A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘body image’ Category

Let there be cake!

I saw the bright reflection from down the hall. The light glimmered off the protective covering as my boss walked towards me. It was time for our weekly staff meeting and we met and turned to enter the room together. It was like walking with one of the three kings from the Orient to present the holy child with frankincense or myrrh. She had the gift of the Magi. She had birthday cake.

If I was abandoned on a dessert island and could only have one food, it would be chocolate birthday cake covered in butter cream frosting with tons of roses and flowers. And there is one store here that makes the best. My boss was carrying one of those exact cakes into our meeting as a surprise for one of staff. I had to decide at that point if it was the best day or the worst.

I have been going through an on-line course call “Be Nourished.” It is a series of six modules that offer lessons and inspiration to learn to become an intuitive eater. No diet, no starvation and definitely no deprivation. It takes practice and training to quiet the mind and really feel what the body is saying. Instead of eating from emotion, you eat when and what your body says it wants. Believe it or not, when you really pay attention, the body does not crave sugar. I was surprised to see how easy that has been. I also noticed that I do not crave carbs and salty things as much.

If you think by “letting go” there would be the urge to eat everything under the sun. For some, I guess that happens. But then, it is in response to an emotion and not the actual response to hunger. I discovered I eat when I am bored. I eat out of habit. Its noon, it is time for lunch. But now I wait until I am hungry. It is weird also to actually feel hunger. And then I listen to what my body says it wants. I bring my lunch but at dinner, the choice often is salad automatically.

The other part of intuitive eating is knowing when your full. There are studies which say often obese people do not sense full. I stop for the most part when I am full or just know to stop. Sometimes the guilt of throwing food out makes me push past the point where I could stop.

I sat through the meeting eyeing with delight and patience for them to cut the cake. But when they did, I passed on it. It was only 10:00 am and I truly was not in the mood. I did not want the sugar rush that early on in the day only to crash later. I knew the cake would be left in our shared area and others would attack it later as was my plan. But I ate my lunch first. I was not hungry after that, but images of butter cream rosettes danced in my brain. Finally, I gave in and went to cut a chunk for myself. I included a piece of the biggest pink rose. It was only about an inch and a half square piece. I had to carry it back to my office. I knew if someone passed me in the hall I would get “the look.”

I actually set it behind me on a cabinet for a bit and again reassessed how I felt. The biggest hurdle was the guilt. It was so strong. I thought of all the things I have been doing for myself. This was a blatant disrespectful act and lacked self-compassion, I thought.  I spun my chair around to gaze at the loveliness of the rose which just happened to be my favorite color. I spun back to my computer to think how I would feel with all that sugar pulsing through my body after so long a withdrawal from most sugary things. I could feel the cake behind me. Its chocolate goodness filled the air and the pure white of the frosting sat waiting to be enjoyed. I spun around and with fork in hand, slowly and with purpose devoured the piece. I tasted every grain of sugar, every ounce of butter, every essence of dark cocoa.

It was done.

Was it worth you ask….. Hell, Yeah!

Death sentence

clown 2

Every year since I was very young, this time of year brings some form of bad illness or pain for me. It has been that way since I was 11 years old. I cannot sleep at night. I wake up and I have pain or an issue of some sort  and insomnia becomes the norm. I have written before about this.

I can remember as a young girl getting up in the dark and going downstairs to see the remains of my parents drinking all night. Their favorite glasses would have remains of watered down liquor and the ashtrays would be full. I remember one time when I had something wrong with my shoulder and could not raise my hand above my head. They thought it was bursitis, but I know now it was a Psoriatic Arthritis flare. Back then, they did not even know what Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) is. Many medical providers still don’t.

I have been struggling the past two years trying to find the correct drug to manage my PsA symptoms. Currently I am on Humira, which is if nothing else, has not caused a lot of side effects like some of the other medicines I have been on. But it also is not working. My labs show my SED rate and other indicators show high amount of inflammation. I do not need any lab to tell me that. On top of the PsA, I have just plain old psoriasis. I have never had it as bad as some people get it until now.

