alee_grrl: Groot, a very tall humanoid tree, leaning down and peering curiously at the camera. (groot)
I returned to work full time in January, starting as an office temp through Kelly Services as a way to get my feet wet after so long outside of the regular 40 hour work world, and to start having some sort of income. In the interim I took a deep breath and reached out to potential mentors for my attorney licensing requirements (Vermont requires a completed six month mentorship as part of their newly revised licensing guidelines for attorneys).

And in looking for a mentor, I managed to also find a good starting position at a law firm. So I'm happy to share that since April 3rd I've been working as an Associate Attorney for a very small law firm. I'm also the receptionist, but the firm is literally 3 attorneys (the managing partner/attorney, two associates--including myself, and a part-time bookkeeper). So we all do a little bit of everything. The pay to start isn't great, but is better than I was making as clerical staff. And it's a way to get my foot in the door so to speak. On the super happy making side of things, I really love working with my boss and the other associate. Both are very supportive regarding health issues. And the working environment and attitudes of my co-workers tend to mesh well with my own personal beliefs and work ethic. So despite the fact that being an attorney, and a new attorney at that, is a stressful thing. I'm not nearly as stressed as I could be. I get to leave work primarily at work after I go home for the day (checking email occasionally to be sure no fires have arisen that need any attention). And my efforts at the office are appreciated by both the senior associate and our boss.

Also for a bit of "yes, Vermont is a small freaking state," I actually went to law school with the other associate. He was a year ahead of me and we didn't know each other well at the time. But there was definitely I moment of "wait, you look awfully familiar" when we first met.

So things are looking very optimistic and hopeful for me right now. I'm slowly working on getting all the mentorship requirements and activities done so I can keep my license. So many arbitrary hoops to jump through to be a lawyer. It can be more than a bit ridiculous at times. I'm enjoying the work I get to do for the most part, and learning a lot which is always a good thing. I'm still slogging through Lyme treatment and still slowly improving (though some days it is harder to tell than others). I still spend most of my downtime reading fanfic.

I can't promise that I will update more frequently. I often mean to, but don't get around to doing so. My social anxiety was really bad for a while, which ate up a lot of words and spoons. That's easing somewhat. So we shall see.

Much love to my friends here. I may not be very active online right now, but I still love the hell out of all of you.
alee_grrl: Image of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada holding her glasses and looking pensive. (dwp think)
So as I stated in my last update, surgery went really well. I had my first post-op check-up and the doc was super pleased with how I'm doing. The long and short of it is that I feel loads better than I did pre-surgery. I'm actually rather amazed by how much better I feel to be honest. It has been another one of those times where I have only realized how sick I truly was after the offending organ(s) have been removed (the other being post gallbladder removal). There is some pretty impressive bruising, but everything is healing up nicely and function is returning to various gut systems.

The other thing I've discovered is that I can (for now at least) tolerate certain amounts of sugars and carbs. I've been on a low yeast diet (low carbs; no sweeteners) for about five years as part of my lyme treatment. This is the first time in a long time that I've tried adding back in a substantial amount of carbs. While it has largely been a surprisingly good experience, it has brought up the many issues I have surrounding food.

The rest of this post is mostly going to be me ruminating on those issues and putting them in writing so I can use them as a reminder to myself later. Like other posts I'm sharing it publicly because others may find it helpful to feel not so alone if they have similar issues. CW: dietary and nutrition issues; body image and weight issues; OCD traits and issues; disordered eating issues; mentions of childhood abuse/trauma resulting from a parent with an undiagnosed, and therefor untreated, mental illness. Also long post is long. )

tldr; post surgery diet triggered some brain weasels, which resulted in many thinky thoughts and ponderings (as seen above in the long post under the cut). But despite the weasels and all the thinking I am doing surprisingly well emotionally and healing from surgery quite nicely. I'm also resting like I am supposed to be doing. So go me! Hope everyone else is doing alright. <3
alee_grrl: (sleep)
Yesterday was my surgery and everything went well. I was able to come home late last night and have been resting and letting my sister take care of me (though getting up and moving about as I feel up to it as that helps speed the healing process). All in all I feel pretty good considering I just had surgery. Pain levels are manageable, and heating pads are wonderful things.
alee_grrl: Clint Barton holding his bow and looking down to the left, word bubble says "Aw coffee no" (clint)
Another doctor's appointment that is, am one step closer to surgery. Icon choice unrelated to contents of post, I just really like this icon. :) CW: discussions of gynecological stuff )

As an added bonus I got to spend the whole day with my sister since she took me to the doctor this morning, and then hung out with me until she had to pick her husband up from the airport (they live about an hour away, so driving home and then coming back made absolutely no sense). So we had fun hanging out.

