42 by 42


In a few days (on the 5th), I will be 41 years old.

I never get upset about my age. It is what it is, right? Instead, I use these time-landmarks as a way to set new challenges for myself. I’ve been thinking of setting 42 goals for myself by my 42nd birthday, just about 1 year from now.

I haven’t come up with everything, yet. And I’m willing to keep them fluid, as things change (health, finances being the key elements generally in flux for us). But the wheels are turning, as they often are when I travel. (Doesn’t that happen for you when you travel–there’s some personal reflection, right?)

Anyway, a few I’ve come up with:

  • One that I’m working on already: I’m producing a show with our local (community, volunteer-run) theater. That basically means I’m the project manager. More on that later!
  • Raise more than the $2300 I raised last year for Dance MS! It’s coming up in 2 months…
  • Cook a decent roast chicken. I think I did it once.
  • Maintain at least 3 weightlifting days per week during fall quarter. It’s really made a difference in my body to lift heavy that frequently over the summer, and I’d like to continue.
  • Read at least one fiction novel before the end of the summer. Yeah, this may be the hardest of my list so far. There are just so many other projects…
  • Organize all of my medical records in my filing cabinet… seriously, what a mess!
  • Try making no-knead bread. It’s been on my list for a long time, and if I publicly mention it, you guys will embarrass me if I don’t do it, right?
  • Every year, I have the goal of spending at least one day in a foreign country, so let’s try to make that before my 42nd birthday, eh?
  • And… I need to come up with the other 34 goals. Ha! If anyone has any thoughts…

I will come back to this list from time to time, to add more… for now, those are my 8 goals. :)

could it be…


that I’m reaching “that” age? I’m in my early 40’s and have had some crazy hormonal ups and downs. The M-word is what I’m talking about…

I recently had some bloodwork (significant) done to try and trace my migraines as well as lack of energy. This was all after my “accidental vegan” phase, where I was hardly ever getting animal products due to rushing between jobs (peanut butter sandwich here, piece of fruit there…). My ferritin (iron stores) was abysmal. Consider that I haven’t had a uterus for over 3 years–yes, that was also diseased–and I have less blood loss than a woman my age usually would.

However, for the first time in my life, my cholesterol and LDL were high. ??? Totally confusing, considering that I was hardly ever eating animal products during that time, and that’s the only food source.

As my endocrinologist told me… it’s a typical menopausal pattern…. sigh. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, given all the tumors etc. throughout my reproductive system and its quirks.

(For what it’s worth, all of my repro hormones were fine. But since those cycle so much throughout the month–my poor little single confused ovary doing all of the work–maybe they sampled my blood at a high point.)

And now I can justify my jaded fist-shaking when I want those darn kids to get off my lawn… I’m just old and cranky! :)

How many of us have gotten nutritional advice for our MS, or other autoimmune diseases? Or… have you read advice somewhere?

If you’ve seen anything, or even if you haven’t, you’ll know a lot of the advice is super-strict: stick to organic produce only, eat organic meats and fish, many will say gluten-free and dairy-free… all to keep our disease from progressing. (If it actually helps with your symptoms–great. For me, as someone who really doesn’t have many symptoms–to eat a diet so restrictive to possibly fend off something that might potentially happen, maybe… it’s a tough choice!)

Anyway, Greatist recently published an article about a young woman with several health problems, including an autoimmune disease, who went on a super-strict diet for a while, and eventually lightened up on herself. Not that she went back to her former bad habits… and not that I have bad habits… but I allow myself plenty of wiggle room. Read the story!

How to stay in shape while on the road? Especially with distractions: sightseeing, food, food, food…

Well, expect to maintain rather than make improvements, if you were working toward weight loss or muscle gain. Because travel is about having fun and seeing the sights–and meeting new people, and experiencing new places–rather than staying holed up in a gym somewhere for hours.

Things I use while on the road:

  • Go for a run, if it’s safe and if the weather is conducive (no downpour or excessive sun). I think this is the best way to get the lay of the land in a new location! If you’re not a runner, walking does the same thing. You see so much more detail on foot than you do in a car, right?
  • If you’ve been on your feet sightseeing for days, and you’re feeling achy all over, yoga is my go-to. Some days, I need yoga just to feel good in the morning (but that could be the MS and spasticity talking, too). You can find some quick, short practices at Yoga With Adriene, Yoga By Candace, and Sarah Beth Yoga.
  • If you want a more intense workout, I recommend intense and quick–you get it in quickly and can move on with your day! I’ve recently discovered the workouts at 12 Minute Athlete. Yes, you read right–workouts that only take 12 minutes. You bet you’re going to be working HARD in these workouts. Some of them require minor equipment, but Krista has developed many equipment-free workouts (other than a timer, which you can get on your phone or laptop) that you can do on the road. No excuses!

