Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What is your weight?

I started another round of physical therapy for the work injuries in my arms, so I had my second session today.  It is hotter than you know what here, probably close to 100 degrees, so it was really uncomfortable.  Leading up to it, I was pretty stressed because I was trying to get a lot of work done since I would be leaving work to do the physical therapy and really couldn't because I was helping proctor advanced placement exams with kids at the high school.  While I was waiting to go in, I got a call from work on my cell phone so I just felt sort of on edge. 

My session started out on a negative note right away.  They were setting up a program for me to answer questions on a computer about the usage of my hands and the woman who was putting in my information yelled some questions at me from across a room with other patients in it.  Here was our exchange:

"Kathryn, how tall are you?"

"I'm almost five feet, ten inches."

"What is your weight?"

"Excuse me, but I'm not going to yell that across the room."

And so I got up and walked over to her.  First of all, who yells confidential information across the room with other patients in it?  I thought HIPAA laws were in effect to protect patient privacy, or am I just being silly?  Secondly, what person who is overweight and in their right mind yells their magic number across the room?  What the freak!  As I walked over to her, every eye in that room followed every foot step, perhaps wanting to hear my number.  If you've ever been in a big room where they do physical therapy, there are generally several patients being worked on at the same time. 

After all of that was settled, I started working pretty intensively with the physical therapist, a guy physical therapist.  No, it doesn't matter that he was a guy, just perhaps that I'm a little more aware of my body than I am with a woman.  He had me working on this machine and that one, lifting this weight and that one, working with putty, hand-grips and all kinds of contraptions that really brought out the pain in my hands.  In several of the exercises using weight machines, I was forced to look in the mirror in front of me and watch my form and posture while doing the activities.  I have to say, it was pretty difficult for me looking at myself in the mirror.  I wanted to look away because I saw every pound on my body that I have gained back.  I'm nowhere as heavy as I used to be, thank you God, but the weight gain is obvious.  And I have to be honest and say that it broke my heart to see it.  I know I can say that here because most people who are reading this can understand those feelings, especially when I had lost so much while on Optifast. 

In many ways, it's extremely difficult for me to look back at pictures when I was at my smallest while on the program because it feels like a lifetime ago.  I have discovered recently another medical issue that has popped up as a result of doing Optifast that has been causing me pain.  I won't go into specifics here because it's a highly personal body thing and completely TMI, but I will say that it made me think that the melanoma cancer I had two years ago had come back, which really sent me into a tailspin.  When you have had cancer, especially a deadly cancer like melanoma, you are hyper-aware of every little thing that can point to it being back.  I went to see a doctor and I'm getting treatment for what's going on, but it really helped me step back and look critically at the efforts I had been taking to lose the weight.  Of course I can't go back in time and undo things that I have done, but I can move forward in a healthy way now, or at least try to move forward.  Part of being healthy is being emotionally healthy as well.  That means things like looking in the mirror and not looking away in shame.  The eyes want to see what they want to see, but I also know it serves me no useful purpose to avoid looking in that mirror ... I have to own where I am at and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

My commencement ceremony at Cal State is on Saturday and all I can focus on right now is things like, "I hope the chair I will be sitting in doesn't collapse in the middle of the field right in front of the 10,000 people who are expected to be there witnessing my ceremony (one of four that weekend)."  I am not thinking about this amazing event in my life and how proud I am of having gotten to this point.  No, all my thoughts are all about my weight.  If it's not the chair, then it's about seeing the look of disappointment on people's faces as they see me at my after-graduation celebration, or it's about feeling like I'm going to sweat through the entire thing.  It's actually any number of things, but it's definitely not about the event itself.  And I hate to admit this next thing, but I am here laying it all out, committed to be as honest as I can be on this blog.  There's a lot of people who are not going to make it to my party and I couldn't help thinking that it's because I'm not that important to them.  It's that old feeling of just not being good enough.  Yes, of course people are entitled to have other plans, but many people who told me they wouldn't miss it for the world because they wanted to celebrate with me won't be there.  Someone reminded me today to remember what the day is about.  I can choose to let go of the other stuff and focus on the reason to celebrate.  I'm sure I'll get to that place by the time Saturday rolls around, but for right now I just feel how I feel. 


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