Tests Are In …

I posted before that I’ve been having some medical tests.

And that I’m seeing an endocrinologist to treat hypothyroid.

Some of you may have seen my tweet about getting a growth hormone test.

Turns out I’m deficient in human growth hormone.  This may explain why I have less strength, stamina, and endurance than I used to have. I have met with my doc to discuss treatment, and am starting it soon. I’m not sure how long it will take to show improvement.

I am finding that having hormone deficiencies that cause fatigue, anxiety, and depression can be similar to simply having depression in that it’s hard to get help when you’re fatigued and depressed. Especially when the deficiencies came on relatively slowly and gradually.

There will be more tests, such as an MRI of my pituitary gland. I’ve got potential posts in my brain about various things related to the tests and new doctors and so on. But right now, it’s still the busiest time of year at work. It gets dark about 4pm every afternoon. At least I know why I’m so tired.

Quotes: Pregnancy Fairness

“The point of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” [Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr.] said, “is to reduce the number of women who are driven from the work force or forced to go months without an income as a result of becoming pregnant.”

NY Times article on a pregnancy discrimination case

If I were a capitalist I would not give my employees health insurance with no deductible, which I do, including dental, and paid pregnancy leave. That’s not called capitalism, that’s called being a Christian and someone who believes in democracy, so that everyone should get a fair slice of the pie.

Michael Moore

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has been re-introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. […] Without this legal protection, thousands of American women are forced to choose between keeping their jobs or keeping their pregnancies.

And for most people, not keeping your job is not a choice you can afford to make.

So let me be very clear: If you claim to be “pro-life” and yet you don’t support this bill, I have to conclude you are, at best, a sanctimonious hypocrite and not someone whose proclamations on “morality” are deserving of any attention or respect.

Fred Clark at Slacktivist

In some cases, care providers lay on the scare tactics so strongly that they bully women into weight loss surgery, risky diets, over-intervention, and even terminating the pregnancy.  That is NOT good health care, that’s medical bullying.

The Well Rounded Mama

Buy Nothing Day

I am not a huge fan of Buy Nothing Day.  Not because I feel it’s important to shop today.  But because the campaign presupposes that everyone in the US who doesn’t subscribe to the “Buy Nothing Day” ideal WILL be buying things on Friday.

Um…no.

Some of us don’t have Friday off work.

Some of us don’t celebrate a gift-giving holiday soon.

Some of us have already finished our holiday shopping.

Some of us don’t give a lot of a gifts.

Some of us don’t have the money.

Some of us don’t like crowds.

Some of us … shock, gasp … just don’t really care.  

I’ve also seen tweets pointing out that not buying things on Friday will harm retail workers.  Maybe it will, maybe it won’t.  Still, I’m (probably) going to work a 10-hour day instead of buying things I don’t want or need.

It Came From The Search Terms

Delving into what WordPress says folks searched on…

for over 6 years i have no where to exercise unemployed can’t afford to go gym over weight has a massive amount of stress

Exercise has become something that many people can’t afford. Often it’s due to the lack of some or all of:

  • Time
  • Safe space
  • Equipment
  • Money

Yes, you can work with body weight exercises and other things that require little equipment.  I’ve written some suggestions:

  1. Starter Strength Training Moves – no equipment necessary.
  2. Stretching for Flexibility – no equipment necessary.
  3. Aerobics at Home- most needs no equipment, but there is one item I suggest.

