Friday, September 14, 2012

Taking care of myself is about letting go of shame

Yesterday I had two doctor's appointments, one to deal with my back issue and the other for an ongoing work injury.  The way things were before when I was at my heaviest, I would have just suffered through the pain and not gone to see doctors.  Part of the reason for that is I feared another doctor saying to me, "If you just lose some weight, then ..."  Yes, I know, if I lost a little weight, I wouldn't be having these problems.  If I lost a little weight, then I would feel better.  If I lost a little weight, the world would be a cheerier place for me.   Something to that effect, right doctor?  I promise you that this is not said out of resentment at all.  In fact, most of the doctors I have seen are compassionate and very caring towards me.  There have been a couple over the years that acted as though I had some sort of contagious disease they would catch if they dare touch my body with all the weight on it.  Those moments are difficult because they are the doctors that get etched in the brain of someone that doesn't want to see a doctor in the first place, not the kind ones.  It's unfortunate that I have chosen to remember those people the most.

For my back, I will be continuing physical therapy and seeing a specialist.  It's sort of comical in an ironic sort of way because after all of this weight loss, you'd think my back would feel better.  It does in a sense since exercising and movement does give me some relief, but the moment I stop, pain returns.  This helps me realize, though, it's not just about the weight.  I always attributed any sort of pain I was having to the weight.  Yet, there might actually be deeper issues there.  The sort of pain I feel is something I would have eaten my way through to make myself feel better.  Having my hand in a bag of chips while sitting on the couch watching something mindless on TV would somehow be my solution to dealing with the discomfort.  Yet I know that it was not about dealing with any sort of discomfort, it was about not being present and ultimately not taking good care of myself.  Chips don't take anything away, they just add to the problem.  When I'm done with the chips, what comes next? 

Then there's the injury in my hands.  That has been highly stressful to deal with.  You don't realize, until you have such pain, how vital your hands are to your life.  It can be anything from the work you do, writing something on a piece of paper or just simple little enjoyments in life.  A few weeks ago, I visited with a friend who gave birth to an adorable little girl during the summer.  Oh my gosh, all I wanted to do was pick up this soft, squishy, precious bundle of joy and hold her in my arms.  But I can't ... the pain would be too immense.  There are pleasures that I just can't participate in because of the pain, but I am also doing things to see if it can get better.  When I went to see the doctor yesterday, it took everything in me to hold it together and not cry as I was telling him about my pain level, almost desperate for him to wave his magic wand at me and, poof, make it all better.  Wouldn't that be awesome?  He did end up injecting a couple of shots into my arm and gave me a prescription for four different medications we haven't tried before to see if it helps. 

It was difficult for me to accept all of this medication because, as you may have recall reading from previous posts, I have been taken off all of my prescribed medication.  Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol ... all gone.  Thank you, God, for that.  In fact, when I was getting checked in for the back injury doctor, the nurse asked me if I had always had low blood pressure - 100 over 63 - and I just smiled back at him and told him about the fact that, actually, I was on high blood pressure meds and was taken off because of all the weight loss.  That led to a great, uplifting conversation about the road I have traveled to get here.  Anyway, I digress (I tend to do that at times). 

When the doctor injected the shots into my arm, I was just praying for some relief.  There was no warning of side effects from him and the pills that he gave me didn't include any paperwork to say what they were about.  So, last night, when I was checking my blood sugar before I went to bed, which is something I normally do, it read 163.  I checked it again, thinking I must have done something wrong, and it read 150.  Of course I didn't have anything to eat since I'm on the shakes, so there was nothing out of the ordinary to cause the spike.  Normally I would have not been alarmed but when my bedtime readings these days have been about 75-80, it was concerning.  I did find some insulin in the fridge and took a few units just to ensure it didn't go higher in the middle of the night.  Then when I woke up this morning, it was 110.  Okay, much better.  I went about my day at work and then I started feeling very peculiar.  When I was talking to some friends, they even noticed it and said something was different, like I was just out of it and almost slurring my words.  Luckily, with the help of others, I was able to borrow a friend's blood sugar meter and checked again a couple more times and it was within the normal range.  Whew, what a relief.  I did call the medical office at the Optifast clinic and talked to them about the shots and meds the doctor gave me, just to ensure it was okay to take with the shakes.  The nurse practitioner explained to me what all the medication was.  Turns out one of the shots was a steroid and, yes, it would raise my blood sugar.  That would have been nice to know when the doctor was injecting it into my system.  The nurse practitioner wasn't concerned at all with the reading I had last night since it wasn't something like 300 but she understood my concerns because it was literally twice the level my body was used to.  Later in the afternoon, I felt better, but then I started to feel really bad just as I was leaving the office.

