Thursday, November 25, 2010

Peace

Part of my job at work is to research obituaries.  I got to work Monday and was looking at them all when I found out that a friend of mine had passed away.  Katie was in my ward growing up and while we didn't hang out really outside of church, I always knew her as a faithful and kind person.  This last year, we had reconnected on Facebook.  I eventually found out that she had been struggling with cancer for the past few years.  It seemed to be a roller coaster of hope and then the dashing of hope as she would finish one round of chemo and be clear for a while, until it came back again.  I got to know her through her blog Happy Together.  I'm so glad she shared her thoughts and testimony.  She continued to touch my heart with her honesty, her incredible faith in God, and her peace.

As I reflected on this news and on what an incredible example she was being, I was reminded of how I was feeling and what I wrote a couple of nights before.  It was actually posted for about 10 hours, but I was too embarrassed I guess to leave it up.  But it is part of what I want to say today, so here it is again:

(Saturday night)

You know what?  I'm tired, right to the core.  In every way, I am tired.

I'm tired of my knee hurting, I'm tired of not being able to sleep.  I'm tired of all sorts of aches and pains, I'm tired of the food problems.  I'm tired of squishing my fat self into my car.  I'm tired of feeling like a loser.

I'm pooped.

I'm tired of looking in the mirror and seeing an obese face stare back at me with all four chins.  I'm tired of plucking whiskers off of said chins.  I'm tired of trying to figure out the role that food is supposed to play in my life.  I'm tired of doctors and hospitals and dragging my oxygen tube around everywhere.

Exhausted.

I'm tired of feeling like an idiot.  I'm tired of trying to be funny.  I'm tired of feeling guilty, depressed, anxious.  I'm tired of uncertainty. 

Plumb tuckered out.

I'm tired of hoping and wanting.  I'm tired of being tired.

Does any of this motivate me to do better?  To do something about the four chins?  To find some way to lift my spirits?  Not right now.  Not really.  I'm too tired.

Thinking about her, I revisited her blog and I was struck by how much peace she expressed.  It didn't mean that she didn't cry or get mad or have bad days, but she was at peace.  She knew it was God's will and that it would all work out okay.  Whether she lived or not, it would work out okay.  She was going to put her trust in God.  Turn her will over to God.

I realized that it's okay to be tired...everyone gets tired.  It's just that I have been leaving my Heavenly Father out of the equation for a long time and there isn't much peace in that.  She showed me that you can be struggling and mad and sad and yet still have the peace that The Spirit offers all of us.  Peace that everything will work out, that it's in God's hands. 

I am so thankful for Katie's life.  She has touched me so profoundly.  She makes me want to be a better person, to have more faith that things will be okay.  Whether I find a companion on this life or not, things will be okay.  Whether I lose this darn weight or not, things will be okay.  Whether I regain my health or not,  things will be okay.  Whether I conquer this depression or not, things will be okay.  Trust in God and you will have peace.  I hope I can get there.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Order in the Court

I had to go to court the other day.  (Be assured, nothing criminal.)  I arrived at 12:30, a half hour early, and parked my car across the street.  It was lunch time and I figured I had time to grab a sandwich at this deli close by.  After I get my sandwich I realize I have 15 minutes.  I figure I still have time to walk over, find the room, and eat before I was due to go in.  So, I walk in the courthouse, get through security (Fred, the oxygen tank, was giving me a little trouble), and look for the room.  I find a room filled with about 15 people and a crusty looking man up front.  I see that there is a paper outside the door and as I look at it I find my name and know that I am in the right place.  The man then suddenly starts talking.  I'm confused because I thought I had a few minutes still and everyone else is already there and it's completely quiet except for the man explaining the procedures that are about to happen.  I am nervous to walk in when things have already started, but I walk in carrying my sack with my sandwich in it and my drink.  I notice the clock in the court room and apparently I'm 3 minutes late.  "Oh crap, I'm late," I think.  Little did I know that was only the beginning.

As I bend to sit down, the crusty man exclaims in a very stern, belittling voice, "Ma'am, this is not a lunchroom".  I look up and he's glaring at me from above his reading glasses.  I barely remember that I have a sack in my hand.  And I am suddenly very aware of everyone else in the room staring at me.  So I ask sincerely, "Where would you like me to put it?"  To which he answers, "I don't care where you put it!"  Yikes!!  (Later I would day dream about saying, "Shall I put it where the sun don't shine?")  So I walk out of the room, looking for a garbage, find none and settle for leaving it on a chair in the hall.  I walk back in and take my seat and the crusty man starts talking again.  I can't see my lawyer anywhere and I'm scared I'm going to have to face this mean old man by myself.

Then within a minute, my phone starts ringing.  I am horrified.  The crusty man is glaring at me again and as I rifle through my purse trying to shut the thing up, he says, "I suggest you turn that thing off."  "I apologize," I plead.  "I'm sorry."  This about does me in.  Had he not had such an air of superiority about him, I may have been able to joke about how I was racking up the brownie points.  But I am so embarrassed and nervous and belittled I can't do much except wish I could be invisible.  My oxygen is set on a pulse, so every time I breathe in it sends a very audible puff of oxygen into my nose.  The room was so quiet and I was so mortified, I was afraid the noise was going to get me in trouble so I took it off.  By now, I'm having a hard time keeping my composure. 

At about 1:30, a woman who had been in the room all along, sits by me and explains that she is there for my lawyer to represent me.  I feel a little more secure, but I am still having a hard time.  I keep biting my tongue to stop myself from sobbing.  It is somewhat helpful.  Finally, I ask my representative if it is okay if I step outside for a moment.  (I didn't want to get in trouble for leaving.)  She said that would be okay. 

I go back to the courtroom, still fighting tears, gasping for air (I think I was having a small panic attack), and realize I should probably put my oxygen back on...regardless of the consequences.  I hope and pray that I can be under control by the time it's my turn.  And when my name was called, I managed to speak without crying.  Miracles happen.  He asked me a few questions and then said I could go.  I got up, gathered my stuff, left the room, passed my sandwich in the hall, and made my way to my car, sobbing the whole way.

When I get home, I turn my phone back on and see that the person who called me during court has left a message.  Ironically, it was my lawyer's office wondering if I was going to show up.  I couldn't believe it.  I had to roll my eyes and chuckle a little at that one.

While it was horrifying at the moment, I can laugh about it now.  And to Mr. Crusty Man I say, "(stick my tongue out and blow)".

Friday, October 22, 2010

Anita Aire

In my hospital room there is a board that has places to write the nurse's name, physician's name, etc.  I was looking for something to do and I decided I would rewrite the names on the board.  There is a place for the Respiratory Therapist's Name and the name there wasn't current so I decided to make up one. 

Respiratory Therapist's Name:  Anita Aire

I called my mom and my friend and told them about my new respiratory therapist and we giggled.  Then I waited for a response from staff.  Well, the new nurse and nurse's aid came in and changed their names.  I thought I could tell they were looking at the other names on the board, but not even a grin.  Then the new respiratory therapist came in.  I thought for sure there would be at least a comment.  Nothing.  She simply erased Anita Aire and put her own name.  Tough crowd.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Surgery and Sudoku

After a few months hiatus I am attempting to be a blogger again.  The last few months have certainly been eventful.

