I took a much needed break. I had stated that things would be erratic for a while, but what I really meant was that I needed a break because I have been going through a lot and had to take some things off my plate.
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.
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.
First… sorry I did not complete the last post before it posted. It is complete now, with pictures. I probably could go into more detail, but it was a great trip and much needed!
Now to this post… I feel like I have talked about how I am self motivated person before… like early on when I wrote more about fitness. However, you also have to be motivated to move forward in life. Sometimes you just have to just do the difficult task and all the others seem so much easier.
I have an appointment tomorrow with a divorce lawyer. I needed to do this. Cohabitation post break up is not healthy. While I am looking and applying for jobs… I need a break from this. Its intense at times.
It was difficult and hurt my former partner, but it needs to be done. We both need to move forward so we can heal. The sooner the better. Also, if I move to my location of choice *hint… mountains, f*ck loads of them* then it should be easier to get interviews and get a job. I just have to be wise and spend at least 6 hours a day searching and applying for jobs. I could do it… its scary, but I could do it.
Two weeks ago, I took a 2.5 hour drive to baseball heaven, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I love sports and hitting up all the stadiums I possibly can. Baseball is the sport I have been devoted to watching most of my life. Growing up in St. Louis, MO everyone I knew was a Cardinals fan. I also played softball for several years as a kid, among other sports.
The trip was one night to just have to myself and I love going on adventures. The drive up was beautiful with the leaves just beginning to change and full of me singing at the top of my lungs (poorly I should say, as I am tone deaf) to my “How do you sleep?” play list. It may be the last time I enjoy listening to that.
I arrived around 10:45 AM and parked at Doubleday Field, the claimed origin where baseball was first played. I sent out a Snapchat and Instagram post for my friends to let them know I arrived and get postcard requests. I watched some high school boys play ball while I had my first meal of the day. Luke was on first in place of who and the team was the Silver Knights instead of St. Louis. I salute you if you know what I am talking about there.
After finishing my pretzels with cheese and RXbar, I made my way down Main St toward the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I went straight to the Hall of Fame and knew I was in a special place. Sure there were a lot of Yankees fans, but I saw many teams represented. I even found a fellow Cards fan and chatted with a man in a Detroit Tigers hat about my years of living in Michigan. I love those years and that place. He just responded, “its alright.” I also walked past Angels, Rockies, Phillies, Blue Jays, Mets, Marlins, Rays, A’s and some Hispanic teams I had not heard of.
As I walked through the museum, I saw the jersey Chris Carpenter pitched in during Game 7 of the 2011 World Series and the replica of the Stan “The Man” Musial’s locker. I also read quotes that resonated with me from Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron and Yogi Berra. Fun fact, my Grandpa Mayor played ball with Yogi Berra when the Dogtown neighborhood boys would play the Italians from The Hill. Lastly, the women who plowed the way for every gal to play ball, Go South Bend Blue Sox!
After 3-4 hours and another walk around the Hall of Fame, I browsed the gift shop and grabbed some postcards for myself and to send to others. Of course, most of Main St is a gift shop as well with f*ck loads of autographed memorabilia. I debated a Musial jersey, but settled for a black and white cookie instead, which I ate while people watching.
Then, I drove all of 2 blocks to my motel to check in, park the car for the rest of the trip and catch the last 2/3 of the Cardinals vs. Cubs game. I had a cocktail, salad and enormous burger for dinner at Mel’s at 22 down the street. The rest of the day was pretty low key, with a mildly stressful phone call, journal writing, giggling over how ridiculous I look with a face mask and early bedtime.
While in town the next morning, I mailed 10 postcards and felt the magic of baseball all around me. While eating a late breakfast before I left where I sat elbow to elbow in the small Cooperstown Diner with 2 local men (one in his 80s and the other in his 60s) who are both Yankees fans. We talked about our favorite baseball moments and about life.
They were the first strangers I told about my impending divorce. The older of the two gentlemen said, “a man who would treat you so poorly… a woman willing to come to this place alone because she loves the game that much… doesn’t deserve you.” The kindness those men showed me really made the trip.
Oh and I ran into some Uppers!
While I feel like I am exiting survival mode and caring for myself better, I am constantly recognizing what I am feeling and allowing myself to just feel it. Mostly, I feel so over this bullsh*t. I am enjoying time to do things for myself (whether solo or with friends) and getting back into a workout routine so I have time to process all the thoughts. It is not just about self-care and feeling good about yourself, it is your overall mental and emotional health.
I am allowing myself the space I wanted from the moment sh*t hit the fan for me. I am taking at least 2 trips. One solo overnight trip to Cooperstown, NY (because I love sports, especially St. Louis Cardinals baseball so why not see the baseball hall of fame) and then an extended weekend in Michigan to catch up with old friends I should have visited a long *ss time ago. My excuse is merely an excuse and I should not have let that stop me from going back to Michigan.
Being around family and friends has been so healing and I need to do more of it. So I am also looking to visit my hometown and Chicago before the end of the year as well. I would also like to visit Colorado, the place I dreamed of living since 2008.
While physical space is as good as it can be for now, I am also doing everything I can to process all the thoughts. Most of my running, hiking, strength training or walking is done to thought provoking songs. Music can do a many splendid things such as clear my head, make me dance and completely express my feelings in the perfect way. Every word of a song can completely hit home.
Thank you Sam Smith for “How do you sleep?” Also, thank you to my sister for sharing Sara Bareilles “She Used To Be Mine.”
