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  1. Not sure if this qualifies as a meme: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8218703/Artist-digitally-creates-books-shelf-reveal-hidden-coronavirus-message.html
  2. I still have hope. It's the only thing that's gotten me through this presidency--looking forward to the next presidential election. That and the knowledge that the majority of American voters did not vote for Trump, plus the knowledge that the ones that held their noses and did vote for him (for the sake of judicial appointments, anti-choice stance, etc.)* have had to suffer along with the rest of us through this presidency. My older sister (age 40) is actually going to vote for "whoever's not Trump" in the next election and her politics over the years have either been "don't care about voting at all" for long stretches of time or leaning libertarian and fiscally (but not socially) conservative and randomly making voting a priority. I'm not sure if she even voted in the last presidential election or who she would have voted for if she did. All I know is at this point, she's pissed about Trump's impact on the economy/stock market/financial markets/whatever (among other things) and wants "any functioning adult" in the whitehouse asap. And she's being vocal about it when she normally doesn't really vent about presidential politics. This gives me hope too. *There seems to be a segment of the population that likes Trump and will vote for him no matter what (I believe Hillary Clinton called them the "basket of deplorables"). Now, I don't condone what she said necessarily and even she said she was making a gross generalization at the time she used that phrase**. But anyways, those people may be happy as clams right now I suppose, but I hope the ones that held their noses and voted for Trump are suffering *just a little bit* inside these days and are really thinking deep down about if that vote was worth it in the end. Maybe it was for them, maybe not. ** https://time.com/4486502/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables-transcript/
  3. My mom forwarded me a coronavirus humor email and it led me to these bumper stickers (among other things): (The first one really captures my mood/outlook these days)
  4. https://laughingsquid.com/wheres-waldo-social-distancing-edition/
  5. My uncle told me this one a few weeks ago and I just did not get it at all. The way he said it, first I was thinking blood Type O and couldn't figure out what blood type had to do with anything. Then something finally clicked in my head and I figured out it was "typo" and not "Type O". But even once I realized it was probably "typo", I thought it was some kind of depressing metaphorical existential thing. Like the rabbit was saying, I feel like I'm a typo in this world. But then I thought, rabbits are pretty "normal" animals in the grand scheme of things. I could see maybe a porcupine or skunk maybe thinking he or she was a "typo" of god/nature/evolution whatever. But a rabbit? Finally I had to ask my uncle to tell me what the joke was and then of course it was obvious. So I asked him to tell the joke to my mom and she got it right away. I think maybe my mind is weird?
  6. I get 90-day prescriptions via my drug plan's mail order pharmacy. It's very convenient as I don't have to go the pharmacy and it's easier for me to track stuff online (how many refills left, when I'm due for my next refill, etc.). Recently though my Part D plan has been getting slightly more strict with how soon you can refill, even for regular stuff like generic effexor (regular stuff meaning non-benzos, non-stimulants, non-opiates and so forth). And about a year or two ago my Part D plan changed to only allowing 30-day supplies of benzos. Don't know if it's a Medicare Part D thing, just a Humana Part D thing, a statewide thing, or what. I got a couple of mailings about it before it went into effect but I admit I didn't read the notices all that carefully. Still can get my valium via mail order, but whether via mail order or in-person pharmacy, only a 30-day supply allowed.