In July, I moved in with my friend and her family.  I was hoping to be as non-obtrusive and non-burdensome as possible.  I was nervous for a week, feeling my way around the family flow and rules.  Then things settled down and were more comfortable.  It has been a blessing in many ways.  Not only a blessing in helping me get back on my financial feet, but now that I live with people, it's very difficult to binge in solitude every night.  And eating with people keeps my portion sizes down a little.  Although unknown at the time, I would also be facing some health problems (explained below) that would pretty much make my non-burdensome goal impossible.  But again, blessed to live with friends who wouldn't think twice about taking care of me.  Living alone when these things happened would have been very difficult to say the least.

At the end of July, I found out that I needed a hysterectomy.  So, August 10th I went under the knife.  I made up a song a couple days before to commemorate the occasion.  It's called:

"The Hysterectomy Blues"
(na na na na) Oh I gotta go to Salt Lake to get a hysterectomy
(na na na na) I'm a little nervous, cause it won't be a cup of tea
(na na na na) I'll be sore and in pain, you see
(na na) But one good thing about it is Aunt Flo's history.
I got the Blues, the Hysterectomy Blues.

I sang it to the surgical team right before I went under and they got a kick out of it.  They said it had been years since someone had sang to them...And then I was out....

I woke up in excruciating pain, pushing my narcotic button every second, until I was informed that it only worked every 10 minutes...  I was wondering at that point if I could change my mind and have them put it all back.  After a day or two, the pain was usually bearable.  I had packed a bag full of "to do" things for when I was bored in the hospital...cross stitch, books.  I didn't touch the thing.  I was too loopy or in pain to be bored.  And I couldn't move.  I would try to watch TV, turn the channel to the guide and wake up 3 hours later with it still on the guide.

I spent 5 days in the hospital and came home to my friend's house, with an 11 inch incision, 45 staples, and a Foley catheter (my bladder got nicked during surgery and needed to heal).  My friend and her family graciously took care of me for a couple of days.  Her kids got walky talkys so I could call someone for help if I needed it.  It was cute of them. :)  I then spread the service blessings to my sister, who I stayed with for about 10 days recuperating.  I really have never needed someone to take care of me in years and it was humbling.  I was grateful to have people in my life willing to wait on me and help me during this time.

The next few weeks of recuperation would be interesting.  I dealt with things from urinary tract infections to pneumonia to tendinitis in my foot to my incision coming apart.  I also came home from surgery tethered to oxygen.  It's been a difficult recovery.  I got back home to my friend's house and at some point my friend was driving me and my severe chest pain to the ER.  I said, "Gee, when you said I could stay with you for a few months, you had no idea what you were signing up for did you."  She just chuckled.  I mentioned that maybe she needed blessings and she said that maybe I was there because I needed someone to take care of me.  That I was meant to need to move out my apartment and need to live with them.  Either way, I am grateful for the help and care.  There are many people who's support has been immeasurable.  Whether it be rides to doctors appointments or moral support.  I am grateful for everyone, family and friends, who have served me during this time.  And I am learning to accept that service.

I am now back in a hospital room.  This is day 10.  My latest ailment has been a pulmonary embolism (blood clots in my lungs...3 of them).  The clots themselves my body will dissolve on it's own, but I need to be on medication to prevent further clots.  Although the first few days I was quite ill in ICU, in pain and unable to move without my oxygen dropping, I'm feeling better and I can mostly take care of my needs again without my oxygen dropping.  I can go home when the Coumadin I'm taking causes a blood test (INR) to be at least 2.  As of this morning it's 1.9.  I'm hoping I'll hit the magic number by tomorrow, but we'll see.  This will help prevent further blood clots from forming.

This time around in the hospital, I have been bored.  I been spending my time doing Sudoku, cross-stitching, work puzzles, facebook games, TV...Insanity is closing in. Bwah ah ah ah ah  :P

Hopefully, I'll get out by the weekend and feel good enough to get back to work at least part time by next week.  I need some structure and schedule back in my life.  And no more setbacks!!

Oh...and between living with other human beings and being ill, I've lost close to 30 lbs.  I haven't been able to exercise, but hope to get back to it soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Won't You Please, Please Help Me -- The Beatles

Hi everyone.  I'm not sure what to say here today.  I want to apologize for my not so positive attitude that was supposed to be evident the second I changed my blog name.  I just struggle terribly and it's hard to turn over a new leaf in one day.  I went back to exercising as I mentioned earlier.  It's beginning to get very hard again, especially when the scale is not cooperating.  My friend said not to forget that muscle weighs more than fat.  When does that excuse run out?  I guess I could start saying that I'm 400 lbs of pure muscle. :)

And my poor PT...I think I cried through over half of our meetings the last couple of weeks.  It shouldn't be this hard.  Why does it have to hurt?

All you people out there...how do I get through it?  How do I make it less painful?  Literally, less physically painful.  My body hurts and sometimes when I go in, my muscles already feel like jello.  They are already worn out for the day.  I have been carrying around over 400 lbs all day.  And I'm not being lazy, I am not trying to find excuses...I really hurt and my strength is really zapped.  I know this because on the days I feel good, there is an obvious difference.  I don't cry through the whole thing, I can do it.  Am I supposed to kill myself exercising in the name of making a habit?  In the name of doing it even on the hard days?  At the expense of "paying for it" with extreme fatigue and pain for the next few days?  Please, please help me!

Anxiously waiting for answers....

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Too Large for Modern Medicine

I went to the ER a couple nights ago in severe pain.  They gave me some pain medicine, took some blood and sent me for an ultra sound.  They could only see part of what they were looking for.  Too much fat in the way apparently.  Then the doctor wanted to do a CT scan, but I exceed the weight limit for the table by 20 lbs.  There's no looking at my organs!!  I guess it wasn't too serious, I'm still kickin'.

I had taken a few weeks off of exercising and after a nice guilt trip phone call from my PT about a week ago, I started back, although without enthusiasm.  I was impressed by his persistence and his desire to help.  I am struggling though.  He has offered to "guide" my workouts for a few times to get me going again.  This makes me work out but I'm not too happy about it.  It's hard and I don't feel good.  It just sucks rocks!!!  And since I've cried though 2 of the last 3 workouts, my PT has his work cut out for him.  He asked me what was the matter today.  "Are you dizzy?  Does your big toe hurt?  Your shoulder?  Your right ear?"  I told him I didn't know why I was crying.  I'm about to make a generalization here, but I think that most guys brains want to solve the problem and ambiguous crying might be frustrating for them.  I think I was just tired and I wanted to lay down and take a nap.  And my stomach hurt.  You know what?  I think I was crying because I can't do what I want to do physically.  I am under the assumption that when people go exercise that they have some energy and stamina.  I don't remember, in my thinner days, exercising being so hard.  Maybe I didn't want to do it, but at least I had the stamina and energy to push myself into a sweaty, heavy breathing workout.  Where did the euphoria go?  Where did the reward of weight loss go?  They must have left with my energy.

