Monday, March 31, 2014



I finally have my appointment tomorrow to get my sleep study results. I doubt they have called me in for a 1 hour appointment to say "you don't have sleep apnoea", but you never know. I shouldn't self-diagnose.


I first went to my GP maybe four years ago, to say I was tired all the time and was that normal? My children were sleeping through the night, my shoulder pain was reduced enough that it wasn't keeping me awake, I wasn't under stress. She sent me for a blood test and said apart from slightly low Vitamin D (for which I went on tablets) there wasn't anything wrong with me. She didn't pursue it any further. I figured I was just tired because I was overweight and didn't exercise much.

Things escalated a few months ago when the tiredness got much worse and I could no longer cope. So I did some internet research and looked for a solution more aggressively. I happened to see a different doctor which may have made a difference too, she was keen to explore a few different options.

If it turns out I have sleep apnoea, then I may have had it for years and it's just got worse. Maybe I didn't need to be tired every day for the past few years. That would make me kind of angry. If I can get up the energy.

Oh well, we'll see.

Not doing so well on the healthy eating front. Too tired to cook dinner tonight and ordered pizza. At least I went for a walk this morning, but I somehow think it didn't make up for all those extra calories.

I'm off to bed. Sweet dreams, everyone.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I love you this much


Yesterday the kids were getting their raincoats on to go for a walk in the rain and tromp through puddles. My daughter came into the kitchen and I saw a big cockroach climbing up her raincoat (which had been hanging in the laundry, unworn, for many months) towards her face.

I am nearly as scared of cockroaches as I am of spiders. All our bugs (and arachnids, of course) are very large here, and they are creepy even when not venomous. And cockroaches have wings too, even though they do seem to prefer to scuttle than fly.

I like to think I would have done exactly the same thing even if it was a big hairy venomous spider. With only half a second hesitation, I stepped forward, brushed it sharply off with the side of my hand (took two tries) and stomped on it. Was left a bit trembly with my heart racing, but proud of my bravery.

That is how much I love my little girl.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Update on writing


Since I agonised about giving up uni and going back to writing, I thought I'd give an update on how that was working out for me.

Really well, actually. It did take me quite a few days to get back into the groove; reading over what I had already written, getting into the character's heads, working out some stuff I'd been putting off like place names. But I've started the writing part again and the last couple of days in particular my fingers have been flying over the keys and I've resented having to drag myself away.

Like today I had my hair cut again, it had been getting a bit long and unruly - short hair needs more trimming than long hair. It is now much shorter than the original cut, very boyish. It's ok, I am dealing with it. It will grow quickly. And I'm pretty sure I'll like it more once I wash it and style it myself instead of the smooth cap the hairdresser left me with.

I was right in the middle of a battle scene when I had to leave the house and I spent the whole time at the hairdresser thinking about what was going to happen next. Oh, except the bits when I was reading trashy magazines.

I don't mind the occasional trashy magazine, but it gets a bit boring because I just don't know who most of these people are. I've heard of Jennifer Anniston (worried about her neck wrinkles) and Kim Kardashian (competing with her sisters about who has the best booty) but most of the pictures of  "celebrities" could have been random people off the street for all I knew. Half of them criticised as being too fat (omg look at that cellulite), the other half for being too thin (anorexia!). Or for getting wrinkly, or for getting surgery so they didn't look wrinkly. Or for sleeping with too many people. Odd, I don't think anyone was criticised for not sleeping with enough people. Some were apparently sleeping with the wrong people. Some nice clothes though.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chase the Stars


We spent all day Saturday preparing for that night's cocktail party to celebrate Tim's birthday. Lots of house-cleaning. By the time the party started we were both already exhausted! But then the party got going and it was great. So much fun. Cocktails and Singstar (karaoke) and dance games. A room full of friends. Well worth all the work.

The last people left at around 1:30 which is pretty late for me these days! I lay in bed for a long time unable to sleep due to the pain in my feet, so tired from standing all day and evening (and dancing). Also my RSI flared up a bit, especially in my right hand, maybe from squeezing lemons and limes? Anyway, I had a terrible night sleep and was almost glad to get up in the morning and start the task of tidying up the kitchen, and then I went out for a walk before anyone else (other than the kids) was up.

