20 September 2017

These Boots Are Made For Walking

I have a confession to make, you guys:

I spent all of last winter and last fall walking around with my boots only half-zipped because my calves hate me.



When I went boot shopping last fall, I only tried the boot on my left foot/leg because that's the leg that had the blood clot and had been huge and I thought "Well, if I can get it on over this leg, I should be fine with the other." I found a pair of boots I loved, zipped it up over the left leg, then bought them.

What I hadn't taken into account is that because of my broken ankle, the right leg spent much of the summer doing all of the work which meant that my right calf got an increase workout for several months and thus grown in size. I didn't discover this until the first time I tried to wear the boots and couldn't zip it up over my right calf.

But, fuck it. I loved these boots and I wanted to wear these boots and I was going to wear these boots regardless of whether or not I could zip them up.

So, I did.

All fall and winter I just walked around my office at work with my boots zipped up to the bottom of my calf. Some days my left leg behaved, some days it didn't, so, yeah, I was literally walking around with both of my boots only half-zipped.


Thinking about it now I am mortified. What a hot fucking mess I must have looked like.

The thing is, I love these boots. And it's not like they are anything special, just some basic black pair I bought for maybe $40 at Payless last year. But to me they are pretty much the most perfect pair of boots ever and so once I realized they didn't fit both legs, I didn't want to deal with returning them and then starting the hunt over again.

This year, I decided to be an adult and finally invest in a set of Boot Bands and omg, you guys. I can't even.

For those that don't know, Boot Bands are boot expanders. They are a small triangle that you can zip right into your boot, eliminating the gap that will appear when you can't zip them all up on their own.

Admittedly, figuring out how to attach and zip the first time was a very frustrating, twenty minute long process where I was ready to just send the stupid things back until I decided to check YouTube and found a video that showed me I was attaching them incorrectly. Once I got it all squared away, I was officially in love.


Yeahhhhhhh that looks way better than walking around with the zipper halfway down my boot.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 September 2017

It's Fall, Y'All

Okay, technically fall is still officially a week or so away but Sunday we had football on our TV, chili in the crockpot, and Oktoberfest beer in our fridge, and yesterday I broke out my black boots so whatever, I'm calling it.


Also, this cat .gif seems appropriate to represent my whole coming out of unintentional blogging hibernation.

Along with wearing my fabulous knee-high black boots, yesterday I also had a follow-up appointment with my vascular surgeon, Dr. Stanley. Last time I saw him was back in March which holy shit, seems like a fucking lifetime ago and not just a mere six months.

I'm now over one year post-deep vein thrombosis and I had know at my last appointment back in March he said my leg was looking good and this was just a follow-up. When he walked in, he said "How's my runner doing?" and my leg is still looking good, thanks to my compression socks. (I can't believe I was so reluctant to wear them for months. Months, I tell you. Then, once I just accepted my fate and started wearing them, oh, hey, turns out they work really well.)

Speaking of accepting my fate, the one thing we didn't discuss was a change in my medication. I'm pretty much now convinced I'm going to be on blood thinners for life which, ugh. Honestly, I'm mostly lamenting all the tattoos I won't ever be getting because the blood thinners would fuck up the healing process. This is not helped by the fact that my co-worker got the most amazing Harry Potter tattoo a couple of weeks ago and I AM SO JELLY.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

14 August 2017

Racing for hope at Recovery Resources

This Saturday is the Run for Recovery 5K at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Hosted by Recovery Resources, this 5K is to supports and advances National Recovery Month which is in September. This is especially timely and important as our country -- and especially my homestate of Ohio -- are in the middle of a crippling opioid epidemic.

One really cool thing they are doing this year is giving participants the opportunity to paint or write on a rock in celebration of someone currently in recovery or in memory of someone who lost their life to addiction.

Courtesy of Recovery Resources

After the event, these rocks will be placed in a rock garden at Recovery Resources location downtown Cleveland.

There's still time for you to sign up and join the run! There is also a 1.5 mile walk for those who don't want to do the full 5K. You can also donate to this amazing organization: so far they have raised about $35,000 which is incredible but they are still short their goal of $40,000 so even running at the Cleveland Zoo isn't your thing, there are still great ways you can help!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

27 July 2017

Dear Doctor Stanley

One year ago today, I ended up in the emergency room of Marymount Hospital with a deep vein thrombosis that ran the entire length of my left thigh. My entire left leg was basically the color of Voldemort and your wonderful resident, Dr. Nicole, could find a smidge of a pulse in the very bottom of my left foot.

Yes indeed: we are upon the one year anniversary of Clotapocalypse.


I would later learn that I basically had the trifecta: recent injury + road trip immoblization + a decade of birth control pills. Add in going on my annual summer spinach smoothie kick in the weeks leading up to the event (vitamin K, yo) and having a family history of blood clots (but, thankfully, no family markers in my blood) and my leg was pretty much a ticking time bomb.

Hoping that my instincts about my swollen, discolored leg were wrong, I went to work that morning. But just walking through the office I knew this was something that needed medical attention so I left thirty minutes later and went to urgent care (again, still hoping my instincts were wrong and it wasn't really as bad as I thought it was). That doctor sent me to Marymount, where I had an ultrasound done on my leg which is when they identified the clot that literally ran the entire length of my thigh.

(This is also the point at which I looped my family in. BC knew where I was, but I didn't want to tell my family until I actually had something to tell them.)

