100: Big November

November 11, 2021



Girls Gone Wod

email: thisisjoyandclaire@gmail.com

Instagram: joyandclaire_

This is Joy & Claire: 100: Big November

Episode Date: November 11, 2021

Transcription Completed: November 14, 2021

Audio Length: 51:48 minutes 

Joy: Hey guys, this is Joy.

Claire: And this is Claire.

Joy: And this is Joy and Claire. Howdy! Hey friends. 

Claire: Happy Thursday.

Joy: Happy Thursday. No other day, always Thursday. You can always count on us.

Claire: Every Thursday for years and years and years and years.

Joy and Claire: For the rest of your life.

Claire: Whether you want or not, we will be here.

Joy: You know, it’s really funny. So we’re turning Cadet in this week, and I saw a memory pop up on my Facebook that was when I graduated with JT was exactly eight years ago this week. Isn’t that crazy? So we’re turning in Cadet the same week eight years ago that I graduated with JT. It’s so weird. So JT also turns ten this week. It’s his birthday week.

Claire: Oh my gosh. JJ.

Joy: So many fun things going on with dogs. I don’t know if it’s fun, but.

Claire: How are you feeling? Can you talk about it?

Joy: Yeah, I can talk about it. 

Claire: Emotionally, can you talk about it?

Joy: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I knew what you meant. Am I going to just lose it? No, I can talk about it. Everyone should know this by now, but Cadet turns into advanced training this Friday. We’ve raised her for Canine Companions for about 18 months now. Her advanced training could be up to six months. At that point, she would then be matched with someone for service working as a service dog. Just to clarify again, I do not keep the dog for a service dog. We do not train her to be our service dog. But we are training her to be someone else’s service dog. However, if she fails out of advanced training at any time, she could come back to us as a pet and live out the rest of her life as a pet. After we turn her in on Friday, we wait about six weeks to get her first puppy report. So every month the trainers will send you a little report card on how she’s doing, which is really cute. We could also get a phone call too. It’s very much a pins and needles. You just hope she does well. Such mixed feelings. Of course we would love to have her as a pet, but you also are doing this for the agency. We’ve known that since day one. This is not our dog. I’ve definitely noticed in the past month, Scott and I had a huge emotional breakdown in October when we got this survey just prepping you for turn-in. It hit us that, oh my gosh, this is happening. And I think once we booked the travel and the hotel and set everything up logistically, ever since then it’s been this acceptance of “this is going to happen.” I haven’t been teary about it. There’s moments if I think about the actual day of turning her in, I get a little bit teary. But I haven’t been crying every night. I’m trying not to do the thing that’s overdramatic of, “It’s the last time I’m giving you a bath.” But it’s hard enough to think about those lasts, especially because we’ve been having a lot of going away parties with all the neighborhood dogs and the people that have been around her. I’m super grateful for the puppy raiser community that I’m friends with. I got connected with them through Gary, our friend Gary, and his wife who also has a facility dog. Long story short, I got connected with them – there’s this amazing group of people. We call ourselves “the village” because it takes a village to raise a puppy. So they call everyone ‘the village.” And they threw me, kind of sight unseen, they threw me a party when I got JT. So that is just this really cool full-circle moment where they threw us a part on Friday night, a little going away, Cadet’s going to college party. They gave us this little bag that they’re like, “Don’t open this until the day of turn-in.” The outside of the bag says, “the turn-in zone,” and it’s kind of the theme of The Twilight Zone. It’s just the weirdest time when you’re in between giving the puppy away and giving the puppy back and just waiting. So I don’t know what’s in it. They’re like, don’t open it until that day. I’m sure there’s a lot of tissues in there. But being around people who’ve been through it is really helpful. There’s this one lady who I love so much, Pat. She’s probably in her 70’s. I want to say she’s probably raised like 15 dogs. She’s been doing this forever. She is just a “no B.S.” tell it like it is. She’s like, “Just rip the Band-Aid.” We kind of need to hear that too. She’s like, “You don’t also want to be the people that are just hugging their dog and crying.” I don’t think we’ll do that either. I think I’ll be emotional talking to the trainer. It will be really hard for me to not focus on the fact that we’re saying goodbye. So it’s going to be really hard for me to talk to the trainer. We meet with the trainer on Friday and do a quick, ‘Hi, nice to meet you. Okay, bye.” But I also don’t want to be that person. I want to get it over with, to be honest with you. I want to get over this hump of turning her in and then saying goodbye. That is where we’re at. So yeah. I don’t know, it’s cool to see that we’ve done this together over the past 18 months and it’s really such an awesome thing to be able to do for Canine Companions. We’ll definitely do it again. But this part, I can see why people really struggle. The number one question people always ask when you’re raising a dog is, “How could you give them up?” Because you do. It’s not easy. I don’t think any puppy raiser would say that it’s easy. That’s just kind of a comfort to know that every puppy raiser is going through the same thing on Friday. We’re all commiserating together.

Claire: You guys can all go out and get margaritas after.

Joy: Exactly.

Claire: I was talking to probably Brandon about this the other day, and I realized I only ever met Cadet one time for like a second. It’s been a weird year.

Joy: I think that was at Jess’ back yard? Was it Jess’ back yard? Yeah. That was obviously during the height of COVID –

Claire: That was summer 2020.

Joy: We were barely getting together. 

Claire: Yeah.