All in all, the best exercise is one you’ll do. If there’s a library nearby, they may have books or videos to try that you may enjoy. On the other hand, if you are dealing with an injury or have been extremely sedentary (for example, if walking around your home is a challenge) you may want to investigate physical therapy to help you rebuild mobility.  Best of luck!

is a guys 5x bigger than a woman’s 5x

Depends on the clothing and how it’s cut.  In t-shirts, almost definitely. Comparing polo shirts, probably. Comparing men’s pants to women’s, not always – men are assumed to have the same hip & waist size. I do sometimes buy men’s drawstring sweatpants that fit my hips and use the drawstring to fit my waist.

does anyone make 8x womens activewear

Making It Big has a sports bra, leggings, tank top, and a variety of knit tops, pants and shorts suitable for working out in.  Not all their clothes go to 8X but they have the ability to filter clothes based on size while browsing. Plus Woman has leggings, knit tops, and pants up to 10X and can make to measure.

can you drink out of date slim fast

Do you want to?

Bad For My Blood Pressure

First visit at the endocrinologist to treat hypothyroid. Waiting in the lobby with chairs whose arms are a bit too tight. I am weighed. The doctor asks me to sit on the exam table, so I do – no back support, legs dangling. In taking my medical history she asks about my weight history.  After more history, the doctor decides to take my blood pressure. While she wraps the blood pressure cuff around my upper arm, she asks why I’m not dieting. We discuss it while she takes the reading.  146/92.

A visit to urgent care for a UTI that may have moved to the kidneys. I’m feverish. The automatic blood pressure reader inflates suddenly enough that the large cuff won’t stay closed on my arm. The nurse insists on using a standard cuff on my forearm. 160-something.

Arrive at my usual nurse practitioner’s office with coffee. Walking, walking. Sit, tech immediately wraps the large cuff around my arm, holds the cuff closed while triggering the automatic blood pressure reader. 138/88.

At the allergist for a checkup. Arrive early so I can get my allergy shot – I’ve been getting shots weekly for over a year. The usual routine of sitting until my name is called, confirming that I took antihistamines, confirming my name and birthdate, and so on is calming.  This time I’m going back for a checkup instead of reading twitter or a book in the lobby, but I’m still feeling relaxed as I sit on a chair with my feet flat on the floor, go over my med list, and then get my blood pressure taken. 126/80.

I finish a slice of toast with peanut butter and a can of diet Pepsi as I arrive at the endocrinologist’s office. I rest 5 or so minutes in the waiting room.  Once in the exam room I sit in an armless chair. When the doctor takes my blood pressure, I stay seated, feet on the floor, resting my arm at heart level on the counter, and we both stay silent. 132/82.

“a successful weight loss drug could potentially have huge sales”

Wow, so many people want to lose weight! Wouldn’t a weight loss drug make piles of money?  Check out this business article on the new drug the FDA approved!

In a clinical trial involving patients without diabetes, those who took Contrave had an average weight loss of 4.1 percent beyond those receiving a placebo. About 42 percent of those getting Contrave lost at least 5 percent of their weight compared with 17 percent of patients in the placebo group.

So…if a hundred women who weighed 200lbs combined Contrave with diet & exercise, 42 would lose at least 10lbs!!!  Without it, only 17 of the hundred women would lose at least 10lbs.  Wow, is that a guaranteed success in the making or what?  

Oh, and from another article,

In people with diabetes evaluated in a second trial, those patients lost an average of 2 percent more weight compared to the placebo.

2%!!!! Wow, that is definitely worth adding another medication, don’t you think?


 

Yes, at this point, I may be abusing sarcasm. I also think the FDA measurement of “successful weight loss” for diet drugs needs to be better known.  Like the NIH expectations of weight loss, the FDA’s expectations are for a much more modest weight loss than is commonly expected or promoted in the press as possible.

It Came From the Search Terms

Things people searched on to get to this site!

clothing for obese people

Yes, we wear clothing!  The types and sizes vary though.

seat belt extenders walmart

I’ve had better luck with car manufacturers & Amazon, myself.

im sore from girl dancing

I’m not sure what “girl dancing” is, anybody?

a guy got out of his car and yelled at me

That can be frightening.  It can be scary when they person yelling is in a car, but getting out is an aggressive move.  I hope that you’re OK.

fat acceptance

Check this out.

