TMI Friday: Don’t Mess With My Peeps, Yo!

Don't Mess With My Peeps, YoI’m Nicole, and I’m a Mormon.

But I don’t always feel comfortable talking about religion on my blog. As I’m sure most people do in their life, I have had questions about my faith. I have heard unsavory stories of things that have happened through the history of my church. I have lived half of my life outside of Utah, and have conclusively decided it’s more difficult to live my faith in Utah.

“Mormon Culture” is sometimes hard for me to stomach. I will joke about funeral potatoes and green jello as much as the next girl, but I notice people get so caught up in the “culture” of our faith, that they really don’t focus on the content of the faith. I try to live the Word of Wisdom, but I drink Coke. I have a friend known  as Jesus in SLC, who calls me the “coolest Mormon ever.” I have no qualms about joking about the quirks of our religion’s peculiar culture. Part of the Utah Mormon Culture is a conservative political leaning, despite the church’s ever-present stance of political neutrality.

A few years ago, I became acquainted with my friend Gabrielle, aka @funkyvalentine on Twitter. She and I bonded, even though we had very differing opinions on many topics. Through the years, her blogging and faith have been through some significant metamorphosis. She converted to the LDS church, but struggled with some questions with her faith. Eventually she made the decision to leave the Mormon church, and she publicly made statements about this on her blog.

A few days ago, I found out about a podcast on LDS Liberty where the podcast hosts ripped her beliefs to shreds, both spiritual and political. Gabs admittedly has some beliefs that don’t fly with mainstream lifelong conservative Mormons, but the hosts of LDS Liberty made a very public, very blatant attack. I posted the following comment:



Since yesterday, this podcast started being discussed at length on Twitter. I won’t go into the details of our discussions, but it made me sad to see how mean people can be to each other. Especially when it comes to something personal and sacred like religious beliefs. This podcast was a personal attack, a case of cyberbullying, and it’s not okay. I don’t think the podcast discussion was helpful – it was self-righteous and accusatory. Feelings have been hurt, and I personally felt like I needed to talk about it on my blog.

Do you think LDS Liberty took it too far? I’m not interested in discussing the particulars of Gabrielle’s beliefs versus LDS Liberty’s beliefs…but rather the situation in general. Feel free to comment, but please be kind. Hurtful and abusive comments will not be published.

Can’t we all just get along?

TMI Friday: Being on Steroids for Lousy Lungs can Give you a Better Rack

sexy hospital gownIn the past month, I’ve filled over 20 prescriptions. In addition to playing “profession patient”, I’ve become the Foursquare mayor of several different pharmacies and medical clinics. I feel like my local Walgreens is the pharmacy equivalent of Cheers – “where everybody knows your name” (In fact, thinking about it makes me want to drown my sorrows in a Flaming Moe).

It started with seeing the hormone doctor. He put me on progesterone, which was supposed to temper my mood swings, make me sleep through the night and help me lose weight. The hormone pills didn’t help… Despite having the obvious signs of progesterone deficiency, the lab results showed that my normal hormones with vitamin/mineral deficiencies. My Vitamin D was low enough that they gave me an osteoporosis-fighting prescription drug.

About a week later, I started retaining water like a bloated water balloon. My blood pressure reading was sky-high, despite no prior signs of hypertension. So I went to my primary care doctor who gave me Lasix, a diuretic to help my body drain off the water weight and lower my blood pressure. It literally gets you running to the restroom every 30 minutes. Lasix makes your body deficient in potassium, so I’m taking a potassium supplement too. I got some sexy compression stockings to help my circulation and force out excess fluid in my legs. And you know how I had to get my wedding ring cut off a few weeks ago? My replacement cubic zirconia ring, which is 2 sizes larger, is already too small because of the swelling in my hands.

Then the poor air quality caught up with me. I started coughing and wheezing when I was outside, or whenever I exerted myself for anything beyond climbing a flight of stairs. I was choking and coughing in my sleep, which is not a good sign with sleep apnea. I started having constant chest pain. When I presented for Ignite Salt Lake, I thought the tightness in my chest was from nerves…but it was pleurisy. I was in urgent care with an asthma attack 2 weeks ago, where they sent me home with steroids and a big box of nebulizer vials. Since then, I’ve been back to urgent care, spent a long day in the ER, and have seen my new pulmonologist. He’s treating my dyspnea and sleep apnea problems more aggressively, and he’s strongly suggesting surgery. After lab work, chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests, arterial blood gasses, and lots of waiting in freezing cold rooms in thin hospital gowns…I’m worn out. The meds have made me gain weight at a rate I can’t seem to control (although I know most is due to fluid retention rather than bad eating habits).

So what’s the perk with all these steroids and weight gain? My boobs. I wasn’t small to begin with, but I’ve gone up almost two full cup sizes so far in 2011. A new bra I purchased a month ago leaves me spilling out. My newest blouse needs to be safety-pinned between buttons. People are no longer making eye contact with me in public, but they’re definitely looking. I don’t know how much of this excess size will stick around when my body calms down, but it was perfect timing for filling out my Valentines Day linger aie. If you’re considering a breast augmentation, maybe you should try going on steroids first.

