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Bespectacled Redhead

Weight losing, thyroid cancer surviving, mid-century loving, wellness pursuing, bliss hunting redheaded woman in SoCal who has a lot to share and even more to learn.


Email: bespectacledredhead (at) gmail dot com

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Yeah, remember that comment? I had a panic attack on Tuesday in front of the Triathlete and ran off. So my last three workouts have sucked. I can’t get my heart rate up, I feel weak, and unmotivated. Tuesday I was reluctant to go, but I did. I went over to the treadmills and all the good ones were taken by people not in the class. I chose one I didn’t really want and kind of stood there on edge already from a crappy day at work, plugging in the listening device. It was hot; I was in direct sun. Also, my pants felt really tight, so I was uncomfortable. Suddenly, a woman taps me on the shoulder and in a really snobby tone of voice says that she reserved that treadmill. No big deal; I didn’t know. I looked around at all of the taken treadmills and I suddenly felt trapped. I grabbed my stuff and was thinking, “That’s it. I have to get out of here.” I walked over to him, handed him the listening device and said, “I can’t do this today.” He furrowed his brow and moved closer to me, “Why? Are you okay? What happened?” He actually looked genuinely concerned, poor guy. I said, “No, I’m fine, I just can’t, I’m sorry, it’s not you.” I took off for the other side of the gym and got on the stairmill, pounded out 50 minutes and was the recipient of a few cross-gym quizzical looks from him. I just had to get out of there. Feeling hot/stuffy/trapped is a PTSD trigger of mine. When I moved to the elliptical portion, I didn’t quite finish, and again, my heart rate wasn’t responding.

I’m not sure I can show my face again. “It’s not you.” Nice. I’m still kind of in love with him. in the midst of my brain exploding, when he gets close to me like that I can practically feel him. It’s so weird. He’s been all flirty with me again and actually waved at me when I was doing another workout on Monday, which he never does. I dunno. I dumped my big bucket of crazy all over him, which I am sure went over big.

Meanwhile, I had an extremely vivid dream about F. last night, the kind that feels so real it haunts you all day long. It made me reminisce and miss him a lot.

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I am a swirling mass of confused hormones. I felt worse as the week went on, eating everything in sight, workouts were getting crappier and crappier. Wednesday was the worst by far, but I still did it. Thursday hill-climbed again with Triathlete and couldn’t get my heart rate up. Good news is my ultrasound was great and now am just waiting on tumor marker results. I lifted weights yesterday too and am sore today. Happy about that! I am now arguing with myself about today’s workout. I am often already in the gym by now but Triathlete has become such a source of anxiety for me that I am either going later or I am going hiking. He trains triathletes this time of the morning- swim and then run. He’s become a source of anxiety because he’s paying too much attention to me again. Thursday I walked into the gym and he was at the overpriced cafe and yelled my name from across the other side of the lobby. There have been those moments of lingering eye contact again during class and I just don’t want the stress or anxiety. I admitted to myself that I stopped swimming because I didn’t want him looking at me that naked. It’s too late now, but I also don’t belong there. I suck. Even the other people that suck are getting better and surpassing me. I learned that I can go in the water, hold my breath, and be okay. That’s valuable for me. I thought I couldn’t. I say I don’t want to be alone but I make sure I stay alone. I think he’s happy alone. He never talks to me anyway; just the hot blonde girls. The gym has always relieved my anxiety but it’s now become a source of anxiety. “Should I work out with him today or not? Should I take his class or not? Should I swim or not?” It sucks.

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Today is my cancerversary- April 1, 2008. I’m in the midst of a heavy-duty round of follow-up tests. I had the second of two Thyrogen injections and the neck ultrasound. This is the first time ever I didn’t have to say, “So you know I have no thyroid, right?” to the tech. She took 42 pictures and was really focused on one certain region. I thought she was checking out this thing that looked like a round lymph node (round is bad- benign nodes are oval) but I’m not sure. I’ve read up a little bit on neck ultrasonography, but not enough to be able to know exactly what’s on the screen. I just know that in the past, long ultrasounds and a lot of pictures had negative connotations. I feel very neutral about it but am thinking that this does not bode well.

