MicroblogMondays: Good News All Around

A friend of mine who made her embryos with donor eggs back in January 2018 had had one obstacle after another trying to find a gestational carrier that would work with her.  She had to switch a few agencies in a few states and several gestational carriers who failed the screening.  After three whole years having those embryos, she finally found a gestational carrier who passed her medical screening.  Fortunately, the gestational carrier lives in our state so she was allowed to transfer in my friend’s clinic (vs. those from other states who would not be approved by many clinics due to the pandemic).  The beta is scheduled for today, but her GC already did a home pregnancy test which was positive!  I am so excited for her and am very hopeful that she will be able to hold her baby in October.

*****

My cousin who has an 18 month old that she conceived with donor eggs is currently 14 weeks pregnant with her second.  I am so so glad that she doesn’t have my kind of crappy uterus.  Even though her eggs didn’t help her become a mom, her uterus is winning at being a great home for her babies.

*****

Remember I went on a sort of babymoon in Honolulu a couple of months before the babies were born?  I was going to go on a food tour after I published that post.  I did go on a food tour and met this couple who sat behind me on the bus.  We hung out all day long, and hit it off really well.  We bumped into one another that evening buying ice cream.  We discovered that we were going to fly out on the exact same flight.  So on the day of departure, the wife came over to sit next to me at the gate once she spotted me. We started chatting. she asked me where my next adventure was going to be.  I told her honestly that this would probably be my last trip for a while because my babies were going to be born via gestational surrogacy.  Once that piece of information was shared, it was like a flood gate had opened and she shared about her journey of trying for a baby.  It turned out that she and her husband had been trying for a baby for a few years, went to the same clinic that I went to (with Dr. No Nonsense), had a miscarriage and few other disappointments, and were taking a break and trying to recuperate from all the losses.  We exchanged contact information and promised to speak with one another again when we got home.  A chance meeting in Hawaii brought the two of us together as friends.  We met up a few times for lunch.  I eventually introduced her to Dr. E, my reproductive endocrinologist that helped bring our babies home.  She and her husband had been with Dr. E for the last three years.  They even got together with me and Bob prior to the pandemic to speak about the possibility of working with a gestational carrier.  They were going to try once more time with transferring into her, and she did this past year after clinics were allowed to do IVF again.  Guess what?  She is 31 weeks pregnant and everything is going well.  I am so happy for her and I am so honored to be part of her story.  On that day when I picked that particular food tour to book and later chose that particular seat on the tour bus to sit, I never would have imagined these seemingly inconsequential choices would make an impact in someone’s reproductive endeavor.  God is amazing.

 

MicroblogMondays: Hope for the Future

On January 20th, the kids and we all had breakfast while watching the inauguration.  We explained to the kids that we have a new president and vice president.  And this is the first female vice president of our country.  After hearing that, my daughter Bunny asked, “What about me?”  My husband answered her, “This is exactly what the vice president said, that you can be anything you want to be.”  There was a twinkle in this three year old’s eye as she pondered what that meant.

I teared up as I watched my little daughter pay such close attention to this historic moment on the screen.  Four years ago, days before the previous inauguration, we were about to transfer the two embryos that would become our twins.  On that transfer day, I couldn’t have possibly imagined this precious moment with my precious girl on January 20, 2021 given how uncertain the future felt four years ago in regards to parenthood as well as the state of our nation.  Our future at this moment is also uncertain with the pandemic and the state of this world, but as the glass ceiling shatters, this is certainly a big step into the right direction.  There is hope for a better future for my children.

MicroblogMondays: Deepest Fears

I cried during my therapy session last Friday.  It was a soul-cleansing cry that was so unexpected but at the same time so good for me.

