My Body Really Hates Me, Doesn’t It?

I’ve never had a serious allergic reaction before. There are a few foods I’m allergic to – mostly raw fruits and vegetables – that have caused me to break out in hives along my jawline, or maybe get an itchy throat or ears. Always little inconveniences that go away on their own after an hour or so, even left untreated. The worst ever was the first time I drank soy milk – a bowl of cereal topped with it gave me a huge blister on my lip and scratchy throat, but I didn’t even take a Benadryl and everything was gone after just an hour and a steaming mug of green tea. For a long time after that, I’d made sure to only eat soy in small traces and tried to build up an immunity. I thought it worked, because recently I’ve been able to have tofu meals and soy-protein bars without any irritation whatsoever.

Until yesterday. Read the rest of this entry


Random Saturday – When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings…

Just as I was really starting to spring back from my TS flare-up and subsequent surgery, I have a major allergic reaction requiring yet another trip to the hospital and nearly culminating in anaphylactic shock. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway,) I am not a happy fucking camper.

In the interest of cheering myself up, this week’s Random Saturday theme is A Few of My Favorite Things. Things like…

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’d been doing a really fantastic job of ignoring the stash in my freezer and saving it for a rainy day. Well, today there was a full-blown monsoon (figuratively speaking. It was actually a pretty nice autumn day. I’m disappointed I couldn’t enjoy it.) I’ve had three so far (four if a pack of Reese’s Pieces counts.)

    Imma eat that smile right off your face.

  2. 3 Musketeers Bars. Ditto above, although I only had one. It was King Size, though.

    For this alone, I believe Alexandre Dumas makes a perfect candidate for canonization.

  3. Homemade brownies with chocolate fudge icing. I’ve had two. One was topped with 80% dark chocolate chips. Taste buds = happy.

    Would you stop judging me if I said there were small brownies?

  4. Billy Crystal hosting the 2012 Academy Awards. Best. Decision. In. Oscar. History.

    Kind of makes up for having to deal with Anne Hathaway's stupid face during the last telecast. Kind of.

  5. Less than two weeks to Thanksgiving! Also known as the Greatest Day of the Year!

    Better brace yo'self.

  6. The Philadelphia Marathon is a week away! I’ve signed up to volunteer at the Expo, the kids’ race, and the Marathon itself. Figured it would be kinda fun and inspiring to see all these crazy awesome athletes, and maybe I might make a couple new friends. I need a social life…

    Also: I kind of hope to see someone shit their pants.

  7. After trying to resist the hype for over a year, I’ve officially decided to start watching The Walking Dead. You win this one, World of Pop Culture.

    Even though I kinda already get the "ever-growing horde of mindless zombies" vibe from the fandom.

  8. I’m almost done reading Wuthering Heights and the last Princess Diaries novel (I like reading two books at once – switching between them actually helps my focus. Plus, I like reading one in print and the other on my Nook.) Loving both right now, but I’m really excited about the next one on my To-Read list — God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette. I just need to think of another book to read alongside it. I was thinking something Austen, especially hot on the heels of Wuthering Heights – Northanger Abbey, mayhaps? Should I go with another non-fiction and get Mornings on Horseback? Or should I just give in to geek-peer-pressure and read Good Omens already? Decisions…

    I'll probably just stick with a timeless classic.

  9. Hot guys. Baby animals.

    No further comment.

Well, I’m done for the night. Feeling totally wiped out from the suckiness that was this past week, so I think I’ll go grab a Snickers bar and tuck in for bed.

The Recovery Period

So surgery went well, plus I survived a 15-hour fast!

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t nervous at all about the operation. I’d gone through it twice before with no issues, and the ENT performing it seemed perfectly capable of carrying everything through without a hitch. More than anything, I just wanted it to get done – both of my last surgeries were performed in the morning, and a noon check-in just felt so late. It took forever to go through all the pre-op procedures. But luckily I brought plenty of reading material to keep my mind occupied (Wuthering Heights, Shockaholic, some health food magazines, and Princess Diaries… what else can I say about my eclectic tastes?)