I want people to understand. Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease that affects 7.5 million people or 3 % of the world. There is no cause and there is no cure. The skin becomes inflamed and the reaction varies from person to person. I had been lucky not to have many lesions. These are crusty little to large patches of bubbled up skin that itches and burns. The Humira is not working on the Psoriasis at all so now I am covered with very itchy skin and scalp. My legs are mess. A component of Psoriasis is Inverse Psoriasis which occurs in very sensitive places. I am also having an issue with Inverse but I will save the details. However, this is what is keeping me up all night. Anyone who has a mosquito bite can tell you how bad an itch in the middle of the night can be. Imagine that it not only itches very badly but burns.

On top of all this mess, I have been having terrible back pain on my left mid side. I know it is my kidney. I have at least three large stones in there the last time they looked, and they are so big they will not pass. When I lay down, they are pressing on my kidney. By an hour after I get up and have some water, I am ok. I wanted to know why now this was happening on top of my labs showing a change in my Creatinine and GFR.

My Doctor is a young Indian who is usually very patient and concerned about me. He subscribes usually to less is more when it comes to medicating. I have been seeing him for about five years. He does not like the fact that my rheumatologist has been changing my medication so much and does not really understand why we cannot find the right drug.

This visit was terrible. He told me that my kidney had not failed. Yes there had been a change in the creatinine but not that significant. (The lab reading was as high as it was when I struggled to pass a huge stone two years ago) He said the GFR was not a reliable indicator. (So why have the test?) My Systolic reading was forty points higher than normal for me but the diastolic was only 73, which is my normal. And he dismissed the back pain. He also told me to stop taking a potassium supplement I was using for the leg cramps.

What he did say was so painful I started to cry. He said I should go get bariatric surgery. In all the years I have seen him, he has never said this. My last doctor said it would be extremely dangerous for me to have the surgery because of my blood clotting issues. Factor V Leiden is an inherited disease and is passed down through families. It has nothing to do with my weight. He seemed short tempered as he spoke, like my visit was a bother.

He said my blood pressure is out of control. That’s not true, it has been steady and normal level for over a year and a half, since they took me off one shot (for PsA) that raised it to dangerous levels. He said my kidney issues are from being overweight. I said I have stones in there and this has not been a problem since May of 2014. He saw the stone I passed then and was amazed. He seemed to totally forget all that. I had to ask him to schedule me for an ultra sound to see what is going on, because this was NOT normal.

There was more he said that was harsh and I sat there with tears streaming down my face.

To me, he has sentenced me to death. I cannot express how much this affects me. I have a reaction to the concept of bariatric surgery that is so visceral it makes me physically ill. You know when something is very dangerous, and your gut tells you…”BE WARE”. That is what happens to me. When I was younger and able to exercise, the thought of going under the knife did not bother me. I wanted the help. But I was told I was not a candidate way back then. In those days, you had to go through hoops to get the surgery. In most cases, insurance did not cover it.

Now I am 62. I have a diagnosed blood condition and a chronic illness. Now they will cut you open if you simply ask. I argued back with the doctor that the long term success rate they are now finding is not great. This surgery is still new medicine. This was when he made a comment about dying sooner from being obese or having a longer life. I asked, “what if I die from the surgery?” His response was I was high risk, but he felt it would be worth it. REALLY????

Many people gain all the weight and then some back. But even if they do not, the other complications are huge. I do not know anyone who has had the surgery personally who said they would do it again. One friend had such terrible anemia, she had to have transfusions. And she is one who gained everything back. We let one employee go because she was out so much. They found another reason to terminate her, but she never recovered well from the surgery. She was not obese. She was plump and did it for cosmetic reasons. We just had one young employee who had two toddlers die a few months ago from the surgery. She became septic. She was 28. I know of someone locally who had a debilitating stroke from the surgery and is still not and never will be the same. One friend had it done two years ago and she has kept the weight off, but she looks 60 to her actual 40 years of age. She was much prettier heavy.