This weekend was the first instalment of Chase the Stars - sorry I'm too tired to work out how to do a link - 10 weekends over the year when people around the world are doing 5k walk/jog/runs, organised by Kyra. I walked around the neighbourhood but only ended up doing 3.5k in 50 minutes - pretty slow! I was just exhausted and my feet were starting to hurt again. Maybe I should have had breakfast first as well. So I didn't complete the 5k but I think I did quite well considering.

I got back home to a clean house, my husband had done the second half, and had breakfast with family who had stayed the night then I pretty much collapsed for the rest of the day. I know you are thinking I drank too much Saturday night! But actually I only had three cocktails over more than five hours. I was just overworked and underslept. I had a short nap and sat around the rest of the day staring into space. It was worth it though, we had a great time at the party.

One bad thing did happen. When I was getting dressed for the party, I found that what I wanted to wear didn't fit me any more! A bit distressing. I can't start expanding out of my "fat clothes"! Back to the grindstone tomorrow.

Edit: I wasn't sure whether to award myself the medal or not. I didn't go the whole 5k. But in the end I decided to give myself one, the littlest version. I did get out there and walk 3.5k despite being unfit and tired and with various aching bits. I participated, even if I didn't finish! This is my start, and there are nine to go to improve in.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Preparing for a party


When I am having a good day, like today, I get a bit embarrassed about what I write when I am having a bad day. But I think it would be counterproductive to go on about some kind of shame spiral where feeling better makes me feel bad, so I'll just say thanks for the messages of support!

I am feeling a bit better because - I assume - I've had a couple of nights of decent sleep. I am rather confused about how poor a judge I am of how good my sleep was. Last night in particular I would have assessed my sleep as being terrible, tossing and turning all night with lots of awake time. Yet I am not so tired today. Other nights I've thought I slept ok I've been much tireder the next day. So I'm obviously no judge.

Back when I saw that doctor at the university, she had three suggestions. Firstly that I have the sleep study, which I hope to get the results for very soon. Second to have a blood test for thyroid function, which I have had done and they should have been sent to the doctor by now but I am waiting for the sleep study so I only have to go to the doctor once to discuss results. And thirdly she suggested I get a nasal spray just in case something in my sinuses is contributing. I finally got the nasal spray on Tuesday. As I said, I felt like I had poor sleep that night and terrible sleep last night. Yet I am not as tired as I have been so maybe it is helping after all. But why do I feel like I am lying awake all night? And last night I got up five times to go to the toilet! Five times! Nothing to do with my bladder, it's just since I was lying awake anyway any little need to go was hard to ignore.

It is my husband Tim's birthday tomorrow! He has got the day off but the kids we be at school so we get to spend a day together. And then on Saturday night we are having a cocktail party, and some of his family are coming which means houseguests all weekend. I've been spending quite a lot of time this week planning (which I really enjoy) and shopping (not quite so much). Because we are nerds - ie people who aren't embarrassed to have childish fun - there will quite likely be Singstar and Just Dance games. Even before we get into the cocktails! Yay for a party weekend!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Everyone else has big news.


Last night at my Dungeons and Dragons game everyone else had big news. One is pregnant (or rather his wife is) and he has a new job. Another is about to do major renovations on his house which will basically double its size so they can have big parties. The final two members are a couple, one has just got a new job (in Sydney - where we want to go!) so they will be moving away in a couple of months. We are the only ones nothing exciting is happening to.

I don't even have cute stories from Uni to tell any more. Nothing to contribute.

Arg, I'll try not to be so morose and negative.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tired and sad


I am really struggling with life at the moment. Months of not enough sleep are taking their toll. It's probably been going on longer than that, but in the last few months it's become critical. I think I am now mildly depressed. I've had real, deep depression just after my first child was born, ten months of PND, so I know what that is like and this isn't nearly that bad. But I have a constant mild sadness, inability to cope, lack of energy. Hard to separate tiredness from any other possible problems. But either way, tiredness is at the root of it.

I'd told the doctor and the sleep doctor that I haven't been aware of stopping breathing, which is the actual primary symptom of sleep apnoea. Night before last I did it, woke suddenly taking a big breath. And I realised I have been doing it occasionally for a while. I just (oddly) hadn't connected it to sleep apnoea. I think because I was expecting to feel like I was choking or something. But this feels like I've just forgotten to breathe.