  7. My mom can't use a mask (claustrophobic and other issues) so she uses the nasal pillow things instead. Also, she sleeps on her side, not her back. Do you have an approximate self-imposed timeline/deadline on losing the 20-30 lbs, i.e. if I don't lose 20-30 lbs in the next year or in x number of months, I will have a sleep study done? Otherwise, you could theoretically rationalize putting off the sleep study indefinitely if the weight loss thing doesn't happen or goes slowly. And I think (obstructive) sleep apnea is bad for your heart and other stuff, so might be important to eventually treat in the meantime until you meet your weight loss goal? I think I remember someone recently on CB talking about at-home sleep studies being possible? I had a sleep study done 5+ years ago. No apnea or other issues except once and for all confirming I move a lot in my sleep (but it doesn't apparently affect the quality of my sleep so not a disorder). I've gained more weight since then and remain almost as tired and still sleep more than most but (thankfully) no one has pushed for a 2nd sleep study. The worst part of the sleep study for me was having to have my perfectly good sleep/dreams interrupted and have to get up so early because they wake you up at an ungodly hour and send you home. I know it sounds silly but I've lived my entire life going to bed somewhat late and getting up somewhat late. Even when I've worked jobs (or had classes) that required me to conform to a different (more traditional) sleep/wake cycle or a super early morning schedule, it never became or felt natural to me and was always like wearing an ill-fitting shoe. Also, at this point if a doctor told me I had obstructive sleep apnea, I'd probably resist treatment and want to wait to lose weight first to see if that solved the issue, even though I do realize that just a few sentences ago I said, "And I think (obstructive) sleep apnea is bad for your heart and other stuff, so might be important to eventually treat if the weight loss goes slower than expected?" (I apparently like to ignore the same advice I freely dispense to others.) Mainly I wanted to speak up and let you know nasal pillows are an option vs. a mask and sleeping on your side is okay (I think). I slept on my side during my sleep study and my mom sleeps on her side with her nasal pillows thing strapped to her head/face and she gets excellent "scores" from her cpap device.
  8. The only thing that dramatically improved some of my symptoms was supplementing with Vit D and over-the-counter iron per my doctor's instructions. Years later, I no longer supplement with iron and my iron levels remain ok. (I'm a vegetarian btw and have been so for 20+ years.) Also, stopping work and going on short and then long term disability and finally SSDI has of course reduced the stress in my life and that has helped. Also, my dad was in the year-long process of dying (pancreatic cancer) in front of my eyes (and we did home hospice for the last month or two) around the time when all this started so that life stressor moving further into the past has helped. Maybe therapy has helped? Hard to tell on that front. Oh, and buspar. I tried nuvigil and ritalin but neither helped with energy/sleeping too much. So then my pdoc had me on a small dose of adderall IR. It was helpful but I would get noticeable energy crashes mid-day and I couldn't take it more frequently or at higher doses because it would make it impossible to sleep at night and intensify any already existing anxiety. Well, I must have been on adderall at least a year or more when my pdoc added buspar to my cocktail since apparently it helps some people with anxiety (kind of hit or miss she thinks). Well, the buspar did zero for my panic/anxiety but seems to give me more energy (with no crashes) and I may sleep a little less (though not sure about the sleeping part). So I finally could stop the adderall. I've never heard of anyone else having this effect from buspar though. Also we recently increased my mirtazapine dose from 30mg to 45mg and that's one of those drugs that I believe gets less sedating the higher the dose? So I may have had a tiny improvement in average number of hours of sleep per night since that med adjustment. Hard to say. Part of the problem now could due to all the weight I've gained and I eat kind of crappy (especially considering I'm vegetarian). Plus, exercise is supposed to help improve energy levels and I don't do much of that anymore. But, on the other hand, my problem started and was most severe when I was still fairly normal weight and just starting to become overweight. And I ate a lot of the same stuff I eat now back then too. So, it's all still a mystery to me. But yeah, now that my dad's dying/death is a distant memory and I no longer have to work, things are better. Plus, the vitamins were life-changing. And, looking back, I've never really had to work consistently full-time at a stressful job in my life so it is possible that I'm just not cut out for a full-time job. I'm still somewhat "young" so maybe work in some capacity will be possible in the future, so I'm not closing off all avenues/possibilities. It was a great job by the way and my employer bent over backwards for me for the most part, but full-time work where you're expected to complete a certain number of tasks, perform at a certain level and show up every Mon-Fri is inherently stressful (for me at least).
