Saturday, March 23, 2013

MTHFR progress - (half week)

I'm going to try to post progress/issues/concerns/benefits once a week - and weekends will work easier than during the week. So, guess I'll start today.

My supplements arrived this week. Several boxes, one quite large box.

On day one, I started with SP Complete Dairy Free and Zypan.  Both are from Standard Process.

The SP Complete is two scoops of powder mixed into a shake. I also need to add more Greek Yogurt to my diet and I don't really do 'regular' yogurt due to all those years of not realizing what it was about dairy that bothered me. I tried mixing it into some yogurt and fruit smoothie... it was pretty gross. I drank it, but it didn't go with fruit at all. So then, I had a gallon of Lactaid Milk and a gallon of Almond Milk to try it in. I haven't tried the Almond milk yet, so I tried it with the Lactaid first. Still not my favorite taste, so I added some chocolate syrup (might get me into trouble, but I could drink it down fairly easily). Diarrhea as a result because lactaid has stopped working for me to make it easier to tolerate dairy... understandably. So, I tried the Almond Milk last night. Other than the fact that it didn't blend up very well, it was much better tasting than the Lactaid Milk. I haven't drank it without supplements, but Almond Milk was definitely a win for drinking the supplement shake.

The Zypan is a digestion aid. I'm taking 1 to 3 tablets with every meal. More for larger protein servings, less for smaller meals and/or meat-less meals. The pill smell really bad, but aren't hard to take.

So, far, so good.

On Day two, the HMF Replete arrived  a probiotic from *** and I started it. I'm keeping the packets in the Refrigerator... and you need to mix it in with water to drink it down. Funny enough, it doesn't have much of a taste, clouds the water, but ... eh... not that bad. Anyway, I can actually drink the water with the HMF Replete without completely gagging. How sad is it that I can't drink clear, untainted water without gagging. But cloudy, supplement filled water? Yeah, I can drink the whole glass. WEIRD.

After the second dose of HMF Replete, my intestines feel like things are going on. No severe discomfort, but something's up... which is to be expected.

I'm still adapting to the Mediteranean diet. I need to work harder on getting breakfast options and better options for work. I'm switching to a new team in a new office in a week... and will be losing the cafeteria. I've been doing much better at taking my lunches to work and plan on continuing that in the new job. But now I need to focus on bringing lunch and dinner. AND making them Mediteranean diet specific meals.  I'm cruising food blogs and digging through some recipe sites online. By the time you have to do Mediteranean sans-Dairy and sans-Gluten, it takes a bit of digging to figure things out.

Most of the meals that haven't been diet-specific have been tied to convenience. I need to be able to grab food that is quick and easy to eat. So far, most of the dishes I've really enjoyed have been all super-quick and easy (so that's a blessing). And I've adapted my Poor Boy that I make once or twice a week to being Mediteranean Diet Friendly.  Still yummy and better for me? That's a win.

Still taking the epsom salt baths three times a week. Still going to the chiropractor once a week. Those two activities bring the chronic pain to a manageable level. It's the Fatigue and the constant diarrhea that tear me down and make it so hard to focus and concentrate at work and home.

I'm irritable and easily distracted... all I can hope is that this gets better in the long run.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

New doctor

So far, so good. She ran some pretty serious medical tests and was able to identify several things that would contribute to my all-around not-right health THAT CAN BE CORRECTED.

She's directing my new supplement routine which includes some of the same things that were in my recommended list that I was slowly trying to adopt. And some that we've negotiated to what I think I need based on MTHFR vs the versions she's used to recommending. 

I'm trying to switch to the Mediteranean Diet and cut back on processed foods. I'm also starting to cut back on Gluten. It's soooo hard... but the least I can do is try. Drinking more water without adding more sugar is not really working right now. But, I'm trying various infused waters to see if I can find a flavor that I can tolerate, we'll see. 

Right now, it's all about trying to fix my gut. I think I could almost kiss her for helping me with that. All the sites said you have to heal your gut before you take the supplements too far, but nothing I have tried in the past have helped... and lo and behold she comes along and has great ideas on just how to fix my gut.

I've got an enormous box of supplements right now sitting on my couch and I really have no idea where to store it/how to organize it, let alone remember to take it all. But I'm starting just a couple of things right now and am expecting to add something every few days... so we'll see. Hopefully by taking it a little slow, I can figure it out as I go.

