Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Problems with Drug and Insurance Companies...

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 2006, I originally thought that I would be lucky and only have to deal with oral medications.  Six years into managing this disease, oral medications were not cutting the issues and insulin shots were introduced.  After a year, just the extended release was not making much difference.  That was when I was introduced to seeing a endocrinologist and Diabetes America.

Upon my initial visit, I was introduced to using a "fast acting" insulin, Novolog.  A decision to use this medication was dependent on which fast acting insulin was supported by my insurance company and if the co-pay was reasonable.  One thing to remember, for me, my insurance company makes me pay full price on anything until I have reached my minimal deductible.  After that, depending upon the insurance coverage level, you could pay 70-30, 80-20, or 90-10.  So, at the beginning of each new year, one refill of my insulin can help me meet my deductible quickly - that is no joke.

So, yesterday, I had my 3 month visit with the endocrinologist and Diabetes America educator.  When I got weighed, I had gained a few ounces, but overall, I was around the same weight I was at the dietician's office.  However, here, I had gained weight from my last visit in January.  I was not going to allow that to bother me because it is what it is.

I had to spend some time with the educator.  I think she was disappointed with me because I am seeing the dietician on my eating.  That is part of her job, but when I am there, it is always the same thing - Have you tried the measuring cups?  How about the deck of cards for protein?  So, it was nice not to talk about food, especially since I was hungry and they do not offer any peanut butter and crackers.

She was impressed that my blood sugar numbers were closer to normal and my A1C had dropped from 7.8 to 6.7.  I was hoping to see a good A1C and I will take that.  I just need to make sure to continue to eat well and such.  However, she began discussing putting me onto a new medication. 

One medication I am currently taking, Victoza, is not really an insulin.  The medication is designed to help the current insulin that the body is producing to help lower blood sugar.  It has also been known to help with losing weight.  I have been using Victoza for awhile, but I am still using a large amount on the extended release, Toujeo, to help with lowering my blood sugar.  

This new medication, Saxenda, is Victoza on steriods.  It was found that while Victoza does help with weight loss, it will lead to a plateau.  To help with that, a new formulation was created and you can inject more units than you could with Victoza.  I was considered a good candidate for this medication and they were eager to have me use it.

I got two samples of the medication to take home.  I inject myself with the maximum dosage of Victoza and 0.6 units of Saxenda.  During this time, the educator went about the business to validate my insurance company would cover the medication and how much it would cover.

Luckily, I was smart enough to not put a lot of stack into this new medication.  This morning, I found out that my insurance company would not cover the medication.  Furthermore, the cost per month for the medication was $893.  Good grief!

It really sickens me that we have to pay so much for medications.  To make matters worse, you can only use those medications that the insurance company will cover because you know darn good and well that you cannot afford them otherwise.  

Whether or not this country gets socialized medical coverage or not, this will always remain an issue.  Patients out there who could really benefit from these types of medications will never have access because they cannot afford the insane price.

The last thing the educator said was "Maybe next year the price will be lower once it has been on the market for over a year."  For some, that might be too late.  It is just sad.  It really takes the wind out of getting good results and feeling good about the work you put into doing it.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Keeping the Little Grey Cells Active...

I realize I have a certain amount of ADHD/OCD and sometimes, that seems to prohibit me from completing some tasks.  For example, signing up for free computer programming courses, then by the second to third week, I am already so behind that there is no way to catch up.  Why?  Probably because I want to make 100% all of the time - nothing else is acceptable.  It should all be perfect.

Well, I need to squash that concept and realize that nothing in this world is perfect, not even my scores.  I want to learn, but I must force myself NOT to get caught up in that crazed world I used to live in when I was a teenager.  Sometimes, we make mistakes and the purpose for mistakes is to learn from them.  Understanding why you do path B vs path A.

I have signed up for a few computer language courses, but they are at self-pace.  I recently signed up for a College Algebra course.  Why?  Well, I have noticed that when I did take math courses in the past, I could sit down and work on them to pass the time.  Yes, nerdy as all get out, but I am not on a computer.  I spent a majority of my day in front of a computer, but doing math homework, I can sit in bed or on the sofa while watching TV and work out a problem.  Sometimes, I will go back over a problem just to make sure I understand the methodology behind the resolution.