From there, I was admitted to the ER and hooked up to a Heparin drip. BC and my mom got there and we were told that the hospital was just waiting for a room to open up. The plan was to just keep me on the drip and in the hospital for a day or two and wait for it to work its anti-coagulant magic.

And that's when you stepped in.


I'm not sure how it happened, exactly, but somewhere in there, you saw the ultrasound of my leg and put a halt to that whole Heparin drip, wait and see thing. Immediately the plan shifted from me getting a room to me going into emergency surgery -- it was so fast that nobody told me I had to take my bra off or that I had to take my contacts out. Because of the drip, my bra had to be cut off and I have now been wearing glasses for a year because it was too much work to put the contacts back in with two more days of surgery ahead and by the time I got out, my eyes were all hell no.

I was in surgery Wednesday night, Thursday morning, and Friday morning. In between, I was in the ICU, waited on by some of the most amazing nurses. After about four days I was finally moved to a regular hospital room, but it was still another two days before I convinced the other doctors to let me go home. By "convince," of course, I mean "begged."

Initially after getting out of the hospital, I was on Coumadin and Lovenox shots, the latter of which I hated with a passion, not the least of which because the shots were so fucking expensive. But you advocated for me and put me on one of the newer meds, which I've now been on for about 11 months.

My new normal now consists of twice daily pills and a rotating supply of compression socks that I wear every single day. Because I can't take BC pills, I had to get an IUD back in November and because my DVT was partly hormone related, even though the hormonal IUDs are different hormones, I still went for the copper IUD which creates both more cramps and heavier periods, the latter of which is not helped by the whole blood thinner thing.

It's all very annoying and sometimes a pain in the ass but it's better than the alternative. I'll be seeing you sometime in September for my next follow-up and while there's a small part of me that is holding out hope that you'll tell me the pills are no longer necessary, I've also fully accepted that there is a chance I'll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life and I'm okay with that because, again, it's way better than the alternative.

Next to the guy I'm marrying next year, you're basically my most favorite person in the entire world. BC later told me that after I got out of surgery, he was leaving and in the elevator ran into the nurse who prepped me for surgery. She was in street clothes and heading home but she recognized BC (the mutton chops tend to give him away) and she asked "What strings did she pull to get Dr. Stanley on her case?"

"Just lucky, I guess," he told her.

Lucky I was indeed.

Thanks. From the bottom of my heart (and leg),
Jill

20 June 2017

Road Trip to Ann Arbor to see Roxane Gay!

A few months ago, my friend Alexa let me know that Roxane Gay was going to be in her town of Ann Arbor for an author event. This was pretty much my reaction:


OMG I love Roxane Gay. I've read Bad Feminist and Difficult Women but I've been really looking forward to her new book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. It was a book that was supposed to come out last year but was pushed back -- during the Q&A portion, someone asked her about that and she said that it was because it was a very difficult subject to write which I can appreciate since it was a very difficult subject to read and I can't fathom opening myself up like she did on certain topics.

In her writing she's very open about the rape she suffered when she was younger and I can't relate to that, but the chapters about moving through the world today as a fat person? Yes. Yes that really is what it's like.

So, last Friday night I drove up to Ann Arbor, Michigan (much to the dismay of my Ohio State graduate fiance). This was my first real road trip since Clotapocalypse so I gave myself extra time in order to make stops every hour or so. It actually worked out really well: there was a Turnpike rest stop about an hour into my drive and then an hour after that was the Michigan Welcome Center. So I would just get out, use the restroom, walk around a little. While in my car driving I'd be doing foot exercises, making little circles or flexing my foot. Basically the same foot exercises I do on airplanes and of course I was wearing compression socks on both legs all weekend.

I got in at 5pm, met Alexa at her apartment. We dropped my stuff off then headed downtown Ann Arbor for dinner at this really good Indian restaurant near campus. I'd been to Ann Arbor before but that was in December several years ago and we didn't really walk around that much. This weekend we had an opportunity to really walk around and Ann Arbor is super cute omg.



Roxane's event started at 7pm and this amazing auditorium on campus. She read a few passages from the book then opened it up to the audience for a Q&A. I was one of the last to get my question in and I had asked about memoir writing when you just can't remember. When I wrote Running With a Police Escort I had the benefit of this blog and journal entries and such to help. With my potential Book #2, I really want to write it but I can't remember everything. Her answer, that nobody's memory is perfect and it's okay to rely on some creative nonfiction when necessary, was a bigger help than I realized because this has been me since getting home:


After, she signed books! According to her Twitter, 1000 people were at the event, 800 stuck around for the book signing and she was there for two hours. She signed everything. Talk about major hand cramps.


Saturday morning, A and I went out for brunch and visited two bookstores (because of course). Then I got back in my car and headed back to Cleveland!

I did make a small but necessary detour on the way home, though:


Campus Polleyes is a restaurant in Bowling Green, Ohio, where is where I went to college. They legit have the most magical stuffed breadsticks and I haven't had one in probably close to 10 years so when I was on the phone with my sister and she made a comment about stopping, I called ahead, explained I'd be driving through town about 1:30 and could the order be ready?

They were and they taste exactly the same. I don't know how they do it, other than using the same recipe for the past 40 years.

