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MELISSA_ROBIN's Recent Blog Entries

Good news, Bad news

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Usually I'm complaining that my work schedule is insane, that I'm wearing myself too thin, and that I don't have time to workout. All of that is still true, however, there is good news.

Now that my new insurance kicked in, I finally got a new doctor (which is great because I hated my old one so much I would avoid going to her). I saw my new MD yesterday for the first time. Here are the results.

Weight: Way too high (not anything I didn't know)
Pulse: 70
Pulse ox: 99
BP: 122/74
Blood work: everything in normal range EXCEPT my LDL which is slightly high (should be below or equal 129 and mine is 137)

That's all good - at least I'm happy with it. I told her I feared a cardiac issue simply because I constantly feel like I'm dying. So, we did an EKG, which came out normal. Also good news.

That brings me to the bad news. Now that a heart problem has been ruled out, it means that my anxiety has gotten so bad that I'm almost constantly in a state of anxiousness or panic. All of the chest pain, heart palpitations, racing pulse, difficulty breathing, inability to think straight, and light-headedness is all due to my anxiety. I guess, technically, anxiety is good news compared to it being a heart thing, but it still means that I have to go back to a therapist and a psychiatrist to try and manage it. *sigh* I had been doing so well for so long, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm so pleased you've found a doctor you can work with. Having all these stats is great.

I struggle with anxiety too. On one occasion several years ago I became convinced I was dying and went to the ER to find out how long I had to live. There was nothing wrong with me, of course. I understand how what you learned is a blessing and a terror.

I'm new to your blog, so I don't yet know what you've been doing to manage your anxious tendencies. I presume you're doing relaxation and lots of self-support. It's not always enough for me, but that stuff helps a lot.

I have an actual, written checklist of things to try when I start to ramp up. The last thing I need at such moments is for my mind to go blank.

I hope that the knowledge you gained can help you reign in your reactions.

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I am a failure

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

OK. So the title is a little misleading, but I am a failure - a foster failure. After the first two kittens of the four I was fostering got adopted, I got busy with all of my other activities and work so I was unable to take them to adoption events. As time went on, the little monsters (as I like to call them) started settling in and acting like they owned the place. Phil and I had a conversation and as much as we loved them, we weren't about to add two more cats. We then made a decision - not to keep the boys, but for the betterment of the animals we had at home.

Side story: A couple of years ago one of our cats attacked the other one and it resulted in an abcess that needed to be surgically removed. Ever since then she's been terrified of him and we've had to keep her and another cat completely separate. They got attention, but they just weren't getting the quality of life they deserved. In December, Phil's parents had mentioned that they were interested in adopting again (their two cats had died in 2012). We jumped on the opportunity and rehomed the one who had been attacked, but hoped we could reintegrate the other. She has not been adjusting well despite our efforts. About a week or two ago his parents said they'd take the other cat so the girls could be together again. Now we just have to get her down to SoCal.

Return to the first story: The decision was made to rehome the two girls. We then had another conversation about the kittens since we were both becoming quite attached to them. Phil had said that if we kept them I wouldn't be able to foster again. I told him that I wasn't going to allow animals to die because I wanted to be selfish. I said it broke my heart to adopt them out but that's what we signed up for and if those were the conditions, I wasn't OK with it. So, I did what I was supposed to do. I updated their profiles, took them to the rescue's professional photographer and got their photos taken and made them available through adoption events. We had an interested party who came over for a meet and greet. He fell in love with one of the pair, but I wanted them to go together since they seem pretty attached to each other. He sent photos and video to his girlfriend and said he would get back to us. He then asked to meet one of the other rescue cats, but told me he was still interested in the boys and would have a decision after meeting the other cat.

When I told Phil, he FINALLY admitted that he didn't want to give them up. I said I wasn't going to forgo fostering and that if they were going to stay I was going to have my cake and eat it too. A couple of days went by and he caved. So, we proceeded with the adoption. The boys are officially ours.

This has nothing to do with weight loss and working out (I'll be posting another blog about that tomorrow or later today, I'm sure), but sometimes it's just nice to share a story that isn't me complaining about how I'm not doing so well at reaching my goals.