On edx.org, the College Algebra course I am auditing is interesting.  You have to write out all of the equations.  For example, you cannot just assume (x+7)(x-3) is as you read it.  It must be written out in this format:  (x+7)*(x-3).  Okay - no problem.

However, since I am auditing the course, I won't have to deal with the headaches associated with taking the final exam.  You see, you have to have a really strong internet connection when it comes time to take the final exam.  The expectation is that you have a web cam available, you may not use any notes, other web sites than specified, or have someone there to help you.  Basically, they are going to monitor over the internet as if you were in a class room with a proctor.

How is that for using advanced technology!

That totally freaked me out, but at the same time, I understood the need to do this.  So, I will let you know how this course goes, but wow, I am glad I am auditing it.

Dietician Check Up - One Month Visit #1...

One thing to keep in mind here, the dietician is there for accountability.  I realized the other day that this was better than visiting the doctor every month.  I spend 30 minutes discussing current eating habits, have I noticed when I had overeating triggers, exercise, and how to manage other issues involving food.  Basically, therapy for those of us with eating issues.  The counselor is part of this combination to help me with anxiety and other personal issues.  

Wednesday was my return visit to see the dietician after a month.  I have been working on drinking more water, making better food choices, noting when I do binge and what I binge, and logging what went into my mouth.  My initial visit, I was so bloated and the scale even showed that.  I was still a bit nervous that I only had a 2 pound change.

To my surprise, I had lost 6.6 lbs since my last visit.  Yay!  I realize that part of that weight loss was probably the bloating/swelling, but I will take it.

I felt relief that I had not felt in quite some time.  I actually felt like - I can do it this time and I will.

I went over how I tried to get the 10 minutes of walking done, but mainly, I focused on my food intake.  With the back and knee pain as well as getting the Sinvisc injections, walking for myself was just something I could not do.  I am doing physical therapy 2 times a week, so I do get in about 5 minutes on the bike.  I really feel good about that because I am cycling faster than I had been in October.  Before the knee pain, I was pedaling about 5.8 to 6.2 MPH.  Once the pain hit and I had issues with the knee, I was pedaling down to 3.5 MPH.  I barely could get up to 4.0 MPH due to the knee pain.  Now, I am back up to pedaling about 5.2 MPH.  I will take that any day.

It encourages me to look for a portable bike pedal system that I can use in the apartment.  I am looking at that as a cost saving piece.  It is in the house, but won't be as expensive as a real stationary bike and save me on gym membership fees.  Still, I am mulling all of this over - I want to make the right decision.  But, the fact that I can ride a bike makes it easier for me to turn to that for my exercise.  

Overall, during this visit, the dietician and I went over the pie graph and addressed areas where I needed improvement.  Also, discussed how to handle eating out, which I do well, but I have my moments where I just want something I probably should not eat.  However, that is okay.  Just keep in mind to do it in moderation - do not eat the whole plate.  Get a to-go box when you get the entree and divide up - out of sight, out if mind.  Also, make sure to drink an entire glass of water before eating.  This does a lot of me - ensures I get my water needs met, allows me to feel full while eating, so I won't eat as much.  All bonuses.  (I did that last night while at Olive Garden with a friend for dinner.  Drank one large glass of water before dinner, ate a good bit of salad, then only about a quarter of my entree.  I was pretty full - the point where I felt I was waddling back to the car.)

I have another month to work on the small changes and keep myself in check.  I may not lose as much as I did this time.  However, I will take any loss I can get, however small it may be.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fun Activities List...

I am not even sure how to start this particular entry.  Last year, Random Cathy and I did Painting With a Twist - where you go and paint a picture using acrylic paints.  In the beginning, I felt that my painting was not as pretty as the others.  I loved the moon, the poppies, and the dark blue background, but at first, I was not too sure.

As I stood away from the painting and looked at it, the more I started to fall in love with it.  What made me really fall in love with it was that I made it.  I remembered how I tried to take such care with the colors to get them just right.  I also have this picture in my head of this beautiful night scene.  The sky is a beautiful midnight blue with a full moon beaming down over a river or lake.  The trees and ground surrounding the water is a lush green.  For me, that is my serene place and I do not know if it even truly exists.  However, my painting takes me back to that place.

