Ladies – Do You Groom?

I’m not talking in general, but specifically when you go to the gynecologist. Do you groom your body before a pap smear or gynecologist exam? I mean I can’t be the only woman who thinks it is important when heading to the gynecologist to make sure that my pedicure is fresh and everything else from the top to body is as well.

I only book early morning appointments if I can help it. I also make sure that my legs are shaved, my feet finely shaped and no hammer toes or cracked skin. Yep, I still lotion my body from head to toe. I don’t use spray in between my legs because I don’t want it to mess up any cultures or exam. However, I refuse to let myself look like I just woke up and came out when someone is between my legs.

Especially a medical professional.

I had my exam yesterday with one of the male doctors in the practice and I swear he gets cuter every year. He’s not even 40 yet. This man diagnosed me 9 years ago with preeclampsia and he was only 31. He circumcised my son and has been a vital part of my medical history for the last 9 years since I arrived at the practice.

There is never awkwardness between my gynecologist and I. Great conversation and sincere concern about my health. He’s given me great advice on my weight loss and overall health. He’s also pretty hot.

He told me when he finished looking in between my legs that he liked my red toe nail polish. He noticed. Aww, it was the little things.

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The Musings of A Diabetic – Part 1

“I have the sugar”. Those were the words I uttered last month when I found out that I am now in the diabetic range. My A1C was 7. I was officially diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic. I sighed. I was feeling overwhelmed.

I met with my doctor to go over my numbers. He was angry because I hadn’t repeated my labs or seen him since August of last year when the numbers indicated that I was pre-diabetic. He wanted to know why I hadn’t bothered to see him or return his calls. He was acting like I stood him up or something.

I guess in reality I did. I had been so busy and pre-occupied with life that I put my health on the back burner. Yes, I still worked out. Yes, I still kept losing weight and increasing my water intake. But, my life was in a tailspin last year. I couldn’t focus on me. I had to focus on everyone else.

My son got shigella. My daddy got diagnosed with cancer. My son was having emotional issues. I was going through a horrific time with my ex. I got a kidney infection and ended up in the hospital. My car got hit by a U-haul truck while it was parked. I thought I had breast cancer.

There it was.  A lot of the load that I was carrying had weighed me down. My health became minor. I had to work. I had to pay the bills. I had to take care of my son. I had to get a grip on reality. I was having a nervous breakdown and I couldn’t have one because there wasn’t any time to have one. Who would take care of my Munch if I did?

He listened. I said, “I need you to understand the plight and burden of being a mother. A black mother. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulder and we often neglect our health.” He said, “Okay, well now you can’t neglect your health. It’s serious.” I felt defeated as I responded, “I know.”

We spoke about my weight loss. He was happy. He sees the scale going down. We talked about my work out routines. My activity levels. My stress levels. My eating habits. There it was. My eating habits. I mostly ate healthy but I didn’t know that my love of carbs was killing me. Oh, how I love pasta, rice and sauce. I dreamed of pasta and warm breads. They comforted me.

They were slowly killing me. “I don’t want medication. My mom says that I could become dependent on medication and she doesn’t want me to take it. She wants me to reverse it. She’s a chemist you know.” He sat there and slowly responded “Nothing against your mom but you need the medication. I don’t want your pancreas to have to work so hard to get that sugar out of your body. The medication helps to get rid of the sugar. I wouldn’t recommend it unless I thought you needed it.”

“I know” I muttered.

“No one changes their eating habits overnight. It takes time. This medication will start to work while you continue to try and make better choices.”

“I know” I replied with tears streaming down my face.

“Look, since you’re against it I will start off on a low dosage one pill daily, although I would normally recommend two pills a day. I want you to test your blood sugar every other day and I want you to continue to work out and change your food choices. Keep a journal of what you eat so you can see the things that make your sugar levels rise. We will retest in 3 months. We will see what’s going on.”

I agreed.

The nurse came in and showed me how to test my sugar. Simple finger prick. Once every other day.