I don't want it to be sleep apnoea. I don't want to wear one of those CPAP masks and try to sleep with it on. But on the other hand, imagine getting a good night's sleep. Imagine not being tired all the time, falling asleep during the day, waking often at night, headaches, irritability, depression, forgetting things. At least if I get some kind of diagnosis maybe they can help me. I should get the results soon, maybe by the end of this week.

My weight yesterday was 82.2kg. Going back up.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy first birthday little niece!


I've had three days of unstructured eating and no exercise, which I assume will show on the scale tomorrow. Up until Thursday I had been good but the scale was a bit up on last Monday anyway. Then Thursday night I came down with a minor 24 hour tummy bug thing and mostly stayed in bed or slumped in front of the TV on Friday. I got my appetite back in the evening and made up for not eating much all day.

Then we went to Sydney on the weekend for my niece's first birthday party and then to see my mum. This involved some things I didn't have much control over, like the food I was served, and a lot of things I did have control over, like what I actually ate. No one actually forced that cake down my throat. Or any of the other stuff I shouldn't have eaten.

So I'll get on the scale tomorrow morning and take the result on the chin then start the new week with some exercise then shopping for healthy food.

It was lovely to see everyone on a very family-oriented weekend. My mum is still doing really well, although she's having a bit more pain since they gave her an injection to help strengthen her bones. It made me think of that scene in Harry Potter where all the bones in his arm get magicked away and he has to drink a bottle of disgusting Skel-e-grow (or something like that) to regrow them. A most unpleasant process.

I am super tired;on top of my usual tiredness these days I also spent last night on the rock-hard bed of doom at my sister-in-law's house which didn't help. (Her Chinese parents chose it, good for the back apparently.) So although it is only 9.10pm it might be time for bed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Still forging on


I've been keeping up the healthy eating and daily exercise. Today I walked around the lake. About 5.7km. Lovely weather for it, we've just turned the corner into autumn and it was a cool cloudy day with no wind. I went around clockwise for a change and I noticed two groups of people whose paths I crossed twice as they walked around counter-clockwise - two older ladies power-walking (not too old, maybe 55), and a mother with a little kid on a bike. Both groups must have been going considerably faster than me because of where we crossed the second time. Those older ladies were zooming along and chatting as well. And a much older man jogged past me. Just shows exercise does not have an arbitrary age limit.

I had a blood test this morning for my thyroid, hopefully that and the sleep study will give me and the doctor some useful information. All the results will be sent to the referring doctor, the one at the uni, but I'm not at the uni any more and I want to return to my regular doctor. Not sure how to manage that. Maybe just see the uni doctor one more time. She's free. Or she was to students - which I'm not any more ... all a bit muddled. But I didn't like her much and she was 45 minutes late when I was her first appointment of the day and if I see her it will just be to get my results.

I went into a pharmacy on Tuesday to check my blood pressure again. It was a different place, and instead of just being able to use their machine the chemist came over and did it, which was nice I guess. He took three readings, only five or ten seconds apart, and I got 128/90 (a bit high), 141/91 (a lot high) and 116/80 (completely normal)!! Very confusing. He told me to ignore the middle one as it was too different from the others - I hadn't discussed any health history with him and that was the one most like other recent readings. But the three were so different from each other, which made me lose a bit of faith in the whole system. I suppose that is why he took three readings, to get some kind of average.

I got through Dungeons and Dragons supper with only a lovely little pear and a few squares of dark chocolate, which are apparently good for high blood pressure. So I am doing really well on the food front as well. Healthy all the way!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Losing weight


Last week: 83.0kg
This week: 81.6kg
Loss: 1.4kg (3 pounds) yay!

Turns out all you have to do is eat healthy and exercise.

I've done walking and a tiny bit of jogging (I was amazed that I can jog for a whole minute, three times. I really didn't think I could) and some dancing and our kickboxing game "Fighters Uncaged". The kickboxing is a killer, I could barely walk afterwards. And I felt nauseous for a couple of hours too, I think that was because lunch had hardly any carbs and my pre-diabetic body struggled to balance my energy needs. I have to make sure I have carbs before I exercise.

It's going really well, eating lots of vegetables, no hunger or cravings so far. Giving up salt is probably the biggest struggle. I haven't added any pure salt to anything but I've still had soy sauce and some packaged stock - stuff like that is full of sodium.