I did go back to Painting With a Twist to try my hand on a more complicated painting.  Quite honestly, it looks like the 5 year old in me made it.  Basically, it looks like a mess.  I was really disappointed and believe me, I tried to see the beauty in it, but it just does not work.  Upon reflection, I realize where the problem stems.  The first class, I never felt rushed to do the painting.  I was relaxed and took my time.  With the second painting, the teacher rushed through this process and I felt very behind.  Also, my strokes did not follow with hers and it just made the painting worse.

However, it brought me back to this thought:  I created something beautiful on my own.  Why not try to see if you can learn to be better - do something fun.  That was one of the big reasons I love the first painting so much - I created it.  Sure, it is a copy from what someone put together, but the fact is, I made it and I love its imperfections.  It takes me to that serene place that I really enjoyed.  

So, with that in mind, I signed up for a drawing and painting course with Michael's.  I think it may take me back to my 8th grade days when I had art class.  Maybe there is some creativity inside of me that I need to cultivate.  However, this is not about "working", but enjoying the creativity.  It may never be perfect, but find the beauty in what is imperfect.

I was also thinking of other things I really would love to try.  I need to sit down and put all of this down in a notebook and work on the list.  Try something and see if I like it, then maybe do it again or more.  Look for ways to be more organized, maybe not as minimalist as others, but learn how to downsize to make life easier.  Other areas for just creativity.

Perhaps, I will find what makes me happy and keep my mind off of those things that tend to bring me down.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Going to Be a Long, Hard Road Ahead...

This week, I started going to physical therapy.  My orthopedic ordered 4 to 6 weeks of PT for 2 to 3 times a week.  Right now, working on just 2 times a week.  

The first session was simply evaluating where I was - knee range and so forth.  Also, it was the day my back hurt like crazy.  I felt I could not stand straight and even bending down for relief was not helping.

My second session was doing various exercises to build up the quad and other muscles around the knee.  Make those muscles stronger to help with keeping the knee pain down.  I also got help with doing piniforis stretching.  I had to have the help.  If I did not weight what I do now, I could have probably accomplished that.  Unfortunately, my girth prevented me, but one of the physical therapists helped me.

I actually like going to this physical therapy group.  Everyone is very nice and non-judgemental.  A lot like my personal trainer - I feel that they are there to help me, not bring me down.

I managed to ride the recumbant bike and get a speed of 5.2 mph.  Before the initial knee issues, I was able to do 6.2 mph.  Once my knee started having a lot of pain, I was lucky to reach 4.0 mph because it hurt so bad.  This actually gave me hope.  While I only did about 5 minutes and there was some discomfort, I thought - I can actually do this!  Perhaps, there is a glimmer of hope for losing weight after all.  I have been working hard to eat properly, but the past week has been a stressful one.  I will discuss those issues with my counselor, though.

Today, my legs are so very sore.  I am sure tomorrow, it will be better, but I need to remind myself that I need to do my part.  That is - do those exercises at least 2 times a day when I am not in the therapy office.  I also need to remember, I have a long road a head of me for both recovery and weight loss.  I am already frustrated with my weight, but I have got to get this wrapped around my head.  I am just not going to lose it overnight.

I get more frustrated at trying to eat properly, then I run in to the low blood sugar drops.  While I mainly drink a lot of water or Vitamin Water Zero, or unsweet iced tea, I have to drink some sodas to help pull up the blood sugar.  On the other hand, I have watched my morning blood sugar numbers stay between 120-140, so that is a HUGE bonus.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I just hope not to lose faith in myself.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Techno Joy...

Anyone that knows me understands that I am probably the "Queen of Misplaced Items."  I try hard to put things, like keys, in one place, but every once in awhile, life gets in the way and I put them where they are not easily located.

I had seen Tile ads on Facebook for a few years.  I thought it was a great idea, but I had not actually gone through purchasing one.  Until yesterday afternoon.

I was at Best Buy to get a cable that would convert an HDMI connection to fit either a VGA or DVI.  Before I even got to where the cables were located, I came across the Tile display and I was already curious.  Pricing was decent - $24.99 for one and $69.99 for a package of 4.  I did not catch the price for 8, but I did not need that many...at least, not now.