My therapist and I have been working on finding the cause(s) of my panic attacks or anxiety symptoms, such as heart palpitations and lightheadedness.  She suggested a book for me to read.  In that book there is a tool called a Daily Mood Log.  I have been using the daily mood log to document any upsetting events, my emotions surrounding them, and my negative thoughts about them.  After I write them all down, I am supposed to come up with neutral thoughts that are true 100% of the time to replace the negative thoughts.  (Instead of positive thoughts as stated in the log, my therapist suggested neutral thoughts because positive thoughts are not always 100% true.) So the last few weeks I have been finishing up two to three of these logs each week in order to understand more about my thoughts and feelings.  I noticed that the first couple of weeks most of the mood logs were about Okra’s tantrums.  Since his extreme tantrums have dwindled down, I find myself focusing more on the aches and pains I feel on my body and my negative thoughts and feelings surrounding that.  It is almost like because I don’t have to focus on Okra anymore, I have more room in my head to look for something else to worry about.  Last week all of my anxiety or worries had to do with any physical symptoms that I felt: throat irritation, phlegm, blocked nostril, gum irritation, skin irritation, muscle pains.  My mind would go really far and I would wonder if I had cancer or COVID.  Especially now that the COVID numbers have gone up in the last few weeks and with the new variant showing up in my area, I find myself having anxious thoughts even going grocery shopping.  After going grocery shopping last Tuesday, I panicked for a few second wondering if I caught COVID afterwards.  The following were the negative thoughts I wrote down: “I have COVID despite being careful”, “It is easy to catch COVID even if I wear a mask”, “I will get COVID no matter what I do, “I will get COVID even just grocery shopping”, and “I will die of COVID”.  I am also supposed to write down how much I believe each thought.  For these thoughts, I wrote down a range between 50% to 70% for each.

In the book that my therapist recommended, the chapter after the daily mood log is called “Uncovering Your Self-Defeating Beliefs”.  These are beliefs that are either about what you believe you need to be or do in order to be a worthwhile human, or about what you believe your relationship with others need to be like.  In the book, it explained that your self-defeating beliefs are always present, but negative thoughts only come when you are upset.  You use what the author calls “Downward Arrow Technique” to ask yourself that if a negative thought were true, “Why would it be upsetting to me? What would it mean to me?”  Once you come up with another negative thought, you ask the same questions.  You repeat this process until you eventually come up with your self-defeating beliefs.  When I first read that chapter, I just started doing my daily mood logs and felt overwhelmed by this process of “Downward Arrow Technique”.  My therapist told me to just get myself familiar with writing my daily mood logs first and not to worry about the next step.  Last Friday during my session, my therapist and I went over my negative thoughts regarding COVID.  After we talked about them, she asked me if I was ready to talk about finding my self-defeating beliefs.  I was like, well okay let’s try it.  She told me to pick a negative thought.  So I picked this one:

“I will catch COVID despite being careful”

She asked, “If that were true, why would it be upsetting to you?”

The following are the negative thoughts that I came up with after asking that question repeatedly with the “Downward Arrow Technique”:

“I will get very sick”

“I will die”

“My kids won’t get the care that will get from me because I am dead”

“My kids will grow up without me”

“My kids will be miserable growing up without their mom”

“My kids will be miserable, unhappy adults, and not be able to life a fulfilling life without me being around”

……

When I got to that point, I started tearing up.  I tried to hold back my tears but the more I wanted to, the more I felt like crying.  I ended up sobbing uncontrollably for a few minutes.  Why?  I asked myself.  I felt this deep pain inside of me when I dug deeper and deeper into my fears: me being dead and not be able to watch my kids grow up.  I was ugly crying while trying to catch my breath so I could talk.  I was crying and talking and crying and talking.  I told my therapist that mortality had been on my mind because I really want to live to see my kids be adults and want to be with them every step of the way.  It is not that I don’t trust my husband.  I do.  I am sure that the children would grow up to be happy, healthy adults even without my presence.  BUT, I so want to be here to witness it and be an integral part of their lives.  The thought of not being around for that really pains me.  I told my therapist that this probably has everything to do with me bringing them into this world after all these years of infertility.  I feel a tremendous responsibility to be healthy and alive in order to take good care of the two human beings that I so desperately tried to bring into this world.  I tried so hard to have children early on but infertility happened and I was already 43 when they were born.  When they grow up, if I am still alive, I will be in my 60s.  I have this fear that I won’t live to see them get married and have kids.  It hurts my heart to even think about leaving them behind.  This is why every time I think about my health, I go into this deep fear of something really wrong with me.  I am afraid that my kids, who were conceived with the help of an egg donor, would grow up hating me for bringing them into this world without me being around to protect them.  I was so surprised by these tears.  I did not even know that I had these fears.  I wonder if I didn’t have any fertility challenges, if these kids were made with my own eggs, or if I had them in my 30s, I would still have these fears.