The worst part of the operation is always the IV. I’m not great with needles, and having one stuck in my hand over an extended period of time is not fun. But I’m getting better with it, and this time I barely even noticed it was there for the most part. I even watched the nurse stick me and din’t get queasy! Yay for (wo)manning up!

I had to confer with, like, 12 different doctors before they could get me in the OR. Seriously, there was the nurse, the ENT, two anesthesiologists, an attending… and I think that was it. But still! That’s a lot of “C-o-u-r-t-n-e-y; September 9, 1988; no, I am not allergic to any medicines; I last ate at 11 last night and last drank water at 5 this morning”s to recite. However, I did receive a few compliments on my recent weight-loss, so eff yeah to that!

It had to be past 2 by the time they were wheeling me into the OR, and I was rarin’ to go! I practically threw myself onto the operating table and shoved the anesthesia in my IV – I knew the sooner I went under, the sooner I’d get to wake up, go home, and dig into my pint of ice cream!

Sure enough, the next thing I know I’m back in the patient waiting area with a heated blanket and a sore throat. Operation was done! The nurse taking care of me immediately got my parents back to me. I was told I could stay longer if I had to, but I honestly wasn’t all that groggy – in fact, I was feeling pretty amped up! Weird, because I remember being dead tired after my other operations. Maybe it was because I was a professional TS patient by now, maybe it was because it was so late in the day, maybe it was because I could hear the ice cream calling my name. Whatever it was, I was all set to just get my clothes on and go home! I didn’t even want to wait for a wheelchair – just guide me to the damn car and let’s get moving, folks!

When I finally got to crash on the couch with my favorite blanket, the TV remote and (of course) a pint of Vanilla-Maple Arctic Zero, the adrenaline calmed down and I was feeling more like someone who had undergone laser surgery – the sides of my mouth felt pinched (they had to clamp my jaws open,) I had a weird taste in the back of my throat (they used a latex balloon to open that up,) and my voice was really scratchy. All totally normal, but kind of annoying. But most importantly — I could fill my lungs!! SUCCESS!

I’m feeling great breathing-wise, but still tired, sore-throated and stuffy-nosed. But most of all, I’m feeling kinda restless. These past two days have been very lazy – not much more than watching TV (so. much. TV.) and shoving food down my pie-hole. Caitlin’s dogs Chloe and Bella are over, and they’ve been awesome cuddle-buddies (except when they totally Bogart the blanket. Lame.) I managed to give my bedroom a much-needed straightening-up, so yay for being semi-productive! Tomorrow morning, Mom and I are planning to go to the Reading Terminal Market if I’m up for it. I’m hoping that by Monday I’ll be fully recovered and ready to go back to work and my daily work-outs!

One more thing: a HUGE “Thank You!” for all of the warm wishes I’ve received in the past week! I’m seriously lucky to have such fantastically supportive and caring friends – y’all rock!

Steroids & Surgery

An update on my TS situation.

I did meet with a new ENT yesterday (the third since I was first diagnosed with TS almost four years ago.) According to her, my trachea is about 50% narrowed. I could live somewhat comfortably like this for a few more weeks, but I’d eventually need a surgery anyway, so we’re just gonna get it out of the way. I go under the knife – er, laser, I guess, tomorrow at 12:15. She also prescribed me some more steroids (my muscles are seriously gonna get jacked) and Advair.

I’m not scared about surgery at all. It’ll be my third and I can tell this doctor is more than capable of pulling it off. The worst part, really, is that I have to fast – no food past midnight tonight, no water past 6 am. By the time surgery’s over and I’m back home, I won’t have had anything to eat for, like, 15 hours! That’s the part that’s gonna kill me!!





Sunday morning, I had plans to jog for about an hour on Sue’s treadmill. But by minute five, I was wheezing pretty hard, and by minute ten I just couldn’t move anymore. My breathing’s been extremely shallow ever since.

My mom called my ENT’s office yesterday morning to see if I could get an appointment to see him sometime soon (my next scheduled appointment is in January, but I’d like to be able to breathe during the holiday season.) Unfortunately, there’s nothing open through January, so my parents took me to Penn’s ER after dinner.