In less fun news my bar review materials have arrived. So I can start my studying. It is a necessary evil, but...yuck. I'm doing my best to think about the things I need to do (studying, house cleaning, laying in supplies for post-op recovery) in bite-sized chunks so as not to get too massively overwhelmed. But for the rest of the evening I'm going to relax and read fan-fic as today used up quite a few spoons.
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
My surgery date has been moved up to Oct. 14! Very exciting news.

In less exciting news my brain weasels suddenly decided to get worked up last night and focused on the topic of "you having surgery is going to be such a pain in the ass for your chosen family cause they will have to take time out of their busy lives to take care of you." I have reminded them that I have never found it a hardship to reorganize my own schedule to help those I love out, and that this sort of thing is how healthy families work. But it is hard to let go off those first lessons learned. The only other surgeries I've had were while I was still living with my mother. My tonsils came out at 7, and since I was still in the "young enough to pamper" stage my mother was all lovely dovey and supportive. Sadly that didn't last very long. She would still do a bit of pampering if I was sick, but usually only if she could use it to make herself look like the wonderful mother making sacrifices for her sickly offspring. It was pretty hit and miss. By the time I had my gallbladder out in my early 20s, I was pretty much expected to take care of all things on my own. And if she did help there was a lot of "oh the things I do for my children; aren't I just the best mother in the world." Basically all the things that leave you thinking that being sick, injured, or needing surgery make you more of a burden than your worth. I've untangled a lot of these responses and can now recognize them as bullshit. But the deep brain weasels still love to latch on to the old thoughts.

So I'm doing my best to focus on the positive. While surgery is never done lightly, and recovery won't be a walk in the park, it will be well worth it in the long run. It will be one less regular source of pain (physical and mental) and aggravation. And that makes it entirely worth it. Also my chosen family is awesome and nothing at all like my mother.

Other unrelated good things: There is a steampunk festival in Vermont this year (Sept 11-13) and I have treated myself to a weekend pass, tickets to the ball, and a hotel for the weekend. Doubt I'll do any cosplay this year, but it will still be a blast to go. One of my sisters and nephew will meet up with me on Saturday to hang out and enjoy things. So that is very happy making.

Good things

Sep. 2nd, 2015 01:31 pm
alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
  1. Hysterectomy has been scheduled for November 3. All necessary pre-op appointments have been scheduled and I have someone to take me to various appointments.

  2. I continue to like my therapist and we've found a good time for regular appointments.

  3. I went to my second trans support group at the local Pride center despite a bout of social anxiety and being a wee bit low on spoons. Thankfully I was already downtown as I'd had a therapy appointment. So I treated myself to dinner and went on to the meeting. It was very nice and I'm glad I went.

  4. Elementary is now available for streaming on Hulu, so I can finally get around to watching it. Though my watching may go slowly as I have other things I need and want to do.

  5. The over the counter progesterone cream by PCP recommended for use on non birth control pill days (which is now every day) seems to be helping some with cramps and bleeding. This is very happy making.

  6. Heating pads are glorious inventions.
alee_grrl: Happy mouse from Aristocrats nomming cookie.  Text reads: Cookies! (cookies)
New PCP was amazing. I think I spent a bit more than an hour with her. She was amazingly easy to talk with, listened to my complaints and issues, listened when I noted why a solution would not work for me, was willing to discuss multiple options of things. Plus she is Lyme literate and understands the protocol that I am on. She was able to explain why I've been having such issues with my cycle lately and offer a couple of solutions, including the name of a trans friendly gyno who can evaluate my candidacy for uterine ablation. She also had a great suggestion for a trans friendly counselor who deals with many of the issues I juggle on a regular basis. So I will be making calls tomorrow to see if I can set up appointments. She had some excellent suggestions on how to manage current hormonal and menstruation problems while we work on more permanent solutions. We set a follow up appointment for October (though I can go in sooner if something else arises).

