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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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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.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The devil is in the details

So Thursday's pancreatic function test went off without any complications (or so I'm told since they put me under for the procedure). Results should be available in a few days. Until then, I'm busying myself with (what else?) thesis work and keeping a close eye on what I can and cannot eat for the rest of this trip.

The problem is that the restrictions change from day to day. For the next test, which is in progress at the moment, Dr. Specialist is having me eat as much fat as possible (aiming for 100 grams per day) so he can measure how much of it isn't getting absorbed. Hence the last few nights of dis-figuring dining: burgers topped with blue cheese, spring rolls from scratch, and butter-drenched shrimp scampi (see below). Goodbye, waist; hello, tasty, tasty stuff. With gut-wrenching side effects.

Photo courtesy Almost Dr. Sis. This is actually a shot of the dish when she
prepared it three weeks ago -- last week's has been demolished.


On Wednesday, I'll be switching over to this diet to prepare for Thursday's test, which measures levels of GI-tract bacteria:
  • white bread (no fiber, no whole grain)
  • eggs (hard/soft boiled)
  • grilled or broiled chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper only)
  • white rice (seasoned with salt and pepper only, no butter or margarine)
  • tuna fish, baked or broiled white fish seasoned with salt and pepper only
  • turkey or chicken lunch meat
  • plain water (not flavored)
  • coffee or plain tea (no dairy, sugar, or artificial sweeteners)
  • clear chicken or beef broth
Talk about drastic changes!

After that, I get 24 hours of more-or-less normal eating, then I start removing all whole-grain foods, salad greens, and dairy, progressing (regressing?) to nothing but clear liquids and a tasty little prep solution on Sunday to prepare for Monday's colonoscopy.

Yeah, the procedure my parents had last year, the one recommended for people once they hit age 50. I am so not close to 50.

But I sort of saw this coming after the last appointment with my GI doctor in Seattle. And fortunately, growing up in my family meant automatically developing a commodious sense of humor, so Almost Dr. Sis and I have been cracking poop jokes for a week to keep things light around here. I mean, why pass on such a bottomless can of laughs? (You can groan all you like.)

But in all seriousness, I cannot wait to have that colonoscopy -- if only so I don't have to refer to my Google calendar to see what the day's menu requirements are.

8 comments:

medieval woman said...

ugh - this sounds like a crazy culinary odyssey! I do hope the tests come back negative or positive, or whatever you want them to be!

((CT))

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Ugh. I am bowel-ed over (sorry!) by your healthy perspective and the humor you bring to your situation. I join MW in wishing you exactly the results you hope for - and a quick return to less scripted eating.

TKW said...

What the fuck kind of assholery is this?

Diet #1: Backside Suicide

Diet #2: Sounds like what my perennially constipated Miss M. eats on a daily basis

Diet #3: Whodahell consumes chicken broth?

Girl. You sooooo have my sympathy. And if you have any questions/concerns, email me and I will nag my hubs to give his layman's opinion, okay?

Thinking of you.

Sherlock said...

Wishing you the best on all the "diets" and tests. Thinking about you through all this!

French Fancy said...

Oh CT I really do sympathise. About three years ago I had my gall bladder out and for about 2-3 months afterwards I could not really leave the house in case I needed the loo IMMEDIATELY. You know that feeling - where even a minute's delay will be too long. This sounds like the state you must have been in.

Fingers crossed the results are good and, if not, that the remedies are swift and painless

xx

Contemporary Troubadour said...

MW -- thanks. Indeed, the grocery shopping was quite the adventure last week! Almost Dr. Sis, awesome and flexible chef that she is, has been totally game for whatever restrictions we have to work around. Thank goodness for that.

Kristen -- HA! Really, I encourage the jokes. No need to apologize :). Thanks for the good wishes.

TKW -- assholery indeed and how it pains me! Too apt. I feel for Miss M. (whether she thinks her situation merits that or not). But at least if, heaven forbid, she ever needs the test I'm getting Thursday, she won't find the prep diet unpleasant ... ? Many thanks to you and your hubs.

Sherlock -- our diets are something else, eh? Hoping you're doing well and that you're enjoying much gustatory freedom. That scampi recipe is quite low-carb if your doctor hasn't restricted your butter intake :)

FF -- yow, gallbladder! Glad that's no longer causing you trouble. At the moment I'm not house-bound, but I don't think I'll be able to say that this weekend. All in the name of answers, right? Thinking of you too and hoping you had a lovely time in Paris.

Good Enough Woman said...

I love the poop humor. We are certainly connaiseurs of such humor at our house. You would be LOVED at our dinner table. Although actually we do not allow potty talk at the table, so you'd have to wait until we retired to the sitting area to commence with said humor. But my kids would LOVE it! :)

Hope you're not too uncomfortable.