So here they are - the newest members of our family, Jimmy (black) and Johnny (black and white)

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MADEIT3 2/6/2014 1:50PM

    Sweet cats. Johnny looks like our Paws - the dump cat that I've written about in several blogs.

I'll have to see if Paws will let me get a good photo...

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PFAU60 2/6/2014 11:35AM

  Both are so cute, good luck with the new additions, and have fun with them. Sometimes we have other goals that come first. So please do not beat yourself up about your weight goals. You will make it!

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CLYNNTHOMAS 2/5/2014 8:46PM

    Love your new additions to the family!

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There have been very few times....

Monday, January 13, 2014

that I've been completely ashamed of my weight. I know I'm fat. I know I've been fat for awhile, but there are only a handful of times where how I look has made me feel like less of a person. Saturday was one of those days.

Let's backtrack. The first time I can recall feeling embarrassed about how I look was in high school. It was when I played volleyball and had trouble with some of the conditioning exercises. At that time I was 5'5, 135, and not fat. The team had an entire meeting to discuss me. Meanwhile other girls, girls whose parents were boosters and who were lazier than I could ever dream of being, left that meeting unscathed. I felt awful that I couldn't keep up and like there was something wrong with me. I quit playing after that season ended.

The second time I recall feeling this way was also in high school. My then boyfriend tried to deter me from following my dream of being a broadcast journalist by saying, "people on TV are perfect, and you're not." I was 5'5 and 155. I could stand to lose a few pounds, but saying that wasn't appropriate. I changed my major and career goals.

The next time was when I was on the Depo-Provera shot. I went to my doctor's to get my injection and someone in the waiting room asked me when I was due. I later had someone tell me that it may have been because it was an ObGyn and it was assumed everyone was pregnant. I was 5'5 and 180. Again, I could have lost a few, but I didn't look pregnant. I did nothing and tried to discredit it, even though it still hurts to think about.

The next time was when I went out with a few friends. I had just gone through a traumatic breakup and they told me I wasn't hot or attractive in a roundabout way. I was so upset that I walked the four miles home - fending off would-be abductors the whole time (including someone who exposed himself to me). I was 5'5 and 118. Definitely not fat. In fact, I had many people telling me I was too skinny. I ended up eating - eating a lot. I ate so much I gained 100 pounds. I went from being too skinny to too fat because I couldn't handle the criticism (being not hot enough and told I was too thin all at the same time). I stopped caring.

Things cooled off after that. I didn't have many problems with people making comments that made me feel ashamed of how I looked. Then I moved to the Bay Area.

The time before Saturday I was covering an event for work (I may have blogged about this). It was at the Senior Center and so, so many of the women were pissed that I was even there, chatting up anyone, let alone "their" men. One particularly ruthless lady, again, asked me when I was due. I left, went home, and cried. I was 5'5 and about 200 pounds. I had just come off a couple of years where my life was turned upside down and didn't know how to cope. I was devastated by what she said. It's always affected me, but things continued to get crazier and my schedule never slowed down enough to really get completely on track. I'd get on track, then off-track. I'd go months being able to exercise and control everything and then go months not having the time (or energy) to workout and eating on-the-go (basically fast food, then mall food - I didn't plan anything very well).