If you haven't yet read any of Roxane's work, I highly recommend you go get her books now.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

12 June 2017

That Time I Got to Interview Jessamyn Stanley

A few weeks ago at one of my author events, someone who read my book asked about the place of employment I talk about, the one with the fitness classes and the awesome focus on healthy living. That would be OverDrive which, for those of who you don't know, is this magical app that lets you check out ebooks and audiobooks from your library. All it takes is having a library card and you have access to free ebooks and audiobooks.

Like I said: magical.

Among the many hats I wear at OverDrive is being the founder and co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast.


Along with weekly episodes where we talk about the books we are current reading and give recommendations, my co-host Adam and I also get to interview authors, sometimes live on stage courtesy of our friends at the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Several months ago, I was asked to host such an event for Jessamyn Stanley, badass yogi author of Every Body Yoga: Let Go of Fear, Get on the Mat, Love Your Body.

Photo courtesy of CCPL

OMG YOU GUYS.

Jessamyn is amazing. Like, I can't even with how amazing. And I got to interview her. We are also total besties right now.


My interview with Jessamyn is up on our podcast today, so go give it a listen and then go read her book!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

31 May 2017

Giveaway: Win an Entry to the Run for Recovery 5K

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in being a blogger for the 5th annual Run for Recovery 5K, which is hosted by Recovery Resources. Founded in 1955, Recovery Resources helps people triumph over mental illness, alcoholism, drug and other addictions through outpatient programming.


Obviously, as someone who is struggling to address her own mental health issues, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. But, as many of you readers know, I used to work in a prison. I specifically worked in a prison that had a strong substance abuse program and for those inmates sentenced or drug or alcohol related charges, judges would send them to our facility because of the additional aid we could provide.

Here in Northeast Ohio we have seen an uptick in drug related deaths and according to the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office the number of confirmed overdoses in 2016 has increased from 517 to at least 660 as of today.

Now in its fifth year, the 2017 Run for Recovery is being held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on August 19th  and not only will I be there on race day, but I have a second entry that I can give away to one of my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 May 2017

Running Angst

Sigh.


This is a fucking hard one, y'all. Mostly because I don't know what the fuck is going on.

Well, that's not entirely true. I have a sense of what's going on, what I don't know is what it stems from. What I do know is that running isn't fun for me anymore. Or, well, it is but very sporadically. Sunday's 10K? Those 6.2 miles were the only miles I ran for the entire month of May and I didn't even run them, I walked them.

I know that running isn't fun for me right now and hasn't been for awhile. I know that running feels like a punishment. I know I dread runs. I know that dread has paralyzed me and seeped into other forms of exercise so even a simple walk at lunchtime feels like a monumental accomplishment.

I know that right now, at this moment in time, I would be perfectly content never going on another run ever again.

And yet .....


And yet I hang out with my fellow Ambassadors and I remember at one point loving running. I remember the excitement and anticipation of race day. I remember feeling fast and furious, even when running at my slow back of the pack speed.

And yet I hang out at the Expo and see races I'd love to run (I'm looking at you Rock City 5K and Christmas Story Run). I remember the feeling that came from training and completing three half-marathons.

(Honestly, I'm in such a negative place right now about this that I forget I'm a three time half-marathoner. It seems like such a foreign concept to me at this point in time).

I will be the first to admit that some of this is because I've gained weight from last year and that's slowed me down which, naturally, frustrates this already slow runner. I also think #anklegate set me back way more than I realized. Not just physically but mentally as well. Because this is 100% a mental block. Physically, yes, had I stuck to my training and not slacked for the past four weeks I could have done my run/walk thing and been fine. Fuck, I ran 4 miles at the end of April and felt fantastic.

I also know I don't entirely trust my ankle and have a fear of reinjuring myself. So that, of course, makes me less likely to want to go out for a mile run, let alone anything longer.

I don't know but I wonder how much of this is also depression related. Actually, losing interest in things is a pretty classic sign of depression but I'm one of those people with high-functioning depression so it's always hard to classify myself as such because I'm not sad and can still function and fake it til I make it (or fall apart, as the case may be).

I lost my running groove a year ago and I am still struggling to get it back. And, in the meantime, I find myself .... not hating, but severely disliking, this activity that just a year ago I had loved. I had loved it so much that I signed up for a 4th half. I had hoped to run Akron in 2017 to make up for having to miss it last year but right now I am not in a healthy place mentally to tackle training or a half-marathon.

And yet ..... one of my fellow Ambassadors mentioned running the Cleveland Half in 2018 and I'm like "Yeah, I could totally do that, too!"


LIKE I SAID. IT'S COMPLICATED.

Even just in the days since I started writing this post my feelings have gone back and forth. One day I'm perfectly happy never running again and another the idea of never crossing a finish line again breaks my heart.

I am legitimately sitting here thinking "Ugh, running. Why would I do that to myself? But, yeah, running a half marathon a year from now? Totally doable."

I think my attitude towards running is symptomatic of other things in my life so, more than anything, I need to take some time to figure out what that shit is all about and not worry so much about the running portion. Actually, I think lots of things going on in my life are symptomatic of other things and I  need to really dig deep and start to identify and address some of them. I know that in many areas of my life I'm not where I want to be and I've let certain areas run away from me and I need to refocus and reign them in.