I could go on for hours about this. I have cried every night, and I am fighting them now. My point is that this is what people of size put up with all the time. I went to the doctor because I think I have a kidney stone trapped. The labs indicate it, my pain indicates it, and I needed professional help before it gets worse. My physical abilities are in the crapper right now because I am not properly medicated for the PsA. I can hardly walk some days. The pain level is extreme. My skin is on fire. I am not sleeping because of this. I cannot get into the rheumatologist until January 3rd.  He never has open appointments because rheumatologists are in such short supply. And my PCP is telling me to take a risk with my life and have a surgery that could very possibly kill me. ( and my gut says it will)

I do not think I have ever been as depressed as I am currently. I am not saying that being thinner would not resolve some things. I am not that stupid. I feel trapped in a world lacking of compassion, ignorant and insensitive, which is leaving me to suffer with vacillating issues of either continuing to suffer in pain or commit suicide, which is how I feel about the surgery.

 

 

My mother and Weight Watchers

stone goddesses

I began Weight Watchers in January, 2015. I am strongly letting everyone know that it has nothing to do with being accepted or trying to meet anyone else’s expectations. It is about me getting my Psoriatic Arthritis under control, which it is not. I found out that inflammation changes the hormones and body chemistry making it very difficult to lose weight. In fact, most people gain. And I am like most.

In the last two years, I sat back and watched my weight steadily increase, some of it since last May when I had a horrible incident with a kidney stone that was 6mm big. It threw my chemistry completely off and within a month I had put on 8 pounds. I thought it was fluid, but it kept climbing higher, even after I passed the stone.

I did a lot of research, as I often do when I come up against something. I thought about bariatric surgery and discovered it should be called barbaric surgery. I asked around a lot and found from the mouths of people who had the surgery that it worked at first, but then MANY gained back some, if not all. And then on top of that heartbreak, they all had some form of  new issue such as diarrhea, hair loss, pain, mal-nutrition, anemia and the list went on. This to me was not an option for me because of the other complications with my blood clotting. I scratched it right off the list.

Then I looked into serious weight loss plans. Again, major rebound issues coupled with health problems. One program was good for small weight loss like 20 or so pounds, but very impossible for long term. The diet was 500 calories with multiple supplements. Really? How does that change a life for better?

So I turned back to old Faithful Weight Watchers (WW). This was my third go at it. First time I lost about 30 pounds but rebounded. Last time I gained right off the bat. This time…. well…. First my story. This is triggered by a friend’s blog I read tonight.

My weight issues began when I was very, very young. I do not remember ever not having a weight problem. I was pudgy as baby. I had severe food allergies and then that seem to not be a problem. There is one picture of me around three and I am not fat but I am not thin. I was tall though. A picture of me at five is that of a beach ball. It remains that way the rest of my life. But in truth, there is a picture I found of me standing up and I was around 13 or 14. I was fully developed, taller than any woman in my family and thick. Not fat, not thin. Shapely. I think at that time I was a size 14-16. The same size clothes now would be a 10-12. I had fabulous legs because I rode a bike everywhere and for miles. I walked, skated, swam all the time and danced. I had a bit of a gut compare to others, but I also had a shapely figure. But by then, I learned to hide, so to see a full shot of me was startling. I also realized I was not the beast my family had portrayed.

My mother, sister, aunt and both grandmothers were petite women. No one was over 5’1 and no one was over 120 pounds. In 6th grade, I was 5’5” and 117 pounds and in a DD bra. I was considered an aberration and chastised soundly by everyone. I can remember my aunt telling me to wear a girdle when I was 13.

My mother decided right about then she was going to “fix” me. She put me on this diet of green beans and Jello. I like both, but it was all I was allowed. I bought lunch at school and that was when you did not have choices, just one hot lunch for 25 cents. Our house was filled with candy and cookies. My father made his own root beer. We had store-bought bakery goodies and donuts every Sunday. Dinner was a roast or casserole with white bread, whole milk, fresh butter, and some dessert.  Crème sauces were big and on everything like fish, potatoes, veggies and meat. Veggies were lima beans, corn, peas and potatoes. I did not have a tossed salad until I was 16. Fruit was rare and often a “salad” was a canned pear on a leaf of lettuce with a glob of mayo and a maraschino cherry. Very chic! Very 50’s.

