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Archive for March, 2010

I belong in a bubble

I went to a respiratory testing facility the other day to be tested for asthma. After about half an hour of what I can only describe as extreme breathing exercises, blowing in and out of a giant tube while sitting in this little space-pod looking thing, the technician determined that I do NOT have asthma. Hooray!! But the bad news is, my severe year-round allergies are probably to blame for my middle-of-the-night coughing and occasional shortness of breath when exercising. Apparently they can cause some of the same symptoms as someone with mild asthma might have. So I’ll probably still have to use my inhaler from time to time, and I’ll probably have to go to an allergist to see what all I’m allergic to and what else can be done. I’ve heard it before that St. Louis is one of the worst cities for allergy and asthma sufferers, and I’m finally starting to believe it. I once worked with a guy who moved here from Texas. He was an avid runner but after a few months here, kept getting sick – allergies he never knew he had, trouble breathing when running, etc.  About a year after relocating, his career path took him back to Texas and he’s been fine ever since. He swears it’s this city and the Mississippi River. But since I don’t forsee us moving to a new city any time soon, I guess I’m sort of stuck.

Speaking of running outside, I’ll definitely need my inhaler for the 5K the hubs and I are running in tomorrow in support of the Colon Cancer Alliance. You might remember that my grandpa has colon cancer, though a few months ago he went through surgery and is currently taking chemo treatments to keep it from returning. My team’s captain was interviewed on the local news the other day. You can watch that interview right here. She’s been campaigning for this pretty hard, in support of her mom, and I have a shirt just like the one she’s wearing. I haven’t really trained for this at all so I imagine I’ll have to walk a little here and there. I just hope I don’t embarass myself in front of all of my co-workers.

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I don’t watch Fox News or MSNBC. I don’t read left or right-wing extremist sites. I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh or whomever his left-wing equivalent would be. So this blog post won’t be about politics because frankly, I try to block all of that out. But here’s what I do know. Health care reform is needed in this country, badly. What’s happening now may not be the complete solution, in fact I know it isn’t, but I firmly believe it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve always considered myself lucky. Lucky because 1. I have health insurance through my employer and 2. because I’m relatively healthy.

A couple of weeks ago, when my doctor prescribed me an inhaler with a spacer for my asthma, I assumed my prescription would be covered. It wasn’t.

And when my husband was referred by his doctor to see a hand specialist for this funky genetic disease he apparently has, that consultation wasn’t covered.

In the last month I’ve paid $400 in visits and medicine that wasn’t covered by my insurance. Stuff that SHOULD have been covered.

Last week, my cousin was diagnosed with cancer. It’s in his jaw, his throat, and in both lungs. He’s self-employed and doesn’t have health insurance. He went to the doctor for a sore throat and came out with a cancer diagnosis. But his doctor won’t treat him because he doesn’t have health insurance. And it’s not like he can go out and get insurance because his cancer is now considered a “pre-existing condition.”

I could sit here and tell you that it’s his own fault. He’s been a smoker for at least 25 years and probably chewed quite a bit too. I don’t know his financial situation (he’s not wealthy by any means) so I don’t know if it was possible for him to get private insurance before. Maybe he could. Maybe he was just being cheap. I don’t really know. I do know that he lost his teenage daughter a couple of years ago when she was hit by a car while trying to help a friend change a flat tire on the side of the road. He’s definitely had his share of bad breaks, and I realize that’s one hell of a understament. But does any of that matter now? No. Because all that matters now is that he’s a 45-year-old man, with a family to support, and he is in desperate need of health insurance so he can afford to fight the gruesome battle that lies ahead. And if this bill makes health care more accessible, for him or for anyone like him, then I just don’t see  how something like that can be “bad”?

When I think of people who opposed this bill, and how they’re so afraid of this affecting them – specifically their pocket books – I’m appalled at the selfishness of people. Especially when much of that argument doesn’t even make sense. The passing of this bill will not affect my coverage or how much I pay for that coverage. My taxes will not go up. And if they did? I’d be okay with that too.

I don’t claim to be a very religious person, meaning that I can’t spout off Bible verses or recount old Bible stories, but all of this reminds me of a famous Bible verse. Paraphrasing here:

When Jesus was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  Jesus replied, “The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” ~Matthew 12: 28-31

I want healthcare. I want it for me. I want it for you. I want it for everyone.

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Thanks for all the comments on my last swimsuit post. I was THIS CLOSE to buying the pink and orange one…until my husband said he really liked my blue halter swimsuit. So then I decided that I must have a halter top swimsuit and the search started all over again.

After another hour hemming and hawing, I finally decided on this. It’s definitely not bright, but the color options were limited. Plus it was on sale.

