Thursday, January 31, 2013

I KNOW I can do this

Last night I posted about taking all the medication that makes me drowsy at night and a fear of not being able to fall asleep because then I would be groggy all day long.  Well, guess what happened?  That's right ... I couldn't fall asleep for the life of me.  I gave it a good try, but my heart was racing from the blood sugar situation and probably feeling stressed out, too.  I did end up finally falling asleep at 4 a.m.  However, my alarm goes off at 5:30, so functioning on an hour and a half of sleep was not fun today, especially when I didn't sleep well the night before.  Now I'm just trying to relax before I go to bed.  I have a late class on Thursday nights so I usually don't get home until 9:30ish on those nights.  Tonight I WILL sleep, so help me God!!

I am very happy to report that my blood sugar is back within normal range.  I'm hoping the spike from the cortisone shots was just a 24-hour thing.  My food was super clean today and I'm going to bed knowing I took really good care of myself.  Tonight, as I was walking across the campus of my college from class to my car, which is a 15-minute walk, I was looking down at the city lights below.  I started thinking about the fact that in just a few months, I will be going through the graduation ceremony at my college and what an incredible journey it has been for me to get my degree.  There have been lots of twists and turns in my life that affected my ability to finish, but it was a personal goal for me to do so.  And I will likely be starting a graduate program in about a year as well.  It just reminds me what perseverance and hard work will do.  That's true for many things in my life.  When I decided it was time for me to buy my house, I came up with a deposit, participated in a great program to get a good home loan rate and stuck it out through the difficult market (I had to put in 22 offers to get my place!).  When it was time to leave a job because I wasn't being treated well, I did just that and ended up at the most wonderful one where I work now.  So, with everything in me, I know I can also meet the challenge of being healthier and losing weight with the same determination and grit.  I've said this before ... I'm a scrappy fighter.  Kick Ass Kathy.  I want this so badly, more than I've ever wanted anything.  Just to feel healthier is all I am after.  I don't pretend that I can eventually get down to 110 pounds and fit in a size 4, nor would I want to.  That's not just me. 

Anyway, my pills are kicking in and making me very drowsy, so let's see how I do on sleep tonight!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Relieving the pain in my hands

I had an appointment with my worker's comp doctor today regarding the pain in my hands from carpel tunnel and tendonitis, as well as the scar tissue damage from the surgery I had in my dominant hand over a year ago.  I'm basically in pain all the time with my hands, but like everything else, I have been trying to cover up the pain on the outside and just tough it out even though the pain is STRONG on the inside.  I'm on lots of meds and we're trying other remedies as well to give me some relief from the pain.  Today the doctor decided it was time for some more shots in both my hands.  So he injected Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory cortisone on the inside of both of my hands right above my wrists.  After a little while, the only difference I felt is that I felt numbness go from the injection site all the way to the tip of my middle finger on my right hand. Alright, insert joke here ;-)

Perhaps the relief will come later, who knows.  I felt kinda funny, not myself at all, so I thought it was time to check my blood sugar.  It was a shock to read that my level was at 321.  Holy smokes!  It should be about 140 or less after eating a meal or 80-120 on an empty stomach.  Then I remembered that cortisone injections can significantly raise blood sugar but I wasn't prepared for that.  I do have some emergency Glyburide pills at home that lowers blood sugar so I took some of those.  The doctor also gave me some new medication to help with the pain.  It does cause dizziness and drowsiness, so obviously I'm taking those at night.  I also have the Nortriptyline I take at night to help with the pain in my legs.  It also causes drowsiness.  Tonight is the night that I'm supposed to increase the dosage from one pill to two pills.  All these meds that cause drowsiness is a good thing for helping me get sleep.  The only problem is that if I can't fall asleep, I will be beyond groggy.  That was the case for me last night and I was feeling like dead woman walking all day today.  I pray, pray, pray that I will be able to fall asleep enough to have the drowsiness wear off.  Can you see why I have been so frustrated lately with all the medical stuff I've had to deal with?  This is just one component of it all and I'm exhausted just describing it!

I did start looking into a local Weight Watchers meeting that I can start going to.  There's a few on Saturday morning that are close to my house, so I'll be going there.  I like that I have the option of going on the weekend since the weekdays are very full for me, especially now that we are in the spring term of the year at work.  I am busy all the time at work, there's no question about that.  However, I'm beyond crazed at times during the spring term.  I have a lot more students coming to see me for help with scholarships, financial aid or making alternate decisions for college.  I also put on a huge awards ceremony at the end of the school year and that takes months of planning and coordination.  Besides that, I have my own college courses as well as normal life stuff for someone trying to be healthier.  I'm excited to start at WW this weekend.  It feels for me like it did when I was waiting to start Optifast.  I felt so positive and hopeful then.  That's what I feel now, too.  It just feels like a nice start to the second chapter of my journey.  Gosh, is it only chapter two?  More like chapter 20 ... so much has happened in the last year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A year later and a difficult decision

Yesterday I stayed home from work.  I didn't feel well and it was one of those times where I knew the best thing for me was to just stay home to rest.  It turns out it was a good thing for me to take care of myself not only for physical reasons for emotional ones, too.   I did a lot of thinking and came to some important decisions while I laid in my bed.  Indulge me for a paragraph or two as I go back and tell a short version of what brought me to where I found myself yesterday.

This last year has really brought a significant amount of change in my life.  I started the year at my heaviest weight - 420 pounds.  I never could have imagined myself in a situation like that, not ever.  But it was enough of a catalyst for me to do something drastic to care for my health if I wanted to be around for the future.  So, on February 6th, I began the journey of making big changes by starting Optifast at 417 pounds.  It was a pretty scary proposition at that time, but I never looked back once I went down that road.  It wasn't an easy journey, but, rather quickly, I began to see a significant amount of weight be shed from my body.  I lost 45 pounds in the first month alone.  When you're in a situation like being on nothing but shakes and chicken broth, as I was in those first 10 or so months, there is nothing to hide behind.  The emotions are raw and hit you square between the eyes.  Yet, I was able to be 100% compliant with the program without even a little bit of a desire to cheat.  I mean, I remember getting "special permission" to take my once-monthly communion at church because I was so worried about staying compliant.  It's actually pretty funny now when I think back on it.  At the height, I had lost 190 pounds within those 10 months.  Pretty soon, I found myself the smallest I had ever been in my life.  I had gone from wearing a size 34 down to a size 16.  I literally was shrinking.  I was doing my best to deal with things as they were coming up, but I never realized at the time how difficult things were going to become.

The entire time I was on the shakes, I was having medical issues but I really didn't press too hard in regards to them because I was losing buckets of weight that I didn't care that I was dangerously lightheaded every single day or having digestive issues.  There was a constant pain in both of my legs that I didn't remember having before going on the fast.  Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not blaming the products at all.  It's just that things were happening and I chose to ignore them as best I could because nothing seemed more important to me at the time than getting the weight off.  Good Lord, that's all I wanted.  That's all anyone wants who is classified as a "super morbidly obese" human being.  You'd give anything to be skinny; screw the consequences.  However, over time, I couldn't ignore the problems that I was having and eventually went on a modified fast and then, ultimately, a full-food plan that had me no longer taking any of the products.  In no short order, without even realizing the severity of what was going on at the time, I gained back an incredible sixty or so pounds within three months.  Yes, you read that right.  I went back over my weight loss stats to confirm that. Now, I should say that not all of that has to do with me making poor personal choices; I was having significant rejection issues to some pain medications that were prescribed to me.  Some had horrible weight gain as a side effect, but that set me on a pattern of feeling pain, trying to take medication to help me with the pain, feeling frustration because I was still feeling the pain yet seeing weight gain, eating out of that frustration, still feeling pain, more eating and then going on and on in a cycle of self-destruction.  We'd change my medication, with the same results each time.  All the while, here I was trying to function normally, putting on a brave face and feeling like I was collapsing on the inside.  Besides the stress of the pain in my legs, I was also dealing with pain from my worker's comp injury, the stress of dealing with lawyers and depositions, a demanding full-time job, college courses, attempting to have regular exercise in my life that causes pain every time I did it, incredibly low blood sugar and the list just goes on and on.

Meanwhile, I am continuing to go to my Optifast classes each week, even though I was no longer on product, because I wanted to continue to try to lose more weight until I could get down to goal but keeping the support of the group.  I'm not one of these people who can do it on their own.  I need the group dynamics to help to keep going.  Doing that costs $50 each week.  Even as the number on the scale kept getting higher and higher, even as I watched friends continue to get smaller while I was silently heading in the other direction and feeling so jealous of them even though I was happy for them, even though I was feeling emotional pain at the thought that I was failing, I kept going to the meetings each week.  I expressed that I was having a hard time, but I was still putting on a brave face.  I kept telling myself, "I'll find a way to turn this around."  Ever the person to try to "fix" things, I was also trying to fix my own stuff going on.  And it hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday -- I cannot keep up the brave face while I feel the total opposite inside.  Gaining back 60 pounds in 3 months is not only unbelievable but it's a cry for help from a person who never asks for help.  So, yesterday, I finally made the decision to ask for help.  You guys can't imagine how hard this is for me to say that I've gained so much back in such a short period of time.  Really, if it wasn't happening to me and I didn't see the numbers on the scale, I wouldn't believe it.  I mean, who has ever heard of weight coming back that fast, no matter what the reason?

