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Pale September

Monday, September 02, 2013

August did not treat me well. Luckily, that month is over; a new one has begun. I was doing alright, but then this past Saturday’s weigh-in happened. My boyfriend and I both gained almost three pounds in a week. I’m not even sure how this is possible as I have been keeping track of what I have been eating, and I was NOT like 10000 calories over for the week. It may have a little bit to do with the TOM, but I can’t fully blame that. I went for a 40 minute walk, that was all. I have had killer cramps and a three day migraine, as excuse. Hopefully tomorrow I will final not have an exploding head.

August also brought along my broken tooth, my bf’s second surgery, a hairy situation with my graduate program, and me backing into the garage door.
I have a temporary crown on my tooth. It should be fixed by now, but said garage door destroying occurred on my way to the dentist. This resulted in having to reschedule my appointment for 3 weeks later (ugh). Another 3 weeks of worrying my temporary tooth is going to randomly fall off! Nothing has been done about the garage door, yet. I kind of handed it off to the bf, and he hasn’t done anything either. Not looking forward to that bill (btw I am currently not being paid).

My grad program informed me that despite what they originally told me, I can’t do what we planned which was finishing my dissertation soon and then defending. They don’t want to pay me until I am actually defending or if I am physically in DC attending journal club/data meeting (I’m ok with the not getting paid part). UGH! This is the only program I know of that requires you to attend friggin journal club THE ENTIRE time you are there. Generally it is at most 2 years. And, I was also informed that I can’t take 1 month of leave, it has to be a semester. Therefore, my options are either IMMEDIATELY move back to DC to attend stupid seminars while I finish writing and defend this fall, or take a personal leave of absence (if it is approved) and spend the entire rest of the year unpaid. I am also not supposed to work on my dissertation at all officially during this time. No health insurance either. UGH! And then I wouldn’t even be allowed to defend until January. These, or GU is kicking me out of the program. Sometimes having a structured program is nice, but times like this it is so frustrating! The other biomedical PhD programs at GU are not so full of bureaucratic nonsense. If you want to write from afar, there isn’t a pile of forms and line of hoops. So, I am opting to do the second option, assuming my excuse is accepted. That’s the other thing! They have a very stringent guideline for acceptable reasons for personal leave and writing from afar is not one of them (thus the no progress on dissertation during leave rule). So, I’ve had to come up with a personal reason to do it with the help of my mentor. The coordinator that has been working with me on all this wouldn’t comment on what I should do other than discuss a reason with my mentor and only call her about the issue so there is no paper trail. Luckily (hah), sh*t has hit the fan lately, so we came up with an idea. I have pretty bad anxiety (and also manic-depressive) that I was diagnosed over a decade ago. Generally, everything stays in check. Lately, though, mainly triggered by my bf’s accident and the stress of finishing my PhD, I have been having regular anxiety attacks. I went an entire month not checking my email because it gave me an anxiety attack just thinking about looking at it. I finally had a good chat with my mentor, and things are back on track. She is so understanding and wonderful that most of the time I feel like I do not deserve her as a mentor. It helps that she has a son with the same issues that I have. Anyway, we are going to use the deterioration of my mental health as a reason. I hope it works.
I am also working with a lab at CSU that the bf is friendly with about an opening postdoc position in January. So far, they liked my background (I did clinical work before I started my PhD and the position includes clinical trials) and skill set. I’m in the process of setting up an interview and sending in letters of recommendation. There is the issue now of me needing to defend in the same month that I would be starting. Sigh. Also, this isn’t really what I want to do, I want to teach. It is probably the best way to get my foot into that door, though.

My plan is to get approved for leave, finish the bulk of writing, then get some sort of job during the fall until I find a more permanent one for when I graduate. Maybe starbucks will hire me?

My boyfriend has the A-OKAY to start working out again. This is great news, and we have decided to make a more structured plan this time. Before we just said swim 2-3 times, ST 2 times, walk/yoga. The problem with this is that we would put things off and be like “oh, we’ll swim on Friday instead,” in which things would keep getting pushed and we would only work out once or twice in a week. This time, we made a schedule for the entire month that rotates 3 swim/2 ST with 2 swim/3 ST (hour swims) and already picked the days. I know this doesn’t leave room for life like sickness or whatever, but I think the structure will help kick start us back into it. Some people just need to do it this way, and maybe we are those people. I wrote on a calendar our daily plans, and when we do it, I am putting a start sticker on that day. This also gives my OCD great satisfaction.

Yesterday, being September 1, we did ST. It was hard; I stayed at the weight I stopped at before (10lbs per arm) despite not really lifting regularly or 2 months. I really didn’t want to change the weights! I only could do 10/15 of the second set, but that’s ok. If I could easily do the whole thing, I should be going up in weight anyway. I use the sparkpeople workout generator (GREAT resource, btw) and my workout consists of floor flys, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and row lunges. I have a core workout, too, but I’ll do that on the next ST day. I don’t tend to do lower body ST, as I have naturally strong legs as it is, and need to focus more on upper body and core. I tracked everything that I ate. I was in the middle of my calorie range after dinner. We stayed up really late, and I became sooooo hungry. We ended up eating some veggies (cucumber, carrot, red pepper) with a little dip. I was still hungry later, though so I had 2 slices of lunch meat and a no sugar rice pudding cup and unsweetened mint tea (and water). I ended up over my maximum. Ugh..

On to goals: I had made a goal to catch up to my previous low by when I defended (which I hoped would have been now). Both of those didn’t happen. I am about 10 pounds from that goal. I’m not that upset about missing that goal. With our new plan, I will get there easily. I think I can still make my next goal which is lowest weight in 10 years by Christmas.

As for running, I have decided to not do it until I A. lose more weight and B. get health insurance so that I can get my asthma in better condition. My current inhaler doesn’t really do anything. The only time I have issues is running and sometimes biking or hiking. I am avoiding those things until I get it worked out. Also, I can only make it 2 miles before biking makes my under regions massively hurt, so I need to lose weight to help alleviate that issue too.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about September. It is a really hard month for me. The first marked what would have been my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. The 10th is the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. It’s unbelievable to me that it has been that long. The pain certainly has lessened by ten years. I still don’t even really talk about it. Just mentioning it here is a big step for me. My siblings are the same way. It’s only been the last year or so that any of us even really mention things in passing about him to each other. I suppose none of us really grieved in a healthy way. I gained over 100 pounds. I miss him.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What the crap is wrong with your grad program? That blows that they didn't pull this stuff out until you already moved. Could you Skype in? At least your mentor sounds like she's working with you... just write that b*tch of a thesis up and turn it in. You'd be surprised at what passes nowadays (mine included emoticon )
    1755 days ago
    Oh my god girlfriend, I just want to give you a giant hug. This is soooo tough. You're going through a TON right now. And as a person who suffers from migraines, knowing that you have them on top of all of this just feels sort of impossible (no offense!) and don't beat yourself up for not being super active right now. This is ALOT to deal with all at the same time.

    I'm also very sorry to hear about your father's passing. No one can replace him and they say time helps, but life is never the same without them. Know that you've got a pretty awesome guardian angel and maybe he's throwing some challenges your way right now but try to find the lesson in it all. Tie a knot at the end of that rope and hang on tight!

    Try to take care of yourself, go easy on yourself for now, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Hug that bf tight and keep up the great work. You can do it!!!!!!

    1755 days ago
  • BRADMILL2922
    I hope some of your luck starts to turn around for you soon! Maybe September can end up being a positive for you! I know that hasn't been the case in the past but here is to a positive September for you!
    1755 days ago
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