So her solution to my EATING problem was making me eat beans and Jello for a while. Now mind you, when I was younger, if you did not eat your dinner, you were severely punished. As children, we did not eat with the adults until we were older. On holidays we were allowed at the dinner table, but no talking and no messing around. Just eat and shut up.  I learned very early to eat everything. I was the kind of child who hated being scolded in any manner. Still don’t like it.

My mother could out eat us all. Her metabolism was not given to me. My siblings could eat and remained thin until much later in life. Not me. I ate what was on my plate. Rewards were foods like a special Dunkin donut covered in frosting. Birthday meals were fried chicken or lasagna. Candy lurked everywhere, dishes and bowls of the stuff. Fortunately for me, I am not a big fan of most hard candy, but in a pinch. My mother and father had buckets of Fanny Farmers’ assorted chocolates. There was always a full cookie jar on the counter in the kitchen.  Cheap soda was in the refrigerator and the famous root beer was shared on special occasions. Even alcohol was allowed early in life and on special occasions. I learned to love Cherry brandy by the time I was eight

The part as an adult that I have had to work on so very hard is to get my mother’s critical voice and disapproving looks out of my head. She would skew her face up and would look at me with such distain sometimes that it would hurt me to the core. Food was the enemy she deemed and would go on rampages to humiliate me or shame me into “doing something about my weight.”

Dinner often turned into a battlefield, especially if they had been drinking, which….. they did every night. Some nights, it was a race to be done eating to get away before something happened. Common tortures were a heavy knife handle to the elbow for having it on the table. We had these ball shaped salt shakers which my father would swipe up and pelt at you for some perceived misdoing. As time went on, and my siblings left to go to college or their own lives, I was the featured target. My father would take his dinner plate and fling it at the back of your head like a Frisbee. If he was really out of it, he would fling whatever he could reach.

But I always ate my dinner with my head down and quiet until I was around 15. Then I began to cook for myself and eat privately when I could. My parents often never got to dinner or it would be ten o’clock or so. They were so smashed it didn’t matter. My father munched on cheese and crackers and Mom smoked. But by this point in my life, my food issues were tightly engrained and my body was never going to be petite. NEVER. I ended up at 5’ 6’ inches with size 8 feet. (Mom’s were a size 5) My hip bones (pelvic area) were a good five inches wider than hers, and at her  4’9 inches, I towered over her.

But her voice never left me. is I will always see her dark hair framing her disapproving looks.

Fast forward to now, the present moment… well we will back up first. When I started working at my job there was this woman who I saw for the first time from the back and my heart skipped a beat. I swore it was my Mom.  Something about the way she held herself.  This woman and I do not get along. She is critical of everything and everyone. She has a frown on her face most of the time. She especially does not like me. I am in the position she held for ten years as head of Education. She is a nurse, I am not. This is my failing and she and a few others let me know at every opportunity they do not approve of me. It was very hard for me to get passed her and ignore her and her cryptic comments and her LOOK.

Now, present moment. What does any of this have to do with Weight Watchers? I was doing WW on line since January. But they offered a deal at work and were going to have meetings there. So I signed up and arrived early to the first meeting last week.  Who do you think walks in to join? Mind you, if she has ten pounds to lose, it is a lot. So there I am and all the old guilt, resentment, and uglies surfaced. I could barely speak in the meeting. We had to share why we were there and I wanted to stand up and scream because my mother was a mean bitch and so are you….(looking at this woman). But in a shaky voice I mumbled about being a big beautiful woman and that I was here to get healthier. I went home so upset I thought I should quit.