Joy: But yeah, she’s an amazing dog. Her presence will definitely be missed, obviously. But it’s one of those things where in life – this sounds so weird – but in life, most of the time, the sad things that are coming, we don’t always have a ton of time to anticipate and plan. Certainly getting ready for your kids to go off to college or something that’s kind of a big, either a goodbye or something – I can’t think of many situations where you have to anticipate a really difficult thing. Can you? I don’t know. It’s hard. I guess deaths. But that’s a little extreme.

Claire: Right. Or maybe a mild medical procedure, like a big surgery.

Joy: Sure, yeah. Where it’s kind of a looming, weird feeling.

Claire: Especially when you’ve known this whole time.

Joy: Yeah.

Claire: And I can totally get that sense of wanting to get it over with. You don’t want it to happen, but since you know it has to happen you just want it to be over.

Joy: You just want it to be over. I think that’s what I’ve gathered from all the puppy raisers. I guess CCI has changed a lot of the procedures, like how they turn in puppies. Whereas in the past when I graduated with JT, they had this huge party. When they were doing the graduation for JT and I and all the people in my graduating class, all the people turning in puppies were there too. So they kind of just made it this big hoopla. They put capes on the dogs that were getting turned in, and they had pictures. I could see why they made it a big deal to make the puppy raisers feel good. That sounds horrible to me because you’re there, and the whole time all you’re thinking of is, “Alright, ten minutes away. Alright, five minutes away. I’m going to turn this dog over.” And then during COVID, the other side of that was literally –

Claire: You talked about this. 

Joy: Where you literally just put your dog in a kennel and walked away. That sounds awful.

Claire: Yeah.

Joy: This, to me, feels like the perfect balance. Scheduling a time where you have 20 minutes, up to 30 minutes, whatever. But you have a shorter amount of time. I need boundaries. I need someone to tell me where to be, what to do. Drop her off –

Claire: Actually I remember this when my mom dropped me off at college. We would love to hear your stories. If you have a memorable moment of your parent dropping you off or you dropping off your own child. Because I remember my mom – she’s probably going to listen to this. You could tell, because there was no clear moment of, “now you may leave.” We were setting up my dorm. It was pretty much completely set up, and we had taken out a load of trash. We were standing next to the dumpster and she was like, “Well, I guess this is it. I guess I’m going to leave. Do you need anything else?” It was just so like, oh okay, I guess you’re not going back inside with me. I’m standing there in my shorts and flip flops, and she’s just like, “Well.” But there wasn’t a clear moment of, okay, after this. It wasn’t like, now the parents may get up and leave. I don’t know. Looking back, I’m like, yeah, that was kind of awkward. Do you leave? Do you stay? It’s getting late. I have to be here. You’re going to go back to your hotel and leave tomorrow morning. It was just very like, “Okay, bye.”

Joy: Yeah, yeah. I can appreciate now – I was talking to my mom about this. She’s like, “And then you’ll just kind of think about her and you’ll worry.” You guys know how I feel about comparing dogs to children. I don’t do that. But my mom was trying to compare it. But she was like, “You know, I just remember when Dad and I dropped you off to grad school.” Literally guys, grad school started on September 10, 2001. So the next day is when September 11th happened. I remember my second day of grad school being cancelled. But my mom was like, because that was the day that they were supposed to go back to Arizona, she’s like, “We just worried the whole time. Because we were like, is she going to be okay with this big life event, handling herself at grad school.” I remember thinking, oh my God, I don’t even remember worrying about that, but they were worried. She’s like, “And I worried about your brother” because at the time when he was at the naval academy, back then they could barely do a 3-minute phone call. They were not allowed to contact anybody for, I don’t know if it was the first six months. But after they were out of kind of a bootcamp type of scenario, then they could write letters or do longer phone calls. I think back now, and I’m like, oh yeah, she was just at home worried about her kids. But we’re just going through the motions, doing what we have to do. At the end of the day, guys, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but it’s a dog. She’s going to be fine. She’s going to be just fine.

Claire: Right. She’s not going to be sitting there like, “I wonder what Joy is doing?”

Joy: No. She’s a dog. There’s going to be tons of dogs there. And that’s kind of what I go to. Really, it’s the human connection that we’re just like, “Oh my gosh.” But I have to remind myself that this is a dog and she’s going to be just fine.

Claire: Right. 100% Okay, so you have another fun – well, fun… another –

Joy: Interesting turn of events.

Claire: Interesting life milestone coming up.

Joy: So I won’t give the exact details. I’ve been told to be careful about dates and details, just to protect the patient. But I was cleared to go through with a bone marrow donation in November. After a lot of tests and a lot of questionnaires and very personal questions, I was cleared last week. I will be donating. I think at this point what I’m just thinking of is, I can’t wrap my head around it. I can’t wrap my head around how some weird universal thing, if we want to get “woo woo.” I joined this registry Be the Match. If you guys want to go on bethematch.org. I believe we already mentioned this on the show, but I think it’s 18-35 the last time we checked. 

Claire: You have to be under 35 to join. Obviously once you’re on, they can call you at any time. But if you’re not currently on the registry, you do have to be under 35 to join. And that has to do with them finding that they have significantly better outcomes the younger, I guess, the donor is. That’s why it’s there.

