Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Commuting 45 Minutes One Way

Hi Friends!

Long time no blog (again). A lot of life has happened since the last time I wrote, but I figured my second consecutive snow day was a good time to get you caught up on everything that was going on.

Since mid-December, I got to go home and spend a whole week back in Iowa with my family after Christmas, which was wonderful. One of my best friends in the whole wide world had her own ankle surgery and got to play with her own peg leg. I turned 30, and our oldest furbaby Seamus turned 5. I restarted physical therapy, this time for my shoulder. And the last week of February, I started a new job as the Curator of Education at an art museum about 45 minutes away from our house.

First, I have to say how amazing this job has been. I was pretty nervous going in, as my background has been entirely in history museums, but so far the transition has been great. The whole institution is going through some really exciting changes and there is such a positive energy.

The only downside is the commute. Spending an hour and a half in my car every day is taking a big toll on my shoulder, which I need to keep in check or I risk my migraines kicking back up again. A lot of the fight for me is about keeping my posture correct and keeping things relaxed. I have a few things I'm doing to help keep it a little more manageable:

  • I pulled out my old TENS unit. If you've ever done PT before, this is the electro-stim that they use at the end of your session, but a personal size. I put it on my shoulder when I get into work before anybody else or when I get home and am cooking dinner - my insurance covered the purchase of this when I first bought it. I don't know if my current plan would, but it would be something to look into!
  • I've got a hot pack that I wear to help remind my should to stay relaxed while I'm driving
  • I've had this lumbar pillow in my car for years to help with my posture. Seriously years. I got it from my physical therapist when I was still living with my parents back in college. When I get into the driver's seat of my husband's car, I reach behind myself to adjust this pillow and grasp empty air. 
  • At work, I have this stability ball chair in another attempt to help keep my posture correct while I'm sitting at my desk. I do still slouch a bit, but I catch myself more often than I do with a regular chair. Plus, it has the added benefit of being about to bounce. The wheels help take off the strain on my ankle that it would be as just the ball alone.
  • My laptop also sits on top of a desk stand so my head isn't tipped down. This is by no means fancy, it is made of plastic, and I don't use the fans at all anymore. I bought it years ago when I had a laptop that constantly overheated, and the fans did work decently, but now it just sits on my desk and lifts my laptop up to eye level. 
  • Every night before I go to bed, I lift weights. I do these in bed because several of the exercises require laying down, and I also do my ankle exercises at the same time. 
In addition to all of this, I am still taking daily migraine meds. I have another follow-up appointment next month with the neurologist. I am hoping I can start weaning off of these meds. The biggest side effect for me has been weight-loss. It sounds like a great problem, right? Overall, I've lost about 24 pounds. On one hand, this has been nice, because I definitely could have lost the weight. I had gotten to the point where my doctor actually printed out a sheet on BMI, which I would like to point out I was still at the high end of healthy for, but she told me it was something I needed to watch. However, I am now at the absolute bottom of healthy for where I should weigh for my height. Granted, BMI is not the only measure, and it is a flawed measurement at that. The other issue is that, if I'm not careful, I skip meals without realizing it. I have no appetite at all.

Here's a comparison:
March 2016
March 2017
Obviously, the lighting and outfit are very different in both pictures, but I think you can really see the weight difference in my face. I know, this seems like a dumb thing to complain about, but I want to start training for a 5k that our friend group has signed up for, and I'm worried about doing that and maintaining a healthy weight at the same time. Blergh.

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