  9. Speaking of hoof beats and horses, that's what has brought me peace of mind with my current situation. "It's all in my head" as I joke with my pdoc. Because we've ruled out pretty much everything I can think of and I don't think I have CFS/ME based on what I've read about it. But depression, anxiety, and panic disorder are real too, even if they are "only in my head". @Blahblah Unfortunately I know little about these tests and don’t really have time to delve into what the results pages look like. But here are the test names at least. The first time my current (good) PCP tested my thyroid she ordered: TPO ANTIBODY T3 FREE T4 FREE TSH (Please keep in mind this was after my pdoc ordered labwork including just a TSH test which showed a slightly elevated TSH level, but my PCP wanted to confirm before doing/prescribing anything. And when my PCP ran the above 4 tests, everything came back within normal range so the slightly out of range TSH level from the labs my pdoc ordered must have been a one-off thing. My pdoc seemed pleased with the thyroid labs PCP ordered.) The next year my PCP ordered: T3 FREE T4 FREE TSH The next year (last year) PCP ordered: T4 FREE TSH (I guess now she’s just monitoring to see if I ever do turn hypothyroid in the future?) Ok, from the rheumatologist: ANA PANEL* ANA INTERP UA REFLEX URINE MICROSCOPIC UA W/REFLEXIVE CULTURE, UR REUMATOID FACTOR, QUANT MONOGAM SERUM INITIAL, BL C-REACTIVE PROTEIN (CRP) COMPLEMENT, ANTIGEN (C4) COMPLEMENT, ANTIGEN (C3) ANTINUCLEAR ANTIBODIES From the endocrinologist: IMMUNOASSAY, RIA ASSAY FERRITIN (my value was 8 on a standard range of 11-307) IRON BINDING TEST ASSAY IRON VITAMIN B12 MICROSOMAL ANTIBODY ASSAY THYROID STIM HORMONE VITAMIN D-25 HYDROXY, BL (my value was 7 on a standard range of 32-100) ACTH TOTAL CORTISOL CORTISOL, FREE (This was the 24-hour pee collection jug one.) *This one was the one ordered by a random PCP I saw once or twice because I’m generally very healthy so I had no PCP from about age 18-ish when my pediatrician gave me the boot to approx age 30 when sh*t hit the fan. I’ve learned my lesson because had I been seeing a PCP all this time, I’d know what my baseline was and also PCP would have likely noticed (like my pdoc did) when I started going downhill because she would have known how I present normally, etc.
  10. How I got led down the autoimmune path is a PCP I had at the time did an ANA panel on me and I tested positive for one of the antibodies or whatever and combined with my dry mouth and dry eyes, etc (forgot to mention I also saw an eye doctor for the dry eyes). Because of that one positive hit on the ANA panel, that PCP shuffled me off to the rheumatologist to get more of a workup done. Somehow I begged and pleaded to get in to see the rheumatologist within a few months (getting an appt with a rheumy in the major health system I tend to use is almost as bad as trying to get an appt to see a dermatologist). The rheumatologist did a slew of blood tests and at the end of it all after the results came in said, good news, you don't have lupus and you don't have sjogrens. I can list the blood tests he did if you're interested. They're in my electronic chart; it's not like I can actually remember medical things that happened circa 2012. I still get my thyroid tested pretty thoroughly once a year by my PCP but only once did it come up hypo and when we did more detailed followup testing the results all came back normal. Taking 5000iu Vit D3 a day keeps me in the slightly Vit D deficient (or sometimes just barely over the threshold into non-deficient) range. So if the test says 30 is the threshold for Vit D deficiency, I usually come in around 27 or 33 if I'm lucky. Personally, I think a sleep study is worthwhile. Not sure if seeing a rheumy would be indicated in your case. Like I said, the only reason I ended up there was the dry eyes/dry mouth plus the one hit on the ANA panel. Plus, I wanted to get as much testing as possible taken care of while I had my employer-based insurance. Plus, I wanted to keep my job and was looking to treat a condition if I actually had one and reduce my symptoms. IIRC, a lot of the autoimmune stuff can be tricky to diagnose anyway, but the rheumy I saw was pretty confident about ruling out any autoimmune stuff for me. And I sort of have to agree at this point. I now think the rapid weight gain must have just been my appetite getting out of control because I was rather depressed and stressed out. Also, I stopped exercising regularly and became almost 100% sedentary which didn't help matters. The fatigue and sleep must also have to do with my anxiety and/or depression too I'm betting. The fatigue and sleeping too much is much more manageable now compared to where I was before so I can't complain too much. I used to sleep entire weekends, only getting up to pee and take snack breaks. Also, I used to sleep a minimum of 12 hours a night. Now I sleep around 10 hours, sometimes up to 12 but usually around 10 hours, which is close to my natural sleep habits. I've always required about 9 hours of sleep throughout my life. People like my mom who functioned for decades on anywhere from 4-6 hours of sleep a night during the work week boggle my mind.