The Thyrogen is really fucking me up this time around, likely because I am already hypo to some extent. I feel like I have the flu. This is my third time with the shots and anecdotally, it sounds like the side effects get worse.

I’ve still been able to work out, but it has been a struggle. Last night I spent some time on the bike by myself and it was great and tonight I walk-hill climbed with Triathlete. That was a struggle and I could feel how off my game I was. I also felt like I was going to throw up. I saw him yesterday evening when I was leaving and he told me, “Today is a great day!” and I couldn’t help but inquire as to why and he said he was featured in an article that was in a major national news publication. I was all enthusiastic and congratulated him. That’s pretty cool. I had read the article; it wasn’t about him but about someone training for a tri and he was her trainer. I’ve…I’ve been thinking about him a lot again.

I’ve been posting on my FB about my medical shit, like I check in each time I go. My FB friends are people I know and talk to on a regular basis and people from the cancer community, so it isn’t like I am broadcasting to a bunch of strangers. I don’t want anyone’s pity. But I need to be myself. Sometimes I wonder if I should be doing that.

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I cannot believe how fat I am. My ribcage has disappeared and I have a huge gut. I look pregnant. I have been eating more, I’m not going to lie, but it’s because I have been FUCKING HUNGRY. But I eat the same things: egg whites, fat free greek yogurt, fat free cheese, black beans, protein bars, homemade protein smoothies, oatmeal, peanut butter, almond butter, dark chocolate. I haven’t run to the drive thru, eaten a whole cake, a 1/2 gallon of ice cream, or anything else insane. But I look like I have. There have been no missed gym days. I work my ass off every time I go. But yet…here I am. I’m literally sobbing in my gym clothes, a couple of my shirts aren’t wearable. It’s the fucking hypothyroidism combined with my fucked up periods. I want to put a stop to all of this hormonal shit now. I want to be on Levoxyl instead of Synthroid and I want to stop my periods ASAP.

The big picture here is that I know I will never look good enough for anyone in this town. Ever. Especially the Triathlete. I will never look like those women. I don’t know why I even bother working out. If I quit, I could have the rest of my life back.

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I am at a crossroads.   Some paths I can choose and others I may have no choice but to take.  I’ve put on a bit of weight this last month.  I have not handled my increased appetite in a healthy way.  I just started eating more crap.  I’m tracking again on MFP and have so much trouble being completely truthful.  I’ll list some of the almond butter I ate of the jar but not all of it, or will omit that four pieces of dark chocolate.  Yesterday’s entry was about 90% truthful, and holy carbs Batman!!!  I don’t process them well and try very hard to stay under 150.  It was from all that freaking dark chocolate I ate yesterday.  I had no idea I was racking up the carbs from eating that.  Fat, yes, but carbs never occurred to me.  Gotta work on that.

Then there are my workouts.  I didn’t swim this week and dropped back down to working out five days a week instead of six.  Tuesday I pounded at 50 minutes on the stairmill and 35 minutes on the elliptical, Wednesday was really mediocre with 30 minutes on the stairmill and a 50 minute spin class.  I felt really weak in the legs, so my effort was less than what it can be.  I also felt a twinge in my injured leg.  Last night I took treadmill class- 60 minutes walking at a pretty major incline (my min. is 10%) at 3.5MPH and later 3.6MPH, then I rounded out my calories by doing 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer.  Tomorrow will be spin and stairs.  Sunday will be a long hike.  So what’s wrong with this?  I’m bored.  I’m not progressing.  I’m soft and squishy.  I feel slow and big.

Next week I am finally having the thyroid cancer follow-up, which I am sure is going to contribute to the “slow and big” feeling.  I think my hormones are still totally fucked up from being hypo and that I am carrying around bloat, not just weight but I have been eating a lot of peanut butter and almond butter.  Those have been my biggest “food sins.”   Also: constipation.  I’m super uncertain about the results this time.  This is my sixth year and the first time the blip from 2010 (elevated tumor marker) is going to be fully explored.  That’s why I am nervous.  My last UCLA endocrinologist was blase about thyroid cancer and refused to do a stimulated tumor marker test despite the fact I had a history of it being elevated, and I’ve had no ultrasound in two years!   She’s also the idiot who told me there was no need to test my TSH after I had to switch over to Synthroid after the Levoxyl recall and I subsequently went hypo, which encourages cancer growth.  IDIOT.  My new UCLA endo takes this much more seriously.    So.  I’m nervous.

