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Long time coming.

The past two months have been a bit of a rollercoaster, both physically and emotionally. Since early May, I stopped training with my cousin and also haven’t been eating all too well, I’ve received news that I still have a material hormonal imbalance, I flew (for the first time in five years) to Vegas for a Bachelorette party, started playing softball again, got into a verbal argument at a volleyball match, I had a few rounds of physical anxiety, my boss had a baby, I took over the day-to-day trading operations at my firm, started stress eating, and most recently (between yesterday and today) my family has had issues with our next-door neighbors. It is a lot of stuff, I will try to make it all make sense.

Since January I trained with my cousin, who is a certified personal trainer. We stopped, temporarily, training in May because he was going on a trip and then that eventually became permanent because my work schedule became completely erratic and I couldn’t commit to specific times. As of result of not having my cousin and his sessions to motivate me and my new work schedule, I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit. I did however join a new gym and have at least been going once per week. I went today and I’m hoping to go more this week, but I haven’t been that great at being consistent. My diet has been pretty crappy as well as I’m basically stress eating at work, which I will explain later. Hopefully this is my week though, I need to get into a groove.

Midway through May I got the results back from a saliva test that I performed over the course of the month of April. The results were packaged and sent out to a lab in Washington State and my naturopathic doctor received the results. She called me up in the middle of the month and we scheduled an appointment. At that visit, she told me that I still have a progesterone shortage, otherwise known as estrogen dominance. I’ve been off of the pill for almost fifteen months now and I have gotten a lot better. My estrogen levels have normalized now, but my body has not been able to raise my progesterone levels naturally, which has thrown off my periods, caused PMS, and I also have been told that at my current level, I’d have a hard time conceiving a child and if I did conceive, I’d have a hard time carrying the pregnancy to term. Needless to say, I was speechless. I thought that my body has had enough time to heal on its own and regulate my hormones once more. However, that’s clearly not the case and not only that, but now I’m facing potential fertility issues. The good part is that I’m on a progesterone supplement program for the entire summer and hopefully that will help to raise my level.

In a short note, I went out to Las Vegas for a friend’s bachelorette party. This was a huge deal for me as I have not been on a plane in five years and more importantly than that, I wasn’t sure as to how I’d react to flying with my anxiety. I will admit that I took a 0.25 mg Xanax during takeoff on the flight there and home, but beyond that it was fine and I actually enjoyed myself on the airplanes. It sounds silly, but this was a big accomplishment for me.

At the beginning of June, softball started and I’m on a new team. All of the ladies are fantastic and I’m having a lot of fun. I still play volleyball as well but it hasn’t been all fun and games recently. I play on a co-ed team and there is one man on my team who is constantly trying to move me around and control my play simply because I’m female. Well eventually I became fed up with him and at a game a few weeks ago I called him out. He claimed that he was trying to help the team out and even tried to guilt me by saying that he respects women and his mother is dead. Really? I’m sorry your mother is dead but I don’t think that she has anything to do with volleyball. Case closed. We recently played together this past Thursday actually and barely spoke to each other, but that’s OK. We played well together on the court and that’s all that matters.

In the middle of June, I had major anxiety. I wasn’t sure if it was a side effect of the Xanax in my system, stress from work, or both. I’m thinking that it was a combination of both. I didn’t have a full-blown panic attack, thank God, but still, I did feel defeated that I reacted so badly to my thoughts.

Literally a few days after my mini-breakdown my boss gave birth to her son, which then put me in charge of the daily trading operations at my firm. Needless to say I was nervous then and I’m still a little nervous now. I’m two weeks into this experience and it’s been quite eye-opening. I’ve been able to prove to myself that I’m able to handle this job and it has also helped to spark a fire in me and reignite my interest in the stock market and finance in general. However with all of that positivity, I have started to stress eat. I visit the snack closet multiple times a day to help calm myself down when I get nervous at work. This is a terrible way to relieve stress and this week  is the week where I hope to stop this phenomenon.

Last but not least, the issues with the next door neighbors. They had an early Fourth of July party yesterday and didn’t invite my parents. It really hurt my mom’s feelings and made my dad angry. As a result, it made me livid. But on top of that, I felt physical symptoms of anger and anxiety. When I saw my neighbors, I felt my chest tighten and felt pain in my head. I wanted to go over there and start screaming at them. I felt awful for my parents. I always tried to be the bigger person and continue to say hi to them even though they have basically phased my parents out of the neighborhood social circle over the years. I never wanted to be the person who just straight up ignores people but at this point I feel as though it’d be best for my health and psyche to just ignore these people. I have slowly removed myself from them as I have unfriended them on Facebook (which I’m still trying to get rid of) and have limited my communication to just the next-door neighbors but now I’ve really had enough. I really can’t afford the stress anymore and this weekend was the last straw for me.

So that has been my last two months. Lots of good, productive things and a few bumps along the way. My focus right now is to continue healing and working on my health in addition to participating in activities that I like with people who like and respect me. One thing that I’ve learned in the past two months is that I cannot hide my feelings (like being nervous about work or mad at a teammate or neighbor). I have to feel what I feel, take the appropriate action(s), and move on.

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Could’ve had a V8.

And I did. I drank a mini can of V8 Spicy Hot this morning. I’m a huge fan of a good Bloody Mary, so this was right up my alley, minus the liquor, of course.