Nevertheless, I have my goals ready for July.  You can read them on the left.  May I reach and exceed them!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I Gotta Move

Pardon my tardiness at posting, but I've been so busy being STRESSED OUT that time has gotten away from me.  Just another trial blessing (in the interest of being positive...positive smositive grrrrr) that life has thrown at me.  My "Gettin' Healthy" Goals are pretty much down the tubes for this month.  But I am finally starting to feel somewhat normal again. What's been going on....

Well, at the first of the month, my landlord informed me that they had decided not to rent their apartment anymore and that I had to be out by around July 1st (give or take a few days).  At the time, it was sort of exciting because I had been needing a good excuse to move and this was as good as any.  The problem:  I have a fantastic deal.  My rent is the cheapest I've ever seen and in addition it included all utilities (cable and internet, too).  After looking around and fiddling with my budget, it became clear that I could not afford this new "lavish" lifestyle that I was being forced into.  I did come up with a plan, if I could just stay with someone for about 3 months, that would allow me to pay off a few small bills, save up a deposit, and get me ready for my new more expensive life.  It looks good on paper, but now I had to call up the strength and courage to ask a few someones if I could live with them for a few weeks.  Oh, the humiliation, the crushed pride, the foolishness.  I summoned the courage to ask my sister first.  AWKWARD!!!  There were no open arms, there was no "of course I will spare you from life on the street for a few weeks".  While there wasn't a definite no, there wasn't any indication of yes either.  That's when I got really scared.  I mean REALLY SCARED.  "What if no one will let me stay with them?"  "Could this really be happening?"

So I started preparing myself for Living in my Car .  I printed off a bunch of ideas from the net so I could get myself prepared.  "I can do this.  I can do this".  It was interesting how most sites I glanced through stressed "keeping up appearances".  Don't Look Like a Homeless Person.  It gave me ideas from where to shower and clean up (a cheap gym membership) to choosing a safe place to park.  Who knew there was such advise?  So I actually spent a couple of days preparing myself mentally for the possibility.  I was scared to take the chance again and ask someone else and I was trying to keep up my "I don't need anyone" attitude.

And here is where I attempt to deal with this obstacle opportunity in an emotionally healthy way.  After years of dealing with depression, I know when things are getting slippery.  I imagine myself falling farther and farther down a deep, dark hole, the light fading.  Then I start feeling increasingly self-destructive, anything to get out of the hole.  I know I have poor coping skills when it comes to stress.  I can't concentrate, I can't make decisions, I have no energy to do anything, nor do I care much.  So, feeling so overwhelmed and unable to cope, I wondered what I could do to avoid self-destructing.  I needed to take some worries off of my plate, so I cut back on work for a couple of weeks.  With so much on my mind and depression looming, I wasn't able to deal with work very well anyway.  And I also felt it was an act of being kind to myself, giving myself a break, some relief, so I wouldn't feel such a pull toward the not so great coping skills I have developed over the years.

After several sleepless nights and depressed, anxious days...Relief.  My mom's living quarters are not really conducive to having guests overnight (I will have to sleep in the Lazyboy), but I know I can stay if I need to.  And then my friend offered to let me stay with her while I get my finances together.  I cannot say what a burden that relieves.  I am 100 lbs lighter (if only figuratively).

I'll update you on my food/exercise stuff in the next couple days.  Until then, as Gidget would say, "Toodles."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Big Fat Life is Over!

Okay, I really need more positive vibes in my life, so...My Big Fat Life is over!

It's time to think well of myself, to take care of myself, and love myself.  No more listening to the voices in my head that tell me I'm fat and ugly.  No more believing that weight = self-worth.  No more thinking that nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I might as well go eat worms.  No more feeling sorry for myself.  No more whining.  No more drama.  Okay, there will probably still be some whining and drama, but I am committed to upping the positivity.

I got to work a little early this morning, so I popped my Ricky Martin CD into my computer and shook some booty in my chair.  As everyone else arrived, I turned up "She Bangs" and told them they had to dance. A few weeks ago, I tried to get everyone to take a "Copacabana Break" with me.  It ended up that me and my friend, that I knew would dance with me, cut a rug and sang about Lola's yellow feather by ourselves, while some embarrassed looking student employees looked on.  So I was pleasantly surprised when they all did at least a short jig, even the most reserved of them.  It was hilarious.  It made me happy.

I must confess that I did break my exercise promise today.  I chose to treat myself to a massage instead.  My body had been hurting a lot today (lovely fibromyalgia).  It also ended up being a great catalyst for putting the stresses of the past several days behind me.  Good for my body and soul.  On the food front, today has been pretty good.  Had 3 meals and 2 snacks and I have successfully endured some food free anxiety this evening.  How?  I tried a combination of prayer, meditation, and relaxing thoughts.  Not bad, eh?

Monday, May 31, 2010

My Roller Coaster Life (Revised)

The other day I was driving down the road thinking about what I might write about next.  I was thinking about the caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly.  I had a few really good days under my belt.  I was dealing with life, I had energy.  I was happily exercising and eating 3 square meals a day.  I even fell on the way into work the other day and there were no emotional repercussions, no embarrassment.  A few people stopped to help. I couldn't get up by myself, but a couple people helped me up and I was fine with it.  I wasn't thinking anything disparaging about my overweight self.  I was just a human being who fell and a few other human beings stopped to help me up.  It was surprising and refreshing that it didn't ruin my day.  So as I drove, I was thinking, "Finally I feel happy.  This is what it feels like to feel happy."  My sad little caterpillar self was emerging into a happy, beautiful butterfly.  And for a moment the thought occurred to me that I really was beautiful.  I literally felt and saw, in my mind's eye, a ray of light enter my head and fill my whole body up with the truth and understanding that I was beautiful.  It was crystal clear.  It was pure.  It wasn't a sense of physical beauty, per se, but more like my entire self, my entire being was beautiful.  I felt light and free for a moment, like I was at the summit of great mountain.  My glass of optimism was overflowing.  But, it wasn't long before doubt crept back into my head.  I wish it could have lasted forever.

A couple of days later, I started tumbling down the proverbial mountain and landed in a heap at the bottom.  I had been pushed off my mountain peak and spilled all the optimism out of my glass.  The culprit?  The Lonelies. They visit all the time, but this time was more difficult than usual.  It makes me angry and sad sometimes that I don't have a partner to go through life with.

One day the air in my tire was low so I stopped to get some air.  I was miffed to discover that I had to buy the air for 75 cents.  So I rifled through my car to find some change, got out and shut the door.   "Oh crap," I said to myself as I realized that I had locked my keys in the car.  I needed to find a ride home to grab my extra key, so first I called my mom.  Her car was being repaired, so she couldn't help me.  Then I called my sister.  This was not the first time she and her husband had helped me when I had locked my keys in the car and I was feeling foolish.  She said she would come.  As I sat on the curb waiting for them to arrive, I was feeling more and more disgusted with myself and more and more alone.  If I had a husband and family of my own, I wouldn't feel like I was imposing so much on others who don't have any commitments to me.  I suddenly wanted to take my "neediness" back and undo my call to my sister.  I just felt like I had to take care of myself and not need anyone else.  And I was angry that I didn't have a "Number 1" to call.  I called my sister back and told her not to come.  Then I called the locksmith.