To that end, I've decided that I am going to discontinue going to the Optifast support class, especially if it is costing me $50 each week (that's $200 in a month for those of you doing the math) when I'm going in the opposite direction.  Instead, I'm going to continue doing what I started a year ago - taking care of myself.  I do feel that continued support is necessary for me, though.  So I'm going to go the Weight Watchers route for the rest of my weight loss since it will give me the same sort of support at a fraction of the cost, while continuing to work with my personal doctor and dietitian.  I want the weekly accountability in a group setting, as well as the support of people going through the same stuff that I'm going through.  And, most importantly, I'm going to also look into going into counseling to help me through.  I have been overweight my entire life and I need the help if I even have a fighting chance at having a normal, healthy body and life.  Even though I have a very public blog that a lot of people read (for which I am incredibly grateful), I'm actually a very private person who is conservative, in control and tries to handle things on her own.  Can you say Type A??  I can no longer keep doing that.  I have so many people on my side that love me to pieces and just want to see me happy.  Ultimately, as painful as this entire process has been, I want that for myself, too.  I'm not seeking another diet, as I've been on many before, but what I am seeking is continuing to move forward in a positive direction.

Today, as I was talking with an extremely caring friend who has the same type of personality as me, the tears finally came.  I was trying to hold them back as best I could from her because I knew that if I started to let them out, it would take a long time for them to stop.  But that's the beauty of friendship ... the other person loves you through the tears, the rationalizations and, frankly, the bullshit.  It wasn't just the talk with this particular friend today.  It was the culmination of all of my talks with friends old and new like Sara, Melissa, Kim, Mercedes, Kristin, Tracy, M and so many others that have made the difference in me seeking more in terms of taking care of myself.  All of you have meant so much to me when I could share such personal things with you all the while knowing that you all stand by me in unwavering support.  I wish I could tell people reading this that the journey of weight loss is an easy one in which you get on a special plan to take the weight off, you reach goal and then move into happily ever after mode.  It takes work, a lot of faith and a level of unprecedented humility that I never imagined before.  I think back through the last year and I have felt tremendous joy.  Sure, there have been incredible challenges (especially when I look back over the last couple of years), but make no mistake about it ... there's been a lot of joy.  In an effort to keep moving down that road of continued joy, sometimes it means making hard decisions that ultimately provide the best healing. 

So, onward to the next part of this journey. This time I think I'll put my seat belt on so I don't fling myself over that cliff.  I was pretty close this time.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Too much of a good thing

It's been raining in San Diego off and on, so it interrupted my usual Sunday morning walk with Sara around Discovery Lake.  So we decided to go and walk around one of the indoor malls.  She brought her son in the stroller.  He is such a cutie pie and lights up when he sees me.  I heart him, Sara!  Although it took us a little longer than usual walking around the stores and with playtime for him, we were still able to log in 2.4 miles.  I use the MapMyWalk app on my phone to keep track when I do walking outside of the gym.  Then, after we said goodbye, I headed over to Costco to get fruits, veggies and nutrition bars.  I ran some other errands and then headed home, where I eventually had lunch, albeit a later one.  My legs were hurting more than they normally do so I decided that I would head over the gym for another workout.  I did have moments before I left my house where I thought I was being crazy exercising again because the walking I did earlier was just fine, but I was restless.  I didn't sleep well last night because of my leg pain and I was still feeling it today, so, for better or worse, I decided I needed more exercise.

I got a really good workout in and was totally dripping in sweat.  When I get on that treadmill, I swear I get lost in the music playing in my ears.  I work up to a really great walking pace, which makes me feel really alive.  After I got home from the gym, I went in to take a shower and then started doing a load of laundry.  I sat down and added up my exercise.  Between the walking at the mall and all the exercise I had at the gym, I logged in at 1,032 calories burned.  That does not include the walking I did at Costco or my other errands, so who knows how much more I did (I told Sara that I want to get a Fit Bit and I think it's time for me to do it).  I knew I needed to eat some dinner, but wanted to call my dad back.  I missed his call earlier in the day and didn't want to forget to call him.  As we were talking, I started getting sweaty.  Weird since I had just taken a shower and the heater was on.  Then I started to feel jittery and what I was saying to him on the phone wasn't making much sense.  I knew what that meant.  I decided to end my phone call with him sooner than I planned on and ran into the kitchen to find my meter.

My blood sugar was 53.

Dang it, dang it, dang it! I grabbed a banana and ate the whole thing.  I would have eaten some of my emergency glucose tablets, but I ran out of them the last time my blood sugar was too low and the pharmacy wasn't open in Costco when I went earlier to get more.  I have a bottle of them at work sitting on my desk, but not at home so I had to find another choice.  Eating an entire banana is about 2 servings of a carbohydrate, so I knew that would help.  After I started feeling a bit better, I sat down and thought to myself, "Okay, Kathy, think back on the day ... what went wrong?"  I then realized I didn't eat my morning snack before exercising with Sara, my lunch came really late, I didn't have a snack before the second workout at the gym and, up to that point, I hadn't had dinner yet.  Well, duh, it makes sense now.  Not only did I mess up with my food today in terms of when I ate and how much I ate (or, more accurately, didn't eat), but I also got a lot of exercise in, burning a lot of calories, so I needed to replenish those as well.

As great as the last few days have been in having normal blood sugar levels, this was a stark reminder that I have to continuously be vigilant.  It's the same idea as the struggle I have been having with wanting to snack at night - some days can be really great and others can be a real problem so I have to always be practicing those things that help me be successful every single day.  Sara gave me a great reminder of that when she asked me today how often I'm journaling outside of the regular blogging that I do.  It's been a long while.  I'm so glad she asked me that because I hadn't even thought about the fact that I haven't been doing that.  She made a great suggestion to do it every day when I get home from work or school, which will help me separate my day from my evening when I have the hardest time with wanting to graze or snack.  Being vigilant has to be a priority for me so that I can stay in the healthiest place possible, whether that is having normal blood sugars or healthy food at every meal.  And, hello Kathy, you don't need to exercise that much!  One time in a day is just fine.  You're not competing on The Biggest Loser ... this is real life.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Getting through the urge to start snacking

I'm happy to report that my blood sugar levels have been normal for several days now.  Hooray!  I'm feeling less and less fearful of a low number displayed on my meter when I test my fingers now.  My food has been really great for the most part, except at night.  I have been religiously tracking my food in my Lose It app, making sure I'm getting the right amount of carbs and other servings that my dietitian gave me as guidelines. All my meals are fantastic during the day ... very healthy, very filling, very satisfying.  But, when I get home from work or school at night and I'm left alone with just me, I have found myself making trips into the kitchen sort of hunting for food to nosh on and just not even realizing what I'm doing.  I know this is purely emotional eating because I am getting plenty of good stuff into my body before then and I'm drinking a lot of fluids as well.  These days lately, the last several months really, have been very emotional for me.  Dealing with all of the medical stuff that I have had to walk through has been tough emotionally, coupled with actual physical pain.  Sometimes I have gone to food to take my mind off of it or to somehow make my way through the frustration I have been feeling. 

Being off of the products after doing so many successful months of Optifast has been hard as well.  I kicked ass while I was on the shakes and now it feels like it's taking everything in me to hold it together because the craving for food is so intense most nights.  I've gained so much of the weight back.  Not all of it, thank you God, but a good amount.  It hasn't been all me making bad choices - there have been side effects to medication making me gain a lot of weight, too.  Regardless, there is gained weight.  I know it on the scale, I can see it in how my clothes fit, and I feel it from the way other people look at me.  The last one is the hardest one for me I think.  When I was at my smallest and getting down to it, I was getting comments from people left and right, every single day.  "Wow, you look amazing!"  "Oh my gosh, how much have you lost?"  People greeted me with smiles all day long.  When they looked at my body, it was in astonishment of the transformation that has occurred.  And now?  Now I get no comments.  People do look at my body but in that, "I can't believe she's gained so much weight back" sort of way.  Some people who were so much in my corner before hardly talk to me now or it's a strained awkwardness.  It's been a real eye opener.  As much as I have been in my own private nightmare, I have been feeling whatever I've been feeling about it.  But then to have people give me the once over or hardly talk with me any more - well, it's a little rough.  Granted, this is not everyone in my life.  The people that love me now have always loved me and always will, no matter what.  Of course they want me to be happy and healthy, just like we would want for anyone.  It's those looks that people give me that I remember at night time when I am alone at home and I guess I don't know how to deal with the feelings it brings up in me.  I know it's not out of maliciousness, but I'm sure it's people feeling helpless as well.  Trust me when I say that I am doing my absolute best to be present in the moment, to be honest and to work through this tough time.  I'm also working hard at not beating myself up about all of this.  The Type A part of my brain tells me I've failed, but I know I'm not a failure ... just a human being trying to work through an intensely difficult and challenging part of her life.  I can't forget - I have been overweight and obese for almost all of my life.  Of course it is going to take some real work to leave that in the past and try to forge forward with a new life.

