Seven Things I’ve Done to Improve My Health

Inspired by this post by Caitlin at Fit and Feminist.

1. I found VaginaPagina.

(The link, by the way, is not explicit, though it may not be safe for everyone’s work.)

It’s a community focusing on sexual health and wellness, but it’s also been a really supportive online place for me for the last several years. Among other benefits, it’s a place that’s helped me to become confident in articulating the fuckedupedness of victim blaming, rape, and rape culture — as well as a community that’s helped me become a more assertive medical patient.

2. I’ve become a more assertive medical patient.

I’m sure that what some providers wonder if I don’t mean “pain in the ass,” but I’ve become a lot more active in voicing my health-related concerns. That is, I’ve started bringing with me a symptom/treatment diary with me to medical appointments, so providers could see how endo pain affects my life, which methods I’ve already tried, and the results each has given me. This has helped me become a lot more insistent — and successful — when explaining to providers that: 1) my pain is real and severe; 2) I don’t want to try the same ineffective techniques over and over. Yes, in part, that does mean I’ve played around with some different ineffective techniques, but at least they were more my choice — and I’ve not been traveling in the same pain loop.

3. I found (more) effective pain medication.

It still has its issues with functionality, and it pisses me off to no end how people get all alarmist anytime I mention my love for my opiate prescription. When it’s that or fighting the immediate urge to gouge out my uterus with a grapefruit spoon, the narcotics are fucking better for my health.

4. Yoga.

It makes the list both for helping me manage PTSD and physical pain, as well as a path to more general physical fitness. Super bonus points since it lets me multi-task, which means I’m more likely to: a) it it into my schedule; b) appropriately modify for various physical and mental health goals and needs. Which means it is something I can stick with.

5. I turned off the TV and put down the ladymags.

In both, there’s a very narrow range of body types presented — not just as beautiful but even as realistic. In other words, I found that generally doesn’t bother me too much to have someone thinner and prettier than I am to portray some standard of exceptional beauty. It does, however, bother me to see nearly every positively portrayed model or actress — including those labeled as full-figured, plus-size, or curvy — as thinner and prettier (more airbrushed) than I am. And it does bother me to see the vast majority of people who look like me either construed as deliberately stupid, ugly, lazy, or entirely headless. To view such small snippets of truth in isolation, out of context, is tantamount to lies — and it’s not healthy for me to believe lies.

6. I started running with my partner.

In addition to the health benefits of running alone, running with my partner is a chance for companionship and bonding — as well as giving us both the health benefits of running. Plus, it means I have an excuse to purchase awesome ridiculous shoes.

7. I let myself be a “badder” teacher.

Basically, it boils down to this: I take time for me. Planning exciting, creative lessons is wonderful but also time consuming. Volunteering for extracurricular activities is super. And I still do all of those, but I now do so in this context: At the end of the day, it is not lessons plans or gradings or extra obligations that teach my students. I teach my students — and I’m far more effective when I’m sufficiently healthy and refreshed to give them my best.

Health pictogram

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Posted in MenstroMonster, swadyaya
4 comments on “Seven Things I’ve Done to Improve My Health
  1. Autumn says:

    Dude, running with one’s partner is the best. My gentleman friend and I were running partners before we were partner-partners, and even though neither of us are hard-core there’s something really wonderful about having that particular activity together.

    • Tori says:

      Yup. Even better, we started on a couch-to-5k (and are now doing 5ks) and have added in a 100 push-up challenge. For me, it’s nice having an idea of “this is our same goal.”

  2. progressivelements says:

    Totally agreed on the opiate pain medicaton. I’ve been on quite a high dose of a synthetic opiate for nearly three years now for pain due to a connective tissue disease, trigeminal neuralgia and peripheral neuropathy (aren’t I the lucky one). I LOVE it. I can sleep better, I can function, I don’t feel tired and sore all the time anymore. I have my life back. I’m allergic to anti-inflammatories so these are also my only source of pain control for some very painful conditions.

    My Doctor is amazing and allows me to manage my own dose (so when I’m flaring badly I can take up to 8 pills a day and when I’m doing well I can take none) which has meant I’ve never really gotten dependent on the pills. I’ve felt some withdrawls after lowering my dose after particularly long flares, but to be honest, they’re totally worth it.

    But good lord, the concern trolling that goes on regarding them! I’m constantly terrified that some other doctor is going to look over my chart and decide that I need to come off them. I even stockpile them just in case I’m left cold turkey some day. Behaviour which, in itself, leads to concern trolling from some people.

    But they don’t know what it’s like to live in agony and to have found some relief, but to know that someone’s whim could take that away again and the agony will be back. So yeah, I’m taking care of me. And you’re taking care of you. Good for you!

    • Tori says:

      I even stockpile them just in case I’m left cold turkey some day.

      Ha. This is the behavior that gets me the most concern trolling, too. I take a relatively small dose of a relatively milder opiate, and I take it fairly infrequently. Despite that, I’ve not found a provider who isn’t suspicious or hesitant about prescribing. (My current provider is at least hesitant rather than suspicious and open about the reasons she’s hesitant.) So I get a fill and a refill, and when I need more, I have to go in for another office visit first — which is sometimes inconvenient and could potentially be an issue if I didn’t keep close track of my pills when [a] bad pain day[s] snuck up on me. And, to be honest, this is one of the most accommodating providers I’ve had in terms of pain management; I can absolutely picture a situation where I’m sans needed medication for weeks/months at a time because it’s actually happened to me.

      But no, according to concern trolls, my preoccupation with having sufficient medication is alarming.

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