I'm not as fit as I used to be but I can still do more than I thought - I'm up to 45 minutes straight moderate intensity already. On Friday I thought a 30 min walk nearly killed me!

Sleep is much the same. It's a long weekend here so I don't hand the equipment back in until tomorrow morning, and then don't hear for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, March 8, 2014



(Probably a boringly long post about my life, sorry)

I gave myself the second half of last year to write my novel, no other commitments (other than being a wife and mother, of course). RSI restrictions meant I was writing only a couple of hours a day. I got to nearly half-way in that time, not as far as I'd wanted but still far further than I had ever reached and I was pretty happy with that achievement. I'd had struggles at the beginning, but I'd finally got into a bit of a groove.

Then mum told me about her cancer and I was a bit thrown by that and unable to do anything much for a little while. Then there was Christmas, and school holidays with the kids home all day which makes it hard to write. I've never been the most self-disciplined of people. I totally lost that groove of writing and was flailing around a bit wildly looking for something to do with myself.

So, bit of a spur of the moment thing, I decided to go back to uni and do a Bachelor of Human Nutrition (which is Science, I already have a Bachelor of Arts) just because I was interested in the subject because of my own obesity. I thought it might lead somewhere, although I didn't want to be a dietician. I knew I had until week 4 to make a final decision without having to pay anything or getting a fail for withdrawing.

Well, week 4 has arrived. And I've decided to drop out of uni and go back to finishing my novel.

I wasn't an easy decision. I've been enjoying studying and I've been doing well at it. But I've become more and more conscious of the enormous commitment in terms of both time and money, and for what at the end? No idea.

I'm not giving up on study. I'm refusing to give up on my novel.

And if I do one day go back to study more, why am I doing another undergraduate degree? I already have an undergraduate degree, and a graduate certificate. I should be progressing, not going backwards. And I'd like to have some idea about a career path before I embark on years of study and tens of thousands of dollars in fees.

And I feel a bit lonely at uni. More than I do at home, alone. When I did my first undergraduate degree I was the same age as everyone else and had a great social life. When I did my grad cert in Editing, half the class was mature aged women! We had a couple of outings, but mainly we all had young families to get home to, it was very much part time. But now I am there all day, and more than twice the age of all my classmates. That doesn't bother me in the classroom setting, and everyone is very friendly, but they are not my friends. I sit and have my lunch alone, and study alone, and have my cup of tea in the science centre alone. I don't need to join a study group for help, and if I joined and offered to help others then I'd feel like I'm masquerading as a teacher. I'm the same age as them! I think I've been mistaken for one a few times already. So one reason I went to uni was to be out of the lonely house and amongst people, but it's not really working out.

I already gave up one subject because I thought the study load would be too heavy, and doing three was ok for the first few weeks as long as I studied every night and all weekend, but now big assignments are looming as well. I'd never see my family. I worry about how to manage the weekends I need to visit my mum and yet still get my work done. And the stress probably isn't helping my blood pressure.

So, have I convinced you? I guess I'm trying to convince myself that I am not a slacker. Because I know I am, in many things. I'm going to get this novel finished and polished and prove everyone (ie myself) wrong.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Nose tubes and finger clip


So I got myself all wired up last night. Electrodes and nose tubes and things on my feet and all the wires designed "one size fits all" meaning I had metres of extra coils to fit under my jammies. Got into bed very carefully. Actually the things you'd think would be the worst, weren't. I got used to the nose tubes very quickly. But I was aware of the things merely taped to the tops of my feet, every time I moved. And the constant firm pressure on my finger from the thing on there. And I didn't much like the box with all the wires plugged into it, which was strapped to my chest.

I wasn't aware of being very restless during the night, I didn't even have to get up to pee. Apart from a wakeful period around 5am, I would have said I slept better than usual if I went by my memory of the night. But this morning I am feeling very tired and also headachy (only about the third time during this experience that I've had a sleep-deprivation headache) so I'm guessing I didn't sleep very deeply. I was probably carefully lying still to not disturb the equipment, and just drifting on the surface of sleep. Anyway, it will be around two weeks before I get the results.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Five electrodes and two motion sensors


I picked up my sleep study equipment this morning, and was instructed in how to use it. So tonight I get a lovely night's sleep with a band around my chest, another one around my waist, five electrodes taped to various places around my head and neck, a motion sensor pad taped to each food, a sensor clipped onto one finger, and (most fun of all) little tubes up my nose! Everything plugs in to the box on the chest band, with all the cords taped down all over your body so they don't get tangled, and you're ready to go. How delightful.

