call me Queen Jennifer for the past 9 years. They patronized me for the first 5, but my superb people skills have alerted me to a slight begruding manner by which others complete this task.  
Are you even Brotherhood Queen anymore? they grumble. 

Haven't there been 9 other Brotherhood Queens since your metaphorical crown was bestowed upon you? they murmur. 

What the heck is Brotherhood Queen anyway? they challenge.
Well Bellyachers, here is your restitution. If all goes according to plan, I shall shelve my insistence at being referred to as Q-Jay. My swelling humility is due to none other than
(drumroll please......)

Pardon me, but what is that? SO glad you asked. The Meanest Mom, a witty woman of words, decided to host the first annual e-pageant to determine which chronic disease is sexiest of all. In her words,
[A] committee comprised of chronically ill women in various stages of physical and emotional decay will select the finalists. Then there will be voting, tears of joy, a plastic crown, and bragging rights FOREVER.
I pondered this challenge for an extended 4 second interval before realizing: I want that plastic crown. In a bad, bad way.

And wouldn't you know, I was selected as one of the seven finalists due to an "ability to laugh at [my]self and find humor in the unfortunate."

There were a couple edits made and I sure don't recall using all of those superfluous exclamation marks, but you get the point. At the end of the week, be sure to vote for Ms. PCOS as Ms. Chronic Disease of America. Encourage your friends to vote. Post on your own blog about how sexy PCOS can be. You'll be glad you did.

Another reason I need to use cash

So remember that time when I received a Facebook friend request from my server at a restaurant? Lesson of the day: use cash.

I should have attended class that day.

I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and have been formulating a post in my mind about the condition for months, but for the purposes of this post, suffice it to say that it causes weight gain and makes weight loss extremely difficult.

My endocrinologist who helps me with it is awesome. She's so awesome that she has way too many patients so I can't get in to see her for 3 months. Normally I wouldn't wait for a doctor that long, but my resources are limited and she's that good.

In the meantime, my symptoms have been out of control for a few months, and I've been researching appropriate meal plans that address all my needs. I know my doctor can work with me on this, but I didn't want to wait.

Solution? Go to a nutritionist or a dietitian.

Receptionist: Hello.

Me: Hi, is this ______ Dietitians Group?

Receptionist: Yes, it is _______ Dietitians Group.

Me: I have PCOS and am looking for a nutritionist or dietitian that can assist me in creating a healthy meal plan based on these specific needs. Is that something your dietitians do?

Receptionist: Yes. How much weight do you want to lose?

Me: I'm not looking to lose weight as much as I am trying to establish healthy eating habits that...

Receptionist: (cuts in) Okay, well do you want to lose any weight?

Me: Yes, of course. I'm small for a women with PCOS (average BMI) but I could stand to lose a few pounds. My priority though is to improve my overall health. Basically, I want to have a meal plan that takes into account that I have PCOS, insulin resistance, and I'm nursing a baby. Is that something your dietitians work with and have had a lot of experience with?

Receptionist: Yes, they see a lot of people like that. When would you like to come in?

Me: Also, I'm pretty much a vegetarian. I eat meat occasionally, but it's very rare (not the meat, the occasions...ba da ching). I'm having trouble keeping my carbs down while still maintaining an adequate amount of protein. Will they be able to find appropriate alternatives with me?

Receptionist: Yes. You will create a meal plan together catered to your needs during your consultation.

Me: Great! I'll come in Saturday at 9 am.

Post-phone call thoughts.
  • Hmmm, she was somewhat curt and unhelpful, but she's the receptionist. I'm sure she doesn't know the nitty-gritty of PCOS.
  • Why did she answer with "hello" instead of with the office name?

Bad Sign 1. I pulled into the parking lot at 8:55 am and was the only person there.
Bad Sign 2. The person who let me in at 9:05 was an insurance agent (who also gave me his card and assured me he would be there for all my insurance needs).
Bad Sign 3. I called the dietitian at 9:15 to ensure she was coming (perhaps her receptionist did not tell her about the appointment) and she sounded an awful lot like the receptionist.
Bad Sign 4. Upon arrival, it became evident that my dietitian was very overweight.

I forgave my doctor's tardiness and seeming lack of adherence to the principles in her field (I fully understand eating well and still gaining weight) and went into the appointment with a positive attitude.

Order of Events
Doc: Step on the scale.

Me: (I acquiesced)

Doc: (leads me to her office) How much weight do you want to lose?

Me: I am not focusing on a number at this point. I have PCOS and am more concerned with preventing heart disease and making lifetime positive dietary choices.

Doc: Okay, this is your BMI. 135-140 pounds would be a good weight for you.

Me: Of course. (thinking, did she even hear what I just said?)