And now, after awakening from a "long, winter's nap" of about 2 days, I find it strange to think that just a few days ago, I was skipping through life happy and on top of the world and now it takes all my energy to put one foot in front of the other.  Opposition in all things, right?  You can't know happy unless you know sad.  You can't appreciate companionship unless you've experienced loneliness.  I would like the opportunity to appreciate some companionship now please. :)

As expected, my food issues follow my moods.  The first of the week, I was eating regularly.  The last few days, I was not.  Same old, same old.  And again, I do it alone.  I can't help wondering what it would be like to  have someone with me to take care of me when things are difficult.  Someone to gather a healthy meal for me or just be there while I lay in bed, trying to get my s**t together.  Or maybe knowing that someone depends on me might help me shake the insanity away in order to take care of them.  Who knows.

Heaven help me remember that I am beautiful and of worth.  Help me make it through another day and instill in me the will to endure to the end.  And somehow help me feel loved and cared for.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Goals and Gratitude

My assignments from my dietitian for the next few weeks is to feed my body regularly and to include more of my food/eating progress in my blog. I am hoping that just having to eat regularly and knowing that I need to blog about it will subtly get me to think about food a little, but not put me over the edge into obsession. The blogging part is also for support. The support of my physical therapist and his staff has proven invaluable in getting me to exercise. But since my dietitian can't follow me around between appointments and make sure I eat well, this a way for her to support my efforts between appointments.

So, to start, I've decided to be "official" about my "get healthy" goals.

1. Exercise 3 times a week.
2. Feed my body regularly
3. Include food/eating progress in my blog.

So there it is...my goals for the universe to see.

I also wanted to thank everyone who has supported me so far, whether it be here, facebook or face to face. Blogging has given me an outlet for the good, the bad, and the ugly of a part of my life that is a great struggle and while I feel incredibly exposed at times, you're words of encouragement and understanding have reassured me that you and I are not alone. You have all helped keep me sane.

And thank you for your patience as I try to create a more positive life for myself. I've discovered lately that I not only think of the glass half empty much of the time, but I wonder if I can even perceive the 'half' part of the equation. I just think the glass is empty, period. I am slowly understanding that there is a better way to live...at least see that there is something in the glass...a couple of drops maybe? :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The "Joys" of Exercise

I promised my physical therapist a couple weeks ago that I would exercise 3 times a week for the next month. He said that I was to come in even if I didn't feel like it and he would help me get going. I promised and then he asked if my word was good. "Oh crap," I thought, "this is serious." I told him my word was good. So now I'm strangely committed to going 3 times a week. My integrity is at stake.

I had slept a lot last weekend and, surprisingly, Sunday night I was unable to sleep. So by the time work was over on Monday, I was really struggling to stay awake and put one foot in front of the other. I thought about calling the PT and canceling, but he said my only excuses could be if I were in the hospital or a family member died. So I drove over to the office, dragged my body out of the car, grabbed my work-out clothes and went in. I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom trying to change. It didn't work. For one thing, the thought of the energy required to change was overwhelming me. I thought I didn't have another muscle movement in me. I kept fantasizing about being at home, nestled in my bed. And for another, I kept catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. It might as well have been Medusa looking back at me. I just saw this big fat ugly creature. I couldn't look at myself without bursting into tears. So, I sat on the toilet trying to think of a way to leave gracefully and not get in trouble.

The plan for these scenarios was that I was not to leave without talking to him first. So, I came out of the bathroom and waited. He asked me what about this was making me cry. I told him how tired I was and I just couldn't imagine getting my other clothes on. "You can exercise in the clothes you have on," he says. Okay, I conceded, that is true. Then I explained, through my tears, "And I'm feeling a little extra fat and ugly today." To which he responded, "I don't care if you're fat and ugly." After a millisecond of shock, I started laughing hysterically. And it sort of gave me warm fuzzies. Isn't that the ultimate acceptance? Not caring if you're fat and ugly? "Fat and ugly people exercise all the time," he explained. There was nothing I could say to that. He patted me on the back and said I could do it, that I'd feel better after.

Well, I got in 40 minutes that day and everybody said good job. "You feel better, don't you?" I reluctantly agreed. I lived to fight another day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Weighty Matters

I saw my weight the other day!

I have been weighing blind for a few weeks with the dietitian and I was under the delusion that I had been losing a good chunk of weight.  Well, it was all lies.  I have been exercising for several weeks now and knowing that my weight hasn't really budged has taken the wind out of my sails.  I wish I could now say that it has spurred me to work even harder, that it has jarred me into reality, that I now eat a well balanced diet within normal calorie ranges.  I wish I could, it would make for a much more inspiring story.  But, my reaction?  The logical one, of course.  Binge on junk food all day long.  Sleep as much as possible.  Notice all the beautiful, thin, women in the world and tell myself that I'll never be there.  (Having the Miss USA contest on TV didn't help last weekend!)

I can imagine all the fingers that are shaking in my face, telling me not to think that way and how it's crazy to deal with weight problems by bingeing.  I know it doesn't make any sense, but that is where I go when I have to deal with something hard.  Heck, that's where I go when I have to deal with anything really.  I do it over and over and over.  For years I've been doing it.  I can confidently say that I've been doing it that way most of my life.  I know it's not working.  I know.  I'm stuck in a hamster cage running around and around on the wheel that goes nowhere.

The other day, I was eating lunch with some co-workers and one of the women had brought an ice cream cake to share.  It was left over from a family member's birthday.  The reason she brought it was that it would just go into her freezer and sit there for a few months until she had to throw it out so she thought she would share it with us.  I was stunned.  I want her brain.  I want to be able to put an ice cream cake in the freezer and forget about it until freezer burn sets in and I throw it out.

I talked to my shrink about my weigh in disappointment and acknowledged that while I have been able to get myself to exercise, I have still been avoiding paying attention to what I eat.  When I pay attention to what I eat, especially in the beginning, it drives me insane.  I obsess about food, when can I eat again, how many calories are in this, did I eat too much.  Oh no, I ate too much.  If I keep track, I know on paper, right in front of my face, that I've failed and the shame and guilt weigh down on me.  Yes, I feel shame and guilt now, but I do my best to push it to the back of my mind... I eat some more to deal with the guilt and shame of eating.  Aaaaaaaaaaaa!  My shrink said that what I need is to have my food locked up and have a structured environment concerning food, so I'm forced to deal with life without it.  But, he says, that's not possible.  It made me think for a few days that I needed to go back into full-time treatment and see if it sticks this time.  I never thought I'd even consider it.  Maybe it's like childbirth, after time passes, you forget all the pain.

Well, after a week or two of eating sugar, I decided I might feel better if I ate something real, so last Sunday I started back on human food and I cooked some carrots and potatoes.  It's crazy what happens when you try to take care of yourself.  You feel a little better.  It's a lesson I need to learn over and over and over again.  I have a very short memory.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cautious Success

This last month has flown by.  Let's see...I've been busy thinking up ways to get a little extra money in my pocket.  I've been toying with the idea of a garage sale so I've been going through my stuff.  So far I have a stuffed Garfield that a "should-a-been-my-boyfriend" gave me for my 14th birthday.  I think it's time to give that one up.  Although, Garfield, as a person, I adore.  We have so much in common. We both love lasagna and napping.  And he's so sarcastic.  I like the one where he is standing on the bathroom scale with a look of disgust as he screams "LIAR!".  Me and Garfield, we understand each other.

