Remain Calm and Take Care of Yourself

Yeah, I messed up last Sunday… and a bit today…

With all this hysteria going on, let us remember to take care of ourselves. We need to take the time to relax, talk to people (while social distancing to prevent spread), and in general do things that will keep us healthy.

For relaxing, I am thinking:

  • Take a bath
  • Read a book
  • Meditate
  • Self massage

To keep up with socializing:

  • Texting more
  • Using Snapchat
  • Video chat with friends and family

Keeping healthy is not just about social distancing:

  • Exercise at home
  • Continue to go outside for fresh air by walking/running/hiking, but avoid close contact with others
  • Do not just stock up on your favorite treats, make sure you buy frozen produce, canned produce and bags of grains or beans, but get some fresh stuff to enjoy this week, remember the grocery stores will be open and you can go back to get more things
  • And if you are sick, take care of yourself:
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Take some Tylenol to reduce your fever, if you have one
    • Eat healthy foods to improve your chances of getting better sooner

We all need to do our part to flatten the curve and that primarily means taking care of yourself.

 

Life is different in 2020, in a good way

Did I tell you I still might allow things to post before completing them (Sorry I did not complete it until Tuesday)… Did I tell you I moved… Did I tell you my divorce papers are signed… Did you know I kind of started dating…

So rewind to late December, I left New York state on the 21st and made it to my hometown by the evening of the 23rd. Just in time for Christmas with my family. I got a job back in Michigan though so I was enjoying that time with my loved ones there before moving back to another place where I have a support system. It was great. All the love was exactly what I needed before starting over on my own again.

Shortly after moving back to Michigan, my divorce papers were signed and submitted to the NY state court. While I do not have the divorce decree yet, things are feeling more final and like I can move on. I will be changing my name back to my maiden name and I at this time feel that I will not change it ever again. I had started to feel some grief over missing my name and feeling like being called Mrs. ______ just felt off.

Additionally, shortly after moving I met someone and we are taking it slow, the slowest I have ever taken things. So far so good. I had a few concerns and we talked them over. It was a very different conversation than I have ever had with a guy… It is refreshing. Even if it does not work out, this was good to experience right out of a long poor relationship. I like him and feel uncomfortable with dating this soon, but he keeps surprising me and I am not letting it hold too much weight.

Overall, I am much happier. Things are pretty good. I have some grief I am dealing with from my grandmother passing and being an adult can be stressful sometimes, but life is still good.

 

Healthy Goals

I’m so far off the bandwagon that I can not see it anymore. So here are my goals…

  • Reduce sugar intake because holy sh*t am I addicted and it is making me eat more (scientific fact).
  • Intense workout 4 days a week and yoga almost every day if not every day, of course, I am going to work my way up.
  • Move more, I find myself rarely getting up from my desk…. so so so bad. I should take a walk once a day and add it to my calendar each morning.
  • Get to bed by 10 PM. Sleep is essential!

It is not a lot, but it is a start.

HSV Testing – Cautionary Tale

Apologies for 2 weeks without a post and this one being posted a few times without being completed. I did need a break though. My mental health needed to be focused on my “escape” and spending time with those who love me. On to the topic of the post now.

After ending my relationship, I went to a routine doctor’s visit. Given the split, my general physician recommended a full STD screening. I agreed, I figured what harm could it do. A week and a half later I get a call from my doctor with my results. On this call she stated, “you are a little positive for HSV 2.” HSV 2 or otherwise known as genital herpes is something I had tested negative for in the past, during my relationship. It is incurable. I was upset. Her way of consoling me was to tell me that pretty much everyone has it these days….

As a former researcher, you bet I educated myself. My findings were appalling.

  • Most doctors only know the basics about it and do not know of all the testing methods.
  • Not everyone has it, estimated that 25% of the sexually active population in the US are carriers.
  • Unfortunately some people believe they have it due to poor testing options. The 2 most affordable and common tests (the IGG and IGM) are VERY inaccurate, to the point of why are they even used.
  • The most accurate tests are if you have an active breakout to test or the Gold Standard, which I paid almost $500 in the end, only done by University of Washington.
  • Oh, those people who have false-positives and never got further testing… Some of them may have gone on to HSV positive dating websites and now really have it.

I communicated this to my doctor… She did very little to help me and her nurse made me feel as though it wasn’t worth her precious time. So I contacted my midwife, who a friend and her mom had helped me find. My midwife reassured me of everything I researched being true and was happy to help me get the gold standard test.
As I stated, I paid a lot of money for the Western Blot test, the gold standard in HSV testing, from the University of Washington. If you find yourself with a positive HSV result and it is a low positive, below 3.5 magnitude, then press your doctor for further testing.

I am negative for HSV 1 and HSV 2. After doing more research, I knew I had to be. I had no symptoms, my ex tested negative, and my false-positive results from the IGG were in a range that put me of having only a 10% chance of being positive.

The key part of this experience were my doctors. My general physician was really unkind about it and clearly did not know enough to be giving out this test. My midwife on the other hand was amazing. She consoled me, was educated about the inaccuracy of the IGG and IGM, and very willing to learn about and help me get the Western blot. It was all about the right doctor.

Uncertainty

A lot of my life right now feels uncertain. I will be moving in less than 2 weeks. I have only one Christmas present purchased for my niece (well 3 if you count a care package and my Reddit Secret Santa). I am waiting to hear back from an interview. I was rejected from half a dozen jobs this week.

I know that I have wonderful family and friends supporting me right now. I know I have a place to go no matter what happens. I know I need to get the rest of my sh*t packed up. My hope is that life comes together the way it always has in the past.

So bare with me… I may f*ck up a bit on posting.

