Oriental Medicine

Is it even politically correct to say that anymore? Eastern medicine. Korean medicine.. but it’s not just in Korea. Acupuncture is an Asia-thing.

My history: I have back problems, like an old man would have. But.. i’m barely 30. Many moons ago, I was sick from whatever cold or flu was plaguing me. I had just moved back from Hawai’i to Florida and was miserable. Plus always sick. My dad suggested I try acupuncture. He had a hippy-dippy friend who was about to graduate acupuncture school. I thought, “Sure. Why not?” And it hurt. I was miserable. I had one of my biggest fears sticking out of my body in plain sight. There was one point that the pressure built up so bad that I thought my knee would explode. I cried like I was dying. Needless to say (and yet we do anyway), not a good experience.

I have not condoned it and encourage everyone to try their own thing. I had not looked back once. However, since May 2016 (that’s nearly 4 months) I have been experiencing low back pain. It doesn’t radiate anywhere else. But I can’t bend forward, I can’t comfortably bend to the side. Standing, sitting, slouching, and even laying down is uncomfortable. AKA always in pain. Chiropractor isn’t helping. Massage was barely helping. Finally, I gave in and am currently seeing an acupuncturist.

Dr. Yoon (in Kyungridan/Noksapyeong) is really nice. He’s straight to the point. Today was my third session. I have had needles sticking out of me, electro-magnetic waves pulsing through me, and even cups suctioning the life out of me. When your friends say you barely feel it, they lie. It does not feel good. Maybe my trigger points are so bad that the struggle is real. Maybe it’s in my head. I don’t know. I don’t love it. But I’m trying to stick it out. Ha. Needles. Stick. Ouch, it hurts to laugh.

Today the Dr came in and said ‘Today we try venom of bee, okay? Small allergy test… and okay.” My back hurts. I’m exhausted. So far, so meh.
I’ll keep the world posted on my situation.

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Mirena, 1+ year in

**Disclosure: FAMILY – THIS CONTAINS INFORMATION YOU MAY NOT WANT TO READ>>> CLOSE THIS NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT T.M.I. ON MY PERSONAL LIFE!**

 

Last year, I made the decision to say, “Screw you!” to pills, Nuvaring (although I mostly loved it), and any other birth control method short of spaying myself.

I chose to drop a few $$ and insert Mirena. (You can read about the entry here).
It was a painful process. I spent nearly 40 days with spotting and dull cramps. Then one magical day… it stopped. The bleeding, the cramps, the discomfort, and then my life began.
I have been blessed with some good sex in my life. Apparently, this good sex was dulled by previous birth controls. Sex has never been so good. Like.. holy shit. Guys who were maybe average at best, were doing a pretty damn good job. Before Mirena, I was using mostly Nuvaring, occasionally a pill; and I was dull. Sex was just an act. If I got off, it was less often than Halley’s comet. But my sex drive didn’t exist. I seriously pondered my sexuality. Boyfriends and lovers knew I was lying and some thought I had been cheating on them.
Then Mirena happened.
.. as it turns out, I’m very straight. And I’m so much happier with Mirena. Sex. is. awesome. Like– wet, hot summer awesome.

Oh yea! And I lost a bunch of weight! When I had Mirena inserted, I was weighing in at ~73kg (about 160lbs). While I’m sure other factors were involved (leaving an unhappy job, moving up a hill, running to subways and buses for new jobs, etc), I am now at ~63 kg (138-140lb) today.

Menstrual cycles suck. Period. (hah. a favorite of mine) From 6th grade through recent years, my period has been a giant cluster-fuck. They were unpredictable. As Cher would say from Clueless “I was surfing the crimson wave!”… more like Crimson tidal wave. It was hell. I had special clothes to wear because I needed to change and clean them so often. My cramps had me in bed, crying like a child. Sometimes they would last longer than a week.. then reappear about 2 weeks later. Then other times they wouldn’t show for weeks (pregnancy scares what???). I got onto birth control and it helped a bit. But I still had shit strong periods.
Now a year after Mirena insertion, my periods are mostly non-existent. I might get ‘ghost cramps’ once a month and the occasional spotting every other month or less.

Overall, everything is awesome.
But let’s sum a few things up real quick:

Pros: 
1. 5 years of baby-free sexcapades
2. Little to no periods/minimal cramping
3. Higher sex drive
4. Weight lost (subjective)
5. Overall happier life.

Cons:
**denotes possible Pro rather than Con
1. 350,000won (KRW = USD ~275) ((((in the states they said it’d be ~600$USD without insurance)))**
2. PAINFUL AS FUCK DURING INSERTION!!!!! FFFUUUUCCCCCCCK.
3. Bodies may react differently
4. Gotta stock up on condoms for all that sex!**
5. I got nothin.. I can’t think of anything else.