After four hours of waiting rooms, oxygen tanks and x-rays, we were finally able to meet with an attending from the Laryngology office. She gave me a quick endoscopy and said that I have a small post-nasal drip that may be agitating the stenosis. I’d need to get checked out by a laryngologist sometime very soon for treatment options. Turns out my ENT is in India this week (as Mom said, when it rains, it pours.) But there is another laryngologist at Penn who could probably see me; it was just a matter of finding an opening in her schedule. Not a problem – we got a call this morning, and I’ll be able to see her at two this afternoon. In the meantime, I was prescribed some steroids. They won’t cure the stenosis, but they can help prevent further inflammation. (I’m also hoping they’ll help me get some sweet bulk in my muscles.)

It’s really kind of depressing me. Okay, not “kind of.” It’s seriously depressing me. I’m pretty much out of commission, so I haven’t been able to do much but lounge around the house and eat like a fat kid at a food festival. I think I’ve consumed about as many calories in the past 2 days than I typically do in a week, and I can’t work it off or anything. And it’s not good stuff I’m eating, either – it’s pizza and ice cream and garlic bread and ginger snaps and cheese sandwiches, stuff like that. So now my stomach (which is used to fresh produce and lean proteins by now) hates me as much as my trachea does.

In addition to all the complications that accompany my breathing issue, I’m struggling with over-eating and trying to make good choices while not hating myself for the poor ones. But I’ve worked so hard in the past few months trying to lose weight, and just as I was beginning to feel happy with how I look and comfortable with my new, healthy habits, it’s like it’s all toppling down.

I know it’s not the end of the world; it’s just something I have to come to peace with. I’m trying to take inspiration from a man I met in the ER last night – he sat across from us in a waiting room with his hand all bandaged up. He made some polite small-talk with us, and Dad asked him what he was in for. He responded nonchalantly: “Oh, I was working with a circular saw and cut off my finger.”

He was so zen about it, like he just accepted that this was his life now, and he moved on. I know that that’s what I need to do. I just need to figure out how to do it.

Another Random Saturday

I actually rather liked my “Random” post last week. So I did it again! This might become a regular weekly thing.

  1. On Sunday, the family had a pumpkin carving party. Caitlin and Josh came with Delaney, and Annie even drove up from Maryland! I’ve never actually carved a pumpkin before – I lack the patience to scoop out the guts, and also I’m not really to be trusted with blades, so I always draw a face with markers instead. But this year I gave it a shot and carved a little owl dude! I think he came out pretty cute.

    Skills - I have 'em. Y'all jealous.

  2. The party was costume-optional. My parents and my aunt and uncle all dressed up. It was bizarre.

    Mom & Dad as gypsies

    Sue as Teresa Giudice

    Kenny as Juicy Joe Giudice

  3. I went trick-or-treating with Delaney. Y’all even more jealous.

    Her evil witch cackle needs a little work.

  4. Started a Pinterest account and now I’m obsessed. Seriously, I’ve gone insane (or should I say PINsane! Hahaha! …Please tell me I’m funny.)

    "I own your soul now."

  5. If Pinterest doesn’t wreck me, Ryan Gosling just might. This article about him is full of truth (except it neglects to mention that he was in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which somehow makes him even hotter.) He’s almost the most perfect being in the universe. Except Hugh Jackman still exists, so sorry, Ryan.

    Still, I would not kick this out of my bed.

  6. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries… REALLY? Like, obviously. Of course. Inevitable. But still. You couldn’t stick it out through 3 months and at least pretend you aren’t complete assholes?

    Silly me. That would require acting and, by extension, talent.

  7. Thursday nights are simultaneously the greatest ever and the worst ever right now. How am I supposed to choose between The Vampire Diaries and Community + Parks and Rec every week? At least nothing touches Sunny.

    Me at 8:00 every Thursday night.

  8. Wednesday nights, on the other hand, work out just perfectly. Up All Night at 8, Suburgatory at 8:30, Modern Family at 9, half-hour break (optimal for showering,) South Park at 10. Take notes, Thursday.

