Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekly weigh-in & cancer update

I went in for an early weigh-in tonight because I have a school assignment I have to work on, but wanted to say with this week's weight loss, I'm now down to 91.5 pounds lost in the last three months.  I'm super grateful, to say the least.  In terms of being tested to see if I have thyroid cancer, I received a call today to schedule an appointment with an endo to take a look at the cyst.  The results from my sonogram should be in on Wednesday or Thursday, so more waiting for me.  I'm doing pretty good with not worrying about it, though.  Besides, that is not helping me in the slightest to worry about it.  I just keep having to remember that God is in charge, not me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Doing better today

It's been a couple of days since the doctor's visit and have had some time to digest what's going on with my medical issues.  I have had some really good conversations with friends and have been praying a lot, which has given me lots of peace around all of this.  I was in church tonight and it seemed like all the songs we sang were for my purposes only, as if God was laying them on my heart just for a private moment between the two of us.  Last night I went to the hospital to get a sonogram done for the thyroid cancer issue.  What's interesting is that I haven't even thought about it since last night.  I think I truly turned the results over to God and I'll find out in a few days what's going on there. 

As far as the other stuff that came from the MRI's and nerve testing, I'm still looking at everything and trying to write down questions for the time when I meet with both specialists.  I may not understand everything or even why this is happening, but I can have some sort of peace around this, as much as possible anyway.  I don't want to look too far into the future in terms of prognosis for all of this because otherwise it will be too much to handle, I think.  Just dealing with the next indicated step is enough for the moment.  Anyway, I'm hanging in there.  Thanks for your prayers, dear friends.  It means a lot to me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Medical news

Yesterday was an extremely difficult day for me.  I went to see my doctor for a regular worker's comp appointment.  He had a grim look on his face and I knew something was wrong.  I received some pretty devastating news as to what is going on with my body, including the likelihood that I may have thyroid cancer.  I was ordered to contact my family doctor right away to have a sonogram to determine what's going on and a biopsy if necessary.  If it is cancer, and that's a big if right now, it's highly curable.  That much I heard when he was talking to me, but my heart sunk because I had cancer last year.  Not the same kind, but the scare of cancer is a huge scare, I don't care what kind you have.  The doctor handed me the reports and assured me everything was going to be okay.

I went back to work in a daze.  After the year I have had, I didn't think anything more could possibly be piled on.  I think maybe God feels like I'm the Rock of Gibraltar, seriously.  I am so glad I have faith, though, because I would be feeling very alone right about now.  I couldn't function at work with my head going in a million different places so I left.  When I got home, I started looking up the conditions online and then I started to cry.  I cried some more when I was taking a shower this morning, feeling pretty overwhelmed.  I texted my supervisor last night and asked if I could meet with him first thing this morning.  I told him what was going on because I have a feeling I'm going to have to be at a lot of doctor's appointments and he was so compassionate towards me, which made me cry again.  Now, two of my friends that I work with read this blog.  If this is the first that you are learning about this because I haven't told you in person yet, I do apologize for that.  I am trying to put one foot in front of the other and learn more before I say what's going on.  I almost wanted to tell the two of you after our meeting this morning, but had a lump in my throat. 

I can say I am very grateful for the fact that I am not in the food right now.  Thank you God that I am doing Optifast, thank you God.  That is something I do have power over - whether or not I will eat or whether or not I will continue to take good care of my body.  I am committed to doing things differently, so the thought of having food today has not even entered my mind as an option.  That's major progress.  For the moment, I am hanging in there and hopefully will know more soon.  If you are a person that prays, please say a prayer for me.  I just would ask that God give me courage and strength to face whatever is right in front of me and continued faith to help me walk through this. Sorry to be so elusive, but I really want to talk to doctors first to see what I'm dealing with, not just what I found on Web MD.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

So, I had my weekly weigh-in tonight.  It was a mix of emotions.  First of all, I am happy to report that  it was a losing week, which I'm super grateful for.  I lost 3 1/2 pounds, which is definitely progress.  However, I just have to be honest and say I was disappointed in myself.  Now I say this with some pause because I feel stupid owning up to it.  Tonight in my group people were talking about overcoming huge challenges in their lives such as child abuse, narcissistic parents, and other ill-treatments.  I am part of that population, having survived abuse as a child and being a victim of a rape.  I am fully aware of how ridiculous this sounds. . .  How dare I complain about weight loss disappointment when heavier things are going on.  The thing is that I just felt like my weight loss should have been greater given I walked so much this past week.  I felt like when I had planters faciitis and couldn't walk very much, I lost a lot more weight.  A part of me wondered if I should not exercise as much.  But the thing with it is then I really enjoyed exercising and getting out in the sunshine.  I am going to have to realize that not every week will be a week when I lose 10 pounds.  It definitely would be nice, but it is not reality.