Downloading the Tile application was a bit of a pain.  It took several times from the Apple App Store to finally get the app downloaded to my phone.  Once the app was downloaded, the software steps you through creating an account, then setting up your first tile.  You press on the "e" on the actual Tile and via Bluetooth, the connection is made and the Tile is activated.

The tile can be located via map or by pressing a button on the app to "Find" the tile.  The little tile will get the message and start ringing a tune.  The tune will continue to ring until you press the "Found" button on the app.  I like that feature because I have lost one of the wireless handsets for my landline and that "Find me" tune only lasts a minute.  That only aggravates me when I am trying to find it.  

Also, each tile can be individually located.  Even better in my book!  Looking for the same phone handset is a HUGE pain in the butt because when I attempt to find one handset, I have all of them making a noise.  This way, if I have multiple tiles, I can locate only one, rather than having all of them ringing at the same time.

As you can see, I have already put a Tile on my house keys.  I will also put a Tile on my car key.  I would put both on the same keychain, but the gate opener has to be available for opening the complex gate.

I am also considering putting a Tile in my medicine bag.  It is a real pain trying to find one's medication when you do not know if you took it out of the purse or book bag.  Looking forward to this new techno gadget working for me.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

When the Mind and Body Do Not Agree...

I finally had my last Sinvisc injection on Monday.  My knee remained painful for most of the week.  To add insult to injury, my back pain has started to return, thus making it difficult to just walk.  When I get an opportunity to walk with little to no pain, I thank God and reflect on how grateful I am.

Next week, I start on physical therapy on my knee for the next 4 to 6 weeks.  I am also cracking down on what I eat and making sure I eat properly.  I just hope that all of this will come together and help me feel lots better.  I would like to be able to walk with no pain and just enjoy life walking the dogs.

This morning, I woke up and felt like I could do a lot.  However, when I started walking, my body starts telling my mind "You better think again on that."  I try not to drag myself down into that.  Last night, I had Chloe barking and griping at me and I just felt the whole weight of the world on my shoulders.  I try to do what I can, but I am slow at best and in major pain at the worst.  I hate it, but I keep hoping that better days are ahead of me.  I just have to weather this storm.

I spend time realizing how much pain my own mother had endured outside of having cancer.  I understand more clearly now how someone may look fine on the outside, but actually be suffering in major pain.  Sort of like when I went to get my final injection on Monday.  While waiting to see my orthopedic for the shot, a gentleman on crutches came into the reception room.  Once it was established that he did not need to pay or make another appointment, my father quickly got up and opened the door for the manOnce the man exited with no issues, my father sat down next to me and said "I know how it is when you are on crutches."  I smiled and mentioned I remembered those days when I was 3 years old.  (Reader's Digest Update:  When I was 3 years old, I was riding with my father in his Toyota - only had the car for 2 weeks, when a man who had been drinking plowed into the driver's side of the car.  Luckily, my father had a broken hip, but he was in the hospital for a long time and had to be on crutches for recuperation.  I say "Luckily" in that nothing worse happened to him).  

Now, I understand how debilitating chronic pain can really be.  I do wish some people actually got it.  I am still asked by some to go out, but I end up doing more walking than I should.  When I overdo it, my back and knee will let me know it and I am down for a few days.  It gets me down emotionally at the same time.  Some times, I feel that this is the rest of my life and, wow, that is a pretty depressing thought. 

I have two other issues that have me rather confused.  My hands are incredibly dry, so they crack and bleed.  Dried out hands, but I also have swollen feet.  I know I am carrying around about 10 lbs of water based on the size of my feet right now.  I have gone to the doctor and I got water pills, but that did nothing.

Today, I am going to pick up something to help raise my feet up a bit and see if that helps.  Right now, I have no idea which move to make to help my feet.  Somewhere - this whole situation has to get better.   

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Nine Years Ago Today...

As I reflect on this today, I still find it difficult to believe.  Nine years ago today, I adopted a funky blue merle pomeranian who was originally called "Bo-Bo".  I changed his name to just "Bo" because "Bo-Bo" was reserved for when he was being a clown.  

All my life, dogs have been there in some form or fashion.  For the longest time, I loved them, but maybe too much because the dogs would move away from me.  Not Bo.  He could not get enough of his new "mama."  