    Me on every Wednesday night.

  9. The trailer for ParaNorman was released this week. Nothing short of amazing.

Weekend Plans

Remember how excited I was to start the 3 disc of Metamorphosis? Yeah, after yesterday’s workout, I kind of dread ever going back. Each new strength cycle always feels harder than the previous one, but this one nearly killed me. I sucked it up and did it again today and it was (a little, itty bit) easier, but I’ll take a break from Tracy this weekend, then get a fresh start on Monday.

Mom and Dad are going to Gettysburg for the weekend with Aunt Sue and Uncle Kenny. Obviously I’d use the opportunity to throw a raging kegger with 173 of my closest friends, but I’m dog-sitting for Sue and Kenny instead (it’s a sweet gig – they have the two sweetest dogs in the history of everything forever. Also: they pay me in bagels.)

Mugsy (a.k.a. "the one with perpetual bedhead")

Figi (a.k.a. "the one with the pot-belly.")

Read the rest of this entry

60 Down, 30 To Go

So today was my 60th day with Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis package. Only 30 days left, and I am kicking ass, baby!

You ain't so scary now, are ya? ...Okay, you still kinda scare me....

It’s gonna feel so good tomorrow to stick that 3rd disc in the DVD player tomorrow. I just hope it doesn’t start skipping…

Disney Vacation Recap – Day 5

Day 4 can be read here, Night 4 here!

Our last full day in WDW started with Kenny leaving us for a golfing trip to Myrtle Beach with some buddies. After his ride to the airport picked him up, Mom, Sue and I hopped on a bus to Animal Kingdom and snagged Fast Passes for Everest. But by the time we got there, the ride had broken down and a car full of riders was stuck at the top of the hill. We didn’t think too much of it; Disney’s pretty good at fixing those kinds of problems in a timely manner, so we thought the train would be running again by the time we returned.

In the meantime, we decided to hit up Dinosaur and do some shopping in the Dinoland USA. But when we went back to the Asia part of the park, the train was still stuck (but all the people were gone …because they were MASSACRED BY THE YETI! Just kidding – they were safely evacuated. Or were they? *Dun dun DUN.*)

Read the rest of this entry

Random Saturday

Nine random thoughts to get me through work today:

  1. Thursday night I ate 3 brownies, 10 mini Hersheys, and polished off the rest of the cashew butter. Last night I had 2 brownies and 5 more Hersheys. I could admit to a critical lack of impulse-control, but it’s easier to blame PMS.

    "It's the hormones, dammit!"

  2. Started watching Wilfred this morning. How did I wait this long?

    I can no longer deny my love for Elijah.

  3. Today was McDaniel’s homecoming. I didn’t go. My to-do list is way too long right now – I don’t need to spend 3 hours driving in the rain/snow/sleet/whatever just to eat soggy hotdogs, drink cheap beer, and then drive another 3 hours in the rain/snow/sleet/whatever + dark. Also, who has homecoming on Halloween weekend? Fuck that.

    Yeah, that's not worth sharing small talk with people I didn't even like back when we were students.

  4. It’s snowing today. Kinda. It’s melting fast, so it’s more like an extra-chilly rainstorm mixed with a bit of sleet. Everyone’s going bat-poo insane over it, but really, it’s not a big deal. Strange for October, but after the earthquakes and hurricanes this summer, people need to calm the eff down about it.

    "Where the hell is FEMA? We've got FROZEN RAIN!"

  5. Why do you need to wait for an invite to join Pinterest? I wanna start noooooow!

    "I just want to obsess over dumb crap!"

  6. I need these $200 shoes. My well-being pretty much depends on it.

    For fancy.

  7. Last night, Becky, Ashley and I watched Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus. Spoiler: the volcano wins.

    Also, Steve Urkel's a military scientist.

  8. I came up with a brilliant Halloween costume, but there’s not enough time to put it together this year. So you’ll all just have to wait until next to see it.

    Here's a hint.

  9. Jack-O-Lantern carving party with the family tomorrow night. I’ve been looking at some kickass photos for ideas, and decided I really hate creative/talented people.