The really good news is that the medical staff at the Optifast clinic is lowering the amount of insulin that I need to take every day.  In fact, my blood sugar numbers have been on the very low side lately.  You should have seen how excited the Physician's Assistant was when I showed her my numbers for the week.  I think she was more excited than I was!  It is an amazing time in my life where I get to experience so many triumphs on a daily basis.  Anyway, here's to another week of weight loss.  84 pounds in 11 weeks is certainly something to be very proud of!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Support while on Optifast

I have found that it is vitally important to have support while I am doing Optifast.  I know people that have chosen to keep it a secret as to how they are losing weight, but there are problems that come along with that ... having to make their shakes in secret, not talking about things that come up, having a sort of shame about doing what they are doing.  The truth of the matter is that going on any weight-loss program is hard enough.  When you add in something so drastic as doing a fast, let alone a full-fast with no food, there are certain stigmas that come along with it not only in our own minds but in the minds of others as well.  For me, the decision to go this route was something I had been thinking about for quite some time, not just in the spur of the moment.  This was about changing my life, not doing something short-term that did not produce long-term changes.  I knew that by not eating food, my emotions would be raw and I would be forced to face the very things that made me eat in the first place.  Along the way, I have found there are a couple of really great tools to help me be a successful Optifaster:

  • Let other people in.  I am absolutely open about doing Optifast.  I have a mini-blender I keep in the staff lounge at work where I make my shakes.  People see me doing it all the time.  Sometimes questions have come up in terms of how it works and other times people will give positive comments about the weight loss they see in me.  My friends at work are so incredibly supportive - I couldn't have ever dreamed at how wonderful they would be!  I have told all of my friends that I hang out with and my family, too.  The people who didn't understand the program at first have come around to at least supporting me in my efforts to being healthier.  I have also found that we find non-food related things to do together instead of having everything revolve around a meal.  We'll go for walks, go to the movie or even go out for coffee/diet soda instead of having a meal together.  I am actually fine being around people who are eating, but it is so sweet of my friends to be so considerate in terms of doing things that are not going to bother me.  I will love them forever for that!
  • Going to weekly Optifast support meetings.  Some people out there are trying to do Optifast without medical supervision.  Danger Will Robinson!!  Without professional intervention when medically necessary, we could really be jeopardizing our health.  For example, the physician assistants have helped me with taking me off of some of my medication while on the program because if I continued to take them while on the fast, I would have been in some serious trouble.  Another vital part is to go to the weekly meetings.  We discuss how our week went, learn about the experiences of others and discuss topics that help us understand why we have gone to the food in the first place.  Not only that, we learn methods of choosing to do things differently so that we will not continue doing things in a negative way in the future.  I have homework assignments given to me, like certain things to read and journaling on specific topics.
  • Finding support online.  One of the best places for support online is through the Optifast organization itself.  If you are a part of Facebook, they have their own company page (just type in "Optifast" in the search bar within FB).  People who are going through the program post on there, including me.  I have found such an amazing level of support and have developed new friendships where we chat away from the page in private messages.  I even have a few that I text with.  No one understands better what you are going through than other people walking the same path as you.  I also occassionally post/visit a site called, which is a discussion board of people doing various liquid diets.  Sometimes the personalities on there can be very strong, so I take it with a grain of salt.  I especially love the tools they have on their site, including before and after pictures, charts that project weight loss and more.  I discovered, for example, that if I continue losing weight at my current pace, I will be done in September.  Wow!  Whether or not that ends up happening is up to God, but it at least gives me an idea of  the direction in which I am headed.
  • Write through your feelings.  I have personally found one of the best tools for me is the act of writing.  I can talk to friends and family about what I'm going through, but writing about things helps me come to a deeper level of healing.  That is part of why I started doing this blog.  When I don't have food to go to, there has got to be some other outlet to express myself in a positive way.  Some of the things I go through are difficult, while others are personal triumphs that I feel compelled to share.  I get to see my progress over time, see the weight loss in pictures and maybe even help others who are either thinking about doing Optifast themselves or who are already on the journey with me.  Although I must admit, when I first started the blog, it was only about me.  Over time, though, I started sharing with others what I'm doing.  In fact, my intention was not to tell people who are in my life that are non-Optifasters about this blog because it's deeply personal.  I mean, I tell my weight for goodness sake!!  Like I'm seriously going to tell people who don't have a weight problem ... get real!  But, I actually do have readers here who are special people in my life that I have shared this blog with.  I trust them with who I am and I know they love me for me, not the number on my scale.  They are among my biggest cheerleaders for sure.
For me, this is a journey that I have to share with other people if I want any chance of being successful.  I don't walk through life alone, so why would this be any different?  It's an exciting time in my life and it's crazy for me not to share that with other people.  Not everyone is going to support my decision to go with a medically supervised fast, but they are supporting me as their friend, co-worker and daughter.  That's all I can ask for.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Forgot to inject insulin this morning ... uh oh