I'm absolutely ecstatic and thanking my gods for such a good fit.
alee_grrl: Eddie Izzard pointing at his head.  Text: In my Mind. (in my mind)
I know I've been super quiet the past few months. I stepped up my Lyme treatment, which meant a lot of time spent resting. I also needed some time to focus inward and to process several things. Now I feel like I'm ready to start socializing again, and ready to catch folks up on what has been going on in my head and life. This is likely to be a long post. It is also likely to contain some fairly heavy topics. Content Warnings: Discussions of Grief and loss, discussions of mental and physical health issues, mentions of body dysphoria/body image issues, gender dysphoria, gender identity issues, abuse and trauma )

For those who do not have the spoons (emotional or otherwise) to read the whole post, I've been doing a lot of thinking and come to the realization that I'm genderqueer. Not sure where on the spectrum I fall, but I am finally comfortable acknowledging that I am genderqueer. Reasons for not acknowledging it earlier are many and discussed in depth above. The big take away is that I am okay with the realization and taking steps forward in exploring a more authentic version of myself. It's just been a lot to process. But in the end I'm gonna be just fine. I'm currently comfortable with they/them and she/her pronouns. I'll let folks know if the preferred pronouns change.
alee_grrl: calvin from calvin and hobbes in rant mode (calvin rant)
Discussions of doctors, frustrations with doctors, and having a controversial illness/treatment )

We had an absolute house full over the holidays, and it was very nice to see everyone. We had several games of Cards Against Humanity, which is like a much more twisted version of Apples to Apples. It was wickedly fun. We saw "The Hobbit" on Christmas day, and several of us went to see "Into the Woods" on Saturday. Both were enjoyable, though I was a bit frustrated with the editing/storytelling choices for "Into the Woods." I would like to see "The Hobbit" again as I'm sure I missed a whole bunch of details. I'm not exactly in a critical mood regarding my entertainment right now, so if you want a thoughtful critique of either film I'm probably not the best to ask.

Everyone left for their own homes on Sunday, and so things are slowly returning to routine around here. It is strange to have such a quiet house after so much activity, but nice as well. I used the Amazon gift card I got for Christmas to finally buy the complete Cowboy Bebop series on DVD as well as the movie. I've been eyeballing both for a very long time. I already have most of the soundtrack. :)
alee_grrl: Happy mouse from Aristocrats nomming cookie.  Text reads: Cookies! (cookies)
Diagnostic test showed no abnormalities. So that is a good thing and a huge fucking relief.

CW: Medical issues involving breasts discussed in more detail below the cut, including mammograms. Please feel free to skip if said issues are triggering or upsetting in any way )

Other happy making things:
  • I got an amazing and wonderful care-package from [personal profile] sperrywink today with many happy making things
  • my family is awesome, as are my friends
  • hot showers are wondrous things
.
alee_grrl: Eddie Izzard pointing at his head.  Text: In my Mind. (eddie izzard)
So I had a follow-up appointment with the doc at my PCP office that handled the rash of doom, and she is concerned about some things so I get to go get more tests. I'm not really wanting to think about the what ifs, so I'm doing the equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears. I'm just repeating to myself "It's probably nothing, she's just doing her due diligence as a doctor." I have however talked what-ifs with family, so I'm not ignoring it completely.

On the bright side of things, almost all of my chosen family is here for the holidays. It is wonderful (if occasionally overwhelming as it is a lot of people in one house). But it is very nice to have lots of lovely fun chats and spend time with everyone.

I managed to miraculously grab a Christmas Eve appointment for one of the diagnostic tests my doc ordered, and my heart-sister/roommate is going to take me. After that depending on folks moods (and how long said test takes), a group of us may go see the last of the Hobbit movies. There will be prime rib for dinner, and tomorrow there will be presents, general festivities, and, if we don't go tonight, a trip to the movie theater.