Weight a minute…

I came to Korea 2 years ago. I weighed about 140-145lbs (66-68kg). Prior to that I lived in Thailand and weighed about 135-140lbs (61-63kg)..

In Thailand I had Asian markets and cheap food in small portions. I cooked my own food or ate out but I definitely did my share of eating.. But I was also riding my bicycle around town in the sticky humid heat of Surat Thani. I had a dress and skirt custom made during my last week in that country.

I went back to the U.S. in mid April 2013. During my summer months at home I didn’t do much.. I had Publix around the corner and a large kitchen with ample counter space. I was no longer eating small portions, special spices, or riding my bike everywhere. I hadn’t realized I had gained weight until my friend’s wedding in August when I tried to put on my custom made dress and it was.. Snug to say the least.

I figured I was going back to Asia and would lose weight. My friend Ben tried to warn me that many people gained weight in Korea. I laughed and ignored him.

I moved to Korea in August 2013 weighing about 145lbs / 66 kg.. Ish?

I was gaining weight. I knew this because my pants were getting tighter and tighter.

About a year after living in Ulsan (July 2014) I went to a surgeon about my hernia and he said I’d need to lose weight after the surgery. I weighed in at 72kg..which I quickly converted – and to my shock and dismay – to 158lbs. I had gained more than 10lbs in that year alone.

(Quick backstory: I graduated high school at 120-125lbs. Over the course of 8 years I had barely gained 10lbs) so you can imagine the horror I felt.

I had been working out. I hadn’t been eating a lot of rice. Where did this come from??

I stopped taking pictures of myself and untagging them from Facebook because they were gross. I was gross.

A friend told me to get off birth control and see what happened. I happened to be running out of my prescription anyway so I decided to try it.

In December of 2014, I moved to Seoul. I joined a gym immediately and did my best to go a few times a week at least. I teetered between 71kg-73kg (156-160lbs). I lived in a super tiny apartment with a 2 min walk to work. This only made matters worse. I hate winter and stayed inside my tiny apartment too much..which meant I was eating a lot. I was stressed and unhappy…which meant I was eating a lot.

In April 2015 I went to another surgeon about a ganglion cyst in my wrist. I weighed in at 75kg. I didn’t believe the scale. I was afraid to convert it. I couldn’t even admit the number out loud. I literally would choke. So here goes: 165lbs.

In my highest weight, I was at my lowest point. What. The. Fuck. Was. Happening????

I went to an OBgyn about birth control because obviously that shit wasn’t working and my worst nightmare is becoming pregnant. I wanted an IUD.

(I was supposed to get para guard back in 2011 but chickened out when I saw the tools).

In May 2015 I received Mirena. I was also losing my job and therefore that tiny apartment.

In June 2015 I was having stomach issues. I thought the intense pain was caused by gallbladder problems. Turns out I was extremely backed up. So backed up that the doctor wondered how I was still functioning. Oh.. And I had a mild form of colitis. I took the medications prescribed.

I moved into my new larger apartment on June 22nd 2015. It was on a hill (well, still is).

I had a new schedule that required me to take a subway to work and walk to and from subways. (I’m switching to present tense because it applies to now). I work all over Seoul. I live in HBC, work in Mokdong, and tutor in Gangnam. It’s all over the place.

Somehow though the weight started to dissipate. I went to a gym and was 69kg, which I quickly converted to 152lbs. What???????

Then my student had a scale and we weighed ourselves. I was 67.6kg.. Which I quickly converted to 149lbs. I was below 150!!!!! Holy shit.

I bought my own scale and today I weighed in at 65kg. It was my 1st goal weight. I grabbed clothes that I haven’t been able to fit into since I moved to Korea. And here is the before and after…

February 2015

September 2015

The next goal is 61.5kg (135kg). Let’s see what happens by 2016 😉

Resolutions 2015 Update: August Edition

It’s August 4th. The year is more than halfway completed. I have 5 months to make these resolutions happen. I am so pleased to update this post. There have been some seriously good improvements, and some others that still need improvement. But hey.. ce la vie right?

1. I want to lose weight.

Resolution: Lose 15lbs.

May UPDATE- – – I think I have lost some weight. The heaviest I was at was 75kg (about 165lbs). My average is about 73 kg (about 160lbs). The last time I weighed myself I was at 70.6kg (about 155lbs). When I wrote this, I was thinking of how much to lose, not really a goal weight. I’m changing it to goal weight now. I want to be no more than 140lbs (About 63.5 kg). I have a ways to go, but I will not allow myself to get back up to 165 again. The last time I weighed myself was on my birthday – – I will go find a scale today and see again.
AUGUST UPDATE – – – I HAVE DEFINITELY LOST WEIGHT!! I recently weighed in at 66.7kg (147lbs). I don’t know how I did it. I kind of want to give credit to Mirena, but I also now live on a hill and maybe that has helped a bit?