(#Vagueblogging)

A few weeks ago I was trying to explain this all to my therapist, who is not a runner, and kept asking "Do you actually like running?" And I do, some of the time. But I was explaining that the first mile always sucks no matter who you are. THE FIRST MILE IS THE WORST. So when you are just getting back into it and can't run very far, then all you're doing is one mile runs which means every run is awful. It's a whole mental thing I realize but it's that negative reinforcement that I need to work through.

Right. So, well, that's where I am with this right now. Basically going in circles and having a very, very complicated relationship with running right now.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 May 2017

Race Recap: 2017 Cleveland Marathon 10K

After expo-ing all weekend, I went to bed early Saturday night as I had an early alarm clock for race day! I was waffling all morning about what to wear and at the last second switched to a tank top and I'm so glad I did because I think it would have ended up being too hot and humid in a short sleeve shirt.

As I mentioned in my last post, my relationship with running is a bit complicated these days and I plan on talking more about that on Wednesday. But because of that, I decided to walk this race instead of run it. I tried running at the very start but I knew right away that I am mentally not in the place for that. And whatever this is that I'm dealing with, it really is all mental but that somehow makes it even harder overcome. I knew that if I felt like I had to run the whole thing I would have a horrible day mentally so I decided to just walk all 6.2 miles, so that's what I did.

Anyway.

There was a new course this year and I was super excited because it took me through some of my old running haunts which I haven't seen in the year+ since I moved. For out of towners it also was a mini sight seeing tour of the city that I love.


We started downtown near the stadiums as usual but instead of going over the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge as in the past, we headed down through the heart of the city. Shortly after starting I heard someone calling my name. When I looked up I saw my dear friend Jamie, which just made my whole morning.


The course continued, taking us past the Rock Hall and then down into the East Bank of the Flats then turned and went through my old neighborhood.


At this point I knew there was a big hill coming and I loved that the Cleveland Marathon placed encouraging signs along that hill, as if they knew we'd need a little extra encouragement at that point.


We passed the 4 mile marker along the hill and at the top, the 10K split from the half an full runners. I really liked this part of the race because when I had run it in the past, the split happened much sooner. As it was, we 10K were separated from the longer distances for only about 1.5 miles before we hooked back up with them towards the end of the race.

At the split I started walking with a woman I had met on Friday at the expo so we finished the final stretch of the race together.

There was no Shoreway this year (hal-fucking-lujiah) and, instead, we came in via the Detroit-Superior Bridge. As we started to close in on that finish line, I once again heard someone call my name and this time it was my cousin Michele -- the same cousin who met me at the finish line of the 2014 Cleveland Half.

As we crossed the finish line we learned that they had run out of 10K medals.


I have heard horror stories about that happening to back of the packers but had never experienced that myself, so I get to check off the box of Slow Runner Bingo. They said they were going to mail them out so okay, I guess. Thankfully, one of the benefits to being an Ambassador is having those good connections so I have a call/meeting with them today to talk about it.

So here's something you need to know about my cousin Michele: once she learned I didn't get my medal, she took hers off and insisted I take it. She legitimately would not take no for an answer and this was pretty much my reaction:


Up until she put that medal around my neck, I don't think I truly realized how upset I was to not get one. But endorphins combined with monthly hormones resulted in me bursting into tears.

So there it is! I finished the 10K and no matter what, I am happy about that because, as my friend Stephanie reminded me a couple of weeks ago, a year ago this time I couldn't walk so being able to walk 6.2 miles is pretty damn amazing.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 May 2017

Race Day Eve

TOMORROW IS RACE DAY EVERYONE!


Man oh mangoberry. I can't believe it's finally here. Back in February I jumped on the training bandwagon and I was off to a good start but I am slowly learning that my relationship with running these days is fucking complicated as hell. But that's a topic for another post (possibly Monday if I get my shit together tomorrow).

Right, anyway. I am registered for the 10K and I am going to finish that 10K even if I have to drag myself across the finish line. Thankfully I don't think it will come to that but I don't think I'll be running as much as I thought I would be back in February.

Like I said: complicated.

So let's talk about uncomplicated things. Like being at the Expo!

I got a booth with one of my fellow Ambassadors so all day Friday and Saturday I was hanging out at the Convention Center selling and signing copies of my book.


Fridays are tricky. Unless you live or work downtown and/or have to pick up your packet on Friday because you're running on Saturday, you have zero need or motivation to fight Cleveland traffic just to pop into the Expo. Still, I sold a few books and special Bondi Bands. Even better, I got to see some of my Ambassadors and meet some social media friends for the first time in person!

Speaking of the Ambassadors, Friday night was the annual VIP dinner at the Arcade which meant time for our annual Ambassador photo.


Goddamnit I love these people. My relationship with them is not complicated and spending time with them always makes me remember why I love running (when I do love running, which isn't so much these days, but like I said: IT'S FUCKING COMPLICATED).

Not gonna lie, for this introvert it was a very long day. I didn't stay too long at the party and as soon as I got home I basically told BC "I love you but I need to not be around people anymore."

LULZ

Went right to bed and was up again early on Saturday to head back to the convention center for another day at the expo. As I walked from my parking lot to the convention center I saw the police escorts for both the 5K and 8K races that happened.

That's what I'm talking about.

Saturday was much better and much busier. Got to meet so many followers in person which was probably the best part of the event, regardless of whether or not I sold books (which I also did).

All in all, a damn good weekend. And now I'm heading to bed because I got myself a very early alarm clock happening so I can get downtown for that 7 am start.

