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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Soothing With Food

I'm stressed.


A lot going on.

I would like to soothe and comfort myself with food.

I can't. I'm full.

If I weren't full, would I still try to soothe with food?

Probably, but with different choices.

I want to eat all the things. Gingerbread, frosted cupcakes, chocolate chip chunk cookies, pumpkin spice cake.

Yes, carbs and sugar.

I won't, though, even though I'm full. I have pumpkin pie at home, cherry clafouti, whipped cream, salmon is defrosting in the fridge for later. Even knowing all these things, I still want to soothe with food because I am so stressed and anxious.

I feel like crying too, and I'm having cramps (I never have cramps). It's a little early for TMoTM, but that's what it feels like. I wish it would just stop already, jeesuz. My back hurts, too.

Carb cravings. Cramps. Teary-eyed. Sounds like hormones exacerbated by stress.


I'm glad we had this talk.

Monday, November 23, 2015

SF Pumpkin Pie, With Crust

***UPDATE 11 24 15***
We had some of the pie last night. The filling is delicious and so is the crust. But.The crust sticks to the pan and gets soggy.

I am thinking that perhaps baking the crust separately, perhaps like a flat cookie--roll into balls and then flatten on parchment on a cookie sheet--then serving it with the crustless pie is the way to go. We'll see. I thought I'd "warn" you in advance.



I love me some pumpkin pie. If made without a crust and baking splenda mix, it has very few carbs, about 4 carbs. And pumpkin has a little protein. And it makes me feel like I'm enjoying fall, especially since Starbucks refuses to make a SF version of their Pumpkin Spice Latte (effers). So I have made about three pumpkin pies in the last month. I have 1/8 about five nights a week with whipped cream.

So this week, I had an idea: What if I took the Almond Crust from Deb at Smitten Kitchen's almond crisped peaches and used it to make a crust for a pumpkin pie? So I made it last night. I pre-baked it for fifteen minutes at 350 so it would be solid enough to hold the liquid pie puree. And it came out!! And the smell, wonderful. I finally feel like the holidays are here. So if you want some pumpkin pie, and you're watching your carbs or calories, make this. I mean it. It's that good. And incredibly easy.

I make the Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie (this recipe is for two pies, so if making one, cut in half), use baking Splenda blend instead of sugar, and 6 ounces 2% milk and 6 ounces of HWC instead of evaporated milk (low carbs, I just prefer the taste of the HWC). And make the almond crust, and pat it into a pie plate with your hands. No need to Pam or grease your pie plate as there is a ton of butter in the almond crust.

I also make it all in one bowl:  add pumpkin puree, spices, eggs, beat with a handwhisk: add in milk and HWC, beat with whisk until blended, pour into crust. Voila!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Witness to Obesity

My husband showed up out of the blue early yesterday morning. He's off all Thanksgiving week. I knew he was coming down, I didn't realize it would be Saturday. Whatever.

We went out late in the afternoon for a cheap early dinner at a Burger joint, and then over to Barnes and Noble.

We wandered around, separately, for a while. I probably spent an hour or so just browsing, taking pictures of books I was interested in, some I'd like to get for my nieces for Christmas, and so on. And it was just good to be out of the house, ya know?

Anyhoo, like most B&N's, this one has a Starbucks. They are also partnered with The Cheesecake Factory and they had this giant sized poster with a photo of a big slice of pumpkin cheesecake. I love both pumpkin and cheesecake, and had I had an extra $5-, I would've gotten a piece. Instead, I sat down with a hair magazine (I need to do something with this mess called "hair") looking at short haircuts, and then Inc. Magazine that an an interesting story on a CEO who decided every employee at his company should make at least $70,000 per year. It was a great story on how he came to that decision, how he accomplished it (paid for it), and the result (profits are up). If you get a chance I highly recommend it.

At any rate, I'm sitting there, reading, and this short round man sat down across from me. And as I looked over at his table, I noticed that he had a sandwich of some type in a basket; a big piece of pumpkin cheesecake that he had already started on, and a carmel frappucino. And I thought to myself:  That's a lot of carbs.

My second thought was, I wonder if the cheesecake is any good?

And he was eating it in a way that both reminded me of myself, and as if he were a drug addict self-medicating. Both were true.

