No Smoking? No problem!

I did it!!

Way back when I used to keep track of my goals on 43things.com, this was near the top of the list. It didn’t make my 30 before 30 because I found it too hard to quantify. When had I really quit?

I’d gone 4 months without smoking a few times before, but always cracked at the first real opportunity. Like going back to London, or the person I quit with starting up again, and at least I beat them, right?

That said, March 2nd was my 6 month anniversary without smoking(!!!!), and this time really feels like the last time. I made it through moving back home, away from Gareth. I made it through two trips of Gareth visiting. I made it through four months of unemployment. Through the holidays with my insane family and my terrifying cancer scare. And I made it through a (short) trip back to London. And by this point, the idea of it grosses me out again. All appeal is lost. Though I will say I do miss breaking up a night out with quick trips outside, and the talks I’d have with other smokers. It was also a great way to strike up a conversation with a good looking guy.  😉7cfa3b63348a4036b0a6251402714f1c

I don’t really have a “HOW” I quit smoking. I just did. I waited until a big life event (moving back to the states) and just decided not to smoke a cigarette on American soil. Also I looked at my bank account and saw that those 10 pound 20 packs were converting to a solid $15USD each and basically had the heart attack the cigarettes were going to eventually cause anyway.

They say by this point I’ve decreased my risk of heart attack, all the nicotine is completely out of my body, and my lungs have begun to repair themselves. I feel great. I can run now without feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack or die of asthma.

Smoking also has a strong and direct link to cervical cancer, so while it was a relief to know I had already quit when everything happened in December, I’m not really looking to up my chances any further.

I’ve heard that cigarettes are the most addictive things on the planet (though this sounds like something that isn’t true). But in theory, I am a badass. Also a strong, confident woman, who does not need to smoke.

 

New year, new goals

I think by now it’s well documented how much I love to do lists and the setting of goals, and while I’m not really one for new years resolutions, any excuse to indulge, I’ll take.

  1. Focus more on my health. Over Christmas I was constantly sick. First I got a cold, then a UTI (my THIRD this year, kill me), and then was told there was a serious chance I had cervical cancer. Luckily, I went in for a biopsy and everything came back normal (though it went on just long enough to SERIOUSLY freak me out), but my first goal of 2016 is to try to take better care of myself and my terrible, terrible immune system. I’ve always hated taking a lot of pills, but I’ve forced myself to let go of that dislike and jump on the vitamin/probiotic train. So I’m now taking a women’s multivitamin, fish oil, cranberry capsules (which are meant to help with the UTIs), Align, and the prescription for an ulcer I’ve been ignoring because I hate prescription medication. In addition I haven’t smoked since September 2nd, and feel literally no desire to do so ever again. I’ve lasted through two visits with my boyfriend, who is pretty much the person I want to smoke with the most, but the true test will be when I go back to London. That’s where I started and where I’ve never been able to quit. Without really realizing it, I’ve been doing sober January–my interest in alcohol has plummeted since I turned 25–hangovers are just not worth it. The only days I really foresee myself drinking this month are the Patriots playoff game and the weekend of my birthday. I’m trying to drink around 96 ounces of water a day, eat cleanly, and exercise 3-4 times a week. I’m also going to bed REALLY early (like 9:30pm), so I can be up around 5:30 to Skype Gareth before I have to leave for work (yeah, 5:30 AM). Last May I had been eating really well and going to pilates and running about 5-6 times a week, and I was in the best shape/strongest I’ve ever been. I’d love to get back to that–I had the beginnings of a six pack!
  2. Repair my finances. By living like I was completely broke, I managed to somehow avoid SERIOUS damage to my bank account. I was about a week away from taking all the money out of my investments though, and have definitely had to tap into my savings way more than I’d like. I’ve also racked up some hefty credit card debt. So my goals are to first pay off all my credit cards. I’m thinking this can be done by mid-February, as long as I can spend the next few weeks on the same budget I’ve been on for the past few months. This should’t be too hard, as it’s really hard to remember I don’t have to be constantly panicked about money. Once the debt is paid off, I want to immediately replenish all the money I took out of my savings. I hated having to spend any of it, even though I know the reason I had savings in the first place was for times like these. But I’d like to undo that damage as soon as possible. Then I’d like to get my checking account back to a healthy number, and start a separate savings account for the planned RTW trip G and I want to take.
  3. Continue crafting. December was Gareth’s birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas. Considering I was extremely broke, I had to get really creative with my presents, and it led me to discover a creative side I never knew I had! I’ve started cross stitching, which I am LOVING. I’ll post some of the stuff I’ve done recently sometime soon. I also am thinking of joining this knit along. I haven’t knitted since I was in elementary school, but I practiced a bit and think I have the basics down. Lastly, I want to start this project. It looks so cool, and I think I’d have SUCH a good time figuring out all the fabrics and such.
  4. Writing. I’m halfway through so many things, and done with none. I need to get back in the habit, and I’m hoping I can make it part of my weekly schedule in a way where it just becomes natural.

Those are my immediate goals. We’ll see how well I do keeping them, but as of now I feel excited to take on the challenge!