Joy: Yeah. I joined six years ago, so that would make sense. I definitely wasn’t younger than 35, but obviously they changed it for whatever reason. So if you are under 35 and can join the registry. The chances of you actually being called are really, really slim. I know that people get worried about, “That just sound really intense. And the procedure is a surgery where they go into your hip bone.” But my procedure is not going to be through the hip bone to pull out the bone marrow. It’s going to be through PBSC, which I always forget the name of it and I don’t have it in front of me, but you can Google it. It really looks like a blood transfusion where you’re just sitting in a chair with needles in either arm. They’re pulling out blood in one arm and then putting it back in the other. It takes about 5-8 hours because they have to do it very slowly, pulling out your stem cells and then injecting it into the patient for the transplant. I’m in a private Facebook group for donors, and I’ve seen a lot of people going through the process in a lot of different stages in the process, and I can say that it looks like it’s not – people aren’t posting that they’re having this horrible time. They’re like, “Yeah, it took a long time.” Or, “They had some troubles with my veins at first, but overall I would do it again and I’m so glad that I got this opportunity.”

Claire: Seems surprisingly non-invasive for what’s happening.

Joy: Exactly. And that’s what I think everybody associates with it. And again, I was very uneducated around this whole process until I was put into the situation. So I feel like I want to use this platform to educate people to at least just join the registry. You just never know who you could be helping. And to wrap my head around the fact that I asked my case worker, “Hey, do you know if there are other donors being considered?” She said, “You’re the only one that’s being considered for this patient.” And I was never questioning whether or not I would do it. But I think even more so now that I’m like, okay, I really want to make sure that I’m taking care of myself, that my health is in peak condition for the next few weeks until I donate. I do know that she’s in the United States. I do know that she has leukemia. From what I hear from people who have either worked with bone marrow transplant patients or have gone through the process is, it’s really like a Hail Mary at this point in their journey of trying to get this cured.

Claire: In their treatment.

Joy: In their treatment plan. My ask right now for… and I’m not super religious, guys, but where I struggle with talking about it is I don’t want to make it about me. It’s really about this patient who is struggling with her health in a very serious way. I would ask that you join the registry. Or if you believe in prayer, to pray for this patient that she stays healthy for a transplant and that my immune system – this is how it was described to me. Your immune system goes into her. She literally has your DNA. My friends that are in the field are like, “Just keep talking to your immune system. Tell it that it’s okay, that we will accept her.” I’m like, okay, let’s just pray for that. Let’s just pray for her health and pray for this transplant that my immune system doesn’t freak out. It’s okay, you can go into her body. So that’s my mantra right now. It’s a pretty trippy thing to think about. To think about saving someone’s life, or at least giving them another chance at life, I can’t even wrap my head around that.

Claire: Right. You can just sit there and talk to your little T cells and be like, “Hey guys, you’re about to go on a journey. I want you to not freak out. Everything’s going to be fine. Let’s do some prep. Let’s get ready. Let’s talk through what’s going to happen.”

Joy: I kind of envision it like a Pixar movie.

Claire: Yes. Like Osmosis Jones, which is not Pixar. When you get there, it might be a little unfamiliar, but don’t freak out. It’s going to be great. You’re just going to make yourselves a home.

Joy: You can find a home in her home.

Claire: Right. It’s going to be a little different, but it’s going to be great. They’re going to clean it up for you before you get there.

Joy: It’s all good.

Claire: It’s all good. It’s great. And the timing of it, knowing that it’s happening hopefully will give you something else to focus on during turn-in. When you first said the thing about turning in Cadet, the way you phrased it, it sounded like she was going to turn into a pumpkin. She’s turned into – yeah. It’s just a big month. And then you’ll start your new job. 

Joy: Yeah.

Claire: Boom, boom.

Joy: Yeah. I have family in town for Thanksgiving. Then I get back from family in town for Thanksgiving, and then I start my new job. So it’s kind of like, wow, November just turned into a fast and furious month. But it’s all good things, and it’s all very emotional things. Of course, all my friends are like, “Make sure you’re taking care of yourself.” This is a lot to take in. I’m like, I know. I will let myself cry and feel all the feels. But going through all these tests that I’ve been doing, when I got my physical, the guy who did my physical was like, “Oh, it’s really cool that you’re doing this.” Be the Match pays for everything. They pay for the travel because I do have to travel somewhere to get this done. They pay for your physical. They pay for everything. The donors don’t have to pay for anything. So I had to go to this different doctor for a physical, and he’s like, “It’s really cool that you’re doing this.” I’m like, “Well, who wouldn’t? If you’re called to do this, how could you not?” He’s like, “A lot of people don’t.” I’m like, “Really?” No judgment, but I don’t have that in me. Now this stranger and I are connected cosmically. I want to empathetically be like, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” Because I think at any time, too, donors can pull out. Donors can back out of the whole process. But five days before the donation, I start this procedure called filgrastim. They’re shots of basically boosting up your bone marrow so you’re at your healthiest to donate, which apparently comes with aches and pains. You just feel achy because your bones are boosted with this stuff. Five days before the donation is when that process starts. My caseworker is like, “Yeah, and at that point you cannot back out.” Which of course I’m not going to, but they really reiterate that, because at the same time – and this is also trippy – at the exact same time I’m going through this blood-boosting filgrastim shots, the patient is killing their immune system. Just blasting their immune system. They are in such a fragile state that they could die. So they’re literally just killing off any ability for the patient to have an immune system. Getting ready for your immune system. That is so trippy. So yeah, I just keep thinking of her. I’m here for you, girl, wherever you are. At some point after the transplant, we have the ability to communicate anonymously through Be the Match. I’ll probably send her a letter. If she wants to send me a letter, great. If not, that’s fine too. And then a year after the transplant, you have the option if you both consent, to get each other’s name and phone number and address and communicate. That’s really cool too. But I also just think of her and, this is horrible to say, but you just hope that they make it for a year. This is such a serious diagnosis that I see a lot of patients in the Be the Match Facebook group that are like, “I just learned today that my patient passed away.” That is a reality as well. I just keep thinking good thoughts that her health is going to pull her through all of this. It’s a lot, guys. I know it’s a lot. Big November over here on the pod. Big November. A lot of things. A lot of crying. A lot of emotions. A lot of feels. But that’s what life is. That’s what life’s about. We’re doing it.

