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  1. Jessica Smith has a free youtube channel and sells dvds. Not really my "thing" though I tried one of her early walking workouts years ago (I like mainly like step aerobics and more choreographed stuff) but she is quite popular and maybe if I gave her newer stuff a chance I would like it better. I think she just had her first baby within the last year though and so is putting out stuff less frequently so as to spend more time with her baby in the first year. I hear Jenny Ford does some basic step aerobics on her youtube channel (never hurts to try and convert someone to step aerobics as we're a dying breed it seems). My favorite non-step dvd is from somewhat of a one (or rather two-) hit wonder: Kristin Dowell. I adore her Dressed Up Drills. I usually follow the person to her left (right side of screen) showing the low impact option but there's room to grow with that one depending on which of the 3 women you follow and you can easily just pick one or two segments to do depending on your stamina, how long you have to work out, etc.. I also like her Hi Lo Recharge but choreographed hi/lo is not everyone's cup of tea. I've done my fair share of choreographed hi/lo (think Amy Bento and Christi Taylor) so I picked up on it within a few times doing the dvd since it's pretty athletic and not too dancy or complex but Dressed Up Drills is a much safer, more mainstream pick. Plus, hi-lo recharge is out-of-print anyway I think. I can vouch that Dressed Up Drills feels a lot less tedious (for me) than walking (though I walk indoors on a treadmill) and it gets my heart rate up a lot higher and for longer than when I walk--though that's pretty easy these days since I'm at least 100lbs overweight and a couch potato. You can view a preview of Dressed Up Drills here:
  2. I should add that deeming income from a spouse is kind of complicated (this only matters for SSI) and I don't know a lot about the topic. I think it depends how much your spouse makes as to how much SSI you might even qualify for but even qualifying for a little SSI can be good if you need health insurance for yourself because SSI comes with medicaid coverage (for you). However, if you have more than $3,000 in savings, checking accounts, IRAs, etc., you won't qualify non-medically for SSI at all. Also, if you have more than one car, they will attribute a value to the 2nd car and it will count as part of your "resources", which can't exceed $3,000 for a couple.
  3. There are two kinds of disability in the USA--SSDI and SSI. If you haven't worked since 2008, it is unlikely you have enough recent work credits to qualify for SSDI, which is an insurance program one pays into during his/her working years, but your work credits "expire" and thus your "insurance" will not cover you unless you can prove your disability began while you were still "insured" (assuming you were ever fully insured) way back in the past (very difficult and usually impossible in most cases to prove remote onset except in rare circumstances, and I'm also not sure how it works with you having been a legal alien in the past). There's also SSI which does not require recent work credits and it has the same medical requirements as SSDI, but there are strict financial criteria you have to meet for SSI and if your husband is working and/or you and he have any savings over $3,000 in a checking account, IRA, or other resources (aside from one car and one house you live in), it's unlikely you would qualify for SSI. But it never hurts to apply online and find out. For SSI, you should apply right away because you can only be paid SSI benefits (if eligible) the month after application and going forward. There are no retroactive benefits for SSI. Basically, apply online. It will ask you all the important questions like when your disability began, when you stopped working, and so forth. With SSI you used to be able to start the app online but you would have to complete the application in person. But I think now you can do the whole thing online, but not sure. Generally, unless you know for sure you don't qualify for SSI, it's recommended to apply for both SSDI and SSI. You can receive both concurrently by the way if your SSDI benefit is low enough or some people receive SSI during the 5-month waiting period for SSDI. The first thing your local office will do in the case of an SSDI app you've filed online is to determine whether you have enough recent work credits now or in the past (if alleging a remote onset date). They'll let you know if you do or don't qualify non-medically for SSDI before they transfer your case for medical development.
  4. I clicked the "Thanks" icon not to thank you for your post per se but because I believe Aggie definitely deserves a trophy! I like mice and all and don't wish them ill will (well, except the ones that run the ceilings in our basement late at night prompting unsuspecting guests to ask us, "So, what's that scratchy-scratchy noise coming from the drop ceiling at night?"), but pets that bring us "presents" don't mean any harm. They're just doing what they do and want to be acknowledged for their skills (or at least I had a cat that used to be that way).