The sleep doctor guy said that my sudden high blood pressure was quite usual with sleep apnoea. Also, obviously, the extreme tiredness and the restlessness at night. And my weird heart palpitations which I hadn't even mentioned to anybody because, well, I moan about my health so much and that just sounds so overly dramatic. A sort of fluttering in my chest combined with breathlessness, just for a few seconds. But he said that is such a common side effect of sleep apnoea that it is one of the main reasons doctors refer people for a sleep study! So, there you go.

After a bit of a dip in mood yesterday, during which I ate a Magnum chocolate-covered ice-cream (because, you know, that is how I deal with stress, I eat), I got a hold of myself. You know the best thing about having pre-diabetes, hypertension and (maybe) sleep apnoea? They can ALL be benefited by the same treatment of losing weight and exercising!

The Mayo Clinic has these 10 tips for dealing with hypertension (high blood pressure):

1. Lose weight. I'm on it. Restricting calories, plus see points 2 and 3.

2. Exercise. I've started with extra walking (On top of getting kids to school and getting around uni, which was still more than I had been doing in the holidays). 9783 steps so far, will make sure I get to 10,000. Today I walked around the university between a tutorial and going to the sleep clinic. I went up and down some unnecessary stairs as well. When half an hour of walking no longer leaves me sweaty and exhausted, I'll start adding in some jogging. I don't need to spent every second of the day studying.

3. Follow the DASH diet which is specifically designed for people with hypertension. I need to investigate it further, but it seems to be a real-food plant-based low-diet. I've had about 24 hours of eating healthy (healthier) so far, and I'll do some research on DASH and see if I need to tweak more.

4. Reduce sodium to 1500mg per day. Salt is a biggie for me. I love salty food and add salt to everything. I'm going cold turkey on added salt, there is enough in foods naturally for human health. I use lots of other spices anyway so I just have to deal with temporary seeming-blandness. I haven't had dinner yet, but I am up to 919mg of sodium already on my online tracker, probably mostly from the (wholegrain) bread I had at lunch and some dressing. Urg, wholegrain. Like pieces of rock in your food. But I'm dealing with it.

5. No more than one alcoholic drink per day. No problem. I have maybe two drinks a week.

6. No smoking. Easy.

7. Cut back on caffeine. I only drink tea, but I'm thinking I'll cut back from two to one cup per day. I suppose chocolate has caffeine too, but I'll be eating a lot less of that anyway, see points 1 and 3.

8. Reduce stress. Tricky one. What I am mostly stressed about is my health! Exercise is supposed to help.

9. Monitor blood pressure regularly. Ok, will do.

10. Get support from family and friends. No problem there.

I'm on it!

Problem posting comments?


I haven't had any comments since I meddled with the settings, trying to remove the need to verify you are human. So maybe I blocked everyone? (Thanks Kyra, all your fault!) Or maybe just no one had anything to say? I'd appreciate if someone would comment so I can see it is working now I've had another twiddle.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

High blood pressure and some night thoughts


I checked my blood pressure at the Chemist this afternoon. 148/103. Which is high. Probably not high enough to be put on medication, but high enough to worry about. So the reading at the doctor was correct, and my blood pressure must have gone up since last time I visited my regular doctor. At the very most, that is about 9 months ago.

Is the high blood pressure caused by the sleep deprivation? Both caused by something else? Pre-diabetes involved?

Lying awake during the night, at around 2am I had a bit of a revelatory thought. I was thinking about how I want to get this sleep problem worked out, but I really really don't want to have sleep apnoea. Imagining having to wear one of those face masks every night. And then I realised that it is probably up to me. I mean, I know that being overweight is affecting my health in various ways, but it just really hit me that I AM DOING THIS TO MYSELF. As far as I know, I don't have anything congenitally wrong with me. It is most likely that anything wrong with me, any health issues I am having, are caused by my diet and exercise habits. I can change my daily habits to make hours to study, why can't I find time and energy for my health? It is a depressing situation that I need to make empowering instead. If I can affect my own health in such a bad way, I can also do it in a good way.