The good news is I have a four-day weekend.  I’m trying to decide whether I want to revisit coffee with the Triathlete.  Last night in class we spent some time play-arguing and giving each other looks.  I love arguing with him; he fights back!  Last night he was making it too easy.  My base incline was something like 10% and he told me to start at 8% and I was like, um, I’m already doing more than that.  He conceded then told me “I have a plan” and that he wasn’t trying to crush me.  Well, he doesn’t know how I like to work out, then!  LOL!  He was making it up as he was going along, I know.  I was holding at 15% for two or three minutes and I ended up increasing the speed because my heart rate was barely in the mid-150s.   During cool down it plummets of course, and he was being kind of condescending about this. “This means you are in good cardiovascular shape.”  REALLY?! I HAD NO IDEA.  He should stop being so surprised. I’m not technically an endurance athlete, nor do I look like one, but oh hey heart rate!  He kept randomly appearing next to me and at one point told me I have “a very strong heart,” a sentiment that could have been actually been about my cardiovascular health, but could have been taken any number of other ways as well. 

The other side of my brain is shouting, “DANGER WILL ROBINSON! Don’t do it!  Don’t go there!  Just let it go!  Do not email him about being free for coffee on Monday or Tuesday.” 

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I have a very petty humble brag.  I took treadmill last night with the Triathlete after I discovered my iPod was dead (oops).  I’m still walking inclines due to lingering tightness and swelling in my upper ankle.  I do heart rate training and have for some time now, so that 158BPM that is 85% of maximum for someone my age doesn’t apply.  I need to be over 160 to get breathless.  So, I was pushing the inclines and my heart rate was in the low 150s.  He commented that I looked awfully serene for that number.  I shrugged.  He also seemed amazed that I wear an HRM.  I have everyday for the last four years…  Anyway, I increased the incline and went to the upper 150s. It was kind of hard but I wasn’t dying by any stretch of the imagination. He again comes by my treadmill and seemed perplexed when he looked at my numbers  He said he’s dying at that heart rate.  Well yeah you are a 47 year old man…  He was all, “Kudos to you!” and gave me the thumbs up. I just smiled and lifted my eyebrow.  I was at 13% incline walking at 3.5MPH.  As the intervals were getting shorter, he wanted to see 15% so I did it and yes, that finally pushed me to breathless- 165BPM.


He wears such a huge pair of judgypants and I know he looks down on me because I am not really thin (and I appear to have put on some weight as well), so he thinks my cardiovascular conditioning must suck too.  Well dude, it doesn’t!   I know it’s petty for me to care what he thinks of me, but he thinks he’s so superior and I humbled him.  Just because I’m not tiny in a tiny pair of shorts doesn’t mean I can’t kick your ass, buddy.  

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I never heard from the sex guy again, which is for the best.

I am again avoiding the Triathlete. Last night in swimming he gave me some crap when I missed my turn because he was talking and I was listening (the horror!). In a normal situation, one might have said, “Yes, Coach.” I said, “Yes, Dear” on purpose and in front of one of the other beginners and she burst out laughing. No one knows there is a backstory, so it sounded a bit random. He then ignored me the rest of the class. Spoil sport. I was on the fence about running class tonight but then traffic made up my mind for me and I didn’t get to the gym in time, so it all worked out. He doesn’t like me all that much. I don’t like him all that much. Soooo…

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That hour in the pool made me forget about the bad sex and how I made a completely idiotic mistake at work today and basically feel like my life is going to shit. Triathlete is a peach. He remembered that I am afraid of the water and was telling me all of the things I tell myself, that I’m safe, that I can lift my head up if I need a breath, and that I need to be one with the water and relax. It’s helping. I’m getting a lot better. I’m still afraid to do any kicking because of the leg, so I just kept floating with the pull buoy and using my arms.

