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Is this a good idea?

Posted Dec 05 2003 12:00am
I have been spending more and more time on TLC lately. I really love it here, as the people are genuine and warm and supportive -- and funny -- and so far there is none of the nastiness that seems to infect nearly all web communities. That's why I love all the Moderators -- they make this place possible. *smooch* to all the Mods!

Anyway -- I am feeling very much at a crossroads in my life right now, and I have no idea what to do. This journal could be a great place for me to sit and hammer out thoughts, or it could become another procrastination/distraction tool that keeps me from dealing with stuff I should be dealing with, or, better yet, sleeping, which is something I seem to want to avoid.

Back when I was depressed, I actively avoided sleep because some part of my brain thought, "When you're going to be dead soon, you don't want to waste time sleeping." Now I'm definitely not depressed (as the state of my household, and indeed, the state of ME, clearly attest), but I'm definitely struggling, hence the up-way-too-late thing.

I had a vaginal hysterectomy, along with some "repair work" exactly 5 weeks ago. I had uterine prolapse, and a cystocele (bladder prolapse) as well as a rectocele (you can guess what that is). I first "discovered" the prolapse back at the end of August, when I promptly joined the Virgin Recertification Program -- it's so odd to have that part of my body be "broken". Anyway, the surgery went very well and my recovery has really been text-book and I'm looking forward to seeing my gyn on Monday when he should tell me I'm OK to resume "normal activities".

The question is, what are my "normal activities"? Oh yes, there's sex (yay! but I admit to being scared), but what about everything else? Most of my life is: cooking, cleaning up, shopping, and driving the kids around to and from school. My dream is to someday only have to feed and clothe MYSELF! I love my babies but it gets quite dreary having to fix so many meals and snacks, and I shouldn't complain because my husband usually takes over breakfasts, lunches, and snacks on the weekends. Have I mentioned that he is an angel?

So: I am restless, I need to do something else. There are two paths before me, and I am trying to figure out which one to follow NOW. Ultimately, when the kiddos are older and all in all-day school, I may be able to do both, but for now -- what can I do?


The first path is to follow the writer's dream and produce a weekly newspaper column for syndication. So help me, if anyone steals my idea and does it before me, I'll just laugh and say, "well, there's my answer..." and go down the other road, because writing a weekly column is a lot of work.

Here's the column... "Make It Low Carb", about living the low carb life, and also with advice on converting standard recipes to LC. It's as much about philosophy as it is about cooking. I need to put together a package of at least 10 columns and then shop it around, 20 would be even better. I've done extensive research and there are no LC cooking/food columns in syndication now. Given the popularity of our WOE, this could be a nice income generator, and would still give me a lot of flexibility to be available for the kids.

The downside? I'm working at home, alone, on the computer. There's very little outside contact, unless I actively make that part of the column, which makes the column that much harder to produce. And honestly, that kind of thing isn't required in a weekly of the sort I'm thinking of, so since I don't need to do it, I won't. (I know me, that's how I am -- I try not to "make work" for anyone, especially myself.)

The second road is the total opposite, and gets me out of the house and my brain engaged on an entirely different level. I've applied at Kaplan to become a test-prep instructor, but I have to take the SAT to make sure I get a high enough score. My own scores are too old to count (1980). I took it once and aced the verbal but my math needs to come up a bit, and they will let me retake it whenever I am ready. When the hysterectomy came up, I called them and said I needed surgery and could we put it off until after the first of the year, and they said yes, they always need instructors, so whenever I'm ready is good for them.

If I get this job, I'll have some training which will require arranging child care for a couple of weeks, which isn't a problem. Then I will teach 2 nights a week, plus half-days on Saturdays, for I think 2 or 3 8-week courses a year. I wouldn't need to arrange for child care then because DH could be home with the kids.

I like that it wouldn't become a grind, because the courses themselves are not that long. I also like that I will get out of the house and meet people and have a life that has nothing to do with my own children. (As much as I love them, I desperately feel the need to establish an identity that is not called "Mom".)

What I'm looking for out of this job is a reality check: I want to see if I can deal with teaching teenagers, because I ultimately want to go into teaching full-time, science, at the high school level. ASU has a great program for career-switchers, in which you get an M. Ed. over an 11-month intensive schedule. Ideally I'd start that program when my baby is in kindegarten (3 years away) -- before I start that I have to take all my "subject" classes, which means retaking biology, chemistry, and physics because I've completely forgotten everything I learned (20 years ago) back in school. But those classes I can take here or there over the next 3 years, so I'm ready... if it's what I really want to do.