I hope that everyone is enjoying their holiday, whatever they may celebrate, and having as stress free a time as possible.
alee_grrl: Image of Miranda from Devil Wears Prada holding her glasses and looking pensive. (dwp think)
Wednesday last week was kind of horrid. Things have gotten a little bit better since then. I'm doing my best to hang on and be patient with my body and myself. It is remarkably hard. CW: health things and insurance frustrations )

I did treat myself to lunch out after my appointment, which was kind of nice. And I spent a little bit of time wandering around the local mall (middle of the week before school lets out meant it wasn't unbearably crowded). It was kind of nice to do a bit of window-shopping and just be out of the house for a bit.
alee_grrl: Groot, a very tall humanoid tree, leaning down and peering curiously at the camera. (groot)
The various skin issues (turns out it was a couple of different problems) are finally healing and for the first time in weeks I am feeling something other than miserable, which is very happy making.

Saga of rash continued (cw: health stuff and anxiety thoughts) )

I did get out of the house briefly today despite the slush on the ground. Was a good test of my cars ability to handle not so good weather and the roads were actually pretty clear. I made a short trip to the pharmacy to pick up a refill and get a few other necessities. Also made a very brief stop by Target. Then came home and put my pajamas back on. :)

Sister and niece have ventured out to explore an IKEA somewhere to the south of us. Niece is getting a bedroom make-over for Christmas and wanted to go pick out her new bed. So for now the house is quiet with just me Artemis and Z. Z has not needed to go out yet, so we haven't seen her reaction to snow. She was originally rescued from South Carolina, so I'm not sure if she's experienced snow or not. Right now she is perfectly content to snore on her comfy bed. I hope all my friends in the US enjoy their Thanksgiving holidays and that said holidays are not stressful (as I know they can be). Hope all my friends outside of the US are having a good and non-stressful week as well. :)
alee_grrl: Black and white kitty peeking up out of a pink box.  Text above reads "Lurk" (lurk)
CW: medical issues including rash from hell. )

So that is why I haven't been around much.
alee_grrl: Picture of a variety of spoons, text reads "never enough spoons" (never enough spoons)
Sometimes you do not realize how badly you've looted your spoon drawer until you run out of all the spoons. This is essentially what has happened to me and why I have not been online or posting much. In the past few months I have (understandably) used up all of my emotional and social spoons and most if not all of my physical spoons. I'm much better at recognizing my physical limits than my social and emotional limits, which can be problematic, though I've gotten better at recognizing all of those limits over the years.

When I think about it I also realize that the last few months involved me needing to be very social. And while I had some downtime where I could just be myself and recoup some spoons, it wasn't a whole lot. So my generation of spoons did not match in any way, shape, or form my use of spoons. This means that now I am foggy, exhausted, and really not much in the mood to be social. I keep informing my brain weasels that this is all very normal for a grieving individual, and not an indication that I am doing something wrong health wise or that something is flaring up.

I am enjoying my trip to Vermont and my heart family is filled with other introverts, which means that we can all sit around and do our own thing and not feel like we have to entertain each other. So that has been nice. I did manage to pull up enough spoons to stop by my former law school and see some of my friends there, which was nice despite being a bit tiring.

I saw my Lyme doctor. CW: health and medical discussion )

Now I'm going to go run some errands and then start rounding things up so that I can leave out in the morning.
alee_grrl: Groot, a very tall humanoid tree, leaning down and peering curiously at the camera. (groot)
So I've been spending a lot of time listening to the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix-Tape Vol. 1 soundtrack which is all mix of 1970s pop, rock, and Motown songs. And while some of the songs sound ridiculously cheesy, they do remind me fondly of people in my childhood. Music was always the bright spot of my childhood and one of the very good things that my parents shared with me (along with love of books and reading). I strongly remember dancing around the house singing with my mom, carefully placing the record needle to play the song again, sitting on my dad's lap as he played harmonica, sitting with him as he tried to play the banjo, and sitting with him singing along to the music on the stereo. Neither of my parent's were much into Motown, but my favorite great aunt was.

Basically, both the soundtrack and the movie for Guardians bring back the best memories of my childhood, which can often been overtaken by the worst memories. So it was really nice to have something hit all the happy memory nostalgia buttons for once.

CW: Non-graphic discussion of grief and grieving )

Good things: cut for length as it includes a longish list of all the books that I've bought or pre-ordered in the past few months )
alee_grrl: Captain America clutching his stomach, reads "right in the feels" (feels)
This is going to be a seriously hard post for me to write. The past week has been a doozy and come with some very not good news that rocked my small law school community to the core. Most important for those who may not read the whole post: I am doing okay, and coping far, far better than I had expected considering all the change and stress of this year.