(image from Victoria’s Secret)

I’m a little nervous about the bottoms, not having worn anything other than a swimskirt for years, but I think the belt is cute. I just hope to God my boobs look that good in it.

As I was checking out, this little pop-up window interrupted me and was all “Hey, look at me! I’m a cute yellow halter top dress! Aren’t I adorable? Don’t you want to buy me? I’m only $29 and I look GREAT on the beach.” And I said, “why yes, you ARE adorable! I must have you. In turquoise, and a little longer in length so my ass doesn’t show when I bend over.” And the dress replied, “I can do that!”

So now I will soon be the proud owner of this cute beach dress.

(image from Victoria’s Secret)

Mine will be about 5 inches longer, which cost me an extra $10 but I still think it will look great.

Now to find the right sandals…

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A good dose of happy

Here’s a list of things making me happy recently:

Tree trimmer is coming TODAY to do some major work to the giant oak tree in our yard and some limb/tree removal in our backyard. It’s long overdue, and I think we’re getting a really good deal.

Daylight savings. While I hate waking up an hour earlier, I LOVE the extra hour of daylight for my evening commute.

Looking at display homes. My parents came in town for the weekend and having little to do after lunch on Sunday, we stopped by a new community to look at all the open display homes. We have no intention of moving there, but we just like to look around.

A delicious cuban sandwich and Cajun fries. ‘Nuff said.

Spring! Even though it was rainy and cold all weekend, I can sense the changing of the season in the air. Definitely a mood-lifter.

Steak dinner with my parents and grandparents. It was the first time this year that we used our grill and the steaks turned out perfect.

A dust-free bedroom. As soon as I started getting over my sickness, my allergies started kicking in. It’s that time of year of course, but I also know I have a pretty severe dust allergy. My husband thinks I’m full of it and EVERYONE is allergic to dust, but I’m beginning to think I’m more sensitive to it than most. Especially when I’m practically living in a giant dust-and-hair-ball thanks to THIS thing:

“Who? Me?”  Yes, you. But I suppose the cuteness is worth the mess and sickness so I put up with it. Even still, the dog hair never ceases to amaze me. It’s everywhere. He doesn’t sleep in our bedroom but it still manages accumulate in my closet, under the furniture, behind the door, in my shoes, even on our sheets and dresser tops. How does it get there?  Even after a thorough dusting  of the room, I still felt sick the next night. Then I realized the state of the rug under our bed. You see, we have all wood floors in our house so we put an area rug under the bed to keep the feet of the bed from making indentions in our floor. I didn’t think about the dust and hair getting so bad under there that it would stick to the rug and make me sick, but apparently it was. And there was no way for me to fit a vacuum under there so on Sunday me, my mom and my husband took off the mattress and box spring and lifted the bed frame so we could remove the rug. There was even dust and dog hair in the creases of my bed frame! I slept SO much better the next night. My mom also  helped me deep clean my kitchen by wiping off the top of the fridge and just about every surface in the room, not just the counters. Who knew a knife block could collect so much dust? Or a spice rack? The hubs wiped off the fan blades and the tops of the cabinets since he’s so much taller. That 6’1 frame pays off every now and again. Apparently I’m either going to have to do more frequent “deep cleanings” around the house or start paying someone to do it.  Anyway, moving on…

Cadbury eggs. My mom knows they’re my favorite so she brought a package of them for me. Good thing too because for the last two years I’ve missed out. Last year I went to at least three different stores looking for them and they were all sold out.

And because I’m really just a big kid at heart, I couldn’t resist putting together my own little Easter basket to sit on our kitchen table.

It makes me happy. What’s making you happy today?

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Soon, I’ll be packing my bags and boarding a plane destined for sand, sun, and ultimate relaxation. Soon, I’ll be walking up with a delicious cup of Kona coffee, snacking on chocolate covered Macadamia nuts, and indulging in fresh, macademia-nut-encrusted mahi-mahi. And soon, I’ll be spending a good portion of the day wearing a swimsuit. My body is nowhere near where I would like it to be, but at least I’m a few pounds lighter than I was last time we were in Hawaii. And since it’s a trip for “just the two of us”, I haven’t completely abolished the idea of something a little more revealing than my standard takini with skirt bottoms. So I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect swimsuit. Something flattering for my body type, something that is boob lifting, tummy flattening, and wedgie resistant. So let’s discuss what I’ve found so far:

