Last term was not a good one.  Final grades are in . . . and I never thought I’d have become a straight-F student while working so hard.

What gives? Two terms in a row and three Fs accumulated? Not good.  Two rounds of anatomy failed and to be potentially repeated yet again; one round of social psych never to be attempted again. Psych is evidently not my thing–goodbye potential thoughts of the double-major once again.

Fortunately, due to current faculty policy, I was able to get a waiver for the anatomy requirement for Scientific Principles of Fitness and Conditioning, which is among the few courses I need to graduate.  This is getting crazy, and I just want to get out of there. This term, I’ve already dropped Philosophy of Mind which was accompanying Scientific Principles and Sport Ethics, and picked up Introduction to University.

Because that is exactly what I need in the second term of my fourth year. Being taught how to write papers and use the library and all these “choose your own adventure” assignments. Exactly. What. I. Need.  */sarcasm.  Hoping this is an easy-A and I can offset some of those Fs in the GPA a little bit.

Rectification.  Rectifying what is spinning out . . . and hoping to make it right.

Spinning out . . . into the good.

In a e-mail discussion with Jay, regarding, in part, the “choose your own adventure” assignments, he suggested the idea of university wellness as my assignment topic.  I dug it a lot. I rolled with it. For the first time since last Fall, I am potentially excited about a paper/project topic, pending I just push myself through all of the boring lectures (where they do attendance. Attendance! University is not high school, as the instructor keeps saying . . . so stop trying to make it so).  Hopefully that turns out well, and helps somebody else think a little different about how they’re living their life.

Sidebar: Jay also has updated his guest blog post about the chaotic journey he has been going through health-wise for the last couple years, and the ensuing recoveries . . . underscoring what I’ve said to people in the past:

“We are every bit as resilient as our circumstances attempt to be.”

Realization: I need to apply that to myself.

Resilience.  And rectification.

I intended to write a post on Friday to wrap-up Invisible Illness Week. Actually, I have one almost done, but I’ll save it for another time. Instead here are some late-to-the-party ramblings about my asthma. I just want to give another huge THANK YOU to my friends who guest blogged for Invisible Illness Week 2012, and extend my thanks and love for each of these people once more for sharing their stories. :]

I’ve had asthma for four and a half years, and I’ve figured just about everything out.

I’ve figured out that I need to take more than two puffs of Ventolin before working out. I’ve figured out that anything more than a 50-minute-long workout will usually require a shitload of Ventolin, even if I pre-neb. I’ve figured out that I don’t have many allergies [except for dust], and I’ve figured out that no matter how hard I try, I’m not able to mitigate everything, and I’ve figured out that some days I still do need to tell myself: Hey, you do have this chronic disease, and you do need to do things differently from other people sometimes.

So, usually I DO have everything pretty much figured out.

Until something new pops up.

ONE, last Tuesday, somebody busted out the grapefruit-scented hand lotion on the bus. I don’t react well to fragrances, and that extends outside of my lungs (I love Fall, but my fragrance exposure goes up a fair bit when it comes). For some reason, scents like grapefruit or other citrus-y things are the worst. This time, fortunately, I didn’t get a headache like I usually do, but my lungs definitely reacted a bit, and, the most unexpected part was the fact that my face and eyes started burning. Definitely some new sensations, and definitely not good ones, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that. It sounds like an allergic reaction, but the good news is, unless to a specific protein in the fragrance itself, actual allergies to fragrances aren’t common at all. So, unfortunately, I have no idea.

So what the deal with that was, I have absolutely no idea. My face was kind of itchy for the rest of the day, but of course I didn’t do anything smart like take an antihistamine.

TWO just happened. I have no idea what the deal was, but right after dinner I had this really sudden-onset coughing spasm that lasted for way longer than I am used to. At the end of it, my peak flow was normal though I was feeling some tightness/dyspnea, but fifteen minutes later, it had dropped into the “yellow zone” [basically saying my lungs are not in good shape]. I am not betting the two are connected, but they both have me a little concerned, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that.  Four puffs of Ventolin (two and two spaced about twenty minutes apart) later and I am much better but not awesome [I was having a really good breathing day prior to this, so I am REALLY unsure where that came from].

The September Asthma Peak happens right around back-to-school time in September.  As the name says, asthma symptoms, hospitalizations and ER visits spike around this time of year, especially in children–the phenomenon extends outward, however, and may not-children are affected, also. Once again, things I need to keep an eye on–and, maybe stop putting off that follow-up appointment with the allergist? :]

Also asthma related, look what happened to my ID bracelet! Jon from MyIdentityDoctor is shipping me out a new one tomorrow, but we’re a little concerned it won’t make it to me by the time I leave for California next Thursday for Medicine-X. Note that Jon said that this should not happen and my bracelet is under warranty as it isn’t even two months old yet.


I have my RoadID to wear in the meantime, but it’s a little less than professional, so tomorrow I’m on the hunt to get a new bracelet locally that can fit all my stuff on it since I don’t have time to wait. While I wish this would have happened a week or two ago, I’m happy it didn’t happen, you know, the day before I left. My friend Amy gave me a few suggestions where to check, so that will be happening tomorrow after school.

