A life update

I stopped blogging for awhile there, huh?

Let me try to let you know what’s happened since I stopped doing the daily recovery posts back in December.

I guess the most important thing is that my heart recovered.

results showing a normal ejection fraction of 55-60%

My echocardiogram results, February 1, 2017

This news came on February 1 with an echocardiogram. I was astonished; I thought my heart might have improved a little, but the result was an ejection fraction of 55-60% (normal). Heart Failure Part Deux was far shorter than the first time around! I credit it to three things: 1) the heart medication, obviously; 2) I changed my diet and started exercising right away; and 3) I started out 120 pounds lighter than I was the last time. I am pretty confident that #3 played a major role, and I am so thankful to have had weight loss surgery.

Other than that, I have been playing Medication Roulette and going to therapy to deal with various things. Sometimes it seemed to be going well and then something would go wrong. Things seem to be looking more promising now. We’ll see, I guess. The latest issue is that a medication I was taking was causing me to be tired all the time. No amount of sleep was ever enough; I was always drowsy and had no energy to do anything. So I switched off it back to a lower dose of one I had been taking before. We had switched off that one because I had an anxiety attack and things got really, really bad, but I think the problem was that the dose had been increased. So back to the original dose. Fingers crossed. (I can’t take extended release medications, and this seems to rule out a lot of options.)

Unfortunately, coming off the medicine that made me drowsy has been very difficult. At first we tried cold turkey, but doing that made me too sick to function. Next we tried to wean me off it, which went better at first, but now, at the end of the weaning period I seem to not have weaned slowly enough. More on this below, but first some fun things.

The winter was pretty mild, with occasional arctic blasts, resulting in Gibbs Gardens’ daffodils blooming early. They moved their opening from March 1 to February 18; I went on Sunday, February 19, because Saturday was rainy. It was a beautiful day and the daffodils were everywhere.

wide shot of daffodils all over a hill

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

daffodils in the foreground extending all the way back to the horizon up a hill

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

closeup of two daffodils with other daffodils behind them

Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

There were also cherry blossoms!

detail shot of cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms at Gibbs Gardens, February 19, 2017

It got kind of cold again for awhile, but then on March 11 I went hiking at Vickery Creek in Roswell. It was a fantastic hike and I want to go back soon…especially since I didn’t get to see the mill ruins. (I did see the manmade waterfalls though!)

a broad manmade spillway

Roswell Mill waterfall, Vickery Creek, March 11, 2017

On March 19 I went to Arabia Mountain with Charles and Heidi. We took their dog Ginny with us :) I had been to the area before on my own, but I was on the wrong side of the street and never climbed the actual mountain. We did the Mountain Top Trail. Arabia Mountain is like Stone Mountain, except it’s smaller and it has these amazing little pools of plant life in its “craters”. One of the plants is this strange, almost coral-looking red stuff called diamorpha. It was everywhere and I got lots of pictures.

a wide shot of odd red plants inside a rocky crater

Diamorpha at Arabia Mountain, March 19, 2017

I was unable to hike, or really go anywhere, this past weekend due to withdrawal symptoms from the medication I switched off of. I actually had to leave work early because of it. I would get extraordinarily dizzy, and when I’d move my eyes I’d hear strange echoes in my head. It was very unpleasant. The symptoms lasted until Monday morning, when I gave in and took half a pill. Since then I’ve been all right, but I’m prepared to take another one tomorrow if necessary, because that dizziness is no joke.

I want to try to hike/visit a garden every weekend now that the weather’s nice, because being outside makes me feel so great. I’m considering Piedmont Park and the Botanical Garden for this weekend but I heard on the radio that Zoo Atlanta has a new Treetop Trail and it sounds really fun. There’s also Kennesaw Mountain, which I’ve been to before but never in spring, and Smith-Gilbert Gardens, and Sweetwater Creek, and Stone Mountain, as well as plenty of places I haven’t been yet.

Just thinking about being outside has made me feel a lot better than I did when I started writing this post :)

Well, I’m sure I could ramble on about more stuff, but it’s past my bedtime, so I’ll sign off here.

March 28, 2017: My Day in Review

SO today was a day.

