Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Feeling a tad better from the other day, but still totally spooked about this anxiety thing. I really should think/write more throughly about this, but...ya know. Outta sight, outta mind. It does seem like the anxiety kicked into high gear this summer, rearing its ugly head every few weeks, then every few days, and while it always passes it also always comes back. Dr. P and I had a conversation about going back on medication when I saw her last week. Right now I am opposed. But part of me also wonders why the heck I would put myself through this torture when there is potentially a solution. Argh, more on this in another post....

- Just finished an amazing book: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. EVERYONE GO READ IT IMMEDIATELY. And thank you Cammy for the endless and never disappointing book recommendations.

- Today was the main orientation for my PhD program. Long, exhausting, and ultimately somewhat anti-climactic since none of the material was really news to me (I've been at this university for six years....). There is more pre-semester stuff next week, and classes start the week after that. I am really really ready for things to get started.

- Injury update: I saw a new orthopedist yesterday after being referred by the physician's assistant I'd been seeing before. Uh, well turns out after all the diagnostic confusion (fracture? bruise? neuroma?), I did have a stress fracture after all, not a neuroma. Sorry to be a snob about credentials but that, folks, is why you insist on seeing a real doctor the first time around.

Kind of hard to see, but the red arrows point to the fracture site. These are actual images of my foot because 
I am weird and sneaked a picture of the X-Ray when the doctor left the room. #ninjamoves

Anyway, I guess it didn't really make a practical difference since the treatment was essentially the same (boot, rest, ice, PT, etc.). My foot had been feeling pretty swell even after a week of hiking, so I tried easing myself back into running over the past week. Okay, "easing" is the wrong word; I tried jumping back into running without a thought to the fact that I'd sustained an overuse injury less than three months ago whose primary cause is the "terrible too's: too much, too often, too soon." So within about three days I was already trying to get back up to my former mileage and whaddyaknow, broken foot is totally sore again, other foot is also unhappy, and it feels like I set myself back about a month. Great. Well done, me. Hello moderation, no I don't believe we've met.

- My mom was in DC earlier this summer and bought me a Michelle Obama coffee cup. It is amazing. I WANT TO BE HER. #WCW

- Math problem for all you numbers nerds out there: There is currently $168 in my bank account. I quit my job on July 23. My first stipend payment doesn't get deposited until September 1. My electric bill, internet bill, and car payment equalling about $250 total are all due by August 31. I have an overdue balance from my PT's office of $70 and one from the orthopedist of $47. I will also need to eat periodically throughout the next two weeks. How?


  1. Ouch, poor foot! I am snobby about health stuff too-- for many basic things, an NP or PA is great, they often have more time and can see you sooner, and if you're trying to get into see a surgeon their NP/PA can usually see you sooner/add you to their surgery schedule (and an office visit with most surgeons is a pointless formality often). But the difference in training is huge... Was that xray taken recently, or is the one from before? Either way, ouch! There's a lag on x-rays in getting to see stress fractures because you won't see them until there's a slight callus formed.

    And no running! It'll set you way back. But you already know that.

    Re: math problem, god, it's like people don't understand that graduate students have to actually like, pay for things and have a life outside of the academic calendar! My college would give students loans to tide them over for that sorta thing-- either temporarily via the university until the stipend started again or via stafford loans if it was a larger expense.

    I hope your anxiety abates soon and you get into a good routine-- I'm going a little stir crazy myself in the inbetween-ness of things lately.

    1. Yes definitely - there have been instances where I could absolutely tell the difference in training/confidence/overall competence between MDs and other providers, but usually with the trickier stuff. Back when I was first dealing with the nerve pain about 3 years ago (wow has it been that long??) they referred me to a "specialty clinic" that would only schedule me to see an NP who very obviously had no clue what she was doing and no authority/capacity to be creative when the textbook explanations/approaches were NOT WORKING. And even with the orthopedic clinic - the PA was very thorough and attentive but was totally scratching her head about what to do when the in-person symptoms did not seem to match up with the imaging; then it took the doctor about ten seconds to resolve it. But of course I had to wait six weeks for the appointment...

      I had x-rays about 1.5 weeks after the injury, an MRI four weeks out, and then more x-rays this past Tuesday (~10 weeks out). The doc pointed out the fracture on the most recent images and yeah told me the same thing, a sfx wouldn't have shown up on the first x-ray anyway. The MRI showed bruising and swelling(?) but for some reason there was confusion between the radiologist's report and what the nurse/PA each told me. I saw the MRI images in my last appt with the PA and it just looked like random white spots to me, soo...

      Anyways ugh yes I know. No running. I KNOW.

      I think I can hit up my parents for a teeny loan (aka a teeny gift because they won't actually ask me to pay them back...) to tide me over for the next few weeks so I don't get my electricity shut off or die of starvation. One of the perks of surviving anorexia is that whenever you tell your parents you can't afford food, they will shower you with money, no questions asked.

  2. So *as I read this post* Match and I were both sitting on the bed with our laptops, phone calculators, heads in hands and sighs of despair about finances not adding up for many of the very same reasons. Welcome to PhD life . . . and the summer financial droughts. In all seriousness, though, I hope you get it taken care of and sympathize with your stress on that front.

    Sorry about the frustration on the foot and anxiety fronts; you've had a rough go of it this year. Sounds like it is worth revisiting with Dr. P, especially with a lot of the inherent stresses that can come with finding your way in a new academic program? Don't get me wrong, I know you're going to be a rock star in this program, but I also know starting new things like that can be intimidating at first.

    Try to baby that foot, although I know it's much easier said than done. Also, ugh at the doctors for just now realizing they wanted to change the dx on it.

    Your mom seems super awesome. Also, I'm so glad you liked 'The Poisonwood Bible'! If you want more, another of my faves by her is 'Prodigal Summer,' really the only one I haven't liked is 'Laguna.'