Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hiya doc

I went to my scheduled doctor's appointment today.   It's a routine diabetes appointment to see how I'm doing with blood sugars, etc.  Whenever I go to see her, I seem to have a list of honey-do items.  First, my blood sugar has been good and not good.  I have gone in this cycle of  a little high to really high in the morning and then, by the time I have dinner, I'm super low if I have exercised.  And when it's low, I eat glucose or something else to get it up.  My doctor is concerned and said I may need to stop doing Jenny Craig.  She's going to have me work with a diabetes nurse specialist to monitor me and see what we can do to work with it.  I really want to continue because I do like the personal accountability to another person.  If Kaiser (my insurance plan) can offer me something similar for the same price, I would do that with them but I just don't know if that's an option.  I think I'll talk to the specialist about it when we chat.

While with my doctor, I talked to her about two other issues as well - the pain in my leg and G.I. issues I have been having.  In regards to the leg pain, I told her it's been a year and a half and I have been trying to push through the pain but it practically puts me in tears when I'm exercising and it was not better at even my lightest weight.  We reviewed my records and I have had blood work, saw a physical medicine doctor, did physical therapy, got tested with a neurologist, saw a rheumatologist and underwent a year of work with an acupuncturist.  We've obviously tried a lot but I told her it's just awful to live with.  People who see me walking down the hallway at work don't know the pain I go through because I seem to mask it pretty well.  Trust me, though, it's very painful.  So she has advised me to see the physical medicine doctor again to go to the next level.  That might include a MRI or more but that will be up to the physical medicine doctor.

Then, we talked about my G.I. issues.  Without going into too much detail because it's way beyond TMI, I had seen a G.I. specialist a few months ago, almost went into surgery until we found another solution and am still having some issues.  Looking at the notes from that specialist, my doctor told me I now need to go back to her because that original doctor wanted to do a colonoscopy on me if things have not gotten better.  From the people I know who have had it, the worst part of a colonoscopy is the preparation for it because they pretty much knock you out for the procedure but the couple of days beforehand are hard.  Oh joy!

For good measure, my doctor ended the appointment by telling me that I also needed to get my first mammogram.  Talk about feeling completely invaded!!  It actually made me chuckle at the end of the appointment because I'm also still recovering from pink eye.  I looked at the doctor and gave her my best "seriously??" look.  She laughed, too, and apologized.  Oh well.  I will do whatever it is I need to do to feel better and live as healthfully as I possibly can.  I am dealing with issues of whether or not I have caused this and starting to blame myself.  Then I saw the best few minutes on Dr. Oz this afternoon.  I was just switching the channels but they had a woman psychologist talking about how we say awful things to ourselves by calling ourselves fat or berating ourselves in some way.  Here's a link to what she said.  One thing that really jumped out at me is that she said if it's not something you would say to your child or another loved one in your family, then you don't get to say it to yourself.  Period.  I know this takes practice and it will be a habit that's developed over time, but she is one hundred percent right about that.  Why do I get to talk to myself negatively if I don't do it to other people?  Obviously I'm not going to treat other people horribly so that I can treat myself that way, so the change has to be within me.  This is a lifelong journey for me but a huge part of that journey is treating myself better internally.  I'm totally open to that and understand deeply that the change comes from within before it can be fully developed on the outside.  My problem is remembering that in the moment and not after the fact.  I need to work on methods I can use to combat the negative self-talk on the occasions it does come up.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Greetings from the middle-aged girl with pink eye

Oy, what a week I've had!  Somehow I developed a sty on the inside lower lid of my left eye.  I went to see a doctor on Tuesday and he gave me some cream to apply to the inside of my eye and then instructed me to put a warm compress on it four times a day.  So that meant contacts out, glasses on.  Okay, fine.  During the appointment, he proceeded to talk to me about weight loss and recent studies that could be helpful for "a person like me".  This was not my regular doctor and he seemed nice enough, but by the time I was done with my time with him, he had called me a middle-aged diabetic with a weight problem.  And you know what the saddest part of all of that was?  It was the fact that he called me  middle aged.  Egads!!!  Now that I think about that, it's pretty hilarious to me.  Yeah, I can accept that I'm a diabetic because I am.  And I can also accept that I have a weight problem because, helloooo, I do.  But to call me middle aged?  I told him, "Hey doc, I'm 41, hardly middle aged".  He laughed and he told me he was 40 himself.  Yeah, and your point is??

