Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Moving closer

I had my first appointment for medical tests yesterday, which included an EKG and blood work.  I'm very happy I'm moving closer to starting Optifast.  Next up is a body assessment on Thursday and then meeting with one of the doctors on Tuesday.  After that is the first group meeting and I think I will get the shake envelopes at that point.  Since I have Kaiser for insurance, I've been receiving the lab work results through e-mail, so I know how I'm doing before I go to the next appointment.  The numbers are looking good, better than I thought actually.  I'm hoping nothing stands in the way of me starting soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Doctor's appointment

My appointment at the doctor's office was difficult.  First of all, I was shocked when I got on the scale.  Either my scale at home is way off or the one at the doctor's office is.  It showed I weigh 416 pounds.  Talk about feeling that sting of tears.  How is this happening to me?  I know I have ultimate responsibility, but I wonder how I stopped looking in the mirror, kept looking away as my clothes grew bigger and where is that person who was once so alive?  I feel like a sideshow freak at the circus, "Come one, come all ... see the fat lady."  Ooh.  Aah.  Obviously my decision to pursue Optifast is the right one for my health.  Turns out that the bronchitis evolved into asthmatic symptoms, so I have a form of asthma that will eventually go away with treatment.  So I have a couple of inhalers.  I mean, when it rains it pours.  Yet, I am trying to stay as positive as possible.  I can't live in the world of negativity.  I have so many wonderful people in my life who love me no matter what and are there to support me 110%.  They give me so much strength and I am blessed by each and every one.  Things will get better, I know they will.  I have faith in that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Big time scare

Last night I had class.  It was in a different part of campus I had never been to before.  So I parked my car in a parking garage and walked up about 20 stairs and then continued up a walkway that was on a major hill.  All of a sudden, I could hardly breathe.  I have been winded before climbing stairs, but absolutely nothing like this.  I could not get a full breath in my body.  When I looked at how much further I had to go, I decided to go back to my car, that it just wasn't worth it.  By the time I got back down to the parking garage, I was sweating and I shouldn't have been.  It was cool and rainy, so it wasn't like I was hot or anything. 

Just to backtrack, I had surgery on my arm for tendinitis last month.  Before operating on me, they did an EKG to ensure my heart was healthy enough to be put under anesthesia, which it was.  A few days after the surgery, I caught a horrible cold.  That is not uncommon after being in the OR.  Then the cold turned into bronchitis.  I went to the doctor at that time and had chest x-rays done, which confirmed the diagnosis but there was no cause for alarm for anything else.  I'm still sick with symptoms of walking pneumonia, at least that's what I suspect.  I already have an appointment scheduled to see my doctor for something else later this morning, so I'll definitely talk to her about what is going on.  I know what happened last night was not usual.  Granted, I have a lot of weight to lose, but I have never been winded like I was last night.  Normally I can climb several flights of stairs and, even then, I can still breathe.  Last night I really was wondering if I'd even make it back to my car.  That feeling I had, of blaming myself because of the weight, is a contributing factor in terms of why I so badly want to start Optifast now.  I don't want my life to end on a sidewalk after climbing a flight of stairs.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Experiences of others

Today I spent some time with one of my friends who was on Optifast in the 90's and she had a negative experience with the program at the time.  I was a little reluctant to tell her I was going to be starting the program soon because I didn't want it to bring up negative memories for her, but I also felt it was important to tell her.  We're very close, like sisters, and not saying anything would feel like I was ashamed and I'm not.  She developed a gall bladder problem when she did it, so I can understand.  As we talked, she told me that she doesn't judge me and she understands my reasons for why I have chosen this route.  One of the things that was amazing during my conversation with her was talking about the positive effect it will have on my diabetes.  I have struggled with that disease for so long, trying so hard to get my blood sugar numbers under control and really feeling so frustrated.  I really wish I didn't have to wait, I want to get going now.  As you can probably tell, I am not terribly patient.  I actually am when I am dealing with the kids at work, but not when it comes to things in my personal life.  It will happen in 2-3 weeks after they've done all the tests and assessments, so I know it's coming.  I know when I am in the thick of it, this period of waiting won't matter any more.  I guess it's one of those things in my life that I am doing for me, not to please anybody else, and that's why I'm anxious to get going.  Putting myself first is hard, but my health is really important and I feel like I'm finally ready.