I took Bo to my parents' house the day I got him to introduce him to my parents and Chloe.  To say Chloe was not happy about Bo is an understatement.  She let me know right there and then she was none too pleased about this new dog in the house.

My mother was concerned for Bo's well-being.  The poor little guy was underweight.  He was maybe 1.5 to 2 years old and only weighed 8.6 lbs.  You could feel inbetween his ribs.  Let's make this situation worse by the fact he had darn near every kind of worm, except heart worms in his system.  I had been promised he had been de-wormed, but that was a load of garbage.

He was a sickly little guy.  I tried to get him dog food that he could eat, but that was difficult to do.  Whatever went inside came right back out.  By Wednesday of that week, I finally took him to Chloe's vet, Dr. Welch, and asked her to check him.  That was when I learned of the worms, which made me ill, and he had an intestinal infection due to all of that.  Also, since his pancreas was not helping him absorb the nutrients, he needed pancrezyme to help.  I had been given pills, but Dr. Welch stated that the pills did not work so well - the powder formula proved to be better, so I got some of that.  Bo got his shots and we were on our way.

Before, Bo was just not in a good mood.  He was sick.  By the time we got home that day, the little guy's fiesty side began to show.  He tried to chase a bunny and attacked a stuff toy in the apartment.  Also, he refused to sleep alone in his crate.  Bo slept in my arms on the sofa that night.  When I woke up, he was belly up, which told me that he felt safe and secure with me.  That is probably the greatest honor to ever have - knowing that an animal feels safe with you.

Even today, Bo follows me everywhere.  He never likes to be far away from me.  When we are outside, he is my little protector.  At night, he sleeps at the foot of the bed to make sure he alerts me of any strangers.  Bo is my special little guy.  I had prayed for a man in my life and I got Bo.  That is what makes him so special - he is mine and I am his human.  His spot in my heart is very deep.  That is how much I just love this little guy.

Happy Adoption Day to you, Bo!

Rearranging Life...

A week or so ago, I had my first visit with a dietician.  Before even discussing with the dietician, I had a pretty strict idea of what I am supposed to be eating for managing my diabetes.  However, I felt a need for a "reboot".  When a plan or idea is not working, you just have to go for the reboot.  What is it that is wrong or causing you not to be successful at what you are attempting to do or achieve?

I admit, I am also seeing a counselor to help with any emotional issues.  I read a story about a man who was overweight, like myself.  He was enduring a lot of back issues and just was unable to keep up.  Being a reporter/newspaper writer, I would presume that he needs to be in better shape.  Then, again, in all jobs, I am sure we should all be in better shape.  

When it came to the decision to get weight loss surgery, he chose to do it the old fashion way - diet and exercise.  Weight loss surgery comes with a lot of "don'ts" and "nevers" or additional things you will have to do in order to avoid losing your hair and what have you.  Sure, it helps reverse type 2 diabetes, but when you were trying to get off of medications, you are loaded down with taking more vitamins and so forth due to the extreme nature of your surgery.  Basically, you are unloading one burden for another.  That is not acceptable to me.

I have lost large amounts of weight in the past.  However, something triggers me to either give up or just quit making the good choices.  That can be emotional as well as burn out.  For example, you bust your butt trying to lose that 5 lbs, but just cannot - that sick game of down 3 lbs, then back up 2 lbs.  The frustration of it and feeling like a failure. 

On a personal note, I would like to thank the jerk who stood me up after I lost 125 lbs many moons ago.  What a kick in the pants that was for me emotionally.  My mother called it - she knew that what he had done would hurt me so badly that I would start gaining the weight.  She was right.  I had.  However, why?  Why did I let someone who treated me so badly affect me like this?  That is what I need to figure out and determine how to avoid it.

Negativity seems to be a huge thing with people.  I remember when I found out I had type 2 diabetes.  I went to the education class and the nutritionist there basically stated that I should have 45 g of carbs for my largest meal of the day, then 30 g of carbs for the other two meals, and snacks would be 15 g of carbs.  However, each meal, for a woman, should be 400 calories, at most.  Men were able to have more calories in their meal.  1200 calories for all three meals, then 300 calories for all snacks together - 1500 calories for the entire day.  Small wonder I lost 13 lbs that first month.  I will admit, I was really surprised when I found that out because I had lost the most in my small group.