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I met up with a guy from Tinder on Saturday.  We’d talked on the phone and I knew where it was going…I can’t plead innocence here.  We met at a coffee place in Hollywood and I actually liked him.  He was witty, funny, cute, observant.  I was having fun just talking to him and hanging out. I went back to his place with him, and this is where I wish I had stopped.  He lived in a house that was perhaps a step or two above a crackhouse next to the 101.  The neighborhood was terrible and this was in broad daylight.  He’d made a point of telling me it was “me and my two dogs.”  More on that later.  

He was very strong, and rough, but he didn’t scare me.  I knew he was harmless.  I had sex with him (yes condom) and immediately regretted it.  I hadn’t in three years, I felt disconnected and he was too rough in this regard.  Way too much pounding.  I cried immediately but hid it, and then cried some more in the bathroom.  This was the moment when he decided to tell me he had a roommate.  He’s like 41.  It’s one thing to live in a dump by yourself.  I’ve been there.  It’s another to be 41 and living in a dump with a roommate! I found him in the kitchen doing dishes afterwards and he didn’t hug me or anything.  It was awkward.  He was rude to me, “I need to take a shower because some of your blood got on me.”  (Shark week.) I felt terrible and left, but not before running into his roommate on the way out.  My navigation wasn’t getting a signal, so I drove for a long time down Santa Monica Blvd before finding my way out on my own.  I cried and cried the whole time.  As soon as I got home I got in the shower.  I brushed my teeth, rinsed my mouth.  I’m trying to forget about it.  He texted me yesterday and sounded down, talked about how he needed to make changes in his life.  Ya think?!   I texted with him for a bit to be nice but he seemed to lose interest pretty fast.  Thank goodness.  Even though a condom was used, I’m afraid I am diseased and knocked up now. 

Looking at Triathlete makes me want to hurl.  Eeeeew.  Penis.

I have no idea what I am doing.

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I have been struggling hard at work.  Some of it is because of the fallout from discovering I am still ill, another part of it is that I think I probably have cancer again.  And then the other section is that the vibe here is terrible.  The fear is just stifling.  I need to ignore my boss and just do my thing.  I can’t look for another job; the thought of it is nauseating! I’ve only been here eight months and I am in a nice little routine with the gym, my location, and the commute.  Anything worth my while will be far afield and will fuck all of that up.  I can’t give up and I don’t want to. This university and these students deserve to have supportive programs that will eventually encourage revenue which will give them the financial aid and facilities they need and deserve.  I need to be zen about doing what i can and building up from there. 

Why do I think I have cancer again?   I’m really superstitious and I am seeing some omens that are mimicking the 2008 omens.  Bad gym injury: check.  Queen going on tour: check.  That’s all I can remember right now.

Still no running.  My calf cramped up again at the end of my workout last night, my ankle swelled, and now my left leg is stiff yet again.  I’m frustrated by this too- it’s adding to my shitty attitude.  It also cramped up when I was swimming on Monday, but it was quick and didn’t cause those additional problems.  I’m perplexed. 

Triathlete is once again hot on me.  I entered the gym when he was standing around before class and he’s all, “There’s one of my runners now!”  It’s like he forgot I existed until I reappeared in swimming on Monday.  So weird.  I shook my head no and he looked all disappointed, then he remembered that I was injured.  I said that I am not ready yet, but that next week is likely. He was very understanding, “Bring it along slowly, that’s always the best idea.”  I was looking like my non-gym self in my orthopedic shoes, dress with a chain print (ha!), disheveled hair, and glasses.  I also look pregnant right now from bloat.  Awesome.  He looked me up and down.  Very obviously.  Dude. Come on.  Then he wished me a good workout.   Unfortunately, the only available stairmill was next to his class, so when I walked over he gave me a sexy look and I did the same back.  I did my 40 minutes, trying not to look over because if his back is turned he can see me in the mirrors (learned that the hard way, LOL!) and when I left, we again gave each other sexy looks.  Jerkface.  I have a lot of distance now so I’m not like, “He loves me!”  I’m cynical and think he’s bored.