A couple of days after that, my left eye was starting to get really painful and pink.  I wondered to myself if I had pink eye.  How on God's green earth could I have pink eye?  I remember when I was a teen and one of my friends and I were at her house putting on eyeliner.  Back in those days, we put the eyeliner on the inside lower lid and we shared that black stuff with each other without thinking twice about it.  Soon afterwards, I had developed the absolute worst case of pink eye ever.  I don't do that sort of thing any more so I couldn't understand how it got passed on to me.  Of course, I work with high schoolers and I do shake a lot of hands throughout the day with college counselors coming on our campus.  But, pink eye ... seriously?  Yet, Thursday morning when I woke up, there were the telltale signs.  I decided not to go in to work because, if it was pink eye, it is incredibly contagious.  I managed to get in to see a doctor and after I described my symptoms, he took one look at me and told me I definitely had pink eye.  So I had to be quarantined Thursday and Friday as well as most of the weekend.  Let me just say, I can get bored very quickly.  I spent those few days watching my DVD's of The Big Bang Theory, my favorite show.  I played on the computer.  And I just felt the pounds creeping on.  It was hard not to feel that way because I was cooped up in the house not doing much of anything.  I did manage to get out and go for a long, brisk walk on Saturday however I did end up gaining a couple of pounds when I did my weigh-in.  Boo!  I have had to remind myself not to beat myself up about that.  Just keep walking forward.

This journey with weight loss is something that is a life-time journey and I can't forget that.  The other day I was looking at some pictures I had on my iPhone of when I was in the middle of Optifast, back when the pounds were flying off.  I was losing double-digits practically every week.  Looking at my face, I really could see how gaunt I had gotten.  My mom mentioned it to me once but I was just convinced that she wasn't used to seeing me thinner.  But she was right.  My hair was falling out a lot and I just simply didn't look like myself.  Now on Jenny Craig, the weight loss is slower and I have to understand that it's the way weight loss is supposed to occur.  I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing right now - eating healthier, exercising and working with my therapist to deal with issues as they continue to come up.  I don't have to race anyone to the finish line and I have to figure out how to combat that incredibly critical voice inside of me that tells me that I'm not doing it fast enough or good enough.  Sometimes I totally just want to slap her across the face!  So anyway, here I am.  I few pounds up, recovering from pink eye and maybe just ever so slightly middle aged.  I'm going to see my doctor tomorrow to do a check-up, have her look at my eye and to talk to her about this pain in my leg I've been dealing with for over a year and a half.  Enough is enough already!  See what you get when I don't blog for a week?  I'm all over the place.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My week

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I needed some time to just reflect on a very intense week.  Last week I had a weight gain of ten pounds.  It was completely my doing, choosing to pick up food instead of dealing with things that were coming up.  Here's what happened ...

As I have shared before, I have been seeing a therapist and things have been going pretty well.  During the last session, she asked me to think about how she could assist me since I was doing well on Jenny Craig, my medication seems to be really be helping and things seem to be moving forward.  I know I have real issues with food, with going to food to deal with emotions and I so desperately want to break that trend.  I told her I would think about it and I certainly did a lot of thinking.  I don't go to see my therapist solely because being overweight makes me feel sadness.  The reason I chose to seek therapy out was to find healing from the past, how I deal with myself in the present and just to pull the skeletons out of the closet.  I knew I had an upcoming appointment with the therapist and I started picking up food.  I was feeling anxious and just had all these emotions that left me very unsettled.  The food doesn't take those feelings away, but in the moment, I don't think about that.  I think about how good something tastes and it takes me out of the moment.  That is until later when I feel bad having overindulged.  I knew that when I was going to see the therapist again, it would probably get intense because I came to her to heal and part of healing means exposing those things I don't want to expose.  I don't necessarily enjoy talking about having been abused by my mother or having been raped at 13.  Nobody likes to talk about the heavy stuff.  However, those things have had a huge impact on my life in terms of how I deal with myself and with other people and so I have to deal with them if I want to let go of this weight once and for all.

The thing that was causing me to feel anxious is that I knew it was time for me to talk about the thing I never talk about ... men.  I made really stupid choices, did things that I regret highly and put myself in situations that could have gotten me in some serious trouble.  I was in a world of incredible emotional pain after everything that had gone on when I was younger.  And like other women who are raped or abused, I acted out.  Some people might try to take revenge out on others or act out in some other way.  At first I was like a zombie, just going through the motions of life. Then one day I became incredibly promiscuous and didn't care about anyone at the time, least of all me.  I got in relationships that were highly addictive and completely wrong for me.  Through all of that, I was in an incredible self-destruct mode.  Somehow, through all of this, I did meet someone that meant something to me, the one person I fell in love with and we had a relationship for a long time with some breaks in between.  In the end, though, he ended up completely crushing my spirit.  So nowadays I feel very unlovable, ugly and every unpleasant emotion I can when it comes to men.  In my mind, I think I'm going to end up being one of those people who will always be alone watching everyone around her paired up with someone else.  Deep down inside, I think I'm not worth it, that I've done something wrong in my life and that I must just be a horrible person. Yet, somewhere deeper, I know that's not true.  I absolutely know a lot of people love me and care so much about me.  God has forgiven me for the things that I have done, but somehow I'm not able to forgive myself.

