My Pinky Journey

My left pinky has been swollen for about a month, and I finally saw my doctor last Wednesday. (I’m still not sure how it happened, but it’s annoying).

What’s great about my doctor is that she’s young and nice. She also knows what tests are needed to fully make a diagnosis. Case in point, she checked my joints for inflammation and told me that I needed to get blood drawn (to be 100% sure that there weren’t other areas of inflammation) and hand x-rays.

I decided to get the needlework over and done with first. Whenever I have to get shots, I CANNOT look at the needle going into my arm and coming out. It’s how I manage through it, actually. My logic is, if I can’t see it, I can get my mind thinking of something else faster and the pain won’t be terrible.

The hand x-rays were different, as I’ve only gotten a full body one. I sat in a room in front a large white machine and placed each hand, one after the other, in the middle of the table, which had marks on it. It looked like a target, but square. Each hand needed three x-rays.

All this for a swollen pinky.

I have a follow-up appointment in two weeks but received the news that I have to see a rheumatologist because I had a positive ANA test. When I heard that I immediately began thinking of the possible joint and bone diseases that might have caused it. (As you can tell, I worry). Of course, my parents told me to not think about it and not Google anything except who the doctor was because I was only going to make myself feel worse.

Positive thinking = positive outcome

But, my x-rays were normal! According to my mom, besides showing if bones are fractured, x-rays also display signs of arthritis and osteoporosis, so I’m safe from having those conditions.

*Breathe*

Everything will be fine.

I’m not going to think and talk about the unknown and focus on getting my pinky better with ibuprofen and ice.

 

Advertisements

Catching Up with the Cousin

My cousin, Todd, and I ate lunch yesterday at Ayame Curry & Ramen, a hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant in a shopping center. He ordered the cold noodles and gyoza, while I took the beef curry.

Our families used to live five minutes away from one another, so our moms would take us out to the beach, to restaurants, and do other kid stuff. He was, and still is, my “older brother.”

But since he moved to Vegas in 2011, the only time we saw each other was when my family went up during Christmas and/or summer. In between those times, we hardly talked to each other, except the yearly “happy birthday” text.

We talked about him possibly moving back home, but he doesn’t want to since Hawaii’s “so small,” work, and relationships.

After we walked around the shopping center eating ice cream: cotton candy for him, cookies & cream for me. When I dropped him off at his moms’, he told me, “Text me anytime. Just because I’m on the mainland doesn’t mean I’m dead.”

He was always the funny cousin.

And that’s what I miss about him. But I’m happy that he now makes an effort to come out and visit. And that we had our first grown-up outing since being adults!

Take a Break!

break
kelliewinnell.typepad.com

“I’m scared to take my breaks,” I told my therapist.

My job as an agent assistant is constant busy work: emails, phone calls, etc. I’m surprised that I have time to use the bathroom!

But after that statement, my therapist began telling me how important it is to take breaks, whether I was studying or working. Our brains can’t handle doing something for an extended amount of time without breaks. She used the all too common scenario of cramming for an exam as a great example of how NOT taking breaks affects our cognitive ability to process and retain information: We may study for 8 hours, but only really study for 6 because the other two hours were spent trying to stay awake, daydreaming, etc.

In other words, we’re physically present and doing something, but not mentally there and focused.

I told her I’d try and start taking breaks when I feel fatigue and see what happens, even if it means missing a phone call or not starting on an urgent task right this minute. Taking a 15 minute break isn’t going to cause clients to panic, right?

And if her advice didn’t convince me enough, I just came across this article about what to do during those breaks (it revolves around music practice, but the advice pertains to work too). Science doesn’t lie!! Breaks are important!!

I’m a Work in Progress

rsz_what-is-empowerment
lonerwolf.com

Since my mid-twenties came and went, I’ve always looked for ways to improve, whether personally or professionally. I did (and still do) look at others and wonder, ‘How is this person so smart about (insert topic here)?’ or ‘I want to be as good at (some task) as him/her, but how?’ Comparing myself to people who were successful and who seemed to “have it all,” I felt insecure, but took that as an opportunity to change and better myself.

My new journey began two-fold: I realized that all of the bookmarks on my computer were full of “fluff” websites: sites that didn’t enrich my life in any way, but were entertaining to read. I came to the conclusion that there was no real value to anything that I was reading on these sites. The second was graduating college and entering the real world, a world that none of us never fully grasp and understand. I wanted to be better at everything that I was doing, and to continue learning new things, but I didn’t know how.

That’s when Google became my helper. I typed in ‘self improvement sites’ and hit ‘Enter.’ That search led me to Lifehacker, Tiny Buddha, and Ted Talks (I’m sure you know about that last one, right??) A sidenote on Ted Talks: It’s a good site if you don’t want to read, but watch someone give advice. Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are is one of my favorites. I found that video when I was in the middle of a long, stressful, and (oftentimes) frustrating job search. It helped me be more confident in interviews, and I believe that her advice is what landed me my current position as an agent assistant.

You never know what can happen to you if you practice what you learn.

But over the years my list of self-improvement sites changed, and recently I added a new one called Smarter Living, a newish section of The New York Times that’s full of practical articles in addition to more in-depth stories. The section is dedicated to helping readers live better lives, and if you have an open mind, you’ll find this site useful. I happen to like their Guides.

After reading a few articles, I signed up for the Smarter Living newsletter. Now I get useful information delivered to my email every week. I’m not a subscriber to The Times, so I’m still only allowed to read 9 articles a month, but I haven’t ruled out the option of doing so. It’s another valuable site that I’m grateful to have stumbled upon.

Growing and bettering yourself is what everyone should strive to do every day of their lives. But some people are fine with staying static. I hope that you don’t want that for yourself. Whether it’s learning how to cook better, or how to be a better employee, there are a lot of resources on the web waiting to be read and put into practice. It’s working for me, and it’ll work for you too.

What websites do you go on for advice and to better yourself?