Last night when I came home from work, I had a shake and then fully intended on going for a walk to get some exercise in.  That was my plan, until I discovered one of my cute kitties laying on my bed.  Then I decided to lay down next to her for "just a minute".  That was at 6pm.  I woke up at 9pm.  Some lovely nap!  The problem was I was wide awake ... wide awake.  I found myself scrubbing the kitchen sink, mopping the floor and picking up the house at 1 in the morning.  So, needless to say, by the time I actually got to bed, I only had a few hours left before I had to wake up.  When I did, I was super groggy, dragging and had to rush to get to work on time.  In my haste, I realized about halfway down to my office that, doh, I forgot to not only check my blood sugar this morning but didn't inject the insulin that I do every morning and night.

Since going on Optifast, we reduced the amount of insulin I take as a type 2 diabetic, but I still do need it for now.  The medical staff at the clinic are starting to wean me off of it slowly as I have less and less need.  My blood sugar numbers have been absolutely perfect, a far cry from what I did when I was choosing what food to eat.  I could never, ever normalize my blood sugar.  Anyway, the fact that I skipped injecting insulin put me into a panic somewhat today, a bit worried that I might dip too high at work without having any insulin with me.  Then I forgot about it ... I came home and did what I needed to do before going on a long walk.  I just realized a few minutes ago that it was time to face the music and deal with a high number.  Imagine my shock when I tested on my machine and it said my blood sugar was normal without any insulin in my body.  Wow.  I know the walk probably helped but to have it normal without the aid of any medication is absolutely huge!

I guess this episode was yet another reminder that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  I definitely will be telling the medical office at Kaiser what happened, but I also get to deal with my feelings about it.  I have heard doctors say that the program helps people wean off of insulin completely.  I couldn't even imagine that being my situation because I have always struggled with maintaining normal blood sugar levels.  All of this is just another reminder to me that miracles are being performed all around me if I just open my eyes long enough to see.  Some may not agree with that, but I do.  I feel the blessings in my life and it means a lot to me. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I need to confess to an affair I've been having

I've been carrying around a secret and I just need to confess right here and now.  I have been having an affair.  It has left me with a lot of shame and it's a secret I need to let go of.  I have been having an affair, but it's not with who you think it is.  I have been having an illicit romance with ... my bathroom scale.  [I know I tricked you, but got your attention, didn't I??]