I remember having those eating parties, although I rarely did mine in public, how I would plan for them, meticulously select the menu to please all those food cravings that were actually manifested feelings of insecurity, fear, anxiety, and mediocrity. And I was so glad that for the most part, I am not that person anymore.

Oh, sure, I have my moments, but to eat what he ate? It wouldn't fit. And then I would be sick for days. The cheesecake I probably could've pulled off, but I was already full from dinner anyway, and you know what? Cheesecake will always be there if I really want some. Or I can make my own only LC/SF. And have (altho not pumpkin flavor).

And I really felt badly for the guy. Not pity, no, more of an understanding that whatever was bothering him about himself and his life he was trying to tamp down with all of that food. He ate it all and then left when he was about halfway through his frappo.

I get it. I totally get it. And without surgical intervention, I might still be that person. I'm coming up on two years since the surgery, and I have changed SO much. I make better choices and decisions now almost without thinking. I think about consequences both in terms of immediate (sickness), long term (weight loss) and being out of control. I don't ever want to be that person again.

For me, this was really never about appearance, but health, and stepping away from crazy behavior, and I think for the most part I've been successful. And my goal is to continue that into the future.

I don't have to be "that guy" ever again. And I don't want to.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hematology Update

So I met with the hematologist, and based on my most recent labs in August, he said an iron infusion is indicated with a bariatric surgery diagnosis; however, MEDI-CAL will NOT pay for an iron infusion until my hemoglobin hits 10 or below. It is currently 11.7. He agreed that it was not an informed decision on the part of Medi-Cal, but that his hands were tired. He asked me to come back in January, and get my labs done before I come in.

That's all we can do. I can't pay cash, it would be in the thousands of dollars. So I wait.

Hematology Appointment, At Last

I've forgotten if I promised a post on something and just haven't gotten it done. I'll have to read through my posts to see.

I am going to the hematologist today, and I am a wreck. The anxiety started yesterday afternoon. It is crippling. I got into bed about 5 o'clock and read (fiction turns off my brain) until bed time, then I took my meds and read until I passed out, Kindle in hand.

The anxiety is less today, enough that I'll be able to function, i.e., shower, dress, drive to appointment, but not enough that I may not cry during the appointment depending on the doctor's words (I could cry either way, helpful or not helpful words). But I am anxious, no doubt about it.

I also ate like nuclear war was impending yesterday--I dropped five pounds in two days, don't ask me how--and I was shoving food in like it was my last day to eat. I had two servings of LC/SF pumpkin pie that I make with HWC. I've been craving gingerbread and that seems to soothe the urge (recipe at the bottom). I had yogurt (Dannon's lite & fit caramel apple pie. I've bought every single container at the two local grocery stores that carry it--it is a "seasonal" item and will eventually be discontinued. Then I'll be sad.) Two ham/salami/havarti/1/4 dill pickle roll-ups--like a sandwich with no bread. Next time I need some dip to go with it, Caesar dressing, vinaigrette, something. Two pieces of my LC clafouti (recipe on my WLS blog) with whipped cream; a handful of Cheeto's; another yogurt; a honeycrisp apple (I usually have with peanut butter but I'm out); I think that's it. I feel like I ate about every 1 - 2 hours. I was still hungry at 11:00 pm while I was reading, so I told myself that if I got to 11:30 still awake, I could have some food, but I fell asleep. And woke up hungry. LOL

So anyway. Back to the hematologist. I have a folder of stuff I've been compiling in my five month quest to be evaluated for bariatric surgery related iron deficiency anemia. I have:
  • Labs from Nov 2014 (oldest)
  • Labs from Aug 2015 (newest)
  • Hysteroscopy report from 10/15/15 which says "anemia" under "medical conditions"
  • A peer-reviewed article on bariatric surgery related iron deficiency anemia
  • A peer-reviewed article on obsesity and malnutrition
  • A letter from my surgeon recommending evaluation for IV iron infusions
  • A pamphlet from ProFerrin on their heme iron, and which I used to take (when I stopped taking it, my ferritin saturation actually did not go down any further. Weird.)
  • My referral from my PCP
  • I'm hoping this will be enough, or that he'll just take me seriously from the get go (as if. My experience with doctors lately has been rather adversarial.)
The "deferred reward system" (DRS) seems to work for me--I promise myself a reward if I do something I either don't want to do or am too anxious to do. So my DRS for this outing is lunch out. Nothing fancy, but something yummy, healthy, and that I don't eat regularly. I'll see what's near the doctor's office (about an hour away--the closest hema who takes my shitty Medi-Cal.). I'm so anxious I feel like I'm shaking inside. 
And this is what R did for me. He always went with me to doctor appointments. I used to think it was he because he was being over-protective. Now I recognize it for what it was: I wanted him to go because he could prop me up and reduce the anxiety. Nothing like 6'2", 250 lbs of angry German/Swedish guy to see that people behave courteously. He didn't have to say or do anything most of the time. Just his presence was enough. I didn't realize how much I leaned on him for this type of support. I've got to re-learn how to do this myself. I am learning it, but it is hard. OMG.