I also have a flat rock with a bunch of smaller rocks with smiley faces glued to it holding a sign that says "Rock Concert".  Another souvenir from middle school.  Anybody want that one?  I have several cords, connectors, and thingamajigs that don't go to anything in particular.  I know they will sell like hot cakes!  What?....Okay...I'll keep digging.

I have also been busy....working out.  What?  You heard me.  W O R K I N G   O U T !  I started the working out phase of the physical therapy 4 weeks ago and I've been doing it 3 times a week for up to an hour (probably 30 minutes with lots of breaks).  A week ago it stopped being official physical therapy and I was released on my own cognizance.  So now I pay a monthly fee to use the equipment and still get some staff support.  A week ago Monday was my first "solo" workout and I was worried about being able to push myself without someone right there with me.  But they were still there to encourage me and push me a little.  I was ultimately surprised to find that I do have some drive inside me to push myself.  I have been (and still am) sick with allergies and bronchitis and the other day I skipped.  I got a call from the physical therapist, concerned that I had lost my motivation and wondering if I needed extra support.  He didn't have to do that.  He's not getting paid anymore (at least not very much) for me to come.  So I count myself lucky that they really care about my success.  It's just what I need.  I feel comfortable there.  It is amazing.  I still have to "complain" to them that I only come to avoid the "harassing" phone calls.  Still fighting illness,  I was taking a cough break in the middle of my workout the other day and the receptionist asked me if I was going to live.  I told her I didn't know but that if I died, I would be lucky to have passed doing what I love best.  (Sarcasm intended.)

I am cautiously optimistic about my weight loss future.  I really haven't been concentrating too much on the food, except that my success at working out has given me a greater desire to make better choices.  I have lost some weight in the last couple of weeks.  It's difficult for me get too excited.  I've been here before.  But I am feeling more confident than I have in a really long time that I can actually do this.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance

I drove to Ogden the other day with a CD of Ricky Martin blaring in the car.  I had forgotten how much I loved to dance.  I could not sit still and I found myself pining for a talented dance partner (there is something sexy about a man who can dance :) ) and a healthier body so I could make it through more than one cha-cha without collapsing.  (This did not stop me from shakin' my bootie in the car, however.)  I realized how much I missed dancing.  It is just so much fun.  It brings me joy.  But it's one of several things that I have given up because of the fat.  I have spent the last several years "accepting" and forgetting the fact that dancing could not be a part of my life.  I can't keep up and what man in his right mind would want to dance with me anyway?  Right?  Well, I've had Dance Awakening.

When I was little I took jazz, tap, and ballet lessons.  By the 6th grade I quit formal lessons because I decided that chubby girls have no business dancing.  I never told anyone that was my reason, but that was my reason.  At home my sisters and mom taught me to Jitter Bug to "Bandstand" and the "Happy Days" theme song.  And I think I learned a little Waltz and maybe Polka at home too. 

I danced a lot in college, learning how to country swing and of course the ballroom stuff.  I sort of tricked this guy I liked into taking country swing with me.  He had mentioned in an earlier conversation that he would like to learn and so when the classes started I made him come with me.  Oh my heck...so much fun.  I had pulled muscles and was stiff and bruised, but I loved every minute.  We two-stepped to "Love Can Build a Bridge" (The Judds) once and it became our song. (He had no idea of course).  I immediately bought the cassette tape.  I had never been a country music fan, but for the duration of our "love affair" I adored it.  I remember dancing with this other cowboy once that was really good.  We were swinging so fast and I was spinning so much and when he told me I was a great dancer, I was in love.  We never saw each other again.  *Heavy sigh*

I started going to physical therapy a couple weeks ago for some conditioning so I will be able to move and eventually exercise more.  This Hispanic woman is often there so I asked her if she knew the steps for Samba or other Latin dances.  She said she needed music so I grabbed Ricky Martin out of my car and she showed us all how to Salsa.  Even the physical therapist was dancing.  It was so much fun and hilarious.  I can't do much, but I loved it.  It will be something I'll do more of at home to get some cardio in my life. 

So, I'm off to dream of men in tights...hehe just kidding.  Maybe men in tuxes or wranglers or those bell bottom Latin dancing pants...or whatever, just so they are dancing with me. ;)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You're Gonna Have to Face it, You're Addicted to Food, Part 2

This last year, since I returned from the eating disorders treatment center, has been quite a ride.  It took me a few months to recover emotionally from what felt like a good beating.  I felt so raw.  And to make things worse I was rapidly gaining weight.  Weight gain has slowed down but I have gained close to 100 lbs in the last year.  The year before I had experienced success in the weight loss department and even though the arrangement brought out some dishonesty, it showed me the reality of just how crazy my relationship with food was.  Part of me went into treatment thinking that it would reinforce me and support me so I could continue to be successful.  I had so much hope riding on this.  It backfired.  I don't know what it was--wrong time or place, too long or not long enough, or was it that my expectations were too high?  Oh the shame, the disappointment of it all!  I was embarrassed at my failure.

I was reading through a book, "Changing for Good," recently.  It's the result of many studies on successful self-changers and it outlines several steps that successful changers go through, action being only one.  Acknowledging you have a problem, preparing, acting and maintaining are some of the steps.  Most people relapse several times before they are able to change for good.  And most relapse because of unanticipated, unusual stress that they are unprepared for.   In those situations, it is common and easy to resort to familiar ways of coping.    I long understood what my "original" stresses were in childhood and then later in my mid 20s that sent me on the road to adult morbid obesity, but for the first time the thought occurred to me that this "treatment" had also been an unanticipated, severe stress that I was unprepared for.  "Maybe I'm not a total loser", I thought, "eating my way to a piano case casket, for no good reason."  I realized that while my reaction was not inevitable, it was not surprising either. I am not saying that I don't have choices, I am just saying that faced with the disappointment and the mental beating I took, I intensified my use of food to cope with it all.  It's the coping mechanism I know best, the one that has been ingrained in me most of my life.  I have to remember that food is what I know.  It's so hard to develop and use more healthy ways to cope.

Discovering the reasons for my year long binge has helped me to let go of some of the embarrassment and shame and to forgive myself a little.  Now that I realize why, I can learn from it.  I can figure out what I could have done differently and do better next time life gives me a concussion.  For example,  I know that I made the mistake of keeping much of my experience and pain under wraps.  I need to learn to trust people more and take the risk of opening up.  I need to learn to get my emotions out in other ways too...like being assertive, beating my bed with my pillow, crying my eyes out or....blogging.  Food does not fill my emotional emptiness or numb my pain for very long, but friends and many other activities can.  Understanding this gives me hope that I will succeed.

I've also spent the last year working with some people who have expertise in eating disorders.  We've been working on all different facets and angles.  I'm just having a hard time doing.  I'm having a hard time letting go.  I'm having a hard time with the thought of dealing with life without using food.  Food is tricky.  How do you keep a substance in your life that is killing you so you can live?  Where is the balance?  It's a fine line learning to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional needs.  It's complicated.  And then depression makes it difficult to find the motivation or hope to change.  I live under some dark clouds more than I would like, sometimes I work really hard to outrun the storm.  But thankfully, the sun still comes out at times and I can really enjoy life.  Forgive me, but I suddenly want to break into song..."The sun'll come out, tomorrow.  Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun... tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow, you're only a day away."