With all of this looming in my head and heart, knowing that I was going to talk to the therapist, I just needed to talk to a friend about it first.  There is no one in this world that knows my entire story when it comes to men, from the rape leading up to the present.  Most of the reason for that is complete shame and guilt on my part.  I think if people knew the entire truth, they would judge and hate me.  Probably in the way I have done that to myself.  Even here, on my blog where I can write about absolutely anything, I'm still not exposing the entire details.  Shame and guilt.  So I did sit down with a friend and just spilled my guts.  I told her everything.  I knew she wouldn't judge me.  She was shocked at the things that I admitted to her through my tears, but she listened with such a kind heart towards me.  I told her I wanted to talk to the therapist about all of this because I know it contributes immensely to my staying in the cocoon of a larger body.  After listening to me and asking questions along the way, she told me that I have to forgive myself now. The things that I have done were a long time ago and I'm not the same person now that I was then.  She agreed that I must talk to the therapist about these things so that I can finally start healing and be open to another relationship in the future, one that is healthy and loving.  I knew she was right, but how do I utter the things that I've kept closely guarded for so long?

My appointment with my therapist was this past Monday.  I prayed for the courage to share what was on my heart with her and to not back down.  This is about my healing and so it was what I needed to do.  I ended up telling her my story from beginning to end.  I went through several tissues while telling her everything, but oh my goodness did I feel a million times lighter after having done so.  She also told me it was time to let this all go and to forgive myself.  That made me more emotional than anything and I asked her, "But how do I do that?"  She told me that little girl who was abused and taken advantage of was the voice that had been driving my thoughts for so long, placing some sense of imaginary blame where it didn't belong but I'm no longer that girl.  I'm a caring adult who is intelligent and worthy of the things God has planned for me.  We're working on things I can do to combat the negativity when it comes into my head.  As you can well imagine, this has all been really intense.  However, after I left the therapist's office, something had shifted.  I can't really explain it, but there was a definite determination in me.  I wasn't going to pick up that food any longer, it was like I didn't need to do that.

At my weigh-in on Saturday, I had lost those ten pounds and that felt amazing.  Sara couldn't go walking with me today, so I decided to go to the lake on my own.  The pain in my legs was making it's presence known, but I decided to really push through.  I ended up walking about three and a half miles and burned over a thousand calories.  I really felt awesome and I know I'm doing the work to leads towards a healthier life both physically and emotionally.  I know I have a long way to go, but it has really felt like I made some major strides in the last couple of weeks.  I'm really proud of myself for finding that brave warrior within who may be scared of the battle but fights on anyway.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not a horse

I had a friend, who is one of the teachers at the high school where I work, stop by my office on some business today.  While she was in there, she asked me how I was doing with my health.  She was one of the people who knew I had cancer at work and has a family history of the same kind of cancer.  She always
asks how I'm doing on that front.  I expressed that everything is great with the cancer being in remission, but not good with the pain in my legs.  As I've shared before, I have been dealing with on-going, chronic pain in my upper legs ever since I began Optifast over a year and a half ago.  Even though I'm no longer on the program, the pain is still with me and makes things difficult.  Some days I can manage the pain and then there's other days where it just kills me.  So she comes back with, "Well, just be grateful you're not a horse!"  I looked at her with a WTF look on my face, wondering where in the world that was coming from.  She must have seen my look, so she went on to explain that when she was a little girl, whenever she was in pain or something bad was going on, her father would tell her, "Well, just be grateful you're not a horse because when they are in pain, they shoot them."  As a child, she said it was comforting, but as she became an adult, she realized that it was pretty morbid.  Um, yeah!!  So, apparently, on my blessing list today is the fact that I'm not a horse.  I know, it was a weird conversation, weird enough for me to share it on here.  Yeah, you're welcome.  I guess the moral of the story is just be happy things aren't worse.

