Tag Archives: beauty

So it begins

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped taking my thyroid medication. I probably stopped taking cytomel in August. I stopped taking levoxyl more recently, perhaps four weeks ago. I really don’t remember. So I wasn’t terribly surprised to wake up this morning and see my eyes looking like this:

It looks much worse in person.

It looks much worse in person.

My eyes are so puffy that my eyelids have rolls. My whole face has been at least slightly swollen since my early twenties. I even had episodes of swelling in my teens. For a brief period (2004-2005), that swelling went down completely. I have pictures. I wish I had more pictures because I actually looked human during that time period. I felt well, too. In March 2006 I began a temp job as a receptionist. They took my photo for the ID badge. A year later (at the same job) I looked completely different.

Back in 2003, my doctor tested me for Cushing’s syndrome and many other things because I had the swelling and extreme weight gain for no discernible reason. I had a sluggish, awkward gait that I think I have once again, and several more symptoms that just make me feel like I should apply for a job to be a mad scientist’s assistant. The only one of my tests that came back positive was for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a common autoimmune disorder. My other tests were either negative or inconclusive. My doctor wants to test me again because even when I’m on my medications, something is visibly wrong with me. As anyone who reads this is well aware, I have no money and no health insurance, so I have no access to further medical testing or treatment. There are clinics for low-income people, but none of them staffs an endocrinologist or rheumatologist (a doctor who could help treat and diagnose autoimmune diseases of connective tissue). They also require payment at time of service. The only free medical clinic I have found in my state is the horrible one I went to a few years ago. It’s about 60 miles from where I live. And I had to diagnose myself and tell the doctor what drugs to give me. I got what I paid for.

Prior to my mother’s death, she had promised to pay for me to stay at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and get all this sorted out. This is also partly why I quit the only decent-paying job I’ve ever had. It was bad enough that she died, but she died with her legal and financial affairs in complete disarray, and I had no idea. It wasn’t entirely her fault, but she had put her faith in people who proved themselves to be incompetent and untrustworthy when it came down to business. And I put my trust in people, too. If I had known all of the details about what was happening, I wouldn’t have trusted her or anyone else to help me, and I wouldn’t have quit my job. If I’d seen even 1% of my inheritance money, this would have been taken care of years ago. Never listen to anyone, and never trust anyone with anything ever, especially if you’re related to them.

I found a transitional housing place in Seattle that looks somewhat nice. They help single women get on their feet after crisis, including a financial crisis. I think that most of the women there have criminal records, drug problems, or are escaping domestic violence situations. They cook together and have their own rooms. I couldn’t take my cat, but I could tolerate that. It is $365 or so a month, which I can’t afford but if I got a part-time job or something then maybe I could. I left them a message yesterday. I imagine I’ll have to stay somewhere free until I can figure out what else to do. Even now I have barely packed at all. I am really embarrassed by how much of a hard time I’m having just with simple tasks. I suppose it’s hard to pack when I don’t know when I’m going, where I’m going, or how I’m going to take anything with me.

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Filed under fml, health, Obstacles

Keeping up appearances

As much as I have fought it, I have let myself go.

It’s difficult for me to take care of myself during times of duress. I find that I am unable to pay attention to housekeeping, diet, exercise, and sometimes even basic grooming.

This became a serious problem during my month without electricity. I bathed as little as possible due to the arctic temperatures of my bathwater. I was able to do laundry at a friend’s house once a week or so, so my laundry situation was not too bad. It did, however, take me a week to begin cleaning out my refrigerator, and by then the stench of rotting food had taken over my kitchen.

My current project (aside from finding gainful employment) is to make my living space work for me. I deserve to have a clean, comfortable home, even if sometimes I feel like I don’t.

I have also been plagued once again with myxedema, a complication of severe hypothyroidism. According to Taber’s Medical Dictionary Edition 18, myxedema is presented in the form of decreased metabolic rate, anemia, myxedematous facies (aka “moon face”), large tongue, slow speech, puffiness of hands and face, loss and dryness of hair, mental apathy, drowsiness, and sensitivity to cold. It’s more of a nuisance than a worry. I’m self-conscious about my face and hands and appearance in general. Unfortunately, I have dealt with this situation on-and-off (more on than off) for the past 20 years –since I was only 10 years old. Aside from the large tongue and slow speech (I’m often told that I speak rather quickly), I am the myxedema poster girl. My hands have been swollen for years, my weight is in constant flux. I have long been self-conscious about the chronic puffiness of my eyes. I have had lines under my eyes since I was in my teens –not from wrinkles, but from creases formed under the swelling.

I was at my very sickest in 2002. I was very sluggish in my movements and I could not stop gaining weight. I was pale. My face got swollen and was shaped like an eggplant. It hurt (and continues to hurt) to look at myself in photographs because I felt like a monster. I was unable to think straight, so I could not read books and I couldn’t write. One day, when I was walking through a parking lot outside of a community college, several boys passed me in a car and yelled “Move it, old lady!” I was only 23 years old, but I remember thinking at that time that I must have looked so old the way I was sluggishly ambling about. I certainly felt old. I felt older then than I do even now. After years of going from unhelpful doctor to unhelpful doctor, I found a good endocrinologist through thyroid-info.com. After about a year of treatment, I felt like a human again. My skin regained its color, my hair looked close to normal, and my face no longer resembled an eggplant.

After I lost a lot of weight and was no longer swollen and puffy, a friend of mine (a stereotypical New Yorker) told me “You look so much better. Last year, you looked like shit.” I wasn’t offended because I knew it was true. I really did look like shit. And after several years of my medication simply not working, I look like shit again.

La la la la, sweeping, sweeping. I have allowed the shittiness of my appearance and my general discontent spew out into my living room. And my bathroom. And my kitchen. And, to a lesser extent, my bedroom. Over the coming weeks, I will be taking baby steps to make my home somewhere I actually want to relax.

Adding to my appearance-related issues with hypothyroidism, I am also dissatisfied with my current wardrobe. I have a closet full of clothing, and only about 25% consists of articles of clothing I can get into. Of that 25%, most of that is worn out or frumpy-looking due to a bad fit. I have one suit to wear to job interviews, which is fortunate, but other than that I don’t really have anything very nice or professional. I have another suit that I got on sale at Fashion Bug ($40…score!), but I won’t be wearing it again until I’m able to reduce my puffiness, get some exercise, get food stamps so I can eat properly, and then go down a size. I wish I could afford a gym membership, but I do have lots of home fitness videos that I will hopefully get back to once my immediate projects are in order.

I have made virtually no progress with job-hunting this week. I had my phone interview on Monday, but I did not get the position. I ran out of cash shortly after my emergency visit to the veterinarian, but I consider it well worth it because my rat appears almost totally healthy now. At least I have cute, fuzzy snugglebuddies companions to play with between floor-scrubbing and trips to the Dumpster.

"Vitamins" is code for cocaine and bourbon.

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Filed under Depression, health, Home Life, Materialism