And with that, I bid you adieu.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You're Gonna Have to Face it, You're Addicted to Food, Part 1

It's been one year this month since I spent 30 days in an eating disorders treatment center.  (These days they treat compulsive overeating, binge eating, and many other eating disorders, along with the better known ones of anorexia and bulimia.)  Anniversaries often prompt some reflection and this case is no exception. I've been thinking about why I went, what happened when I got there, and what has transpired since.

I had spent the year before using somewhat drastic measures to get control of my eating.  The plan was that I would enlist someone to keep my food and my checkbook.  She would go grocery shopping with me, monitor what I used my money for and give me a days worth of food each day.  It wasn't fool proof, but the first little while I was losing weight.  I had a lot of support and I was excited to be successful.  Eventually, however, I found more and more ways to cheat the system, weight loss slowed, and I began to do things I never thought I would to get my binge food.  I took advantage of those who trusted me and borrowed money under the guise of urgent purchases (gas, tampons, etc) and bought bags of Reece's and ice cream instead.  I told my therapist that I had ice cream in my freezer and we agreed that I had to get rid of it.  When I got home, I found myself sobbing hysterically as I plopped spoonfuls of ice cream in the toilet and flushed.  It felt like someone had died.  When I didn't have money, and the cravings were bad, I would loiter in candy aisles pondering how I could get chocolate in my pockets and get out of the store without getting caught.  Once I actually had a bag of chocolate in my purse, but after 10 minutes of roaming around the store, I was deterred by the fear of embarrassment when I, the obese woman, got caught stealing bags of candy.  I also raided the cupboards, fridges, and drawers of unsuspecting friends.

I ate food out of the trash.  It wasn't all that unusual for me to throw some goodies away in an effort to stop eating, only to dig them out later.  One day I came home with a Reece's.  I was in the driveway and after much trepidation I decided to be strong and I opened up the package and dropped the exposed peanut butter cups into the outside, dirty garbage.  I figured I wouldn't go back this time because...well...that would be too disgusting.  I was having a difficult night and by midnight I had had it.  I jumped out of bed and went out to the driveway.  I decided that if the cups had landed right side up, I could eat them.  Except for years of garbage slime, they were the only things in the can.  I opened the lid and was joyous to find that one was right side up.  I tried to reach it but it was too deep and the harder I tried the more wobbly the garbage can got.  Finally the wheels took over and it fell on it's side...with me still in it, only my flailing legs were visible.  I wondered if any neighbors had noticed. I imagine if I had seen such a sight, it would have been quite entertaining.  But I didn't care much, I was on a mission.  So, I crawled further in the can and grabbed my Reece's.  I then scooted out onto the cement driveway, got up, went back inside, sat on my couch and ate it.  I reflected on what I had just done and I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.  I mean, who does that?

The food arrangement was making me realize just how attached I was to food.  I still hesitate to use the word addicted, but from what I knew of addictions, I was behaving similarly.  I was lying, deceiving, stealing, and eating out of the garbage can in order to get my fix.  The cravings were terrible.  "What's next?" I mused, "Trading 'favors' for a Hershey?"  I was shocked at my dishonesty when it came to acquiring comfort food.  And I was stunned at just how strong my desire was to squelch my feelings with cake.  It felt horrible.  I was scared.  I thought I had to do something drastic.  I had to go to a treatment center.

So I went.  To say that it was hard would be an understatement.  First of all, it was difficult to explain to people why I was going.  I remember joking that I was going to fat camp or saying that I needed a better relationship with food or saying that I was leaving for some self improvement.  Some were supportive, some were not.  I felt stupid trying to explain.

My time there was insane.  It was an inpatient facility and except for a daily walk, we were locked in.  In addition to feeling incarcerated, they poked and prodded and dug up things long buried which was emotionally exhausting.  I wasn't expecting such intensity.  Then came what I thought was my last day, as my insurance was maxed out.  I spent my "last night" in a hotel with other patients who were doing a partial day program.  I had stepped into a chaotic, stressful, tense situation that they were going through and trying to deal with everything that had come up in the past 3 weeks, I just couldn't do it anymore.  I was completely overwhelmed.  I'll just say here that I did some things that caused concern at the hospital and the next day I was back inpatient until they felt I was stable.

The next 9 days were filled with the additional anxiety of money and wondering what work must be thinking of me.  After all, I had downplayed my reasons for going and I imagined that they were probably pissed that I was taking more time off for my "education" or my "self-improvement".  To say the least, I felt foolish trying to explain why the hospital was keeping me.  What am I supposed to say?  "I'm nuts.  I am unstable at the moment.  I literally want to die and the doctors are readmitting me."  Awkward!  On day 9, I had enough and I checked myself out AMA (against medical advice).

I came away with a mixed bag.  I did get an education, worked through some things, and I laughed and cried with some new friends that I will never forget.  I also came home depressed, angry, and in disarray.  I felt like I had been hit by an emotional truck and left for dead.  I went back to life in a bit of a daze, and was left pondering if I had done the right thing.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Walking

I've mentioned before that it has become very difficult to walk the distance from my car into work every morning.  I recently got a temporary parking pass that cuts my walk in half in hopes of diminishing the stress I feel everyday trying to get my body from home to work.  It has still been a struggle, but something amazing happened this morning.  I parked my car at work, walked to my building, up the steps, down the hall, into my office, and sat down out my desk...without stopping to catch my breath.  My first non-stop flight in many, many months.  I was thrilled.  I bragged to my friend at work about it.  He gave me a high five and asked playfully, "Have you been workin' out?"  I thought for a second and said, "Why, yes I have."  I guess all this "training" is paying off:  walking up and down the hall, when I have no other purpose except to walk up and down the hall. 

I was curious just how far "up and down the hall" was so, the other day, I drove my car along the road next to my building and one round trip is 0.1 miles.  I am up to 0.3 miles/day now of non-necessary movement.  I feel anxious and worried that it's not enough.  I should be running 10 miles a day.  But I have to remember that even though it's not that far, it's further than 0 miles, and I need attainable goals.  I need to feel successful.  And unlike eating right now, I can succeed at this walking business.

Speaking of walking, I am reminded of my grandmother who started walking a mile a day when she was 50.  She's 92 now and we don't know where the hell she is.  :p

Monday, February 8, 2010

One Step at a Time

I've been thinking that one of the reasons I'm stuck when it comes to weight loss is because I feel very overwhelmed with all the requirements of heathydom.  I'm so far off the path that changing seems insurmountably.  There's a huge obstacle in front of me and I'm frozen, paralyzed.  It's as if I'm trying to move a mountain and all I have are my bare hands.  Moving dirt one handful at a time seems so piddly that I don't see any worth in the effort.  I say, leave the mountain where it is.

