I said in my October wrap-up that November would be a medical-heavy month, and I wasn’t kidding. I’ll wait ’til I get to the Health portion of this post to discuss it, but let’s just say that various doctors’ visits and procedures took up about 90% of my thoughts this month. I had little room left for anything else!
Reading and watching
Why didn’t anyone tell me until this month that I needed to watch Schitt’s Creek? That’s how I began November – binge-watching all six seasons in less than a week. I’m 100% in love with David and Patrick. And I’ve been in fangirl-love with Eugene Levy since I was a little kid watching him in Bridge of Boogedy, ha! It took me like five episodes to realize that David was actually his son in real life, too. I just kept thinking wow, they really got someone who looks like Eugene Levy to play his son! And then ironically, after seeing Dan Levy in a show for the first time, I randomly watched a movie I had saved from last year on Hulu (The Happiest Season) only to find him in there too. And I saw he is a host for the Great Canadian Baking Show, which I didn’t know existed, and which I can’t watch because it’s not available in the US. Boo!
This month was pretty much a “watching” kind of month. Besides The Happiest Season, my family saw both Ghostbusters: Afterlife and King Richard in theatre. (Side note: Alamo Drafthouse is the best!). Then there was the finale of GBBO, plus all the other TV shows I’m currently watching, plus obviously the binge-watching of Schitt’s Creek. Books kinda fell by the wayside. I meant to read a lot for Nonfiction November, only the second book I started was extremely dense and textbook-like. I kept trying to read it for about three weeks before I gave up, and didn’t get more than a couple dozen pages in. Honestly, after reading so much in October, I think my brain wanted a little break from books. Also: so many medical appointments this month that I was too exhausted to focus on anything more taxing than TV. In the end, I read four books, only one of which was nonfiction (and it was tiny). Favorite for the month: Any Sign of Life.
Forget 2021’s goals. I’ve been obsessed with planning for next year. Mostly because I finally found some good pens that write on black paper! I love Archer & Olive‘s journals, but honestly, I found their pens a little lacking. They dry out so easily even when I work so hard to take care of them. They write a bit unevenly as well, because they’re acrylic ink, so I started looking for other brands. First I tried some double-ended pens from Barnes and Nobles, which was a complete mistake and waste of money. I don’t even like how they look on white paper! Then I tried some Zebra Sarasa Dry pens, and while those are all good, only the metallic ones worked on black paper. I heard online that Posca was the way to go, so I went down to Michaels to try to get some – only to find out Posca is well beyond my price range. I’m not going to pay $50 for six pens! I’m just not that into creative journaling!! However, I discovered Gellyroll pens, and I adore those. They’re absolutely perfect for what I’m doing, and I’ve had so much fun prepping my goals and habit-composites for 2022. Probably to the point of going overboard and giving myself too much to do. Heh. What’s new?
The work we started in October continued this month. Jason built the little fence that lines the back of the succulent garden, and we’ve been working to stabilize the side yard as our house is on a slight hill and there’s been a lot of erosion in both side yards. (Pic is in-progress.) I drew out sketches of other eventual structures, pathways, and planting areas for our back garden, taking advantage of natural lines of the hill. Our garden is still not too much to look at, but it’ll get there. And frankly, it feels nice to be doing optional projects rather than necessary ones! (Bonus: We found a nearby company that sells fancy pavers, and tosses the local junk rocks they can’t use off to the side as garbage. They said take as many of the junk rocks as we want – it’s less money for them to get off their lot, and it’s free for us. Win-win!)
November = my medical month of hell: PCP x 3, chiro, urogynecology + labs, optometrist, mammogram + f/u ultrasound, bloodwork x 3, thyroid ultrasound, jaw ultrasound, dentist + xrays x 2 (including emergency dental), GI surgery (colonoscopy, endoscopy, several biopsies), fibroscan, endodontist + xrays, dietitian + body scan, rheumatologist. All resulting in 17 separate appointments, more prescriptions than I can even remember, and absolutely zero answers. (Note: The rheumatologist is currently our best bet, and my appointment was on the last day of the month, so there may be future answers. The 17 vials of blood they took will hopefully tell me something. Oy. Also, in filling out the medical history for the rheumatologist, I made a discovery that may lead to an answer very soon, which as you can imagine is really exciting!!) You can see why this was time- and brain-consuming this month!