To that end, I decided that I would do a little research.  I wanted to search for tips from other people who were having the same struggles with nighttime eating after eating so well during the day.  I didn't want tips on how to eat healthier or to make sure I wasn't skipping meals ... that sort of stuff is not what I'm looking for.  What I am seeking is to find some ways other people with emotional eating issues have made it through the evenings and eventually changed those behaviors.  So I found a lot of great tips that I felt compelled to share here.  I know that my work is to dig at the core of what is going on and to tackle it head-on.  While I continue working on that, however, I want to make it through my evenings without feeling like I'm grazing out in the pasture.  Here are some suggestions I found.  Most are basic, common sense sorts of things, but I need the reminders:
  • Drink some tea.  A great idea is to find assorted tea flavors and have a different one every night.  There are some pretty interesting tea flavors out there.
  • Brush your teeth immediately after having your dinner.  It makes continued snacking less desirable if you're going to ruin clean teeth and, I'm guessing, will make certain foods less appealing.
  • Pamper yourself by pampering your body:  soak your feet and massage them, put lotion all over, listen to relaxing music, give yourself a mani pedi.
  • Exercise in the evenings and have your dinner after you've finished your workout.  It means you will need to eat a little bit later, but it may prevent additional snacking late into the night.
  • Drink water to determine if your hunger feelings are truly hunger or if maybe it's emotional hunger.  You might even do something fun, like flavoring your water with lemon/lime or drink sparkling water.
  • If you're bored at night, do things to keep your evening interesting like taking a class, taking up a new hobby, calling a friend.
  • Make sure there are not foods in your house that are conducive to snacking.  If the food isn't in the house in the first place, it's a lot harder to eat it. 
  • Stretch your body in a very leisurely way.  While you're watching TV, instead of sitting in a chair or on the couch, make a change.  Get up, sit on the floor and stretch your legs, your torso, your arms.  You'll feel great and your body will thank you for it.
  • Grab a really good book to read.  Make it something light-hearted, a "feel good" read that is a page turner.  Your time will fly by.
  • Clean your house.  Put things away in your living room, mop the floor in the kitchen, clean out your cupboards.  It'll keep you busy and moving.
  • Chew sugar-free gum.
  • Meditate for 10-15 minutes.  Maybe you do this with candles or music, or simply just being silent in a dark room.
  • Take a really long shower or bath about an hour after dinner.  Wear something nice and form-fitting to bed, not just a big t-shirt.  It's too easy to overeat when you have clothes that are not constricting.
  • Give yourself a facial and leave the scrub on for a good while, perhaps during the times when it's the most challenging.  Pretty hard to eat while you've got goop on your face.
  • Instead of just reading your Bible, take out a notebook and handwrite verses.  Not only will it keep you busy, but it'll likely have more meaning when you are able to spend more time on it.
  • Blog and write in your journal more.  This is what a forum such as this is for ... to not only to celebrate the triumphs but to work through difficulties, too.
I'm sure I've missed some suggestions, but this is a good starting point.  Tackling that craving urge in the evening has to be a top priority for me.  I don't want to gain all the weight back.  I worked too damn hard and spent way too much money to just throw that away.  Besides, I don't want to go back to how things used to be.  I was miserable before.  Even though I have a lot of medical stuff that's come up since I started working on getting healthier, it's still a much better place now compared to where I used to be and I can't ever forget that.  I am determined to work through all of this and come out even stronger than before. It's easy to feel great when you're losing the weight, but I'm here to put a face on those that have struggled as well.  To sum all of this up, I want to share something a friend had posted on his Facebook page the other day that was so encouraging to me:

God loves you too much to lead you into a mess.
He has a plan for you that far exceeds anything you may recognize.
Make a commitment not to quit, but to press on today and everyday!
You've got to go through this to get to the other side.
People are waiting for you to make it through 
so you can help them make it through.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hallelujah, my word for today

I'm beyond thrilled to tell everyone that not only did I get in a full night of rest without waking up, but that I also had normal blood sugar all day long.  I know you all know how I've been absolutely struggling with keeping my low blood sugar readings normal, so this is huge for me.  Dare I have two nights in a row of this?  I would really love that. 

I worked from home today because I had to be here when the new furnace was installed.  What kills me with companies like this that give you a four-hour window of time is that they can come at any point during those hours and you have to be available.  So I had to be available between 8AM-12PM and then I knew it would take a few hours after they arrived.  And what time did they get here?  Almost noon.  I understand that it's difficult for them to predict exactly when they'll be here because each job takes whatever amount of time it takes, yet no one else makes appointments in that way.  If I had a student or parent come in for an appointment with me at work, I hardly think giving them a four-hour window of time in which they need to sit outside my office until I'm darn well ready for them is going to fly.  Just sayin! Anywhoo, I'm getting off my soapbox now.  My furnace is shiny and new and my home is now warm again.  Hooray.  The good thing, at least, was I was able to get a lot of work done without any interruptions.  One of the big parts of my job is to help students get college scholarships.  It often takes quite a while to get the updates and then post the changes for the students, especially when I have interruptions often throughout the day.  We have great success with our students obtaining a lot of money in scholarships, but it doesn't happen by change ... a LOT of work goes into it.  But today I was able to do a ton while the cats just watched me type.  Apparently that's a nice change of pace for them during the day instead of their usual of taking a nap on my bed until I get home.  Ah, the spoiled life of the two princesses!

Last night I expressed my desire to drop my Tuesday night class at the university because my backside was incredibly uncomfortable in the seats.  I found a section of another class that was open today and after much deliberation, I decided to go ahead and enroll in that one instead.  The problem with this new class is that it meets on Thursday nights from 7-9:45PM.  Almost 10:00 seems a little late to be roaming around campus and then finally crawling into bed at, likely, 11:00 since a live about 20 minutes away and need time to get ready for bed.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I was certain that it just wasn't worth the back pain that the other class would put me in.  I have the same professor for another class on Wednesday nights and he told us that he will never keep us to the end of the class.  He said he's good for about 2 hours and then he starts to get tired, so I can all but guarantee that I will get out of my other class earlier as well.  That was great news.

I think I had a really good day, even though I had to write a $555 check for the furnace.  While I have insurance, it does not cover modifications that had to be done because the other unit was so old.  It still saved me almost $3,000 though.  And, really, I'm not worrying about it too much.  It had to be done, I do have the money and so I'm okay with it. In addition to that, I'm grateful that I had happy blood sugar today, I'm in a new class that will make my back feel so much better and that my food was really clean today.  I can go to bed feeling good about all of that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Continuing where I left off

Last night I posted that my blood sugar was low before going to bed.  Unfortunately, I had a very difficult time keeping it regulated and my pulse was absolutely racing.  Every time I laid down to try to go to sleep, it felt like my heart was going a mile a minute.  I did check it several times and it was completely normal, so I'm pretty sure it's associated with the low blood sugar.  Having a fast heartbeat is one of the symptoms.  Right before I went to bed, I took pain medication that has a side effecting of making me drowsy.  However, as much as I tried, I couldn't sleep all night long.  I finally did fall asleep after I turned my alarm off, so I had to book it to get to work on time this morning.  So I was a walking zombie all day long.  Tomorrow I will be working from home because I'm getting my furnace replaced.  It's time for me to say goodbye to this 41-year-old relic.

At least I won't have to rush to head down to work since I'll be doing computer work from my guest bedroom while they work on taking this old furnace out and putting a brand new one in.  They have to do three modifications to the area, so who knows how long this will be.  They gave me a four-hour window of time that they'll show up, but because of all the work they need to do, I have a feeling this will be a day-long expedition.  What I can say is that I'm grateful that I kept up the home warranty after I bought the house.  Just in replacing the air conditioning and furnace alone, it saved me about $9,000.  Well worth keeping this insurance policy going year after year. 

On a separate note, tonight was the first session of another semester at school.  It's actually my last one.  I do have two classes I'll be taking this summer, but they're only six weeks long so I feel like I'm starting to cross the finish line.  Tonight's class was in a lecture hall at the university.  That's pretty unusual for an upper division communications class, but it was packed in there.  We had 145 people in the class and I have to say that I felt extremely old!  I'm not old at 41, but it's an earlier class at 4 in the afternoon, so I think it's in between the time that young kids go to class and older adults take evening courses.  I'd say the median age in that room was probably 20.  I do have to say that I felt really uncomfortable in my seat.  Here's what the seats look like.

I'm sitting in the bottom right corner one.  The desks are attached to the seats and I definitely have enough room for it to fit over my lap.  But after about an hour or so in the chair, I noticed my backside started hurting.  That has happened to me a lot since I started losing weight.  I think it's less padding or it might have to do with my bad back connected to other muscles.  To be truthful, I wanted to drop the class and get into another one because of how uncomfortable I was feeling with the chair, except no other classes are available that will satisfy graduation requirements.  So I'm going to have to stick it out somehow and just remind myself that I only have to sit in that seat for one class session during the week.  We will also be working in groups a lot since it's a communications class, so that might help break up all the sitting.  Be uncomfortable is not something I like to do, but I do know there are reasons behind it.

I'm praying I get some sleep tonight.  My blood sugar is fine right now, so maybe I'll sleep like a baby tonight.  Dare to dream!

Monday, January 21, 2013

OMG, beyond frustrated

Okay, I am officially sick of this.  My blood sugar is 53 right now, although I did just have some glucose tablets and regular soda that has 15g of carbs per serving.  I will also have something to eat after I'm done posting this to keep it elevated.  I had well balanced meals today and even had an entire banana (which is two servings of a carb as opposed to the half banana I usually eat) before I worked out.  I do know my regular routine was off today because of the holiday, but seriously??  I'm so fucking frustrated right now.  Sorry for cussing, but there's just no other way for me to express what I'm feeling inside that doesn't sugarcoat it.  Right now, I feel like I should be eating just all carbs.  Obviously I know I am not supposed to be doing that, but my blood sugar seems to be low pretty much every day.  Okay, I need to regroup.  I'm at least glad I wasn't awakened in the middle of the night with low blood sugar.  I will have some time to get it higher before I go to bed.  I know this is going to require that I be diligent all of the time in tracking everything so that I can counter the lows with appropriate food.  I can already feel the glucose tabs and soda raising the blood sugar level in me.  My hands aren't shaking and I don't feel nearly as jittery as when I opened up my laptop.

I'm posting tonight earlier than I usually do because I have some scheduling changes that will effect my evenings and mornings.  Tomorrow I start another semester of college.  The principal at my high school has graciously allowed me to leave campus sooner two days a week so that I can take classes that start earlier than when I would normally take them.  I work full time and go to school, so it's a juggling act for sure.  That means that I will need to adjust my schedule the other days of the week to accommodate the time.  So I'll be going in earlier and staying later two other days.  Since I started taking that pain medication that makes me drowsy at bedtime, nortriptyline, I have to ensure that I allow myself at least eight hours of sleep so that I'm not groggy all day long.  What this all means is that I need to be in bed by 9:30 so that I can be up in the morning with enough time to do everything I need to do to be at work earlier.  What this also means is that some days of the week will have me leaving my house at 6:20 in the morning and not returning until 7:30, so I have to make sure I plan my meals ahead of time if I want to take care of myself the best way I can.  I also have to plan when I can get in exercise, too.  It's all worth it, though.  There's no question in my mind that all the effort is worth it and I feel so much healthier when I take the time to do what is right for me and my body.  If only my darn blood sugar would cooperate! 