  5. Did I miss the qualifiers? I surely hope not. I was really hoping to make the team this year and go for the....bronze maybe? Ah, a girl can always dream.
  6. I like to knit cute little mini stuffed animals and things and little animal xmas ornaments that have little tiny accessories they wear. Little things on 4" double pointed needles. I love picking out yarn colors when I get a choice/chance to be creative (often I just go with what the pattern calls for). I knit a full-size stuffed animal once. Felt weird knitting with more normal-sized needles. And then he looked cold and a bit naked so I knit him a custom striped sweater. I had to use JSSBO (a super stretchy bind off) so it would fit over his big hippo head. That was my first sweater project. I also once knit a mini sweater for an elf ornament since he looked chilly and a bit naked as well. No human-sized sweaters yet. The only weird thing is I do most of my cheerful little knits while watching Dateline and 48 Hours reruns, ID and oxygen channel crime documentaries, and quite a bit of other disturbing stuff. I watch some silly shows like Real Housewives and Teen Mom as well but I really go for the true crime. And police procedurals, of course. And anything dark and/or gruesome in general. I get into my happy zone when I knit while watching tv. ETA: I love knitting all kinds of food items too. Fruits, a slice of cherry pie, etc. It's fun trying to find the perfect yarn for pie crust. I ordered a couple online and neither were quite right in person so I had to go in person to my local yarn store which normally I don't have good luck at but that day I found "Hug Me Gingerly" by Claudia handpainted yarns is the color of pie crust and bought a skein. Also, Cascade 220 superwash effects in the color lava is the color of salami. It's true. And sometimes you need to knit some salami. There was once another yarn even more the color of salami but it was sadly discontinued before my time.
  7. I've also tried Pristiq once upon a time instead of effexor. And latuda as an add-on once upon another time.* Neither did much of anything as far as I can remember except I believe one of the two gave me a horrendous case of dry mouth. I used to think that was a kind of a "lite" side effect but it's no joke. I had unquenchable thirst and was always parched. I drank a lot of water and then had too pee all the time due to the water and still was thirsty/parched. That's not why we discontinued whatever drug I was on though. I had so many things going on at the time I didn't even connect the dry mouth to a med change. I had a sleep study, brain mri, stored my pee in a bright red jug in the fridge for 24 hours, numerous other tests to rule out anything physical (turned out I just had single digit ferritin & Vit D levels). *My pdoc purposely skipped trying seroquel as an add-on because I was basically a walking zombie who slept a minimum of 12 hours a day for quite a time and had no energy. She was pretty sure seroquel would make me comatose since I was halfway there already. I didn't have a bad reaction to cymbalta from effexor so much as no reaction except it sort of destablized me because any time I switch a med entirely (even a gentle 4-week cross-taper), I play mind games with myself and think I feel "off". And my mom was going through some health stuff at the time which didn't help (all the health stuff has resolved and she's fine now). But eventually I was ok on the cymbalta but felt no difference compared to when I was on effexor so requested to cross-taper back to effexor again. My pdoc seems reluctant to do much of anything too radical at this point. No complete med overhauls for me, I guess. I did ask her a couple of appointments ago if there was anything left to try and she couldn't really come up with anything. She really wants me to just practice driving more to work through the panic disorder and agoraphobia. I haven't had issues driving for like a decade so it kind of sucks that it resurfaced during a med change** and time of stress. I'm not actively having panic attacks anymore though I occasionally come close (when showering or driving or grocery shopping) but I still can't drive more than a 15min loop with 1 traffic light independently so am reliant on my mom to take me everywhere. uber/lyft give me anxiety but i've recently been trying to use them when there's a conflict with my therapy schedule and my mom's schedule rather than rescheduling my therapy to when my mom's available. My tdoc is on my case too about driving more. **We were trying the effexor-to-cymbalta med change just to tweak things a little bit in hopes I could (maybe) be a bit more functional. But damn, I wish we had left well enough alone because I was pretty