Should I get healthcare?

Yep. I'm opening up this can of worms.

If you're from the U.S., then you know how controversial this subject is. For those who don't know, Americans are required by law to have health insurance BUT are not provided so by the government. In essence, you are forced to pay for an optional service. Imagine if the same were true for something like Netflix? Would you have a problem with the government forcing you to pay for Netflix? It's ironic, really. There are lots of freedoms granted in this country but when it comes to health, I don't get a say in anything. It's either get insurance or pay a fine. And, I'll say it. Insurance is completely unnecessary. Its purpose is to save people from losing all their hard earned money in an emergency/life-threatening situation. But does someone like Bill Gates have to worry about a measly $300,000 for cancer treatment? No, so why should he be forced to pay for a service he doesn't need?

And, yes, I see its value for the common citizen who doesn't have billions gushing from their checking account. But, then you have people like me; healthy by choice and by youth, who's only real worries come in fiscal form. And that's what gets me. I know, I'm not immune to being hit by a bus, but if I had to weigh my fears of surviving being run over or how I'm going to pay rent next month or feed myself/family (respectfully), I'm picking the latter. That IS my health; my day-to-day existence only kept proper by how I decide to spend what I make, not what uncertainty may lie ahead. So, now if I have the burden of coughing up an extra living expense, that would ironically have an effect on the very thing it's trying to help, how do I prioritize what is important? That's all I'm asking. I'm not even going to begin to talk about the implicit flaw in having multiple health plans, where what you pay for doesn't even work (ya know, get hit hit by a bus, only covers cars). So, what do I do? Do I hurt myself financially or risk the every-day fickle world we live in (fines included)? Do I bother getting health insurance or risk it?

P.S. If the NSA is reading this, feel free to comment.

Best Way to Start Being Kind to Myself

I transferred colleges about three-and-a-half years ago, moved an hour-and-a-half away from my home town, and pursued better educational aspirations. I love this university, but since then, I've noticed my self-esteem steadily declining - and now that I'm a senior, I've noticed that it has hit rock bottom. It happened so gradually that I didn't notice it was happening until I was completely miserable.

A few things I attribute to this is the loss of my friends from my hometown, my isolation in this new town, the loss of a two-year romantic relationship, and the general atmosphere in this new university - by which I mean everyone is very successful, young, has more accomplishments, and don't have a chronic illness like I do. Students are able to make friends, study abroad, and experience the full university spectrum while I'm dealing with illness and worrying about bills. I'm also the oldest person in my classes - something that I never experienced before I transferred.

So now that I've pinpointed all of these things that are crushing my self-esteem, I'm not sure where to go from here. I'm a little overwhelmed on where to start fixing my outlook on things. Does anyone have experience with this swift loss of self-esteem/self-confidence? I would like to finish out my last semester on a good note, but where do I start improving?

Getting into yoga

I've wanted to try to get into yoga for a very long time. Every time I do one video, I'll feel great and then wait 4 days before I decide to do another one, and before I know it, 4 months have passed. I've recently been trying to do videos every single day, but I'm wondering if buying a 10 class pass instead will help me get into it more. It'll force me to get up and go instead of doing it in my own home. However, the classes are expensive, about $20 per class.

Achilles are a-killing me.

I’ve always had overly tight achilles heel tendons. It doesn't come from an injury, they're just really short and really tight. There’s a chance that a sports medicine physical therapist could help me figure out how to fix this, but that’s fairly expensive and requires taking time off work to go to the appointments. On the other hand, I could just sleep in stretcher gear and hope for the best. Should I bite the bullet and see a specialist or try to DIY this?

To E-Cig or Not To E-Cig

I know I sound desperate and lame, but after quitting cigarettes 11 days ago I’m still craving them badly. I have SO much stress in my life I keep wondering if maybe I should use one of those electronic cigarettes everyone is talking about. I quit cold turkey because I just didn’t want the hassle of taking meds or going through hypnosis, etc…not even e-cigs. But now that I’ve gone this long I’m wondering if I made a mistake quitting cold turkey! But I’m scared that if I do try the e-cigs then I’ll just end up going back to smoking because there’s nicotine in the e-cigs right?