Ingress

If you saw my recent tumblr posts you may have thought I’m playing Ingress.  I am. Ingress is many things: an augmented reality game, Google Maps gamified, a walking game, a reason to get outside the house.

The game centers around “portals”.  Portals can be gathering places, libraries, churches, unique businesses, or artworks — and, as a result of some business tie-ins, Zipcar stations & Jamba Juice stores are portals too.  Players can suggest portals.  The company that made the game, Niantic, is part of Google, and I’m sure that Google Maps is making use of this information.

[T]he other morning I spent about an hour playing in Washington Square Park. The park has loads of portals so I figured it would be a good place to try to focus on taking over some enemy ones.

Turns out that even in a place with a dozen or so portals within two blocks, it is difficult to play without being constantly on the move. After a portal is hacked it has a cool down period before it can be hacked again. […] Hacking an enemy portal makes you lose energy, which you replenish by collecting more. To do that, you have to walk around. The energy shows up as little white dots on the map. It’s plentiful, but you have to physically go get it by walking around with the game open on your phone.

The Mary Sue

I find the game fun. I get in-game goodies by hacking portals defined around the area, and I can claim portals using those goodies. I can also attack “enemy” portals.

There can be a lot of walking, yes, but the speed can be your own, as can the number of breaks you take.  By default, you can hack each portal every 5 minutes with a max of 4 times in 4 hours.  For me, this can mean I hack a portal and move on.  On the other hand, when I had 2 portals in range from a shady bench this afternoon, it went like:

  1. Hack 1st portal
  2. Hack 2nd portal
  3. Add goodies to the portals (to make it give out better gear, or better shielded, or able to be hacked more frequently – whatever)
  4. Read twitter
  5. Hack portals again
  6.  Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice
  7. Move on to more portals

Obviously your mileage may vary.  It’s summer in Seattle. I currently favor playing in areas with lots of benches, shade, and occasional water fountains or coffee shops to get drinks.  I also play quite a bit while riding to and from work (I ride with a friend who prefers to drive) or on the bus.

“[M]y favorite way to use Ingress is as tourist guidebook. Beyond that vampire grave in Rhode Island, Ingress also led me to a home on the Upper West Side where Babe Ruth once lived and to the site of Thomas Paine’s death in Greenwich Village. “

NY Times

Ingress has led me to better explore parks and streets that I thought I knew.  I’ve discovered the local library has more artwork than I thought, along with the local churches and the local senior center.

Image shows Before: walk, sit at desk, eat, walk, bed. After: same, but with ingress in between.

Ingress is an experience. The whole point is to go out and find some portals, then, once you’ve established your presence, take a look at the real world. Enjoy some artwork, explore a museum. Get inspired. Interact with people. Make new friends, even. After all. You’re fighting for the fate of human creativity and thought, here. May as well make use of that wonderful mind of yours and share it with others.

Android Police

 

Music Monday

I first heard this song in the spring of 2000, shortly after the police who shot Amadou Diallo were acquitted. I heard an audience recording and read a transcript of the lyrics (Springsteen fandom tends to share such things) and then I heard it live in New York.  Fans called it “41 Shots” or “the Diallo song”; its official title is “American Skin (41 Shots)”.

That was 14 years ago; the shooting of Amadou Diallo was 15 years ago.  When I first heard this song, I thought it (and the Diallo shooting & acquittal) was shameful legacy to a time past.  I was sheltered, or possibly in denial.  Now, I wish this song was no longer relevant.  But it is.  Still.

41 shots, and we’ll take that ride
‘Cross the bloody river to the other side
41 shots, cut through the night
You’re kneeling over his body in the vestibule
Praying for his life

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)

41 shots, Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, “On these streets, Charles
You’ve got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite
And that you’ll never ever run away
Promise Mama you’ll keep your hands in sight”

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it in your heart, is it in your eyes
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)

41 shots, and we’ll take that ride
‘Cross this bloody river to the other side
41 shots, I got my boots caked with this mud
We’re baptized in these waters (baptized in these waters)
And in each other’s blood (and in each other’s blood)

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
It ain’t no secret (it ain’t no secret)
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in
You can get killed just for living in
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

 

Food for Thought

From the St Louis Post-Dispatch on the policing in Ferguson, Missouri:

A “best practices” study published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin two years ago says it’s generally accepted that “crowd violence escalates if people think police offers treat them unfairly.”