I could do that.

I left the office feeling defeated.

My Breast Health

So, I went in yesterday to get the repeat impressions aka mammograms of both breasts. Remember I posted about them wanting to repeat the test in my post Damn You Breasts? I had to have a repeat because they saw fibroglandular tissue (density) in the picture. It shows up as white on the pictures. But, so does cancer.

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Which is why they had to repeat the pictures. But, can I just say this…mammograms hurt. They hurt like hell. Probably more if you’re like me…a member of the itty bitty titty club. But, I digress.

She took me back in that cold room and said “I got a smaller tray to take the pictures now.” She actually smiled. I looked at her like she was crazy and thought “the instrument of death is made smaller?”

Yep. They make a smaller compression plate for small chested women like me. Woohoo! I guess I should be thankful? Do a happy dance or something?

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I stood there as my head was pushed up against the machine and the death machine began descending on my breast like a wheel of torture. I screamed in pain. The 800 mg of Motrin that I drank with a venti iced coffee didn’t work. I cursed myself for not taking an Oxycontin for pain before going back in to repeat this test. The tech pushed and manipulated my breasts to get them just right for the picture. I was in pain.

“I’m sorry sweetie. Please don’t move. Please don’t breathe” she said. I remember seeing the light and thinking “This is it. I’m coming sweet baby Jesus. Help me Lord!”. My head was pressed against the plastic and I couldn’t breathe. I heard the picture take and the plate lift up and breathed a sigh of  a relief. On to the next one.

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My breasts aren’t as big as hers in the picture so you see the plastic plate descending on her breast? It hurts like hell.

Same process. I almost passed out and I’m pretty sure I cursed the woman out in my head. Not in person of course, but in my head. She asked me to take a seat in the waiting room and went to show the doctor my new pictures.

And guess what? Everything turned out wonderfully. The doctor reviewed my labs and said everything was great and that they were sending a report to my doctor.

Whew! Thank you Jesus. Ya’ll know I did my praise dance right there right?

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Well, I am truly thankful that everything is okay and that we started discussing breast health. Wow! This blogger community and the women surrounding me were so helpful and reassuring. Encouragement and assurances surrounded me in my time of need. I am forever thankful.

It is a blessing to know that breast health is important to all women and it’s a sisterhood circle that we share. We all have breasts. We understand the importance of checking our breasts and routine care. We are united. Thank you ladies.

And yes it hurt like hell! Small chested women have real problems too. LOL.

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 1

Thank you to Lisa Amaya,  Life of an El Paso Woman, for nominating me for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. I love reading quotes because I look for inspiration in everything. Quotes encourage my spirit and let me know that I can run on.

Here is my quote for today:

257-Health-and-Wealth-Quotes

 

Each day I will nominate three different bloggers to participate in the challenge. I nominate the following three for today:

A Perfectly Flawed Ruby

MidiMike

Riddle from the Middle

Three Things I Want You to Know – 11/14

Yesterday, I sent HIM an email entitled “Three Things I Want You to Know”. He replied that I always make him smile and that I’m funny.  LOL! Well, it got me to thinking that I wanted to share with you three things each Saturday that I wanted you to know. It could be anything about my life, week or current events. I just wanted you to know in case I missed talking about it or I forgot. Which tends to happen because I’m superwoman and I can’t possibly manage to remember 5 billion things. But, I try.

So, here’s the three things that I want you to know:

  • He and I are working out together and can I tell you that I actually enjoy it? I have room in my skinny jeans, increased endurance and an overall happier mentality. Our workouts are so great because I have a partner who wants to work out and doesn’t chastise me if I want a slice of pizza. LOL! (Which I haven’t had a few weeks). But, I noticed that my skinny jeans have a lot of room and I could definitely go down a size, but I’m too self-conscious about my butt to do so. But, working out is good.

