Friday, December 10, 2010

Dream the Impossible Dream

The ad hoc Grade Appeal Committee rendered their decision and issued their report today. For several reasons, some I had not even mentioned directly in my appeal, the committee unanimously voted to change my grade for the course to the "B" I felt I deserved all along. They agreed the APA grading policy was punitive and even pointed out that the course syllabus itself had quite a few errors and pondered if those would also be considered "significant" and worth deducting if situations had been reversed. If not, they indicated there is some level of hypocrisy with that system of accountability. That's pretty much my favorite paragraph of the two page written opinion (other than the last sentence in the first paragraph that reinstates my original course grade before the final paper was taken into account).
Okay, enough celebrating...well, mostly. :)
It is too late to apply for admission to take spring courses, but rest assured I will be on track for the February 1st deadline so I can officially begin my master's degree next summer. YAY! I was nervous about the appeal and what my colleagues would think if I pursued each stage of the process, but they have been nothing but supportive. Furthermore, this decision was made with a blind situation wherein my name was withheld and I had not discussed my situation except with a few select friends among my colleagues, so they were really able to look at the paper and course grading situation very objectively. I do worry if there will be any challenges in the admissions process itself where Professor X is one of the two-member admissions committee or if future courses with him will be tainted by this experience. (Keep in mind I did really well in the other course with Professor X--an "A" and really did have a "B" in this course before the final proposal got such a low score for APA citations--only 10 points were deducted for the other issues.)
Yes, I'm a worrier. Why worry about tomorrow when today has enough troubles of its own, right?!? In fact, when the department chair brought me the envelope with the decision, I was in the middle of processing my student teachers for check-out after they had completed licensure paperwork. As I was putting it in my pocket, I said, "I'll wait to read this later since you know how badly I want to pursue my own higher education and create additional career opportunities which tends to make me overly emotional." She said, "Oh, I think you'll want to read this then" and had a large smile on her face. I definitely did my little "happy dance" at the table in the hallway and thanked her for her support through the appeals process.
For now, I embrace the impossible dream that has been proven possible with persistence, the power of positive friends/family encouraging me to explore and exhaust all options, and can't wait for the next steps. I've also been without sodas for so long now and still not had a migraine (shocking...even with the sodas, I still average 2-3 a month) that I am also greatly encouraged to dream that impossible dream too---kicking another addiction and furthering my quest for personal freedom in health, fitness, and life.
If I were still drinking, I'd drink a toast to me tonight - and one for my biggest fans too!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hurry Up...and Wait!

People spend much of their time rushing through life or waiting for life to happen. The holiday hustle and bustle is more of the same with people hurrying around and then waiting in ridiculously long lines. For me right now, the hurry up and wait is a little different though. I realized I never updated my "followers" (aka super supportive family and friends who follow these random blog posts of mine) on the education situation and wanted to rectify that inadequate reporting. I also wanted to share another hurry up and wait situation that I am facing right now.

First, the education situation. I did appeal the grade to the department chair. She supported my appeal but Professor X was unwilling to acknowledge his grading of the APA mistake(s--since he claims them as multiple and I dispute them as one mistake multiple times) or compromise on the overall evaluation of the paper. Since the department chair does not have authority to change another professor's grades, that option was exhausted. The final step was to appeal to the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, who would form a committee to investigate and issue a final ruling/grade. I decided I owed it to myself for the hard work it took to earn the "B" and submit the paper that was not deserving a basically failing grade (D-) which reduced by "B" to a "C-" for the course. Therefore, I filed the appeal for the final step in the process. They are deliberating now and will issue their written decision by this Friday (last day of classes). I am cautiously optimistic, but will certainly comment on the final outcome since my future education and career are at stake.

Now, for the other matter that is definitely going to be "hurry up...and wait." I have been having problems with my right eyetooth (tooth 7 for you dental geeks) for at least a year. Problems would be defined as an ache that would come and go and a visible black fleck at the far left corner which I knew meant decay of some type. I ignored it because I have SEVERE dental anxiety and figured as long as it wasn't loose or crumbling apart, I had time to work up the courage and address the issue. (NOTE - that is NOT smart dental hygiene!) On Thanksgiving Saturday when my family was feasting, a sliver of the right side fell off while I was sampling some shrimp cocktail and the pain has been escalating ever since.

Last week, the pain was so bad I was forcing myself to take pills. Now you KNOW that means I was in pain because everybody knows I can't swallow pills and I really hate the inconvenience of crushing them up in applesauce to "enjoy" with the Ibuprofen or Aleve. Since they weren't really touching the pain, I took more than the recommended daily doses to the point I had left sided abdominal pain and thought, "Oh great, my liver and kidneys are shutting down from years of soda drinking and a few days of overdosing on OTC painkillers." (Did I mention I have not had a soda in over two weeks? It reminded me of a new car purchase...the minute/week it is paid off, the problems begin with maintenance and repair. LOL) It further scared me to realize urine output was no longer clear but rust-colored. (I apologize if that's TMI for you--I'm an EMT and lost some sensitivity to "gross" things of that sort.)