Lost two pounds this week, so I'm happy about that.  Much better losing than gaining, that's for sure.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Never forgetting what it was like

I have a very serious question to ask ... am I the only one annoyed by the free food give away stands they have in Costco?  I don't know about you, but I'm there to get in, shop and get out because there's just so many people there.  Even before I started losing weight, I never grabbed the free food at the end of every freakin aisle.  Seriously, every aisle that has food in it has someone giving away a little cup of chicken, sliver of bread or whatever else they have going on.  I was annoyed today when I encountered all of that.  It's not as if it's unexpected, just got under my skin today for some reason.  Oh, wait a minute, I know the reason why.  I got trapped a little in the f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g produce room because people were gathering around a section where food was being given away and it sort of blocked the door.  For people who shop at Costco, you know how cold that room is.  I had to strong-arm my way around the carts and the people looked at me like, "What's her problem??"  Believe it or not, something like that would have been enough to make me want to eat something, just the feeling of frustration.  But I didn't.

I went walking this morning with Sara, which was really nice.  It was gorgeous weather outside and we took a bit of a different route today around the lake for a change of pace.  It had little hills in the path ... not bad and good for my legs.  As I've shared many times here on the blog, I have leg pain, the source of which is suspected to be the osteoarthritis in my knees.  I always knew I had it in my left knee from an accident, but the diagnosis of the right one just happened a few months ago.  I have this muscle achiness in my legs mostly above my knees, in my thighs and up to my hips that leaves me feeling lots of pain.  Although the exercise hurts it, it actually makes it feel some relief at the same time.  It's a weird phenomenon that I couldn't even begin to explain.  Going up and down the little hills that we did today was good for me to get the stretch, even though I have to go a little slower so that I don't hurt myself.  Tomorrow when I go to the gym, I think I'll do some leg exercises to continue working on building good muscle there.

This is all just a reminder that there is a process I need to go through to a healthier life.  It's something I believe we all go through, even though it may look a little different for each person.  I am learning this lesson all too well.  Yesterday my blood sugar went pretty well and I woke up this morning with a reading of 95, which is exactly where I should be.  Then I had a healthy breakfast, went walking with Sara for three and a half miles, then I came home and had a snack.  I did some cleaning around the house and got a call from my mom saying that she needed to cancel her plans with me for today.  So I got in the shower and then had lunch afterwards.  I followed my new food plan as prescribed and logged everything into my Lose It app.  Then, a couple of hours later, I went in to test my blood sugar because I was feeling a little groggy.  It was down again, to 69.  Not horribly low, but given I had carbs with my snack and with my lunch, it shouldn't have been that low.  The doctor said anytime it is below 70, I need to eat 15g of carbs to raise it back up, so I grabbed a few crackers before heading to Costco.  That possibly could have lent to me being irritated with the snackers there.

What can I do except continuing to do what I have been doing and making adjustments along the way?  The one thing I do recognize is that taking care of myself is something I must always diligently do and I have to make it a priority.  I realized, too, that even if I didn't have diabetes and low blood sugar, that is something that will have to be the case for me if I want to live a healthier life.  I have to always be diligent about making time for exercise, preparing my meals and making decisions that aid towards good health.  Sometimes I wonder to myself if people who read my blog want to hear about the ups and downs of day to day life, especially as someone who has diabetes and other issues, all while trying to lose weight.  Then it hit me, "Kathy, your story probably resonates with readers in some way or another."  Maybe you don't have diabetes, but you've got some other health concern.  Maybe you don't have as much weight to lose as I did - it could be that you have more to lose or you want to prevent it from happening.  Maybe you're a person considering going on Optifast and want to read what it's been like for me while I was on the program and now how things are going afterwards.  Whatever the reason, strangers and friends alike, I'm glad you're here so that I can share my journey with you.  Even if you're lurking and never send me a message, that's okay, too.  That's what I did in the beginning.  I do know for sure that I'm so much more grateful to be in this space today than I was a year ago when I was thinking of starting Optifast.  I can't ever forget what those days were like.  As much pain as I go through now, it's nothing like it was living as I was before.  I was always breathing heavy, sweating, tired most of the time, never wanting to exercise, overeating constantly, diabetes out of control, high cholesterol, high blood pressure ... oh the list goes on and on.  I pray I never, ever forget what it was like.  Do you remember what things were like when you were at your worst? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The story of imperfection

I'm happy to report that I had no incidents of low blood sugar today.  Yay!  That wasn't the case yesterday morning, unfortunately.  I woke up in the middle of the night again with a reading of 53.  The good thing I can say about the lows is that, thank God, they are not as low as I was when I hit 38.  It's still frustrating, don't get me wrong.  The tough thing that I have been experiencing with having these low blood sugar readings is that I so desperately want to move forward with losing weight again and being in a healthier space.  I admit here that the weight gain has broken my spirit in some senses.  I was going along fine until October-ish.  That's when the weight loss was stopping, then I had medication changes that caused significant weight gain, I was on the modified fast and I started eating to deal with emotions with all the medical challenges I have had going on.  This is so hard for me because my mind and my body are acting separately.  On one hand, my body is in a lot of pain in my legs, back and arms.  I'm dealing with low blood sugar from diabetes and I'm pretty much in pain in every waking moment.  I try to handle it the best I can by being silent about it and powering through, but make no mistake, I'm in pain.  Then, on the other hand, my mind tells me I can do anything I want to do so get out there and just do it.  If I did it before, I can do it again.  Somewhere in the middle of that is my heart that aches for relief from the frustration and I'm asking God why, when I want to get healthy so badly, there are such huge roadblocks in front of me.  Even with the weight gain, it's not a little weight gain, it's a lot.  I know there's a purpose for all of this, I just can't see it right now.

It's hard facing the reality of my situation, but I am here, dealing with it and being as honest as I know how to be because putting on a false front gets me nowhere except maybe eating to cover up feelings.  I am not going to slink away from posting what's going on as I try my best to move forward.  I see so many blogs of people who, while they were doing great, were posting all the time and then all of a sudden everything stopped.  I completely understand why someone does that, though ... it would be great if we could all report positive, happy things all the time, something like, "I got on Optifast and dropped 250 pounds.  And when I finished the fast, I had no problems transitioning back onto food and had no cravings. Now I run marathons and am normal." Hmm, what is normal, anyway?  A new healthier way of life does not just happen by osmosis.  It takes a lot of work, sacrifice and significant change over the course of our lives, not just the course of 20 weeks, 40 weeks or beyond.  The change is not just about the food we eat, but also why we eat and learning new ways of doing things.

Today I spent some time moving some of the clothes that are too tight on me now because of the weight gain into the closet in my guest room.  I could have kept them there in my closet as a reminder to myself everyday of what I am capable of doing since I got down to that size in the first place.  Yet, what I have been doing in actuality is berating myself and being incredibly critical of how everything looks on me now.  It actually is a more positive move for me to relocate those clothes temporarily into another room while I do the work of taking care of myself and my health.  I don't want to spend time each and every day judging myself for the weight gain and staying in a space of negativity.  That just doesn't do anything good for me.  Instead, I want to own where I'm at and really work towards more healing.  In time, those clothes will come back and it will be okay.  It happens by me taking baby steps, just like I did in the beginning.  I remember the days, when I first started, where I could barely walk a few blocks without getting winded and sweating a lot.  Even though I'm in pain now, I am able to do several miles at a time with no problem and actually enjoy it.  Tomorrow I'll be doing my usual Sunday walk with Sara, which I always look forward to.  We'll probably walk around 4 miles, which is what we've been doing lately.  I like that.  I want to continue doing things that celebrate positivity, knowing I have the inner strength to move mountains.  I've done it many times in my life before.  I used to weigh 420 pounds at my absolute highest.  I'm nowhere near that weight today, so I can't forget to celebrate that major achievement and to stop judging myself for being an imperfect human being. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not the way I wanted to start the day

This morning I was awoken in an unwelcome way sweating and feeling very cold.  I bet you guys already know what that means.  I pulled the blankets off of me and trapsed into the kitchen at 2:19 to find my blood sugar meter.  I pricked my finger and waited an endless five seconds to see 56 on the screen.  Dammit!  Why was it low?  I was doing everything I was supposed to do.  It should have read somewhere between 80-120.  Maybe it will take time for my body to adjust to the changes in my diet.  Instead of doing a freak-out, I calmly reminded myself that I know what to do by now.  I found my bottle of raspberry-flavored glucose tablets and had four of them, just like the doctor's office told me to do.  Each one is 15 calories, which is a far better choice than having a regular soda or something else to raise my blood sugar.  After I ate the tablets, I climbed back into bed, turned off the light and fell back asleep.  Two hours later I woke up, absolutely drenched in sweat.  My hair all clung to my head.  My chest looked like someone had splashed water on it and I was shaking.  Tears stung my eyes because I knew that I was worse than I was when I fell back to sleep and I just felt so out of control.