We then went through what I eat during the day. When I mentioned I had insulin resistance and elevated levels of testosterone (main PCOS symptoms) she was completely surprised and wanted to know more about why I had those things and how I knew. ("So those things happen because of the PCOS?" "Um, yeah doc. The main symptoms, hello! If you know anything about PCOS, you would know that")
Results. I walked out with a 1500-1600 calorie meal plan to help me lose 1 pound per week. No talk about whole grains. No talk about how my food choices will affect my blood sugar (which is already a problem). I can eat 1500 calories worth of SweeTarts and as long as I stay within 1500 calories, I will lose a pound a week. I also received a bunch of handouts that looked like they were photocopied from a 5th grade health textbook.

Click to enlarge this very helpful meal plan based on my individual needs:

Other Exceptional Moments.
Me: Where did you attend college?

Doc: (defensively) "What?! Are you interviewing me now? I don't think where I went to school should matter. I've been doing this for 20 years."

Me: "Yes, I am interviewing you. That's my right as a patient and there's nothing wrong with being curious where you went to school, especially since your degrees are not on the wall and that's usually the first place I look."

Doc: (responded with two places in New York that I was unfamiliar with)

Me: (thinking) (Why did I say that? I'm so rude. Plus, she has all my credit card information.)

Valuable Lessons from the Consultation.
Chapter 1: Drink skim milk instead of whole milk if you want to consume less fat. (I don't drink milk, not that she asked)
Chapter 2: Fruit is a good snack.
Chapter 3: Most soda has sugar in it.
Chapter 4: How to read a nutrition label on a box of cereal
Chapter 5: Just because it says Dietitians Group does not mean you should assume there is more than one dietitian...or a receptionist.
Chapter 6: Never ask a professional their qualifications.
Chapter 7: Pay with cash. If you fear they may misuse your credit card information because of the scathing remarks you make, perhaps it would be better to pay with something green.

All this for merely $50. What a bargain!

(This event occurred on Valentine's Day. I have since found an incredible nutritionist if anyone wants her name).

Below are some of the handouts she gave me. Hot diggity dog!

23 August 2009

Advantage: Universe

1. I watched Bill Maher and enjoyed it (point: Universe)
2. I strongly agreed with Ashton Kutcher's political comments (point: Universe)
3. Twice (point: Universe)
4. After Walter Cronkite's death, a poll revealed Jon Stewart as the most trusted newscaster in America (point: Universe)

4-0. You're good, Universe. Really good.

* photos of Arkansas will come when I get off my duff and upload them

18 August 2009

Ugly Duckling Syndrome

Every high school has an ugly duckling. Someone who made a reprehensible mistake in their past and cannot seem to lick that obstacle. Whether it was peeing their pants in 1st grade and being forced to wear pink sweats for the rest of the day or getting a bad case of lice in 4th, that person's name is always accompanied by a cringe. Sometimes they are the butt of others' jokes. Sometimes they are forgotten until a popular kid mentions their name by accident, juxtaposed with rolling eyes and pretentious laughter.

As you privately get to know this ugly duckling however, you realize that the condemning deed was actually just childhood folly. Yes, (s)he still has some of the quirks that has followed for many years, but overall, this ugly duckling is actually pretty cool. But how do you explain that to the prevailing high school royalty? You probably don't, allowing this ugly duckling to handle the unwarranted ugliness on their own.

This week, we met an ugly duckling. And instead of allowing her to continually receive undue mockery, I'd like to be forthcoming with the remarkable qualities that are so often overlooked. Her name is Arkansas.

Yes, that Arkansas.

The what's there to do in Arkansas? Arkansas.

The why are you making pilgrimage to Bill Clinton? Arkansas

The there's nothing but a bunch of hillbillies and racists and cousin couples there! Arkansas.

The moonshinin', corncob pipin', bacca chewin', dirt eatin' Arkansas Arkansas

Yes, that Arkansas. And (most of) it is undeserved.

Our quick vacation to Arkansas found us yearning to live there. The lakes were gorgeous and small enough to feel like wide, winding rivers. The trees which I sadly cannot identify, invited a serene ambiance to this underrated state. Southern hospitality was in full force and while we did in fact meet a hillbilly, we only met one and he was wearing shoes and had what appeared to be all of his original teeth. Sorry California, I know you love yourself (and we love you, too), but you've been harsh with our southeast friend.

Arkansas, we adore you.

(Pictures to follow as soon as the boy naps, which could be measured in hours or in days. I would suggest not holding your breath)

03 August 2009

Talking Instead of Sleeping

We are still working with an occupational therapist on improving Jonas' speech (among other things) and he only seems to practice when he's supposed to be napping. There isn't any visual excitement since it's just his monitor, but around 53 seconds or so you can hear him say "giggle giggle giggle."

This boy makes us too happy.

PS Thanks for all the well-wishes. We're slowly getting healthy here.