Then I wonder if I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.  I don't think so.  My struggles are bigger than a mole hill.  (But I admit they may not be Everest, either.)  Becoming well is going to take a while. At least a couple of years, if not more.  And I'm going to have to be vigilant.  I've spent time moving my mountain many times before, but the minute I turn my back, someone starts putting all the dirt back.  And then that someone starts trucking in more dirt to throw on top.  It makes me afraid to hope.  Afraid to hope that I can keep monitoring my mountain for the rest of my life.  What will be different this time?

I am interested in a permanent, healthy solution.  I am more aware of how important it is to change my relationship with food.  It can't be my drug of choice, my best friend, or my abusive husband anymore.  I need to find other ways to deal with life and let food just simply nourish me.  I have also decided that dieting is just a band-aid.  It doesn't teach me how to live with food, it just helps me ignore it.  It doesn't fix the illness (the abuse, obsession, craving), it just covers it up for a while until I can't contain it any longer.  Then the weight comes back plus more and I feel even more horrible than before.  It's a vicious cycle.  And it's got to stop!

Today has been a good day.  My mind is clear, my body doesn't hurt, and I feel happy and confident.  Today I feel like I could actually tackle this demon and win.  So, today I am at the foot of my hill contemplating getting my hands dirty.  It is a tremendous undertaking.  But as they say, "A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step."  Or, as the question goes, "How do you eat a giant cake (and when I say cake, I mean elephant)?  One bite at a time."  I am finally understanding and believing that it's okay to break it down into small chunks.  I'm not sure how to break down the food side of the equation yet, but the exercise I can understand.  I don't have to walk an hour everyday right now.  I don't have to "go to the gym" right now.  Those two things paralyze me and if I am to progress, I need a goal that doesn't leave me at the bottom of my hill with the covers over my head.

It's a small step, but I have committed myself to a little exercise.  At least three times a day, I have to get out of my chair at work and walk up and down the hall.  It sounds "piddly", but it's what I can do right now.  It's my handful of dirt.  It increases my heart rate, my legs get tired, and I am successful at it.  And when it gets easy, I'll do more.  One step at a time.  One bite of cake at a....oh wait, that's not right. :p

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

While walking to my car on Thursday, I slipped on the ice and fell.  It wasn't quick like "Slip-Boom".  It took a few seconds.  More like "Slide-Teeter-Slip-Boom-Slip-Boom-Bang".  I remember the feeling when I knew I was going down and then hearing my default expletive rush past my lips, "S***!"  I'm really not a big cusser, but when I know I'm about to biff it or I run into something with my car, "s***," sometimes escapes my lips of it's own accord.  I don't know why. 

My first recollection is in junior high when I slipped in the hall of the school and whispered the word to myself.  One of the kids saw the fat girl fall and said something about how he used to fall down alot...when he was learning to walk.  And then I saw my math teacher chuckling to himself.  I think it was because he had just seen a quiet, reserved, shy girl say, "s***," under her breath.  So through the years, backing into other cars, near miss car crashes, falling down stairs, it has been my companion. 

More recently, I yelled it as I was thrown from a jet ski in the middle of Bear Lake.  My immediate concern was for the rented jet ski because I didn't want it to capsize (expensive).  After I had confirmed that it had not tipped over, my next fear became evident.  It takes a village to get me on the thing in the first place.  I need very shallow water, a strong shoulder to boost me up and then a push to get me out to the required depth to start the engine.  The fear I had of falling off was not physical injury, it was the impossibility of getting back on at a depth greater than 6 inches.  I fell off in the middle of Bear Lake and there was no way that I had the upper body strength to pull myself back on again and it was too far to swim to shore.  "Call the Coast Guard," I told my companions.  (Really, I should be commended for not consciously saying sh** a few more times.)  In the end, my friend waved her blue sarong in the air and caught the attention of a passing boat.  I was hoping for a ladder, but it only had a platform on the back.  Somehow, I managed to get one of my legs up on it and with the help of 2 men, roll myself onto the platform.  I felt a bit like a beached whale.  I had to lay on the platform for a minute and rest and try to calm myself.  Thankfully, the family who helped me was perfectly kind.  (No looks of disgust or judgement at my fatness.)  They made sure I was comfortable, gave me something to drink and even the teen-aged boy kept asking me if I was okay all the way back to shore.  Unfortunately, my good friend's sarong was "lost at sea" during the rescue.  I will never foget it's sacrifice. ;)

So back to Thursday.  I fell on the ice.  It was right next to a truck and the ice slanted downward toward the truck so I ended up with half of my body under the truck.  For the life of me, I could not get any traction and I kept slidding under the truck.  I smacked my knee on the ice so it was painful to kneel and I didn't quite have the strength to get myself up.  I wondered how long I would be there.  "I've fallen and I can't get up!"  I finally mustered the strength and traction to get up, but it wasn't pretty.  I had to stand by the truck for a minute to catch my breath, staighten my clothes and cry a little.  Stupid ice!

So I am left to ponder, once again, "What has happened to me?"  I've gained 85 lbs in the last 10 months and there is no end in sight.  Why doesn't my lack of physical agility, strength, and endurance motivate me to stop this?  I wish I had the determination and motivation to really buckle down and fix my unhealthy body.  Somebody tell me how to stop.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gratitude

Well, I've been at this for nearly a month now.  I would be remiss if I didn't stop and  say thank you for your comments, support and love.  It warms my heart and is further evidence that I need to get the sledge hammer and demolish my brick wall.  Or maybe I'll just put a door or a window in it.  Or just move to a less fortifying model like wood or hay.  (Hey, this puts a whole new spin in those Three Little Pigs.)  At any rate, my cries have not gone unheard and I am blessed.  My sincerest gratitude.  I love you all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where are the Rainbows I Ordered?

This morning, after a restless night, I woke up thinking, "Woe is me!"  I confess that sometimes I feel so burdened with problems that I want to give up.  "Uncle."  "When."  I'm waving my white flag.  The towel is being thrown in as we speak.  And I think, "Where are the rainbows I ordered?"

Food, weight, illness, money, relationships, the future.  I often feel like I am trying to walk through mud that is up to my neck.  I am physically and mentally exhausted.  You know those people who persevere in the face of horrible circumstances and become an inspiration to all of us?  (Holocaust Survivers, The Pioneers, Job)  I am wondering how they survived with such dignity, when my little hiccups are throwing me for a loop.  I am not enduring gracefully.  I want to whine and complain.

"Your weight is creeping up," the dietitian said.  The food is killing me (perhaps literally).  It seems I cannot stop eating!  I am stuffed and I eat still.  I am driven to eat.  And I am at a loss to find something that will help me stop.  And then there is the endless debt, the nursing career down the tubes, the physical stuggle to go about my day, and the husband, the family and the white picket fence that is getting harder and harder to see in the distance.  Sometimes the pain and turmoil in my heart doubles me over and takes my breath away.  What am I supposed to do?  I don't want to live like this. 

In a effort to soothe myself today, I began to read a little about trials and tribulations from a Gospel point of view.  I was reminded about the eternal perspective, that "thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."  I thought about the moments when I knew that God was with me, comforting me, reminding me that He's still out there.  Frankly, I've spent a good chunk of my life struggling to believe that He loves me or that I am valuable.  So I have to hold on tight to the glimpses of light I get when I allow myself to be vulnerable. 
 