I went back to the kitchen and retested my blood sugar, which should have been elevated by then.  This time the meter said I was at 52. I stood there dumbfounded.  It was 4:00 in the morning by this time, so I know I was groggy.  I sat there and thought, "Okay, what did I do wrong?  Why is it going down instead of up?"  I also wondered if my blood sugar had dipped lower than what registered on the machine and maybe that it was on it's way back up.  I just didn't know what was going on.  Then I remembered - I'm supposed to have something to eat along with the glucose tabs to not only get my blood sugar level up but keep it there.  So, I had 5 more glucose tablets (I guess I felt the need to have an extra one to make sure it worked).  Then, I had half a banana and a little baggy of organic apples.  It almost felt like a binge to me, although I know it wasn't.  It was just weird eating sugar tablets, then more sugar, although in it's natural form, when I had the banana and apple.  Even though I now was in a little bit in panic mode, I told myself that I needed to lay down and try to go back to sleep so that I wasn't queen of the walking dead in the morning at work.

Somehow I was able to fall asleep, although I definitely didn't need the electric blanket that was roasting on my bed.  My alarm woke me up at 6:00 and I gingerly walked back to the kitchen to find out how my blood sugar was doing.  I did have hope that it went up because I wasn't sweaty or feeling disoriented.  This time the meter read 86.   Thank you God above!  I just stood there with my hands on the counter in the kitchen and I cried.  I don't know how all of this happened and, in that moment, I just didn't know what direction to go.  One thing I could have done last night was check my blood sugar right before going to bed, which is something I didn't do.  Maybe it would have told me where I was already and I could have been more proactive before going to sleep.  I promise that I will do that before I go to bed tonight.  Talk about feeling out of control, which is hard for a person with a type-A personality a lot of the time.

Speaking of bedtime, my doctor put me back on a medication that I had stopped taking because it was making me sleepy and it made me gain weight before.  A lot of weight, actually.  However, she wants me to give it a try again and to stick with it more than just a couple of weeks.  It's called Nortriptyline.  Typically it's used as an anti-depressant.  However, in a lower dosage, it's used to treat chronic pain.  Read some of these side effects:  Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, diarrhea, excess sweating, heartburn, unpleasant taste, weight gain, or an increased appetite especially for sweets.  I don't know about you, but when I read that, I think the words that came out of my mouth were WTF?!?  Now, I know my doctor doesn't want me gaining weight because she's the one that has been talking to me over the years about the need to lose the weight.  Yet, she does understand the type of pain that I'm dealing with in my legs everyday and she did say that this medication does work for a lot of patients with chronic pain.  So, I will be giving it a try again.  Since I am well aware that it can make me drowsy, I'm going to ensure I give myself enough hours to sleep.  Who knows, maybe it'll help me sleep through the night, provided my blood sugars don't wake me up.  And as far as weight gain, I know what happened last time so I'm going to need to monitor that very closely.  My doctor also reminded me that if concerns come up, all I have to do is pick up the phone to call her or send her an e-mail.  She always responds to me within the same day, so it's not as if I'm doing this all on my own.  That's an important factor for me to remember - I'm not doing this on my own.

The rest of my day went relatively well, although, of course, this whole blood sugar situation weighed heavily on my mind.  I couldn't stop thinking about it, to be honest.  Sometimes I worry about going to bed because there's this fear in me that my blood sugar will drop so low that I won't be able to wake up and will end up in a diabetic coma instead.  I know, it's morbid thinking, but it's an honest concern.  I don't live with anyone, so there's no one here to check on me.  Obviously if I didn't show up for work, I know my friends I work with would be concerned and it wouldn't take them long to drive up to my house to check on me, especially those that know what's been going on with me.  I'm trying my hardest not to worry and to just turn this all over to God, but that's so much easier said than done.  I am carefully watching what I'm doing though.  I know that I can't be flippant about taking care of my body.  It's sort of comical in a weird way that I spent so many years with high blood sugar that I couldn't get down to a normal level.  Now I'm dealing with blood sugar that's too low.  I pray I find a place in the middle very soon.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Met with the dietitian today

I didn't know Kaiser moved so fast ... yesterday I went to see my primary care doctor and was told to call the nutrition services department on Thursday to make an appointment with a dietitian.  Instead, they called me late in the afternoon the same day, told me they had a cancellation and wanted me to come in this morning.  While I was there, my doctor wanted me to get a diabetic photo eye exam, the kind where they dilate your eyes.  Oh joy!  Guess kill two birds with one stone (what a horrible saying by the way). 

The meeting with the dietitian was pretty awesome.  She told me that she read up on me before I came in so she was very familiar with my whole journey and was impressed not only with where I have been, how much weight I've lost, but also my courage in walking forward through such a difficult time.  I could feel tears sort of sting my eyes when she said that and told myself, "No, Kathy, hold it together girl!  It's okay to cry, but you have got to be present to hear the advice she'll be giving you about nutrition." 

So I laid it all out on the table for her, especially my concerns on no longer being in the safety of the liquid program that Optifast provided and so deathly scared of gaining all the weight back.  I wanted to know how to do "real life" with the food so that I can not only continue losing weight but doing it in the healthiest and safest way possible, all the while trying to keep my low blood sugar at a normal level.  Not too much to ask, right?  Ha ha!  One of the best things she did was draw a chart for me on how the body reacts to the food that is put in it in terms of blood sugar.  For fast-acting carbs, like the food I was having to have to raise my low blood sugar (glucose tabs, orange juice, regular soda, etc.), it raises your blood sugar fast but then you crash in about two hours.  However, if you have protein, it takes four hours to lower your blood sugar and even takes fat five hours.  So, when I wake up in the morning, she does want my blood sugar to be around 80-120.  Then, with each meal, I should have a minimum of a high fiber carb, lean protein and healthy fat to keep the balance going throughout the day.

We talked in great detail about the food plan I was given from the Optifast clinic (which is part of Kaiser) versus the food plan in the diabetes education materials and where that leaves me.  Basically, I'm super confused. I explained to the dietitian that I track all of my food in the "Lose It" app on my phone and it tells me how many calories to consume based on my height and present weight.  And it's different than the other two plans.  The dietitian told me that she'd like to see me having about 1300-1500 calories per day since I'm tall (5ft 9.75 in).  However, when I exercise, I can add those calories that I burn back in.  So that's when I brought up a question that has been on my mind a lot:  If I'm told to have, say, 1400 calories in a day and then I burn 700 calories through exercise, is she suggesting that I am "allowed" to consume 2100 calories??  That seems like a lot to me.  She told me that, in fact, that's true.  However, I don't have to eat every calorie I burn, but that I could have up to that amount.  One thing she was adamant about, however, is that I should have no less than 1000 net calories per day.  She went on to explain that when we lose weight really fast, like on a fast or some sort of bariatric program, it really messes with the metabolism, so the weight loss is going to be a lot slower than what I've been used to.  At this point, in all honesty, I would be thrilled to be losing a healthy 2 pounds or so every week if I was doing it through regular diet and exercise.  The whole goal here was to be healthy, at least for me.

Given all the information she had on me and the questions that I had, she put together a program for me and gave me handouts as guidelines for what I should be eating.  I created a new page here on my blog with my current food plan, but didn't list specific foods.  I didn't want someone coming along and just following what I'm eating because everyone is individual.  However, I did put on that page the basics of what I'll be doing.  Here's my general food plan:

Breakfast:  1 protein, 3 carbs, 1 fat
Snack:  2 carbs
Lunch:  2 protein, 3 carbs, at least 1 veggie, 1 fat
Snack:  2 carbs (especially important for me before working out because I tend to dip really low with my blood sugar during exercise)
Dinner:  3 proteins, 2 carbs, at least 1 veggie, 2 fats

  Some other guidelines:

  • Non-starchy veggie quantities are unlimited
  • No more than 45g carbs per meal
  • Good idea to add a protein or veggie to each snack and adjust where needed
  • To keep blood sugar at an even level, aim to have  a high fiber carb, lean protein and healthy fat at each main meal
  • Carbs consist of starches, fruits, milk and sweets/other 
  • Don't skip meals
  • Eat every 3-4 hours
  • Choose fish two or more times per week
  • Keep a record of what you eat and drink
  • Weigh and measure your food as much as you can
It seems like a very simple and easy plan to follow.  I can meet with her again, but I also will be continuing in my Optifast support classes and seeing my regular doctor, too.  I'll continue monitoring my blood sugar like I have been doing, logging in my food and just taking this journey one day at a time.  After meeting with her, I felt really comfortable and it doesn't seem as daunting. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Visit with the doctor

I had an appointment with my primary care doctor today.  It went pretty well.  She greeted me with, "Well, who's this skinny girl I see?" I just love her!  She has seen me at my absolute worst, so I am definitely different in comparison.  I had a lot to talk to her about, so I'm extremely grateful that she's not one of those doctors that rushes you out the door.  The bulk of our conversation surrounded my low blood sugar.  We were both reflecting how it was with me just a year ago ... I couldn't control my blood sugar no matter what we did and it was always high.  So it was quite a switch for us to be talking about my numbers being way too low.  She has referred me to a dietician so that we can develop a personalized food plan that will work for me given the history with Optifast and diabetes.  I was really relieved and am looking forward to going.  I was reminded from my doctor the place that I have been and that I have to be kinder towards myself instead of thinking I'm just not doing good enough with my weight loss.  I did tell her that I was going to continue going to the support classes offered through the clinic even though I'm no longer on product and she told me that, in her experience, patients that are the most successful with the long-term weight loss are the ones that continued on with the classes.  We also discussed the pain I've been having in my legs.  She looked at the notes from the rheumatologist and it turns out I don't have fibromyalgia after all.  He suspected that I did even though the paperwork said I had it, but the pain is not coursing through my body, just concentrated below my hips.  She did a physical exam to confirm it.  That was a relief.  She did put me back on some medication to help with the pain and, at this point, I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to feel better.  Oh, one more thing to add to my list of stuff ... we discovered I'm lactose intolerant.  I suspected it, discussed it with my doctor today and she confirmed that I am.  Okay, God, seriously???