In the meantime, I start another semester of college tomorrow.  In addition to working full-time, I go to school pretty much full-time, too.  I'm finishing up my BA and then will be starting grad school next January.  There's a lot going on in my life, that's for sure, but I still must make time for taking care of myself.  It's part of what got me here in the first place, just putting everything else before me and not dealing with things in the right way.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Supportive friends

I told one of my very good friends tonight that I made the decision to get medical intervention for weight loss and gained health by going through Optifast.  I was prepared to explain all of my reasons why and she essentially told me that she is so happy I made the decision and that she would be there to support me every step of the way.  Why do I feel the need to justify myself to other people, no matter how supportive they are?  I don't need to seek anyone's approval, yet there's this part of me that wants everyone to jump on board with me.  Ultimately, the people in my life love and care for me and want me to be healthy so I can be around for a long time.  I want that too, very much.  I was praying a lot today about feeling that taking this action will be supported by God and just hoping that I was making the right decision.  In my heart, I feel I have but there's always that little voice saying the opposite.  I'm ready to start now, tonight.  But, I have to wait to go through all the hoops that are necessary, like blood tests, EKG, etc.  Patience dear girl!

And now I begin

I made a decision that 2012 was going to be the year that I would make life-altering changes.  I know ... everyone says that at the beginning of the year and they also say they really, really mean it.  Not to sound too cliche but I really do.  I have been struggling with my weight my entire life, quite literally, and it's killing me.  So, fresh year, fresh blog (I've done two others).  This place where I write is mainly for me, but also for you to find someone else that is just like you or that wants to share their story so openly or maybe that you can get something small from.  It will help me heal, and maybe you, too.  The things I need to share on here are deeply personal, highly sensitive and straight from my heart.  And I am here because I want to be better and feel better.  So I kindly ask anyone wanting to post a comment to be cognisant of that and just to be respectful. 

To just jump right in there and begin, the other day I got on the scale and it read:  406.8

And that was the moment that cemented my life - either in the grave or on the road to health.  I weighed 406.8 pounds.  Oh. My. God.  Last year in 2011, I turned 40, had cancer, had my heart broken by a man who I was going to marry all while working full time and going to college full time.  I have type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, so many different physical pains of being heavy and I'm just done.  Stick a fork in me ... I'm done.  Who I am inside is not who I portray on the outside.  I'm a skinny girl inside who wants to run down the road and just laugh because it feels good. 

I have tried so hard over the years to lose weight with different programs, like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Overeaters Anonymous (OA), etc.  I have lost a lot of weight, the most being about 100 pounds in OA, but then it worked until it didn't work.  And then I got to a point where, while I cared what happened to me, I lost the fight.  I'm a scrappy little fighter so it was just like taking the wind out of my sails.  I ate more, exercised less.  I have been through major events in my life and survived, like being abused as a child at the hands of my mother and being raped when I was 13.  I know I will go into all of that at a later time, but this is just a snapshot for now.  I work in the counseling department of a very big high school, love what I do, but I also have been feeling like I'm lucky to wake up each day, that I survived the night without taking my last breath.  Trust me, I'm not trying to be morbid.  Just that I'm scared for my health.

As drastic as my health situation has been with not only significant weight, the sleep apnea, but all the other issues I haven't mentioned and I have come to realize I need to take drastic measures to save my life.  I have tried many, many less drastic things and here I sit at over 400 pounds.  I can't begin to tell you how humiliating that is for me.  I never saw this coming, I just really didn't.  I'm now one of "those" people that gets stared at when walking in the mall, who wears tight clothes because nothing fits, sweating when no one is sweating around you and whatever other image one congers up when describing a super morbidly obese person.  So, I made the decision to seek medical attention and am going to begin Optifast soon.  Through Kaiser Permanente, my medical provider, they have a medically supervised program that is pretty intensive in the work they do with clients, whether it is all the medical monitoring, the counseling, the year of nutrition and physical trainer services after reaching maintenance and just getting down to why we choose food to cope with life.  This is very drastic, I recognize that.  But, I am in a very drastic place with my health.  After the first week of the program, diabetics get weaned off their meds.  I will feel more energetic and healthier as the weight comes off.  I don't have blinders on, but am in a very serious place with my health. 

I have gone to the first session where we learn about the program to make absolutely sure this is something we really want to do.  The next step is I will be doing blood work and an EKG on January 30th to ensure I'm okay to proceed.  I actually am very excited that I have made this decision and am looking forward to whatever comes my way.  I have committed to God that I am going to put my whole heart and soul into this, wherever that takes me.  Sure, I'm scared, but I'm also hopeful and that isn't something I have experienced in regards to my health in a very long time.  So I will be sharing my journey here as I walk it.  Scary and exciting at the same time.