  • Weighed myself and discovered I am now 152; no wonder all my pants are uncomfortably tight
  • Realized I had completely missed taking my meds yesterday morning
  • Bought breakfast in the cafeteria (cottage cheese, fruit, a boiled egg, and a bagel) instead of going to Starbucks (thereby avoiding the sugar and expense of the chai latte and protein bistro box and pastry I always end up getting); should have gotten more cottage cheese but otherwise I was happy with it
  • Did some calculations and realized I had completely misjudged how long a project would take
  • Came home on my lunch break for comfort snuggling with Sean (this was nice)
  • Went to the new self-service kiosk in the cafeteria to grab a quick lunch, and had to try to scan my sandwich a million times (and yesterday, I didn’t leave my card in the reader long enough, and then I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t processing, and there was a huge line behind me; today there was just one guy and I let him go ahead of me)
    • Bought a pack of donuts because I was feeling harried, even though I had decided that I would eat more healthily
  • Ran into Josh on the way back upstairs; chatted with him a bit, another bright spot
  • Things got better with the project, although I ended the workday feeling harried
  • Went to our favorite Thai place to pick up dinner
  • Went to Kroger to pick up a prescription; paid $10 for it; realized when I got home that I don’t take that med anymore
    • Also bought a bag of Robin Eggs and six Cadbury Creme Eggs at Kroger; I am a lost cause
  • I had been thinking all day that there was something important about March 28, some nice thing, but I couldn’t remember what it was. As I pulled into the apartment parking lot I realized: it’s Maggie‘s birthday
  • Changed into pajamas as soon as I got in the door; installed myself on the couch with Sean and we ate dinner and watched Great British Bake Off
  • Someone rightfully told me that a post I had made yesterday on Tumblr could be hurtful to others; by writing the post the way I did I inadvertently made a type of statement that I actively try to avoid making, but somehow it didn’t occur to me that the post fit that situation
    • Apologized and thanked them, going on and on unnecessarily
    • Edited the post
    • Freaked out about it for awhile by:
      • Telling a bunch of people
      • Being suddenly seized by the desire to disappear off the face of the Earth
      • Telling someone else
      • Editing the post again
  • Sat down at my computer to write this post and began eating Robin Eggs :P

Wishlist for my next car

My 2007 Yaris is still running fine, and it should last for several more years, but I’ve been thinking for awhile what sorts of features I want in my next vehicle. Here’s a list:

  • Four doors. Two doors is cute but not convenient at all.
  • Hatchback. I love the look of hatchbacks and I’d like to keep driving one. Plus it’s convenient for carrying large items.
  • Either fully electric or a plug-in hybrid.
  • Remote keyless entry. I had this on a previous car (my 1998 Ford Escort) and I miss it like crazy.
  • Remote keyless ignition. I’d love to be able to start my car remotely when it’s freezing outside!
  • Cruise control. I drive long distances too much not to have this.
  • Seat warmers. They’re just so nice!
  • Synchronization with my phone. This may be standard by the time I buy another car (hell, it might be standard now) but I don’t have it and I want it.
  • Fabric seats. I’ve always had fabric seats and I always will.
  • Fog lamps. I just like having fog lamps okay?
  • Plenty of cup holders. I love the ones I have in my Yaris.
  • Somewhere to put my purse that isn’t the passenger seat would be nice, though I tend to like smaller cars so this may be impossible.

That’s all I’ve thought of so far. As far as a color, I think it would be really neat to have a soft purple car, but I’m pretty sure no one makes those. I’ll probably go for blue again.

I’m tired of doing daily recovery posts

I do like that I have been keeping a nice record of my life, since I hadn’t been doing that for a long time and I missed it, but remembering to write something every day is getting difficult. Or boring. I don’t know.

Anyway, my weight is staying pretty stable, I’m still eating terribly, my mood is great (I feel normal, I still have regular emotions but I am not controlled by them), I’m still getting sleepy during the day and in the evening but it’s not as bad as it was, I have a new online friend and she is really fun, Sean and I have finalized Christmas plans, I still haven’t put up our tree (and now I’m thinking I may not do it), I need to bake cookies today for the cookie swap I organized at work, and I also need to get back to writing (I’ve been slacking off).

I went to Gibbs Gardens yesterday and it was fantastic. No one else was there; it was 40 degrees out. A lot of the trees still had red leaves, so it looked beautiful and I had it all to myself. It was so great.