But I did not. Instead, I challenged her. She has four other participants and we have our own team from HR/ED. We will win. This week our team all had significant weight loss. I am doing really well, after a couple of stalls. This will happen and then I lose a few more. Right now I have lost 5% of my total body weight from where I started. It’s all numbers. I am still big. I am also still in pain. But I have not had a shot in two months. It will be interesting to see what happens once I get a shot and calm the inflammation. Right now I can barely walk so I am not exercising. But that will become necessary soon.

The team that loses the most total poundage gets a lunch provided by the other team. I will enjoy watching her serve me……hahahah. I keep holding on to that.

 

 

 

I am sitting here trying to write through the tears that are pouring out of my eyes. I hate this. I am so frustrated I could melt iron with my anger. And because I know my anger does nothing, I am even more frustrated and around I go until I just burst into tears and sit sobbing until I give up and go to bed. I just thought I would write and see if it helps. So….why am I so upset? Several things.

I have Psoriatic Arthritis. For those who do not know, it is an auto-immune disease which targets the joints and the surround tissue. On the scale of severity, I am pretty lucky and it has only disintegrated my foot, ankle and toes on either foot and I have some deterioration in my lower spine. I can live with the fact that I limp on some days. I can also live with the shooting pain for the most part and the pervasive ache that is so deep in my bones it seems to be like hot lava.

What I cannot live with is the incompetency of the people who I have to work with to get the drug that helps alleviate this pain. Because I am on a specialty drug, I have to go to a high end mail order pharmacy for my drug. Every single time I had to deal with the company, Accredo, it was a major clusterfuck. And they lie like a cheap rug. One time I had to go without my medication for almost three months before they straightened out their mistakes. And then when it was all done, and I went to order the following month, they cancelled my prescription because I had not called for it in three months.

Well, my insurance switched to a new pharmacy. Can you guess what happened? They have it all screwed up. Although it was supposed to be a clear transfer of the script and authorization, it did not happen. So now I am on week 2 past due for my med because of their screw up. First they did not have the authorization and now they say they have an authorization, but it is for the wrong dose. What I do not get is nothing changed from the one pharmacy and the script was for at least six months.

Meanwhile, the pain crawls up my back like a sloth climbing a tree. PsA does not affect just my joints. It also affects my hormones and internal organs. It changes my body chemistry. This creates a situation where I am even more frustrated. I put on weight. So I have been on Weight Watchers now going on three weeks. I lost many pounds the first week, less the next and so far this week I have GAINED 2.5 pounds.

Everyone will say, “it’s what I am eating.” IT IS NOT! I am tracking every mouthful of my food intake.

I am following the point system which gives you a gimme on fruits and vegetables. They say you can eat all you want. Well, for me, it is the basis for my diet normally so this is very easy. But it does not make me lose weight. So now, I am looking up the nutritional value of even the fruits and veggies. For example, broccoli is wonderful for you. But a head of broccoli has five points when you put it into the WW calculator. That’s a lot of points. And yes, I can eat a whole head of broccoli between lunch and dinner. Even with me counting those, I still eat every day 10 or less points than the amount I can. And I gained weight. Do you have any idea how frustrating this is?

So the answer is, move more. Get up and exercise. Well,……. See above. Last night I worked with my DVD on yoga. This morning, I was in pain. As the day wore on, the pain increased instead of got better so I am not doing it again tonight… Anyone else see the issue with this?

Writing helped me to stop crying. I am grateful for that. But I know as soon as I head to bed, I will start again.

On top of all of this, a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer today. This is a re-occurrence for her, but it is not in the same place as it was years ago. I know she will probably be fine, but I cried all the way home thinking about her and how brave and wonderful she is.

And then I think…I have an issue? Ok that set me off again… Night!

This is not so easy

I have been absent from writing this week. It has been busy, but that is not the reason. I am just going through one of those things and one of those times. January is not a favorite month for me at all. I am the type of person who loves having a million projects going all at once. That is one of the things I like about December. It is so busy. But there is an anticlimactic feeling when it is all over. I don’t want to do anything.

But I am also in the process now of changing my lifestyle and it is becoming apparent to me how necessary this is. I am not sure of the outcome. But in typical fashion I have overdone things.