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  • I have stalkers. Not literally. But those stalkers who watch my life, read my stuff and never say a word and then watch me on Facebook too. Have you ever had that? LOL! It’s both exciting and scary. Exciting because people are actually taking the time to read my stuff but scary because you won’t admit it? Weird, but I’m good! (Must be all those extra endorphins from working out).

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  • I’m putting together my naughty and nice list for Santa. Can you guess what I’ve been this year? LOL!

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Have a great weekend!

ACA is Here to Stay

As many of you know by now the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) was again saved by the Supreme Court of the United States in late June. In a 6-3 decision the Supreme Court saved the controversial health care law that has been at the top of Republicans repeal list since its inception in 2011. Republicans have tried to appeal or undermine this law 56 times.

Can we just let it go? We’ve been paying for it and more people have healthcare that is affordable. The latest issue was the fact that the ACA authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal marketplaces. Sounds fair to me.

Do I like the ACA? Yes. Do I support it? Yes. Why? Because although I have always had great health insurance, I know many people who haven’t had health insurance due to the premium cost. In some cases, health insurance on a job where they’ve worked five or more years is more than my monthly premiums for medical, prescription, dental and vision for me and munch. That’s not affordable.

You may be asking, “But, T why should the government force us to have insurance if we don’t want it?” I will tell you that I agree with your logic. If you don’t want health insurance, you shouldn’t have to get it. However, you should know that you are putting yourself and your family at risk should they need medical care. But, on the flip side if you want health insurance, you should be able to get health insurance at an affordable rate with no disregard to your prior health conditions. I mean why should you be excluded because you were asthmatic or diabetic?

I remember when my cousin was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer work. I felt helpless trying to navigate his benefits in Tennessee. He worked a great job for a great company, but when he went on long-term disability they allowed him to keep his benefits paying COBRA. COBRA is 102% the cost of the premiums that both you and your employer pay and the 2% administration cost. How is that affordable for someone now getting 60% of their paycheck to pay bills, buy your cancer medications, eat or take care of your children? It’s not.

However, when he went to court to adjust his child support his children’s mothers were understanding that he was dying and that he couldn’t afford to pay them child support and they were okay with receiving social security. His Medicaid agent told him that under no circumstances should he ever stop paying COBRA because until he’s approved for state benefits he would be disqualified for his cancer treatments and medications if he has a break in coverage. It would be considered a pre-existing condition and they wouldn’t pay. He called me and asked me to confirm this.

It broke my heart to say yes this is true. He was 33. He died. He had Medicaid maybe 6 months before his death. His story like many others is heartbreaking if you care about humanity. No, I’m not in his situation or anyone else’s but my frame of reference is not from a rich person either with no compassion. You shouldn’t have to choose between medication and food.

So, this ruling was again an exciting win for those who are uninsured. But, what happens next? Well, next year you will receive a 1095-B from your employer. This form will confirm that you and your dependents had health insurance for 2015. This is part of the individual shared responsibility provision of the ACA which states:

The individual shared responsibility provision requires you and each member of your family to do one of the following:

  • Have qualifying health coverage called minimum essential coverage;
  • Qualify for a health coverage exemption, or
  • Make a shared responsibility payment when you file your 2015 federal income tax return in 2016.

What is minimum essential coverage? 

You are considered to have minimum essential coverage for the entire month as long as you are enrolled in and entitled to receive benefits under a plan or program that is minimum essential coverage for at least one day during that month. For example, if you start a new job on June 26 and are covered under your employer’s health coverage starting on that day, you’re treated as having coverage for the entire month of June. Similarly, if you’re eligible for a coverage exemption for any one day of a month, you’re treated as exempt for the entire month. For any month that you do not have minimum essential coverage you will need to qualify for an exemption or make a shared responsibility payment.

Minimum essential coverage includes:

  • Most health insurance coverage provided by your employer,
  • Health insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace in the area where you live, where you may qualify for financial assistance,
  • Coverage provided under a government-sponsored program for which you are eligible (including Medicare, Medicaid, and health care programs for veterans),
  • Health insurance purchased directly from an insurance company, and
  • Other health insurance coverage that is recognized by the Department of Health & Human Services as minimum essential coverage

So, what happens if I or my dependents didn’t have minimum essential coverage for any period in 2015? 