darn functional back then compared to where I'm at now. (Though again, my mom had a health thing going on then too which compounded things. There were 2 health things, one during the cymbalta-effexor med change and one about 6 months later.) The issue with adding/changing a med now (other than adding more valium) is that adding or changing meds gives me "issues" to where I don't feel comfortable driving until I feel "comfortable" on the new med. I totally psyche myself out during med changes unless it's something simple like going from 15mg mirtazapine to 30mg or vice versa, which we did awhile back "just to see". And the last thing anyone wants is to me to stop the momentum of my daily practice drives so that I can "mentally adjust" to being on a new med. I'm really hoping pdoc and tdoc are right that I can work through this with gradual exposure to more and more driving and doing more things independently. My panic disorder also goes nuts when my mom goes on vacation for more than a few days. She had to skip half her last 2-week trip due to me (I live at home with her). I haven't had that issue either for a long time. Tdoc wants me to take time to meditate during the day. I am resistant. I believe she has also suggested other things I am resistant to (apparently so resistant I've blocked them from my memory). Also, I am admittedly very avoidant so, for instance, I haven't driven for the past few days because I've let other obligations get in the way--family was coming to stay with us so I had to get the house ready (I have perfectionist standards my tdoc is trying to get me to work on) and then spending time with family at home is draining and stresses me out so I don't think I can handle my practice drives on top of that. Tdoc is not happy about this but is used to it. But, the obligation has now ended so I have no excuse but to resume my practice drives tomorrow, which I had been doing regularly for awhile so it's not like I'm not trying. My pdoc probably is open to more valium if needed but sometimes more just makes me tired or I get paranoid that I'm somehow impaired and can't drive safely. Sorry for the novella of excuses and thank you for your med suggestions. At some point, I may bring them up to pdoc, but for now I have to remain somewhat stable because my mom has a 1-week vacation in October I have to survive home alone during. Not to mention her 8-week halfway around the world trip spring 2020 (my tdoc tells me we'll focus on that after I make it through October). I'm an anxiety mess just thinking about it.
  8. My pdoc put me on buspar to (maybe) help my anxiety. Instead I find it activating (of all things). So much so that I found I could discontinue the small amount of adderall I was on. I prefer the energy the buspar has given me to the added energy from adderall IR which always caused an afternoon crash. I was on the adderall at least at year and am much happier with buspar. Now if only we could find something to help my anxiety other than increased valium and exposure therapy.
  9. I can relate to this. Similar to the spoon theory (I think?). Some days or even times of day I'm working with way less spoons and have a lower "threshold" for...whatever. And sometimes I can be very fragile (and prone to breakage), especially towards the end of the day. By breakage I mean...I start coming apart at the seams and either feel like crying (much too easily) or take things more personally than I normally would or snap at people for things I normally wouldn't snap at and so on. It's like being a full cup just about to run over and one stupid drop of anything and my cup runneth over (except it's the opposite meaning for my cup and running over is actually a bad thing, like a circuit blowing because I've got too many appliances going at the same time in an old house so they all shut down). Or maybe I'm just a fragile cup that can't take much handling. What a mess. I hope this makes sense.
  10. I really enjoyed this book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking . Apparently some extroverts actually get recharged and more energized by socializing and being extroverted and that's part of why they are so outgoing, because they need to fuel themselves and recharge. I always thought extroverts inherently had more energy (or super powers) to begin with and that's what fueled their extroversion. Note: I did read this book several years ago and my memory is poor, but that was one of the takeaways I got. I could be misremembering of course. I enjoyed the book all the same because I am a total introvert and find being around other people draining to some degree (though I admittedly do require some human contact and get some benefits from being around others at times).