SEE Y'ALL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT FINISH LINE.


Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

10 May 2017

#Anklegate: One Year Later

May 10, 2016: It's the Tuesday before Cleveland Marathon weekend. I'm cooking dinner, BC comes home. He goes upstairs and I follow him up to just remind him of everything we have going on this weekend: Friday was the Expo to get my stuff and then that night is the VIP reception for the Ambassadors. I was registered for the 5K/10K Challenge so Saturday I was racing then Saturday afternoon my dad was dropping my sister off at our place and Sunday morning she and I were then running the 10K. After that was a family bridal shower she and I were attending.

Busy weekend ahead and after weeks of training I was ready to get out there and crush those runs.

And then I went back downstairs.

It's really the dumbest things, isn't it? In my case, tripping down the bottom two steps on our staircase and landing at an awkward angle. It's not even like I had a running injury but I was still decommissioned for about six months. At first I thought it was sprained and spent a week walking on it only to later learn that, no, I'd broken a bone.


LET'S RECAP!

May 10, 2016: Trip down the stairs.
May 16, 2016: Go ER for x-rays, find out it's broken.
May 17, 2016: Go to ortho, who puts me in a full plaster cast.
May 18 - June 22, 2016: Literally wheel around my office on a knee scooter. At the house, crawl up and down the stairs and/or wheel around in an office chair.
June 23, 2016: Get a walking cast.
July 11, 2016: Doc gives me a boot.

Here is where things get interesting. FitBloggin '16 was held in Indianapolis, a mere 5 hours away from Cleveland. That means I can drive there!


So, fun fact. Sitting in a car in the same position for five hours with your leg immobilized shortly after an injury? Not a smart thing to do. In fact, I'd classify it as MY WORST IDEA EVER.

Also not a smart thing to do? Go on a green smoothie kick in the weeks leading up to said road trip and consume a ridiculous amount of spinach. Vitamin K, you see, is a natural coagulant. That is, it magically helps your blood clot which is not good if you possibly already have a blood clot brewing.

July 22-24, 2016: FitBloggin
July 27, 2016: Get admitted to the hospital with a blood clot / DVT. Have emergency surgery.
July 28, 2016: Back into surgery I go to check on status of clot. Hang out in ICU. For the next several days, my blood will be checked literally every four or five hours. Yes, even at 3 am in the morning. Then again at 8 am in the morning.
July 29, 2016: More surgical check up. More time in ICU.
July 30, 2016: Out of ICU, get checked into a "normal" hospital room.
August 2, 2016: Get released from the hospital. Prescribed Coumadin and Lovenox shots.
August 3, 2016: Go to Coumadin Clinic for first time.
August 10, 2016: Switch from the boot to an air cast.
August 3-22, 2016: Go to Coumadin Clinic every few days to check my INR levels. Also giving myself Lovenox shots twice a day. The medication situation is giving me so much anxiety I have what I'm pretty sure is my first ever panic attack.
August 23, 2016: My vascular surgeon switches me to Eliquis.
September 22, 2016: Bone doc gives my bone the all clear.
October 2016: Depression and anxiety are at peak levels.
November 1, 2016: Allowed to run again (yay!)
November 17, 2016: Get copper IUD because I can't take hormonal birth control any more.
November 18 - December 28, 2016: Lots of doctor appointments. My vascular surgeon. My pulmonary embolism doc. Lots of blood tests. I see a hematologist, too.
December 29, 2016: Vascular surgeon says he wants to keep me on blood thinners for at least a year.
February **, 2017: See a behavioral health specialist at Cleveland Clinic.
March 6, 2017: See psychiatrist who prescribes me Prozac.
March 7, 2017: Find out I can't take Prozac -- or any antidepressents -- because of my blood thinners.
March 23, 2017: Doctor Stanley, my vascular surgeon, says my leg is looking really good and I don't have to return for another six months. (I had been going every three months.)
April 2017: See my therapist every week or so, also training for the Cleveland 10K
May 10, 2017: Still on blood thinners and after months of resistance have mentally and emotionally accepted the reality that I will probably be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. My DVT was bad, y'all, and still is in my leg. Entire length of my leg bad. No pulse except for bottom of my foot bad.

Life-threateningly bad.

Staying on blood thinners is more of a preventative thing than anything else and once I wrapped my head around that I was okay with the possibility that I probably won't be going off of them anytime soon, if ever.

So here I am, one year later. My anxiety and depression are up but I can't take any medication for them because of the aforementioned blood thinners. But I'm still seeing my therapist and working on other coping mechanisms. They help with my anxiety but the depression is another story. I wear compression socks on a daily basis. I'm running, slowly but surely. The Cleveland 10K is a week and a half away and I won't finish fast or pull out a PR but I will finish.

My weight is also up: I've gained 30 pounds in the past year which after all the other weight gain of the past four years puts me close to my original highest weight.

That sentence is one of the hardest things I've ever typed. Up until this exact moment in time, only two friends knew that truth. Posting that group picture last week was equally one of the hardest things I've ever done because there's no hiding in that photo. I'm good at hiding my weight gain. I know what my good angles are. I know how to tilt my head to hide the double chin and I never take pictures in profile.

But I am alive.


I don't think I can emphasis that quite enough because I think it's taken me this long to really understand what happened to me last July and just how bad that DVT really was. For fuck's sake, I was in the hospital for close to a week. And all because just a few months before I tripped on the bottom two stairs of our staircase.