Much later, maybe 6am, I was tossing and turning again. And I realised that relatively recently, but more than a year ago I think, I started sleeping with one hand cupping my face with my thumb and first finger pressing against my cheekbones. This has always puzzled me, but I kept doing it without conscious decision. And this morning I wondered if it was an attempt to keep my airways open? Is it affecting my sinuses? I don't know. I need to get this sorted so I can get some sleep.

To change the self-absorbed subject, a new study has just come out from the University of Sydney. I've only seen the media excitement about it so far, and I don't know how accurate that is. But anyway, they tested lots of different diets on mice. High protein, low fat, low calorie etc. Something like 35 different diets, the biggest study of its kind. And the headline findings are that high protein/low carb diets made the mice thinner, but also made them die a lot younger. The fatter high carb mice lived a lot longer. The worst diets were high fat and (surprisingly, at least to me) low calorie. I always thought calorie restriction, at least in humans, led to much longer life. Anyway, this is mice not humans but it is still interesting. What I get out of it is that thinner does not equal long life. Health is not just equated with skinniness.

Skipping class


I've organised my sleep study for Friday. I have to spend an hour at the clinic to get instructed, then take the equipment home to do the test that night. So that will be interesting.

In Nutrition class this morning we did a practise 24 hour recall on each other in pairs, finding out what the other person ate yesterday then comparing it to the official guidelines of what we should eat. I was paired with a fit looking boy (I really can't think of these 19 and 20 year olds as men! Especially the ones with the funny little mustaches) so I had to squash down my embarrassment about what I ate yesterday. Tuesday is the worst day of the week, with take-away and then Dungeons and Dragons supper! But it turned out his diet wasn't any better. His food intake wasn't too terrible apart from almost no vegetables, but he also had 3 glasses of juice (bottled, not freshly squeezed) and three bottles of powerade - an energy drink that has 35g (7 teaspoons) of sugar in each bottle! A lot of his calories for the day came in liquid form.

On the other hand, his idea of a fairly sedentary day included two hours of teaching kids to swim and then participating in a basketball game. Oh, but that only went for 40 mins, he protested. Hardly anything. I wonder what his active days are like!

I had a funny moment with another "boy" yesterday. I was chatting to my lab partner in Biology after we'd finished our work and I was saying I could afford to study instead of working because my husband was a lawyer so we were doing ok. Then I thought that that sounded quite boastful, so to show how my life wasn't all perfect I said that being a lawyer meant I hardly ever got to see him. The guy looked a bit awkward for a minute and I suddenly wondered if he thought I was a cougar on the prowl! Oh, I'm so lonely, my husband is hardly ever home, I was wondering .... Arg! So I quickly moved on to another topic, a comment on how monotremes (the Australian echidna and platypus - which we had just been studying) don't have nipples, they exude milk from their abdomen and the babies lick it off. I mean, yes, very interesting, but now I'm talking about nipples? Luckily it was time to move on to the next task and we managed to get past the conversational quagmire.

By lunchtime today I was so tired I just couldn't face staying for a two hour Chemistry lecture. I love my Chemistry, but I couldn't do it. I'd done the reading and the homework and I was confident with the topic. I went home and crashed into my bed for two hours semi-sleep (no real sleep, but some dozing in and out) before having to get the kids. We are having some lovely cooler weather at the moment but my sleep continues to be terrible so it definitely isn't that. I really want to get this cleared up, I am barely functional.

Sleep deprivation plus PMS is emotionally challenging. This morning my daughter put on the soundtrack to "Frozen" and there is an early scene where a little girl, Anna, doesn't understand why her big sister won't play with her anymore. They are keeping from her that Elsa has dangerous uncontrolled magic and is afraid of hurting her little sister. Anna is singing to a closed door...

"I never see you any more, Come out the door,
It's like you've gone away.
We used to be best buddies, now we're not...
I wish you would tell me why!
Do you want to build a snowman?
It doesn't have to be a snowman...
(Go away Anna)
Ok, bye."