2. Get laid.
Resolution: get laid at least 20 times – it counts even if it’s with the same person. No need being a slut about it. I’m 28, not 22.
May UPDATE – – – Yes. This is a much better year than last year. Numbers aren’t needed.
AUGUST UPDATE – – – 😉 😉 :* :* I should say mission accomplished, but far from over!

3. Travel
Resolution: Visit 2 new countries again! I would still like to visit Taiwan this year, my goal is Malaysia.
May UPDATE – – – 1 down, 1 to go!! Malaysia was visited in February. I am going to Japan again this weekend with my mother, but it’s still early enough to visit another country!!
AUGUST UPDATE – – – I have visited Malaysia, Japan, and Jeju (and island in Korea). Still have another country to try and visit!

4. VISIT GARY in KL!! (gary – this WILL happen)
May UPDATE – – it did happen! GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!
AUGUST UPDATE – – – Gary is coming to Seoul! for like.. a day ish. But still!!

5. Save 10K – something that is not as easy to do in the US. It’s pretty simple for people working in Korea. When my flight and housing are paid for, I get a pension, and hopefully make a few $ on the side by selling food and what not… this should be easy.
May UPDATE — it’s not as easy. I had two medical procedures this year already that has cost me nearly $1,000 USD. I also missed a market (which makes me a few hundred extra) and haven’t done any massages. My side business is seriously lacking. Hopefully I can start massages again soon though and make that dough!! On the bright side, I found out I have 3kUSD already saved thanks to that pension plan!!
AUGUST UPDATE – – – Failing. After the whole medical procedures thing, I was let go from my job and have new employment. (Details about that in another post coming soon.) So ..yea… not really doing well on the savings resolution. I have been doing massages and voiceovers again, but they haven’t quite added up to a savings bundle. However, it seems that I am at least doing the other stuff right!

Resolutions 2015

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So I didn’t do too badon resolutions last year… some were definitely impractical, others were me just being lazy. However, I did learn a bit from my inability to complete all of my resolutions: make less resolutions!

I will repeat some resolutions from 2014 though…

1. I want to lose weight. Just like everyone else. Except this has to happen. I can’t handle looking at myself in photographs or on a scale. I have never weighed more than I do now and I don’t ever want to again. The number is so despicable to me that I can’t even say it aloud.

Resolution: Lose 15lbs.

2. Get laid. Seriously, I thought I was being practical last year with that whole ‘get laid 20 times’ thing.. such bullshit. However, I refuse to give way to this one. I will get laid at least 20 times – it counts even if it’s with the same person. No need being a slut about it. I’m 28, not 22.

3. Visit 2 new countries again! Last year I had hoped it would be Japan and Taiwan. Instead, it was Japan (twice) and Philippines. I would still like to visit Taiwan this year, my goal instead of Japan is Malaysia. Luckily I have a friend who lives in Kuala Lumpur who I have made many promises to visit….

4. VISIT GARY in KL!! (gary – this WILL happen)

5. Save 10K – something that is not as easy to do in the US. It’s pretty simple for people working in Korea. When my flight and housing are paid for, I get a pension, and hopefully make a few $ on the side by selling food and what not… this should be easy.

 

I originally drafted this and forgot the rest of the resolutions! Oops.. I guess we’re over 3 weeks into the new year anyway. Let’s get it started!

2014 Resolutions: The Final Review..

2014 is almost over. In my head I say, ‘Thank goodness.’ But it hasn’t been a bad year. It just wasn’t a great year. I made a resolutions list for the first time in my life and I think it’s time to do an honest review of how things went….

 

2 – The minimum amount of new countries I will visit (Taiwan and Japan)japan sushiborocaylips
—Goal Achieved, although I didn’t visit Taiwan. I made it to Japan (twice) and Philippines.

0 – My goal for a credit card statement.
— Goal (mostly) Achieved. I have enough to pay it all off and went to do that yesterday, when I noticed a charge of $577 from Hertz (when I had already paid $580 to Hotwire for the car rental). That charge is being disputed. So, stay tuned.

1 – attempt a 5KIMG_3137
— Goal Achieved. I ran my first (and maybe only) 5K in April in Gyeongju at the Cherry Blossom Festival. I did not run the entire thing, but I did a pretty good job of running most of it.