Happy TMI Friday everyone!

TMI Friday: My Poor Nostrils

runny nose

Between the painfully dry winter in Utah, and the nightly abuse of pressurized air from my CPAP machine…my nostrils are suffering.  Between prescription-strength steroid nasal spray, regular swipes of Neosporin on a Q-TIP, and sinus rinses…I’m doing what my doctor has ordered. Unfortunately, I’m getting bloody noses all the time. What’s really gross is waking up with a bloody nose and it bleeds into a CPAP mask. Using a humidifier doesn’t seem to make a bit of difference. Between emotional outbursts of depression and wacky winter weather, I could personally keep Kleenex in business. Good thing their website lets you send a free package of tissue to a friend (*hint hint*).

So loyal readers…what do you do to save your schnoz during the winter?

TMI Friday: I’m Not Crazy, It’s My Hormones

Monthly female cycleYou know when you’ve been sick for so long, you’re obsessed with finding out why? One of my favorite things to do when I can’t sleep is research health topics. I’m an insomniac who researches sleep disorders in the wee hours of the morning so I can try to make some sense of why I’m extremely exhausted, yet can’t sleep. I read book after book about overcoming depression, and follow the suggestions and mental strategies…yet I still struggle with keeping a consistent, happy psyche. Over the last six months, I’ve been having unbelievable mood swings, going from elation to devastation in a single conversation. It’s been VERY hard to deal with.

So I started researching what could be causing my mood swings, insomnia, inability to lose weight, etc. And suddenly a light blinked on in my head – It’s my hormones! After discussing symptoms with my primary care doctor and OBGYN, I was frustrated when they told me to come back in 6 months if the symptoms persisted. “Hormone swings are cyclical…” yadda yadda yadda. I suffered for several months, fairly certain that it was a hormonal imbalance…but not really getting any help from my doctor.

I started talking to people here and there, trying to get a gauge for the possibility of someone at my age with hormone imbalances. I got a referral to a doctor who specializes in hormone and metabolic disorders, but had to wait over a month to be seen. Last week was when I was finally able to get in to see Dr. Lundell. He had me mark a list of  20 different health concerns (brittle nails, libido extremes, inability to regulate temperature, hair loss, hirsutism, insulin resistance), and after the third checkbox, he said “I already know the problem. You have a progesterone deficiency, specifically in the secretory/luteal phase.”

Low progesterone effects brain chemicals that leads to depression, lethargy, mood imbalances and irritability. Low progesterone impacts a calming chemical called GABA, and there’s a decrease in pain-reducing corticosteroid production. A drop in progesterone can also cause women to feel more pain. When progesterone levels decrease, adrenal glands should take over and produce it. Most common symptoms of progesterone deficiency: inability to lose weight, depression, headaches and PAIN. (Check, check, check, check!)

So he ordered a battery of lab tests, set me up on hormone replacement therapy, and said that within a month I should be able to sleep through the night, my metabolism will spike up, mood swings will diminish, I’ll be able to decrease my dose of antidepressant and other lovely things. I am feeling optimistic about my new course of treatment.

It’s reassuring to know that I’m not crazy, it’s just my hormones.

Curse You, Autocorrect!

Just a word of warning…this post is a little more scandalous than I usually write about. Probably not one you want to be sharing with the kids or with coworkers on company time. It shows my twisted sense of humor, brought to you in part by Apple, Inc.

iPhone autocorrectI won’t lie. I’m in love with and addicted to my iPhone 4. It’s sleek, it multitasks, it has apps for everything I can think of, and it keeps with my insane texting habits. My favorite feature is FaceTime, a video calling function that I joke is my “#1 Marital Aid” in a marriage with a constantly traveling husband. This is my 3rd iPhone. I’ve been buying them used, then reselling them to upgrade. In September, Taylor and I were eligible for upgrade on our plan, and splurged on a set of iPhone 4’s.

But what is the most infuriating feature??? AUTOCORRECT!!! I usually try to edit my texts and tweets before sending, but this phone is notorious for unwarranted, and downright Freudian, text fails. These crazy errors have prompted a blog called “Damn You, Autocorrect,” and it has been gaining popularity like wildfire. With the sheer amount of autocorrect mishaps I’ve had this week, I had no choice but to blog about it.

Last week, after almost an hour of driving to the SLC airport, Taylor realized that he forgot the keys to his car in Memphis. He needed to run errands in MEM on his time off, and it necessitated an overnight shipment of his set of keys. I checked shipping rates for both the postal service and FedEx. Before running to the post office, I tweeted about it. In full disclosure, I sent it by text…was so embarrassed that I deleted it, then laughed so hard that I retyped it out in Tweetdeck. Now for this to make sense, you’ll need to read from top to bottom.

iPhone autocorrectFor the next half hour or so, I was getting texts and tweets about my cervical faux pas. It was such a horribly wonderful faux pas that I decided to just run with it. Or as you can see above…my iPhone decided I needed to RUB with it.