When I started Optifast, our group's counselor told us to only weigh ourselves once a week in the clinic and to not do it at home so that we don't get obsessed with the numbers and to make sure that the numbers were accurate by being on the same scale.  And, at first, I didn't weigh myself at home.  But as time went on and I was starting to drop serious weight, I was getting some sort of satisfaction with seeing the drastic losses on the scale.  Yet, when I would go to the clinic and the numbers were not exactly the same, it would mess with my head.  Soon, my worth as a human being was starting to get defined by what the scale said to me.  As I was talking to a friend at work today and was telling her about the scale in my house, I soon realized it was meaning too much to me.  So, I commit to only weighing once a week at the clinic and I have now gotten rid of my scale.  This last week was certainly better for me in terms of not worrying about the numbers, but it's just not good for me to hold on to that scale.  There's no point in it and it's better for me to do this in a very healthy way.  So it's gone, gone, gone!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

I had a better weigh-in tonight than I did last week, losing 5.5 pounds for a total of 80.5.  It was so interesting in our Optifast group tonight because the conversation turned into a talk about cancer and it helped me gain perspective.  I actually was okay tonight about whatever the scale was going to say, but the cancer talk was a reminder for me to always remember the bigger picture.  I had cancer last year, so it wasn't as if I was arbitrarily thinking about some sort of out there concept when other people were talking about cancer ... I lived it.  I went through the biopsy scare, the endless doctors appointments, the surgery that I hoped would remove it all from my body, the crying in the corner of the shower when I was alone with my thoughts, the outpouring of love, just all of it.  I am not discounting the battle with weight, but I also just got the gentle but firm reminder that I don't need to worry about what the scale says.  It is what it is.  And, hey, 80.5 pounds sounds great to me!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My path with Optifast

The decision to go on Optifast was not an easy one for me.  I would venture to say that is the case for most people who choose this path.  It's sort of one of those "last house on the block" type of decisions.  Just so that you can get an idea of the paths I have been down in my efforts to lose weight, here's a snapshot of what I've tried:
  • Jenny Craig
  • Weight Watchers - I think I was on it 4 or 5 different times
  • Overeaters Anonymous - I did this for a good 10+ years
  • Cabbage Soup Diet
  • Alphabet Diet
  • South Beach Diet
  • Eating disorder rehab through the Raider Institute
I am sure there's more I'm forgetting, but you get the picture.  I would say that I lost some weight with all of these programs to some degree, but then they worked until they didn't work.  I gave Overeaters Anonymous a very long haul because I did lose 100 pounds in the program and, more than the weight, it brought me to a level of serenity and healing I had never before experienced in my life.  In fact, if there was more success with losing the weight and keeping it off there, I would still be in the program.  I do still practice a lot of the principles that I learned in the program in my life, such as prayer and turning things over to God.  I just know that I needed something more in order to lose weight, at least for me.  That is hard for me to say because I met so many amazing people there, some of which are still very good friends of mine. 

My life has not been easy, not at all.  There's been a lot of abuse, rape and a battle with trust of people, especially of men, to get me to a place where I was willing to get on my knees and beg God for help.  And when I say beg, I mean beg.  Just typing this brings tears to my eyes because I consider myself to be an intelligent person who can figure things out pretty well most of the time, resilient, independent and just overall a good person (at least I try to be).  So why couldn't I just lose the weight?  Finally, when I reached over 400 pounds, I hit my lowest low I could ever imagine hitting.  Isn't 400 pounds like the fat lady in the corner that they point at when going to a circus?  I'm not making fun of someone's weight here; these are just the thoughts that ran in my head about me alone and no one else.  The health problems I was experiencing, especially for someone at my relatively younger age, was a result of all the weight.  I considered gastric bypass, seriously in fact.  I have a friend at work who had the surgery done, who I know reads this blog (hola chica!), that I would ask questions periodically about the process.  What kept me from doing it is the things I had to do leading up to it, like taking classes and having to lose weight before doing it, as well as the permanent nature of such a surgery and the complications that sometimes comes with it.  I considered lap-band as well, but there are people who have serious problems from that, too.  So, I dropped it for a while, still praying to God to help me, to please show me a way out to a better life.  On the outside, I would smile and the world would never guess what was going on with me.  On the inside, I was dying and desperately needed help.

Then, a man who was very special to me, who I had a relationship with for a very long time over the years, one who I was supposed to marry, absolutely hurt me in a way that I could never describe in words.  It wasn't physical, but it may as well have been.  It was not another woman, either, but it was devastation beyond anything I had ever experienced in my life, or could ever even think of.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back.  Between that and having had a recent surgery that was unsuccessful, in addition to surviving cancer last year, led me to getting to a new level of hurt I felt like I could not breathe through.  I remember just praying to God, through a tremendous amount of tears, to just please help me.  Help me to breathe, help me to be strong and courageous, help me to lean on my faith.  With all of the humility in the world, I told God that I trusted Him to carry me through and that's what I would need now ... to be carried. 

