When you hear that someone is “quitting” something, you probably think it’s a bad thing. It certainly has a negative connotation to it, like the time I time quit karate after promising my mom I wouldn’t – not too long after my parents bought me the expensive sparring pads. (Sorry, Mom and Dad.) However, I don’t necessarily think being a quitter is always a bad thing. (Quit smoking, you fools…although I doubt many smokers are reading a running/nursing blog, but nevermind that.) (I should also quit using statement in parentheses all the time, but I never said I was a journalistic genius.) Moving on.
I’ve quit a few things over the past year, and I think it’s time to talk about them. Or I don’t have too much to say while injured, so you’re subjected to my thoughts. Away we go.
People have so many opinions about soda, even whether to call it “soda” or “pop” or “soda pop” (or “Coke,” which I’ll never understand). Beyond the naming of it, the health issues with drinking soda are not-so-debated topics with dietitians and population health people. However, I always figured that if drinking diet soda was my big fault, then so be it. A 2am Diet Pepsi was my night shift reward and gave me something to look forward to in those wee hours where you’ll use anything to get you through. Coffee is great, but many times I just wanted something cold a refreshing.
Which was great until I realized that it was less than I wanted it and more than I needed it. I’ll admit, I love the taste of Diet Pepsi. (Not Diet Coke, although I’d drink it.) But on my days off, I’d be walking past Duane Reade and want to stop for one. Need to stop for one. Not a terrible thing, I suppose, but after awhile I realized that maybe “addicted” would be a word to describe this and it needed to stop. My night shift life was coming to an end in August 2014, and I definitely wasn’t going to stop when that little bottle was all that would get me through. Then, of course, shifting from staying up until 9am to waking up at 6am wrecked havoc on my body, so I wasn’t ready to give it up upon leaving night shift behind.
Luckily (or not so luckily at the time), I got really, really sick after the half Ironman I did in September 2014 – as in, please just give me Sprite and chicken noodle soup. Or forget the chicken noodle soup, that’s too much work, I’ll just take the saltines. I went a few days without Diet Pepsi and decided that was the best place to start. It was definitely rough at first – those first few afternoons where I wanted to head to the vending machine with two crisp dollar bills took a lot of resistance. I drank a cup of coffee instead, and it just wasn’t the same.
It’s been about seven months, and I haven’t had a Diet Pepsi since. My soda has been limited to the one time I got nauseated in a cab en route to the airport, so I bought a ginger ale…that’s fair, right? I can’t say I feel any different – I didn’t lose weight (wasn’t trying to), I didn’t feel less bloated (is that even an expected change?), and I don’t crave sweets less (quitting candy is hard…). I can’t tell if my gums are better or if I’m drinking more water.
I can’t tell if it even makes a difference that I quit soda, or if I’m just tooting my own horn. (Kelly and Betsy, please weigh in!) I don’t know if it’ll be forever or if one day I’ll order a soda and not think twice about it. It was a tough habit to kick, and I’m not ready to tempt myself quite yet.
picking at my nails
Okay, this might gross some of you out. I apologize. For years, I’ve lived with deformed thumbnails. I’m not sure when I first noticed them – late high school? Early college? I think more toward early college. My thumbnails grew thick with ridges and concave looks to them, which never really bothered me until someone would ask, “What happened to your thumb??” and I never thought it was weird until I realized that it was both thumbs.
I remember internet searching for a reason one day, and koilonychia, or the spooning of nails, came up as an answer. Koilonychia tends to result from being anemic, which I was in high school. So I attributed it to that. I read it might never go away. But my nails had these horizontal ridges that didn’t quite fit the bill. Still not being too bothered by it, I moved on with my life.
The only time that it really bothered me (read: embarrassed me) was when people would notice. I tend to shy away from things like manicures for this reason, as I feel like the nail techs are silently judging me. (Maybe they’re not, it’s all in my head…and at least I don’t have a nail fungus?) Embarrassed when my friends would want to go get manicures, I did another round of research and found something called “habit tic deformity.” When pictures showed up (thank you, google image), it was exactly what my nails look like.
The cause? Damage to the cuticle, mainly from picking at the skin. Well my friends, I tend to spend all day every day picking at my thumbnails, so why that never occurred to me before is beyond me. I do it without thinking about it and even more so when I’m nervous about something (which is just about all the time), so it’s a hard habit to crack.
It seems like an odd New Year Resolution, but I finally decided to tackle this problem. It’s purely cosmetic, so I don’t really ever need to stop, but it is kind of embarrassing. The tips for fixing habit tic deformity are very simple – just stop picking. If only it was that simple, my friends.
I put super glue on my cuticles (or, where the cuticles are supposed to be). I covered them with Bandaids. Ultimately, the second those Bandaids came off, I was back to ripping my skin to shreds. (It doesn’t hurt, in case you were wondering.) Finally, I decided to do one nail at a time…to ease myself into this. I covered my left thumb nail with a Bandaid for about a month straight (I should have bought stock in it…), and eventually I stopped. Nails take a longggg time to grow, so it was hard not seeing the fruits of my daily labor. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized my nail was smoothing out and I actually had a cuticle on my left hand! It’s the little things in life.
Of course, I’ve started and failed at working on my right hand – I just need to buy seven boxes of Bandaids and go for it. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be successful.
So this wasn’t quite as successful as the soda situation, but I’m working on it. These subconscious habits die hard.
Wouldn’t this be a great way to be like, “PEACE OUT, BLOG! I QUIT RUNNING!” Bet you wouldn’t see that one coming, mainly because I like to run too much. So, I’m not quitting running, but running seems to be quitting me. Namely, I’m not even going to try to run Eugene (even the half), which works out okay since they’re are plenty of fun things to do in Portland. I still want to run Eugene some day, but this year apparently isn’t my year. (In more ways than one, #dramatic.)
I’m still not quite sure what is going on with my hip/groin, but it has been suggested that perhaps it is my SI joint, so I’ve been doing exercises for that. And Pilates. And yoga. And yes, running sometimes. The x-ray and MRI ruled out a stress fracture, so I suppose that’s a good thing. When I do run, I don’t run for very long…it’s actually a bit self-limiting because it’s been about a month and it’d be painful to run “long” anyway. We shall see. I’ve been told you can get cortisone shots for your SI joint, which might be an option if this pain doesn’t go away in the near future. I did a whole bunch of squats/lunges/etc on Tuesday, and now my entire body hurts, so I’m not sure what pain is what, ha. Hopefully some more pilates/stretching/strengthening will help.
Running, you can’t quit on me.
Now taking suggestions for the following:
Things to do in Portland
Things to do in Seattle
Ideas for Nurses Week posts