Thursday, August 29, 2013

Testosteroney - The REAL San Francisco Treat.

Do you remember that from Friends?  Phoebe says to the guys, "Why are you being all...testosteroney?"  And Chandler says, "Testosteroney - that's the real San Fransisco Treat."

I remember seeing a commercial a couple of years ago, showing men going about their daily lives, but in a sluggish manner.   A poor dog kept bringing his owner his frisbee to play, and the owner would sadly shake his head and then lean his chin into the cup of his hand, sighing.  A woman would hug her husband and wiggle her eyebrows suggestively, and he would sadly shake his head, detach her arms, and walk away, slumping.  One could almost hear the "Christmas time is here" music playing in the background. [If you haven't watched Arrested Development, you won't get that reference.]  His friend would come over in his jogging clothes, punch him in the arm excitedly, and make wild gesticulations to indicate that it was time for their workout!  The man, again, would sadly shake his head and shut the door on his friend.

At the end of this commercial, it would say, "Do you have low sex drive?  Are you lethargic?  Is your get-up-and-go gone?"

I would sit up straight in my chair and murmur, "Yes, yes, yes!" after each of those questions, wondering if someone had an answer for me.

"If so," the voice on the commercial would continue, "you should talk to your doctor about the possibility that you have low testosterone."

"Oh," I would say, and slump back into the couch.  "Never mind."

I have thyroid disease, which is controlled with medicine, and though the symptoms of low thyroid I was experiencing (you can't ever get warm, no matter how hard you try, you're tired all the time, you inexplicably gain weight, and your hair starts to fall out) did abate, a small amount of the tiredness, coldness, and struggles with weight have continued.  I just figured that's the way I was.  This was the new me.  I figured it had something to do with aging.

You see, when I saw these commercials, I had forgotten that women have a little bit of testosterone, too. I think I remember learning that in high school, and then quickly shoving it out of my mind.  I think it disturbed me a little, probably.

Anywho, I finally went to a new gynie this week, one whose specialty is hormones.  She gave me a two-column list of symptoms.  The columns weren't titled.  She told me to check-mark the symptoms that were giving me problems.  I probably checked four or five symptoms in each column.  She sent me to the lab to get a blood draw and said that I'd be called with the results in a few days and that she and I would meet together in a couple of weeks to discuss options, if a hormone imbalance is what I've been dealing with.

I got my results back yesterday.  And - guess what - I have low testosterone.  "Low T," as the menfolk (and my sister Beads, apparently) call it.  The lady said it was so low that it didn't even register at the bottom of the chart.  I told my friend Casady, and she said, "Cool, maybe you can take supplements and grow a sweet moustache."  I giggled at the thought and then threw up a little in my mouth.  It's just that the reason I shoved the thought of women having testosterone out of my mind is that testosterone, to me, as always been equated with visions of men fighting with each other over stupid things.  Bodybuilding.  Hair on the chest.  Junk.  (Male junk.)  Hair on the chest.  Hair on the face.

Am I going to grow hair on my face? I thought.

I decided to calm myself with a little bit of web research, which I am positive will be followed up with plenty of consultation with my gynie.  I found this interesting:

"Testosterone is known as the personality hormone. It gives us motivation, assertiveness, a sense of power, feeling of well being and enhanced sex drive. When we have an adequate level of testosterone we are able to take risks and live our lives with zest. Without testosterone we exist as if in black and white. It is testosterone that brings us into full living color.

Testosterone conveys powerful anti-aging effects. It turns fat into muscle, keeps skin supple, increases bone mineral density, gives us positive mood, and boosts our ability to handle stress. It supports cognitive functioning, and keeps the liver and blood vessels clean. Low testosterone levels have been associated with heart attack, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, and depression. If you are freezing cold all the time and your thyroid levels are adequate, you are probably low on testosterone. For women, a little bit of testosterone can go a long way in improving looks, figure, energy level, outlook on life, enjoyment of living, sex appeal and sexual fulfillment."

(Found at

This actually made look at hormone replacement supplements.  Motivation?  Yes, please.  Turning fat into muscle?  Bring that on.  Help with depression? AOK.  And that whole last sentence about improving looks, figure, energy level, outlook on life, enjoyment of living, sex appeal, etc. Mother MAY I?