BUT there were good things that happened over the course of this year, too! My book came out and I got engaged. I also got to do some really awesome things through my job including being on NPR's On Point and interviewing some really awesome authors like Jodi Picoult and omg Alan Cumming.

And I did all of that despite being fat so whatever, yo. Plus, y'know, that whole still being alive thing so yeah.

Turns out, having an experience that culminates in an event that could have ended in death puts a whole different perspective on the scale.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 May 2017

Monday Miles

Last Thursday was the annual Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Meet-Up which, as ya'll know, is one of my most favorite events ever. This year it was held at the Quaker Steak 'n' Lube in Valley View which is super close to my work so that was handy.


I love these people, you guys. Like I can't even. Sadly, not everyone was able to join us but hopefully I'll get to catch up with everyone else at the Expo (WHERE I WILL HAVE A TABLE SELLING/SIGNING COPIES OF MY BOOK) and the VIP reception dinner Friday night of race weekend.

Along with good food and good friends, we got to see the swag and medals for this year (the medals are huge zomg).


Race weekend is only a couple of weeks away, as is the one year anniversary of anklegate. I was talking with Stephanie and she was asking about my running and training and I said it was slow going -- both in terms of pace and just actually getting out and doing it. As her fella Dan said: running is hard. Like, holy shit. Coming back from this injury is proving to be far more challenging than I had anticipated, mentally and physically. But then Stephanie pointed out that less than a year ago I couldn't walk. 



Like. Dude.

When we were going to bed Friday night, I told BC "I'm planning on getting up early and running in the morning." Then, of course, Saturday morning rolled around and I was all out of marbles and spent the day in bed.

But then on Sunday I woke up and felt great and got up and went out for a four mile run. FOUR MILES. At this point it's been a year since I ran four miles and I was so grateful for the comment Stephanie made a few days before because it kept me going during that run and was a great reminder of just how far I have come in the past year since my injury and in the past six months since I got the go ahead to run again.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

24 April 2017

Is This Thing On?

Ahhhhhh!

Last Friday I talked about how I was feeling much better as of late and it's only continuing which is a nice change of pace.

Speaking of, I went for a three mile run on Friday and it was delightful. I was just running around the neighborhood and discovered this adorable little ball park tucked behind the main street in my city that I drive past all the time. I've only ever noticed the ball park part and never noticed there's a walking/running path there, too!


It's a little less than .25 mile around so not quite track distance but pretty close. Now that I know it's super close, I'll definitely be adding it into my routine. The baseball diamond has bleachers, too, so if I ever felt super ambitious I could add in bleacher workouts as well.

So, as you can all tell, I'm feeling so much better zomg. The past month has been rough but it hasn't all been bad. For instance, this happened:


OH YEAH BABY! BC AND I ARE GETTING MARRIED.

It happened a couple of weeks ago at the Cleveland International Film Festival (hence the filmstrip Jamberry wraps!).

For my Ohio readers, my author event calendar is booking up so be sure to check it out to see if I'll be stopping by a place near you soon!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

21 April 2017

here comes the sun

Waking up Tuesday morning was a bit like this:


Coming out of a depressive episode is just like leaving a dull, sepia toned state to a new world of technicolor.

I got out of bed without needing any extra marbles which meant I had time for a quick 1 mile run and, thankfully, there was already daylight peeking through even at 6:15 am. The day before, on Monday, my therapist suggested looking into adjusting my schedule at work to allow myself to wake up with daylight so I can get that run in but with the sun entering the hemisphere earlier and earlier, I may not need to for the time being.

Man, y'all. It's been fucking rough as hell and I'm still not entirely out of the fog but I'm making progress. I went for a 2 mile run last Friday and then the 1 mile run on Monday and that was, literally, the first exercise I had done in about two weeks. The Cleveland 10K is four weeks away and I am just maintaining my goal of finishing. So I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazuars

07 April 2017

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart....



I am here.
I am alive.
I am . . . well, I'm surviving.

I've been running out of marbles a lot lately and that includes the energy that goes into this blog, unfortunately. This is one of those things that now requires more marbles than it did before so I have to budget appropriately and that means putting other things at a higher priority. Like, y'know, work and putting myself in a position where I can function at a level to show up at my job and do what needs to be done.

Many, if not most, days it's a fake it til you make it mentality which requires a whole lot of energy.

I haven't been on a run in like a week and a half which, when written out, doesn't sound nearly as bad as it does in my head when I think about it so that makes me feel a little bit better. The Cleveland 10K is about six weeks away and my only goal is to finish. that's it.  don't care if I run, walk, skip, or fucking drag myself across that finish line. I know I can do it, partly because of that whole "I've done it before" thing but I ran 3 miles two weeks ago and if I can run 3 miles I can run 6 miles. I just have to budget my marbles and make sure I find time in the next six weeks to actually get some runs in.

So I am here. I am around, on Twitter and Instagram. I am promoting my book with lots of fun local events happening. I am slowly, slowly writing my next project. I am busy with work and busy with life and busy with therapy and . . .

I am, I am, I am.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 March 2017

Running Out of Marbles

Five years ago was my friend Lisa’s bachelorette party.

Now, to be fair, calling it a bachelorette party is a bit of a misnomer since we're more the Girls Gone Mild variety. The plan was dinner and drinks, so it was more like a ladies night out and one of us just happened to be getting married in the coming weeks.