Suddenly I found myself feeling an inner renewal that brought me to the next step.  I had an appointment with my primary care physician for something unrelated.  I had talked to her about weight loss options before, including Optifast, but never felt strong enough to follow through.  At this appointment, however, I looked at her with tears in my eyes and told her that I was ready.  This doctor had been having serious talks with me over the years about why the weight loss was important, but she was kind and gentle in her approach.  I heard her, each and every time, but I just wasn't ready.  This time, she couldn't have been more supportive than she was.  I had resolved to myself that I would follow all the rules of Optifast because I know people lose weight on the program.  I also know people can gain it back when they go back to having regular food again, so it was especially important for me to do what they tell me I need to do with no deviation whatsoever, as if I know more than they do.  I don't!  In the process, I have been praying to God often to please give me strength through this and not to be afraid to do the work involved.  I don't mean just drinking shakes, I mean the soul-searching, the leveling of pride, dealing with things now that I never wanted to deal with before.  Maybe that means I will have to deal more with being abused or surviving a horrendous rape.  I can't eat the feelings away, so I'm going to have to walk through them.

People in my life have been really supportive.  There are times when some will see me, notice the significant weight loss, and then look at me with eyes of judgement once they find out I'm doing Optifast.  I understand that it won't be easy for everyone to understand, and I can definitely respect that.  Hopefully, though, people that have read this post can understand why I chose the path I did.  Still, if not, perhaps they can support me anyway because all I want to do is be healthier.  I don't ever kid myself that I'm going to be a size six, but a normal, healthy body size is what I look forward to.  God is doing such an amazing work in me and I feel His grace blessing me every single day.  He blessed me before, but I wasn't present enough to accept it or even to acknowledge it.  I had to be brought down to my knees, literally, to be open and willing enough to receive.  Every day is one that is filled with gratitude.  I don't go to food now to hide away or seek some sort of false comfort.  I am doing what is prescribed and, truly, I am so humbled at the opportunity.  There is a peace and joy in my heart that I have not experienced in a very long time.  I smile a lot now.  Thank you, God, for this.  You have woken me up.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Literally falling off my body

There are little victories we have in life that may seem, at least on the surface, as little things that don't really mean much.  Then there are those victories that we know are nothing to take for granted.  I had that happen to me today.  I was getting dressed for work this morning and, as is my usual, was running out of time trying to figure out what ensemble to put together.  I always tell myself that I should plan better the night before.  Do I?  Uh, that would be a big fat noooo!  This morning was no different.  I grabbed a pair of pants, the same pair of pants I wore in the picture of my body assessment before starting Optifast.  I jumped into them, pulled them up and they fell right down past my hips.  I tried again, not registering what was going on.  I just thought I was tired but when I did it again, they fell down a second time.  Then I realized, oh dear Lord, the reason they don't stay up is because they are too big on me now. 

Now, just to give you all some perspective, my weight had gotten so much before Optifast that I was busting out of the biggest size they offered at plus-size stores (the one I always went to was the Avenue where their biggest size was a 30/32).  I am saying this on here in a very public way because I want to express the place I've come from.  Nothing was fitting any more and I was even resorting to ordering things online because I knew there were bigger sizes available.  It would make me sad, but that's the place where I came from.  No matter what I did, for several years, I just could not lose weight.  In fact, I was just gaining.  So, to have clothes literally fall off of me right now is a miracle on earth.  God has supremely blessed me by leading me to a place where I not only have a program that can help me get healthier but also the right place within myself to not sabotage efforts and just be as free and as willing as I need to be through this process.  I am in such a grateful space!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

I had my weigh-in yesterday and initially was super disappointed because I didn't lose any weight.  I was shocked and started blaming myself.  And it was a real eye-opener that I was focused too much on the numbers.  I am the type of person that can get just as obsessed with the numbers that are too high as those that are too low.  Thankfully, I have some great people in my life that helped me get perspective.  I did exercise a lot in the past week and there are many factors that go into not losing any weight.  I decided that I was just going to move on from this and let it go, which I have.  I am in such a healthier place and couldn't be happier about that. 

