The Good and the Bad

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hi, my name is Alison and last week, my brain was eaten by med school and I spent most of my waking hours studying or feeling bad for not studying. I didn't feel well, physically or mentally, and didn't have anything useful to contribute to the blogosphere, so I didn't, really. Trust me, it's better for all of us that way.

Last week and the weekend that just passed was full of... stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, uncategorizable stuff. Let's review.

The Bad
As I mentioned, I just wasn't feeling great last week. My fatigue levels were really high, my joints were giving me all kinds of problems, and my hip bursitis was back with a vengeance. I saw my rheumatologist on Thursday and he drew blood (all normal, no surprise there), and basically said that I need to get pregnant ASAP so I can be un-pregnant ASAP so I can go back on my meds ASAP. We're both glad that my pericarditis has mostly resolved (although I probably more excited than he is, haha), mainly because he didn't want to put me back on prednisone if he didn't have to. For the same reason, we decided to not do another injection into my hip for the bursitis right away. I'm not in pain all the time, and I can manage it when it gets bad. I am going to make an appointment with the OMM clinic here and try to do a little (read: any) exercise to strengthen the muscles. Frankly, I'd like to avoid steroids as much as I can, because as good as I feel when I'm on them, I know they're screwing up the rest of my body. The life of an autoimmune disease patient.

For whatever particular reason, my mood was also pretty low this week. Maybe it was because I wasn't feeling well.  Maybe it's because my therapist was out of the office for Rosh Hashanah. Maybe it's because one of my best friends was having her first baby and I was sad that I could be there. Maybe it's because my hormones are whacked out. Who knows? All I know is that if you had left me to my own devices, I would have stayed in bed all day for the entire week, content to not talk to anyone or turn on any lights. I may have not even showered. Or eaten. I may have just slept. In any case, I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist in Philadelphia for next Friday, so we'll see what she has to say. I haven't seen a psychiatrist in a few years because my meds were being handled by my primary care doctor and nothing needed to be messed with, but I wanted to see someone now mainly because I want a professional opinion from someone who works specifically with pre/perinatal psychiatry so I can maybe feel marginally better and more informed about using SSRI's if I ever get pregnant.

I also had some down moments because, not surprisingly, I was not pregnant my first cycle off of the pill. This was not surprising, but what was surprising was how sad I was about it. Even though I hadn't consciously thought I would get pregnant right away, I didn't have any idea how much of a failure it would feel like when the thing I didn't think would happen uh, didn't happen. I know, it makes no sense. Feelings rarely do. I am moderately concerned because of my underlying health issues and having been on the pill so long that my body might forget what it's supposed to be doing here, but I have an appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist for next week because they wanted me to come in anyway, so hopefully that will help. I think there's also a fair bit of sadness around the fact that because of my health, any concept of getting pregnant without it feeling like some kind of science project is probably out. Feelings, man. They're weird and complicated.

Far more trivially, I realized that our fancy antenna that we installed doesn't pick up ABC, which is bizarre because we get CBS, NBC, Fox, PHL 17, and about 20 other channels (including two Spanish channels and at least two Jesus channels). This meant that I was all excited and ready to watch the premiere of Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder and I couldn't watch either of them. I was very upset. A Twitter friend came to my rescue and messaged me her password for her Fios, but my internet was wonky and when I finally got the streaming to work from ABC, it was in the middle of the episode and I wanted to watch from the beginning. I still couldn't get it to work for How to Get Away with Murder, but I took that as a message from the universe that I should just keep studying, so I did. Far less entertaining, but useful.

