Blogroll

When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Number crunching

That's what today has been about.

I've actually been preparing for today for about six weeks (ever since my endocrinologist started me on that low-oxalate diet -- bleh -- at the end of May). I saw the doctor this morning and got the results of my latest lab tests. The good news: the numbers are coming down as we've hoped they would. The oxalate levels are now in the 60s, which is much closer to normal (under 30; my last reading was over 270) and the phosphorus levels are completely normal in the high 800s (previously over 2100). So cutting out spinach and (some) nuts and tea has worked enormously in my favor, which hopefully means no more kidney stones in the future. This also means I have to stay on this diet, but so far, I'm managing.

Of course, though, there's a new wrinkle: I have exocrine problems.

Because I was experiencing some GI unpleasantness in early May (I'll spare you the details) and inexplicable weight gain, I got a referral to another specialist who ordered some tests of his own. It's not definitive yet, but the early results indicate that I don't digest fats properly. The culprit behind this problem is most likely the pancreas (again!) -- but this time it's the part of the organ belonging to the exocrine system, i.e., the part responsible for getting fat-digesting enzymes where they need to go.

So I'm now taking these.


This is Pancrecarb, which basically delivers the enzymes I need in capsule form. I take one capsule with each meal, and the tiny pellets inside get released as their container breaks down. So far, this seems to be alleviating the GI symptoms extremely well. Unfortunately, the weight gain hasn't leveled off yet. (Granted, I've only been on the meds for a week, but ... ) While the upward creep of the numbers on the scale has been slow, it has been frustrating, especially since I've been increasing my workout time -- and all that's done is give me sugar lows more often.

The nurse at the GI doctor's office who gave me my test results said that my body may have been hanging on to extra weight because it wasn't getting enough dietary fat (a bit counterintuitive, but certainly possible, I guess) so my metabolism may need to readjust. If that's the case, I'm hoping that happens sooner rather than later. I'm fine with what I weigh now, but about seven years ago I was nearly 30 pounds heavier (out of the healthy range for my height and build) and I really don't want to go back to that. I've worked too hard to get fit only to have a pancreas on the fritz undo it all!

In the spirit of staying motivated, here are a few blogs I've been reading recently that I'd like to add to my list of nominees for the One Lovely Blog award:
So there's some inspiration to fight the good fight without losing total perspective on why we do it. I am not just a bunch of numbers, I know, even if my doctors tend to rely on them to keep me well. Maybe remind me of that the next time I have to step on the scale ...

4 comments:

Crabby McSlacker said...

Hey, thanks so much for including Cranky Fitness!

And those medical issues must be SO frustrating! It's hard enough to eat healthy without all those restrictions.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

CM, your blog had me at the title. The humor is spot-on for my taste!

As for the medical issues, yes, it does get frustrating. I think it's more the idea that even healthy foods end up being off-limits that makes me sad (how I miss eating fresh fruits).

hypoglycemiagirl said...

oh dear, it never ends does it? :-(

btw did you find any good coffee to make instead of the instant you had to quit?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

HGG, I did find some good coffee -- it's grocery store brand, but it brews nicely. I've heard World Market has great coffees at comparable prices but of better quality, so we may switch to theirs when we finish what we have.

Any recommendations?

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Number crunching

That's what today has been about.

I've actually been preparing for today for about six weeks (ever since my endocrinologist started me on that low-oxalate diet -- bleh -- at the end of May). I saw the doctor this morning and got the results of my latest lab tests. The good news: the numbers are coming down as we've hoped they would. The oxalate levels are now in the 60s, which is much closer to normal (under 30; my last reading was over 270) and the phosphorus levels are completely normal in the high 800s (previously over 2100). So cutting out spinach and (some) nuts and tea has worked enormously in my favor, which hopefully means no more kidney stones in the future. This also means I have to stay on this diet, but so far, I'm managing.

Of course, though, there's a new wrinkle: I have exocrine problems.

Because I was experiencing some GI unpleasantness in early May (I'll spare you the details) and inexplicable weight gain, I got a referral to another specialist who ordered some tests of his own. It's not definitive yet, but the early results indicate that I don't digest fats properly. The culprit behind this problem is most likely the pancreas (again!) -- but this time it's the part of the organ belonging to the exocrine system, i.e., the part responsible for getting fat-digesting enzymes where they need to go.

So I'm now taking these.


This is Pancrecarb, which basically delivers the enzymes I need in capsule form. I take one capsule with each meal, and the tiny pellets inside get released as their container breaks down. So far, this seems to be alleviating the GI symptoms extremely well. Unfortunately, the weight gain hasn't leveled off yet. (Granted, I've only been on the meds for a week, but ... ) While the upward creep of the numbers on the scale has been slow, it has been frustrating, especially since I've been increasing my workout time -- and all that's done is give me sugar lows more often.

The nurse at the GI doctor's office who gave me my test results said that my body may have been hanging on to extra weight because it wasn't getting enough dietary fat (a bit counterintuitive, but certainly possible, I guess) so my metabolism may need to readjust. If that's the case, I'm hoping that happens sooner rather than later. I'm fine with what I weigh now, but about seven years ago I was nearly 30 pounds heavier (out of the healthy range for my height and build) and I really don't want to go back to that. I've worked too hard to get fit only to have a pancreas on the fritz undo it all!

In the spirit of staying motivated, here are a few blogs I've been reading recently that I'd like to add to my list of nominees for the One Lovely Blog award:
So there's some inspiration to fight the good fight without losing total perspective on why we do it. I am not just a bunch of numbers, I know, even if my doctors tend to rely on them to keep me well. Maybe remind me of that the next time I have to step on the scale ...

4 comments:

Crabby McSlacker said...

Hey, thanks so much for including Cranky Fitness!

And those medical issues must be SO frustrating! It's hard enough to eat healthy without all those restrictions.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

CM, your blog had me at the title. The humor is spot-on for my taste!

As for the medical issues, yes, it does get frustrating. I think it's more the idea that even healthy foods end up being off-limits that makes me sad (how I miss eating fresh fruits).

hypoglycemiagirl said...

oh dear, it never ends does it? :-(

btw did you find any good coffee to make instead of the instant you had to quit?

Contemporary Troubadour said...

HGG, I did find some good coffee -- it's grocery store brand, but it brews nicely. I've heard World Market has great coffees at comparable prices but of better quality, so we may switch to theirs when we finish what we have.

Any recommendations?