I continued to eat properly according to the nutritionist and was losing more weight.  I felt really good about myself and was getting more confident.  However, a co-worker was talking to me about my weight loss and starts in about "Well, it is going to get harder now.  What you lost was just water and now, losing the real weight will be even more difficult."

Sure enough, I started hitting a plateau and all I could hear was those words.  In addition to that, I had just adopted Bo and was going to school.  Talk about all of the added stress - trying to work out a schedule with Bo and I and dealing with school.  School ended up getting the low end of the totem pole and life began to unravel as I ended all of my efforts by going to Braum's for a hot fudge sundae.  I was tired and frustrated.

I gained back all of the 50 lbs I had lost.  I quit exercising.  Why?  I did not have time.  I was too busy.  The real issue was that I was allowing others to take over my life and I had no control over it.  For that, I am truly ashamed of myself.  I allowed other people to dictate to me how I should be living my life or who I needed to serve before myself.  

Anyone who uses the "I'm so busy" excuse needs to take a step back and re-evaluate their life.  If you are so busy that you neglect things, you need to determine if those things, events, or even people are worth your time or not.  My life and health are worth something to me.  Upon the events of people I know passing away due to illnesses and such, it has been a real reality check for me about my own mortality.  Brutal honesty, it freaking scares me.

So, here I am with my own health issues.  Managing type 2 diabetes is one monkey I probably will never get off of my back.  However, I can keep it at bay.  Now, I am working on how to manage the back and knee pain.  The best way - lose weight.

Therefore, I am trying to rearrange my life to be not only more positive, but look for ways to be healthier.  No more diets.  Diets just do not work.  Small lifestyle changes do work.  If anything, I have been better at drinking more water over the past 2 years than I ever was when I was dieting.  I made an effort and, to be honest, drinking just water actually pays off, especially when going out to eat.  I save myself the extra money by not getting a diet soda or iced tea.

What other lifestyle changes do I need to make?  First, I am booting all of those ideas that the first nutritionist provided.  It is not that necessary to make things so strict.  My take away goals for this month from the dietician are:

1.  Log all drinks/food in MyFitnessPal.  Strive for 1800-2000 calories/day.
2.  Eat 3 meals and one afternoon snack
3.  Limit starches to 1 cup with a meal or carb count
4.  Avoid liquid calories - I think I have this one down, but keep going.
5.  Exercise 2 times a week for just 10 minutes.

Let's be honest.  Since the injury to my back in June 2014 and subsequent knee (severe osteo-arthritis) pain since Labor Day weekend September 2015, I have not been very active.  From what the FitBit tells me, I am pretty lucky to hit the mid-point of the 10,000 steps per day.  I am not being very active.  Also, the pain has really dragged me down emotionally.  What do I do when I feel depressed?  I turn to food for comfort.  So, that needs to end as well.

I need to quit worrying about money issues.  That simply means that I will continue to pay the bills on time and work on reducing debt.  Use cash when going out to eat and be more restrictive on purchases.  I did a lot last year to reduce my debt.  Now, I need to continue to crack down.  Once that get cleared out, then I can add more to my savings account.

Clear the clutter in my life - emotionally and physically.  Do the best I can with clearing clutter in the apartment.  Today, I will probably pick up another folding chair.  While the Sinvisc appears to be working (Yay!), my back is starting to pull.  I have already ordered both a back and a knee brace for an overweight person to help me.  However, if I have a chair, I can sit in the folding chair, work on tossing clutter, sorting out laundry and so forth.

Work on eating out less and cooking more.  I do enjoy cooking and like to try new recipes.  I will start checking Cooking Light and Clean Eating for interesting recipes to try.  I am working on the weekend to do meal planning for the week.  Maybe that will also help me in making sure I eat properly.  I know I need to gather up my measuring cups again for use.  I also still have the food scale available for weighing meats and such.  In that area, I am prepared.

I feel that rearranging my life will help me with incorporating the small lifestyle changes I need to be successful with losing weight.  I will need to remind myself that my weight loss is not about vanity as much as it is general health.  The less weight on my frame, the easier it will be to move about with my back and knee.

Since this web site is about my changes, let's reboot this and see how successful I will be on this journey.  My hope is that these changes will stick and life will become much richer for me physically and emotionally.