Furthermore, the study says, when a crowd perceives that “officers act with justice and legitimacy,” disorder becomes less likely.

Cops are human beings, and human beings get scared. Their first impulse is to gear-up as if they were patrolling outside Baghdad’s Assassin’s Gate. As in foreign policy, the academic types may say that dialogue and soft power are better, but that defies the average’s cop’s attitudes.

What the public generally regards as “riot gear” — helmets, shields, Kevlar vests — is known in police circles as “hard gear.” Here’s what the FBI bulletin says about that:

“Officers must avoid donning their hard gear as a first step. They should remember the lessons learned from the 1960s civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests. Police should not rely solely on their equipment and tools.”

What we’ve seen in Ferguson is skirmish lines of officers in hard gear and videos of tear gas canisters lobbed onto roofs.

Individual officers generally have shown great restraint. But those images are doing incalculable harm, and not just to community relations in Ferguson. The nation and the world have seen horrible images from St. Louis that suggest that race relations here have a long way to go.

They’re not wrong.

(Links and emphasis from the original.)

 

Why I Care About Mars Hill Church

You may have noticed me tweeting about Mark Driscoll, co-founder of Mars Hill Church.

You may not know this, but Mars Hill Church started in Seattle. Prior to co-founding Mars HillDriscoll was a college pastor at Antioch Bible Church.

Now, that likely means nothing to you. But Antioch Bible Church has a rep around here. First, it’s praised for being racially diverse (all too rare in the US). Second, Antioch is known for its late pastor and co-founder Ken Hutcherson, who received a lot of press for trying to stop gay rights in Washington state. Some of his plans to do so were skewered in the press, but certainly not all.

Let us say that I am not at all surprised that Mark Driscoll doesn’t fall far from that anti-gay tree.  And that is one of the reasons I had no interest in attending Mars Hill even BEFORE they opened a location less than a mile from my home.

But I’m also concerned about Driscoll’s teaching about women. Women in the church, in the home, the workplace, and life.  Around here, you don’t have to read Christian bloggers (though you can) to hear about Driscoll or Mars Hill — area news reports covered that “women belong in the home” and “women can’t lead” were standard Mars Hill teachings.

As noted by Rachel Held Evans and others, some earlier “sock puppet” blog postings of Driscoll’s have recently resurfaced.  I haven’t read them all. One quote in particular is in reference to women asking questions of his sock puppet:

“I speak harshly because I speak to men. A woman might not understand that. I also do not answer to women. So your questions will be ignored. I would however, recommend to you a few versed to memorize: I Timothy 2:11-15 I Corinthians 14:33-35.To learn them, ask your father or husband. If you have neither, ask your pastor. If she is a  female, find another church. If you are the pastor, quit your job and repent.”

I would be embarrassed to have a pastor or spiritual leader write that. I would flee. I say this as someone who has walked out of churches in mid-sermon in response to anti-gay rhetoric from the pulpit.  Then I was — correctly — offended. This is offensive — but also silly.  Driscoll, using a sock puppet account, writes that he’s going to ignore all questions from women on a message board.  At the time he wrote that, he wasn’t disclosing who he was — yet he thinks he can tell who the women are?

Dog at a computer, telling another dog that 'On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.'
“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.
But Mark Driscoll knows if you’re a woman!”