Claire: We are doing it.

Joy: Okay.

Claire: Okay. I don’t have any people’s lives that I’m changing this month that I know of.

Joy: You do it every day in motherhood, Claire.

Claire: Something like that. Yeah. So I guess my small updates, my job’s going well in my week and change in. Remote onboarding is still weird. Yeah, that’s kind of it. Miles is about to test for his next belt in taekwondo. He’s most likely going to be a high gold belt, so that’s exciting.

Joy: That is so exciting. Does he love it?

Claire: He loves it. He’s so bought into it. Again, I can’t say good enough things about this martial arts school that he’s in. If you’re in northern Colorado and you have a kid, check them out. It’s called Ripple Effect Martial Arts. It’s so great. They’re wonderful. We’ve absolutely loved every moment that we’ve had with them. His entire personality has completely changed since he joined in August, very much for the better. When you’re in class, you have to call everyone “sir” and “ma’am.” Even walking through the door, the person at the front desk, she stands there and hands out hand sanitizer. She’s like, “How’s your day at school?” And he says, “Good, ma’am.” He does it in school, and his teacher was like, “He’s the most polite kid.” I was like, “Yeah, thanks. I didn’t do any of that.”

Joy: It’s so great, though. I love it.

Claire: Highly recommend. So my birthday is this month. It’s the day after Thanksgiving. We always reflect on the past year, and maybe we can do that in a future episode, but I just feel like this year, again, has been such a wash. Brandon keeps being like, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t know.

Joy: Can we all meet up at Meow Wolf [UNCLEAR 00:22:58.07]. No, day after Thanksgiving, I don’t think it will be open. It might be a crap show. 

Claire: And that’s the other thing. Having your birthday right around Thanksgiving, people are traveling. 

Joy: Right.

Claire: A lot of people are already socially burnt out from having to spend all of Thanksgiving with your families. It’s just been interesting to start reflecting on the year and be like, first of all, last year’s birthday feels like it was a lifetime ago. And also this year feels like we just had another weird year. We thought we were going to be better, and now we’re not. And then the other thing that we have coming up is Miles is going to get his first vaccine a week from today, which is really exciting. It is a very different experience making the decision for your child than it is making the decision for yourself to get a vaccine. I know it’s a very contentious topic. I just want to really validate the parents out there right now who are having mixed feelings about this decision and seeing the bigger picture and really wanting that bigger picture world for your family where this becomes an endemic virus instead of a pandemic virus and knowing that a huge part of that is our ability to get vaccinated. But also, the reality that all vaccines for children I feel like have question marks around them these days. Everyone has their own personal experiences with their children being vaccinated. 

Joy: Remember the days where Jenny McCarthy books where people would take medical advice from Jenny McCarthy. Remember when she wrote that book?

Claire: It feels like we’re not that far away from it. Now it’s just people on Instagram instead of people’s books.

Joy: That’s true. That’s true.

Claire: And I think it’s one thousand percent… especially there’s all these crunchy moms on Instagram who are really anti-vax, and that’s not really what I’m talking about. As we’ve really learned in the past eight months, there are people out there who are full stop anti-vax. Those people, to me, are a different mindset than the people who are truly just singularly concerned about the COVID vaccine and about the questions surrounding that. Particularly for your child. I just want to validate that tension of understanding that this is what I want and I’m ready for my kid to not wear a mask at school and I’m ready for quarantines at school to end. I’m ready to hopefully enter into a phase where we continue chipping away at the severity of this virus. And I am not 110% without questions in the back of my mind, without concerns in the back of my mind. And that doesn’t mean that we won’t – we are choosing to get him vaccinated as early as we can, and I’m excited about that choice. And I’m not 110% without a single shadow of doubt. I think it’s also worth realizing that the vast majority of parenting decisions are like that. Rarely have I ever made a decision on behalf of one of my kids where I don’t feel like, well, I hope this goes okay. And whether that be the day-to-day of what I feed them, where I’m going to send them to school, where I’m going to send them to daycare, what childcare choices we’re going to make, whether or not we should both be working full time, whether or not we should live where we live. Every lifestyle choice that we make has that looming question mark in the back of my mind of, I hope this doesn’t backfire on my kid. 

Joy: See where this goes.

Claire: Yeah. And I think we get into this, particularly when it comes to the vaccine, it’s like if I’m not 110% sure, then I’m not going to do it. The reality check that I have with myself is, what parenting decision am I really 110% sure about? Zero of them. I have to just go with my gut, feel like I’m making the best decision I can with the information that I have, and for us that means getting vaccinated as quickly as possible. Getting our whole family vaccinated. Evie’s not eligible yet. She’s 2.5. TBD on that timeline. I’m excited about it. Miles hates getting shots. I mean, what six-year-old wants to get shots? 