Yesterday at work, a student I have worked with for four years brought in an Easter gift for me, this yellow pail with a sweet little face painted on it.  As you can see, it was filled with candy (most of which you can't even see in this picture), flower seeds and a sweet little card.  I met this young lady as she was entering as a freshmen and get to see her graduate with a goal of eventually becoming a lawyer.  And I know she'll do it, too.  She is the sweetest girl and actually told me in her card that if it wasn't for me, she wouldn't be going on to college.  Can I just say how much I love working with kids?  There is something so special about them.  This morning I donated all the candy to a woman who always keeps some on hand at her desk for kids and other staff.  I was able to give it all away and not even give it a second thought.  And I'm excited to plant the seeds in the backyard so I can see sunflowers sprouting up.  How fun!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Family is always such a challenge

My relationship with my mother is so much better these days.  If you read my story to learn more about what brought me to Optifast, you'll know things were very rocky with her when I was growing up.  There was a time when I confronted her about the abuse and that led to a period of twelve years where we did not speak.  About two years ago, we came back into each others' lives and decided to start fresh.  Things have been generally wonderful between us, both working hard at talking things out.  However, there are times when the old person of who she used to be comes out and also the same for me.  She used to have times when she would become very angry and defensive with the "my way or the highway" kind of thinking.  For my part, I was always the little child who loved her and didn't want to upset her so I wouldn't say things when I was bothered.  That led to me eating ... a lot.  While she had really worked on her anger in those twelve years, I really worked on having my voice heard with her as an adult and not as a little girl.  Amazingly, we both have figured out how to communicate with each other in very loving ways. 

When I told my mother about the weight loss program, she was supportive.  At the same time, however, she also has been manipulative in small ways.  She just cannot understand how I am not eating any sort of food whatsoever.  When I explain to her that all of my nutritional needs are met while doing the program, she just can't wrap her brain around that. 

"You mean you can't even have grilled chicken or fruit?" 
"No, Mother, just the shakes and chicken broth."  She knows she's in trouble when I call her Mother.

Her response is always to laugh.  I'm not sure if she's laughing at how ridiculous she thinks it sounds, at me for doing such a program, or both.  I don't let her get away with the laughter, though.  I tell her that I love her very much, but that it hurts when she laughs like that because it feels like she's making fun of me and that makes me feel bad.  I tell her that if she doesn't understand the program, that's fine, but could she still just be supportive of me anyway?  Besides, I've been on it for over two months and obviously I am getting all of my nutritional needs met because otherwise I would be dead by now! 

So, last night we were on the phone and talking about visiting my brother.  We live in San Diego county and he lives in Vegas.  We like to go about twice a year.  She wanted to wait until Thanksgiving since I'm on a "diet" and I told her that I would be fine going during the summer like we usually do.  She was being protective of me with all the food and buffets they have in Vegas.  I appreciate that, but I said to her that our visit wasn't about the food but about spending time with our family.  Besides, I told her, I'll just bring my little blender with me and the shakes ... they travel well.  And, again, she responded by laughing.  It wasn't just a little giggle but full on laughter.  I scolded her and said, "Mother, stop laughing at me."  Again, out came Mother.  She accounts my responses to being "cranky" because I'm not getting any food.  How is it that family can get under your skin more than any other group of people?  Grrrrr.

We are growing, though.  We never end a phone call or a visit without telling each other that we love one another.  She is proud of me for the weight loss and I am proud of her for being willing to engage in conversation that we previously may have never broached.  She is from a different country than America and so sometimes she just has some cultural biases that she approaches life with, in addition to having her own issues around weight, men, abuse and addiction.  Meanwhile, for me, we have lived in San Diego since I was three years old.  My father, who was serving in the Navy at the time, met her while he was stationed in the Philippines, but then got stationed back in San Diego after I was born.  So I don't approach life with cultural biases at all because the culture I live in is San Diego!  I don't speak Tagalog, never have, and so things are different for me.  I am completely respectful of where she comes from, but also have to honor myself and who I am. 