  11. Found this recent thread of yours that's similar? Normally for specialists I get referrals from a GP. My current GP who works within a major health system recently gave me three possible gynecologists to see who would be extra gentle and kind, and when I looked them up. none work within the same health system as her which I found kind of surprising but I'm glad she would refer me to who she thinks would be best for me rather than feel constrained by the health system she works for. I found my pdoc originally 17 years ago because I was having a major crisis sort of out of the blue (had been in remission from a different disorder for a few years when a new one popped up) and I told a friend and she gave me the name of her pdoc who was in private practice. Been seeing her (pdoc) ever since (though sometimes I only saw her once or twice a year when I was in college out of state and just needed med refill check ups). I noticed after awhile my pdoc's voicemail message changed to "not currently accepting new patients unless referred by a doctor". Then eventually it changed to a stern "please be aware I am not currently accepting new patients" and it's been that way for years now (though I suspect she must still take on some new patients to replace her patients that drop off the map for various reasons). So basically I'm pretty sure I just lucked out that her private practice was relatively new-ish 19 years ago when she took me on. Thankfully I've maintained contact with her at least once a year even when things were fine and continued to pay OOP all these years (she charges a very reasonable fee IMO). Unfortunately I've always had to pay OOP to see her until the past few years when I went on disability and got medicare because she actually does accept medicare. I think she only accept BCBS and medicare (and not BCBS marketplace plans by the way), or cash pay. And I've never been lucky enough to have BCBS, even when I had a good job; they only offered Aetna and United Healthcare plans. So yeah, even the couple times in my life I did have insurance, she never took it. Sorry, none of this probably helps you. Just sharing my experience I guess and I feel for you because I have a great pdoc but she officially (according to her voicemail) stopped taking on new patients years ago because she's all booked up.
  12. I only fly domestically in the US (and very rarely at that) but I realized on my last trip a couple years ago that it was overkill bringing my pills in their original prescription bottles (which happened to include at the time adderall, valium, and extra xanax in case of emergency). Plus, it was a waste of packing space because the pills alone take up much less room without the bottles. So I put about 3 weeks worth of each medication in a snack sized ziploc bag in my carry on for a 10-day trip (I always like to have extra in case of getting stranded somewhere). I put the ziploc baggies in my carry-on and just made sure not to accidentally smush them. I also considered getting little tiny jewelry baggies in bulk from Michael's/Joann's and putting a day's worth of pills in each bag and putting all the little tiny bags in one small ziploc. That's what my aunt does with her pills and vitamins/supplements and now my mom does it too. Here are the little jewelry bags my mom and aunt use: https://www.joann.com/reclosable-storage-bags-2inx3in-100-pkg/4918850.html Frankly, I was too lazy to do the daily bag thing (though it's a smart idea because when traveling I inevitably have at least one moment where I'm done eating breakfast and suddenly can't remember if I took my effexor yet...because when my morning routine is different, I start doing things out of order and I do things half-awake in the morning anyway). So then I have to start counting all the effexor pills left in the ziploc to see how many are remaining to be able to tell if I took it or not. Effexor sucks that way because I can't physically tell I've missed a dose until about 12 hours after missing the dose and by then I just have to tough out the weird effexor withdrawals until the next day. But think about it. In my opinion and very limited traveling experience, TSA does not have the time (or training) to decipher the size/shape/stamp on each pill you bring to even check if it's aspirin, a vitamin, or a controlled substance or to check whether your prescription or prescription bottle labeling is current/forged/matches your ID, etc. I'm sure they must realize the futility. I mean, two of my meds look like they could be OTC tylenol or ibuprofun tablets. And even when I used to travel with prescription bottles of medicine, no one ever looked at the labels to verify it was a current prescription for me or opened the bottles to see if what was inside matched what the outside said it should be. So I go with the ziploc method now. Takes up hardly any space and very lightweight. But this is US domestic flights only. And maybe I'm taking a risk? All I know is I'd rather dedicate the pill bottle space to clothes or other things. And when I googled this issue a couple years back, I couldn't find any anecdotal stories of people flying domestically having their pills inspected. Maybe TSA is too busy screening for the scary stuff?...like my Clif bars, for example, which apparently when grouped together in my carry-on bag look highly suspicious going through the scanning machine--like explosive materials. So they all had to come out and each Clif bar's wrapper individually swabbed for explosive residue. That was fun. So I learned not to carry so many Clif bars with me in my carry-on. (In TSA's defense, I was carrying an excessive amount of Clif bars; it wasn't like 2 or 3 bars.)