Joy: Of course.

Claire: That’s the other thing too. “He doesn’t want it.” Well, of course he doesn’t want it. 

Joy: Right.

Claire: He doesn’t want to get his hair cut. He doesn’t want to wash his hair.

Joy: Yeah.

Claire: There’s plenty of things that he doesn’t want to do. I try to weight those. I think a lot of people in this day, in the modern parenting style, I think that it’s really great that we definitely see our children as individuals with very valid needs and options that we can incorporate that into how we treat them and how we communicate with them. But at the same time, their brains aren’t fully developed. We can’t just take their reactions as the steering wheel. We can use that information and then use our own judgement for how heavily we’re going to weigh it.

Joy: Right.

Claire: Sometimes we weight it really heavily because it’s their lives and their bodies. And other times there’s a reason that human children live with their families for so long.

Joy: I was wondering how you were feeling about that because I knew that was coming up. Everyone has that personal decision to make for their children, and I was wondering if you had any – 

Claire: It’s been interesting. My opinion about the mindset around the COVID vaccine has changed a lot in probably the last six months. And honestly, it’s changed a lot as conversations around abortion have also come up with the Texas abortion law. I’ve had to really consider to myself, why do I feel so, so, so, so, so strongly that abortion should be legal and accessible and that should be a personal choice. Yet, I have a different view about vaccines. I think that vaccines should be able to be mandated in some circumstances. I don’t really have an answer for that. I don’t know why – I acknowledge that those are conflicting beliefs, and I don’t have the answer for why I’m okay with that.

Joy: Yeah. What comes to mind for me – and this is totally just my opinion, guys. I’m not saying anything is right or wrong here. At least in my lifetime, I’ve never been in a pandemic. I feel like the stakes are higher around vaccines. I feel like it’s a society obligation, because we’ve never been in a pandemic before in our lifetime at least, for me is my obligation to my fellow people to protect. I think that is a different thing from abortion,

Claire: I agree with you. I think if I were to really look at it, it’s like, yeah, because I don’t see the decision of abortion as impacting others. But that is not how a lot of people see abortion. A lot of people do think that it impacts others. They do see that fetus as being an autonomous person who your decision is obviously greatly impacting. So I really had to sit with that for the past several months, and I don’t have an answer for it. I can’t reconcile it, other than the fact that truly at the end of the day, I see one decision as impacting others and another decision as not impacting others. And that’s really where you draw the line. But I also can completely understand – and that is the root of the abortion debate, right? At what point does that fetus or embryo or ball of cells have autonomy? And at one point is it “a person”? And that belief for a lot of people is largely religious, and that’s not something that you can argue with. Because it’s not a fact-based, logic-based question for a lot of people. It’s been interesting to think about that through the lens of should we be mandating vaccines. I think early on in our conversations about vaccines, I would get really fired up because I felt like the reasons that people were not getting vaccinated were based in incorrect information and the spreading of incorrect information, based in these fear of side effects that weren’t real. Or people having questions and being like, “Well, we don’t know anything about X, Y, Z.” We do actually know that. And those questions where I was so frustrated because I felt like, guys, these issues that you’re bringing up and these things that you’re pointing to to say “this is why I’m not doing it” are not real. And that’s where I do get really frustrated. But then I see an entirely different group of people who are like, listen, I’m not saying that this isn’t a big deal. I’m not saying the science isn’t there. I’m not saying insert argument here. I’m not questioning that. What I am questioning is, is this the right choice for me as a person under my individual circumstances. Those are the conversations that I think are so hard still for me to wrap my head around. I personally feel so strongly that we as a society have this obligation to put our individual concerns to the side a little bit and maybe take a little bit of a risk. I understand also that that is an opinion, and that is a personal belief. I can’t give that personal belief to other people around me. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot, and it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot as I prepare to make this decision for my kids and as I prepare to have a lot of other moms around me not make that decision for their kids and try really hard to have empathy for that.

Joy: Yeah, if there’s one thing I’ve seen. When have we ever been in a scenario where we’ve had to work through something that was a global issue – like this, to where hundreds of thousands of people die? I can’t think of one. But where we’re in this tragedy pandemic and we’re just kind of walking through it together trying to figure it out with the entire world. I look back, and we know more know. Science continues to learn more and change. I look back at that because I think of how much I’ve changed my views as well. Just to be a little more compassionate towards why people don’t get vaccinated. I think the reason why I was so heated about it last year was because of fear and anger. We had a different administration that made me angry all the time, and I think I was speaking a lot from that too. I didn’t feel like we had a leader who was helping the scenario. People could argue the same for right now, but I’m not going to get into that. I think it’s more trying to be more compassionate, that we were all just scared to death for this pandemic that’s just never been in our lives before. We’ve never experienced to this level. That’s what I see now. We’re still in it obviously and I’m doing the best that I can to protect everyone. But as we learn more and know more, I think that is to our benefit, so we’re not ripping each other’s heads off all of the time. But what concerns me obviously is the data around people who are dying are the unvaccinated. So it’s kind of like, alright, why aren’t people looking at that?