My therapist is so good.  She waited for me to cry and to finish my thoughts while looking at me with so much compassion and empathy.  She then said to me, “You must have been carrying a lot of pains all these years.”  She suggested that I be kind to myself and practice self love by writing myself a letter about all the fears that I have. She also suggested I write the grownup version of the kids a letter, telling them things that I want them to know if they were to grow up without their mom. Before we parted, she kindly said, “Take good care of yourself this week.”

After we ended our session, I just sat there and was in awe of all that was uncovered.  Therapy is powerful.  This tool is powerful.  I didn’t know that infertility and the pain associated with it still haunt me.  Now that we have uncovered my fears, maybe this is the light at the end of the tunnel for reducing and eventually eliminating my anxiety symptoms?  I sure hope so, but I know there is a lot of work ahead of me in order to reach that place of wellness.

MicroblogMondays: Transfer Anniversary

Two days ago was the 4th anniversary of the transfer that resulted in our children.  Four years seems like a long time, and it sure feels like a long time ago.  My gestational carrier and I still have a cordial relationship.  I send her videos and pictures of the kids once in a while, and she receives a present every year from us for the kids’ birthday and Christmas.  We don’t communicate regularly, but I think very fondly of her.  One of my friends has been waiting to find a gestational carrier to carry a pregnancy for her with the donor egg embryos that she made back in January 2018.  She is not married and somehow it has been difficult to find a gestational carrier.  After many shoes that dropped and needing to switch several agencies, she is finally going to have one of her embryos transferred into her new gestational carrier middle of this month.  I can’t help but wonder about what may happen if we were to transfer our embryos into a gestational carrier during this global pandemic just like my friend. On top of all the complications and worries about having someone out of town carrying our child, we’d also have to worry about the gestational carrier following a COVID-safe protocol that we would have set out.  I am not so sure if our gestational carrier would have been the best person for the job.  Let us just say that her views regarding the pandemic are vastly different from ours including the need to wear a mask out and about and the part about not mixing people in different households.  I can only imagine how difficult those months of pregnancy would be and what they would do to my sanity or anxiety level.  But you know, if that’s the case, and you want a baby, you just have to do what you have to do, but life would be exponentially more difficult navigating the life of having another person carry a pregnancy for you.  And we may not choose my gestational carrier for this important role.  I feel for my friend, and I can only hope that her gestational carrier is reliable and trustworthy.  I am hopeful that a year from now she gets to celebrate the transfer anniversary of her baby.  And I am hopeful that by then the world will be a much better place.