And then, you’ll come home still feeling and looking great! :)

Anyone else have suggestions and/or websites they’d like to add to the list? I want to know! :)

(how many youngin’s understand that reference anymore???)

Anyway. Leaving today for here!!!



Among other places in the Balkans. I think I’ll be able to keep everyone updated along the way… :) If I fall behind, forgive me for not being able to find good internet!

Travel while you can, folks!

Many of us with chronic illness have “invisible” problems. Who knows I have MS unless I tell them, really? (But I’m a heck of a lot more tired than I used to be. And I don’t have the bounce in my step that I used to, either.)

But I try to ignore my invisible symptoms and just go on with life. We all do that, right?

In any case, invisible or not, there are many things inevitable that come with chronic illness. Half the time, I don’t want people to know about my MS, because of the over-sympathy. You know how it goes: they put their hand on your shoulder, they furrow their brow, and say with concern: “no, really–how are you?”

Not that I want people to ignore me entirely. :) But I’m far from a delicate piece of china!

Off topic from where I was going. One of the items on this list mentions talking yourself out of cancelling doctor’s appointments. Oh, boy. That’s a BIG one for me. Between MS, chronic migraines, and all of my abdominal issues, I’m at a practitioner a few times a month, if not more. And, if I have a flare-up that I can’t manage, I’ll go to urgent care (where they know me well). But sometimes, I feel like I spend a lot of time just whining about my problems… ugh. So I’ll deliberate for a while: is this pain really that bad? Should I bother the doctors about it? How much of their precious time should I be taking?

And I usually end up going, anyway, because my head is splitting, or my gut is cramping despite oxycodone and zofran. I just have to remind myself that some of us need medical care more than others, and that yes, my case is worthy of their time…

If you’re on MS medications, you know that they’re expensive as all get-out. Most of us are lucky enough to have some sort of coverage, or patient financial assistance program… much needed, because without either of these, many medications would run upwards of $3000-4000 every month. (And I know that MS isn’t the only disease with expensive treatment… but I’m talking about what I know.)

I learned all about this first-hand recently…

Apparently, when I switched everything over from my own insurance to my work plan in late 2013 (and thus canceled my own plan), and I was told all of my meds would be shifted over, my MS drug (Rebif at the time) was not moved to this new coverage. Much to my surprise, at the end of last year (when they were doing year-end audits), I got a letter from Old Insurance telling me I owed them for roughly 1 1/2 months of Rebif–or, almost $7000.

OK. Right. So, with new insurance, there’s a crapload of paperwork to fill out, though they think coverage won’t be a problem (as they said earlier this year). I filled it out, with a little extra effort and phone calls because this is a medication delivered from a specialty pharmacy in Portland–I can only get it through the mail. In other words, I couldn’t just go down to my local Walgreen’s and get a copy of the receipt.

Paperwork sent in, all is hunky-dorey, right?

(And… yes, this all came up during 10th week of spring quarter, when I was ready to be DONE with everything.)

Surprise, collections notice from Old Insurance. So… what? New Insurance never paid up? I sent them the form back in March, I never heard anything else… silly me for thinking that meant everything was going to work out. No news is bad news, in this case.

I called New Insurance, irate. (I had 30 days to deal with this, per Old Insurance and Collections.) I told my story to I-don’t-know-how-many people. The customer service folks seemed sympathetic, but their hands were tied–it was a Claims issue. Their Claims department had had my paperwork for nearly 3 months and had done NOTHING with it.

You will likely not be surprised to hear that I was emailing or calling New Insurance almost every day to harass the Claims department–and yes, they flagged it as a Collections case. But weeks went by.

Finally, after 3 weeks (of the four before my Collections case escalated), New Insurance issued me checks. But–they wouldn’t arrive for two weeks.

(Luckily, I was able to talk to the Collections folks–telling my story to yet again someone else–and get that all worked out, so I won’t have this on my record.)

And the case is now resolved….

But it really makes me not want to deal with expensive medications… y’know?


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