The five of us went to dinner and after went to a swanky bar here in Cleveland for drinks. Swanky bars charge swanky prices so we only intended to stay for one drink and then move to a less swanky, more familiar bar after.


But as the group was getting ready to relocate to the second bar, I said I was going to head out and go home.

This was not unusual for me: we are, by and large, a group of introverts and I was always the friend who hit her social wall first. Tonight, the evening we were sending our unmarried friend over the martial threshold, it was about 10:00 pm.

“Why?” the group asked.

“Because I’m tired."

What they said was: “But you didn’t do anything today!”

What they meant was: “But you didn’t work today!”

Which is true. Fridays were my day off but that also meant that Fridays were the day I did all that stuff I couldn’t do because of work the other days in the week. So, while, they saw Fridays as the day I didn’t do anything, I saw Fridays as the day I went for my long run and I volunteered and I went to the grocery store and the bank and all those other places people go when they run errands. I had to deal with people. Lots of people. And not just people: strangers. I had to drive all around the city and then I had to come home and take a shower and make myself pretty and then I had to, once again, go out and drive around the city and deal with people. This time it was my friends, but still: more people. And, because I’m an introvert, all that dealing with people -- friends and strangers alike -- exhausts me.

At the time, I was the sole librarian at a very tiny library at a very tiny career college. A very tiny and very underutilized library. I could go a full day without seeing students in there and the students that were in there were mostly there to work on the computer so they didn’t need me and, when they did, it was a brief five minute interaction where I’d show them how to open Microsoft Word or attach a file to an outgoing email. I only saw my co-workers at lunch and when I arrived and left for the day.

In other words, despite having what most people would consider a customer facing position, I didn’t really have to provide much customer service and, therefore, inevitably dealt with people more often on my days off than I did my work days, which meant that my days off exhausted this introvert far more than my work days ever did.

So, by 10 pm the night of Lisa’s bachelorette party, I was done. Finished. Work or no work that day, I was going home and going to bed.

Firm words were spoken as my friends tried to convince me to rally. I may have snapped at them. I think when they started to see the tears start to well up at the thought of staying out any longer they let me go without a fight. I apologized to Lisa the next day and all was fine.

I didn’t know how to explain what I was feeling then. I usually keep it under my “introvert” umbrella, knowing most people would understand that or I talk about hitting my wall and, again, most people understand that.

But this is more. Because I know other introverts and either they fake it very well or I’m dealing with something beyond just introvertism.

I’m familiar with the concept of spoons for those with chronic pain but I don’t want to co-opt their terminology, so I’m going to adapt it slightly for my own purposes into phrasing that makes better sense for me.


Let’s say, each morning you wake up with a jar of marbles that represents your finite amount of energy for the entire day and every single thing you do, every single thought that passes across your brain, has a cost.

Getting out of bed: 1 marble.
Taking a shower: 1 marble.
Getting dressed: 1 marble.
Doing my hair: 1 marble.
Putting on makeup: 1 marble.
Deciding on jewelry: 1 marble.

I haven’t even gone downstairs yet and I’ve already spent 6 marbles.

All day, every day, this is what it’s like.

Feeding the cats: 1 marble.
Deciding what to have for breakfast: 1 marble.
Making breakfast: 1 marble.
Cream or no cream in my coffee: 1 marble

…… See where I’m going with this?

And, again, this is just basic daily tasks that happen in the first, oh, 30 minutes of my morning. I haven’t even left for work yet, let alone get to work yet and all that entails.

Over the decades I’ve figured out some tricks I need to employ to make the most efficient use of my marbles every morning. I set clothes out the night before so I don’t have to think about them in the morning. Same with my lunch, that gets packed each evening. But, hands down, the best day was when I realized the coffee maker at the house is programmable, which means I can set everything up the night before and not have to grind the beans (1 marble), measure the water (1 marble), pour the water (1 marble), put the grounds in the coffee pot (1 marble) and turn the coffee maker on (1 marble) in between all the other stuff I’m doing doing during that first 30 minutes.

I know that once I pay the price to get out of bed, things will usually be okay, things seem a little less exhausting as the day goes on. I have since learned, thanks to my psychiatrist, that this is known as Diurnal Mood Variation.

The hitch is that some mornings, inextricably, without rhyme or reason, I’ll wake up and the “cost” of getting out of bed has changed.


Sometimes I get lucky and getting out of bed is a freebie. I wake up, ready to attack the day and these are the mornings I go out for a run without needing to drag myself from bed. After that, well … that whole speech Elle Woods gives about endorphins making you happy and happy people don’t kill their husbands? That’s not bullshit. To some extent, endorphins can replenish my marble supply.  So now I have a marble surplus so I’ll do my hair, and my makeup, and I may even decide to wear a different out than the one I had planned and put on jewelry and have a fabulous, fabulous day.

But other times, the cost of getting out of bed has increased. Suddenly, instead of it costing only 1 marble, it costs 3 or 4 and now I need to budget appropriately and am now faced with the decision of what can I sacrifice to make sure I get to work in one piece. Maybe I don’t take a shower that day or I don’t put on makeup or I figure out some magical second day hair style that still looks reasonably professional or some combination of all three.

