Thursday, December 5, 2013

Happy birthday to me

I had my birthday yesterday, turned 42.  I felt so much love from my family and friends, it was actually overwhelming.  I'm not sure if "overwhelming" is even the right word.  I just had so many people giving me smiles and hugs that day that I wish every day was a birthday!  I know I'm not old, but I did think about the fact that I'm not an 18-year-old kid any longer.  Somehow, without me even realizing it, I became an adult that kids look up to as a role model and mentor.  During dinner, I did tell a friend that I'm pursuing the gastric bypass surgery.  She cried when I shared my news.  It actually was shocking to me because she is not the first person who has cried as a response.  In that moment, I suddenly understood how my weight has not only impacted me but other people.  Here I am just dealing with my own feelings about undergoing such a life-altering surgery that will leave me forever changed that I never even went down the road of considering how it impacts other people.  As much as I have suffered, so have they.  It's hard to watch someone you love be in pain and I realize that it's exactly what they have gone through.  The tears that I have watched people shed as I have shared my decision with them has been about their care and concern for me.  I guess I forget how much I mean to other people.  I'm not saying that in an egotistical way at all, but the people that love me do so for a reason, just as I do for them.  When I was younger, I used to wonder if I really meant anything to other people.  It's not as if I was suicidal, but I had myself convinced that no one could really care that much about a fat girl like me.  It's horrible the things that go through our minds.  There is not one day that passes now in my life that I can't recall someone telling me they love me.  Sometimes I really get down on myself because I'm not in a relationship with someone, that somehow I'm not worthy to be loved by a man again.  In those moments, I get into that black and white thinking and then someone comes along and says, "Kath, I love you."  Talk about touching your heart!

My sleep study to be fitted for the CPAP is continuing.  I finally broke down and called the pulmonary department to say, "Hey, I can't sleep with this thing ... HELP!!"  So we talked about some things I can do to sleep on my side without the mask slipping off my face.  That seemed to help because I actually got some sleep with it on yesterday.  I didn't sleep the whole night through, but I got about three intermittent hours in with the mask on my face.  That's actually a really big step up for me.  I did take it off, though, and slept the rest of the night away to ensure I could at least be functional.  It's very difficult to function without enough sleep.  In fact, when I saw my therapist today, we talked about what untreated sleep apnea can do to someone who suffers from the condition.  It actually was scary to realize what an incredible danger it is.  I had my eyes opened when she told me I could have heart disease that possibly could kill me in the middle of the night from the lack of oxygen, I can get high blood pressure, and I increase my risk of getting in a serious car accident.  When I asked her about the heart related issues, she went on to explain that it severely impacts your oxygen level which could be a problem in regulating blood flow to and from your heart as well as to your brain and you're more susceptible to having a stroke as well as atrial fibrilation.  I had no idea how truly serious it is so that made me more committed than ever to being patient with the process of sleeping with the mask on my face or, hopefully in the future, the nasal pillow in my nose.  I want a long, healthy life so I'm doing whatever I can to be proactive in that regard.  Sometimes that's difficult, but I also need to remind myself in the moment that these things take time.  Being patient with myself has never been something that comes easily, but I know all I can do is put one foot in front of the other.  I have to remember that as I go through the process of adapting to the machine as well as the surgery ... just one foot in front of the other, that's all I can do in the moment.


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