What a day

I don’t know why I decided to do this today, but after the morning craziness of kids, lunches, breakfasts, fights to break up and confidence to boost…I went to the gym. It’s been since my post before, so months, since I went to the gym. Because life. Which is a major bummer because MY GOD, I’m a better human after exercise.

I did the version of running that involves a treadmill, walking for a minute and a half and running for a minute, while slowly increasing speed on the runs. I managed 35 mins, and kept my heartrate in the cardio zone, which is impressive given my constant tachycardic tendencies. But, this is how you get back into cardiac shape, so I did it. It was wicked. But I did it.


me after. Survived!

So, because my day was kinda open, I went home and stretched, which is always super important for me with all of my abdominal scars and pelvic stuff.

I made myself a tea from Fortnum and Mason, which was a fancy tea shoppe in London. I didn’t love the feel of the place, it felt really snooty and unreasonably desperate to sell way too many things, but I picked out two teas and two biscuit-type things. The biscuits taste like England, which is to say, bland as hell and not worth the calories. I loved our trip (another post) but the food in London was not great for me. As expected. Anyway, the tea is awesome. So, highly recommend their orange peel black tea. So darn good.

I sat down to write this blog. But my head was swirling. The exercise had gotten my juices flowing to write, but my therapy session from yesterday (my first real mental health therapy session just for me since my surgeries in 2005) was all I could think of. So, I started to write. I just started somewhere. And I wrote. And I didn’t stop for 45 minutes. Stream-of-consciousness, just word vomit onto the page. It felt SO GOOD. It was the first time in ages I’ve felt catharsis when writing.

I write, I love to write. It was my main mode of communication as an epidemiologist during the pandemic, through my facebook page Public Health is Your Job, Too. But that writing was stressful. That writing was screaming into an abyss and having that abyss scream back at you. That writing brought threats, even while it built community. That writing was my desperate journey into the darkness and rock bottom, and then a slow scrabbling back out of it. But I never did make it back out of it on that page. I had to let it go in order to get back out of the depression. And once I did, I was able to start seeing the light a bit more, the anxiety let up a bit (also, thanks Zoloft!). But, I had no place to write.

I thought that I needed to write again, and I kept saying “I’ll keep this blog, I’ll work on a book of essays pulled from my page over that time”. I thought that was the writing I needed, the processing I needed, in order to move forward. I thought a book of those essays would help me get some sort of closure, and also help document what public servants were going through at that time, both from a scientific and communication standpoint, but also emotionally. Except…I couldn’t sit down and look at it. I haven’t opened that page again. The memories I see that come up on my facebook are hard to look at.

I’m not ready.

But, I need to write. I need to process my life. So, I sat down this morning with my theme for this year in my head – Just Start Somewhere -and spent 45 minutes writing, and wrote 2500 words (4 pages), just dumping everything out. I have so so so much more. And none of it is something I would ever publish. But it’s so damn therapeutic.

So, if you feel stuck, maybe you just need to start somewhere, too.

Hoping for more of this every day. And I’ll likely not document that here, but I thought today deserved some recognition for what feels like a turning point for me.

So, here it is. I’m starting somewhere. And it’s gonna be a hell of a long journey. But boy do I feel like it’s worth it.


Physical Therapy Works!

Yes! Another post! But not at all fiber related so feel free to skip. I’m going to be separating these from the fiber content so people can spare themselves these lengthy diatribes and just get to the wooly stuff if they want.

My goal is to get to this blog far more often. Because if I go too too long, too too much happens and then I’m a blathering mess of nonsense and everything is all annoying to people who don’t want to read. I’m not sure why those people would be reading my blog, but nonetheless, that’s what I want to avoid.

In the two days since I last blogged, approximately zero kitchen things happened! Hooray! I cooked but I mean no planned work or anything, no one else was touching my stuff or drilling through anything. So I’ll take that as a win!

But. A big thing happened. A thing of all things. A thing I’ve been working towards for a few years now and it tastes soooo sweet. Yes, I went to the gym! No, this is not a weird post about muscles and I’m not trying to get buff or saunter around in a bikini claiming I have muscles when I really just don’t eat food and am emaciated with kidney damage from all my keto…oh wait..where was I? Ok. This isn’t about my appearance!

This is about healing.