The Good
Fortunately, the week wasn't all bad! I did get a fair bit of studying done, and most of my fall TV shows came back, which meant I got to watch The Blacklist, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder (even if I had to watch the latter two on Hulu+ the next day). I also got to meet some fabulous ladies at a blogger meet-up organized by Chrystina! I was able to meet Emily, Jenn, Lisa, and Sarah, which was a lot of fun. Their blogs are all much bigger than mine, but I can't wait to see what I can learn from all of them. The most interesting part, I found, was how different all of our blogs were. It was also nice to sit outside on the patio at The Good Karma Cafe, sipping hot apple cider and knitting while laughing and chatting about all things blog. I'm excited for the next meet-up. If you're a Philly-area blogger, let me know and I'll make sure that Chrystina knows to invite you!

Friday after class, I headed to Maryland to pick up the new kitten! If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen the flood of kitten photos, but in case you don't (and let's be honest, go remedy that!) here are a few of my favorites. Internet, meet Sinatra!

Ken and I are totally obsessed with the new baby, but I can't say as much for Gershwin and Luna. As you can see, Luna is really not impressed with this tiny furball encroaching on her scratching post, and takes any opportunity that she can to hiss at him. Sinatra either was unphased by this or really not bright, as he kept trying to get closer to her, and every time, was rewarded with a smack in the face. Gershwin is hissing less and less every time he sees Sinatra, and now seems more curious than anything else. We've been trying to keep Sinatra sequestered in our bedroom so as to not upset the delicate cat balance in the house all at once, but the little guy is insistent on being with us and loves being around Gershwin and Luna as much as possible. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to leave Sinatra out with the big guys soon so he won't be so lonely during the day. Pray for peace, people.

Other good news includes that one of my best friends, Sarah (AKA: Little Friend, LF) had her first baby on Saturday night! Patrick Michael entered the world at 10:28 pm on September 27th and was quite the peanut at 6 lbs, 3 oz. He is so sweet and adorable, and I can't wait to meet him. I miss Sarah all the time, but I missed her especially hard this weekend because I wanted so badly to be with her to celebrate this exciting milestone. We've been friends since 2004, and I can't believe all of the life stuff we've been through together.

So yes, that was the week and the weekend. This morning, I woke up with Ken at 6 and was at school by 7 so I could do some last minute studying before our first OMM exam this morning. I am waiting around in the library until 2:00 or so when I have to head to the lab for my practical, which should be over by 2:30, and then I'm going home to... study more. Our second block exam is on Friday and covers biochem (amino acids, proteins, enzyme kinetics, hemoglobin, hemoglobinopathies, and neurodegenerative diseases due to protein misfolding), genetics (a random smattering of diseases, genetic counseling, and clinical cytogenetics), and all of immunology (yes, like, all of the entire course I took last year over 15 weeks). Then it's back to the grind for another 3 weeks before our final Fundamentals block before we dive into cardio and gross anatomy. I don't even want to think about it. In fact, I can't at this point; I just have to get through Friday. I've already promised myself that if I study every day this week and get through my exam without dying, I am going to get a manicure and pedicure this weekend.

This weekend should be pretty excellent in general, as it will include the aforementioned mani-pedi, seeing "Gone Girl" with Jenn, furniture and decor shopping with my mom, and vegetating with Colleen. And plenty of kitten snuggles.

And on that note, I'm going to go get something to eat and study for a couple of hours. Life of a med student...

- A


  1. Okay, your new kitten is adorable! How old is he? And I will hope that there is kitty peace in your household soon!

  2. Haha, thanks! He's somewhere around 12 weeks old... such a baby! And the kitty peace is increasing every day. It's a touchy situation, but... we're making baby steps. Baby-kitty-steps. Kitten steps?

  3. Thanks! Funny story? My mom rescued it from the trash and I was convinced our cats would hate it because it would smell weird or something, but they're obsessed with it. Yay for free cat trees!

    Related: Why are those things so damn expensive anyway?

  4. I'm apparently a million years behind on reading. Where has all of my time gone? Yay for enjoying the meetup, I'm sorry you won't be at the next one, but hopefully November. Also, your cats are funny - and pretty adorable. You should probably tell me not to be horribly annoyed by the one my roommate has next time we hang out. Kay thanks.


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