Claire: That’s where I feel like I do start to feel like, wait a minute, we aren’t just randomly getting vaccinated for no reason. There is science behind this. There is data behind this. That is where I start to feel frustration. But for some people, I also have to be okay with that not being enough reason for them. I can’t change those people. I want to change them sometimes, and I can’t. I think the best thing I can do is sit here and say, here’s my thought process. Here are the decisions I am making with that information. Maybe that will help someone else think through why they should or should not examine their own thought process. We’ve had people reach out to us and say, “Thank you for bringing this up. I did finally have this conversation with my doctor because I realized that’s who I should be talked to about it, not my Facebook group.” If that’s anything you can take away from our conversations, it’s that not every single person on the internet deserves an opinion and deserves input on this decision for you. Identify the qualified, educated individuals in your life who should have input on this decision and listen to them and talk to them. Don’t let everyone in your life and in your sphere have an input on this decision. I would say that vastly covers every decision that you make. And we really are, we’re letting too many people have input on our lives that just don’t deserve to have input.

Joy: No. It’s interesting that we’re talking about this this week too because on the Girls Gone WOD podcast this week, I’m talking with JK McLeod again who runs the Muscle Feed and also the Help Me Understand podcast. But really talking so much about this same thing of how we navigate those conversations when we’re really just trying to understand. But also who your audience is and, really, who it’s for. Because it really just might not be for everybody, so to be selective around that. You might want to complement this episode with that episode. It covers a lot of the same thing.

Claire: Coming up next.

Joy: Yeah, coming up next. Well, let’s switch gears to a celebration for one of our listeners who ran the New York City Marathon this past weekend. 

Claire: Alecta.

Joy: Congratulations, Alecta, [UNCLEAR 00:35:45.13] one of our listeners.

Claire: Long-time listeners, long-time community members, and this was a big goal for her, so we’re so excited for her. Some of you know, Joy ran the New York City Marathon, what? Ten years ago?

Joy: 2005. Long time ago.

Claire: And it’s been a favorite memory that you have come back to a lot.

Joy: To this day, I think about it and dream about it. If I ever felt like I was healthy enough to run another marathon – and by that I just mean wouldn’t screw up my immune system and my thyroid again – I would do it again. Maybe one day. It really was one of the best experiences of my life. It’s so fun. It was so, so fun.

Claire: Congratulations, Alecta. Congratulations anyone else who ran the New York City Marathon.

Joy: Yes, we want to hear about it. Send us some pictures.

Claire: I was so surprised. On my Instagram, it was blowing up with all these people who flew to New York for this marathon. I had no idea I had so many people in my community and my life running this race. So congratulations to all of you. Yay. So fun.

Joy: And Alecta, your friend group Krellie [UNCLEAR 00:36:50.18] is the shoutout that they wrote in. They were like, “Tell her it’s from Krellie.” That’s your Marco Polo group. If you also have a Marco Polo group, it’s the best.

Claire: Yes. And the thing that I love about that, not to make it about us, but that is a group of listeners who all got together and needed some accountability and found one another and have created this Marco Polo group. It’s been ongoing now for years, and it’s so cool. I think about that, and I’m like, wow.

Joy: That’s really cool. I remember that too. That’s so great. So congratulations. I hope your legs feel good.

Claire: Yeah, I hope you’re recovering and not running at all this week. That’s my wish for you.

Joy: Take a break.

Claire: No running. Oh my gosh. I can’t imagine running a marathon. I would get 20 minutes in and be like, why am I doing this? I wish sometimes that I did like running because it’s so accessible. You can do it anywhere in the world. It’s relatively inexpensive. You can do it with whatever time domain that you have. You can go out for a 20-minute run or a 2-hour run. And it’s not my thing. Which is fine. It’s fine that it’s not my thing. I have accepted that I’m not a runner just the way that I’m not a morning person just the way that I will never be 5’6”. All of those things are just physically not going to happen for me. And I’m bummed about it. I know you are all listening being like, “Claire, I used to hate running too and now I love it and here’s how I got there.” The reality is, I have tried those things. I have tried many times. I have tried different programs. I have tried coaches. I have tried doing it on top of CrossFit. I’ve tried run clubs. I’ve tried signing up for races to motivate myself. I’ve spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on race fees that I have never even come close to training for. Because I was like I have to sign up for a race and then it will motivate me. It did not motivate me. It just made me feel terrible.

Joy: I did a Q&A at one point, ask me anything, on Instagram stories, and one of our listeners… someone asked, “how do I get into running” or “how do I not hate running,” whatever. And I basically answered, if you don’t like to run, don’t run. But if you’re truly interested in trying it, I don’t want to poopoo it either. One of our listeners is a certified running coach. If you want to just dip your toe into asking questions about liking running or trying it. And if you still hate it, don’t do it. I’m not a fan of pushing your body to do something that you hate. But her Instagram handle is @coachingklutz. @coachingklutz is her Instagram handle if you want to reach out to her. And be like, “Tell me about some running things. Because you know a thing or two about maybe starting running.” If you’re interested in trying it, I’ll just say that.

Claire: Noted. Alright, should we wrap up with a few Q&As?

Joy: Let’s do it. Let’s do some quick ones. “I am entering medical school next year. What are your best/worst experiences with MD’s?”

Claire: Oh my gosh, wow. This may be a write-in question.

Joy: I will just say off the bat, I hate, and I’ve had a couple of experiences with doctors who are more nervus than I am to be in the room. Let me just be clear. It’s not like an awkward where I’m uncomfortable, but I can just tell they’re nervous. For example, a Pap smear. You can tell that they’re uncomfortable about doing the procedure where part of me wants to be like, “I’m cool. Been doing this every year for the past 20+ years. So why are you uncomfortable?” This is just a normal thing we should be – they kind of address that, “Oh, it’s just a nervous thing” and da-da-da-da-da. I don’t need that. Just act like you’ve done this a bazillion times. Because it really should just be routine.

