Monday, February 1, 2016

A Detailed Description of My Crappy Health Situation.

" You've been unfairly judged your whole life"
A couple of years ago I noticed I wasn't losing weight even though I was working my tail off, and eating well. I went in to the doctors, had bloodwork done, and I was diagnosed with insulin resistance, and put on a special diet that only lasted a summer. It was complicated! "You can only eat such and such grains on mondays and tuesdays, on wednesday's and thursday's we eat protein and veg only" yadda yadda, I felt like I was part of a mean girl clique. I didn't want to have to monitor my eating so closely, plus I was annoyed because I became that person who could only eat certain things. I just figured I would eat less and work out and be done with the high stress eating. So that was short lived, but over the course of the last year, mostly this last summer, I noticed my energy levels had gone way way down. I was supposed to be working on marketing and getting my photography business more business, but instead I was sleeping away most of the summer. Then my good friend Anne passed away on July 1 and the rest of the summer was pretty much all grieving in a bittersweet kind of way. There were sweet moments, and the beauty of summer, but the sting of death coupled with the realization that I wouldn't be laughing with Anne the flesh anyway, was a lot to process.

Starting school in the fall of my last year of college, I knew I needed to step it up a notch. BUT I JUST DIDN'T HAVE THE ENERGY. I was so frustrated, I needed to get so much done for my BFA and take the dreaded math class. I ended up not passing my BFA class (it's currently on hold) and the only class I need to graduate is math, but I barely have a game plan at this point.

I love school. I love it so much. I enjoy learning new and interesting things, and having sophisticated discussions about art, and why we do what we do. I love working in the darkroom and helping students with their assignments and I feel honored that they ask for my opinion on their compositions and techniques. I want to teach someday! I love photography and would love to work someday for UVU or any other college. I've even been thinking about a masters, or having my own studio with cute decorations and all the things I need for perfect lighting etc. I could take pictures of cute babies and toddlers for a career! I can do anything! I have dreams people! BIG ONES. I want to be successful, because that's who I am.

However. These last few months have been so, so difficult. I can only describe it as being in a dark mental sea of inertia, where I'm literally just living. I'm going through the daily motions of life, I smile, I eat, I sleep, I wake. But there's not much else. The days blur together, I cancel plans with friends and I don't go to parties that I say I'm going to. I haven't taken a proper picture for myself since christmas, I had a dream that my camera was covered in dust and I was working in some job I hated paying bills with meager earnings.

I have a hard time sleeping often, and Andrew tries to help me sleep by having me close my eyes and think of the ocean, he imagines my ocean for me, full of life and color. But in my mind's eye it's deep, dark and I'm on the bottom of the marianas trench, 7 miles down. I'm sitting legs crossed, hair floating above me, no light, no life, and it's silent. That is my peace, and it's usually not like that.

I knew something was wrong, I couldn't breathe right, I'm so sad, I haven't laughed hard lately. Anytime I went anywhere I'm huffing puffing, and then I'm completely drained of energy. I've been sleeping for 12+ hours a day and I'm still exhausted, and I've been bleeding (period, sorry) for 3 months straight, this last month was so heavy I thought I'd have to go to the emergency room. Something was wrong, seriously wrong so I had some blood work done and I got my results today.

She checked my thyroid which wasn't checked last time. Turns out I'm incredibly low on all levels of everything.

Hypothyroidism, she says. My body isn't making enough hormones and that's why I'm bleeding uncontrollably, and I'm so anemic from the excess bleeding, my red blood cells are so irregularly shaped I'm at a high risk of a friggin stroke!?

In addition to my depression issues, just a few symptoms as of late:


  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory


  • Easy fatigue and loss of energy
  • Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
  • Shortness of breath and headache particularly with exercise
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Leg cramping
  • Insomnia

Basically all the things that make a girl feel smart and pretty. 

Though the best part of this crappy situation is that the effects of the hypothyroidism is not my fault. I have had no control over this situation, and it's not actually flaws in my character. Which for a long time I was so convinced I was turning into a lazy stupid person. 

My inner thoughts lately-
 "you're so stupid Laura, just go to the gym, just stop eating, just stop being dumb, you're so slow, are you an idiot? Can't you see you're so lazy you're becoming a fat stupid person" 
Especially in the last few weeks I have felt so lazy and stupid. I can't make connections, and I'm too tired to exercise, so I feel slothful and even more crappy about myself. I know it sounds horrible. Because it is! Hopefully those horrible thoughts will subside but I'm thinking medicine won't take care of that.

The good news is that I'm now on a better set of medications, and I literally have to double up on birth control because even though I've been on a normal dose for 2 weeks, because I'm still bleeding I need more hormones to make my body stop. Heaven help my husband! 

I know I'm a big woman, those of you who see big women, please please please don't make assumptions about their exercise and eating habits. I can't tell you how many times in the last year I've heard from friends and family "just go out for a walk" or " eat less, move more it's science!" though I appreciate the sentiment, I already knew that I needed to do those things, and I only really felt worse about myself.

I really hope that I can at least get my energy back, if I can do that I can do the rest of the work. I want to be healthy so bad! So wish me luck!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Craziest Weekend Ever.

A week ago my friend Valor and I were in class and she was talking about convincing her husband to go to capitol reef national park for the weekend. I understood this because I often have to convince my husband to do random adventures as well. So I chimed in and said "lets just go, we can split the cost of the trip and get some awesome pictures"

Saturday morning Valor picked me up and we headed down to Capitol Reef, the 3 hour drive was uneventful until Salina.

I noticed I had quite a few calls from my sister and dad, and I knew something was wrong.