Friends and readers, I'm really committed to moving forward in a positive direction.  I don't want to be just another sad statistic.  There's too much fight in me to do that.  There's been a shift in my life and I know with everything in me that it's just no longer okay to live as that obese person.  It doesn't feel like who I am on the inside.  I crave taking good care of my body as well as my heart and soul.  So I'm fighting and I'm clawing to do better and be better.  The weight gain over the last few months has really bummed me out.  I am a lot heavier than my lowest weight and I somehow need to pull the reins in to get it together.  I know that this isn't all my fault, although I do accept responsibility.  If medication was adding weight, it was my responsibility to say something to doctors sooner.  If my blood sugar was too low and I had to have sugar to normalize it, it was my responsibility to get medical advice sooner (I really should have gone to urgent care with a blood sugar of 38).  And, most importantly, if I was frustrated and having a hard time dealing with the emotions that have come along with all of this and losing weight, it was my responsibility to ask for help from friends and my vast support system sooner.  But I didn't ... I tried to be tough, to soldier on as if I had it all together.  It's completely okay to say that I need help.  I don't have to be a control freak here because all it does is makes it easier to gain weight. 

I am saying all of this not to place all kinds of blame on myself, but just to own where I stand with things.  It's not okay to hurt myself with food and that's what I do when I don't say anything.  It starts off innocently enough and then turns into a full-blown problem.  So, anyway, here I am, gently putting one foot in front of the other, trying my best not to beat myself up over things I can't go back and change.  I just want to move forward with the knowledge that there is so much more good stuff ahead of me.  I've had a really exciting journey so far with such a significant weight loss as well as a great improvement on my diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and overall health.  I feel like I'm well on my way to better and better days ahead.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekly weigh-in

I'm exhausted after a long day, but I committed to post tonight so I'm doing it before I head off to bed.  First off, as I predicted, there is a weight gain since my last weigh-in.  It's been almost a month and I'm up 22 pounds.  Like I said, I knew it.  I'm not surprised I gained weight (although the amount was surprising) since I was struggling so badly to keep my blood sugar up at a normal level and had to have quick-releasing sugar to do it.  That combined with not being able to exercise as much when my blood sugar was so low and poor choices when I was feeling emotional leaves me where I'm at right now.  I wasn't angry, but I was disappointed in myself.  If only I had called the doctor's office sooner to get help with raising the sugar levels, if only I had made better choices ... if only.  However, as I sat in my Optifast group tonight, I knew the right place to be was with the other people who I have been doing this journey with.  I will stick with the group because I need to continue with the support that I find there.  I expressed with them my frustration, my sadness over the weight gain and the commitment that I am going to keep on the path and keep walking forward.  I considered leaving the group because I'm no longer on product and felt like I needed more, but what I need is them and my counselor.  He gets the issues I have been going through, whether it is all the medical stuff or the emotional.  He even told me, when I was describing how low my blood sugar had gotten, that people who go down to the 50's become incoherent, so he was surprised I was able to even function at 38.  Really, I wasn't able to function and I was damn lucky I didn't go into a diabetic coma.  Thankfully I'm going to see my primary care doctor tomorrow morning, so I'm looking forward to discussing everything with her.  Normal life causes stress, we all know that. But when you have other medical issues going on, it seems like the problems get compounded quickly.  I found out today that the furnace I need to replace is not going to be covered one hundred percent by my home warranty to the tune of $555 that I have to pay out of pocket.  I'll admit ... I cussed like a sailor after I hung up the phone today when I found out, but what else can I do except pay for it?  It's 29 degrees outside my house right now and it feels about 50 degrees indoors.  That's the sort of everyday stress that compounds the stress I feel from the medical challenges I have had to deal with.  However, my blood sugar is in the normal range as I type this and I am feeling like I can let the stresses of the day go.  I have the money and, besides, it's not like I have to shell out the $3,355 (the original replacement cost in addition to non-covered costs) if I didn't have the home warranty.  I'm going to get under my electric blanket, try to let the day go and get some rest. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A peaceful Sunday

I'm happy to report I had a nice, non-drama day.  Blood sugar was perfectly normal all day long, thank you God.  I did have more carbs when the level was on the lower side of normal and that seems to have done the trick to keep it where it should be.  I didn't even have a wake up in the middle of the night with a crash of my levels.  I do have to say that I am super grateful for that.  You can't imagine the stress and anxiousness something like that causes when you're in a dead sleep only to wake up with sweating, shaking, disorientation and the other symptoms I was having all the time.  I'm not saying that it's over now, but I'm watching it closely and just taking it a day at a time. 

I wasn't able to exercise for quite a few days this past week because of the low blood sugar, so it felt really good to get out there.  Sara and I did our usual Sunday walk around the lake, going for 3.7 miles.  We went a little bit later in the morning since it's been so cold here.  My dad was teasing me when I told him it was under 30 degrees at my house because, where he lives in Utah, the temp is dipping into the negative territory.  I reminded him that something like that is expected in Utah, but I live in San Diego!  My legs hurt the entire time we were walking from the osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.  I'm seeing my primary care doc on Tuesday morning, so I'm going to add that to the list of things I'll be talking to her about.  I do have an appointment to see the rheumatologist at the end of the month, but if there's anything she can do sooner, I'm totally up for that.  I have been doing some research online to ensure I'm eating the right sort of food to help with these two conditions in my legs.  Sometimes selecting different types of food helps greatly and, at this point, I'm willing to do whatever I can to feel better.  I cover up the pain pretty well when I'm around other people, but it really is intense.  The medication I am on to help with the leg pain definitely takes the edge off, but it's still difficult to endure.  Lifting my legs to get into my car hurts, so does sitting down, standing up, climbing, walking for long distances ... pretty much everything.  The weird thing is that, even though it's painful to walk long distances, nothing helps as much as walking long distances.  Go figure.

When I think about all the challenges I have had over the course of the last year, even the last couple of years, I am reminded that I'm a strong person.  Other people remind me of that, too (thanks Sara,  Melissa, Kim and Z).  No matter what is in front of me, I'm not shying away from the hurdles in front of me.  Looking back over the things that I have conquered so far, I know this is just part of my story and journey.  Tomorrow night I have my weigh-in and it's been a couple of weeks.  I know I have gained weight - I can feel it in my clothes.  It's just a matter of how much and how I deal with it.  I am trying to remember not to beat myself up over it, especially when I have had to contend with the immediate issue of raising significantly low blood sugar levels.  In the moment, that had to take priority.  If I'm not around because I've gone into a diabetic coma or worse due to the low blood sugar levels, the effort to lose more weight doesn't make much sense, now does it?  I caught myself being particularly harsh when I was looking in the mirror today.  That's behavior I've had all my life that takes real effort not to participate in.  We're our own worst critics and I don't have any business doing that to myself.  It's easier said than done to stop it, but I'm doing the best I can to recognize it and put the breaks on before it becomes a reason to eat.  Baby steps.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Life after Optifast

Let me preface this post by saying that I am grateful that I cared about my health enough early last year and decided to go on to Optifast.  It wasn't an easy choice, but once I started the program, I never once looked back.  My reasoning for doing the program wasn't because I wanted to lose the weight quickly.  It was because I wanted to lose the weight. Period.  I knew that people lost weight in this program and I didn't think twice about the statistics afterwards.  I was so desperate to take weight off my poor 417-pound body that all I could do was look right in front of me and that's it.  The first couple of weeks were tough, but only because I felt hungry and my body was trying it's hardest to get into ketosis.  Once I was roughly in week three, it was easy for me.  Dare I say that out loud?  I'm not gonna lie ... it was easy for me.  I had no thinking to do other than, "What time will I have my next shake?"  I wasn't tempted by food whatsoever.  I had no cravings.  I never cheated, not even once.  I couldn't understand the people all around me who were on the program and confessed that they were cheating all the time.  I just couldn't get it.

Now I get it.

Once I got off the fast completely and back onto real food, it was as if the craving monster reared it's ugly head at me and screamed

Sometimes I can fight off the cravings, sometimes I can't.  The entire time I was on the fast, the grocery stores still existed.  I was able to walk on two legs, stroll in there, plop my money down and get whatever I wanted.  But I never did.  I never even wanted to.  But now, the feelings for food are sort of intense and it's a fight all the time with me.  Let's take today for example.  If you walk into my kitchen, I have very healthy food:  whole wheat bread, brown rice, salmon, green leafy veggies, apples ... just a plethora of items that say someone healthy lives in this home.  And what did I do?  I added a carton of premium ice cream to my freezer because it's the only thing I wanted in the grocery store.  That food has no business being in my home because if there's an entire carton here, I will eat it until it's all gone.  Even if that means that my tummy hurts.  Even if that means I might isolate at home to do it.  Doesn't matter.  I can't have that sort of food in moderation, not when it's in my home.  I had a couple of spoonfuls and, really, it didn't even taste good.  I'm happy to report, though, that in a moment of pure clarity, I pulled it out of the freezer, turned on the hot water in the kitchen sink and sent it down the garbage disposal.  Then I went and laid down with one of my kitties on my bed and cried.  Oh Lord, in that moment, I felt so lost.

This isn't easy.  In fact, this is the hardest fucking thing I've ever done in my life.  Really, the hardest??  Yes.  The. Hardest. Ever.  Many of you know my story and so that's an impossible statement to believe, but it's true.  It's a battle everyday.  Weight has crept back on my body, some of it because of a lot of medical stuff I have had going on and some of it because food has made it back into my house that has no business being here and I have been making bad choices.  I'm not blaming anyone else, I take full responsibility for that.  But, oh my gosh, this is so hard.  It's not hard to exercise or to log my food or any of that.  What is hard is the internal battle that tells me food will soothe whatever is going on or even the times when there is no battle and I just find myself obsessing about the food or just eating it outright.  Or simply just finding myself in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open and wondering what I'm doing.  There are many times I have wondered if I should just go back on the Optifast product, even though I was feeling physically sick on it towards the last couple of months and even though I was having debilitating lightheadedness all the time, feeling as though I was going to pass out every time I got up.  No amount of tweaking I did with my liquid and sodium intake was helping.  Yet, on the product, things were just much more simple.  Then the other side of me wonders something deeper, something I have never uttered to anyone else before:  Was it a mistake for me to go on to Optifast in the first place?