I get to see my new gynie in a week and a half.  I'm so glad I changed gynies.  My former gynie kept brushing me aside when I asked him if my crazy moods could be a hormone imbalance.  Thanks to the nudgings of my friend, Mary, I found my new gynie and am now on the path to finding another puzzle piece to fit into the puzzle of Why Karlenn Has Been Psycho Since Her Hysterectomy.

(Oh, and P.S., I went to a psychiatrist, a bona fide psychiatrist, for the first time in my life last week, and after a two-hour consultation, he put me on a medication that so far has made me feel just about a billion times better.  Puzzle piece number two is in place.) 

Monday, August 26, 2013

An Awkward Offer

Ahhhhh, my 86-year-old neighbor.  He cracks me up.  Love him.  If I ever go out to do yardwork, I have to factor in an extra half an hour, because he will inevitably amble over to gossip or show me his newest injuries (the man is always hurting his arm).  And I really don't mind it.  I know he needs the companionship, and honestly, so do I.  I'm potty-training Gage right now, and it's nice to talk about something besides pee, poop, potty, toilet, etc.

So a couple of days ago, he says, "You seem stressed.  Are you okay?"  So I told him all about my little...psychiatric issues... and he told me that "the wife" (he never refers to his wife by name.  I just barely found out her name, after six years of just knowing her as "the wife") had struggles after her hysterectomy, and he was sympathetic.  Which made me want to hug him.

A hilarious exchange ensued:

Nephi:  You know what would help you that I have?  A vibrator!

Me:  I...wait.  What?

Nephi:  A vibrator!  That will help with your stress so much!

Me:  Um...I've heard that, vibrators, do relieve pent up...stress...

Nephi:  Oh yeah.  I used to have one in my barber shop.  I had one customer who would only come over for the vibrator.

Me:  I...wait.  What?

Nephi:  Yeah, he used to love to sit in that thing, and it would massage his back and emit heat and help him so much.

Me:  Ohhhhh!!!  A massager!!

Nephi:  Yep, a vibrator.  Do you want to borrow it?

Me:  Yeah, sure!  Sure!

Hahahaha!  So he brought the thing over, and he told me that it's still 44 years old but works as if it was made yesterday.  It was still in its original Art Deco-type box.  It's nice, I guess.  Not as nice as those ones you can get that actually kind of rub your neck or whatever.  I like to just put the heat on and lie on it.  He wanted us to borrow it for a couple of weeks.  It felt really good to lie on today when I got this horrible cold and my entire body ached.  It smelled a little bit like Old Person House, but I didn't care.

Kay, now don't you guys in my ward even say one little thing to Nephi about calling a massager a vibrator.  I'm sure that poor man doesn't even know what a vibrator is.  Got it?  Plus, Nephi is extremely sensitive.  I don't want to hurt his little feelings.  I just thought this was a cute little story about him.  I love that man like he's my own grandpa.  So let's keep this on the down low.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thank Yous

I was looking forward to last night for, like, two weeks - I'm in a card-making club, and we had our bi-monthly party last night.  I hosted it this time and whipped up some yummy finger foods, which I've been indulging in a bit too much today.

When we meet, we do a card swap.  The person who is hosting decides what kind of cards everyone should bring to swap, and I chose thank-you cards.  I'm way low on those.  So I made some to swap:
They turned out really cute, I think.  I used my silhouette for the whole planter box/flowers/grassy stuff, of course.  LOVE THAT THING.

We usually make a card all together at these events - the demonstrator in charge will show us new techniques.  I had asked her if she could teach me how to make those rosette things, so that's what we did:
 It was...complicated.  Rosettes are complicated.  But so dang cute.
This card cracks me up, because I'm going to have to get a special padded envelope to send it - the rosette itself is 1/2" tall. :)  But it will be worth every penny.  Can you imagine getting a card like this in the mail?  It would make my day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Baby Fist Bump

Kay, so you know how you can bump fists like this?:
I think that my husband and I are more high-fivers than fist-bumpers, but I'd like to see us move more toward the fist-bump.  I think it's cooler.  It takes time to start a new habit, eh?  If we fist bump 31 times, then maybe it will become a habit. Isn't that what that statistic is?  I don't even know.  That's how un-often I try to start new habits.

