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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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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.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And then things got ugly

I've been waiting.

At first it was just waiting for an appointment with a new doctor -- an internist to start with; she comes highly recommended. She works within a well-reputed medical center I've been referred to in Seattle, one whose philosophy emphasizes continuity of care: a single system, linking all of its specialists. Everybody has access to your records, your history. No faxing things to separate people, no need to dig channels of communication. They're already in place. But you have to have a primary care physician within the organization -- he or she acts as your point person -- before you can arrange to see anyone else (like, say, an endocrinologist).

So my appointment, which I made the day before my last post, is this Wednesday.

The same day of my last post, within the hour I hit publish, my body threw a hissy fit. I'll spare you a list of the symptoms, but suffice it to say, they weren't something to ignore.

We weren't sure of the cause, but the first suspect was that kidney stone. Its initial presentation was odd, which I knew, but it turns out the urologist's report hems and haws about whether it was ever even a stone. If it was, it's up and done something unkind. If it wasn't, then something else is going on and we need to figure out what that is.

In the interim between the Friday I got sick and this Wednesday (not quite three weeks), we've done some stopgap investigating. As much as I didn't want to, we went to an ER on the first Saturday (on the advice of the nursing consult service D's company provides to its employees) to make sure nothing imminently life-threatening was happening. After that, we were advised to follow up with a urologist. Of course, the earliest appointment I could get was after the first appointment with the new internist (this is how new-patient scheduling sometimes goes). I was still feeling off, so my remaining option while waiting was to go back to my current doctors.

At some point in April, when the endocrine guy was beginning to run out of ideas, he referred me to a rheumatologist (suspecting something autoimmune). "He's a very good diagnostician," he told me. So I saw that person in June (see what I mean about new-patient scheduling?) but in the end received no new answers after one more round of tests.

Given the new symptoms from September, I figured it might be worth going back to him. Fortunately, he had an opening the Tuesday after I got sick; still no answers, but he repeated his tests.

The Thursday of that week, we left for D's brother's wedding weekend, during which my symptoms got worse. Tack on one more ER visit.

Then we came home. Symptoms even worse. Decided to forgo the ER visit against most natural instincts, sensing from our track record that we wouldn't get answers. The rheumatologist's tests came back a few days ago with nothing new either. And now, we're here.

I've got all my paperwork gathered and organized, all the records I could pull together from the last eighteen months. I've sat down and charted from scratch on a timeline all the weird things that have happened with my body since I got diagnosed with prediabetes, and then some from the time before. I've noted diet changes, weight changes, GI changes, urological changes, medicinal changes, mental changes, environmental changes. There's nothing more I can think of to add.

I wanted to wait to write about any of this, hoping I'd have better news. But here I am, waiting.

I just have to make it to Wednesday. We start fresh there.

6 comments:

French Fancy... said...

Oh I am sorry to hear you've been so poorly, CT. Fingers crossed that all this waiting will result in a crisp and clear and quickly- treatable diagnosis. Keep us posted.

xx

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, FF. I've got my fingers crossed too.

SuziCate said...

I sure hope you get some answers soon...the waiting I know is frestrating and painful. Prayers and hugs.

Sherlock said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all the health issues. Waiting is so frustrating. Hope you get a diagnosis and treatment plan soon!! Will be watching for updates.

French Fancy... said...

Any more news?

C. Troubadour said...

Hi again, dear FF. No news -- but ideas are in the works on what to do next. The doctor I saw last week is supposed to get back to me with a plan soon ... ?

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

And then things got ugly

I've been waiting.

At first it was just waiting for an appointment with a new doctor -- an internist to start with; she comes highly recommended. She works within a well-reputed medical center I've been referred to in Seattle, one whose philosophy emphasizes continuity of care: a single system, linking all of its specialists. Everybody has access to your records, your history. No faxing things to separate people, no need to dig channels of communication. They're already in place. But you have to have a primary care physician within the organization -- he or she acts as your point person -- before you can arrange to see anyone else (like, say, an endocrinologist).

So my appointment, which I made the day before my last post, is this Wednesday.

The same day of my last post, within the hour I hit publish, my body threw a hissy fit. I'll spare you a list of the symptoms, but suffice it to say, they weren't something to ignore.

We weren't sure of the cause, but the first suspect was that kidney stone. Its initial presentation was odd, which I knew, but it turns out the urologist's report hems and haws about whether it was ever even a stone. If it was, it's up and done something unkind. If it wasn't, then something else is going on and we need to figure out what that is.

In the interim between the Friday I got sick and this Wednesday (not quite three weeks), we've done some stopgap investigating. As much as I didn't want to, we went to an ER on the first Saturday (on the advice of the nursing consult service D's company provides to its employees) to make sure nothing imminently life-threatening was happening. After that, we were advised to follow up with a urologist. Of course, the earliest appointment I could get was after the first appointment with the new internist (this is how new-patient scheduling sometimes goes). I was still feeling off, so my remaining option while waiting was to go back to my current doctors.

At some point in April, when the endocrine guy was beginning to run out of ideas, he referred me to a rheumatologist (suspecting something autoimmune). "He's a very good diagnostician," he told me. So I saw that person in June (see what I mean about new-patient scheduling?) but in the end received no new answers after one more round of tests.

Given the new symptoms from September, I figured it might be worth going back to him. Fortunately, he had an opening the Tuesday after I got sick; still no answers, but he repeated his tests.

The Thursday of that week, we left for D's brother's wedding weekend, during which my symptoms got worse. Tack on one more ER visit.

Then we came home. Symptoms even worse. Decided to forgo the ER visit against most natural instincts, sensing from our track record that we wouldn't get answers. The rheumatologist's tests came back a few days ago with nothing new either. And now, we're here.

I've got all my paperwork gathered and organized, all the records I could pull together from the last eighteen months. I've sat down and charted from scratch on a timeline all the weird things that have happened with my body since I got diagnosed with prediabetes, and then some from the time before. I've noted diet changes, weight changes, GI changes, urological changes, medicinal changes, mental changes, environmental changes. There's nothing more I can think of to add.

I wanted to wait to write about any of this, hoping I'd have better news. But here I am, waiting.

I just have to make it to Wednesday. We start fresh there.

6 comments:

French Fancy... said...

Oh I am sorry to hear you've been so poorly, CT. Fingers crossed that all this waiting will result in a crisp and clear and quickly- treatable diagnosis. Keep us posted.

xx

C. Troubadour said...

Thank you, FF. I've got my fingers crossed too.

SuziCate said...

I sure hope you get some answers soon...the waiting I know is frestrating and painful. Prayers and hugs.

Sherlock said...

I'm so sorry to hear about all the health issues. Waiting is so frustrating. Hope you get a diagnosis and treatment plan soon!! Will be watching for updates.

French Fancy... said...

Any more news?

C. Troubadour said...

Hi again, dear FF. No news -- but ideas are in the works on what to do next. The doctor I saw last week is supposed to get back to me with a plan soon ... ?