Additionally, you need those things that get you out of your head to give you a break. My mind can become exhausted at times with all the feelings, role playing scenarios, fantasies of what could be and overwhelming mental implosions. Yoga and meditation have been a daily practice for me, as well as a trips down to the city for a baseball game. I need those moments to focus on something else to gain some peace.
How do you find clarity?
Completing Old Tasks
While I am thinking about signing up for a leadership and management course and looking into some ways to freshen up my coding skills… I still have a child care training course through the red cross that I need to complete from almost 2 years ago… Oops!
My plan is to at least get started on completing it before this post goes up and to have my certificate in my hands (or more likely downloaded) by the end of the month. Then, I will enroll in the 5 month leadership and management course on Coursera. I really want to take the course, so hopefully that will motivate me to complete the child care training.
There are always so many things you would like to do, but just not enough time to do them unless you make it a priority. I signed up to take the child care course because I thought it would help me get some babysitting jobs between leaving Chicago and arriving here in New York state. I had plenty of time to do it, but clearly it did not take precedence in my life at the time. Now that I work with kids, I probably to just get it done.
Also, I know I want kids. I only questioned it because of my current turbulent situation. Time to grow more as a person and complete some old tasks.
A Trip To A Midwife May Be Life Changing
Last month, I had an appointment with a midwife. I had never seen a midwife before, but wanted to after hearing great things from my friends back in Chicago. Additionally, I had been researching the difference in experience, cost, etc. and had wanted to make the switch for my next gynecological visit.
First of all, it was the best gynecological appointment I have ever had. She was easy to talk to from the get go, quick with my pap smear and actually solved a mystery for me. She let me know what I was told by my previous doctor was egzema was in fact not. It was tinea versicolor and could be cleared up with a $4 cream. I almost have completely clear skin after having developed this back in graduate school. Unbelievable.
She also was able to ease a lot of my concerns about my short luteal phases. She looked at my cycle tracking and said it seemed as though my body just needed extra time to get back on track. She also said it is not worth worrying about until I am ready to get my IUD out and start trying to have children. Then, if pregnancy is not happening, I should make an appointment to chat about it.
One of my friends just said to me that I should just let go of all the worrying about my cycle and such since I clearly am not at the point of having kids. She is right. I am enjoying where I am in my life right and until I am ready to remove that IUD why stress about it.
I can not believe I am actually looking forward to my next gynecological visit. 🙂
My graduate advisor is an amazing person. He taught me quite a lot even if I still failed the qualifying exam and never got my PhD. I made the right choice to go to Michigan to work with him.
One of the things he was so focused on were goals. I had them, but never really wrote them down and thought through them they way he wanted me to. He asked me about what I wanted from life, what all my interests, how important things were to me and to dive into what my priorities were. He also said I should reevaluate regularly.
In response, I came up with the following areas to consider:
- Short term (within weeks and months)
- Long term (within years)
- Life long (self explanatory)
Then, I have some subcategories:
- Plus whatever else I might come up with because your passions can change
Now this he always said it is meant to remind and guide you into the right path. Well, when it was determined that I was not going to get a PhD my goals had to change and that is when I looked toward my other interests and passions, which I included in my goal document I kept.
So lets get down to it!
- Astronomy and space physics
- Aurora activity
- Solar impact on planetary magnetosphere
- Stellar evolution
- Galaxy evolution
- Black hole formation
- Personal activity: Soccer, running, softball
- Professional: Soccer, baseball, hockey
- Yoga – I am strongly considering becoming a yoga teacher, I have wanted to since I lived in Chicago and started this blog.
- Atmospheric science
- The relationship between mental and physical health
- Family learning – how families learn together and deal with misconceptions
Short term goals
- Research yoga teaching courses in my area
- Help with museum improvements through experience, repairs, customer service, etc.
- Start back up on Spanish and Japanese lessons
- Lift weights twice a week and walk the rail trail 3 times a week
- Clear out the pantry
- Search again for a science related side-hustle
- Finish reading the 2 books on my nightstand
- Watch more baseball, even if it seems like we traded in the Cardinals season for the Blues Stanley Cup win
- Call my grandmother
Long term goals (most challenging for me right now)
- Develop something at work that stemmed from my ideas
- Gain more experience in different areas of the museum (advancement and exhibits especially)
- Figure out if I really want kids, then sort out goals around that
- Take better care of my friendships to maintain them
- Travel more (around my state, get the last 17 states I have not been to, Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, etc.)
Life long goals
- Always improve as a person
- Think about it, then do the right thing
- Be kind and positive
- Try to do what makes you happy
- Apologize when due
- Explore every chance you get
- Give every child in my life a better experience than I had
Learning to Deal With Failures
This will be a short one as I had a rough week and honestly can not pin down what I feel like writing about.
Through my partner’s work we have access to a website called mequilibrium and it has brought up a lot of feelings for me. The website is meant to help you mentally by providing “science-based resilience training.” The most recent track has me reflecting on my failures and how I may not have handled them well. I now have a better picture of what to do in the future, but I can not help feeling overwhelmed by those failures. I am not depressed, but bewildered.
I do not even know what to say about my failures. Life moved on though and things worked out. Then yesterday, I saw a high school friend posted that she was recently let go from her job and in the same post she was so gracious about the opportunity she was given. Then she announced her next move. I hope I can be that strong when met with my next failure.