Things have been pretty busy for me at work.  Right now, the kids are in the thick of college applications.  One of the things I do in my job is coordinate all of the college visits that occur on our campus.  Because our students perform well academically, we have over 100 colleges coming onto our campus this year to meet with students.  That means I interface with each college counselor, help the kids with signing up and clearing their absences and sitting in on the visits whenever possible.  Often times, I'm running all over the campus because I might have three colleges coming on at the same time and so I've got them all in different rooms.  It has me "on" all the time, being the person that represents our counseling department and maintaining good relationships with the various admissions counselors.  Some have been to our campus year after year, so they have gotten to know me well.  One in particular was coming onto campus today.  Every year that I see her, we greet each other with a hug and catch up on the previous years' events.  Last year when she was here, she commented on how fantastic she thought I looked after having lost so much weight on Optifast.  At that point, I think I was down about 150 pounds.  I was dreading her visit this year because I knew she would notice how much weight I had put on since then.  I almost didn't want to see her this year because I was feeling so ashamed of the gain.  She's a completely lovely and friendly person, so I can't
imagine her ever giving me a look of anything other than being sweet.  It was just what was swimming around in my head.  I hate to admit this, but even when I was getting dressed this morning, I was trying to find pants that would be the most flattering on me so hopefully she wouldn't notice too much of my gain.  Omg, the things that go through this kooky head of mine.  Of course the visit went great, we had a great conversation and she didn't make one comment or give me one yucky look about my weight gain.  I tell you, sometimes I am so self-involved that I think everybody is looking at me and accessing my success/failure by how I look.  Vanity run amok!!  I don't think I'm a narcissist, but now it's got me wondering about that a little bit.  The truth is that, in general, most people don't think the same way about me that I think about me.  In my mind, I think so much is about the weight gain, when really that is my own battle.  People still care about me just as much as they used to, if not more because of the perseverance they see in me in that I am not giving up and trying my best to be healthy.

With all of this said, I get to keep working on myself and moving forward.  Another friend at work and I started our lunch time walks again today.  We haven't done any since starting back this school year.  With my pain, I told her I am going to have to go slower which, of course, she is perfectly fine with.  I'm glad we do that.  It gets us both out of our offices fore awhile and then we for sure eat lunch for the rest of the hour because we're hungry for it after walking.  I find that the walking is not only good for my body, but really feeds my soul as well.  Anything that can do double-duty like that is definitely something I need to do again and again!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Weekly weigh-in

I have not felt great during this past week, but I did go to my weigh-in this morning and found out I lost two pounds.  I'll take it!  Given I didn't exercise one day this week and was feeling icky, two pounds is fantastic.  My past week was stressful for me, but I'm working hard on trying to move past that as much as possible.  It's not easy when I'm so used to going to food to make me feel better, even though it does no such thing.  I was thinking tonight, as I was preparing my dinner, how am I going to handle things in the future if I don't have food as a crutch?  It's been my mode of operation for so long in my life.  Really, it's been my only way of coping.  Have a bad day?  Food will fix it.  Bored?  Food will fix it.  Get in a fight with the boyfriend?  Well, you see where I'm going with this.  My therapist has told me time and time again that it will take time, patience and a lot of practice to change these behaviors.  I know she's right, but there is a part of me deep inside which is raising a snarky little eyebrow at her.  Will it really get better or am I one of those unfortunate few that they talk about in twelve step programs who is "constitutionally incapable" of getting better?  Good Lord above, I was 420 pounds at my highest weight.  How does that happen to a person?  Better yet, how did that happen to me?

Ha ... I just noticed all of the question marks I have in the paragraph above.  Funny how I just get carried away when I'm typing.  As a quick detour, look at what I found when I paused just now to take a sip of my water ;-)

One of my furball angels sleeping right next to me as I'm working on my laptop in the dining room.  My brother's dog passed away this past week and they are in deep grief over losing little Nate.  He lived for an amazing 19 years, pretty unheard of for a dog, so I've been giving my two furry girls more kisses than normal because I know the pain of having to let them go when there's nothing more that can be done.

I guess the food issues will resolve in time and I don't need to put myself in a worry-wort state right now.  I have a long way to go on my road to a healthier me so there's plenty of time to get used to changes.  Given where I was just six months ago with going up on the scale instead of down, I'm doing great.  Fruits and veggies are a normal part of my life now and I look forward to giving my body the good stuff that it has craved for so long.  In fact, I'm finding myself actually preferring healthier choices now.  If I go to a restaurant and there's something that's deep-fried or I know has 2,000 calories in it, I won't even go near it.  Better yet, I don't want to go near it.  The Jenny foods I have been eating have been great.  And if they haven't been great, I stop buying them.  It's my program and I can do that.  For my evening snack tonight, I had a divine little slice of triple chocolate cheesecake.  [That's right, Z, triple chocolate!]  It was incredibly delish and it tasted so decadent, even though it wasn't.  Beyond the food, though, I have been getting great support with the folks at JC.  I'm so glad I made the decision to do their program.  I have absolutely no regrets.