Curse you Autocorrect

This incident came just on the heels of an Election Day Autocorrect #FAIL. I was texting a lawyer friend in California to see if he was watching the election results. But that’s not what my iPhone decided to say…

Curse you Autocorrect(This is the same lawyer friend that my phone switched “pro bono” to “pro boner.”)

I’ve been told that if you add an entry into your contacts, listing all the words that usually get swapped out, it won’t autocorrect. So far, that hasn’t been the case. The most common correction that happens is changing HELL to he’ll. And a few benign ones like ARE to ATE (since they’re close on the QWERTY keyboard.)

The most horrible change was sending my address to a former coworker, and it changed SPANISH FORK to Spanish F**k.

It’s changed my dinner of CHICKEN FAJITAS WITH CORN TORTILLAS to CHICKEN DAKOTAS WITH PORN GORILLAS.

It’s changed Christian SECT to Christian SEXY.

It’s changed AUTOPAY to AUTOPSY.

It’s changed AND to BS.

It’s changed SISSY to PUSSY.

It’s changed LIBRARY to VIBRATING.

It’s changed AWWWW to SEWERS.

It’s changed RESTAURANTS to RESTRAINTS.

It’s changed GLOSSY LOCKS to GLOSSY LICKS

So if you text a text or tweet from me that sounds a little off, or downright offensive…don’t blame me, blame my iPhone.

What is your most embarassing Autocorrect #FAIL?

Despair and Euphoria

Melancholy

Indulgent

Narcissistic

Overly-critical

Impatient

Unrealistic

Moody

Contrary

Impulsive

Unforgiving

Wistful

Confused

Irreverent

Recently I’ve had a difficult time figuring out who I am. I feel like my life is a constant state of change, and so many elements are beyond my control. When I am in a depressive episode (nearly a year now), I have a hard time focusing on the positive traits I possess. I know I have many attributes that are admirable…it just seems like I can’t admire them in myself. Despite my greatest efforts, I find myself drowning in despair nearly every day.

I have felt so unattractive for so long. While focusing on improving my mental health and self image this year, my eternal quest for weight loss has fallen by the wayside. Other than a brief few months in high school while on Phen-Fen, I’ve always been overweight or obese. I now weigh the most I ever have, well surpassing the “Not in a million years!” weight I set for myself. I actually have no idea of my exact weight at the moment…my digital scale now reads the “ERR” error message. I have very few clothing items in which I feel confident, and little money to buy something new. It takes me so long to find ANYTHING that fits correctly, and I never seem to have the money to purchase something I finally find that works.

I have only found a few things that have made me feel happy…supportive words and good conversation, affection, the beauty of the outdoors, and time with my loved ones.  But when I wallow in the depths for so much time, I find myself seeking things that not only make me happy…I want things to make me feel euphoric. The things that make me feel euphoric…food, sex, travel and concerts. Travel and concerts find themselves into my budget more than most people, but I can’t tell you how happy I feel after I’ve gotten home. Sex…well, when you’re married to a man who is gone 2/3 of the month…you get the idea. So I’ve heavily relied on food to feel euphoric. And in the end, I weigh 50 pounds more than I did last April.

A few days ago, I took the above cell phone picture of myself for Taylor. I sent it off to him via text, and forgot about it till last night. I kept looking and looking at it…not believing it was me. After so many months of being on the edge of hating myself, it was an incredible ego boost to see a picture of me where I looked attractive and beautiful. It was a glimpse of the innate Nicole that I feel so rarely that her image was almost an enigma. After cropping out the scandalous lingerie I was wearing in the photo, I’m sharing this Nicole with you.

I am Nicole. I am talented. I am passionate. I am strong. I am a survivor. I am ambitious. I am tolerant. I am devoted. I am unique. I am sexy. I am conscientious. I am spiritual. I am considerate. I am wise. I am empathetic. I am intelligent. I am a loyal. I am silly. I am intuitive. I am enthusiastic. I am accomplished. I am compassionate. I am generous. I am witty. I am creative. I am flexible. I am skilled. I am assertive. I am hard-working. I am grateful. I am eclectic. I am artistic. I am diligent. I am resourceful. I am resilient.

But most of all….I am honest. Thank you for caring enough to share my struggles and offer support.

I Grit My Teeth and Fake a Smile


I grit my teeth and fake a smile
And no one knows it all the while

My life is spent in waiting rooms
And stressing over copays due
My back is screaming, feet are numb
But to share my pain makes me feel dumb

I pawn my treasures and count pennies
To pay doctors bills and pharmacies
My husband’s based in Tennessee
So rarely can he care for me

Spanish Fork life gives me few perks
When Salt Lake City has all the work
Full-time employment may be a dream
When my pain daily makes me scream

I’m truly blessed to be Rosie’s mom
But she has nightmares that I’m GONE

My neighbors want to help my life
With MLM schemes for a stay-at-home wife
Unless it’s free, I can’t drink superjuice
So I’ll cry in bed, reading blogs like Dooce

Now that I’ve moaned and cried a bit
I’ll wipe my eyes, and publish it