This last time, however, may have been the worst. I didn't cry because I was so in shock by it and I'm still processing it. As I've mentioned, I was forced to take a second, low-paying retail job to supplement my already low-paying full-time job in order to pay my bills. The mall is an unforgiving place. I was at the store and a lady came in. I was helping her, being extremely kind and attentive, and she was talking about camis. I found her size in the two she wanted and then we were talking about shapewear. The store has a variety of shapewear and just recently got in "slimming camis." I personally love them. They can be worn as a regular cami, don't look like shapewear, and are very comfortable. We were talking about sizes. I've never been afraid of saying what size I wear in clothing or bras at the store. I'm there to help, and saying my size will give someone a reference point to determine what size they might be. This woman was smaller than me, but by no means small. I told her I wore a large. She looked at me, completely in shock, and said "Yoooou? You wear a large? I can't believe that." I was mortified, but maintained my composure, and just said, "that's why I mentioned it. I wanted to give you a reference point." Then, possibly realizing her error she came up with, "I'm sorry, but they must run big if you wear a large." I told her to get a medium, checked her out, and went on with my day. I'm not over it. The funny thing is that the sizes don't run big. I wear a large (rarely an xl) in nearly every top I own. I have a large chest and need to lose about 50-60 pounds before I'm able to fit into a medium, and that's in select brands. Typically a medium won't fit my chest right. Even now, at my size, I'm not squeezing into a large (although, depending on the brand, it can be a little snug). What bothers me the most is that I know I need to lose weight and I'm trying. I can't workout very often because my schedule is insane, but I do it when I can and try to eat well (today notwithstanding). I don't think things will magically change on their own and I know it takes work, effort and energy - this isn't my first time trying to lose weight. I've never felt so bad about how I look. That lady's comment, and follow up comment, hurt. She did everything but break out in an uncontrollable laughter. I put in my notice that day.

While I'm going to miss the much-needed extra income, I have a few freelance opportunities lined up so I'm hoping those will supplement my income enough. I still need to figure out how to get on track - permanently. I also am now becoming increasingly paranoid about how people see me and what they think of me when they do see me. I have always ordered food and wondered if the waiter or guy behind the counter thinks, "oh, of course, the fat girl is ordering the salad only so she can go home and pig out," or "oh, figures the fat girl would get the fries. Stop eating fries, fat ass." At the store, I never really thought about other people. I mean I would be uncomfortable because I don't like dressing up and we had to, but I tried not to think about how people were viewing my weight. Now I know and all this situation does is reaffirm my beliefs about myself and my desire to not leave the house.

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MADEIT3 1/14/2014 1:33PM

    I don't know whether this will be helpful to you - I certainly hope so. I'm 5'3" and weigh between 135 and 150 pounds - right now I'm right in the middle. I don't consider myself fat. People make one of two kinds of comments to me - either the kind you've had, with people telling you you're fat or the other kind you've had, with people saying you're too thin. And for me, it doesn't seem to make much difference whether I'm 135 or 150. I get both kinds of comments.

So what I have figured out - which is the bit that may help you - is this. People don't see so good. They have some subjective ideal in their minds about what's "thin" and what's "fat." It has nothing to do with weight scales or "normal" or how I really look. It's all about them.

So I pretty much disregard what people tell me about how I look. If someone is exceptionally rude, I might challenge them with "I don't understand why you think it's okay to say that!" If someone is giving me what THEY think is a compliment, I just say thank you.

And why do folks feel they have to comment about my appearance anyway? I had an acquaintance who felt it was her job to comment on my outfit every time she saw me. Usually in the negative. I ended up responding to her the same way each time with, "Yeah, but I'm feeling exceptionally intelligent today!" Eventually, she stopped.

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STEPHM-ARATHON 1/14/2014 9:53AM

    The mall is a really unforgiving place. One time in high school, some teenage boys came up to me and jokingly asked me out because they "liked fat girls". I'm sorry someone was so rude to you. It usually comes from their own insecurities. It's about them, not you. Not that it makes it feel any better when they say something awful to you.

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CARRENK 1/13/2014 8:57PM

    Wow, all I can think is that you have had the supreme misfortune of having a few judgmental, inappropriate and just plain mean people cross your path. The really sad part is that in several of these cases, these were people who should have 'had your back', and been supportive and encouraging.
Don't let the minority opinions color how you see yourself. Our worth as people cannot be measured by a number: either on the scale or on the tag in our clothes. Some people are just too shallow to understand that.

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[Not] Slowing Down

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

For once, I'm not going to whine, although whining is something I do quite well.

Simply, the office is still a train wreck, the job prospects are slim, the NPO work is exhausting and retail sucks.

NPO Projects:
re-writing/re-designing a tri-fold brochure
social media/12-month calendar
communications/marketing plan
foster kittens

Work Projects:
A constant flow of articles (have to transcribe a bunch of interviews and then write the stories)

Surprisingly retail has been extremely slow so I've had more time off from that job than I expected (hardly anyone is getting hours these days). However, next week the mall is open until 11 so I have a feeling my week isn't going to be that great -- we will see though. I guess that means I should probably get my Christmas shopping done (Hello, Amazon!)

