Dec 11, 2013
2013 Year In Review
This year brought a lot of major life changes and new beginnings for me. Mostly positive ones. I moved to a new home in a different location and am now (finally!) comfortably settled in here. I am living within walking distance to a major doctor's office, lab and my physical therapy clinic. I'm also extremely close to groceries, gas and restaurants. The convenience of not having to drive everywhere has simplified my life a great deal. The appointment running has calmed down a bit too with the exception of physical therapy and dentistry that is. The dental work I've had done and am still having done has tried ever fiber of my being this past year. I only have seven more fillings and five more crowns to go before I am completely cavity-free. I have had a grand total of three root canals, one crown and three fillings done this year. The physical, emotional and financial stress of dental work is enough to drive anyone clinically insane. I realize I have to keep plugging away at fixing my teeth to avoid future root canals and extractions, as those are not an option for me.
My physical therapy appointments though tough, are also rewarding. I don't look at physical therapy as just another appointment, I view it as an integral part of my weekly routine. I am already seeing results in the strength department. Luckily I build muscle pretty quickly which is helping to stabilize my ankle along with the rest of my wobbly body. I am lucky to live right next door to such a great physical therapy clinic with a therapist who also happens to suffer from hypermobility and TMJD herself. Doing physical therapy as a teen saved her from having TMJ surgery and that experience was what led her to the field. I feel optimistic about the progress that I am making and feel myself getting a lot stronger each and everyday. I only go twice a week but have an intense home exercise program that I do daily, sometimes in my living room and sometimes at my apartment complex's on-site gym, which is another nice feature of the new place.
The first month after I moved was fraught with major challenges concerning air quality. I had selected and moved into a ground floor unit, but unfortunately the complex was built on a wetland and as soon as the rains started in my apartment reeked of a strong, sickening mold smell. So much for life in a "luxury" apartment. A home humidity monitor I purchased revealed that the internal humidity reached 75% everyday. A normal internal humidity level is between 30-50%. Anything above 60% provides ideal conditions for mold growth. I fought with the complex to let me move to another unit. An option which was totally feasible considering it was brand new construction and only a quarter of the units were occupied. Their corporate management initially denied my request calling the mold smell a "subjective" complaint since they couldn't pinpoint the exact source of the mold. Upon conducting a bit of careful research and calling the city building inspector it turns out that the problem was much larger than bleach or exhaust fans could have ever fixed. In order to remedy the problem, the building would have had to have been torn down completely. Because apartments are technically classified as commercial space (even though residents inhabit them as their homes,) the city allows them to build on concrete slabs without crawl spaces. They didn't allow the concrete slab to cure long enough in the construction process which resulted in a subsequent sponge-like effect on the foundation every time it rained. Every time it rained that damp moldy smell crept up into my home from the concrete floor, through my carpet and into the living space.
I finally moved into a new apartment in the same complex at the beginning of October after enduring a month of hell in a moldy apartment. I am now living on the second floor of an apartment that doesn't smell of anything other than whatever I have been cooking in the kitchen. My sinuses are much better now and I can actually breathe out of my nose in the mornings again. Something I had wondered if I would ever be able to do again. Although sinus surgery may become an inevitability down the road due to a deviated septum and bone spurring, for now I have dodged a major bullet by avoiding surgery. And I am happy to put it off for as long as possible unless it becomes a necessity. My new apartment feels much healthier and I can breathe easy here which is a huge relief.
I am doing decent in the health department at the moment (aside from a nagging, two-week old mystery upper right quadrant and back pain that landed me in the ER for bloodwork, an abdominal ultrasound and a HIDA scan to no avail and is currently being investigated by my primary care doc). My health is something I do not take for granted at all. For the most part my POTS is controlled and doing much better now that I've removed myself from the moldy environment of the other apartment. Earlier this year I had a scary bout with benign positional vertigo that finally subsided after taking a month round of Augmentin antibiotics for my sinuses. It was a scary time for me. Every time I layed on my right side or flat on my back I would get the spins. This continued for a few months with my doctor telling me it was "just some inner ear virus," and an ENT insisting it was benign positional vertigo spurred by spending too much time in a dental chair as I had a scary incident where some heavy duty dental drilling back in the chair spurred a major attack. Whatever it was, it is no longer happening to me now and I am so thankful. I had a follow-up with a new ENT the other day and luckily they were not able to trigger the vertigo in his office. Because of my history with rotational vertigo during dental work though, he wants me to undergo a more sophisticated test called a VNG early next year to measure eye movements during different positions and then conduct a repositioning procedure in the office to resposition any inner ear crystals that may have become dislodged.
In 2014, I still have plenty of work to do. I would like to make more strides in the health and fitness department with an emphasis on healthier eating. I definitely have some work to do in that department. I am fortunate to have a wonderful boyfriend who enjoys cooking for me, the problem is he enjoys cooking tasty comfort foods without worrying about things like nutritional content or calories. Oh well, I can't complain too much. I know how lucky I am to have someone who cares about me and takes good care of me. I am finally in a healthy relationship, one that I don't have to change myself for. Compared to my verbally abusive ex, this experience has been night and day and I am so thankful.
So to sum it all up, this year has brought some health ups and downs, but overall I'm in a good place health-wise. I'm in a good place location-wise after finally moving into a healthy apartment. And I'm in a great place relationship-wise with someone who loves and respects me. Next year I intend to get my body in peak physical condition and hopefully start to renew old hobbies one by one without destroying my body in the process. For now I will have to say no to ballet but may take up pilates and yoga again in the new year.