I went to dinner with some friends tonight. I was just going to go eat, hope that the others would carry the conversation, and go home. But I found myself laughing and, after some persuasion, opening up a little about my day.  I am grateful for caring friends.
 
Well, it's the end of the day and while my disappointments are not gone, the sting has been muted.  I was surprised to discover that my protective brick wall is so tall, that it "protects" me from my Heavenly Father and from people, and that there are light and love on the other side.  I've been huddled in the dark for so long, I didn't realize how accustomed I had become to the gloom.  It's safe, but it's pretty lonely.  I am beginning to wonder if my hard candy shell is worth it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Lab Rat

My friend took me to Wendover last weekend.  I've never set foot in a casino before, so it was a new experience.  We played the penny slots for a while.  It was really fun, especially when I began to win a little.  We quit about 9pm, watched a movie in our room and went to bed.  I couldn't sleep, so I went downstairs to play some more.  It was 3am and I was sitting on a chair, resting my head on the side of the machine, pushing a button over and over, watching the reels go round and round, when my mind went back to college.  (Cue harp music and fog machine)

I am sitting in a lab trying to get a thirsty rat to push a lever for a drink of water.  I feel a rush of power and excitement when I get him close to the lever for a drink.  And then he touches the lever for a drink.  And then he finally pushes the lever for a drink.  Now I can get him to push the lever a few times for a drink here and there.  He keeps pushing over and over until the drop of water comes.  Wow, whodathunk it would be so easy?

I suddenly felt a little foolish.  I wondered if I were in a box and some giant being was looking in at me, excited because he had gotten me to push a button over and over again.  I sort of felt like someone's lab rat.  To think that I could be so obviously influenced by the concepts of behavior modification.  Well, the bottom line was that I left Wendover with more than I came with so, lab rat or not, I didn't care.  I was struck, however, at how easy it would be to become immersed in gambling.  I think I caught a glimpse into what it's like for someone who gets caught up in it.  The rush of winning.  I could feel my heart race each time I won a little.  I don't think I need another vice calling my name, driving me to push the button just one more time.  I guess the bad thing about winning on my first outing was that I have spent the last few days daydreaming that I could be a part-time penny slot machine player and win some extra money at will. Sounds...not likely. Oh well.

The day after Wendover, my eye got red and painful and the eye doctor said I had "iritis" or inflammation of the iris of the eye.  He said that this can be caused by autoimmune diseases like lupus or by infections in the body like TB or syphilis or herpes, but most of the time the cause is unknown.  I explained the diagnosis to my co-workers and now they choose to believe that I went to Wendover and got syphilis in my eye.  (I don't remember how that happened.) ;o)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flip Flops

It's the middle of winter in Utah and I wore flip flops to work today.  Yes, my feet were cold.  But I got up this morning and my body did not want to move.  I ached from head to toe and I was exhausted.  Being fat takes a lot of energy, not only to carry the extra weight around, but when you move and bend over, all that flab squishes into your diaphram and you can't catch your breath.  So putting on socks and shoes is quit an adventure. 

This is what it takes to get my feet into shoes.  First, I gather my pants, my socks and my shoes together and I sit down on my bed.  I turn to the side so that I am facing either the foot or the head of the bed.  One leg is on the floor balancing me and one leg is on the bed, my knee bent, with my foot hanging off the side.  I put the hanging foot through one leg of my pants.  This requires that I bend a bit which causes my belly to push all the air out of my lungs, inducing temporary suffocation.  Then I sit up straight and catch my breath.  Sock.  Bend, reach, suffocate, sit up, breathe, rest.  Shoe.  Bend, reach, suffocate, sit up, breathe, rest.  Tie the shoe.  Deep breath, bend, reach, stretch, suffocate, the room is going dark, tie, hurray, hurray, sit up, breathe, rest.  Then I turn the other way and do it all over again.  I was too tired and hurt too bad to want to tackle that task this morning, so I opted for pink flip flops.

I tell you this because I'm getting a lot of pressure to exercise.  I know what it's like to work out and feel good and strong and happy.  I know.  But right now, I am a 5 Star General in command of the Exercise Resistance. 

I have a lot of excuses:  I hurt.  I'm tired.  I can barely make it from my car into work, do you really think I am able to exercise?  The gym is out!  I can't take the staring, the judgement, the embarrassment.  I don't feel well.  I need to feel better.  I am exhausted.  I need to lose weight first, so I can move better.  When I feel better, when the pain is gone, when I feel rested, I will exercise.

I'm just sitting here waiting for it to be easier and it's not happening.  The ironic thing is that exercise promises all the things that I am waiting for.  Maybe if I start moving more I won't hurt so much.  Maybe I'll have more energy.  Maybe walking into work won't be such a hardship.  Maybe I'll feel better.  And maybe getting my shoes on won't be such a hassle.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Intermission

I've been to Olive Garden a couple of times recently and for the second time in a row the hostess asked me, "How can I help you?"  I was rendered speechless.  That's a weird question to ask when you walk into a restaurant.  Isn't it obvious?  What am I supposed to say?  "I need a cut and a perm."  "Did that shipment of clown hats come in?"  "Where do you keep the (whisper) hemmorrhoid cream?"  ;p

Good Enough?

On Saturday, I told my therapist that I had started a blog. I tried to tell him how excited and good I felt about it. I told him about how supported I felt by my friends and that I was thrilled to have a voice. I tried to convey that writing this blog was a positive step for me, as I would never have thought that I had the confidence or courage. That putting myself out there had been hard but had been so rewarding. I tried. I suggested that he read it. He declined. (Something about it being more therapeutic if we just talked. Whatev')

So HE talked. He talked about me exercising and losing weight and how much better my blog (that he won't read) will be when I can say that I have lost weight. And how I've got to finish nursing school (a whole other story) and then I will feel really accomplished...blah, blah, blah...Pretty soon I discovered that my big bubble of blog enthusiasm had a hole in it. I watched as it zoomed around the room and then floated to the floor in a clump.  (In his defense, I suppose he was trying to motivate / push me along.  Nevertheless...)

My brain began to sing a familiar song, "You're not good enough. Your successes today were not good enough. No matter what you do, it will never be good enough. You can't even blog right; you're supposed to share weight loss stories and inspire people correctly. You are not accomplishing this new mind set, this weight loss, this whole life style change fast enough. What is wrong with you?  Failure!"  I walked out dejected, discouraged, and feeling like a fool. To be so pleased with something and find out that it didn't matter.

So, I took the blog down.

I took the blog down and I sat in the corner, as it were, and cried myself to sleep. If my body were capable of the fetal position, it would have been there, all scrunched up in a ball.  And I prayed to know what was good enough. 

I was reminded that I have accomplished some good things. Some things regarding food have begun to click in my brain. For example, I left food on my plate at a restaurant because I was full and because it's okay not to eat everything. I am learning the necessity of eating regularly and eating enough. I am more cognizant of hunger cues and fullness cues.  I am praying more.  I am learning to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

So for now, the blog is back, for better or worse.  I think I need it right now.  Hopefully, someone out there is changed for the better because of it.  There is no weight loss to report, just the struggle to get there.  But that's okay.  I am learning and one of these days, "I will triumph!"--Meg Ryan "French Kiss"