New Projects on the Horizon:
GEENT - freelance work, for pay, to promote events. We are working out an amount of hours that can be dedicated to working for the group and tasks that will be done as well as payment. This should be squared away within the next week and projects will start flowing in.
SB - more freelance work. Event bookings, artist bookings, book signings. People think I'm WAY more connected than I actually am - fake it 'til you make it. This is in the works and might take awhile to get off the ground, but there is some potential here. There will be some volunteer PR done as well (I need it for my port).
CW - volunteer press, similar to the press I did awhile ago. This will help build a PR portfolio, which is desperately needed since it appears as if writing in AP style for a living isn't enough to get PR people to look at you.

Last week I was able to work out twice. That's a huge victory for me. This week I haven't been able to do that. Tonight is looking pretty good though. Tomorrow might be an option as well. Friday is completely out. Saturday will depend on if I get asked to do the stories that currently don't have a writer. One or two days is better than none so I'm happy for any time I can get in. Sunday is questionable because I don't know if I'm working or when.

Wish I could slow down, focus, and concentrate on the important things, but my schedule doesn't seem to permit that and I'm always getting asked to do new projects. Since I can't say no, my workload is heavy. Anything to start building my savings account and paying off my medial bills.

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MADEIT3 12/12/2013 9:25AM

    Your work schedule sounds like mine when I have a major proposal to writer, internal communications, CEO Blogs, and a couple of press releases. I manage to work out by taking five to ten minutes of each hour to walk around, stretch, something.

Good luck!!

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CARRENK 12/11/2013 9:30PM

    It's always tough to focus on yourself, especially during this time of year. Celebrate each small victory - they'll add up! emoticon

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I think life doesn't want me to be healthy

Monday, October 07, 2013

As soon as my schedule starts to clear, more things get piled on.

I tried to take a couple of weeks to come down from the big event I planned, but I continued to get slammed. The president's father-in-law passed away the morning after the event so she was immediately off to New York for a month, meaning I had to run the foundation in her absence. Considering half the time I have no idea what I'm doing (half the time I think she doesn't have a clue either), I felt like I completely failed. There were bills to get paid, but I couldn't reach the treasurer. Why? His adult daughter is having some major health problems and he was fighting with doctors to get her the care she needed. Outside of the foundation, my workload was piled on with all of the president's work (she's also the associate editor at my job, and she sits through marathon school board meetings - something that I was forced to do while she was gone). On top of school board, I had to do all of the editing at my work alone. Additionally, one of our writers was in Michigan until the end of September so I was picking up extra stories. I was just hoping to get through it all so I could fully recommit once everyone was back. Of course, it didn't happen.

A couple of weeks ago my apartment complex put a notice on my door. Our lease is up in November and we were hoping (rather foolishly) that our rent wouldn't be increased. The first year it went up $350, last year it only went up $50. We were crossing our fingers that it would be an increase that we could find a way to swing. We've already eliminated every non-vital item from our lives. Unfortunately, the increase is $150, something we can't make happen. Even worse, it's considered "under market value." Our combined salaries are not 2.5 times any of the rates in this area and we make just over what would qualify us for low income housing. I figured I would try to combat the increase by writing more since most of the writing I do is outside of my 40/hr/week job, but the editor then hit me with a bombshell. My overtime can't be over $500/month unless there's a valid reason for the increase. $500 each month is literally the minimum we needed to survive prior to the rent increase.

As soon as the associate editor returned, I knew I couldn't get myself back on track. I needed to focus on finding a new job. Each day I've been scouring the Internet, sending out my resume to just about everything I'm somewhat qualified for. To date, I've received one response (and I've rewritten my resume and cover letter a thousand times). I had my interview last week, but was told by a friend (and one of my references who works at a company that works closely with this one) that they will most likely go with an internal candidate and not to get my hopes up. So I didn't/haven't. They will be making a decision on Friday and I'm not holding my breath.