Otherwiiiise, the back-to-school season is going okay so far. I was really looking forward to Developmental Psychology and it is currently boring my brains out [as is Charles Darwin, who I was also looking forward to], which is unfortunate. Anatomy is I think even more boring the second time around, but hopefully I retain more the second round since I am knowing a good chunk of the content we’re covering thus far. Social Psychology is my favourite class. That and considering I dropped the rhetoric class I was in, there is a significant lacking in #kinwin in my term, and I am not a fan of that [unless I get my four-year kinese degree, after this year I will only have ONE kin class to go to get my BA, which is physiology. If I do the four-year, I’ll have to also take biomechanics, exercise phys, motor learning and control and some sort of elective like sport psych or outdoor ed or something–a fun elective! I’ve determined a big bulk of my problem with these psychology classes is that I am struggling to be able to apply these things [I can’t. I can’t make Eleanor Gibson’s Visual Cliff Study relevant in my own life except for the relevance of passing the test]. So, there is a huge shift in mindset that I have been struggling to make academically the past week and a half. I determined what the issue was on Thursday, so hopefully I get with it. I’ve actually been keeping fairly well caught up with things [except freaking Darwin. That guy uses too many words to say what he could say in less words]. So, studying is going well for once [WHAT?] and I actually managed to accomplish a fair amount of non-school writing projects this weekend, too. Possibly should have been reading Darwin, but whatever.]

On the note of making things relevant in my own life, tomorrow [pending this respiratory situation is resolved] is go time on making exercise part of the new school routine. I did okay the first half-week of school, but then I derailed last week. Let’s go week three!

I’ve received some good advice on the topic of failure, probably for the best that I received this advice prior to actually accomplishing my first university failure. Unofficial anatomy marks went up last week, and realistically, not even a curve can save me–I got an F.

The word failure, though, to me implies that I didn’t try my best. That I didn’t work hard and that I didn’t engage as deeply as I could. That I didn’t work for it. And I worked for it. I worked for the 37% that I got.  I did two tutoring sessions a week for a month. I did hours of revision and notes. I consumed a ton of iced coffee [caffeine doesn’t do much for me, so this was purely to add some joy to the agony within the form of a venti iced white mocha].

And fortunately, as it always seems to cycle back to all of Jay’s words in Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence: I am more than my grades, and my grades do not define who I am as a person. And at least I know 37% more for when I re-engage in the journey of anatomy for September.

Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Experience. I got it.

Here is another one of those iamtheworstbloggereveritsbeenforeverandileftyouallwithacliffhangerohmygod posts. Now that we have that over with . . .

Appointment update. I saw the doctor on Monday. My iron is way lower than it should be, so I am supplementing with essentially as much as my body can tolerate [which is essentially the nice way of saying: take as much as you can because this is not good, a nutritional re-vamp is not enough alone, lady. Fine then. At least chocolate milk has iron in it?]

As for the thyroid, my TSH [thyroid stimulating hormone] is borderline high. So when we go re-test the iron in August, we will re-test the thyroid. Essentially, and it is kind of confusing, high TSH = lower thyroid hormone production; low TSH = high thyroid hormone production. So there you go.] The short story is that while I do not fully have hypothyroidism yet, however, it could go either way: best case, it corrects itself [this is what the internet tells me might happen, so I am not overly optimistic], otherwise, my thyroid hormone production will keep dropping, therefore my TSH will keep going up, and I will have hypothyroidism. So it is the game of wait-and-see, which kind of sucks more than just getting the diagnosis over with.

School update. So alongside this, I am also failing anatomy. I’ve been doing twice-weekly tutoring sessions with my friend/now-coworker Danielle and making flash cards and filling out charts, and all that supposed goodness. There is just so much stuff to remember, and this class is hard. I have five days left, so fingers crossed I make it through this and don’t have to repeat come Fall. I filled out eight pages of muscle charts today, and there is more to come, plus a tutoring session tomorrow. I am so close, but so far from being close enough. I’ve had so many of these close calls with dumb classes this year, like Principles of Coaching, but this is by far the closest aside from Intro Kinesiology where I failed pretty hard early on and then pulled myself up to a B. So there is hope to pass, but I’m just riding it out and not holding my breath on anything. i’m working hard, but it’s just nerve-wracking to have 50% of my grade riding on a 27-hour span of time. Three. More. Days.

Also thanks to studying, I’ve eaten like a third of a pan of rice krispy cake today [my mom put chocolate chips in it. Who can resist chocolate chips?]. And likewise have gotten no exercise.

QUEBEC. The Asthma Society of Canada booked my flight to Quebec City for August. I am so amped. Except I need to probably learn some French beforehand. it’s going to be a whirlwind trip, as I will be in-and-out of Quebec City in 33 hours and back home in just over 40. Or something. [I’m bad at math at the best of times and it’s currently 12:10 AM.]

Race training. And, another exciting bit! As soon as this exam is over, I’m kicking up the training for the Canadian Diabetes Association 10K walk in September! Wanna support me in the race and support Canadians living with diabetes? Hit up my fundraising page! Live in my area and want to race with us? Shoot me an e-mail.  I’ve got hopes to get “team” shirts made, and hopes to rock a blue tutu on race day!  With props to Jay, we’re going to be called Good Things Run on Insulin, and it’s going to kick ass.

Speaking of kicking ass . . . This is me on Friday. Rocking my You Can Do This Project t-shirt, kids’ scarves [one of which happened to be blue for Blue Friday ;)] and my sweet new ID necklace from Lauren’s Hope! :] [To follow up on a previous entry, I am not continuing my MedicAlert membership after August. They offered to decrease my membership fee from $5 to $4 a month, but why should I when that doesn’t help anybody but me? i’ll be rocking my cool Lauren’s Hope ID, hunting down an epic interchangable bracelet, and sporting some Road IDs [I can get multiple Road IDs for the same price as a MedicAlert sportband. Boooom!]  Anyway, oh my goodness, look how kick ass this necklace is!