I'm still absolutely loving the epsom salt baths. I'm taking them 3 times a week, 20 minutes in the hottest water I can stand and it's AMAZING how much it's helping my muscle pain. I still get some joint pain in my left knee - but I imagine I might always have to live with it post-ALC surgery. AND I still have more pain than I would like in my upper back... but hopefully, we'll figure out what's going on with that or if my all-over-health improves, maybe chiropractic care will settle it down a bit if it wasn't so busy dealing with everything else. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Transfering to get a better pay grade

I worked on a team for over five years. During the first three years, my attitude was great, my motivation was high and I was constantly getting raises and/or promotions that showed that my work was appreciated.

Then there was some weird thing that happened where I suddenly got transferred to a different part of the team to do work that I never wanted to do and out of the work that I was good at and enjoyed doing. My attitude and motivation tanked. I was ticked. I was dealing with coworkers who had no desire to train me... and I didn't want to be trained... so I did next to nothing, instead. I talked to management and they had a mis-understanding. Apparently, my desire to understand the team better was construed as being wanting to transfer to the other part of the team (I didn't). It took about eight months before something happened and my old job became available again... and I got a chance to transfer back. But, honestly? Management kept messing with me. I stopped getting raises. Got told there would NEVER be another promotion and that because I was at a salary cap, no raises either... EVER. Talk about de-motivating.

I tried to figure out other options, but didn't really see a position that I was qualified for that would be available to me that would involve getting out of the scenario I was stuck in and make a promotion or salary increase available.

I started interviewing for transfer positions... mostly just to get interview practice and ended up accepting a position for another team in a completely different section of the company. They couldn't offer me a raise nor a promotion, but they told me that if I came over, I would get both within a few months (it never happened). But, for me, I felt it was partly a stepping stone. It would add more 'credibility' to other skill sets that would make me qualified for another position, no matter what team it was on.

The team that I originally worked for, everyone (except management) really, really wanted me to stay and hated the fact that I transferred out. In fact, some of my former co-workers got together and convinced their manager to come back and offer me a position.

It's a bump up in several ways. It includes a better title, and gets me a new salary cap. It includes a 15% pay raise, doing more involved work (the next step up) from what I was doing. AND it comes with an option for bonus pay (no guarantees, but better than no option at all). AND it comes with a virtually guaranteed 3% per year automatic raises every year (barring extreme circumstances, which if those never came up in the past six years, I don't think they will in the next couple of years).  It does come with a little more stress and rough working environment... but considering how BORED I've been, I'm eager to face new challenges. I look forward to working in a position where the days fly by again instead of crawl incredibly slowly.

Part of the opportunity comes about as a result of having actually left. It wasn't available when I was there... and it took a few months after I left, but they realized that they really needed someone with my skills on the team. My absence was felt, and the opportunity is going to be rewarding because they want to make sure that they provide what I need so that not only will I join the team, but I will be rewarded for my contributions.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Paying off debt

Thank you tax refund!

I filed my taxes early, got my refunds back early.

I used them for two things... paying off my last outstanding medical debt (from 2005) which I found last fall (thought I had paid it off, I hadn't.). I was offering to pay 80% (because they flat-out refused less). But they came back with saying they would waive all interest if I paid 100% which worked out to about 80.5% of the total. That worked for me.

AND buying the new-to-me used car (and fixing breaks on said used car). Woot! Still worried I'll find a hidden issue with the car. It runs better than my previous one. It's got 40,000 less miles, although it's one year older. And it's got all the extras - cruise control, automatic windows, keyless remote... all the things I've been missing (A LOT). And it doesn't need all the work my old one did. So far, so good!!!!

I'm still not technically 100% debt free. I also found two old credit card debts from back when... sigh.

It'll be a while before I'm in a place where I can offer anything even reasonable to settlement. They aren't pestering me now with bill collecting calls. So, I'll just keep quiet, and when I have a good 75%-80% of the debt saved up... I'll reach out to them and offer a 60% settlement. Hopefully, I'll have enough saved to negotiate and it'll be all good. I figure since neither seem to be accumulating interest and neither seem interested in trying to hound me to collect the debt. I'll focus on saving up to pay off the smallest one first. It might take a year or two. But I'll get there.

I also found one other debt that I'm not sure what it's from - but it's about $550.00. I figure that by middle of next month I'll have the money to spare without digging into my suddenly depleted Emergency savings. I'll give them a call then and figure out where this is from and work out what I need to resolve this one.

Since I've got some planning/saving to do for these specifically. And I'd like these settled before I buy a house. I'm changing out my house saving ticker on the right side for a savings/debt ticker for these.