There is no bad guy in the end of this marriage--R and I are still on friendly terms, he even called me on my birthday. (I got my usual gift of "nothing" just like every other year, really....ok, maybe a little bitterness on my end.) We were always friends and I hope we can stay friends. So far we are. 
Oh my goodness, this anxiety is so energy-draining. I know that anemia can contribute to depression, one of many contributing factors....sigh.

One last thing:  What if I don't have my shit together, i.e., mental health, by the time school starts? I can fake it til I make it, I just don't want to suck at it. LOL

OK. I need to shower. The warm water will be nice. It's been near freezing here at night--three of the cats sleep on the bed with me. Pascal is the last holdout, although he did get on the bed with me last night when it was just me on there, so that's an improvement. My elderly gentleman, my sweet, thirteen-year-old lover boy (pic at top of blog). I hate him thinking he's been left out. I'm giving him extra TLC. I think it's working.

Wish me luck. (Do you think I might even get an infusion today? Is that possible? I sure feel shitty and I really want to go for a long walk, but have been advised against it due to the anemia. I'll have access to a full gym as a student when I start Spring semester. I'm SO excited to get in there...but need to get this handled first. I'll report back when I get home.)

Have a good day!

--Sparkly Bundle of Nerves

 Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie, Low Carb, Sugar Free
 I make this ^ pie. It's the one I grew up with so comfort and memories. This is how I make it now:
  • No crust (I don't miss it, really)
  • replace sugar with baking Splenda (equivalent amount--1 c sugar = 1 c Splenda)
  • I use 8 ounces 2% milk and 4 ounces HWC (heavy whipping cream)
That's it. Bake as directed.

I did notice, however, that evaporated milk has almost no carbs, so I'm going to try it with my next pie, which will be soon as I only have one serving left. I may still add some HWC, we'll see what the texture is like.

Let me know if you make it and how you like it. 


PS:  Here is the nutrition info for one can of Libby's packed pumpkin (just plain; not the pie filling).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

What Fresh New Hell is This?

I started my period yesterday.


I had the diagnostic D&C with hysteroscopy on October 15, which was just a few days before my regularly scheduled period on the 20th, so after getting scraped out, I didn't have one. So here it is, yesterday, just November 9th, and I'm menstruating? And it's a BAD one. I wonder if I should call the gyn? Of course, I'll leave a message and no one will ever call me back so...what the hell. It's a bad period.

Come on, body. You're really screwing up here. Most women would have started menopause by now. I'm too old to have a baby if you're busy prepping for one every month uterus *ahem*, as much as I would love to have one, it's just not a good idea. That's what nieces are for. And you know, also there's the little matter of access to sperm, which ain't happening *ahem*, but really? It's just time for this to be over. It's been forty years. Forty fucking years of this crap every month. Don't you think it's time to cash it in??

Your purpose here is done. Vamoose, buh bye, adios, dasvodanya, nobody likes you, hit the road! Seriously; sod off!

I mean it.

No cramps. No back pain. No nothing, just blood. Lots and lots of chunky blood. Oy vey es mere.

For sale: One uterus, used but in good working condition. All serious offers considered.

I can't talk more, I need to go change my tampon and napkin so I don't bleed all over my clean sheets, comforter, and favorite jammies.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Well, I finally got a referral to not just a hernia repair surgeon, but a hematologist. It was a bit of a struggle, I fortunately had thought to bring written evidence of my desire for an IV iron infusion, and he shook his head and thought, it appeared to me, “what the hell.” As soon as I got out to the car I called and made an appointment. It’s during Thanksgiving week, so hopefully I can get infused (if I do, in fact, need one as I presume), by Christmas so pre-move.