The Value of Outside Perspective

Through the divorce process most people have been very supportive. They focus more on my mental health, listened when I really needed it and offered me a place to getaway to. My inner circle, as I call them, have advised me on the day to day stuff and how how I can take care of myself. Thank you, A, L, A, P, L and K.

They made me realize I wish I would have opened up to more people years ago about how I was being spoken to and treated. When I first entered this relationship, I was young and excited, but also knew I did not not have the full capacity to maintain a relationship in graduate school. A lot was asked of me and I gave more than I had. I also was made to feel that if I talked to others it would be hurtful since it could affect their opinion of him. That right there was a red flag.

It does not hurt to have a diverse set of perspectives on your personal situation, but know that you make the final decision. Talk to people that you value their opinion and deeply trust. While major issues should be discussed between you and your partner first, a poor impression can be a wake-up call if you are being honest about the situation.

Gratitude

With Thanksgiving this week, and I usually try to do something big within my practice of gratitude. However, this year with how tough things have been. I want to write about the importance of this everyday practice of mine.

Appreciation can have a big impact on your relationship with someone. Even when its just in a customer service transaction. Here are just a few reddit posts I have upvoted:

Spreading and receiving gratitude makes me feel good and connected to those I love and care about. It impacts all the areas of your life: family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and community. I did not grow up with all this gratitude, but when I saw first hand in early adulthood the power of it, it had to become a practice. I feel like it comes more naturally out of me now.

Reflecting on the recent events of my life, lack of appreciation greatly led to the end of my relationship, the lies uncovered were the guillotine as they made the lack of love so apparent. Showing appreciation could have turned things around… for a time, but in the end I feel I am better off not in that relationship. There were many other issues I was blind to. This year, I am working on appreciating myself and seeing all the love I already have in my life.

If I Believed in Signs

I feel like through this divorce process things that I feel are coincidental are slapping me in the face left and right. Mainly because of being in this situation I am noticing things that relate to how I am feeling and what I am thinking. If I believed in signs who knows what I would be doing right now, most likely making poor or rash decisions.

Here is the thing with signs, yes it may seem like they are telling you to do something or make a particular decision, BUT coincidence are common. Also, if you are in a crazy time in life, you are just going to notice that kind of sh*t. The probability that a “sign” will happen is highly likely then. I studied physics and therefore statistics, they are merely accidental happenings occurring all the time and are in no way related to major life choices you are making.

However, for fun… let us look over the signs I have noticed as I am going through this big life change.

  • Colorado ads have popped up everywhere I go and suddenly we have had a lot of visitors from Colorado at the museum, from the exact day things turned for the worst in my relationship. I have desired to live in Colorado since Summer 2008 when I had an internship in Boulder. Every time I go back to Colorado I yearn to be there.
  • Music that so perfectly expresses how I feel has been releasing, such as Sam Smith’s How do you sleep?, Post Malone’s Goodbyes and Selena Gomez’s Lose You to Love Me.
  • A lot of people from my past (friends, professors, colleagues, etc.) are experiencing break ups and posting things on social media that directly related to the issues my partner and I had.
  • My wedding band fell apart. It had a wood inlay with resin over it to keep it secure. Within a week of the events that made my life feel like it was imploding, the resin popped all around the ring and the wood started shifting. The weekend before I broke up with my partner it just fell out.
  • My fertility got the all clear from my doctor (which I did not tell my partner about) when my partner began to make statements like, “I guess we should get started on having kids because we are behind everyone else, ” and “Well, we need to have kids so that someone can take care of us when we get old.” Not valid reasons to have children, but he could have also been scared. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
  • A now friend who considered me, “just a hook up,” added me on Snapchat around the time I started considering divorce (end of May). Coincidentally he has connected with me in some way every time I was on the verge of breaking up with my partner. He also lives in Colorado, yet another coincidence.

What does all this mean? Nothing. It just makes you think. Thinking is good. None of this made the decision for me. This process is not easy and following signs make it all the more stressful. Love from friends and family is essential for moving forward and I highly recommend as many hugs as possible. Hugs make me feel like the problems are melting away.

Hiking Turned Spontaneous Drive

Last Sunday, I figured I would hike Storm King Mountain since it was on my list and I could pass by the Beacon farmers market to get the brilliant goat cheese. Turns out, on can not turn off to the trail head from the South bound side of Route 9W. I had to drive 3 miles to the next exit and I found myself at the West Point visitor center and museum… They are not actually in West Point by the way. West Point does have restrictions for going there, as they should. I figured I should check it out what I can since I am here. No regrets. I live for adventures like this.

West Point is nestled at a bend on the West bank of the Hudson river where you can not see it coming up for New York. That is what makes it such an ingenious spot to place a military academy. There is a brief history on their website if you want to know more.

Its free. The visitors center really gives you an idea about going to school there, while the museum displays objects and artifacts of the US army’s history. The basement is where you find the big guns and crafty weaponry. It was a quick side trip.

I got back on the road to get back to Storm King Mountain. Turned out to be a historically significant site. The Freedom Road, “The route traveled by the 52 American hostages from Stewart airport to West Point after their release from captivity in Iran January 25, 1981.” Honestly, I thought… It was the 1980s… Why did they not just get in a car? Turns out, they were on buses and Route 9W was part of the path they took.

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The hike was beautiful as it was the last weekend to catch a glimpse of that gorgeous Fall foliage. I also got to do some bouldering. The views were amazing. It can be a quick hike too, if you do not stop as often as I did to drop your jaw.

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Post hike I was starving and thanked my past self for hiding an RXbar in my Camelbak, but I also stopped by a farm stand for a classic NY Apple Cider donut. That and the sandwich I picked up were the perfect end to the day.