This is the part where it gets personal-

My father called my sister Emily and I and informed us that he had taken 50 Valium and was drinking a bottle of vodka, he was committing suicide and wanted to say goodbye. My sister called me in a panic " this is beyond my maturity level, you're the oldest you need to deal with this" I was quite calm and not really freaking out which is odd. Maybe it's the new meds, anyway Valor and I had stopped at a funky antique store and was looking around, so I had a little reception and was able to deal with it.
I called my dad immediately and talked with him, he was feeling hopeless and sounded absolutely out of it. I tried to get him to go and throw up the meds but he refused. (back story) My mom left my dad about 6 months ago and both my sister and I are REALLY bad at calling my dad often. I did see him a month ago and he seemed to be doing well, but he's apparently a good actor. I had no idea he was feeling this way.

I told my dad I loved him and that I would be calling him back, I called the Kingman police and sent over help. In my gut I knew he'd be okay, so this might sound a little cold...but we decided to keep going. At that point I felt I really needed to just immerse in photography in a secluded space. I have dealt with both parents breakdowns my whole life, and I have had to distance myself in order to keep my own sanity. I cannot be responsible for their actions anymore. It was a hard place to be, but I feel like I have mastered that for my own mental health. I love my parents and I'm proud of my mom for getting out when she did and making her life better.

*update* My dad is fine, although he will need to be admitted to an assisted living facility he will get the help he needs. My mom drove to Kingman from Texas and is dealing with all the house stuff now.

We arrived in Capitol reef around 4 ish checked into our really weird hotel and headed out to the park.

The first night was great! Adventurous and we were able to shoot some amazing places.

The second day we headed out to Cathedral Valley and shot all around that location.

I can't quite figure out where, but we took a wrong turn and thought because of the dry conditions we would end up at the 72 then head over to the 70 then to I15. But we ended up on a snowy mountain and in retrospect we shouldn't have ignored the first patch of snow. The second patch was much worse and when we tried to plow through, the back tires half in mud and half in snow, just started sliding towards the edge of the road. Which was about a 100 ft drop on the side. We tried digging out the truck, adding dry dirt and rocks, but when Valor tried driving out I was utterly terrified that I would have to watch her fall over the cliff. I'm glad we had enough sense to stop what we were doing and try and contact help.  We hadn't had service the whole time we were in the canyon, but a short hike up the mountain gave me 4 bars, and I called Andrew (my sanity) and that definitely helped me through the next few hours. We ended up calling 911 and they were able to get a GPS off my phone, I had to keep calling every few hours and I was able to talk and text with Andrew. He was able to talk to Valors husband and concoct a plan to get us home.

Pano by Valor

We waited about 5 hours for Search and Rescue to get to us. They advised us to build a fire to help them find us, getting enough dry brush was frustrating because it burned so quickly. Sage brush was hard to pull from the mountain and I was so exhausted from hiking up and down looking for burnable material. The wait was probably the worst, we couldn't really get back into the truck because it was tipping. It wasn't too cold (about 40) but my feet were wet and emotions were running high between Valor and I. Valor was pretty upset because we were in her husbands truck, and we really didn't know if they were going to charge us to get us out and what the cost of a tow would be. I was ready to just get out of there and told Andrew to come get me from Loa, which pissed Valor off (with good reason, I was being an A-hole) but she was right, I shouldn't leave my friend behind in a strange town. That was pretty stressful because we're both tired and stressed, and ready to be home.

Search and rescue came and they were our hero's! They tried to see if they could get the truck back on the road but we had to leave it on the mountain and get a tow up there the next day.

 We got back to Loa really late, Andrew was there waiting and we all decided to head back home and Valor's husband would pick her up at our place. Even though she had to drive back down the next day I feel like that was the best decision, we needed our husbands to chill us both out. It turned out much better than expected, I feel that we both learned a valuable lesson about traveling in the back country. I think we both will think differently about the risks we take and the consequences that may follow. I'm just happy we're home safe. As for Capitol Reef, I was worried I would associate the park with the experience but in reality, I can't wait to go back.

Friday, March 6, 2015

San Diego Safari Park

Andrew and I went to Murrieta to visit/work with his dad and get some much needed travel time in. I shot a bunch of photos for his doctors offices, which was surprisingly hard and long but I was able to push myself in an area where I'm rarely shooting. Indoors, strangers, variable light sources and limited lighting equipment. I think they turned out okay, hopefully everyone else does too.

After our work was done we went to the Safari Park in San Diego, I took a lot of pictures but I didn't like most of them because of light issues (middle of the day) But these are the ones I  really loved.

Not dead, just lazy!  Meerkats.


Prey off in the distance

This flower was so brightly colored it was out of gamut for both my camera and computer. I had to desaturated it to look semi normal.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Shooting with Justin Hackworth

Justin Hackworth (from now on will be Justin) is teaching a wedding photography class that I'm in this semester.

I took it mainly because I felt I could use the extra boost before I graduate and it wouldn't hurt to get some pointers from a photographer that has been in the biz for a while. What I didn't anticipate was the fact that it's actually more of a business class than a "how to shoot a bride" class, for which I am grateful for. I'm all about shooting pretty ladies but that is really just one aspect of a much larger picture-pun intended- of the photography business as a whole.

Justin has a swanky studio in downtown Provo just above Gloria's Little Italy and the place smells a bit like food...which is a good thing in my opinion. Unfortunately my brain got used to it.  Our class met up at his studio on thursday to shoot a mock "getting ready" session and it was quite fun. Though there are only so many shots of a girl getting ready before we turned our camera's on our selves.

This girl looks so much like my sister in law Kirsten. It made me miss her! *love you girl!