30 Before 30 – Get an IUD

Birth control. Perhaps somewhat of a controversial topic (if you are an uber conservative d-bag, yeah, I said d-bag), but also an incredibly important one–that I managed to avoid for years. I was getting on fine using condoms, and was honestly terrified by the idea of hormones, and mood swings, and weight gain, and blood clots, and also the sole thing keeping me from getting pregnant being reliant on me remembering to take a pill at the same time every day (not likely). Honestly, birth control felt fairly terrifying. Terrifying but, as mentioned, important, so on the list it went. After a LOT of research, and also considering many, many horrors stories I’d heard from friends and random people on the internet, I decided on getting an IUD.

IUDs are basically little coils placed inside the uterus that keep you from getting pregnant. There are three kinds that last between 3-10 years depending on which you get, all it takes is one appointment to get it inserted, and then you’re done. Baby free for years! (Obvs it can be removed early if you decide being baby free is no longer for you.) I went for the 5 year option, Mirena.

Easy, right? Kind of! I had to wait until I could take time off to go home (my health insurance only works on the side of the country in which I don’t actually reside), and then had to come to terms with ALL the horror stories about insertion posted online. I have a high pain tolerance but it was pretty terrifying. I started feeling like I had no options that I felt good about except this one, which apparently required me to voluntarily submit to torture. So I’m just going to throw this out there for anyone considering it–was not a big deal for me at all. There are three semi painful parts, with the second being the most intense–but right when it was verging on going from uncomfortable to painful, it was over. I literally hopped off the examination table and went on with my day. I had bad cramps for about two days straight (this was honestly worse than the insertion), and then intermittently over the next week. Bit graphic, but I spotted for about a month straight and obviously that is something to deal with re: the having of sex.

Then a month went by and I haven’t noticed it once. A slightly annoying month for FIVE years of birth control I never have to think about again is pretty much the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m beyond pleased with it. Also huge shout out to Planned Parenthood in Boston. I’d never been to a PP before, and they were really amazing. So reassuring and experienced. I’d put down the ease of my insertion to their bedside manner and the huge amount of experience they have with IUDs. An around win, this one.

30 Before 30 – Get LASIK

When my glasses broke and I ran out of contacts in the same week, and I was faced with a decision–pay for MORE temporary fixes, or finally make moves to get the LASIK I’ve desperately wanted since my roommate got it about a year ago. Unwilling to throw any more money at a problem I didn’t need to have, I made my consult for a Monday, and scheduled the procedure for that Thursday contingent on everything checking out during the initial appointment. I was pretty nervous, even though rationally I knew I shouldn’t be.

The consult was super thorough. They did a few tests, and gave me three different eye exams. I was a little apprehensive because I felt like they never got my left eye completely right–whatever prescription they found for my right eye was perfect and crisp, and my left eye never fully got there. I told them, and was reassured that this is normal. Then they explained the two options, an all laser option, or traditional LASIK, that uses a blade to cut the eye flap. I was told the results are the same but the all laser, or bladeless, is a bit more comfortable–with the second option I might feel about 15 seconds of suction while my eye was cut. Obviously the first option sounded nicer, but it was also $700 more, so I went with traditional LASIK. If I were rich I might have decided differently, but right now $700 is a plane ticket to see my boyfriend, or visit Africa, or something much more important than avoiding the 30 combined seconds of mild discomfort.

The night before I treated myself to ice cream, a puzzle, and a Shameless marathon, because what if something went wrong and I COULD NEVER SEE AGAIN?!
I know, I live a wild and crazy life
The morning of my procedure I went to pilates in an attempt to burn through nervous energy, filled the eye drop prescription (two different eye drops three times a day for three days), and then Katie drove me to the office. I’m not going to lie, once we were actually there I totally panicked. They gave me Valium (standard), and put me in a room meant to help you relax that’s filled with with ocean noises and some sort of water fountain. They also took my glasses and gave me drops that basically completely took away my ability to focus my eyes, therefore to see. This made me feel 100 times more freaked out.
Me “relaxing” before my LASIK
After about half an hour, the Valium had brought me down from full on panic to just general nervousness. I thought I would be much calmer, but apparently my anxiety is stronger than any drug. They called me in, and as soon as the process actually began I calmed down and toughened up. Apprehension is always the worst part for me.
This is what the table looked like.
I have a video, but I’ll spare you all because it is pretty gross. I will say, I didn’t feel anything, and watching the video after was hilarious because to me it felt like nothing was really happening when they were actually peeling part of my eye back and such. The part I disliked the most was the actual laser, solely because it smelled terrible and I got too imaginative about what that meant it was doing to my eye. Apparently I was actually in there for about 15 minutes, but it truly felt like each eye took about 90 seconds. While it wasn’t the most comfortable thing I’ve ever done, I’d do it 100 times if it meant being able to see without corrective lenses!
I got to wear these awesome glasses for the rest of the day/night!

It’s been a little over three weeks–my eyes still get dry and I use artificial tears, which is normal for the first three months. I’ve had two check ups and they say everything looks perfect. My left eye is 20/20 and my right is even better at 20/15. They said that after I’m back from London and everything is fully healed, if the left eye is still 20/20 and the discrepancy is bothering me, they can do a touch up. We shall see, but at this point all I can say is how very happy I am with the outcome.

Also if anyone is in the LA area and looking for a good place, I HIGHLY recommend LA Sight. They got me in right away, were SO nice, answered all my questions, and the entire staff was incredibly friendly. I mentioned to one person that I was moving to London for the summer and every time I’ve been back, every person I’ve spoken to has asked about my travel plans. Also they have chocolate all over their office, which is always a plus!
First thing I can check off my list, and I’d put it down as MORE than worth it!