Of course, the big health thing in November was the triple-GI surgical procedure the week before Thanksgiving. I personally think colonoscopy prep is a special kind of hell, the worst part being that HORRIBLE medicine you have to drink, TWICE, the second time in the middle of the night, ugh. However, I have to say that I actually felt much better afterwards. More energy, less physical pain, etc. Which really makes me think there’s something in my diet that’s causing inflammation. I still don’t know what that might be, though. I have a f/u appointment on the 9th, but really, all the results came back negative except for an excessive amount of inflammation in my stomach, which they gave me heartburn medication to control. That seems like a bandaid rather than a cure, so I’m still on the hunt for answers.
Then there was the teeth issues. I have a lot of pain in my upper left teeth. One tooth has some crack-lines because I grind my teeth, and the plan was to put a crown on it. But then I started getting sick with symptoms similar to the ones I got during my 11-year-tooth-saga. Antibiotics made the throat-swelling go down, but I still have three very large swollen lymph nodes under my ear. We were all pretty sure that the tooth was infected – to the point where my dentist put me on a heavy antibiotic (which I ended up having a severe allergic reaction to – pic shows the eye-swelling, but it was swelling/pain through all my organs, eek!) and I got a referral to an endodontist. Only then I saw the endodontist, and he took a bunch of specialized imaging and did all the horrible tap-crush-cold tests on my teeth…and they’re all fine. He doesn’t even think I should get a crown! Yet I still have these symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, and it’s just one more medical mystery to unravel. More bloodwork scheduled for tomorrow!
I don’t have much to say on this. Numbers have stayed relatively low in our area, though of course with any time of year that involves gatherings, it’s likely to start going up again soon. Hopefully things will still be okay by Christmas! I’m hearing worrying news about the Omicron variant, but it’s too soon to tell how that will go. Meanwhile, Jason and Ambrose got their booster shots. Laurence isn’t 18 yet, so he isn’t approved for booster, but as he says, at most he has three months to wait (he turns 18 in March).
I didn’t have a lot of natural time to take photos this month, other than Thanksgiving and one long hiking trip. So I spent some time thinking about what I wanted to portray in photos, and went out of my way to take some nice ones with just what I had in and around my home. As always, these are taken by me and not always the best photography, just a favorite in some way. Full versions are available both on Instagram and FB.
Clockwise from top left: creek at Lost Maples; mini-succulents thriving in the zen garden; portrait of my dad and stepmom at Thanksgiving; seed-heads at Lost Maples
Top left: The photo prompt was “face a fear,” so I put together this layout with a peeled orange, raw tomato, and a cup of coffee, next to an empty chair, to represent the fear and loneliness of disordered eating and weight-related issues.
Top right: a portrait of Ghost on the day Jason and I decided to stop looking for new homes for the kittens
Bottom: This hibiscus flower was about to bloom, and I managed to get a really good macro shot of it. Then I edited it to filter it down to not-quite-monochrome b&w, still some chocolate tints to it. It was how I felt at the time, tightly wound around myself, struggling with the stress of living in a body that has become a medical nightmare. In the end, I couldn’t decide which photo – the original or the edited – was my favorite, so I included both.
Highlights of November
I already mentioned some of the highlights above (booster shots, fun journals/pens, etc), so here are the non-repeats for November!
- Richard Simmons calendar (this is a running joke with my siblings)
- David and Patrick
- girl’s hike out to Lost Maples
- some nights and/or days with the windows open – the weather is finally changing toward chilly!
- lunch out with my cousins
- walking through my old house
- federal judge overruled the ban on mask mandates in TX schools
- so many triple-sibling kitty-cuddles
- this hilarious TT video and the accompanying comments – I literally laughed so long and so hard at the accumulation of comments that I couldn’t breathe and my eyes were streaming!
- our copper canyon daisy is starting to bloom!
- being able to go to movie theatres again, especially Alamo Drafthouse – their pre-movie reels are just phenomenal!
- the succulent garden is seeing insane growth!
- everything related to Thanksgiving, especially seeing family again!
- all the Christmas decorating, even if we had a minor disaster this year!
Coming up in December
It’s Christmas time! And Jason’s and my 22nd anniversary! And the winding down of what has not been an impressive year imo. I won’t have a full December monthly wrap-up because I have all the yearly wrap-ups instead. Most likely, my blog posting will be sporadic too. This time of year tends to be pretty busy for most people, and I have a long tradition of quiet time in terms of online presence in December. Used to be because of the scramble of NaNoWriMo in November, but even since I stopped participating, I still take December as my quiet month. This is early, but: I hope all of you stay well this year, and have a great end of 2021.