Sometimes, though, the cost of getting out bed requires all of my marbles for the entire day and so I don’t. Get out of bed, that is. If it’s the weekend it doesn’t disrupt anything but if it’s during the week I will call in sick and take a mental health day and just stay in bed and sleep and binge watch my latest television show obsession.


Thankfully this kind of day only happens maybe 2 or 3 times a year but still, it happens.

On the days where getting out of bed costs more, it seems like everything costs more and I’m spending twice as many marbles to do half the number of things. So even though I know exercising will make me feel better, the math doesn’t work out in my favor so I skip my workout and sleep instead.

On average, I know what things cost and I budget my marbles very carefully. Activities outside of my normal routine tend to require more marbles and so I will spend several hours or even entire days hording my marbles for an event in the evening. If I’m very, very careful and have enough advanced notice, I can take some of today’s leftover marbles and carry them over to tomorrow if I think the event will require it.

Because of all of this, I don’t do spontaneity very well. My day has a plan, my day has a budget, and I will spread my marbles out as necessary throughout the course of the day to make it to the end of the day without running out of marbles so anything outside of that routine throws everything into chaos.

Years ago, I noticed my friends stopped asking me to hang out randomly during the week after work. At first I was, naturally, hurt, but then I realized I would have done the same thing. If you continually try to invite a person out for something and they continually decline the invitation, at some point you’re just going to stop asking. It’s not that I didn’t want to hang out with my friends but I didn’t have any marbles left.

This is what it’s been like my entire life only in the past it seems like I had more marbles. Somehow, everything going on lately has either made my daily marble budget decrease or prices themselves as increased. Then add in the mental energy that comes with worrying about health issues and trying to get all of this figured out and I’m just tired all the fucking time.

I am basically running out of marbles nearly every day.

Exercise and endorphins can sometimes replenish my marble supply. The other thing that can help replenish my marble supply?

Food.

It’s such a cliche, I know, but food helps. Food is fuel, as us runners like to say, but I use it for other energy restorative reasons as well.

Food makes me feel better and, of course, it’s not nutritious food like carrots and shit. When I look at pictures of myself now, I can just see what the anxiety and depression has done to my food choices which then does something to me. Compared to when I was losing weight and doing really well -- back then, I had a job where I was in that underutilized library and didn’t have a life that required a whole bunch of marbles every day so I was always dealing with a surplus.

The question is always “What happened in your past that caused you to get this big?” And the thing is, nothing happened. This is just how things are for me. The difference is that for a sold 2 year period I was in a position where I had an overabundance of marbles and didn’t need to rely on food to replenish my daily stock and I have always been able to point to the exact moment in time when that situation changed and I started running out of marbles again.

My psychiatrist and vascular surgeon have been working together to see if they can find an antidepressent / antianxiety medication that will not interact poorly with my blood thinners and, unfortunately, there isn't one. After speaking with the psychiatrist on Monday, we decided to discontinue my treatment with him and, instead, I'll continue to work with my therapist.

I know that medication in this instance isn't a magic bullet and I was planning on continuing talk therapy all along, but it would have helped. Life is hard and it shouldn't be this hard. But it is and has been for my entire life. For as long as I can remember, life has been hard and it's only harder now and I don't know why.

But because I don't have the options of antidepressents and anti-anxiety medication, I need to find other ways of coping and that includes being open and honest with myself about what is happening instead of my brain all the fucking time. It means being transparent with other people about what I'm feeling and it means acknowledging and honoring it all.

And that means telling people about my marbles and, more importantly, telling them when I've run out.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 March 2017

St. Malachi Race Recap + Cleveland Marathon Giveaway!

Saturday was the annual St. Malachi race, one of my absolute favorite races in Cleveland. This was my fifth time running it and while it wasn't nearly as snowy and icy as the first time, it was super cold and windy.

BC: 27 degree race today, huh?
Me: That's just the high for the day. It's 19 degrees now.
BC: ..... Oh babe.
Me: IT'S GONNA BE A COLD ONE LOLOLOL

Thankfully I have those compression socks to help the circulation in my legs and keep them warm, although they also made me look very underdressed.


I ran the two mile distance again which, not gonna lie, I really like, if only because the staggered start between that and the 5 mile means the after party is still in full swing by the time I'm done and the 5 mile race hasn't even started yet.

That's always one of my pet peeves as a slow runner, when the finisher's village or what have you packs up all their shit early so that it's a ghost town by the time I arrive to the finish line.

This is also a race with a lot of walkers so there's always a big group of people surrounding me which is always really nice, too!


I was really nervous about this race. I haven't raced in, literally, a year and I haven't run a distance over 1.5 miles in 10 months. I was hoping that the excitement of race day would help motivate me and, thankfully, it did! It also pushed me to run a little faster than I have been in my training: for weeks now I've been hovering around 19 minute miles but my average at St. Malachi was 18:09. Still slow, but you know me: that's kind of my thing.

SPEAKING OF ....... it's my weekend to give away a free entry to any single distance at the Cleveland Marathon races! AND AS A BONUS I'm going to throw in a signed copy of my book Running With A Police Escort. Keep it for yourself, give it to a friend or family member or fellow slow runner in your life, but you'll get the book and the race entry and ZOMG SO MUCH RUNNING FABULOUSNESS IN ONE GIVEAWAY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be emailed at the conclusion of the giveaway and have 48 hours to respond. Cleveland Marathon prize is good for single distances only and not valid for the Challenge Series. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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