  11. I believe central sleep apnea is less common than the obstructive sleep apnea most people associate with overweight people and/or snorers but it's a real thing and also very bad for you. Also, periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD) and RLS are real things. My sleep study confirmed I'm an excellent sleeper with lots of periodic limb movements (yes, it's true, I've always been made aware by those who have shared my bed that I kick people in my sleep and toss and turn). However, I don't have PLMD because my movements didn't interrupt my brain waves or sleep or whatever they measure. I got just about everything tested some years back. Keep in mind I had extreme fatigue, weight gain, and idiopathic hypersomnia (also extreme dry eye and dry mouth but that later just turned out to be a side effect of some drug I was trialing). I saw the rheumatologist to rule out lupus, sjogrens, etc. I got a brain mri w/ and w/o contrast but didn't go so far as to get a pituitary MRI (I guess my pdoc figured the overall one would be sufficient). I saw the endocrinologist who did routine bloodwork and thyroid tests, as well as cortisone tests to rule out (I believe) cushings. For the cortisol stuff, I was offered either the storing your pee in the big red refrigerator jug over the course of 24 hours and then racing to the lab with it and/or saliva test swabs. She was out of the saliva test swab stuff so I just got the big red jug to collect all my pee in and store in the refrigerator. Got the overnight sleep test done as mentioned, but not the daytime sleep study (multiple sleep latency test) which would have been the next step in the natural progression of things. From all this I learned I sleep great, have a perfect brain specimen, everything normal EXCEPT the routine bloodwork the endocrinologist did caught part of my issues which turned out to be super boring and mundane--single digit Vitamin D levels and single-digit ferritin levels. So I started taking iron every day or every other day and copious amounts of vitamin D and that at least solved my issue of feeling like I was trapped in a 90-year-old's body as far as not being able to walk to the back of a big box store without suffering severe exhaustion. I mean, I was in rough shape. I could barely walk anywhere without feeling like I would faint. I told my pdoc I felt like I had dropped serious IQ points because I just couldn't think right or fast. I was becoming stupider and weaker by the day. Unfortunately the Vit D and iron supplements did not solve the issue of my sleeping more than most people and being just generally tired and/or depressed all the time but at least I got relief from the worst physical symptoms. At least after all this though, I could give up the search for some underlying non-psychological illness causing my symptoms. Strangely no one has ever mentioned CFS/ME to me as a possible diagnosis except my primary care doctor always puts it as my diagnosis in my chart that I can see on my after visit summary notes. (She also includes my psych diagnoses too by CFS is usually right on top). She's never mentioned CFS/ME to me though and I've never mentioned it to her. Not sure why she puts it down. Maybe because it's easier to get medicare to pay for certain blood tests? I don't have exercise intolerance so if that's a main feature, I doubt I have CFS/ME. Anyways, I went from be a healthy, fit 30-year-old to a total mess in about a year or two. But, I also had some major life stressors, effexor might have pooped out on me, etc. But the only person who seemed to believe me was my pdoc because I never saw doctors except for her over the years so she was the only one who could really vouch for the person I was before compared to the person I was after and advocate for me that something was clearly wrong/different. Sorry if none of my relating of my experience is helpful to you.
  12. I was at the Olive Garden for a late lunch this week (please no judgement regarding my choice of restaurant) and in the midst of all this Frank Sinatra-y type background music with mostly typical Sinatra songs, I suddenly realize I'm listening to a cover of "Wonderwall" sung totally Frank Sinatra style. So that was weird. But nothing tops the Chinese restaurant we used to go to that played the "Chariots of Fire" theme song on repeat pretty much every time we were there. The first time, it crept up on us slowly since it was background music, but once we realized it was there, it was unmistakable and could not be ignored. Over and over again with the crescendo-ing. Climax after climax. (Not a good thing in this case.) Oh well, the food at that Chinese place eventually went downhill anyway. But yeah, forget waterboarding. Try "Chariots of Fire" on repeat.
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