I went on Weight Watchers. This is my third try with this program. I love it only because it really is a good product to use as a tool. That is all it is. A tool. The thing that will make it work or not is between my ears more than any place. I have to re-evaluate what I do all day.

Fortunately for me I love vegetables. I am very satisfied with a plate full of broccoli. It has not been hard to swing into eating good things. I get into trouble when I am bored. My body sends a message that I can relieve my boredom by munching. This is very common. Good news…veggies are crunchy. Bad news is what happened last week. I had a major diverticulitis attack. Inflammation runs rampant in my body because of the Psoriatic Arthritis. Because of that, about four years ago, I ended up in the hospital and was diagnosed with diverticulitis. I have had a few mild attacks since. Once you have it, you get it again and again. The one last week was terrible. There is nothing much to do about it except switch to soft foods and broth for a while. That is what I did and I was better. But it was brought on because I put too much fiber in.

The other reason it happened is that I sit at my desk all week. Sitting is terrible for this condition and just not helpful for losing weight. I am trying now to walk around inside our square building a couple of times. I am not the only one so no one says anything when they see you go by several times in a row. But it is something I have to be mindful to do because the day does get away from me. Friday was a perfect example. Every time I went to go walk, someone came in to chat. My Fridays were (operative word: were) my day to catch up because I had no meetings. I had three this Friday. Many people came to grouse because the payroll was messed up and no one in our division got paid. (This is another story) So the tension was high all day and people wanted to kibitz. This happens often that my intention of walking gets waylaid. By the time I get home I am exhausted and have no desire to go out in the subzero cold.

I have to change my thinking on this though. I have to make time for me and I know this. But I also have to realize Rome was not built in a day. For example, Saturday is our shopping day. Once a month, we do a huge shopping. Because I wanted healthier choices in the house we decided to go to the Mecca of stores, Wegmans. Now, there are grocery stores and then there is Wegmans. Their produce is divine. You pay a bit more but it is worth it. It was a nice day so I said lets go to the Mother ship, their premier store in Pittsford. This Wegmans takes up the whole end of a shopping mall. When Cher was here, this is where she wanted to go. It is huge. I wanted the walk. It is like going to a bazaar in India. Bright and colorful and there are people handing out samples everywhere. I do not like the crowds but the store was reasonable. So we walked the store and every isle. Two hours later, and almost to the end and checkout, my legs began to hurt horribly. This is not just muscle pain. I do not mind hurting muscles because it means you are doing something. This is a deep in the bone ache brought on by the PsA. We pushed on and by the time I got home I was ok. It was just too much.

This is what I do. I do too much. I grab on to something and go hog wild and overdo it. I have to slow this down and make it part of my lifestyle. But if you know me, I am not patient. This whole thing has been a bit frustrating.

One of the things people do not get with this type of arthritis is that it is a reaction to stimulation. It is a bad reaction. When I exercise, especially if it is a movement that I have not done or I repeated it a lot my body says. “Oh look, she has a boo boo” and swarms the area with inflammation. Because of that, I have really stopped moving. To add to this, I have extreme charlie horses. I know why I get them, and it is not for any of the physical reasons like dehydration. It is a chemical imbalance and they are triggered because I am in a total body clench most of the time. When I sleep and relax, they go off. I am working on that and have been pretty successful in lessening that response. But, I get them also if I move a certain way and that way can be anytime. I discovered the medicine I am on causes these types of charlies. These muscle cramps are not just in my calves. They are in my thighs and the worse ones are in my gut and abdomen. I get them in my shoulders and back also. Just moving slightly the wrong way and I am writhing in pain.

This is adds to the frustration because I want to move. I sat down the other night to work with my yoga DVD and set off a charlie that hurt into the next day.

In my head, I am trying to not let this all get to me. It would be easier to just say f**k it and let nature takes it course with me. But that would really be stupid and I am not stupid. Nothing I have ever done in my life has been easy. But that’s the point. There have been many roadblocks and obstacles in my life and I have overcome them. I do not remember the things that had me tweaked five years ago. I do not remember things had me tweaked five months ago. Point is we do get over things if we work at it. I cherish what I do have in my life because I worked so hard for it. I have to make my mind up what do I want and then go for it. And then “I need to cut me some slack, Jack!”