I started with Victoria’s Secret, knowing that the overwhelming majority of their swimsuits would be too teeny tiny, but also knowing that they have a great selection of boob-lifting tops. And they did, but the part of my body that I’m most sensitive about is my stomach. It’s not flat. So I wanted something that not only covered it, but wouldn’t show the poochy outline of my belly button. But every swim suit I’ve ever had has been very form-fitting, which I guess is the way swimsuits are supposed to fit, but my belly button pooch always shows! I typically steer clear of patterns and stick with solid colors, but to avoid the belly button pooch, I’ve learned to embrace patterns. Maybe that’s a mistake. I bought a tankini last year and even though it also came in a solid color, I chose the patterned version when I saw the difference with the belly button situation. I’m taking it with me again this year, but a week on the beach requires more than one swimsuit. I also want a bright color. I always stay with a safe black, but I’m thinking maybe a pink or coral color, or something in the green/blue family. I found this:

(image from VictoriasSecret.com)

And though I don’t exactly love the pattern (is it animal print? I can’t tell.), I think it’s pretty close to what I’m looking for, style wise. I also like this one, but in a different pattern maybe:

(image from VictoriasSecret.com)

I’ve always loved halter tops. But the big problem with both of these suits? The bottoms. My hips and thighs are way too big, so I don’t think this cut will work. I thought maybe I could mix it up with a solid matching color boyshort, but Vicki’s doesn’t offer swimsuits with boyshorts anymore. I guess they’re not “in”?

Feeling a bit frustrated and wanting to see different styles on slightly larger women, I check out Lane Bryant. Now, I don’t shop at Lane Bryant, but if I had to pick an underwear model that most resembles myself, it would definitely be a Lane Bryant model before a Victoria’s Secret model. I took a look at their swimsuit bottom selection and tried to pick out which style looked the most slimming.

(image from LaneBryant.com)

It could be the way she’s standing, but personally, I think the boyshort bottoms are the most flattering. The skirts aren’t flattering at all, and the hipsters squeeze the flesh a little too much for my liking. I also really like this ruffled short skirt, especially the color, but for a Lane Bryant site those tummies sure do look flat!

(image from LaneBryant.com)

I’m not crazy about the matching top though. It looks a bit “maternity”.

So that’s where I am in the painful world of swimsuit shopping. So help me, please. Help me make a decision on a swimsuit. And, because I’m having a moment of bravery, I’m going to show you what I actually look like in a swimsuit. It’s a couple of years old, and the photo is crooked, but it’s the only one that doesn’t show my awful posture. Probably because it’s crooked. But this gives you an idea of what I almost always wear.

Black skirt tankini. Probably from Target. It’s safe and comfortable, but not so flattering. And that tattoo on my husband’s arm? That’s a temporary tattoo…of an octopus. Like the kind you wet and rub on. I had hoped it would leave a funny tan mark, but I wasn’t so lucky.

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A Better Mood

My favorite lunch: half a ruben and a cup of cheesy tortilla soup

My favorite lunch partner: my husband

A gorgeous 70-degree spring day

And a fab evening of facials and girl-talk makes for a MUCH better mood and a better day.

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Well it’s been about 5 days and I finally feel like I’m back in the land of the living. Still battling a nasty cough and sore throat, due to an apparent upper respiratory infection. And to tell you the truth, I’m kind of tired of these infections. Two years ago, on almost the exact same day while on vacation, I developed my first upper respiratory infection and if you’ve never had one, it’s like the flu and a severe cold all in one. The body aches and fever of the flu, the cough and congestion of a cold. Consider me lucky, I guess. At least now I can always tell when spring is almost here. I’m like the groundhog with his shadow, except it’s me and my mucus. I never thought I’d say this but, I think I’d rather be a groundhog.

So I went to the doctor yesterday to get some meds so I can kick this thing and SURPRISE! I have asthma. Or, my doc THINKS I have asthma, which is why I can never seem to kick these respiratory infections on my own. There are a bunch of other reasons why she thinks I’ve developed mild asthma, some having to do with my allergies but I have to go back for testing so she can make sure. In the meantime,  she prescribed me an inhaler and there was talk of spacers, and one pump or two pumps, and using it at night and before excercise and…well I’m pretty sure she was just talking really fast and I was barely comprehending anything. I’ve never used an inhaler. I have a hard enough time taking pills. I mean, I’m the girl who buys CHEWABLE vitamins! So this was scary stuff for me. And when she asked if I had any questions, the only one I could think to ask was, “if I don’t really have asthma, and I take this, could I die?” Denial is the first stage.

So that was fun. But I’m resisting the urge to Google the shit out of “asthma” until I see the test results. I don’t want to freak myself out only to find out that I just have severe dust allergies and that maybe I should just hire a friggin’ cleaning lady already. So we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I just need to figure out how to stop coughing.

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