So I was given not one, not two, but three names with phone numbers for surgeons to see about the hernia repair. I needed to research all of them, first of course. Holy cow, first one on the list is on probation from the state for “gross negligence and incompetence.” OMG. Originally they had voted to withdraw his medical license, but instead, probably through his attorney, plead it down to probation providing he take 60 hours of ongoing education. He’s got one more year left of his probation.

There is a PDF you can view of the results of the claim and hearing, and there were three defendants. UGH. I wouldn’t let this guy hold my purse. NO WAY.

The second had five stars, great educational credentials, and no malpractice, actions, or probation. Awesome.
After holding for ten minutes, I hung up and called back. Busy. I kept redialing until I got through. Gave my name, phone number, what I need, did I have a referral, birthday, and oh yeah, what was my insurance? “Straight Medi-Cal.”

“Oh. We no longer take Medi-Cal.”

Wouldn’t you want that to be the first question, not the last question? Maybe it’s just me. (High expectations, constantly surprise I’m the only one who assumes things will go right the first time.)

Third doctor. Only 2 ½ stars, good educational cred, no malpractice etc., takes Medi-Cal. Awesome. First available date is January 22, 2016. Sigh. The week school starts. I asked to be put on the “cancelation list” but they don’t have one. I was free to call tomorrow to see if there were any for Friday. I will, but my hopes, this time, are not high.

I’m wondering if I should just wait until the semester is over. I’ll be settled in, I can take the summer to recover (hopefully any job I have by then will let me have the time off), and I would be in the area of my surgeon in the event there is an emergency. Also, and this is kind of toward the bottom of the list, I might have better employer-based insurance. *fingerscrossed*

The hernia is huge and uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and bending over feels…wrong. It just feels wrong. Imagine if your stomach were on the outside of your body and you bent over. That’s what it feels like—folding an organ in half. No like.

Maybe I should get some kind of support garment, not just for cosmetic reasons, but to help keep it from getting worse. Anyone know of such a thing? Post in comments, thanks.

I’m shoving in food today like there’s an invading army coming over the pass. I’ve had two helpings of homemade pot roast (not bad, but I’ll keep trying until I find a recipe I like. It does make a lot of meals); low carb clafouti, low carb pumpkin pie….shovel shovel shovel, and my pants are loose in the butt.  That’s what usually happens just before my weight drops. Since it’s up 10 pounds (yes, carbs, I know, stress….) it wouldn’t hurt to lose a few. I see my surgeon on Monday. It almost feels like a waste of gas, but he is amusing, so there’s that.

Maybe if I get better insurance, he could do my hernia repair next summer. Hmmm….

So I’ve got six things on my list of eleven crossed off my list for today.  Not bad, particularly as one of them was to do a makeup for the NaNoWriMo writing I forgot to do last night. *rolleyes* Then I can do tonight’s writing (1700 words, apx.), later this evening so I’ll still be on target. Holy G*d. LOL

I’ve gone to Target twice this week, to pick up prescriptions (and another one called today—automatic refills via text, and why can’t they all sync up and be on the same day??), and get a printer ink cartridge, and I’ve forgotten both times. I was even going to buy myself a reward lipstick for screwing up my courage and facing down the doctor for what I knew would be a fight for both referrals. I forgot the damn lipstick, too. Ugh. Growing old sucks.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I finally got in to see the GYN on Friday (after four calls leaving four voicemails and then sending a fax on Wednesday...) and the pathology report indicated everything is benign--polyp, fibroids, endometrium. Hooray. Also? Got to see some cool pictures of the inside of my uterus. Very interesting.

Also picked up my laptop with its new hard drive (yikes!) on Tuesday, so I'm learning about Windows 10, reinstalling stuff I like (Chrome), and re-setting saved passwords that I didn't write down anywhere. Ugh.

It's a gorgeous day out, so I'm taking myself to lunch and then a movie later, and then watching the Packers at 5:30. I've got all week to do chores and I've just got to get out of the house today. And it finally feels like fall.

Happy November!