We will be going to Vegas in June and I am hoping, as we get closer to the time of our visit, that she comes to a greater understanding of where I am in my weight loss process.  If anything, I just hope she will be encouraging and stop her laughter!  My brother is very happy that I am taking care of myself and that is what I want for all of my family to understand ... this is about taking good care of myself and not about whether or not I eat food.  I know not everyone is going to understand why I went on Optifast, why I need to do a medically supervised program, and why I can't just go on another diet.  The fact is that some people reading this won't understand either.   That is okay, but I just ask for support.  "Hey Kathy, I don't quite understand, but I support you."  That would be fantastic.  I feel so much better than I have in years and am getting healthier and healthier as each day passes.  My blood pressure is so much lower, my blood sugar levels are normal and, by the way, I'm losing weight.  Yahoooo ;-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blood sugar levels

When I started Optifast, one of the things the medical staff at the clinic told me I would be able to do is get off all of my diabetes-related medication.  That was such a joy to me because I was taking a combination of pills and insulin everyday.  Just the fact that I was at that state as a Type 2 diabetic was difficult for me because most Type 2's regulate with just oral medication in addition to diet and exercise.  Yet, even though I was injecting insulin, I just could not regulate my levels no matter what I did.  So, I would get extremely frusted and just tell myself that if I'm messing up anyway, why worry about eating the right things only to fail miserably each day?  I would just take more insulin to try to keep my levels normal.  I was going through a bottle of insulin within a week or so, which is quick since each bottle typically is supposed to last me about a month. 

So anyway, I was taken off all my diabetes meds.  However, my blood sugar levels would not go below about 225.  Given that a fasting blood sugar of 80-120 is a normal rate, I was getting frustrated.  It was certainly better than I was doing before.  Even with injections in the morning of about 35 cc's, 75 cc's at bedtime and use of fast-acting insulin at dinner in addition to oral medications, I still was around the 275 level all the time prior to starting Optifast.  It was a royal mess, let me just say.  The medical staff and I came to the agreement that I would start to inject again, once in the morning and once at bedtime until I got my blood sugar levels to about 150.  We were very conservative at first, not wanting to inject too much. 

After about a month, I am happy to report that my blood sugar levels are now perfect and actually a little low, so I may be able to cut back on some of the insulin.  And that bottle that used to only last me a week is now something I am going to have to throw out after a month with half the bottle still full (they expire 30 days after they have been opened).  Regardless of whether or not I can cut back on insulin, I just am so elated to know that the diabetes in my body is not out of control any longer.  When I test my blood sugar now, there is no fear of what the meter is going to read back at me, even right after having a shake when it would be expected that the level would be significantly elevated.  The physican assistants I have been working with have told me that eventually I will get to the point, as I lose more weight, that I will wean off the insulin significantly, if not altogether.  Whether or not that happens, I can say that I am very happy of where I am with my blood sugar numbers right now.  I don't want the diabetes to get worse in me, so even if I had to inject for the rest of my life at my present level, I seriously would be okay with that, too.  It's in Gods hands, that's for sure.  This is all so incredibly miraculous, I just can't stress that enough.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MRI saga

I finally completed all the MRI's and didn't pass out this time!  I had my left wrist and neck done today.  I am amazed at the different ways I get shown how significantly the weight loss impacts my life.  For the neck MRI, I had to sit in a very narrow space.  The picture on the left is exactly what it looked like.  As soon as I looked at the space, I thought to myself, Oh no, here we go again ... I'm not going to fit.  Then I remembered a prayer I said to God in the car on the way down to the appointment, which is that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Those aren't just empty words to me, they actually mean something.  The things I didn't think I could do before I am discovering I actually can do.  If I don't fit in the machine, then we'll go to plan C if necessary.  With 75 pounds off of my frame, things are different.  I fit in the space and they were able to easily buckle the seat belt around my waist before sliding me back further into the machine.  I did have to have this white circle thingy around my neck, so I could not see anything in front of me.  I took that as an opportunity to close my eyes and just be in peace.  I thought about all the things I am grateful for.  I thought about how much my life is changing and, as a result, how much I am changing.  Things that I didn't want to do before are things I can't wait to do now.  For instance, I'm going for a 3-mile walk in the morning and I'm super excited to just get out there and start moving.  I'm becoming the exact person I used to spend all sorts of time rolling my eyes at.  Enjoy exercise?  Hardly!  Yet, it's true.  I am enjoying this experience.  Today I put jeans on that have been hanging in my closet forever.  It has been years since I have worn jeans.  And I put sandals on that previously did not fit.  I never realized you could lose weight in your feet, but that very thing is happening to me.  This is such a scary time in my life, but scary because it's all good, it's what I have been dreaming about and hoping would happen.  I feel like I'm coming out of a coma ... I was alive before but I just didn't feel like I was living.  Now I am seeing things through different eyes.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

Hi gang.  I had my Optifast group tonight and have lost another 9.5 pounds this week.  My two-month total is an amazing 75 pounds.  Can you believe it?  Thank God, seriously...THANK YOU!!