Claire: That’s horrifying. That’s never happened to me.

Joy: Yes. That’s never happened?

Claire: No.

Joy: That’s happened to me a couple of times where I’m like, no, I don’t need the nervousness. I need you to act like this is so beyond normal that weirdness and seeing parts of me that really no one sees is just a day in the life of your job. That’s what I need you to do.

Claire: You know those tweets that are like, “Why do we always hide our underwear at the gynecologist office. She’s about to look at your cervix. She can handle seeing your folded up panties on the chair.”

Joy: I think about that every time I have to undress for anything.

Claire: But we all do it. We all do it. We hide our underwear under our folded-up pants.

Joy: Totally. I got a mammogram this summer, and you kind of cover up. This lady does this a thousand times –

Claire: One million times per day.

Joy: A year, whatever. And I’m just like, why am I covering up with my gown? She’s holding onto people’s boobs all day long.

Claire: One thousand percent.

Joy: But I do appreciate those nurses that are just like, “Oh honey. Let it hang out.”

Claire: Honestly, I think the biggest thing about having gone through pregnancies is now – and I remember being in college and being mortified at having a Pap smear, and my gynecologist at the time who was also an OB was like, “I know this is uncomfortable.” Not physically uncomfortable, but she’s like, “I know this makes you nervous. One day if you ever decide to have kids, you will laugh about how you’re feeling right now.” Because eventually, if you ever have kids, it’s just like, I truly don’t care anymore. Whatever needs to happen down there, it’s just not a big deal anymore. I used to trim up before I would go to the – not anymore. She’s seen it all. They do not care. And also, of all the things –

Joy: I just want to note though that you did this –

Claire: This little shimmy.

Joy: Just did a shimmy when she was talking about trimming. 

Claire: How do I say this?

Joy: I was like, is she going to take her pants off right now? Not sure what she’s doing.

Claire: What am I doing over there. But back to the question, I feel like the best experiences that I have with MD’s are when they treat you like you are also bringing something into the conversation. I feel like it’s so common these days, because you only have seven minutes with your doctor by the time you get in with your medical assistant and they get all your vitals, and your actual doctor/physical comes in. Whether you are getting a routine checkup or whether you are seeing a specialist, whether you’re in the ER, it can feel like you are just taking up their time. So the best doctors are the ones who really repeat back to you what you’re saying. Even if they can’t provide an answer in that moment, they make you feel like, okay, this person is actually hearing what I’m saying. Even if they don’t think there’s anything wrong – like I recently had a neurologist appointment. I guess neurologists are sort of famous for not necessarily being the most personable. My first neurologist appointment that I ever had in 2014 when I first started having this tremor, I felt like he took one look at me and decided immediately what my diagnosis was. I didn’t feel like he really took the time to hear my concerns. Here I am, this young, fit, healthy person sitting in his office saying, “Hey, my hands have just started shaking out of nowhere for no reason.” He’s like, “Oh.” Does five minutes of calisthenics tests on me and is like, oh, this is what it is. We haven’t even talked about it. And then also was like, here’s what it is, and here’s your only option. You need to take beta blockers. That’s it. I was sitting there being like, I’m 25 maybe, I just remember feeling so defeated after that. And then recently I finally went back. It was such a bad experience. I felt so disregarded that I just kind of never went back to the neurologist after that. Just recently I had another appointment with a different neurologist. It’s been 7.5 years since that initial appointment. I finally got to the point where I was like, I need to see someone else about this. My tremor feels like it’s getting worse. I’m getting migraines, all this stuff. I actually had a neurologist who I felt like really was like, “Okay, here’s what I think I’m seeing. Am I missing anything? Do you have any other concerns about this? Is it okay with you that this is the route we go? Here’s what I’d like to do for a follow-up, but if you want a sooner follow-up than that, we can do that if you want.” I felt like it actually mattered to them what I wanted out of the situation. And also, when I was in labor with Miles – I know I briefly spoke a little bit about my birth story last week or the week before – I had this horrible labor and delivery nurse who really didn’t think I was in labor and was, again, very dismissive. I feel like being dismissive is the worst thing that you can be as a medical professional. Because someone is coming to you. They’re so vulnerable. Being dismissed in that state just feels a thousand times worse than any other reaction really. I remember finally my midwife came in and sat down and was like, “What do you want out of this? What’s your desired outcome here?” Because that’s what matters. Hearing any moment that you’re in a medical situation, “What’s your desired outcome? How can I help you get there?” just feels so validating.

Joy: And just affirming that patients really know their body. If they’re very adamant that there’s something else going on, listening to them. Back to the question, too, of your best experience, I would say kind of what you just said of people really taking time to listen and not rushing you through it. I think of my primary care physician who’s amazing. She just acts like I’m the only person that she’s treating that day. She’s just listening to me. I often will feel rushed because I feel like I’m taking up too much of her time, so I’ll rush through things. But she just sits there and listens and is slow and calm. I just feel heard, and I think that’s important. I hope that helps. Good luck in med school, that’s exciting.

Claire: That was a long answer. 