Which is probably bad.

Anyways, my dad is big into fist-bumping.  Because he's cool like that.  He's always saying, "Give me rocks," and offering his fist to his grandkids.  I think it's really, really cute. So, naturally, all of my kids are well-versed in the giving and receiving of fist bumps.

Yesterday in church, a family with a baby sat in front of us.  She's probably 10 or 12 months old or so.  She was standing against the pew, supported by her mom, of course, staring at us.  Which I didn't mind.  Because I LOVE babies.  Her little hands were in fists as she stared at Gage. 

Gage looked at her little fists for a moment, then reached up and fist-bumped her.  Hahaha!  What a babe.
Oh, P.S., and if anyone wants to know, Gage is NOT autistic.  There has been a lady in our ward who has been telling people that she swears Gage is autistic.  Which makes me a little perturbed.  We've had him evaluated and tested, lady. It's not autism.  The kid didn't hear anything for three years.  It takes time for him to catch up.  And also, lady, you're not an autism specialist.  So lay off.

The end.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blueberry-Pomegranate Smoothie

So this morning, I looked at our cereal shelf, which was seriously lacking.  Sorry, Apple Jacks doesn't do it for me. And I had eggs as a snack last night. So I decided to make myself some cream of wheat. I didn't even bother asking the kids if they wanted some - the answer would have been a resounding "no."  I know my kids, and they h-h-h-hate cream of wheat.

So I start cooking the cream of wheat, and then one of my kids needed something, and my breakfast ended up burning and leaving nasty black pieces in the finished product.  Blech.  I chucked it.  We had to run out the door for swimming, so I decided to go get a smoothie for breakfast on the way.

So we stopped at McDonald's, because I saw on TV that they had blueberry pomegranate smoothies, and I was like, "Mother may I??"  When I ordered at the little menu/radio place, I ordered my smoothie and then...ordered a coke. 

Sadie looked at me and said, "A smoothie and a coke?  That makes no sense."

I laughed and laughed.  I asked her what the problem with my breakfast was.  She said, "It's two drinks!!"  I was thinking more along the lines of, "Why should you get a healthy shake, and then ruin it with a 150 calorie coke??" 

But I like her line of thinking better.

And yes, coke in the morning is a completely routine thing for me to do.  Sadly.  However, let it be noted that usually I drink a Fresca in the morning.  Zero calories.  Equally strange as a morning drink.  But I feel better about myself, so we'll go with that.

This may sound weird, but...I like that burn down my throat in the morning.  I'm pretty sure that if I had ever tried alcohol, I would have become an immediate alcoholic.  I watched that show on TV called Intervention once, and the lady on it drank a ton of vodka every day, and the producers asked her, "What do you like so much about vodka?"  She said, "I like that burning feeling down my throat."

Yikes.  That made me feel a little uncomfortable and guilty.  But let's just focus on the fact that I turn to Fresca for my burning feeling and not vodka, or, as is the case with that lady, when vodka was inaccessible, listerine and rubbing alcohol

See?  I'm doing okay.

Monday, August 12, 2013

So you're....sad?

Oh, you guys..... things are so messed up.  I just wanted to write and apologize for the lack of posts.  I've desperately missed writing.  I just....don't even know where to begin.

I guess I'll begin by saying that...I'm still really, really struggling with my depression.  And, as many of you know, one of the things that happens when you have depression is that you don't care about stuff you used to care about.  I'll be like, "Dang, I miss writing on my blog.  But I'm just...not in the mood."  And then it's like that for months.

The good thing is that I've been really proactive about getting help.  I've started seeing a therapist.  I can't say that I've seen a dramatic change in my thinking processes or whatever, but it does help to talk to someone who doesn't know you from Adam, someone who won't judge you, someone who is subjective.  Sometimes she'll give me homework assignments or suggestions, and sometimes they help; and sometimes they don't.  A lot of what she and I work on is my relationship with my kids.

One of her homework assignments I've done is taking two "breaks" a day - breaks from housework and cooking and yardwork to spend good, quality time with the kids.  We play games or read together or snuggle. And I think it's really helped our relationship.  The kids are less of a pain in the butt to me, and I'm finding more joy in them.  So that's been really great. 