Then I wonder, who do I think I'm kidding, I can't do that! Some days I barely get the kids fed and out the door, although that had a lot to do with my depression that started in the middle of my last pregnancy and persisted quite a long time. A frighteningly long time, actually. I have dealt with so many health issues aside from the depression -- hypothryoidism, adrenal fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, possible melanomas (3 biopsies, 2 further excisions), and most recently I've been dx'd with a fatty liver and I have no idea the implications of that, really, until I get into to see the specialist in JANUARY!

Not to mention, of course, the whole prolapse thing, which may inspire me enough to write a column I can sell to Salon or someone similarly racy enough to withstand the details of life in the Virgin Recertification Program(TM), as mentioned above.

Anyway (I do say that a lot), I list out all those health things and if you can't see me you're thinking, this poor woman, she's a wreck, but in point of fact, I AM NOT SICK. I am pretty damn healthy even if I am too thin at this point (125 lbs, nearly 5'8'') but that's just because right after the surgery I got an intestinal bug and I lost some weight I didn't intend to... it will come back eventually, if it's meant to. I eat very well and am not restricting calories or fat or really even carbs too much these days. Altho I have noticed I get miserable cravings if I eat too many carbs so I just naturally don't eat them much anymore (anyone for a Baby Bell cheese snack? mmmm)

I'm quite weary of having something wrong with me. I've told my docs I think I am a hypochrondriac but they all assure me I'm not, my symptoms are real, my conditions are real, even if they can't tell my why I've got all these f'in' conditions. Still, my thyroid is doing great with my current level of meds, I'm off my adrenal support meds again, post-op, and feeling fine, my RA and FMS are holding steady at the "mildly annoying" level, and I haven't noticed any new freaky-looking moles that need to be cut off of me recently.

I'm not sick, but I have a definite feeling of waiting for not the other, but the next, shoe to drop... something's gonna get me, so I can't start anything new, right? I have to wait until I'm healthy, right?

Cripes, if I do that, I won't do anything I don't absolutely have to do for the rest of my life, in which case you might as well just box me up right now and throw me in the rubber room!

I have an odd feeling that this journal is kind of like a rubber room, come to think of it. That's a good thing.

Anyway (again), I don't know what to do. I'm very strongly committed to this WOE and would love to be an LC evangelist, so to speak, through a newspaper column. But I also feel an intense need to get out of the house! I know the answer will come to me in time but patience is the virtue I am most sorely lacking in, I think.

Back to this WOE: I forgot to mention up there that I have had PCOS since puberty, and the only time in my entire life that periods were regular was after I went LC. Fortunately for me the symptoms I had were a plethora of cysts and irregular cycles, along with some "inappropriate bronzing" and acanthis negrosis -- dark spots, that fortunately were in inconspicuous places. So I never looked odd, just felt icky and never, ever knew when I was going to get my period unless I was using a basal thermometer every morning. It took us 2 years to get pregnant with our oldest, and in all that time I only ovulated 8 times! The next 2 were a lot easier because once on this WOE my cycles became regular. Of course now I won't ever get my period but I'm still cycling, as I still have my ovaries -- how weird not to actually get a visit from Aunt Flo even though it's definitely TOM!!!

Oh, and my endocrinologist, who treats my thyroid, also tested my insulin response and declared me "pre-diabetic", AKA insulin resistant. (what a surprise! NOT.) But, glory of glories, she fully, completely, totally supports LC and told me to stay on this WOE for the rest of my life: "If you relax your carb intake or gain weight, you will become diabetic," she warned. So now I can tell off all the busybodies by saying I'm just following doctor's orders.

Today, I made the "Speedy Brownies" and they came out a little spongy but definitely better than any others I've tried. I need to tweak a little more, as I don't have the bake mix and won't use soy (bad for the thyroid and all that). I used sf chocolate syrup in place of the vanilla, and used 1 C Designer Whey chocolate, 1/4C each vital wheat gluten and oat flours in place of the bake mix and soy flour. They had a great chocolate taste but I really don't care for saccharine -- can't wait for my Splenda concentrate to arrive.

Well, this is quite the novel and more than long enough for one night, but I do think I've written enough so I can go to bed and just go to sleep, instead of letting my brain churn this stuff over and over and over. This could definitely turn into a baaaaad late-night addictive activity. I could use some self-discipline along with that patience I'm lacking.


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