Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleeping and body image

My mother went home after spending four days at my house.  It's nice to have my place to myself again, although I do miss her.  I know that she will be living with me in the future, probably after she retires from her job, so these little visits over are good.  She's alone and, especially as she gets older, I don't want her living by herself.  I really am more amazed each day at hour our relationship just continues to grow and flourish, especially after such an abusive childhood.  This helps me see that really all things are possible.

It looks like my APAP machine (CPAP with auto adjustment features) is in so I'm going tomorrow to get a fitting.  I told the person on the phone that the mask I was given to do the sleep study just isn't working for me and that I'd like to have the nasal pillow.  It was pretty amazing in how easy that conversation went because they told me it wouldn't be a problem.  I'm so grateful to have insurance because the machine along with everything associated is completely free to me.

My biggest problem with sleep is that the only position I can sleep in is on my tummy.  That's normally fine, but that is not going to work after I get the gastric bypass surgery done.  What happens to me is that I'll lay on my back and I'll start to fall asleep, but then I either snore or stop breathing and then I wake up.  I've tried many different positions to make it happen - bigger pillows, smaller pillows, sitting up, laying perfectly flat.  No matter what I do, I just can't get to sleep.  This is a big reason I decided to get on the machine for the sleep apnea so early when my surgery won't be for another eight months or so ... I need the time to adjust.  My dad said he has the same problem but he was able to overcome it eventually with the nasal pillow.  He said it did take time and patience, but it is doable.  Lord help me but I pray that the surgery will aid in getting rid of the sleep apnea altogether.

Speaking of the surgery, I'm feeling really antsy.  It is months away and I just want to get going with it already.  I know a big part of that is that I've been having some really major body image issues coming up lately.  This morning when I was changing my clothes and looking in the mirror, I focused on my thighs.  The excess on my upper thigh feels like a growth to me, even though I know in my head it is not.  I recently watched a program on TLC, Half Ton Killer, and I know I am comparing my body to hers.  It's the story of a woman who weighed over 1,000 pounds and was accused of killing her little nephew by accidentally rolling over on him while babysitting him.

Obviously I don't weigh 1,000 pounds.  I just sat there staring at the screen and looking at the mass of flesh surrounding her, feeling so broken-hearted for her but also feeling as though I am the same way.  There are so many physical limitations that she has that she is now bed-ridden.  I wondered how she could get to that extreme point without doing something about it, but then realized I am in the same situation.  Sure, it's not as drastic as hers, but it seems like I closed my eyes one day and wondered how all the weight piled on without me really recognizing how bad it had gotten.  Obviously I saw what was happening, but I guess it just goes to show me how much of an addiction food is to me, just like alcohol is to the alcoholic.

Whether this was before I went on Optifast or after the weight came back, the devastation is still just as strong.  I just don't want to feel the physical and emotional pain of obesity any more.  I don't want to continue putting my life at risk being this size.  I know there is a process I need to go through with the surgery and the next stage of that will happen in about three weeks with me starting the six-months of classes. I just want it now.  I want to close my eyes and fast forward to the time I can have the surgery done.  It's hard being in this body and not feeling shame when I look in the mirror.

Of course, in the meantime, I do have the opportunity to be proactive and do my best to be as healthy as I can right now.  Kaiser has set a goal for me to lose 37 pounds before the surgery, so I'm doing my best to work on that.  Obviously I have to work on the feelings I have going on.  I'm so glad that I was brave enough to seek out therapy because my head is the source of all the negative emotions around body image.  I think it is vitally important for me to continue working with the therapist throughout this entire process.  Otherwise, I am quite certain I'll repeat patterns that got me here in the first place.  I definitely don't want that to happen.


Cait Cannon said...

My heart goes out to you Kathy. I know what it's like to want things now even though you can't have them. I am like that with my weight loss too. No matter how fast it goes, it's never fast enough! The quote I turn to all the time to help me find patience is this one by Earl Nightingale, "Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use."

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