My gynecologist was the one who first diagnosed me with chronic clinical depression 13 years ago.  We changed medicine once, when I started having kids - we switched me to a medication that was safe for use during pregnancy - and I did great.  I felt like me.  I felt like I could handle stuff.

Then I got this damn hysterectomy, and....I feel like my brain broke.  My meds stopped working.  Or maybe my hormones are weird, though my gynie swears up and down that shouldn't be the problem, since my ovaries are still in there.   But I have my suspicions.  He put me on additional meds, which didn't help.  Then he switched my meds.

I just learned from an actual psychiatrist that it's an old-fashioned practice to wean a person slowly off their existing meds and wean them slowly onto new meds.  I sure wish I had known that it was old-fashioned.  Because that weaning period was....really, really rough.

And now I'm not in that dark of a place, but I'm still not back to where I was before the infernal hysterectomy.  Worst decision of my life to have that thing. I mean, my bladder and uterus were collapsed inside my body, but you big whoop. :)  It hurt, but at least my brain was in tact, you know? 

If you don't have your sanity, you don't have ANYTHING.

I worry about what affect my moodiness and crying is having on my kids.

And on my marriage.

But help is on its way.  I'm going to bite the bullet (in this case, "the bullet" is a $300 charge) and see a real psychiatrist next week.  I'm literally counting down the days.  I know he can help me. 

I just hope I can last 10 more days.

But you know me - I try to look for funny stuff to help me through the hard stuff.  I had a girl in my ward - a darling girl - who learned that I'd been struggling, ask, confusedly, "But you're not withdrawn or crying.  You are sitting here, animatedly talking to me.  Are you...putting up some kind of front??"  No.  You're just catching me at a good time. 

It's really funny, in and of itself, to try to describe or explain clinical depression to someone who hasn't ever experienced it.  I had another sweet, sweet lady come to visit me.  Here was our conversation:

Cute Lady:  So you've been.....sad? [Looking at me with skepticism as I'm sitting on the couch, chatting and giggling with her.]
Me:  Well, sometimes I'm really, really sad.  So sad.
Cute Lady:  But you seem happy.  You're always smiling.
Me:  Well, when you see me, I'm at church.  And my kids are away in Primary.  And I'm getting edified and surrounded by people I love.  So I'm happy.
Cute Lady:  So when a person has clinical depression, they're not constantly sad, all the time?
Me:  No.  Sometimes I'm happy, and sometimes I'm really, really sad.  And a lot of the times, I'm just extremely angry.
Cute Lady:  Did something happen to you to make you so sad?
Me:  Nope.  A lot of the time, I can't even identify why I'm sad.  I'll be crying, and I have no idea why.
Cute Lady:  [Looking at me skeptically again] You cry for no reason?
Me:  Yeah.  I know it's weird.

Something that entertains me lately is to notice when I cry and laugh at how ludicrous the things that make me cry are.  I started making a list, titling it appropriately:

Things Kar Should Avoid

1.  VH1.  I was riding my exercise bike a couple of weeks ago, watching music videos, and I could not stop bawling.  I kept blinking really fast, and looking away, and taking deep breaths, and trying not to think about the videos, but there wasn't anything else on, and I really did just want to watch music videos!  It all started with the video to "Mirror" by Justin Timberlake.  Watching the elderly couple do the jitterbug together....oh my gosh.  I lost it.  I kept it together enough not to sob aloud, hoping that nobody was looking at me as tears streamed down my face as I did the Rolling Hills ride on the exercise bicycle. 

But then the song "Bruises" by Train and some country chick came on, and it's talking about how we all have emotional bruises, and dude.  That should be the name of my web page.  "Get it together, Kar," I muttered.  Don't think about the words.  Look at the rags used for wiping down equipment.  Listen to that guy over there slamming his weights.  Focus on the big screen TV in the middle of the room that says positive, enlightening things, like, "You are strong and amazing. You can do anything."  Nothing was working.  I just kept thinking about how we all have bruises, and I was bawling about it.

Then Macklemore gets on with his music video about his gay uncle, and it's showing this poor gay kid getting bullied in high school, and then being lonely in college, and then meeting another guy and dating him, and then the guy proposing to the gay guy, and then them getting married, and I thought of my darling, darling gay friend and THAT. WAS. IT.  I was full-on sobbing.  I had to actually run to the ladies room.  I stayed in there, weeping about this dumb Macklemore video for like half an hour. 