I'm just going to throw all the content warnings on here for good measure. If you are low on spoons, particularly emotional ones, please feel free to skip this post. I'm going to break this into the three sections mentioned in the title with content warnings on each section.

The Good
We'll start with The Good because that is a nice thing to talk about. I'm going to put this under a cut tag not just for length, but also because I know some of my friends may not have spoons to read about any medical stuff, even stuff with happier outcomes, and other may wish to avoid discussions of food issues. CW: Discussion of medications, Lyme treatment, and food/dietary frustrations and realizations; also brief mention of dental stuff at end of section )

The Bad
CW: Hospitalization of sick extended chosen family member, and discussions of medical tests and treatments post stroke )

The Seriously Ugly
CW: Suicidal depression, death of a mentor/professor )

I'm doing what I need to do to take care of myself, including compiling lists of resources and sharing them on various social media sites. I also have plans to go see "Guardians of the Galaxy" tonight. If you have good thoughts and energy to spare, please send them out to Professor Hanna's family because I cannot even imagine how hard this must be for them. Some of the resources I've found. )
alee_grrl: Black and white kitty peeking up out of a pink box.  Text above reads "Lurk" (lurk)
I'm doing so-so. Tired and a bit out of it, but better than I was earlier in the week. I am not always sure what to include in content/trigger warnings. Please know that you can always tell me if something triggers you or you would prefer something go under a cut tag for any reason. CW: discussion of health issues, primarily med interactions; mentions of childhood trauma and toxic parental units; employment related stress and firings (not me, I'm still employed) )

For those wondering, Z is doing quite well and coming back into her own as a dog. My sister has been doing amazing amounts of work with her (training in morning and evening every day--and throughout the day when opportunity presents itself). When I have spoons I do some training with her too. We've had great fun doing the ping-pong game where my sister and I sit on opposite sides of a room and practice here, sit, wait and find. She is starting to show more of her own personality, and she is going to fit right in with the rest of the family--she's smart and got a stubborn streak a mile wide. She's comfortable enough that we have to watch her or she'll swipe the cat's wet food at dinner (she used to be too scared to approach the cat when he was eating). We've found a good trainer to come in and work one on one with Z and my niece when niece returns from her dad's in early August. This will help niece bond with Z and make everyone worry less about niece walking Z. Seventy-pounds of muscle can pull an unsuspecting 13 year old off her feet pretty quickly (hell a seventy-pound dog can pull a full-grown adult off their feet if they aren't careful).

So that is what is going on in my world. All in all I'm doing okay, which is not so bad considering. I'm happy that I'm even remotely functioning. I'm super thankful for having the most-awesome support network and friendships even if I haven't felt much like talking to anyone this week. I know they're there, and that makes a world of difference.

Updates

Jun. 15th, 2014 02:22 pm
alee_grrl: Rainbow colored stylized picture of a thoughtful looking pitbull (thoughtful pitbull)
Long post is long. Short of it is that we are all settling in and doing ok. CW: Anxiety discussion (both dog and human), brief mentions of bodily functions (dog), usual mentions of health stuff )

Right now I'm enjoying the fact that it is cool enough to have the back door open to only the screen and let the breeze come through. E is doing homework, Z is sleeping as is Artemis, and Em has gone to her dad's for the summer so the house is bizarrely quiet. Our house is usually quiet and calm, even when Em is home. We're a low energy household, which is probably really good for Z. I know its good for me. :)

On a whim I decided to put all the music I have on my computer into a single playlist and hit shuffle. I left out audio books and Christmas music. It's an accumulation of almost two decades. I got my first cds at 16, and I've ripped all my favorite cds to digital file format over the years. The list is over 5,000 songs and about 343 hours worth of music. An interesting variety. It's kind of fun to just hit shuffle. I had completely forgotten about some of these songs.

I did all the stuff I had to do yesterday. So today I can just relax. Hope everyone else is having as relaxing a day possible.

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alee_grrl: A kitty peeking out from between a stack of books and a cup of coffee. (Default)
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