I had two softball games yesterday morning and towards the end of the first game I sprained my ankle. Ten years ago to the day, I had broken the same ankle (the right ankle) and also had a third degree sprain as well. Yesterday, while running from first base to second, I went to slide into second base and my feet got caught up, causing me to land awkwardly on my ankle with all of my body weight (I weigh about 150 lbs). Needless to say, I heard a “pop” and immediately felt the pain. Instead of crying and writhing in pain (dramatics are not my thing), I just laid in the sand, waiting for someone to help me up. Eventually I got helped to the bench, and wound up icing and moving it around for the second game (although I played a little first base that game). When I got home, my boyfriend wrapped my ankle up and iced it for me – he’s the man! 🙂 Then I spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch while my dad made fun of me, because that’s what he does – he loves to joke around!

So, what do V8 and my ankle injury have to do with one another? Well in between my games and going home, I ran to Stop and Shop (a U.S. supermarket chain) to get some groceries for the week. Knowing that I’d be out of commission for Wednesday night volleyball and not knowing when I can even start back at the gym yet, I knew I had to get GOOD FOOD (tasty yet nutritional) for the week because I can’t afford to gain weight. In addition to V8, I bought tabuleh, falafel, whole grain pita, tzatziki, feta cheese (my favorite), and a few chobani greek yogurts (in assorted fruit flavors) – basically I went uber-Mediterranean this week! Either way, I have to eat well to balance out my lack of physical activity this week. I also just need to get in the habit of taking better care of myself. This injury has really given me a spark that I need to get my body into peak form. I want to fully recover from this injury. I want to get into the gym on a routine and eat well.

I want to be better than before.

 

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Did anyone ever tell you, you look like a penis with that little hat on?

I play women’s slow-pitch softball during the summer, or at least this is the first summer I’ve ever played women’s slow-pitch softball. After college, I started working full-time (been working since) and I played outdoor volleyball for two summers, then I took a few MBA courses the following two summers, and this year I decided to switch it up AGAIN. I had to pick something that would make me active again, so what better than I sport where I stand around and hope I ball comes to me? Well, tonight while playing shortstop and missing three (Yes, THREE) ground balls, I was hoping the ball wouldn’t come to me. I had a rather embarrassing game and we got mercy rule AGAIN (third or fourth game in a row). Fun.

Since I’m being RIDICULOUSLY productive with this blog tonight, I figure that I can explain my “life-altering experience” from my previous post.

Let’s start from the beginning. I started dating my boyfriend back in February 2008 when I was 22. Thinking that I was being responsible, I went to my gyno and decided to go on the birth control pill, Yaz. The first year I was on it, I was fine and was praising those little hormone-filled pills. Then the second year on it, I became more emotional than normal, hysterical crying (I was NEVER a stage-five crier) about many events, most of which had nothing to do with me or my family. By April 2010, I started having bad panic attacks (never had a history of anxiety or depression) especially while driving, which included difficulty swallowing, sweating, tingling arms/hands, crying, and hyperventilating (did I mention I was DRIVING when this occurred?). Come the summer of 2010, I started having panic attacks everywhere, at home, the office, in my car, in class; you name it, I’ve christened it with my crazies! By September, I was taking three MBA courses on top of working and not only was I having panic attacks, I was now severely depressed, to a point where I did have suicidal thoughts. I had no idea how I became this sensitive, scared woman.

That September I accidentally stumbled upon a website explaining how the hormones in birth control can cause depression and anxiety in women. Now I have heard of depression being a symptom, I’ve even seen it on the packaging, but I never thought that would’ve happened to me. I also came across tons of websites that had so many negative reviews for Yaz, including the Yasmin Survivors and Aphrodite Women’s Health Forum. I joined these sites and became an active member of each one, asking other women from across the globe for advice. I wanted a reliable birth control (as I’d rather not be with-child right now), but I didn’t want these horrible effects. I met with my gyno and I switched to Levora (generic of Levlen), which she advised to stay on for six months. Once I got off of Yaz, my anxiety and depression subsided a little bit, but I was still getting panic attacks and numb to everyone and everything in my life. I got through the holidays and started 2011 by deciding to change my gyno. I explained my recent history with this new doctor in March and she switched me to Zovia (generic of Demulen), which she explained was her “go to drug”. I stayed on this for a month, but I was so fed up with not feeling like myself that in April I decided to stop taking hormonal birth control all together with (after I consulted my boyfriend, *who might I add was very supportive of this and throughout this ordeal, of course because that’s something he should know).

I’ve been three months off of hormonal birth control since April 7th, 2011; BEST DECISION EVER. I started on a list of vitamins including Stress B Complex, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Flax Seed Oil as well to help myself along. Since then, I’ve been feeling more like myself but I’m still not 100%. I have random spats near my period where I tend to cry and have obsessive thoughts (about my relationship, my friends, family, neighbors, you name it), but other than that, driving is much better, I haven’t had a panic attack in months, and I’m not depressed. I do understand that this reaction does not occur in all women, so I’m not going to sit here and be preachy about the horrors of synthetic hormones. But this happened to me; it’s not a joke and it’s not fake. My only advice is to please do your research with hormonal birth control (pill, ring, patch, shot, IUD, etc.). Do not dismiss any noticeable changes that you see in yourself. Make sure that you do what’s best yourself and go see your doctor.

Before I went on the pill, I was a carefree, happy woman who could entertain herself with silly little things. I was completely confident in myself. Now, my confidence is shaken, but on its way back to normal. I’m having an easier time spending time alone with myself and finding pleasure in the little things like I used to. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m starting to see the light in the end of the tunnel.

I have faith that I’ll be 100% again, perhaps even better.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Health Scare

 

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