The eyes have it

eyes    Today I feel like I reached the bottom, which is fine and now I am on the way up again. So true confessions, there was more going on with my life which I did not share because I did not know all the facts. Something occurred today, which has swung the pendulum. One thing I have learned in the past three years “hang on, nothing stays the same.”

The short story is on New Year’s Eve, I went for an eye appointment to get new glasses. It has been four years and my glasses broke right in half. I had an old pair which was great. Seems my prescription for the past ten years has not changed much. Wonderful!

However this time, the doctor found an anomaly in my eye. She said my optic nerve was enlarged. I made an instant appointment to see a specialist. And then, being who I am, I started Googling.

Turns out that the condition has a variety of names, none of which I knew. Seems the cause of this condition can be from medication, blood pressure, fluid, spinal fluid, and the one that stuck with me…..being obese, which is called papilledema. When I read that, I was devastated and furious. I cannot find anywhere what the connection is and why this can cause this condition.

The first technician I saw today looked at the readings and info from the first doctor and said she felt the readings indicated a normal range. But the Doctor said to do tests anyways. So I went through a battery of tests for about an hour. I had different drops and stared at all sorts of bright things.

This was all fine. Leading up to the appointment was not. All the information I read was….well, it just added to the failure I have been feeling about myself lately. I felt “I did this. I deserved it. If I was thinner, this would not be an issue.” No one can beat themselves up like I can. It was a week of this and it got worse and worse. I would check something on google during work and get upset and then come home and read it again, only adding to my angst.

The bottom line is this. I do not have papilledema. I have the markers for MAYBE glaucoma…. Or it is just the way my eye cup is. She said do not lose any sleep. I asked her if this had anything to do with being fat. She just laughed (nicely) and said no. It may be nothing at all, but without any past history she can’t tell. I may have been born with this enlarged opening. She said to just make sure I have an eye exam every year. We are going to do more baseline readings also. She said actually my eyes were healthy, pressure and depth and thickness of the cornea all were fine. I finally let out my breath.

I had been seeing the same eye doctor my husband had for years. I saw him for about 8 years. Last year, my hubby had to have surgery for cataracts that were so bad, one eye was almost totally occluded. And of course, my husband did not say anything. When they went in, it was much worse than they thought and he was under the knife for an hour…. for a fifteen minute surgery. He is now also seeing someone else.

If I had a vision loss of any kind, I would have known it. I am fanatical about my eyes. I am a photographer. I express myself though the lens. (I don’t post many here) I do so much with my eyes that they are absolutely precious to me. The punishment I put myself through this past week just is a demonstration of what people like me do to themselves.

The upshot of all this is I have this safety net in place to help me protect my eyes. I am ok with her prognosis and diagnosis as she was pretty convincing that this really was not an issue, but preventative.

And I think I finally faced up to some challenges I have about my health. So with this hurtle out of the way, I think things I will start to pick myself up again. I am up for the challenge.

Not giving up

This blog post took me several times to start it. There has been a lot going on in my head. I have not shared all of it, but I think it is time. I am scared shitless of dying. Every day I wake up and wonder if this is the day. This started about two years ago when I was beginning to face turning 59. My Mom died at that age. She got sick when she was 58 and within six months, she was gone. She had lung cancer. So as I approached that age, it started nagging at me. Then I turned 59 and woke up still alive. Then I was facing 60. And that was horrible. I do not know why, but this has been an awful time for me.

I stopped a lot of the introspective work I was doing because it was actually making things worse. Ever twinge, every muscle cramp signaled to me that my body was failing. I have NEVER been connected to my body. And the result is why I am so overweight. I never felt fat until recently. And the realization of my body mass coupled with my progress towards old age has plummeted me into an abyss. I admit it. I have been more depressed than ever…. And truthfully, I hate being depressed.