Joy: Yeah, we’ll do one more quick one. And then we’ll answer the rest. You guys are submitting some really good questions, so we’ll answer these on a future episode. Oh, let’s do this one. This is really cute. It’s just appropro fall. “What is your favorite winter coat?”

Claire: I have opinions on this. I love a coat.

Joy: I knew you would. I’m going to let you go. Go for it.

Claire: Alright, guys. You’re going to need three winter coats. Here are my top three. It doesn’t matter what brand, to be clear, but these are the three types of coats everyone must have. If you’re living in a relatively dry climate, let me preface that. Here are my three favorites. The first thing you’re going to need is a long puffy jacket. We’re talking knee-length or longer. I cannot tell you what a game changer the long puffy jacket is. And if you live somewhere where it rains a lot, you can get the type that also has a shell on top, but it’s a puffy underneath. Having your butt covered by your puffy jacket is an unbelievable game changer. And the longer you can go, the better. If you can get the mid-calf length, do it. Wear a puffy bathrobe. That’s the dream. Even though they’re normally like $500+, highly recommend. That’s my favorite one. I don’t care what brand it is. Brands are so different depending on your body type. I have an Arc’teryx one that I got on super sale, and I like it because it’s a little bit more of a curvy silhouette versus a Patagonia, which is more straight up and down, or versus even a North Face, which also has a little bit more room for curviness. Don’t even get me started on Helly Hansen. In my experience, you can’t have curves and wear Helly Hansen. Any amount of curves, at all. I’m not an overly curvy person, but even still, just none. Okay, my next favorite jacket is just a basic puffy. A light weight puffy. My go-to is the Patagonia nano puff, but every major outdoor brand out there has something similar. ‘

Joy: Light weight, you could also pack it up easily.

Claire: Yeah, you can pack it up. You can layer underneath it. That’s really key. If it’s not too cold outside, you can just wear it over a light long sleeve shirt. But if it’s colder outside, you can put a fleece underneath it and you’re good to go. And then I think the third thing that you need is something that’s so soft and cozy. I have one that’s this really fluffy… what’s that word? Not velour. But fluffy.

Joy: I know what you’re talking about. Sherpa?

Claire: Sherpa! It’s not that practical. It’s not going to hold up in the snow or the rain. But if I just am feeling crappy because it’s cold outside, I can just put it on and snuggle up into it.

Joy: Oh my gosh, I have one from Lululemon that’s almost like a sweatshirt style, but it’s got this huge turtleneck and it is the coziest thing. I live in that thing in the winter.

Claire: Literally, guys, this is your coat that is for emotional comfort. We’re talking two technical/practical warm winter jackets and then one that is just for your emotional warmth, and it’s just as critical.

Joy: Can we add an adjacent? I really love a warm vest, where it’s just a midday –

Claire: Oh, you have to have a vest.

Joy: I love a warm vest.

Claire: A puffy vest is a critical, critical component. Puffy vests are so good.

Joy: They’re the best, especially on those days where maybe the weather’s a little warm, but it could take a turn. It’s just the perfect transitional piece.

Claire: It is. It’s also great if you just need to hop out for a sec and you want something that has pockets, but you’re not ready to commit to the whole jacket.

Joy: Yeah. I wear it sometimes if I’m a little cold in the house. You don’t feel like you’re wearing a huge, bulky thing in the house. So sometimes I’ll just put that on. It’s great. I have nothing to add to that because you summed it up perfectly. So I’m not going to add to it.

Claire: Guys, outerwear is my passion. Please, if you have any outerwear questions. Somebody recently, a couple months ago maybe, wrote me a DM and was like, “I’m moving to Colorado. What do I need?” I was like, okay, here’s what you’re going to want. I sent all these different links. They were like, “Wow.” Yeah, ask and you shall receive when it comes to jacket recommendations.

Joy: We should also put together a list at some point of favorite beanies and warm hats because there’s nothing worse than wearing a beanie and it shows your head. 

Claire: It doesn’t cover. Yeah, no, so true.

Joy: Or it doesn’t cover ears. So we should go through some top hats… top hats? Some top hats.

Claire: Top hats. My favorite, the brand is called Skida. They’re based out of Vermont. It’s a really cute, small business. They have these amazing fleece headbands. They’re so thick. Highly recommend.

Joy: Oh, I like the sound of that.

Claire: And they come in super, super cute patterns. All their fabric is so cute. You can hear Joy scratching away in her notes.

Joy: Yeah.

Claire: Alright, guys, I think that’s it for today.

Joy: Yes. We covered a lot. 

Claire: We covered a lot.

Joy: A lot of ups. A lot of downs. Send us some good thoughts. When you hear this episode, we’ll be on our way to Oceanside, California with Cadet to turn her in Friday, November 12. Just send us all the good vibes. And if you’re in California, give us some recommendations where we can drown our sorrows in food and drink on Friday night. That would be great, thank you. I believe we’re going to be staying not far from Oceanside. 

Claire: And don’t forget, you can check out our other two podcasts, Girls Gone WOD podcast, which is all about fitness and health, and On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake!, which is all about The Great British Baking Show. We cover each week’s new episode. You can follow us on Instagram @joyandclaire_. You can find us online joyandclaire.com. You can email us thisisjoyandclaire@gmail.com. We love to hear from you. Please send us your email. Please send us DM’s. Anything you want. We love to hear from you. We love to get to connect with our community. That’s it for this week. We will talk to you next week.

Joy: Thanks guys.

Claire: Bye.

Joy: Bye.

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