You may gather I don’t think much of Mark Driscoll. You’d be right. The fact that he started his own church, neatly bypassing having to answer to a boss or denomination, is part of it. I think of him as being very young, because his combination of “rock and jeans and cool” and “the Bible is simple” reminds me of teenagers, but it turns out he’s in his 40s and merely acting like a teen. I resent that he’s presented as being a church leader in the Northwest.

But much more important are these words from Fred Clark today at Slacktivist:

There are women at Mars Hill Church. There are girls at Mars Hill Church. There are girls who go to church on Sunday and hear from a man who believes that “pussies” represent everything that is wrong with the world.

In the name of all that’s holy, that has to stop. That is sin. That is evil.

This is an evil, destructive teaching.

QOTD

This isn’t a Christian blog per se, but I loved this so much I want to share it.

From a comment by Ursula L on Rachel Held Evans’ blog:

When I see Christian churches treat women as second class, and QUILTBAG people as second class, the inevitable and obvious conclusion is that Christianity is a discriminatory and immoral religion, and it is immoral to be Christian.

When you speak up, while it doesn’t redeem Christianity in general or all the awful people who promote and believe in discrimination, it does at least make Christianity look not completely morally irredeemable, not a completely unified force of awfulness.

If they’re worried about how divisiveness looks, they should also consider how it looks to be utterly unified in the cause of oppression and discrimination. (Hint. Much worse.)

I am a Christian. Yes, I believe women belong in the leadership as well as men. I also believe that justice requires treating people as people. To quote Fred Clark at Slacktivist, “Evangelical morality is not losing the argument because it is insufficiently “progressive.” Evangelical morality is losing the argument because it is insufficiently moral.”

On Criticism

Criticism of someone’s work is totally fair game, in public or private.

Examples:

It is also probably obvious that I have no problem with publishing and promoting one’s criticism, if you wish.  Academics are probably familiar with this phenomena .

Criticism of the person is petty. As a debate tactic, when someone starts in on the person I tend to discount their statements. In dealing with people I know, yes, whether it’s “news” or “gossip” depends on one’s point of view.

Examples:

  • “[Person] assumes that everyone can and should reach normal weight according to BMI, however, the CDC does not consider this a reasonable expectation in their guide for physicians.” — Criticism of the work.
  • “The author is stupid, fat, and blonde.” — Criticism of the person.
  • “Necessary clues to whodunit were known to the viewpoint character but not disclosed to the reader until much later. I felt this wasn’t playing fair.” — Criticism of a mystery novel, aka, the work.
  • “The narrative implies that gay and lesbian people are untrustworthy and suicidal. This is upsetting, and it’s a recurring motif in the author’s work. I am therefore not going to read (or otherwise support) this author’s work.” — Criticism of the work.

Some feel I crossed the line to criticizing the person in this post.  I consider a TED talk to be a performance and thus subject to critique, and that I was very angry at his performed public repentance. Probably some pettiness there, yes!

Parody of a person works best when it is punching up and disclosed.  My favorite twitter parody account, Queen_UK, is (to my mind) cheeky but not mean-spirited — which is a big part of why it’s my favorite.  (I also follow LOLGOP, which is more snarky — but again, punching up and disclosed.)

Harassment of a person (not just criticism) is criminal in many, if not most, jurisdictions. This includes impersonation.  I don’t know why someone would go to this extent; I do know that it is, or should be, illegal.


And if you haven’t already guessed what led to me writing this:

A Hypothetical Doctor’s Visit

Jasmine is waiting in the exam room and her chart shows that her weight today is up five pounds from her last visit two years ago, putting her BMI at 32. Her blood pressure was borderline high in contrast to the normal readings in previous visits. Although Jasmine’s labs were normal in past visits, they are out of date. When Dr. Johnson greets her today, Jasmine seems anxious and tells Dr. Johnson, “I almost did not come in today knowing my weight is up from the last time I was here and you suggested a diet. I feel like such a failure. However, I need help for my migraines, so here I am.” Dr. Johnson and Jasmine look at each other, there is a beat of silence, and they both sigh.