4 – days a week of working out… (unless I can make it more.)
— Goal Failed. 😦 I was doing well the first half of the year, then I had hernia surgery in August and haven’t been to the gym since. 😦

20 – have sex at least this much (it was a bad couple of years)IMG_1832
— MAJOR FAIL. LAME. 6/20 …. I can’t even begin to explain this one. But thankfully, I now live in Seoul and have a Tinder account 😉 Let’s see what happens..

14 – lbs to be lost by 2015
— MAJOR FAIL. STUPID. I have gained 20 lbs in 2 years. I am ashamed and disgusted. The hernia surgery did put a damper on that for a bit. But this year will be different. I am losing that shit.

201 – times I talk to my family
— Definitely accomplished. We talk on the regs.

2-14 – Run two miles in 14 minutes ((I’m a really bad runner))
— Definitely FAIL. I stopped running after the 5K. 🙂 I am not a runner. my boobs are too big.

2014 – smiles (hypothetically)
— I don’t know how this one went. I honestly feel that I may have failed on this one. I am so good at stoney face. Hopefully, more smiles will come in the future.

 

I accomplished 4.5 out of 9 resolutions (the half being the smiles). Look for the 2015 resolution list soon!

Bye Bye Baby: Part 2

For the last 10 years I’ve had a hernia about an inch or two above my belly button. Check out ByeByeBaby for more information on that. 

Well, the surgery is done. It has been just about 3 weeks since I had it taken care of. 

I heard a lot of ‘Wow. You’re brave for getting surgery in a foreign country’ and ‘I hope you didn’t contract anything in that Korean hospital’ – – – Let me tell you something right here, right now. Korean healthcare may not be what us “Westerners” are used to… but I would be in massive debt right now if I had this surgery in the US. My school provides insurance and perhaps that covered a good chunk of it, but I was not insured in the US. The last time I went to the hospital in the US was for a kidney stone that I couldn’t tolerate anymore. that cost nearly $10k. I was in an emergency room for 3 hours maybe? I had blood work done and possibly an xray? or ctscan? Frankly, I can’t remember. The medication cost well over $100 that day as well. 

This ordeal included a CT scan, blood work, urine test, chest xray, 2 ultrasounds, the surgery itself, 2 nights stay in the hospital (shared with one person and had a bathroom), included meals and medicine, plus the medicine after I left the hospital, 2 follow up visits, and a minor surgery to remove excess fluid from the treated area. 

           The total cost: ~600,000won – – – less than $600USD. Even if I hadn’t had insurance this wouldn’t have cost more than $1,500USD.  

So what was the experience like? It was fine. The doctor, Dr. Im, was fantastic. He had a light sense of humor and spoke decent enough English. When he didn’t know a word, he’d look it up or just draw the surgical process. He joked that US doctors couldn’t do the surgery because of their fat fingers – “Asian doctors? We have small hands. Good for small surgery.” 

They briefed me on my pre-surgery do’s and don’t’s. I checked in and had an ultrasound to properly locate the affected area. Then waited in my room for a bit. They stuck an IV in my arm and wheeled me to the surgery room. They gas-masked me and eventually I fell asleep. I dreamed that I had slept too long so when they woke me up, I tried to sit up in a start. Note to self: NEVER SIT UP AFTER SURGERY ON YOUR STOMACH. It was incredibly painful. They brought me back to my room where a friend had been waiting for me. She helped me back into the bed and then I spent a few days in a bed. No, the hospital room wasn’t as accommodating as US hospitals maybe. The bed was hand-crank and I had to get up and do it myself. The phone and help button were on a table that was just out of my reach, so I had to stumble out of bed when I needed help. The IV was put in at an awkward angle and filled my elbow and upper arm with fluid to the point that I couldn’t move my arm. Then they put it in my hand and the same thing happened, and then they put it in my other arm. Luckily before that could do damage, it was time to leave. Each morning, afternoon, and evening they brought Korean food and medicine. The nurses were too afraid to speak English so they just spoke Korean at me and laughed and walked away before I could try and explain my pain levels. That was honestly the worst part – – the lack of English communication by the nurses. They apparently knew basic medical English but were too shy to use it. 

Anyway, 3 weeks later, I’m allowed to ride a bike and clean my apartment and do normal life activities. It still hurts if I eat too much or when I’m bloated.. And when the occasional fuck-face pokes, rubs, or hits my stomach. Otherwise, I’m doing okay, and I look forward to dropping some weight. 

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This is what the waiting list looked like. I was 06. it reads ‘swha-noen’ – – Shannon.

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Breakfast and lunch. IMG_20140801_183719    

 Scar after the stitches were removed and the healing process has begun.   IMG_20140811_093228  

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