I was literally in tears.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sleep doctor


I saw a doctor this morning - one at the university as that was easiest to fit into my schedule, so I hadn't seen her before - and we talked about my sleep problems. She didn't know what was wrong but we are investigating a couple of possibilities. Firstly she's given me a referral to have a sleep study done. Apparently there is guy at the university who organises for you to do the sleep study at home (more likely to get a proper reading under more normal conditions than you would get in a sleep lab), he gives you the equipment and then the readings are sent off the to the labs to interpret. I have no idea what it involves - a few of those suction things on various places maybe? I suppose the two things they want to know are how often I wake during the night and whether is because I've stopped breathing.

The other thing is to get my thyroid checked, which involves a blood test so I have a referral for that too. It will also check various other things I'm not sure of. I had a blood test less than a year ago for my pre-diabetes and it covered a few things but I don't think thyroid was one of them. And anyway, the sleep problems have started recently so I need a new blood test.

A third possibility is some kind of allergy, although I haven't had hayfever or anything, so I could try a steroid nasal spray at night to see if that helps.

I had my blood pressure taken, standard procedure with a GP, but she used a new-fangled type of machine with a really thick heavy cuff. She turned it on and it squeezed and squeezed. I always find having my blood pressure taken quite uncomfortable (I don't think anyone else has ever said so, maybe it's my flabby arms) but this was downright painful. It just kept squeezing. Finally my gasps and winces of pain clued her into something wrong (I would have said something eventually. Maybe) but it was finally on its downward cycle by that stage. The doctor worked out that it had squeezed way too hard from its pressure output reading. My arm was still hurting three hours later, and I now have what look like purple stretch marks on the white underbelly of my arm that aren't on my other arm. I think it over-pressured my veins.

The doctor said my blood pressure reading was high. I've never had high blood pressure in my life, not even when I was pregnant. If anything, it's often a bit low. So she tried again, with the more old fashioned type of machine on my other arm. Still high. 150 over something, I don't really know what that means or what is normal. But anything above normal is a new thing for me. And now we don't know if it is another symptom or a pain response to the first machine.

I didn't have a good night's sleep last night (and Tim says I was snoring) and I actually dozed off in a lecture this afternoon. It's a dark lecture hall without any windows or natural light, and I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Head nods forward, jerk awake. Head nods forward, jerk awake. Embarrassing. I hope the lecturer, who is also my tutor, didn't notice. So rude of me.

Monday is official weigh in. 82.7 kg, down 300g. I think normal daily fluctuation rather than actual weight loss, I certainly didn't have a virtuous weekend in terms of eating and exercise. But if I can get this sleep thing fixed I think that will be a great help.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fruitful weekend


I had a couple of good nights sleep this weekend which set me up for a productive couple of days. I'm still going to see the doctor tomorrow morning, last time I cancelled an appointment after some decent sleep but then the bad times came straight back. But I've felt pretty good.

I was finally strong enough to throw out the rest of that chocolate frosting (my kids and I had had one more go at it, then put it back in the fridge, earlier in the week) AND most of a packet of chocolate biscuits that someone else left here AND a family sized block of chocolate that no one but me liked and it wasn't anywhere near my favourite type so not worth the calories. So that was a good start to de-junking the house a little bit. I'm trying to turn the eating around. Resisting is much easier when I am not beaten down from lack of sleep.

Then I spent many hours studying which was very fruitful. I got a good handle on last week's Chemistry and did the online quiz and got 90%. I did that online Maths test that I had to get 80% in to continue in Chemistry, and got 100%! I am very proud of that, I worked damn hard for it. I went over and over every module until I was really confident with it all and it paid off. Over the degree I get four electives which I can choose from any subject and I am thinking about doing some Maths.

Then I read ahead for the coming week's Chemistry and Biology and answered the questions and examples in the textbooks and watched an online video and printed out all the stuff I need for this week's labs. It is kind of daunting that I will have to do this much every weekend to keep on top of it all (if I want to do really well, which I do) but I am enjoying it too. I love learning. And it gives me a purpose in life, which I haven't had for a little while.

So basically I did uni work all weekend while Tim minded the kids and did a fair bit of the cooking and housework too.

It wasn't exactly a fun weekend but it was a good one because I felt like I accomplished a lot.

My mum is doing really well, and we helped her buy a new dishwasher when we were last there so that and getting a cleaner in every week means she can relax and not worry about much housework. She can save her energy for things she actually wants to do. And she has a lot more energy now since the radiotherapy.

Here's to a new week.