Swollen Armpit Lump

Four months ago I discovered a lump under my armpit, and it itched terribly. It got to the point where it hurt (not majorly, but just a minor discomfort/pain when pressed on,) so I went to my doctor, and he gave me antibiotics. The antibiotics shrank it considerably, and made it no longer hurt or itch, but didn't get rid of it entirely. So my doctor sent me to have a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound on the actual armpit area. He suggested a biopsy, but apparently didn't order one, because he didn't give me an order for it when he gave me the other lab work orders.

Both came back clear, but the ultrasound technician said she didn't see anything at all. This doesn't seem right, since there is a clearly visible lump that you can see and feel from the outside of my armpit. The odd part was that they didn't have any explanations for me at all, as if there was just nothing there. But the armpit lump is still present a month later, and itching again. I feel a little stupid going back to my doctor again after I've gotten clear results, but there's no way there's nothing at all going on when it's big enough to be seen just by looking. But I'm also a worrywart, and every little thing with my health scares me more than it should.

I'm 26 years old. I feel a little weird asking for a second opinion on the ultrasound, and I don't want to sound like a hypochondriac. Should I just ignore it and accept that my body is doing strange, benign things?

The great cat catastrophe

Background: My girlfriend and I live together and have been for a few years now. She has severe abandonment issues and I try to be there for her the best I can, but I am very much a loner. I have a dog, which I love to death, but I think my girlfriend is jealous of the way I act towards the dog and the way I act towards her. ALSO: we got new neighbors which have been moderately annoying and brought their cat, which they keep outside. This cat runs freely around our yard and leaves cat excrement all over our property. I DO NOT like cats. I am also slightly allergic to them.

The Plan: I adopted a cat for my girlfriend to satisfy both problems. 1) so my girlfriend would have that love supplement she needs and 2) to fight off the neighbor's cat and subsequently maintain a certain level of natural order on my property. There was a condition that the cat could stay in the house until it was old enough to go outside and do what cats do (ambush, kill, explore, etc.). She agreed to these terms when I brought it home.

The Reality: She loved the cat. When I got it as a kitten, it was small which I figured was good so I could train it to be hard and defend itself. Now, the cat is fully grown but she refuses to let the cat go outside at all. She has literally told me that the cat's happiness and natural wanderlust do not matter to her and she will never let it experience life in nature.

The Situation: Nothing has been solved, problems have only compounded. My allergies are always flaring up because the biology of the cat is literally incompatible with my biology. I prepared for the showdown and the aftermath. I had a plan and one part of the plan worked so well that it stopped the other part from happening. The things we do for love, right?

Just Being Paranoid or Not?

There’s a history of mental illness in my family, particularly among the women (my mother and my grandmother in particular). In my teens, I resented those in my family who suffered from it. In my 20s I ignored it because I was having too much fun to be bothered with the “crazies” in my family. In my 30s I couldn’t ignore it because it started affecting my decision-making as I started my own family. Now that I’m in my 40s, I’m super sensitive to my chances of developing a mental illness and I’m downright paranoid sometimes that I’m following in my mother’s footsteps. I don’t think I am but sometimes it does bug me. So my question is…is this something worth talking to a professional about? Money is tight and I don’t have extra to throw at therapy…

A little exercise even worth it for weight loss?

Is it better to work out just a little bit every day or a more comprehensive workout twice a week? I’m trying to make serious changes, but I’m also balancing an attempt to really make and save up extra income too, so my time is somewhat limited. My primary goal is weight management so a small workout would consist of just a quick run on the treadmill and a longer one would be cardio plus weights.

Raw Cookie Dough

Is it ok to eat raw cookie dough? I am debating letting my children eat frozen raw cookie dough. I know that eating raw eggs isn't supposed to be healthy for you but if they are pasturized and it is frozen, I think it should be fine. What do you think?