No red leaves in this picture, but here I am!

me sitting on a rock at Gibbs Gardens

I also had therapy yesterday, and my therapist was like “Maybe we should start talking about whether or not you need to keep coming here.” :D I told her I would like some help with setting and achieving goals, so we’re going to start working on that.

Heart-wise, today my dose of coreg doubled. My dose of lisinopril doubled two weeks ago. The last time I had CHF, I could not tolerate this dose of coreg; I had weird visual side effects. I guess we’ll see what happens.

CHF Recovery: Day 77

I have a theory about how tired I get in the evening. I think it’s the second dose of Effexor that I take with dinner! The tiredness seems to happen pretty soon after I eat dinner, which is when I take my evening meds. So tonight I am testing this theory by waiting to take the evening meds until later.

So far I feel a little sleepy but not dead tired, and it is 8:40. Woo!

This morning it was raining when my alarm went off. It hasn’t rained in something like two months here, so it was very welcome! I snoozed for a full hour just so I could enjoy the warmth of my bed and the sound of the rain in the trees.

Yet again I had Starbucks for breakfast/lunch. I took a laptop to work so that I could work on a story during my lunchbreak, which I did. I didn’t eat lunch, nor did I have any vending machine food or anything in the afternoon.

I was in kind of a giddy mood today, giddy and excited and easily bored. I bounced around from thing to thing.

As soon as I got home I took Sean to bed. (Normally I say “Sean and I spent some time together” and now you know my Secret Code.) After that we went to Sushi Huku, where I had a Lambada Roll, a tuna roll, some salmon nigiri, and some eel nigiri. I did not finish the tuna roll, nor did I eat the eel nigiri (I got full!), so they are in a box in the fridge. Sean also had a Lambada Roll, along with a bagel roll. He at least finished his food. (He also ate most of the edamame.)


It is now 11:25 and I did not get sleepy until just a bit ago. I took the medicine at around 10:30. So yeah, I think that’s it!

CHF Recovery: Day 76

I got up as soon as my alarm went off, feeling pretty rested. I showered, had my protein shake, and took my morning meds. I’d hoped to get some writing done, but I didn’t really have the time to get into it before work.

I picked up Starbucks on the way in, because I still haven’t worked out a good system for packing breakfasts and lunches, sigh.

For some reason I was extremely bored all day. I did not take a lunch break; I sat at my desk and ate a single-serving bag of potato chips and four Dum-Dums suckers. Very healthy!

On the way home I picked up Wendy’s for dinner: spicy chicken sandwiches, salads, and potatoes. Only when I got home I only had one potato. Sigh. I asked Sean if I could have it and he said I could.

I played a couple rounds of Cards Against Humanity with some Star Wars fan friends, which was really fun. Then I was suddenly exhausted, so I napped from 7:30 to 10:30. When I got up I ate Nutty Bars for a sugar hit (again, so healthy).

CHF Recovery: Day 75

Even though I didn’t go to bed until midnight, I woke up at around 3:30. Ugh. I tried to fall back asleep, but it didn’t work, so I finally got up at 4. I’m not used to having insomnia. I don’t like it.

I had my protein shake and then ate leftovers from last night, waiting until 7 to take my morning meds since that’s when I normally take them. I also weighed myself today; I keep forgetting to do that. Fortunately my weight is fine.

I spent all morning working on the story I started writing yesterday. Still not done. I have a couple things to do today. I hope I have time to work more on the story. I’d like to finish it soon. When I don’t finish stories quickly I can lose interest, and then they just languish on my hard drive or in Google Docs forever :/


I was going to have breakfast with Charles and Heidi, but by 8am I was exhausted, so I canceled and went back to bed. I slept until noon, then got ready for and went to a therapy appointment. I felt much better after resting, and therapy was good. I’m feeling pretty great these days, aside from the tiredness. Sean has a lot of anxiety right now, though, so it was good to let him talk about that.

We picked up Arby’s for dinner, sharing their new mint chocolate shake; it was delicious. I worked a bit more on that story I’ve been writing since yesterday, but I’m still not done. I’m tired again, so I’m thinking about taking a nap…


I napped from about 6 to 8:30, then went to bed again at 11.

