My son is sick. This is pretty much all I’ve been thinking about all week.

Coughing, fever, looking like a Halloween mask of white face with dark hollowed eyes. This means I don’t sleep.

Took him to the pediatrician on Saturday but could only get in to see someone who’s never seen him before and doesn’t know his medical history. She told me he was fine, just a virus, no worries, take him home.

Three days later when he still had a fever I took him back and he saw our regular doctor. Guess what? Positive for flu and positive for strep.

Again, no sleep for me.

The anxiety is awful.

But there’s a whole set of other posts here that I would have written assuming I’d had the time/emotional fortitude. And of course, that it was “on topic”.

That’s the briefest explanation I have of where I’ve been all week.

As for today… my weigh in. I lost 1.5 pounds and I feel pretty confident I can attribute it to the medication I started a week and a half ago that my endocrinologist gave me.

Other than terrifying me into thinking that I have thyroid cancer and then not scheduling a biopsy for ages and ages she did give me a medication to take that apparently helps the body’s insulin response.

She actually said to me, “I can tell just by looking at you that you have a problem with your insulin response without needing to run any tests. All obese people have a problem with their insulin.” Holy cow lady, can we say poor bedside manner?

Anyway, I started taking it after I did some thorough research of my own at home. It seems some people lose weight on it like the weight is melting off, some people don’t lose or gain anything, some people gain weight, and some people get weird side effects that make them stop taking it before they can find out if it will help with weight or not. Sounds pretty normal to me. But since the side effects weren’t anything more serious than pooping your brains out I figured I could live with the risk.

I’ve been taking it for a week and a half, with only two and a half days of it on the full dose she prescribed. The thing about it is that I’m just not hungry anymore. It’s not like a Dexatrim (remember that one?) amphetamine not hungry, it’s more like a just, I don’t know, just not hungry .

Apparently high levels of insulin make you hungry. So even when you aren’t stomach-growling-hungry you still feel like eating. With insulin levels at normal levels the idea of eating just doesn’t occur to you. At least, that’s what’s happening with me. I walk past something and have the thought to eat it only I realize I don’t want to. This isn’t like a willpower “don’t want to”. It’s more like a yuck, my stomach won’t like that right now, “don’t want to”.

So, I’ve been eating less without even intending to. I eat breakfast and then I’m not hungry again until 3 o’clock. I don’t really want to eat again until 3 o’clock. I never understood those people. Maybe it’s their insulin levels are normal. I don’t know.

So today I ate my oat bran with some sliced banana and honey for breakfast and that’s been it. I’m thinking about lunch but don’t really want it. I’m sure I’ll have a snack before taking my daughter to her after school activity and I’ll eat something at dinnertime, but honestly, I couldn’t care less right now.

I will say, I’m hoping that doesn’t turn into a thing with me… the not eating… because that turns out badly for me every time. But that could very well be my anxiety talking making something out of nothing.

Right now I’m just trying to enjoy not being obsessed with food.

So, let’s first acknowledge: snow. Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow.

It’s messed up my week terribly and I’m trying to live with it. But between work stuff last week and being away for the weekend and then all the snow… I’ve been absent here. Not a good recipe to keep myself going.

But, on to the point of today’s post.

Every time I’ve gotten on the scale in the past year (plus-a-couple-months) I’ve gained weight. Today I stepped on the scale again and it was the same as it was last week. The. Same.

At first it felt good.

And then I was annoyed.

What was I expecting? Honestly, I feared that I had gained and then I reminded myself that I’ve genuinely been eating less, I got in several good walks, shoveled for 2 hours straight yesterday and probably hadn’t gained.

But of course, stepping on the scale has a very strong muscle memory for me that screams “I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT!!!!” Even if it’s got no right to expect it.

That same muscle memory also expects weight gain, for obvious reasons.

So getting on the scale and seeing no change can feel like both an extreme let down and an extreme relief all at the same time. Can we say “emotional roller coaster”? No wonder I hate weighing myself.

But at this point in time no gain is good. It’s something to be pleased about. It’s something to work towards continuing. It means while I haven’t buckled down to getting rid of it I’ve at least stopped things from getting worse. For today at least.

For today, I’m working on the same things I have been for so long now, gentle exercise (it’s bitter cold today so I’m thinking some indoor yoga), drinking water, taking my medicine, and writing when I can.

For today, it’s enough.

Before breakfast, after peeing, naked on the scale: 212.5

I’m not really sure what to do with this information. I suppose I’m just re-acclimating myself to knowing instead of guessing and wondering and pretending I’m not worrying about it.

On one level I’m not worrying about it. It is what it is.

On another level it’s complete panic that I’ve let this happen AGAIN and I’m tired of sabotaging myself over and over again.

On another level I am accepting that it’s been one of the hardest years of my life and the fact that I’m still here and feeling decent about myself is a major accomplishment.

On another level it’s just going to hover there until I am ready to do something about it again.

And on yet another level I wonder if I should bother or just work on being happy and healthy at this weight.

The problem is I don’t want to gain any more weight and I don’t really know how to do that: just not gain.

I remember when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I was 5 ft 4 inches tall and weighed 120 pounds. I was so worried about my weight and so was everyone else. My grandfather told me not to worry about losing weight, that as my body finished growing inside and outside it would all balance out. He suggested that if I was going to focus on something it should simply be on not gaining weight.

At the time I remember thinking that I had no idea how to do that. We’re never taught how to maintain. It’s just an all out take no prisoners dieting to lose weight or saying the hell with it all and giving over to the reality of gaining.

