I've been gone. For a while, I know. I've been lurking around, but honestly, I completely fell off the boat back in July. After numerous attempts, I've made it a week of tracking my food. Now, to add exercise back in. I walk a lot daily since I now longer have my car, so I haven't been completely slovenly, at least. I am slowly trying to pick up the pieces of my life. I've gained about 10 pounds. That makes it so last year from Feb 25 to the end of July I lost 23 lbs.
In late July, my grandfather and aunt were both diagnosed with cancer (non-hodgkins b-cell lymphoma and neuroendocrine carcinoma). It was very hard, and sad and that's about all I want to type about it other than it brought me back to when my father died ten years ago, which I never really got over.
In the beginning of August, my boyfriend of three years moved away to Colorado to start his phd. He took most of my stuff and 2/3 of our/my cats. August and September a mostly a blur to me, but I know I visited family for a week. My mom taught me to knit then. My bf visited. I found a smaller apartment since the one we shared's lease was up in october and I couldnt afford it on my own (not that I can afford the one i have now either... DC is so bloody expensive). At least I got to keep one kitty, albeit the place I live at doesn't allow them- the leasing agent knows I have here though...
October, I moved into my new apartment. Parking is $200/month. Seriously. So, my car is living at my bf's mom's house out in the suburbs. The place is about 1.3 miles from lab/school, so I walk to and from mostly, or take the shuttle when I'm cold, rainy, or just lazy. The bus doesn't run after 7pm or on weekends; however, so it is not all that conducive to the life of a graduate student, and I end up walking a lot- and the way home is COMPLETELY uphill (as a midwesterner, I am very anti-hill), ugh.
I flew to CO to visit the bf for his birthday. It was a good weekend. CO is very pretty. We even drove up into the mountains for a nice day trip.
These two are in CO with the bf:
Halloween weekend, I flew to Chicago and then my move and I drove down to UIUC (where I did my undergrad degree). I have a bunch of friends that still live there. In fact, I probably have more people there than I do in DC even after living here for 6 years. Anyway, my mom, bestie, and I went to the homecoming football game against IU (my mom's school). Both teams suck, but IU won. It was a lot of fun. My mom and I walked around campus and I fell into a pothole and bashed up my knee a bit. Then we went to an apple orchard. The apples there are delicious: I can never really enjoy a grocery store apple now. After dinner, I put on my costume (I left my mom in the hotel room, happily knitting away) and headed to my exbf/now friend's house, and he drove us a party that his friends' were throwing. It was a lot of fun. I get a long wonderfully with all his friends (who've known me like ten years), so it was a blast. The only thing is i was trying to keep up with him when we were walking to the house, and so i fell again. I didn't realize it until the next day, but I seriously injured my knee to to point where I could barely walk. This made it so I was unable to exercise. Up until this point, I had still been trying to keep up with that. The next day, my mom and I went and got tattoos from my bestie's tatt artist. It's my first, and my mom's second. At least the tattoo pain masked the pain from my knee! The weekend was way too short.
November was blah. I went to Thanksgiving per usual with my mom's side of the family in Indiana. I have to say that I am SO thankful to my parents for moving to Chicago and not staying in indiana (no offense if any of you live there...). Tangent aside, my grandfather's health had worsened, despite a couple of rounds of chemo. He had a blood clot in his heart. We visited him for a little while before heading to the airport.
NOTE**** this next part is a bit medically graphic so if you are offended by bodily things you may not want to read. As a biomedical scientist, I am immune to these things, and so I am using this as my excuse that I just normally talk about these things in everyday conversations. In fact, the other day I was talking to my committee chair about figuring out mouse estrus cycles by looking at slides of their vaginas vs. doing pap smears...
I, of course, caught a sinus infection (viral, so at least it was shortish) from my nephew at Thanksgiving. I spent the first week and a half sick. If it had just been that, it wouldnt have been so bad. But alas, I also ended up with a bladder infection (wth, I have only had a UTI once and it was a kidney infection caused by a month's worth of high-dose prednizone given to me by a dumb student health doctor trying to get rid of my chronic cough) AND a yeast infection BEFORE antibiotics. What a trifecta, I tell you.