CHF Recovery: Day 74

This is the update for Saturday, November 26, 2016

I had planned to do several things:

  • laundry
  • grocery shop
  • put up Christmas tree
  • read two fanfic updates
  • see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

However, of these, I only managed to do laundry. Sean and I could not find a good time to see the movie, and I ended up getting really involved in writing a story, so I worked on that instead of doing anything else. I did leave the apartment twice; around 11:30 I got a Brazilian wax and then picked up lunch for me and Sean, and then at around 8 I picked up chicken tenders for dinner. I also spent some snuggle time with Sean, and we ended up napping for a couple hours. Otherwise, I sat at the computer and wrote all day.

I have not finished the story yet; at around midnight I decided I needed to go to sleep!

CHF Recovery: Day 73

Someday I’ll be able to name a post “CHF Recovery: Final Update” because my heart function will have been restored. That’ll be pretty awesome.

But to get there I seriously need to find a way to incorporate exercise into my day and plan meals better.

  • Got up at around 6:30
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Wrote a ficlet that has gotten a pretty positive response!

I have a bunch of prompts, a few WIPs, and a reward fic for a giveaway that I need to work on, but instead of doing any of that I wrote a whole new thing inspired by a picture. Whatcha gonna do? But hopefully that won’t be the only thing I write today.


Update: I wrote two other things. I did not exercise or do any chores. Dinner was some roast chicken and dressing that Cheryl sent home with us yesterday.


I was talking to my friend Katie about her skill at making things pretty, and I asked her if she had ever considered being a photo stylist or an interior designer. She said she’s not confident, and I remarked that there are schools for that sort of thing. And that reminded me of, years ago, encouraging Maggie to get into graphic design.

Maggie was one of my best friends in high school. She was my movie buddy; we went to so many movies together. And I even got to go to Disney World for the first time with her family.

She was very creative, and made some really intriguing digital art. I really felt like she could have made it a career.

She was also just a wonderful person, and I always meant to visit her, to see her again after we graduated, but it never happened.

She died earlier this year.

CHF Recovery: Day 72

Happy Thanksgiving :)

My alarm went off at 6, but I had already been lying there awake for quite some time. I laid there for awhile longer, then finally got up. I had my protein shake and meds and poked around online, then took a shower.

We won’t be having Thanksgiving until around 2, so I knew I needed to eat something. I ended up going to Starbucks. I felt bad that people had to work on Thanksgiving so I tipped $10, and I also thanked them for being open. I got myself a protein bistro box, and I got a sausage and cheese breakfast sandwich for Sean.

I got back and gave Sean his breakfast and then got on the computer and ate while reading and chatting (I feel like this is my life in a nutshell).

I’m missing my family today. I’d love to go to Thanksgiving dinner in Kentucky. It sounds like it’s going to be really nice, as usual. But Thanksgiving with Sean’s parents will be good too.


Update: Thanksgiving with Sean’s parents was lovely. We went to their friends’ house with them and had a fantastic meal and met a bunch of really nice people. Everyone was so friendly. There was an adorable little girl there, maybe about three years old, and there were four dogs. It was heaven.

After that meal we went to Mema and Papa Stan’s, and it was so good to see them again. They hadn’t seen me since the weight loss surgery; Papa Stan said “Sean, what do you have here, a model?” and Mema called me “skinny mini”. I was a little embarrassed (Papa Stan asked “What happened?” and I said “Got lucky, I guess”) but also very flattered, especially by the “model” bit :D

Going to Augusta and back in a day is kind of rough, but we managed it, and now we’re home safe with some leftovers in the fridge. It was a good day.

Hopefully I’ll put up the Christmas tree tomorrow…

CHF Recovery: Day 71

This is the update for Wednesday, November 23, 2016.

I had heard rumors that we were only working a half day, so I got Starbucks breakfast as usual and thought happily about having lunch with Sean once I got off work. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way and we didn’t get dismissed till 3, and I ended up not taking a lunch break at all. Alas.

When I got home I did some reading and chatting online, then around 6 asked Sean if he wanted to go get Thai. He said yes but he was worried about traffic. I said, “Eh, let’s just go,” so we did. I drove, just in case traffic was bad and it would agitate him, but it turned out to be very light; I guess everyone had already left for Thanksgiving ;)

Dinner was nice. I tried the Thai iced tea for the first time. It was spiced and creamy and rich, and I enjoyed it a lot. For my meal I had panang curry instead of massaman, and it was good as well (but I’ve had it before. I pretty much always get some kind of curry).