I called the dentist and scheduled an appointment for the earliest opportunity--which required several additional days of waiting. I was seen yesterday for my consultation and things are worse than I had feared. The root of my tooth is dead and there's not much of the tooth remaining post-Thanksgiving-break-off for them to attempt a root canal with crown procedure. My options were extraction of tooth #7 and a very self-conscious smile (gap) or extraction of the eyetooth and a very time consuming process ending eventually in an implant and a picture-perfect smile. *groan* I'm self conscious enough as it is...I don't need a permanent hole in my dental alignment to complicate things.

Soooooo, I chose option two. The road to an implant is definitely going to be ripe with "hurry up...and wait" moments since so much of the pacing is dependent on my own body's ability to heal and do what is required for a successful dental implant. The process began with an impression (can we say gag reflex?!) so I can be fitted for a partial periodontic aka "flipper." The next step is an intense antibiotic that the pharmacy only had available in liquid form and tastes like metallic trash. Let's just say I'd almost prefer a jar of applesauce laced with horse pills. The antibiotic is necessary because there is so much infection along the gum line where my body was attacking the dying root, which explains all the swelling and pressure along my right cheek/face that I thought was sinus pressure with the extreme climate change (70s one day to 40s just a few days later). Next Thursday afternoon comes the extraction and implant consultation with the oral surgeon who removed my wisdom teeth earlier this year.

As I understand the process, I will wear the flipper in my mouth to camoflauge the gap that will be created when Dr. Wallace removes my tooth. I cannot eat or sleep with the partial flipper contraption in my mouth though, so insert self conscious behavior here...and here....and there....and pretty much anywhere in public if food is involved. Suddenly, I am so glad I am single and sleep alone! LOL The flipper will be my "friend" while the bone grows. This could occur quickly or slowly. Nothing can happen until the bone is in place along the gum line and strong enough to support an implant as confirmed by bone density testing and x-rays. (This took twelve months for someone who shares the gene pool with me, so I'm pretty much planning to become a house hermit when it comes to mealtime for the next year. Once the bone is prepared, they will screw in the implant with cap, and wait for my mouth/gum/teeth to heal and support the new house-guest. If there are no complications and once healing has been completed, they will apply a crown to the implant and make it a permanent addition to my family of teeth...except that by permanent the oral surgeon means 10-15 years.

This adventure will cost me $4-5,000 out of pocket ($500 for the flipper that gets thrown away once the implant is secure), lots of tears, anxiety, testing of my patience, new levels of being self conscious around others, and oh so much more. Here's the life lesson - even if your blood pressure tends to be 176/112 the minute you walk through the dentist's door when it was 132/80 at your house just ten minutes prior, do not ignore basic symptoms of something being wrong with your teeth. The good news is all of my others were inspected yesterday and are in great shape - no cavities, no decay. I guess in the big picture, one out of twenty-plus teeth isn't that bad, but for me, it's a crushing blow.

This is a sneaky way to lose weight though. No eating out for at least a year or in extremely rare instances. Eating lots of applesauce. Continue this newfound regimen of sufficient water intake daily. Sodas rot your teeth and kill your internal organs just like my Mama Jo said they would when she said that she was not going to donate one of her kidneys to me and that I'd better budget for dentures in my "old age." Apparently, the money I'm saving on sodas is going to spent on fixing the situation with this one little eyetooth.

Hurry up and wait indeed!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Thin Within

So there are days I look at pictures from yester-year and wonder where that skinny little miss went and if I'll ever see her again. Then I look at myself in the mirror while running on the elliptical (yes, I purposefully placed it in front of my bedroom's full length mirror for inspiration to keep going when all I want to do is stop) and think, "yep, she's in there somewhere!" I visualize the thin within!

I have been struggling with my weight since college. Apparently, the pressure of being around brilliant, wealthy, and beautiful people caused me to doubt myself and my ability to "fit in" at a perfectly average size. I stopped eating but when people started to think that was "odd" I would eat and then race to the bathroom to purge (aka vomit with sheer willpower alone, no finger down the throat necessary). Needless to say, friends tried to intervene and so I started eating again with fewer vomiting episodes. My nutritionist said I wasn't eating enough and my body thought it was starving which is why the weight increased instead of decreased during this time. My doctor said that my metabolism was set back decades and would take "awhile" to restore to normal...I'm pretty much still waiting for that return mind you. I have put off testing to see if there are thryoid issues now at play, but maybe I'll get that bloodwork done over the holiday break.

I've been making progress with my portion control, workouts, and increased water intake. In fact, it's been an entire week of no sodas whatsoever!!! Better yet--no migraines! All I have had this week is water (6-8 bottles every day), one gatorade over the course of two days, and a couple glasses of sweet tea last night at dinner. I couldn't eat due to pain from an eyetooth issue, and since my blood glucose was in the 40s I splurged on the liquid sugar intake. The scale is showing movement and I'm feeling healthier too.

I'm picturing the thin within and very much appreciate the advice and encouragement I've received thus far from my family and friends. I'm following the plan which has its consequences and rewards and hope your involvement will continue to provide the accountability I need to succeed.

Love and prayers,