MicroblogMondays: Delight

One of the tools my therapist and I discussed about is to track my son Okra’s tantrums and my anxiety symptoms to see if there is a correlation between the two.  I have these blank calendars I printed from the internet to meal plan. I took one and started writing down Okra’s moods and tantrums on a given day and how I was feeling on that particular day.  I started middle of the month in December.  That coincided with Okra stopping his appetite medication.  He had a video follow up visit with his GI specialist on that day.  He had been on this appetite medication since September to help increase his appetite and hence gain weight.  His weight went from being on the 13th percentile to 41st percentile, so the medication did help tremendously.  However, I noticed that he had some wild tantrums that seemingly came out of nowhere.  The intensity and duration of them had increased since winter started.  There was an epic tantrum that lasted one hour 45 minutes that really worried me, that something could be wrong with my precious little boy.  I had read that this appetite medication can affect some kids’ moods.  I brought it up with Okra’s GI specialist and she agreed that it was about time for Okra to recycle the meds, which means for him to be off of it for 5 to 7 days and restart it for the medication to have its maximum effectiveness again.  At the same time we could watch Okra’s moods and see if being off of it makes a difference.  At that time, Okra was having these huge tantrums that were recurring every few days.  He was easily triggered by some very minor things and everything became a struggle.  Even when I fulfilled his wishes and gave him what he wanted, he would immediate flip flop and say he didn’t want it.  He would go yes/no yes/no many times for many different things while crying uncontrollably.  I was desperate for these tantrums to go away.  I am also quite sure that these extreme tantrums did not help with my anxiety symptoms.  Okra stopped his medication on December 16th.  He had one extreme tantrum on December 19th.  He then became calm with some typical toddler whininess for the next few days.  We restarted his appetite medicine on December 23rd.  I gave him one dose at 7:45am.  He woke up happy and ate his breakfast happily.  At 9:35, he suddenly flipped and got upset for no reason and threw a huge tantrum seemingly out of nowhere.  It was like a switch was flipped.  I immediately thought of the appetite medication so in the chaos of a tantrum, I wrote the GI doctor a quick note.  Fortunately she usually writes back quickly.  She told me to stop the appetite medication and see how he does in the next few weeks.  I am so thankful for a doctor who responds promptly.  That morning Okra ate a huge snack despite having a huge breakfast earlier that day.  I wonder if the medication had made him super hunger and if he couldn’t read his own hunger cue and got really upset/angry because of that.  After we stopped the medication, Okra was calm except for some instances of whininess and small tantrums for nine whole days.  Even when he had a tantrum, he showed the ability to recover very quickly.  I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my son on those very calm days.  It was such a delight to hang out with him and we were able to do so many fun things together and have great bonding moments.  He did have one day of extreme tantrum on January 2nd.  When I was waiting for the tantrums to be over, I was reminding myself of what he is capable of and I knew that this would pass.  And it did.  He was back to being his normal happy self yesterday.  It was such a delight to see.  Okra may not be eating as much as when he was on meds, but I’d rather him be a happy child than suffering from side effects of the medication.  I know his last extreme tantrum did not have anything to do with the medication because he wasn’t on it.  I sometimes still worry about something being wrong with him.  Our pediatrician did give us a referral to a developmental pediatrician in case I wanted to get a consultation.  I am suppose to fill out these questionnaires before scheduling an appointment.  Something is stopping me from filing out these forms.  I guess I am waiting to see how things unfold before I subject him to any sort of testing.    Anyways, back to my therapy homework.  Marking on the calendar really helps me to see if there is a pattern of Okra’s tantrums and how I am doing emotionally and physically.  I am happy to report that out of those nine calm days, I was symptom-free for six of them.  Even when Okra had the big tantrums on Saturday, I wasn’t affected and haven’t felt any lightheadedness, heart palpitation, or general uneasiness.  It is such a welcome change.  

MicroblogMondays: Christmas Dinner

Just like Thanksgiving, we stayed home celebrating Christmas all by ourselves instead of spending time with extended family.  In the years past, I’d usually have to labor in the kitchen making roasted root vegetables which involved purchasing the vegetables ahead of time, and on the day of, peeling, cutting, and roasting all of them for a dinner for almost 20 people.  This would be true for both Thanksgiving and Christmas day.  This year, we made it simple for me.  We ordered from a catering company and the food was delivered to our door.  It came with reheating instructions that were easy to follow.  And the food itself was phenomenal.  We had a salad, rice pilaf with dried fruit, roasted root vegetables with herbs, roasted rack of lamb with red wine sauce, french onion soup, dinner rolls, and assorted mini cheese cake.

We were really satisfied with dinner this year.  Everything was delicious.  The meal was supposed to be for 5 to 6 people.  With three adults and the kids not eating much, all the food lasted us several meals.  Even though this year it was kind of nice not having to go to someone else’s house as it made things simpler, I still prefer to have the choice to celebrate Christmas with loved ones outside of our household.  There is hope that next Christmas we will be back to having this option again.

MicroblogMondays: People Are Funny

On one of my morning walks with the kids, we passed by a small excavator on the street.  The kids were very excited to see one and ran over to see what was up.  They stood there waiting for the excavator to move but was disappointed that the construction wasn’t going to start yet.  The worker was leaning on the front of the excavator looking at us.  I told him, from a distance, that the kids were exciting to see his vehicle.  He told us that the project would start that afternoon, which would be right in the middle of the kids’ nap time.  That was too bad.  As the kids continued to stand and stare at the excavator, the worker said, “You are babysitting?” I chuckled at such a comment and told him, “No, they are mine” to which he said, “They are mixed right?”  I used to get these kinds of comments a lot in the pre-COVID era when I took the kids to playgrounds in the city. The nannies there somehow often assumed that I was the kids’ nanny probably because they don’t see resemblance between me and the kids.  I didn’t expect that with with masks on all of us that someone would see enough of their faces and my face to make such a remark.  People are just so funny.  I am not bothered by it.  I am just amused by people’s assumption.