What is WRONG with me?? 

I think part of the reason I was bawling was because I was bawling.  I was in a gym, for goodness' sake.  I wasn't alone in my bed, or curled up on my couch, or other acceptable bawling areas.  I was in the middle of the gym, exercising.  Sweating.  I should have felt like a million bucks!!  So dumb.

2.  My bathroom.  I can't ever be in there alone - there's always someone in there with me.  And the dang thing is six feet by six feet.  Including a bathtub.  Sunday mornings can be especially hectic in there.  I hit my head on my cabinet a couple of weeks ago when our entire family was crammed in there, and my frustration at having only one bathroom for six people just OVERFLOWED.

I cried walking all the way to church.  I had to go to the bathroom there and get my act together.  Because I hit my head on a stupid cabinet.

3.  The kitchen.  Again, too small.  If anyone but me is in there, something gets brushed against and spilled.  Usually an old bowl of cereal that no one will rinse.  So then I start crying, because I can't find the energy to rinse the dishes and because the dish got knocked over and because I have to clean the dang mess up. 

4.  Driving.  I just start thinking about my frustration and start bawling.  If you see me in the car crying, just move along.  Nothing spectacularly horrible has happened to me.  I didn't just get into a wreck.  I'm just bawling in my car.

5.  Conversations about my housing situation with anyone.  Long story short, my family is outgrowing our house.  And we're also kind of tired of scary situations in our neighborhood.  We looked into being able to move. We can't.  We won't even get what we still owe on the house.  So I'm stuck here, hitting my head on cupboards and brushing against, and then spilling, old bowls of cereal.  And having scary things happen near my children.  Forever.

But then I feel guilty, because I almost feel like my house is a living, breathing entity, and that I'm cheating on the house by wanting to leave the house.

Yes, I feel guilty about hurting my house's feelings. 

I also feel guilty when I throw old shirts with holes in them, away.  I have to wrap them in their own little bags and turn away when I throw them in the dumpster in my alley.  And I verbally tell them how sorry I am.

I told you I was crazy.

6.  Making plans with anyone that will cost me more than like $15.  I can't afford it.  And because I can't afford it, I feel resentful and trapped. And then I feel guilty for telling the person that I can't afford it.  And then I feel like a crappy friend.  And then I get really mad that we're poor.  And then I cry a lot.

But look, I made another list.  Wanna see?

Things Kar Should Go Out of Her Way to Do

1.  Yoga.  Yoga literally makes me feel like a goddess.  It makes me not want to swear for a good hour afterward.  Like I am above such nonsense.  I can handle anything.  I am strong and lithe.  I am a warrior.  I am confident. 

2.  Go to lunch with friends.  You have no idea how much this helps me. 

3.  Eat Caramellos as often as possible.  The best candy bar ever made.  And when I'm eating one, for one minute, I feel like I'm in heaven.  Like life is so delicious and fantastic.

Did you know I didn't used to care that much for chocolate?  Not until this depression thing started kicking my butt.  Now I cannot stop.  Interesting, no? 

4.  Watch 30 Rock.  That show makes me laugh so hard.  I never cry when I watch 30 Rock.

5.  Cuddle my five-year-old.  He is the best cuddler ever.  I should just basically hug him all day.  When we're cuddling, he's not slapping his little brother or stealing his sister's toys or swearing at his big brother (I'm raising my hand in acknowledgement.  That part - my son swearing like a sailor - is my fault.  He heard it from me.  I own that, sadly).

6.  Gab on the phone to our Infant/Toddler Case Worker.  She's like a ray of sunshine, pouring into my ears.  She makes me laugh and makes me feel human.  And now that Gage is three, she's no longer our case worker.  I'm trying not to think about that.

So I don't know.  I'll try harder to write more.  Because writing really does make me happy.  See?  I just thought of a number 7 on the second list.  I'm just trying to find a good balance between time on myself and time with my kids.  Plus dealing with the whole losing-interest-in-pasttimes thing that happens when you're depressed.   So you know, hang in there.  Old Kar will be back soon.  I hope.

I miss her.
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