So what is feeding this? Well, on top of my Mom’s early demise, my father died at 71. That is only 10 years more for me. I also have a weird habit. On Sundays, I look at the obits. I think it is my duty to read the last thing people have said about them. It may only be their only tribute too. You never read “John Smith was an a-hole who beat his wife.” I started the habit in my 20’s. When I got divorced, it upset me so much that I would die and not be the loving wife of someone. Sad, I know…but I am confessing here. Now I read the obits and often I am older than the deceased.

I get very upset when we visit Joe’s parents. They do nothing but watch TV and fight. He is 94 and she is 90 and has dementia. It is terrible to see such vibrant souls trapped in their own hell. This is what the future is? I see all the geriatric patients housed in our affiliate nursing facilities and think: What -ho….what a grand life….NOT! I have taken Hospice training and although I think Hospice is wonderful, it has added to my unnerving.

I decided that maybe taking a look at losing weight might add to my longevity. I struggle so much with this because I LOVE food. I love to cook and love baking even more. I also confess that this last year I ate like crap and I gained weight. I knew better. But nothing is going to change unless I take the reins. So what did I do? I met up with that jerk of a counselor who wanted me to get bariatric surgery without even talking to me. She added to my angst so much. I wrote about it but I do not think I went into the level of how much she really upset me. This weekend, I pursued another avenue. I signed up for the program called NYFatLoss.com. The website again sounded fabulous. They balance your hormones, your body makeup and balance your intake and so forth. Sounded perfect, but the website was extremely vague with any details such as cost. My BBF sent me a link to a user’s blog and what an eye opener. The cost was over a thousand dollars to several thousands. It is a 500 calorie diet for forty days. And when that is up, you ante up again. The promise is 35 pounds in 40 days. Of course, if you are eating 500 calories, you are on the Auschwitz diet and you WILL lose. I told my husband you get a choice of two veggies, two fruits and two servings of meat. He thought it was for one meal. That’s it for the day and only certain fruits and meat. You will lose, but when you go back to eating normal you will be right back again and probably worse off because your set point will be so screwed up. You have to pound several vitamins and their supplements which include products that raise your blood pressure and will thin your blood. Not a good combination for someone on Coumadin for a hereditary complication. Again, I hit the wall.

Today in my class I teach, I had two students who both have had bariatric surgery. One was heavy and the other one was thin. They both were eating fast food. They shared that they both have gained weight back. One of them confessed she gained all her weight back and then some. Both said they had complications including being very sick. The thinner girl said she still gets sick. As I walked past her and eyeballed her mayonnaise covered sub with the bag of nachos and sweet tea. I said, “I would get sick too.” I served her a heaping helping of shame with her lunch. I felt terrible and I did not get a chance to apologize. I spoke the truth. I do not eat fast food hardly ever because it does make me sick. Some things that are prepared commercially really get me. McDonald is death and I have not eaten it since 1986. I do not eat red meat either since 1986….well the list is quite long of what I do not eat.

I am so sick of all this. The depression, the frustration, the anger and mostly the additional self-loathing I seem to be heaping on myself. I secretly started planning this weekend to make some changes. I spent much of my time cooking. And I am cooking things for my health. If I have the right things in the house, I will eat them. I eat “bad” things when I am bored. After my disappointment with NYFATLOSS, (what a hose job) I had a choice. I could give up and just continue being this way, or do something. If you know me, option one is not a choice.

So I joined Weight Watchers. All I am going to say about it for now. I am doing this for me because no one else’s opinion matters. If I am successful and take off some weight, wonderful. I am determined. If I don’t, I will start again. I had to get up a walk away from my computer after I typed this. This has been an dreadful or dread-filled time for me and I am worn down to a nub of humiliation covered in fear.

I am stopping for tonight. I have a lot more to share on this topic. Not about swapping recipes for losing weight, but on the humiliation, shame and condemnation people cast on others. I know I have mounted a beaten old nag of a white horse. But I think this is important because body image issues are not about just weight at all. But for now, I am tired.