Now, I'm not saying that because I think it's a bad program.  If I thought that, I never would have ventured down this road in the first place.  But, if you weigh what I did or even somewhere in the neighborhood of that, the focus cannot just be how to stay one hundred percent compliant on the products.  There has to be more of a focus of working on the reasons why we eat so much in the first place as well in a more intense fashion so that, by the time we're done with the product-only phase, the transition will be so much smoother back to normal life with regular food.  My group counselor has gone into a lot of the internal issues, but I really think there should be a deeper counseling component to this because I never struggled as much before as I am struggling now, perhaps something one on one in addition to the group sessions.  And, for me, the struggle is not about just the food but also how to incorporate a healthier life so that I just don't become another person that gains back the weight.  I'm telling you guys right now, I am not about to let that happen.  That's why I'm writing about this here.  I know a lot of people read my blog, which I am super grateful for, and I need to continue being just as real now as I was when I started writing.  I want to publicly thank Melissa and Sara for being so honest in their blogs, as well as the many other people's blogs that I read (I couldn't begin to name everyone but I religiously read the ones with links on my page) because your vulnerability helps me know I am not alone in my feelings. We all need to talk about this stuff because if one of us is going through the hard times, others are probably experiencing the same thing.  The same goes with the good days as well -- we need to celebrate those just as much.

The weird thing is that the struggle is in the bad times, good times and even boring times all equally.  I was on the products for about ten months with absolutely no food, so obviously things are going to be difficult when food comes back into the picture.  I have to remember that.  I also need to remember that I don't have to beat myself up over this idea of perfection I have in my head or if my pants are feeling tight.  I am mourning the fact that I got down to 230 pounds and the scale has slowly, and sometimes rapidly, been creeping in the other direction.  In fact, I haven't weighed myself in a while because I'm a little afraid of what it's going to say (although I will be going back to the clinic on Monday and commit to posting my new numbers at that time).  This is real life and sometimes real life downright sucks and sometimes it's gloriously wonderful.  I get to deal with real life all the time and the challenge now is to find ways of doing it without going to food, no matter what the circumstances.  Here's an example of that.

I have been working on my bachelor's degree and will be finishing at the end of this summer.  It has been a really long road for me, with a lot of ups and downs, but it was a personal goal of mine as well as a professional one.  I ultimately would like to go to grad school to become a high school counselor, but no matter what happens with that, it's important for me to get that B.A.  Well, I found out today that I am eligible to walk in the graduation ceremony at my university this May.  The date is about four months away, May 18th for my department.  When I found out, I started to feel a little anxious.  Part of me wants to walk in the ceremony, part of me doesn't.  The part that doesn't is because some of the students who attended the high school where I work attend that university and I would be graduating with them.  A big part of my job is helping students with what they will be doing after graduating from high school, yet I'm just now finishing my own B.A.  I know my job really well, so it's not a matter of me being uneducated in terms of giving them advice.  I work really hard at knowing my stuff, of learning about the various colleges across the nation, of what careers require what skills, being an expert in scholarships, etc.  I am an expert in many aspects of my job.  I'm not saying that in a braggy way, but I work hard to overcompensate for the fact that I don't yet have that degree.  But I don't want to feel self-conscious if I participate in the ceremony.  Seriously, it might be 10-20 students that we're talking about here, yet I'm making it all about me!  The part of me that wants to participate in the ceremony is screaming at me that I must be there to celebrate this huge milestone in my life, that I'd regret it if I didn't participate.  I have worked hard, damn hard, to get here.  I have overcome those negative messages when I was a child that I was not smart enough, when obviously I am if I'm getting a degree.  My parents want to be there to celebrate this special time in my life and I want to be there, too.  I know I'll cry and I know it'll be a big moment for me.   And perhaps that's the real reason I am convincing myself that I shouldn't walk in the ceremony.  Is it, then, a huge leap to wonder why I bought ice cream and brought it into my house?  It's my drug that soothes anxiety, stress, uneasiness and other feelings, yet all it does is compound the problem.  The great news with that, though, is I got rid of it, and not by eating it.

Anyway, I feel like I've been rambling, but I just want to say that, despite what it seems like in what I've written here, I am grateful for how far I've come in my getting-healthy journey.  I also have a lot of work yet to do.  Taking care of myself and my health is job number one.  When I see my doctor on Tuesday, I plan on talking to her about possibly seeing a nutritionist since I have unique needs with the low blood sugar or perhaps continuing on with the group support at the Optifast clinic even though I'm no longer on their product.  These are difficult things to do because there's a part of me that doesn't want to disappoint others who are now on Optifast if I completely walk away from it.  Yet, if I do, it's because this is simply the next part of my wondrous journey.  No decisions are being made right now, except that I will continue to fight, fight, fight.  Like I said in my last post, I'm scrappy that way ;-)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Electrical shocks and pokes

I went and had the nerve testing done with the medical evaluation doctor for my work injury.  While I did just fine, it was extremely painful.  It's hard to describe what it felt like for those that have never had nerve testing done on them before.  The first part was feeling electric pulses coursing through me on my left arm, which is far less injured than the right one, which is my dominant hand.  The doctor hooked me up to a machine and then he'd find spots on my arms, concentrate on the area and then send electric shocks through me to attach to the nerves in that particular area.  It makes your entire body go into shock and jump.  Sort of what it feels like when they test your reflexes, only there's a huge jolt of electricity attached to it.  So he did that in probably twenty different places on the arm.  Some spots weren't that painful at all, while others made my eyes water.  Next, he injected a needle into my skin.  Not a delicate acupuncture needle - it was a full on needle like those they use to take blood.  He then turned on a different machine and then told me to move certain muscles this way or that so I could feel the pressure of the needle against the muscle.  He injected a needle in about twenty different places as well.  All sites were painful, very painful, with some beyond mere pain bordering on wanting to cry out.  Then, when he was done with all that, he repeated the process on my other arm.  I was left breathing really hard, trying to deal with the pain, with both arms in significant pain and blood all over.  I know, gross, huh?  I didn't end up going to my acupuncture appointment afterwards because they had me waiting for an hour and a half just to get into the room to see the doctor and then the procedure took awhile, so I'll be doing my acupuncture appointment tomorrow instead.

The doctor did tell me that there is definitely damage in both of my arms, which, of course, I already knew.  I'm glad the tests confirmed that, though.  Sometimes you're left to feel like you're a crazy person with how much the insurance company denies every medical appointment or procedure you have.  The hard part for me is that my arms will never go back to the place where I was before the injury, meaning I will always have pain to some degree.  Right now it's about managing that pain and having comfort.  That coupled with the pain I feel in my legs from the osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain ... well, it's just a lot for one person to take on.  It really is a miracle that I've lost as much weight as I have given all the pain I have going on at the same time.  However, I've said this many times before - I'm a fighter.  I'm the scrappiest of fighters and my stubbornness is really an advantage in this situation because I don't give up.  We all have our crosses to bear in life it seems and while mine feel extraordinary at times, I know that it's not going to break me.  It may feel like it in the moment, but I'll overcome the challenges and look back with pride that I made it through the next hurdle. 

As far as my blood sugar, it was low this morning again, but so much better than it's been, that's for sure.  I had another day of it being nice and even, although I did have a hunger headache all day long.  I'm not sure what that was about because I seem to be getting enough food into my system.  Another thing I'll talk to the doctor about on Tuesday.  One foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A nice even keel

I'm so grateful to report that my day was perfectly even with my blood sugar.  It didn't start out that way ... I awoke in the middle of the night with low blood sugar and the typical symptoms I've been feeling.  Thankfully I had those Costco glucose tablets so I had four of those (you're supposed to have 2-4 if your blood sugar is low) followed by 15 grams of a slow releasing carbohydrate, which is what the doctor's office told me to do.  Once I went back to bed and woke up again, my blood sugar has been 76-83 all day long.  I did check it quite a bit today, but this will help me when I bring my information in to see my doctor on Tuesday.  I did have a hunger headache after work, so I have to watch whether or not I'm eating enough, but I know that I'll get better at that once I find a good balance with my blood sugar.  All of this isn't easy, but I'm thrilled for the victories I have every day.

I also had a cancer check-up with my dermatologist today.  It was a really great visit.  He did find one tiny area that he wants to keep an eye on in case it needs to be biopsied.  We did talk about my weight loss and journey towards being healthier.  He was extremely supportive and encouraging towards me, which I appreciated immensely.  In every direction I turn, I have an incredible amount of support.  Today I received it from him, from friends at work, online friends I've met since I started getting healthier and even parents of students I was working with at the high school.  I am just so blessed and I try never to take that for granted.  Tomorrow I have to do the nerve testing with the worker's comp medical evaluator, which I am not looking forward to.  However, I know that the pain will pass and it's being done to accurately diagnose all the pain I'm dealing with from my injury.  I just need to breathe through it.  The good part is that, later in the day, I get to see my acupuncturist.  That is such a relaxing and serene experience each time I go, so I'm definitely looking forward to that.

