SmartLipo Diary: Part I

Posted: January 26, 2012 in SmartLipo
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Let the countdown begin!

My SmartLipo surgery is scheduled for one week from today, which means that for the next week I’ll be doing some necessary prep work.

Today, my biggest challenge was to drink at least a quart of water.

For me, that’s a lot of water.

But I got it done.

Conveniently, I have a water bottle precisely that size, which I typically consider ridiculously huge, but for this it’s perfect. I’ll be drinking one of those every day until surgery.

Tomorrow: prescriptions!

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As my quest to get totally healthy and happy continues, I find myself questioning situations in new ways. The way I process things has changed significantly in the last couple of years, to the point where things I used to just do I now sometimes over-think and over-analyze.  And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it helps me get to the bottom of my emotions which have bounced around all over the place for most of my life.

When I stopped taking anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications about a year ago, I was afraid that I’d slide back into the place where my emotions hit peaks and valleys every few hours and made me feel like I was stuck on a bad roller coaster I couldn’t get off of. That hasn’t happened for the most part…the coping skills I learned in therapy helped me stay more balanced and to stop and consider why things were making me feel certain ways.

I found that I had to spend a lot of time working on my attitude, and my negativity. Negativity has always been kind of a knee-jerk response for me, because I’ve spent a lot of my life expecting things I want to be taken away; things I’ve worked hard for to not come out how I’d hoped. I never realized it was such a pervasive part of my life until I got help. For the most part, I’m better at catching myself when negative thinking starts to creep in, but I still struggle with not letting little things bother me.

Even things that don’t affect me.

Like this evening, when boyfriend asked if I’d heard about Paula Dean’s announcement that she has diabetes.

I have.

“It pisses me off,” I [innocently, or so I thought] informed him, “because she’s insinuating that it’s not a big deal, and that it’s fine for her to continue eating the same things even though she has a serious condition. She should be a better role model.”

Then boyfriend accused me of being too negative, which made me mad, because I felt like I was just responding to his initial inquiry, so I yelled at him and informed him that I’m sick of feeling like he’s setting me up for failure by trying to dictate how I should respond to his questions. Since I can’t know what he’s thinking, I can’t always respond how he wants me to. Am I supposed to lie, and pretend things don’t bother me when they really do?

Eventually we retreated to our respective corners and discussed things, and he told me that for him it comes down to my response…still. It’s not a problem that I think Paula Dean should be a better role model; it’s a problem in his mind that I let something that absolutely doesn’t affect me become that big of a deal that it pisses me off.

Fair enough.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, as I start to put my music out into the world and prepare to face the inevitable barrage of negative feedback that is sure to accompany the positive.  Getting to a point where that negativity doesn’t bother me, and recognizing that it doesn’t have to affect me unless I let it, is going to be a process, but it’s going to start with making these other little changes, like not being phased by what a TV personality does. I can disagree with it, but it doesn’t have to piss me off. It can just be what it is.

But seriously Paula Dean…behave yourself. There are kids watching you.

I Am Full of Christ Love!

Posted: January 16, 2012 in faith, healing
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If you’ve seen the movie Saved! then you’re snickering after reading the title of this post.

If you have not seen the movie Saved! please do so, and then resume reading. I’ll wait.

There was a knock on my door this afternoon, and I opened it to find a somewhat familiar face named Dennis who has been coming around the neighborhood inviting people to come to Sunday night bible study at his house. I think I first encountered him back in about August, and he’s come back a few times since then. He’s very persistent.

I’ve been thinking about going to a bible study or church for a while, because my faith has been an important, if problematic to define, factor in my life for as long as I can remember. For a long time, I assumed church wasn’t for me because I was not nearly perfect enough to fit in. I figured I’d just done too many things wrong and maxed out my limit on what was forgivable.

Other things in my life have made church problematic. Such as the whole “thou shalt not have sex before marriage” bit. I figured I’d screwed that one up the first time I encountered a real, live penis at about age 14.

The first time this Dennis character showed up on my doorstep, I figured the truth was the easiest way to get rid of him.

“I’d love to come to bible study,” I told him honestly, “but I don’t think I’d fit in there. I live here…with my boyfriend…to whom I am not married.”

“Oh by all means, bring him too!” Dennis replied cheerfully.

“He’s sort of Catholic…” I insisted. Clearly, strike two.

“Oh don’t worry, we don’t make anyone go through the conversion chamber until at least the second or third night!” he laughed.

I turned back into the house a little befuddled. I’ve used these lines on the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses multiple times, and they’ve always worked. It was going to be more difficult getting rid of Dennis, I could tell.

He came back several times over the course of the fall, and even introduced himself to boyfriend, who he chatted with about cars or guns or something before continuing on down the neighborhood. When he came back this afternoon, it was almost like seeing an old friend. I’ve come to expect him to pop up from time to time.

Tonight, though, I was part bored and part curious, and figured I had nothing to lose, so I did something uncharacteristic for me, blew the dust off the cover of my bible, and trudged through the snow up the street to Dennis’ house.

You know that poem, about the footprints in the sand?

I followed Dennis’ footsteps through the snow, from my front door to his. The author in me loves the comparison.

And bible study was…pleasant. Non-judgmental. Just an interesting discussion of the book of John.

I’m not sure where this is headed, or if this is the right bible study group for me, but I’m willing to keep an open mind. And maybe even go back next week.