I recovered from that, and it was about Christmas time. My bf flew into DC around the 15th since he is a first year and actually gets a whole month off. He hung out with his mom and came in to lab with me for a week. Then we drove to Chicago to spend the holiday with my lovely (truly) family. Also, my cat came with in the car. We stopped overnight somewhere in Ohio, only to end up having to drive in a blizzard for half of the second day of driving. We hung out with my brother and nephew that night.....
AND SO it is not surprising that by the next day, the 23rd, I was feeling a bit under the weather turning into the full blown DEATH FLU on Christmas eve. I swear my nephew is the plague bearer (he got me sick the 2 christmases before too, but not as bad). I love him to death, though! I think I was mostly delirious for a good portion of that day, with a fever of almost 103. I Should have let them take me to the urgent care. I was sick the entire time I was there, and it pretty much ruined it all. I love my family. We split the drive back into two days again. We got up early at our motel to try to beat blizzard number 2 rolling in, but we weren't so lucky. The water pipes broke in the whole "town" we were in so there was no water in the motel. We left although we probably shouldn't have as there was like 6 inches of snow on the ground. My car could barely go. At least the roads cleared after like 2 hours, but driving in the mountains in any snow is no good.
We spent the weekend at his mom's house. I was still deathly ill, so I wasn't much fun. New years, my grandfather died. I realized I had been sick for 2 weeks and needed to see a doctor. I was still was having fevers. My sinuses were so messed up. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't sleep. My face, head, neck, jaw, teeth, and ears hurt. I was coughing so much I would vomit. My schools health center was closed, so we took a taxi to an urgent care center. As I already knew, the Dr said I had a secondary bacterial sinus infection and bronchitis from the flu. He sent me home with antibiotics.
The next day, my bf flew back to CO, and then the next I flew to IN to spend some time with my grandmother and mother before my grandfather's service. It was a miserable time for many reasons. The antibiotics only helped a little: the pain in my face, ect. lessened.
I got back to DC and was still too sick to go back to lab. After 2 days, I realized I had been sick for 17 days at that point, and needed to go back to the Dr. Also, the antibiotics were giving me hives on my legs. Also, the cough syrup I was prescribed made me vomit. Additionally, I was vomiting more than once a day from coughing, and still wasn't sleeping and barely able to breathe. I was given a new antibiotic prescription for another 10 days- that make 20 days on antibiotics blah. About a day after the new ones, I actually got worse (and i didn't think that was possible let me tell you). I woke up (when I say this it was after like a 2 hour sleep at most I ever got at a time) and my airway was completely closed with mucus. Coughing didn't do anything, I couldn't breath. It started to make me vomit, but that didn't even clear it out. The mucus in my throat was so thick and viscous I had to pull it out with my fingers. It was brown. At the time I actually I might suffocate and die, as I have yet to teach my cat how to dial 911. Luckily, that didn't happen. I did, however, continue to cough up that crap for 2 days. And then.... I started to get better.
I started back up in lab again, and immediately had to have a committee meeting as I was months late in having one. It went really well. I was told that if I submit to them a final draft of a paper, then I can write my thesis and defend and graduate in May.
This, of course, brought on world-crushing anxiety. I can't even begin to explain it to someone who hasn't gone through this. So now, I need to finish up experiments this month to finish up a paper in march to finish up my thesis and defend in april to graduate in may. I can't sleep. The minute I lay down, I start to panic. I lie (lay?) there, panicking until like 6am. I've read like 15 books this month, though, because of this. If I'm reading, I am distracted from this panic. I am working at night and all weekends to get this done. I have mini panic attacks all through out the day. If I can't be done in May, I will seriously just quit. I have been doing this for 6 years and I just can't do it any longer.
And that's about where I am right now.