((((CT)))))

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW, I wish I could say I wasn't going to take anymore of this crap sitting down, but ... ;)

A postprandial poop-humor salon chez GEW! The idea sounds marvelous.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The devil is in the details

So Thursday's pancreatic function test went off without any complications (or so I'm told since they put me under for the procedure). Results should be available in a few days. Until then, I'm busying myself with (what else?) thesis work and keeping a close eye on what I can and cannot eat for the rest of this trip.

The problem is that the restrictions change from day to day. For the next test, which is in progress at the moment, Dr. Specialist is having me eat as much fat as possible (aiming for 100 grams per day) so he can measure how much of it isn't getting absorbed. Hence the last few nights of dis-figuring dining: burgers topped with blue cheese, spring rolls from scratch, and butter-drenched shrimp scampi (see below). Goodbye, waist; hello, tasty, tasty stuff. With gut-wrenching side effects.

Photo courtesy Almost Dr. Sis. This is actually a shot of the dish when she
prepared it three weeks ago -- last week's has been demolished.


On Wednesday, I'll be switching over to this diet to prepare for Thursday's test, which measures levels of GI-tract bacteria:
  • white bread (no fiber, no whole grain)
  • eggs (hard/soft boiled)
  • grilled or broiled chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper only)
  • white rice (seasoned with salt and pepper only, no butter or margarine)
  • tuna fish, baked or broiled white fish seasoned with salt and pepper only
  • turkey or chicken lunch meat
  • plain water (not flavored)
  • coffee or plain tea (no dairy, sugar, or artificial sweeteners)
  • clear chicken or beef broth
Talk about drastic changes!

After that, I get 24 hours of more-or-less normal eating, then I start removing all whole-grain foods, salad greens, and dairy, progressing (regressing?) to nothing but clear liquids and a tasty little prep solution on Sunday to prepare for Monday's colonoscopy.

Yeah, the procedure my parents had last year, the one recommended for people once they hit age 50. I am so not close to 50.

But I sort of saw this coming after the last appointment with my GI doctor in Seattle. And fortunately, growing up in my family meant automatically developing a commodious sense of humor, so Almost Dr. Sis and I have been cracking poop jokes for a week to keep things light around here. I mean, why pass on such a bottomless can of laughs? (You can groan all you like.)

But in all seriousness, I cannot wait to have that colonoscopy -- if only so I don't have to refer to my Google calendar to see what the day's menu requirements are.

8 comments:

medieval woman said...

ugh - this sounds like a crazy culinary odyssey! I do hope the tests come back negative or positive, or whatever you want them to be!

((CT))

Kristen @ Motherese said...

Ugh. I am bowel-ed over (sorry!) by your healthy perspective and the humor you bring to your situation. I join MW in wishing you exactly the results you hope for - and a quick return to less scripted eating.

TKW said...

What the fuck kind of assholery is this?

Diet #1: Backside Suicide

Diet #2: Sounds like what my perennially constipated Miss M. eats on a daily basis

Diet #3: Whodahell consumes chicken broth?

Girl. You sooooo have my sympathy. And if you have any questions/concerns, email me and I will nag my hubs to give his layman's opinion, okay?

Thinking of you.

Sherlock said...

Wishing you the best on all the "diets" and tests. Thinking about you through all this!

French Fancy said...

Oh CT I really do sympathise. About three years ago I had my gall bladder out and for about 2-3 months afterwards I could not really leave the house in case I needed the loo IMMEDIATELY. You know that feeling - where even a minute's delay will be too long. This sounds like the state you must have been in.

Fingers crossed the results are good and, if not, that the remedies are swift and painless

xx

Contemporary Troubadour said...

MW -- thanks. Indeed, the grocery shopping was quite the adventure last week! Almost Dr. Sis, awesome and flexible chef that she is, has been totally game for whatever restrictions we have to work around. Thank goodness for that.

Kristen -- HA! Really, I encourage the jokes. No need to apologize :). Thanks for the good wishes.

TKW -- assholery indeed and how it pains me! Too apt. I feel for Miss M. (whether she thinks her situation merits that or not). But at least if, heaven forbid, she ever needs the test I'm getting Thursday, she won't find the prep diet unpleasant ... ? Many thanks to you and your hubs.

Sherlock -- our diets are something else, eh? Hoping you're doing well and that you're enjoying much gustatory freedom. That scampi recipe is quite low-carb if your doctor hasn't restricted your butter intake :)

FF -- yow, gallbladder! Glad that's no longer causing you trouble. At the moment I'm not house-bound, but I don't think I'll be able to say that this weekend. All in the name of answers, right? Thinking of you too and hoping you had a lovely time in Paris.

Good Enough Woman said...

I love the poop humor. We are certainly connaiseurs of such humor at our house. You would be LOVED at our dinner table. Although actually we do not allow potty talk at the table, so you'd have to wait until we retired to the sitting area to commence with said humor. But my kids would LOVE it! :)

Hope you're not too uncomfortable.

((((CT)))))

Contemporary Troubadour said...

GEW, I wish I could say I wasn't going to take anymore of this crap sitting down, but ... ;)

A postprandial poop-humor salon chez GEW! The idea sounds marvelous.