After dinner I poked around online until around 9:30, then went to bed.

CHF Recovery: Day 70

Today I woke up naturally at 5:20, and since I had slept since 9, I decided to go ahead and get up. So I did. Since I showered last night, I didn’t take a shower this morning; I just got dressed and got on my computer and had my shake and medicine. I spent the extra time writing a ~400 word story, which was fun. It was fairly silly. Then I packed a lunch and went to work.

Work was fine; more proofing print catalog. I was supposed to have a lunch meeting with someone to help them out, but due to some confusion we did not find each other. That was kind of embarrassing. But I finished all my catalog pages, and that was good.

After work I picked up Mexican for dinner. As I was driving it occurred to me that I should try to eat very little sodium for breakfast and lunch, and then at dinner I can have fairly normal food. I think this should be doable. And that way I won’t have to feel like I have to cook dinner after a long day. So I’m going to make up a cheat sheet of low sodium foods, and also the sodium in my usual meals from restaurants, and go from there.

Sean and I ate dinner and watched That 70s Show, and he rubbed my back and it was awesome. Then I got on my computer and did some reading.

There’s a lot to be anxious about in life and in the world right now. I got really anxious yesterday. Today I managed to stay mostly calm.

I’d like to do some more writing, but I already feel sleepy. Alas.

CHF Recovery: Day 69

Getting a head start on this today, so at least the post will exist to edit later.

Snoozed for 15 minutes this morning, then startled violently when my alarm went off again. I was half awake and thinking about a short story idea.

Got up and dressed and turned on the car, as it’s in the mid-thirties this morning. Then had my meds and protein shake and did a bit of reading online.

I did not exercise or eat properly all weekend, nor did I come up with a meal plan. Sigh.

This is Thanksgiving week; I’m only working through Wednesday. Sean is off entirely, and I am the personification of Envy. Ah well.


I got really stressed out today. Came home at lunch and cried in Sean’s arms for a bit. Picked up unhealthy lunch on the way back to work and ate it at my desk. Stressed so hard my chest started hurting, then tried to force myself to stop stressing. I was marginally successful.

When I got home from work I told Sean that food stresses me out and I had chest pain and I did not want to think about food ever again. He said we would go out to eat. I had already put on pajamas, but I put clothes back on. He asked me to drive because he hadn’t eaten all day and had a headache. I drove. He got vertigo. I got very grouchy and thought, but did not say, many unkind things.

We made it to the restaurant (Muss & Turner’s) and ordered and I spent most of dinner reading stuff on my phone. I had wagyu steak with gnocchi and mushrooms and it was pretty good, though kind of rich. Sean had a burger and chicharrones, which is a fancy way of saying pork rinds. We did not have dessert. On the way home Sean almost got sick. His allergies/sinus issues had combined with his headache and vertigo to form Super Unpleasantness. I drove as carefully as I could over the ridiculous number of speed bumps in our apartment complex. Pretty much as soon as we got home, he went to bed. I decided to take a shower, since I didn’t take one this morning.

I asked for writing prompts earlier in the day and I have several. I was eager to start working on them, but I feel tired. I guess I’ll try and see what happens.

(I did not write. I went to bed at 9pm.)

CHF Recovery: Days 67 and 68

Saturday, November 19

Sat in bed on my little laptop reading and such. Moved to my office when William got up. Went to therapy at 1, and it was good. I also took some nice pictures of fall leaves and trees. Came back and made myself lunch and goofed off online until dinnertime, then went and got myself some chicken strips. However, I was only able to eat one of them before I started feeling icky. I moved back to bed for a few hours, finally going to sleep at 10:30 or so.

Sunday, November 20

I woke up at 3:30am and could not get back to sleep, so I stayed up. Did some reading and writing, and ate cheesecake and my leftovers from last night. Moved to my office when William got up, then loaded the dishwasher and started laundry. William left around lunchtime. For lunch I had leftover spaghetti from Friday night.

I basically stayed on the computer and read all day. I finished the laundry (three loads) and picked up Jimmy John’s for dinner. It’s 8 o’clock now and I’m very tired, so I may well go to bed.

(In personal news I made a mistake that really hurt someone’s feelings, and I am trying to learn from that so it doesn’t happen again.)