I headed out to my car and felt drained, very groggy and still hurting from the injections.  I could barely keep my eyes open.  I live about 45 minutes away from work, so it was a desperate drive just to make it home.  Why is it people drive like turtles when all you want is to put the pedal to the medal?? I did make it into the house, feeling dizzy and like I might pass out.  I went into the kitchen, looked at the bottles of meds and tried to see if there was anything listed on the label before I attempted to go online and figure out what was in these things for myself.  One of the bottles had an instruction label covering the one underneath but the line I could read started off with, "May cause d..."  May cause drowsiness, perhaps?  No shit, Shirlock!  I fumbled into my bed.  That was seven hours ago and now I'm up in the middle of the night.  My poor body, just going through the ringer these days.

Given all of these things going on, it really is an amazing gift from God that I am still able to walk through and not go to the food to make myself feel better.  I was a grazer, just picking up things to eat mindlessly and never having a conception of what I was doing.  And then there were other times where I was very much aware but couldn't stop, even if I wanted to.  When I was in a different group in my efforts to lose weight, before Optifast, this man would talk about crying as he was eating a half gallon of ice cream right out of the carton, not able to push away from it.  There is so much shame in that.  I so badly wanted to stop what I was doing and have a different kind of life, but I was caught in this web that I couldn't break out of.  Food was my savior and my killer, all at the same time.  When people ask me how much weight I've lost, sometimes they will ask me where I started. Generally these are people that are not strangers to me, but know me pretty well.  I remember the day my mother finally asked me how much my starting weight was after I had lost about 100 pounds. I told her, "Mom, you don't want to know."  I had a huge lump in my throat as I told her that.  Yes, I wasn't at that weight any longer, but oh man the shame was intense inside of me.  Would she think differently if she knew the truth?  Would everybody?  She told me she loved me and wasn't going to judge me, but she did want to know.  As I told her that it was 417 pounds, I wanted to cry.  I looked at her and she had tears in her eyes.  I can't imagine the pain she felt inside when her child, even at 40 years old, became honest about the pain she was in.  No matter what she's done to me in the past, I was ultimately the one to go to food to seek comfort.  Yes, she treated me in a deplorable way when I was younger, but food was the comforter I ran to make my world a better one.

As I move farther away from that weight, I am slowly letting go of that past and, ultimately, of that shame.  I ache for that Kathy that couldn't break away from the addiction of the food, yet I also celebrate this one right now.  Today I don't have to feel that shame.  I recently have shared this blog with some people in my life who have been incredibly supportive of my journey (hellooo new readers and friends!).  I knew it was a brave thing for me to do because not only do I just spill out my guts and tell you the honest truth here, but my weight is actually posted prominently.  It's one thing to tell you this is such an emotional journey, but it's another to tell you how much I freakin weighed!  That's akin to telling my age, which I do a lot, too.  Ha ha, I don't think I have a filter any longer ;-) 

The support I have gotten from others means so much, some traveling the same path and others cheering as I go along.  I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it is to hear positive comments, to get a hug or even just a smile that says so much.  I am so incredibly blessed to work where I do, to have the people in my corner that I do and to be able to share myself with so many others that I consider to be friends.  In fact, there is not one person in my life who has looked down on me because of the path I have chosen to take off the weight.  Don't get me wrong, that hasn't always been the case.  It's just that they have seen the change that has come over me and they know something very special is happening right before their eyes.  No, I don't need to hang onto shame any longer.  I can embrace the lovely place I am in now and keep walking with courage towards the next step, wherever that may lead me.


Post a Comment