Doctors and shopping

Today was the start of a week off of work.  Glorious vacation ... I love you!! I still have classes this week, but not having to get up at 5 a.m. is a real treat.  This morning I had an appointment with a new hand specialist to look over my injuries.  He prescribed a lot more meds I have to take, but if it's going to help me get through this, I'll do whatever I have to do.  Tomorrow I have two MRI's to do and another appointment on Wednesday with a chiropractor to work on the pain.  Breathe, Kathy, just breathe.

I then went into Smart & Final because I'm low on the sugar-free Torani syrups that I put in my Optifast shakes.  It is amazing what a different experience I have now being in stores where they sell food.  First of all, my bill is much smaller!  When I'm not buying food, let alone the horrible stuff that shouldn't even be classified as food, the cart has much less stuff.  All I had in mine today was the Torani bottles, diet soda, and a large packet of sugar-free gum.  However, I was very aware of the other foods around me, especially with Easter being this weekend.  They had cookies, cakes, breads, pies and the like at the end of practically every aisle and people just piling it high into their carts.  I felt empathy for the people who were larger with a lot in their carts.  That was me, queen of the bingers for a long time.  No one knows what goes on in the privacy of a person's home, but I can tell you from my experience that it is so very different from the persona we portray for the world to see.  I also know, again from my own experience, that it only comes when you are ready and one hundred percent committed to make the change. 

People always ask me how in the world it is that I am doing Optifast and comment that they could never do it.  I totally get it!  Personally, I just could never do this on my own without the loving Hand of God and all of my friends and family surrounding me in support and love.  Yes, I'm doing the footwork, but God is such a wonderful Father to me and puts people in my life who bless me beyond measure.  They have no idea how their smiling faces, supportive hugs and yay-Kathy attitudes make this journey for me so much easier.   I can be in a place like a grocery store and still walk out of there not having shame about what's in my cart.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A beautiful Sunday morning

As I type this, I sit in such incredible gratitude.  I just got back from a very long walk this morning that felt like it was only 20 minutes long - which is a good thing!  It rained overnight, so there's this crispness in the air that just makes me feel so alive.  I am a living, breathing miracle.  I know, some of you may be rolling your eyes right now, but if you're a believer like I am, you are shaking your head up and down in agreement and understanding.  Just two months ago, I was probably in the worst spot I have ever been in.  My health was going downhill fast and I know that if I continued where I was at, I was going to die.  My breathing was always labored, I was always feeling hot from all the added weight, every part of me ached and it was just not good. That's not to say I didn't try to do better, but I just felt lost and near hopelessness.  God, meanwhile, never gave up on me.  I always turned to Him, even in moments when I would turn to no one else because it was just too hard.  I turned to him in faith and He, in turn, has held my hand and never let it go.  Two months ago, I weighed 417 pounds.  Tomorrow is my weigh-in day and I will likely hit the 70-pounds lost mark.  I feel so much better, healthier, optimistic ... happy.  Last night, when I was at church, I took communion (which I have permission to do from my Optifast counselor).  The little tiny piece of bread and thimble of juice are passed out row by row, and since I always sit near the front of church, I closed my eyes and bowed my head in prayer until it was time for all of us to take them together.  Soon my eyes were filled with tears because of the emotion I was feeling for God saving me.  The strength I have to walk through this journey and face the challenges I have every day as I lose weight only comes from one place.  This is not an easy road and anyone that says drinking shakes to lose weight is easy is not being truthful.  It is making me face emotions that sometimes I would rather not face or sit in feelings when sometimes all I want to do is push them away with food.  To have a body that is melting away before my very eyes is something incredible and I just thank God for blessing me.  Yes, it is a beautiful, gorgeous Sunday morning.