I love days that are nice and even.  No drama, just peaceful.  Ahhh!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I've come soo far

Today I had a lot of different emotions.  I was busy at work, but the type of project I was working on today didn't require too much concentration so it allowed for my mind to drift onto different topics.  Lately I have just been too darn hard on myself.  I've been doing a lot of that coulda, shoulda, woulda talk in my head.  Serves no good purpose, except to perhaps make me feel badly about how I'm doing.  The truth is that I don't have a reason to feel badly about myself.  I have been harping on myself for the weight gain I have had over the last few months.  Yes, some of it was caused by all the medical issues and medication that I have been on, some of it happened in my desperate attempts to get my low blood sugars up to normal levels and some of it was emotional eating.  If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I just lay it all out on the table.  I don't care that it doesn't always paint me in the most favorable light.  What I do care about, though, is that I continue getting healthier through all of this.  I don't want to be in this place where I'm beating myself up for being a human being.

It took me spending some quiet time with God a little earlier this evening to get some perspective.  It now has been 11 months since I started this journey towards a healthier me.  For my own benefit, I need to recap the positives that have occurred as a result:
  • I sit here weighing 150 pounds less than when I started at 417 pounds.  That's a whole adult person off of my body.
  • I no longer have blood sugar so high that it is uncontrollable.  At my height, I was taking two 5mg Glyburide pills a day, three 850mg Glucophage pills a day and injecting insulin.  Yet, I still could not have normal blood sugar readings.  Now I'm dealing with blood sugar that is too low!
  • I used to take 20mg of blood pressure medication a day.  Now my blood pressure is the low normal range.
  • I no longer need to take the cholesterol medication I was taking every day.
  • I used to wear a size 34.  In this past year, I've gone down to a size 16.  For a person that weighed as much as I did, I dared not even dream of something like that.
  • I used to need a seat belt extension in my own car and my tummy would rest against the steering wheel when I drove.  I even had to tilt my seat back so that I could drive.  Even worse, I couldn't get in the back seat of my SUV because I couldn't fit in between the door and the seat (see how it's designed above).  The door opens both in the front and back, so it's one big door yet I couldn't get in the back.  Now I can with no problem.
  • I look forward to exercising each time that I get to do it when, for years, I avoided doing it.
While I do have medical issues that makes things more difficult for me and despite the fact that I'm in pain all the time, things are still a world different than they were last February.  As I continue on in the second phase of my weight loss life and eventually into maintenance, I know I don't do this alone.  Not only am I supported by amazing friends and family, but God has carried me through so much.  After years of being abused as a child, raped when I was a teen, horrible relationships, cancer, permanent injuries to both arms as well as osteoarthritis in both knees and fibromyalgia coursing throughout my body, I still know that I have lived through so much that my journey to a healthier me is something that is doable, too.  I can feel the fear, worry about failing and yet still keep putting one foot in front of the other.  How do babies learn to walk?  By trying over and over again.  By falling and getting right back up again.  No matter how many times I might fall, God helps me back up each and every time.  Besides, I'm a stubborn, scrappy woman.  I've been a fighter all of my life and I will continue fighting here, too.  In time, it will be less of a fight.  One thing is for certain ... there is no room for beating myself up.  No coulda, shoulda, woulda.  No telling myself that I'll be alone and single forever (which was the stupid talk I was doing bigtime today).  It's not the loving, kind thing to do to myself.  Would I treat other people that way?  Of course not, so I deserve nothing less.  I am a good and decent person.  It's high time I treated myself with more respect more often.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Outweighing the pain and fear

I find sources of inspiration surrounding me in the oddest, most unexpected places sometimes.  It was while watching tonight's episode of The Biggest Loser that I was really struck with such an incredible couple of phrases that just stopped me in my tracks.  They were so poignant that I saved them as notes in my iPhone, but I wanted to share them here with you.  They both were said during training sessions with Jillian.

The first one was, "It's got to be the desire to change is outweighing the pain and the fear.  You just have to dig deep and make a choice."

The second one was, "You have got to push through the terror of failing because it's worth it on the other side."

Now, to explain why those statements were so poignant to me, I need to back up a little and talk about the rest of my day leading up to watching the show first.  Today was the first day back to work.  I left the house earlier than normal because traffic just seems to be getting worse and it takes me 45 minutes to travel about 15 miles as it is, so easing myself into it was a good idea.  After I stopped taking the Optifast supplements, I went back on one of my medications that the clinic originally took me off of while I was fasting.  I have a little bit of swelling around my ankles.  Certainly not as bad as when I was heavier, but it's still there so I take 1 pill for that.  The only problem is that it's a diuretic and I swear it has me visiting the ladies room about 20 times a day minimum.   So going there was one of the first things I had to do after booting up the computer in my office.  There is a bathroom in the office with three stalls so if I'm carrying anything when I go in there, I set the items down on the little table next to the stalls.  Everyone does that.  Shoot, I've had times where I've put my purse on that table with my keys next to it and they still were there by the time I was done.  I never worried about anyone taking anything.  I work in a high school and that is a staff restroom.  It's relatively safe!  When I walked in this morning, I put two pieces of mail I had in my mailbox down on the table.  There was someone already in another stall, but she finished before I did.  Yet, when I came out, that person had taken my mail.  WTF?  Why would someone do that?  She didn't have anything on the table, so she'd have no reason to "accidentally" pick up my mail.  One was an envelope that looked like a Christmas card someone had given me that I had yet to open so I don't even know who it was from.  The other was folded up copies of my absence reports stapled together.  Each one of those pages had my social security number written on them.  So I started to panic.  That number was enough to open a fake credit card or loan account in my name.  I couldn't get my mind off it, so I did end up emailing everyone in our high school and at least the absence reports were returned to me anonymously.  It didn't look like they were tampered with, so that was some relief.  In the anxiousness I was feeling around that, I wanted something to eat to ease my racing mind.  If I would have had bad food around me, I think I would have gone for it.  Thankfully I didn't.

Then, later on in the day, I had to juggle some doctor's appointments around because the worker's comp medical evaluator wants to see me this week to do nerve testing on me before he sends a report of his findings as to my medical condition to my attorney as well as to the insurance company's attorney.  I had nerve testing done on my right arm from the tip all the way up through my neck around April or May last year and, let me tell you, that is intensely painful.  In fact, when I had it done on me, the doctor performing the procedure told me most people don't make it all the way through the testing because of the extreme pain coupled with all the blood that comes as a result.  Yet, I did make it through.  To know I'm going to have to go through that again causes stress.  What do I want to do when I'm stressed?  You got it ... I want to eat.  Again, thankfully I didn't have anything inappropriate in my office.  I just had my morning snack, which was a peace and cheese stick. 

Further in the day, I had a conversation with one of my doctor's nurses to talk about how I've been doing with my blood sugar since I had those episodes of going to low (including one today, drat!).  She did tell me that although I did really good in taking care of myself when my blood sugar was so low, I made two very vital mistakes that I cannot make again:
  1. If I have glucose, soda, orange juice or some other item to raise my blood sugar to a normal level, I must also have a serving of food to balance things out so that I don't "crash".  She said that happens if you have a spike in your blood sugar and do nothing to keep it there.  That explains why I couldn't sustain a higher level in my blood sugar even though I was having things to raise it.
  2. This one is vitally more important than the other one ... if I ever have two days where my blood sugar is below 70, I must contact the doctor's office right away because I could be causing some serious damage and/or there could be something very wrong besides low blood sugar.  Just for the record, I had six days in a row where my blood sugar was below 70 and many other days not in a row where it was below 70.  Don't be a freakin hero, Kathy ... next time, call the doctor's office sooner.  You don't have to prove that you're strong and have everything under control.  Six days with blood sugar below 70 ... seriously??
I am scheduled to see the doctor on Tuesday morning next week, so I will be bringing in my record of everything that has been going on, including the amount of carbs I had to see how that counterbalanced the spikes and lows.  My doctor has ordered me to stop all diabetes medication if I haven't already done so (which I did).  All of that caused stress in me today and, again, I had that urge that I wanted food to make it feel better.  Thankfully I had packed a healthy lunch for myself today.  I am an emotional eater, that is the crux of my problem, and had I had different food choices on hand today, who's to say that I would have made good decisions for myself.

So, fast-forward to when I was watching The Biggest Loser later on in the evening.  I was challenged to think:  Is the desire to change outweighing the pain and the fear?  Further, am I pushing through the terror I am feeling of failure to get to the other side?  These were questions I really had to ask myself with all honesty.  There is a lot of fear in me and so much pain that I'm working through, not only physical pain, but emotional pain as well.  I don't know how to live in a world where I'm in a smaller body.  I'm a foreigner in a strange land and I don't understand the funny language everyone is speaking.  Sometimes I feel like I'm a fraud when I go to the gym to workout, like someone is going to "out" me for not belonging there since that's a place only reserved for healthy people (news flash, Kathy ... that's you!).  Being smaller causes me terror a lot.  It's just so unfamiliar to me.  But here's the difference for me now as compared to at other times when I tried to lose weight in my life:  I'm willing to fall flat on my face.  I'm willing to go to any lengths for my health today, even when it feels incredibly uncomfortable and painful.

I've mentioned on here before that I had cancer.  Melanoma, to be specific.  Mine was not the kind that was a mere threat that I needed to keep an eye on ... mine was full-blown, worst kind of melanoma you can get.  The kind that, if not removed from your body, is one hundred percent fatal every single time.   It was on my back.  I had to have two incisions to ensure it didn't spread - one area going from the bottom of my shoulder blade almost down to my waist on the left side of my back and another one under my left arm to make sure it didn't spread to my lymph nodes.  The long incision required 30 staples and about six weeks of recovery time.  From the moment I was told I had melanoma, even though I was living in a lot of fear, I was willing to do whatever the doctors told me to do.  Surgery to save my life?  You bet!  Full body scans every three months to ensure the cancer hasn't returned?  Of course!  Recovering from being a super obese woman also takes the same amount of willingness, if not more.  Whatever pain and fear I may be feeling can still be something I experience.  I can even feel terror as I worry about failing.  But, in my book, the only way I can fail is if I don't ever try.  So here I am, every single day, doing everything I can not to fail.