MicroblogMondays: Therapy, Again

As mentioned last week, I got a list of therapists to contact in regards to my recent panic attacks.  The first person I wrote did not accept new patients.  The next person I contacted did not return my message until a couple of days later.  The third therapist on the list has a website that seems to focus on parent coaching, although I still wrote her with my details asking her if she sees adult clients with anxiety issues.  She returned my messages in a timely manner.  I am glad to find out that she does see adult clients and has been in practice for over 10 years.  After chatting with her on the phone for 15 minutes, I decided to give it a chance.  Originally she offered me choices of morning slots.  I asked for an afternoon time slot because of child care issues in the morning.  I am glad that she is able to accommodate me.  Our first session was last Friday.  I filled out a questionnaire the day prior and really had to think about all the questions.  One part of the questionnaire asked to check off if I had any of the symptoms or experiences in the last month.  Some of them are the obvious ones: anxiety and panic attacks.  Some required me to think twice about clicking, such a “fear”.  I only experienced fear when I was in the middle of my panic attacks, wondering if these symptoms indicated a health problem, especially a heart problem.  Same with difficulty concentrating or thinking.  This happened only during my panic attacks.  But I did ultimately click on all the ones that I hesitated about.  I was so used to seeing my previous therapist in person that it was quite an interesting experience to do therapy online.  Since Bob has lunch late in the afternoon, I wanted more privacy so I placed a little table and chair in our bedroom in front of the window and logged on early to wait for my new therapist.  She was super punctual herself.  She spent a few minutes to go over the items on the agreement.  After that, we went right into what had been going on with me.  She also asked for clarifications on the items that I clicked on the intake form.  After all of that, we had probably 8 minutes to go over strategies.  Her impression of me was that I am quite in tune with my own feelings and sensations, which is a plus in my journey to learn how to cope with/alleviate/prevent these panic attacks.  She went over a little bit of how the brain works: the fast brain, which is the amygdala vs. the slow brain, which is the prefrontal cortex.  She explained that when the lid on the amygdala is blown off, or when I experience the emotions that require me to fight-or-flight, the slow brain, or the logical/reasoning brain takes time to tell my fast brain to calm back down.  She said that many of the things that I do already are the things that she’d usually suggest people to do: breathing exercises, yoga, journaling, etc.  She told me to continue to do breathing exercises, and do them during my calm time repeatedly so that if I experience another episode of panic attack, I will go to my breathing practice more readily.  The one practice that she recommends is 3, 4, 5, which is to breathe in while counting 3, hold for 4, and breathe out while counting 5.  She also recommends a book to me that she said has been helpful to many of her clients.  It is called “When Panic Attacks”.  I just received it in the mail yesterday so I will start reading it.  She and I will talk about the strategies in the book next week when we have our session.  A couple of days ago I had an experience that resembled another panic attack.  This time the duration was shorter, and I was able to use the 3,4, 5 breathing exercise to ease myself back into my usual calm self.  These attacks come out of the blue.  I can’t wait for them to just disappear all together.  I know that there is some work ahead of me to make them go away.  I hope that my therapist and I can work well together to achieve just that.

MicroblogMondays: Heart Palpitations

I had my cardiological appointment last Wednesday virtually.  The cardiologist asked many many questions.  His conclusion was that he didn’t think my heart has any problems.  However, he was a bit concerned about my blood pressure.  On the screen, he showed me the chart of my in-clinic blood pressure records.  They were consistently high in the last two years.  He wasn’t too worried about the systolic number, although that wasn’t too healthy.  He was more concerned about the diastolic because they were consistently in the 80s to 90s range.  He said that my medical team (meaning my primary doctor) has been a little bit too permissive in allowing my blood pressure to be a bit high without doing anything about it.  He said he doesn’t often prescribe medication for people with heart palpitations but he thinks that in my case, it could help to reduce the blood pressure to a range where he feels comfortable with the numbers.  He chose this beta blocker for me and prescribed the lowest dose. He’d talk to me in a couple of weeks to see how I am doing.  In the mean time, he wants me to check my blood pressure occasionally at home.

I am okay with taking meds for the short term just to get things moving.  I was a bit concerned about my blood pressure for a while now but my primary doctor thought that it was still in the good range.  According to my cardiologist, my numbers are a bit high for my age, and he wants to get it under control earlier than later.  I am still going to modify my diet (to low salt and low caffeine) and do a more consistent job of exercising regularly.