The thing about faith for me is that it doesn’t come in one shape or size, and it’s different for everyone. It has different interpretations. The things I’ve been through in my life can be seen in a lot of different lights, depending on who is doing the inquiring. But I’m ready to look back now and explore what faith means to me again, at this new juncture.

I’m always going to be a sinner. But maybe there’s room for some Christ love in there too.

And seriously…go watch Saved!

I Feel…Old…

Posted: January 13, 2012 in disappointment, responsibility

…and yes, yes you should be reading that as Captain Barbossa says it at the end of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Today was kind of a roller coaster. I’m glad it’s over, and I can chillax with my cat and some bad TV. And, in a little bit, my guitar.

I started my morning sipping coffee and reading random articles on cracked.com

All was well with my world.

Then the professor I work for dropped in and demanded (nicely) that I move most of my books out of the office to make room for more of his books. This is well within the realm of reasonable, but it’s still frustrating. So instead of spending the day reading, I spent it trying to sort through every book I own and make sure the ones I will NEED for my research stayed in my office, and packing up the ones I just kind-of-sort-of need into boxes to bring home.

I was still sort of pissy about it when I headed off to my guitar class, though there’s really nothing for me to do about this one but build a bridge and get over it. I’m entitled to be irritated, but I don’t have any grounds to be upset.

Guitar class was one part awesome, one part uncomfortable. It’s becoming very clear that the professor for the class is very patient with helping students who need it, but also expects everyone to do what he says when he says it. And I’m pretty okay with that combination. High expectations will keep me moving forward.

Which is happening, because I have learned more about reading sheet music in the last two days than I have in the last ten years. And an actual scale.

Progress!!

Today the class was split into three groups – people who were struggling with the stuff we learned on Tuesday (there were tears involved), people who were okay with what we learned and had moved on to the first exercise and were content to keep practicing that (me), and people who were ready to move on to the next lesson (got to go outside).

A couple of girls and I went to coffee after class. It was fun, but having a conversation with girls who aren’t even twenty-somethings yet made me feel like ancient history. It was inevitable that one of them asked how old I was.

Twenty…seven…

“What?! No way! You don’t look that old,” she insisted.

…good to know.

Still processing how I feel about that one. I might be in the beginning stages of a midlife crisis.

…I’m going to go write a song about that now.

I Read a Book Today.

Posted: January 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Okay that’s not entirely true. I read a couple hundred pages of a book that’s over seven hundred pages that I’m going to be slogging through for the rest of the week, and probably part of the weekend.

But nonetheless…I spent the majority of the day locked in my little office, getting my read on.

I also had choir class, which went by pretty fast, and the new people like me even got to leave like 30 minutes early. I was back in my office by 1:45, with a nice can of cold diet Dr. Pepper open on my desk, prepared to finish an exciting afternoon of…reading…

I did get a really sweet email though, from the journal that is publishing my first official academic article, which will be out in a couple of months. It pretty much just said “send us your address so we can send you the publishing contract to sign,” but that was enough to inspire a happy dance.

…now if I could just get a letter like that for my trashy romance novel…

Having a Schedule: So Far, So Good

Posted: January 11, 2012 in SmartLipo
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Today marked day 2 of being back on having a schedule, getting up early, and being on campus in my little tiny office from 8-5. It’s actually been quite a nice change.

I’ve pretty much been a slug since I finished taking my prelims a couple of months ago. I was super burned out from that whole process, so I crashed into a nice, cushy spot on my couch and basically didn’t move except to clean the house and shower.

It was nice for a while. I did get a lot of non-academic stuff done.

I wrote lyrics and music to some songs that I’ve been toying around with for a while. They’re beautiful to me. Pretty soon they’ll even be up online, and I’ll post the link so you can go listen to them. One is the song I played for my family at New Years. One is a tribute to someone we all lost two years ago. One is a little song I wrote when I was sixteen. I’ll post the lyrics soon.

I finished editing (again) on my first novel, and now I’m ready to start shopping around for a literary agent (again), as soon as I steel myself for all the rejection letters I’m inevitably going to get (again).

I made a gingerbread house:

And baked lots of cookies:

…I gave most of them to people. I didn’t eat them. All.

pretty

I read a book by Buddy Levy. Who just happens to teach at my University. And whose email address I just happen to have. More on that later.

I hung out with my cat. He is just as pathetic as ever.

I also hit a Nissan. But that goes on the fail list. Hopefully, I get my precious precious truck back this week, all cleaned up and put back together and painted.

And, as you know if you’ve been reading, I booked my SmartLipo procedure, and just making that decision was life changing.

But, in some ways, it was harder to be at home, with no schedule, on the couch, than it is to be at work, on a nice, consistent schedule from 8-5, Monday through Friday. I’m a little relieved to be back to that. I feel productive.

And smart(er)…my first article is getting published in a couple of months. 🙂

This week I survived my first round music classes, including choir, convocation, and guitar. Next week I finally have my first voice lessons.

Yay.

Hello, Insurance?

Posted: January 10, 2012 in SmartLipo
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Question of the day:

Will insurance cover the cost of prescription medications, in whole or in part, for my SmartLipo procedure, or will it not?

This is an interesting facet of things I hadn’t really considered.

Obviously insurance isn’t going to cover the cost of the procedure, because it’s not medically necessary. But the medication is necessary for the procedure, and I have pretty good prescription coverage, and the doctor’s office was even nice enough to go the extra mile and have my prescriptions filled at my student health pharmacy. Not all places will do this, and it warms my tiny heart just a little bit.

I’ll be interested to see how this turns out.