You’re going to have to pay. For any month during the year that you or any of your dependents don’t have minimum essential coverage and don’t qualify for a coverage exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your tax return.

How much will it cost you?

In general, the annual payment amount is the greater of a percentage of your household income or a flat dollar amount, but is capped at the national average premium for a bronze level health plan available through the Marketplace. You will owe 1/12th of the annual payment for each month you or your dependent(s) don’t have either coverage or an exemption.

By January 31, 2016 (February 1st because January 31st is a Sunday), your employer should provide you with form 1095-B which you will file with your taxes to confirm that you and your dependents had health care coverage that met the minimum essential coverage requirement. If you didn’t have health coverage for you or your dependents, then you will be responsible for paying the premium.

 

The Fat Tales: Just Move Already

Okay, so as you know from my The Fat Tales: A Dose of Reality post last week that I’ve accepted the fact that I’m fat and need to move. Be active. Get back on track and make healthier choices because I don’t want to live a life hooked on medications or machines.

I’ve decided to update you with things that I’m learning on this journey in a segment that I’m calling “The Fat Tales” as a reminder that I have not been treating my body right. I am in no way, shape or form advocating against my curvy sisters. Nope. Not going to do it. I’m a curvy girl. BUT, being curvy doesn’t mean being unhealthy. I had to realize that.

It’s time that I’m held accountable for what I’m doing and not doing. I’m putting it out here because I need you to know that I’m holding myself accountable and just not wallowing in depression over my waist size. I’m going to move and make healthier choices.  Disclaimer: I’m still sexy. Got it!

This last week has proven to be both good and challenging for me. I went back to the gym, which was hard. It killed me. I hated it. I wanted to stop eating so I wouldn’t have to work out. I drank a lot more water. I’m running to the bathroom like every 5 minutes. I got a crook in my neck and experienced shooting pain down my sciatic nerve that kept me up.

But, I didn’t give up. Even though I wanted to and told myself that dialysis may not be so bad. Heck, what’s wrong with medications I can still eat what I want. (I’m just kidding). I slapped myself with a dose of reality when I looked into my munch’s big brown eyes.

Moving on…

I also signed up for this program called “Rally” with my medical provider, UnitedHealthcare Inc (UHC). My wellness specialist at my job was really inspired by my attitude to own my weight gain and more importantly to do something about it. I told her that I refuse to be hooked up to machines at 40 when I’m just getting my sexy back. She smiled and gave me all kinds of healthy stuff to read, plan meals and suggested that I sign up for Rally because I have UHC.  I did and I have to tell you that it is pretty cool.

Rally is an interactive experience that makes managing your health easy and fun. It gives you a dashboard with a health survey, missions, rewards and connections to cool things to get you moving and to motivate you to eat healthier. Nope, they are not paying me, but I wish right? But, I really enjoyed the survey and I almost died when it told me my “Rally Age”. See the screenshots below.

I’m 9 years over my actual age in Rally Age terms.

 

They recommend missions to help motivate you to move.
They recommend missions to help motivate you to move. I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I love an occasional cigar. But, maybe I shouldn’t?

 

They have challenges that you can join to earn points to enter a sweepstakes for a reward. I did this one last week.
They have challenges that you can join to earn points to enter a sweepstakes for a reward. I did the DC Dash last week.

 

They have communities where they share information to help you make better choices. I love it. Joined some too.
They have communities where they share information to help you make better choices. I love it. Joined some too.

 

So, I’ve gone back to the gym, became an advocate for my own health, signed up for Rally, changed some of my dietary needs (small steps. I LOVE BREAD) and started to keep a food journal and monitor my portion control. I am owning my choices and decisions to lead a healthier life. I will never be a size 6, but I will be the healthiest person that I can be at any size.