I started medication on Thursday morning.  Friday evening, I was doing the advent calendar with the kids at 7:30pm.  I felt a tiny bit light headed and suddenly could feel my heart pounding.  It almost felt like it was jumping out of my chest.  It bothered me so much that I had to go lie down after the kids went down for the night.  I couldn’t do anything and could just lie there and distract myself with a show.  Sleep that night was horrible and my heart was beating fast.  I felt bad on and off the whole day on Saturday and I even considered going to the ER again, but decided against it.  I started to wonder if it could be the side effects of the new medication.  I also experienced restlessness several times as I couldn’t shake the muscle tensions throughout my body.

I spoke to my brother who told me that he was actually diagnosed at age 41 with PVC and PAC, which feel like skipped beats, and very occasional SVT, which is fast heartbeats (double the normal, at around 130).  He said that these are non life threatening and are more like annoyances in life.  My brother wore a portable ECG patch for two weeks to measure his heart activities.  He said that when he was going through some health scares (lump on his leg that he didn’t know if it was cancer), he said his heart was a mess.  He said that cortisol is a powerful hormone that could do crazy things to the body.  He was asking if I feel anxious in general.  Maybe?

I sent my cardiologist a message.  He responded saying that my brother’s condition is quite common and could happen to anybody, so it is not necessarily familial.  He told me to give myself some time to get used to the medication, which I will.  As for the ECG patch, my doctor said that he doesn’t think it is necessary right now.  So there is that.

Oh and I am going to find myself some help in regards to my panic attacks and general anxiety.  Bob’s work has an employee assistance program that provides 15 visits to him and each of his dependents at no cost to us.  I contact the EAP and got a list of therapists I can contact in order to get some help to better manage my symptoms.

It has been one health scare after another.  Hopefully after finding the right help, I will be on my way to be healthier again.  Maybe this is my wake up call to treat eating healthy and exercising regularly more seriously.

MicroblogMondays: Thanksgiving

This year’s Thanksgiving was so different from past year’s.  Instead of enjoying prime rib at my brother’s house and hanging out with his family, we were all home this year.  What was also weird was that I started experiencing some discomfort during breakfast time: lightheadedness at first, then fast heart rate as well as a tight squeeze of my right ribcage.  The more I wondered about whether or not I was experiencing a heart problem, the more uneasy I felt.  I could well be having another panic attack, but it was really hard to tell.  We had ordered food from this catering company this year, and I was supposed to go pick it up myself.  Bob ended up driving me there, and on the way there I was feeling my heart rate go up that I almost wanted him to take me to the emergency room.  We didn’t end up going and we did pick up the food, but I felt off for the rest of the afternoon.  Dinner was lovely: turkey, green bean casserole, mushroom and asparagus risotto, corn chowder, corn bread stuffing, a lovely salad and pecan pie.

I felt relieved that I didn’t have to cook.  We had a wonderful time together despite not spending it with extended family like usual.  The kids ate dinner rolls and of all things, salad greens!  Nobody touched the turkey, and they were a fan of the pecan pie as this was the first time they had it.  Hopefully next year we will be able to spend quality time with our extended family again.

(I am late in writing this post because yesterday I experienced more tightness on my chest which led to the feeling of not being able to breathe deeply.  My heart rate went up and I was not feeling the best.  I thought it was another panic attack but was also concerned that it was a heart problem. Out of an abundance of caution, Bob took me to the emergency room.  We got lucky that nobody was there and I was the next person to be seen.  After the doctor saw me and the EKG, things checked out fine.  He went onto do a test called D-dimer to check for the chances of blood clot in my body.  The test was also negative. He said that it could well be another panic attack and asked that I speak with my primary care physician to discuss the next steps for treatment.  I had already made an appointment with my doctor for today after my Thanksgiving day episode.  At that visit, my doctor also didn’t think that it was really a heart problem, and said it could be the withdrawal effect of stopping estrogen a couple of months ago when the menopausal symptoms return.  But as a reassurance, he referred me to cardiology for a full workup, and said that speaking with a therapist about these symptoms is also a wise next step.  Bob’s company offers free counseling for emotional and mental health so I will most likely utilize the services there.  Tomorrow I will schedule an appointment with cardiology and go from there.  It seems like aging/being in one’s 40 comes with a bunch of health concerns.  I would really love to live for a long time so I can watch my kids grow.  As a first step, I am motivated to go back to consistently exercising.  It is not an option not to do it anymore.)