Seven Glum Takes

Seven Quick Takes are being hosted by the inimitable Grace Patton, while Jen’s newest is in the ICU. We’re praying for your wee one! I really wanted to write you some cheerful, funny takes, but it turns out I just don’t have it in me today. (Maybe scroll down to #6, but they aren’t really Grace-quality quotes.)

1. I had a follow up appointment with my NaPro doctor today to discuss the results from all those ultrasounds, and this was not one of those appointments where I didn’t cry. First, I have a (“not very concerning,” she says) cyst–or something– that needs to be re-ultrasounded. That was what made me cry. “I just. can’t. handle. another. suspicious. lump.” I said. Thyroid lumps, fibroid tumor, dense breast tissue that needs to be re-checked every six months (“that’s totally normal for your age group,” said my NaPro doctor when I mentioned it, but still). I am tired of being so darn good at growing benign lumps.

2. Then she said that the ultrasounds were suggestive of PCOS. As you probably know if you’ve been reading the past month or two, we’ve been doing this “do I/don’t I/do I/don’t I” dance with PCOS since October, and I’d really hoped that we were just going to stay on “probably not.” She did say that my blood sugar looked good, and my hormone levels were good, and that I just needed “a little support,” but… I wasn’t emotionally prepared for bad news. I left with a prescription for the lowest possible dose of Clomid, which I wasn’t really ready for (and which we won’t be starting it for a while, since I have to have my thyroid out).

3. I wasn’t ready for bad news because I’ve been so focused on my academic writing deadlines, specifically re-writing a conference paper I’ll be giving at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo next month, that I hadn’t really thought too hard about the fact that I had this appointment at all. All I’ve been thinking about is word counts, and manuscripts, and twelfth-century Biblical interpretation, and how my research shows that the various texts I’m working with used one another as sources. The only reason I remembered I had the appointment was that it was on my two-month to-do list of doom.

4. (This is the last take about feeling sorry for myself, I promise.) It wasn’t so much fear that I’ll never have a baby that was bothering me at the time– probably because I’ve been so distracted by trying to finish this thesis, get ready to move to Paris in September, feed the household on a grad student budget, et cetera. There were two factors, the first being a frustration that my body was completely out of my control. If you think about it, this is pretty illogical. My body has always been out of my control. I did not choose my conception and I’ll have no control over my aging or eventual death. There’s no reason I should be able to control whether or not it grows tumors.

The second was a real feeling of self-loathing which brought up a whole load of body/self-esteem issues I hadn’t thought much about for a while. I’m getting tired of typing, so I’ll put the long sad story into short sentences: I used to have a lot of body image issues. Then I lived in my brain for years and had a student life style and put on some extra weight. I hated my body but didn’t think about it. Then I decided that I wanted to get healthy, and I did, and I mostly stopped thinking about it! Then I couldn’t get pregnant and I noticed all these old emotions of hating my body came back.

I assume I’m not the only sub- or infertile woman who finds old body image issues lurking behind her many infertility-related emotions.

*   *   *   *   *

5. Still life to represent my brain these days:


All it needs is a cup of coffee. The photo, that is. But also my brain.

I thought about giving you a picture of my edits on my own chapter, in which (among other things) I described my thesis statement as “somnolent,” but I thought you’d probably had enough of Alice’s self-loathing for the day.

6. Since this week’s host is known for her husband quotes, here are a few from Tristan:

“I did not know that there was a Vatican anthem… I guess that will come in handy if they ever win anything in the Olympics.”

“Charlotte, you have first-world cat problems.”

A, as he throws out his coffee: “You’re going to waste the money you spent on coffee?”
T: “If I paid someone three dollars to punch me in the face, I’d probably feel fine if I had just wasted that money in the end…that is what drinking this coffee is like.”

“From what I hear, having a teenager is not unlike being crushed by a millstone thrown off a battlement.”

“This is a little embarrassing, but I was thinking to myself, ‘it’s the Annunciation, we should say something in our prayers about Frodo’… but then I remembered that he’s fictional.”

7. This the cookbook we have out of the public library right now. I’ve made the “Vietnamese Rice Noodles with Grilled Pork” several times, and it may be my favorite food stuff, but this week we’re also trying “Pan-Seared Cod with Ginger-Lime Sauce” (not Alaskan Black Cod, though, because– well, I mean really) and “Ginger Tofu with Vegetables.” I’m pretty excited. What I really want to make is “Stir-Fried Glass Noodles with Beef and Vegetables,” but I’m not that in love with julienne-ing things.

EDITED TO ADD A BONUS 8th: Look, they just found evidence of written Pictish! A medieval philologist’s life doesn’t get much cooler than this, folks.

8 thoughts on “Seven Glum Takes

  1. If hearing about other people’s health problems would make you feel better, or at least less alone, hit me up sometime. How you feel is tough but normal, including the self-esteme part. At least you’re being proactive. If you had let these things stew for a decade before choosing to start a family, who knows how much worse your possibilities could look.

    I have to admit I’m a bit confused by the PCOS uncertainty. My diagnosis seemed so simple. Ultrasound, blood work, questions. Bam. Although, I did have one doctor later on tell me I didn’t have PCOS because I’m not overweight. Just like that. Funnily, it made me sear with anger. I NEED to know what is causing symptoms and problems. And I’d much rather have a diagnosis than mystery. Anyway…

    • Breaking it down, it’s been like this:
      1) Old NaPro doctor: Suspicious hormone levels and you have hairy arms. Also, all the women in your father’s family have the characteristic insulin-resistant body type. You have it!
      2) Endocrinologist: I don’t trust these hormone levels, your ovaries look fine, none of your physical symptoms are serious enough to be concerning. I’d do more tests.
      3) New, more experienced NaPro doctor (in December): Your hormone levels in the new tests are fine, but your ovaries are a little large. Let’s do more tests.
      4) N. M. E. N. P. M. D., in February: Your blood sugar is weird, but not in a characteristically PCOS way. Let’s lower your metformin– you don’t need so much– and do more tests.
      5) N. M. E. N. P. M. D., in April: You have a lot of large follicles, which is suggestive of PCOS, and I can’t tell if you had a normal ovulation or a delayed one, but your hormone levels look good. You just need a little support. Oh, and we have to be responsible with checking out that cyst– so let’s do more tests.

      So if I have it I’m not a textbook case, and you’ll have noticed a theme with the tests.

  2. I know absolutely nothing about PCOS, but a group on Facebook to which I belong (Trim Healthy Mama) often has ladies posting about their PCOS improving while doing the low-glycemic diet of the same name (THM). I wonder if it could help?

    I like your blog. :-) Have you read Alexander McCall Smith? Isn’t one of his characters a philologist? Seems very exotic. :-)

    • Yes, Low-Glycemic Index does seem to be the thing. I was really committed in the fall (my Grandfather had just died, and part of it was grief-induced determination to make up for not giving him a great-grandchild soon enough), but fell off the wagon pretty quickly. I’m working on it now!

      I have read Alexander McCall Smith, and the first book is frighteningly accurate– although I hope I’m not so arrogant as his Philologist! Yet more accurate is the beautiful but depressing Israeli film, “Footnote,” in which a major plot point centers on a characteristic of manuscript transmission our textual criticism professor always tells his students to look out for.

  3. Pingback: Seven Quick Takes: Coming Clean | The Accidental Philologist

  4. Pingback: Seven [Not Very] Quick Takes: The One With the Baking | The Accidental Philologist

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