Dr. Johnson says, “You know, Jasmine, I have been reading the research on weight loss interventions and weight-cycling and I’m realizing that if the same thing happens to almost everyone, it probably is not the fault of the person, it is probably more about the process itself. So, instead of focusing on weight loss, I’m encouraging my patients to think about what makes them feel better in their everyday lives; emotionally and physically. For example, do you feel better when you eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, take a walk with a friend, meditate to relieve stress, and get enough sleep? There’s good evidence that those behaviors are going to make you healthier and feel better even if your weight does not change.”

Jasmine is a bit surprised by Dr. Johnson’s shift and says, “Well, typically, when my weight loss slows down or stops completely, I stop doing any of those things you mentioned that would help me feel better and be healthier.” Dr. Johnson says, “I understand, but we’re going to turn the focus from your weight to your health. Because those behaviors are linked to health, why not do them anyway?”

Jasmine smiles at Dr. Johnson and says, “It sure would be easier to come back and see you the next time I’m supposed to if I did not have to lose weight first.”

Dr. Johnson replies, “I do not want anything to stand in the way of you getting your medical care, including worrying that I might scold you. Now that we have a better plan, I am going to have the nurse retake your blood pressure.” Jasmine and Dr. Johnson then discuss treatment options for Jasmine’s migraines.

— from The Weight-Inclusive versus Weight-Normative Approach to Health: Evaluating the Evidence for Prioritizing Well-Being over Weight Loss published in the Journal of Obesity.

Quotes: Discrimination

I ran away from home. I ran away from St. Louis, and then I ran away from the United States of America, because of that terror of discrimination, that horrible beast which paralyzes one’s very soul and body.
— Josephine Baker

Discrimination isn’t a thunderbolt, it isn’t an abrupt slap in the face. It’s the slow drumbeat of being underappreciated, feeling uncomfortable and encountering roadblocks along the path to success.
Meg Urry

I am often asked why there is discrimination against women in science. And I have given it some thought. With prejudicial attitudes, you can’t really do much. You can point out when people discriminate and ask them not to.
Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

I’d make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they’d all nod.
— Charlotte Bunch

What are we having this liberty for? We are having this liberty in order to reform our social system, which is full of inequality, discrimination and other things, which conflict with our fundamental rights.
— B. R. Ambedkar

Dating!

I’d been married for years when I started this blog.  That may be why I don’t post about dating much.  But I ran across this blog post and it said a lot of things I agree with.

[It’s] perfectly cool if you don’t find fat people attractive. Anyone who tells you that you are obliged to find any particular set of features attractive is an insecure git who needs the weight of numbers before they can relax.

You may be attractive to a small number of people. That’s cool.

The question is, are those people attractive to you?

If so, then awesome!  […]

If not, then you have that icktacular quandary of deciding how much you feel like changing for them.

Because here’s the ugly truth and the truth of ugly: you’re not going to have a 100% success rate at attracting the people you want. You just won’t, not over the course of a lifetime.
[….]
“Normal” society, yes, rewards skinny people disproportionately. But it also rewards white people disproportionately. And straight people disproportionately. And men disproportionately. And if I’m not fucking careful, I can internalize those irrational hatreds and come to believe that there’s something wrong with me instead of society.

I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine. I’m somebody’s cup of tea, and they’re mine, and that’s the important thing.

Last weekend I saw a fat woman with short gray hair wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m someone’s fetish”.

Now, “fetish” is a loaded term. It’s applied to characteristics or actions that society doesn’t think should be arousing. I’ve known people who identify as fetishists and those who reject the term. In this case, it seemed the woman with the tshirt was acknowledging that she was older and fat…and affirming that she’s a sexual person anyway. That’s pretty cool.

The blog post refers to a similar shirt too, so I went hunting. I found the one above in men’s and women’s sizes and another one in men’s sizes. Just in case anyone else wants one.