  13. The only thing I can think of that might be off with your machine is if maybe HE toploaders aren't as good as HE frontloaders (or maybe it's not a great model?). Also, be sure to check all the toilets in your house to see if the seals in the tanks and innards are working right. My grandma got a thousand dollar water bill one month because one of her toilets wasn't functioning optimally and water was slowly escaping. I don't think it was running constantly, but something happened to it that was easy to fix and then no more huge water bill the next month. We have well water so I can't really gauge water usage except that even using 2-3 extra rinses on some cycles, our laundry tub never comes close to overflowing on the rare occasion it does become obstructed/clogged for reasons unrelated to the washing machine. With our old top loaders, they would eject so much water, it would fill up the laundry tub over and over again throughout the cycle compared to the little bit of water that the front loader ejects throughout the cycle. Also, running the washer no longer significantly impacts our water pressure when we shower because it isn't having to fill a huge drum at the beginning of the cycle and before each rinse. Back in the old days, I would have to wait to shower until no one in the house was doing laundry if I wanted decent water pressure consistently throughout the shower. And now my clothes get cleaner and I have to do less "work" futzing around with the machine. I just pre-program everything--whether I want a prewash with oxiclean, how many extra rinses, etc--and the machine takes care of everything and I don't have to keep going back downstairs to check on it and turn another knob or press another button. Like Geek, I also use Consumer Reports (free online through my local library) in addition to Wirecutter*. Between the two, I'm able to make fairly informed decisions on everything from toenail clippers to major appliances.* I read some reviews across places like amazon, best buy, abt, etc. but they're mainly all horror stories when it comes to small and large appliances so less helpful. *I was skeptical about wirecutter at first but then I checked some random items that I happen to think I know the best brand/model of through my own personal trial & error and wirecutter agreed with me, so then I trusted their judgment on other stuff. I don't 100% agree with all of their recommendations, but they're pretty good/safe on most things IMO.
  14. My mom did the miralax w/gatorade plus dulcolax pills protocol. I think she did some with gatorade and some with something like crystal light (some kind of no-calorie flavored drops you add to water). Well, technically her doctor/nurses wanted her to do the dreaded trylite and only offered suprep as an alternative (which apparently is just as bad but you drink less of it?). But by this point in life my mom knew the miralax plus dulcolax protocol existed and is widely used across the country apparently (just not by the major health system my mom's doctors are a part of). She found out about the miralax protocol because one brother in Utah had a colonoscopy and that's the protocol they gave him to follow. Then her other brother had a colonoscopy (he lives about an hour south of us in the midwest) and he was given a similar protocol. Anyways, she loved the miralax and dulcolax thing with gatorade and flavored water (can't use certain colors of course), as much as one can love such things. Now she no longer dreads prepping for bowel stuff. Incidentally, perhaps because she waited an extremely long time between colonoscopies because she didn't want to do the trilyte thing again, she ended up having to have a colon resection to remove a large polyp located in a tricky spot. 2 nights in the hospital. Fun times. The only polyp they found, but he had to come out. (Totally benign so no worries on that front.) Oh, but my point is, she told the colorectal surgeon (also part of the same major health system) that she will not do trylite or suprep and will only do miralax/dulcolax and wouldn't you know it, he was able to have his staff quickly print out a miralax/dulcolax protocol for her to follow to prep for her surgery and said it was no problem and she can always follow it going foward if she wants. Why the nurses in the gastroenterologist's office refused to offer this as an option to her prior to her colonscopy a few weeks prior (forcing her to go rogue and follow my uncle's doctor's protocol), I don't know. And yes, my mom did call the nurses well in advance of the colonoscopy and asked but they would only offer an Rx for suprep as an alternative to trilyte. So my mom went rogue, followed one of the uncles' doctor's protocols. But she did not lie. They asked her just prior to the colonoscopy beginning about when she had last eaten and what she had taken and she told them, "I did the miralax/dulcolax thing," and they seemed okay with this and the colonoscopy went well and there were no issues as far as her colon not being cleared out.
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