I had many surgeries in 2004 and 2005 to fix ulcerative colitis that had gone undiagnosed and untreated because the doctors in South Bend, IN suck and treated me like it was all in my head. It wasn’t.

It was pretty firmly in my ass.

And everywhere else because it was out of control. So, thanks to the glories of modern surgery, I had my colon and almost all of my rectum removed at age 23. I had a bag for 8 months. It was a real bitch, and I also had a fistula and every complication known to mankind. So. Surgeries. Oh and I also had two c-sections later on. For fun. Cuz why not. It was basically just follow the lines and connect the dots for them anyway.

When someone cuts into your abdomen and your pelvis, you form some pretty wicked scar tissue. What happens when they keep doing it, and the first robotic awesome holes become giant lines of seriousness, is that those scars (adhesions) tend to find more places to stick. So, my insides got all glued together. Turns out this can cause pretty big issues down the road. Since my husband became a colorectal surgeon (no, we didn’t meet that way, that’s nasty, we grew up down the street from each other but didn’t start dating until after my surgeries) I can assure you that at least some of them will now warn you about this potential, should you ever find yourself in such a position. And they will now tell you to get pelvic floor physical therapy.

No one told me. Ever.

Not after my first surgery.

Or my second. Or the third or fourth.

No one told me when pregnant.

No one told me after the first c-section. Or the second.

My gastroenterologist never recommended it. Not at any of my annual scopes ever since.

Not even when it was so tight he couldn’t get the scope in.

My husband told me.

Because I took one Pilates reformer class from a different person than my regular fave, and she had us doing stupid heavy and fast things that are bound to tighten your everything.

So, I couldn’t pee. And I couldn’t poo. (Yes, I do that, they did reconnect me so I am mostly like y’all except with pretty badass scars) and it was torture and he was on call in the OR trying to talk me down because DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT HURTS TO NOT BE ABLE TO PEE???????

Omg. It’s the worst.

So I found my way to a pelvic floor physical therapist just about 3 years ago, and I have been on a journey ever since. It required me to stop Pilates, and I got better and restarted and then the pandemic hit. And I was an epidemiologist and a nurse. I tried to help my local health department, but resigned over the political influence of the mayor in the decisions of the health department. And that went national, and the media came, and the public health page I’d been keeping on Facebook called “Public Health is Your Job, Too” became my online journal of how bad all the policies and politics and advice was, how twisted things were becoming, and how disappointed in public health at large I had become.

So, you know, some stress.

Everything locked up again and I’ve been working since January of 2021 on a weekly and then every other week (anyone else never clear on the definition of biweekly?) basis with the pelvic floor therapists to get through everything. I won’t go into detail about what they do, but yeah they’re internal everywhere. Though at this point, you’d better believe I have zero modesty left. But I’ll spare you all.

So, it’s taken a year of peeling back the layers of all the stuff to release all of this mess, and then I had to add in TMJ physical therapy because itsallconnected and that’s hella annoying. And expensive. None of this is covered by our terrible insurance. Yes, doctors have bad health insurance. Hospital system insurance is generally terrible unless it’s a giant system. So. This is where all of our money has gone.

So. Long story…long. This is me yesterday. I did some free weights, slowly. Breathing. I’m glad no one else was there to witness this, because I had to remember how to use machines and pay attention to every.little.angle. And then I ran/walked on the treadmill for 25 minutes. Here is me when I was about to start. That look is me terrified.

But the true test of whether I’m doing it right is after I stop. I stretched, for a long ass time. I did some yoga. And then I did what for me comes easily because I’m hyperflexible , but would not if my scars and pelvic floor were tight. See below.

Don’t try this at home

Yep. I still can do it! Back bends are awesome, and this is the face of me realizing






So. Big success.

Today, I took it easy, did some push-ups and took one dog on a long walk around Butler University, while the other was at daycare.

Happy Lester
Mabel after daycare, she’s ridiculous😂

Oh. And also. I got a haircut. And if you know anyone, especially women, that just makes their week.

Me happy

Listen, that blonde streak is a birthmark and I finally grew into loving it. Which is good cuz it’s the only thing on my head not going gray. But because I LOVE ME, I’m embracing all of it.

Cuz I’m 40, and it’s the best age I’ve ever been.

Aging is the best! Love yourself just the way you are. You’re supposed to be every ounce like this. Own it!