Not too many people know about the inner workings of my office. There is a lot of toxicity there and not everyone pulls their weight - some just float along, getting by and making life difficult for others. At one point two weeks ago, I thought a co-worker was going to get fired. There was a meeting between him, the editor and the publisher. I wasn't eavesdropping, but I could hear some yelling through the wall (I couldn't make out the words, but I wasn't trying either - it was none of my business). What ended up happening was that my co-worker got a month off -- paid. It wasn't an administrative leave. It was more of a forced vacation. I don't quite understand how that works, but no one is talking about it. I was just told that he would be out the month of October and back November 1. Guess what that means? All of his work is now rolled into my work. For the month of October I'm doing the job of two people. I've asked if he was coming back - I ask nearly every day. If he isn't, then I most definitely will push (again) for a raise. They swear he'll be back that Friday. I've absorbed almost all of his writing for the next four weeks. Most of my days this month are booked.

So, I did what anyone in my situation would do. I went back into retail. Of course, I was quickly picked up by a store at the mall. I have great people skills, retail experience, and I communicate well. Them hiring me was a no-brainer, but the question becomes when? When will things start settling down and I can concentrate on me? The next two months are out - I'll be working my full-time job, the part-time job, and whatever overtime I can manage. My time off will be extremely limited and mostly used for writing and sleeping. After January the retail job should slow down some, but the probability of me getting into a routine is slim. I hate that it comes to this, but you have to do what you have to do to survive, right?

I also failed to mention that on top of my job, my overtime, the new job, and the foundation, I also work with four other non-profits. About three of the board members on one of them just quit to pursue other things, but luckily we're not in the midst of planning anything so there isn't much that I have to do right now. Another one requires minimal time. I literally just have to make a couple of Facebook posts a week and they're happy, but the other two...One of them just asked me to be a volunteer manager, and I feel so strongly about the cause that I couldn't say no. I was hoping this wouldn't go into effect until after the holiday season, but it doesn't appear that it will. My animal organization (who I'm currently foster kittens through - another time and money suck on its own) just asked me to help with grant-writing. How do you say no to something you are so unbelievably passionate about? I don't know where to pull the plug. I don't even think I know how to pull the plug on any of them. Quitting makes me feel like a failure and I hate letting people down.

At some point I'll figure this all out. As long as I can maintain some sort of healthy eating habits (I'll admit I've gone totally off the wagon the past couple of weeks), I'll be able to get through the holiday season relatively unscathed. I think that needs to be my focus. Working out is not going to work out. Food is the only thing I can try to control right now. I've been eating like a college kid of late (it's incredibly cheap). I'm definitely open to suggestions on strategies to eat well without spending my last cents at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. I also don't have much time to cook or prepare food so just about everything needs to be simple and (unfortunately) packaged. I'll get through this. I always do. Hoping for a financial miracle though (it will have to come from Phil it seems).

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MELISSA_ROBIN 10/15/2013 8:24PM

    They won't withhold the pay; they'll just tell me to keep it at a minimum or ask that I take off random hours during the week so that they don't have to pay me for the OT.

I have to leave for the retail job in the next 10 minutes. They sprung training on me. I was originally scheduled to do my training tomorrow, giving me the opportunity to workout today since all of my writing is done for the week. They called to inform me that I was finally in the system and ask if I could come in today. I said yes, but had an errand to run right after work. I basically had an hour to come home, grab something to eat, get dressed (I have to dress nicer for the retail gig than I do my regular job), feed the kittens and get out the door. I think if I can figure out a schedule -- and stick to it, I might be able to work in 10-20 minute workouts at random times throughout the week. It's just putting together the schedule that will be difficult.

This weekend, I don't have to work the retail job, but I do have something to cover for work every day. I know I can squeeze something in on Saturday and Sunday, but those appear to be the only days I can do something until I get a schedule that I can manage together. One thing (day) at a time, right? =)

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PRINCESS_SOFI 10/8/2013 10:23AM

    They should give you interim pay for the work you're doing while people are out. Be sure not to work the hours if they don't give you overtime; it's illegal for them to withhold overtime pay from you.

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