I still think there is something wrong with me. My body shouldn’t require under 1200 calories in order to not gain weight. Even calorie king dot com tells me that at my lowest weight (158) and at that level of exercise in order to maintain my weight I should have been eating between 1800-2000 calories a day. But I know that is absolutely not true because when I counted calories for a two years straight I saw quite plainly: 900-1100 calories a day to lose weight, 1200-1400 to maintain weight, 1500 calories and above and I’m gaining.

Whatever.

I’d like to get back below 200 bs. I feel heavy but still relatively fit below 200. Above 200 is where I start to feel overlarge, cumbersome, and incapable of doing things that should be easy.

But these issues seem too big to struggle with wrapping my head around today. No one day is enough to beat this.

Today I focus on the fact that:

I’ve been writing more than once a week.

I’ve exercised six out of the past eight days and will take a walk today too.

I’m doing better with my water and some days I’m getting to the quota.

I’m adding to this list a weekly weigh in. Not looking for weight loss, just keeping it in the realm of “the known”. We’ll see what that does to my progress.

Well, for the past three days I’ve done three good things for myself.

1. I took a walk each day: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. (And I’m going to take another in about an hour.)

2. I’ve taken my vitamins and probiotics.

3. I haven’t eaten any cake.

I realize that number three seems like a weird thing to consider an accomplishment but given my daughter’s birthday falls during the school winter break and then she has a party the week after it’s at least January 12th before all the celebratory desserts and cake are finally out of the house.

Number two might also not seem like much but when I stopped taking one of the antidepressants I was on I started having some serious withdrawal that I’d never experienced before. So I researched a probiotic, vitamin, and supplement intervention to help with the withdrawal and I’m taking it. It’s helping. It’s also supposed to help with reversing some of the things that contribute to weight gain while on antidepressants.

The first thing on the list is probably the most important. I like to take walks. It’s just that part of depression is not being interested in things that you like. So for a long time I didn’t. Last week one day I climbed into bed to take a nap only to discover that I didn’t really feel the need to take a nap. It was kind of surprising after almost a year of just wanting to pack it in everyday by noon.

It seems walking is legitimately back on the docket…

I had set some very modest and reasonable goals for myself after my doctor’s appointment: 64 oz of water a day and walking when the weather allows. I’m getting the walking back into the routine but I’m still struggling with the water. I do well in the morning, usually getting in 16-28 oz in the morning around breakfast, but then it drops off as the day progresses.

I’m working on it.

I’m also working trying to focus on just these two things: water and walking. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m not throwing out my whole food plan and starting over. I’m not making a ton of abrupt changes. I’m just continuing to eat, basically, as I was before and starting with one small thing at a time.

See, it occurs to me that my life has been a series of cycles of losing and gaining weight. Ever since I was 8 I’ve been on this yo-yo ride. I’ve always thought I would lose weight and, someday, be able to stay there. But that has never happened. This thought made me feel pretty helpless, like, what the hell is the point if I can never stay at my goal… if I’ll just gain weight. I always do.

But then it made me feel less hopeless about being overweight again. Because I guess this means I’ll lose at least some of it again. I always do.

I’m tired of focusing on a number on the scale. I no longer care about weighing what I did before getting pregnant with my son. I no longer care about fitting into those jeans again. I just want to not see my body as the enemy. I’m realizing that no matter what my weight I’ve always seen my body as the enemy. I don’t want to do that anymore.

So today my hopeful thought is this: I will never stay thin. I will never stay fat. I will always have to think about this. But it means that nothing has to feel like a prison. Life will change and so will I.

For today I’m going to just let go of comparisons to my past self and let go of fantasies of who I’ll be in the future.

For today, I’m just here, taking a walk, and drinking more water.

For today I’m just looking to feel better in my clothes and not having to struggle to get up from having been sitting on the floor.

Modest goals = Increased chance of success = Greater hope.

That’s something I can live with.

So yesterday turned out to be something of an emotional disaster.

After three months of test I went back to the endocrinologist. She started off by telling me that the ultrasound of my thyroid was abnormal and that she wants me to have it biopsied. She thinks that it’s most likely nothing but before deciding on that she wants to “see the cells” to determine for certain that it doesn’t need to be removed.

Ok, so obviously something is wrong with my thyroid.

Right?

Then she went on to tell me that there is nothing out of the range of normal on any of the blood work regarding my thyroid functioning and no diagnosis is warranted.

Hmm, what?

She then went on to focus ONLY on my weight. Not the depression or excessive fatigue which is actually why I went into see her in the first place. She gave me an elimination diet that is, frankly, absurd and impractical. I know what works and doesn’t work for my body in terms of food plans. I’ve been at this for more than 30 years now. It’s not a question of knowing of not, it’s a question of how to get it done.

Then she talked to me about exercise and told me that despite the injury to my hip that makes exercising more difficult that I “have to do it anyway regardless”.

Can we say, “not helpful”?

I couldn’t help myself, I started to cry. I told her that it is all very well and good to give me advice to change my diet and exercise but that I’ve been on this hamster wheel of weight gain, depression, and fatigue for more than 30 years and telling me things I’ve known since I was a kid isn’t going to help me.

Do I know that I’ve been making bad food choices recently? Yes.

But I also know that this is NOT about only the weight. Plus, I also I know there has got to be something not normal about my body.

It shouldn’t take 3 different anti-depressants to make me able to get out of bed in the morning and function.

I shouldn’t wake up after 7 hours of sleep and feel as though I am not rested at all.

It shouldn’t require that I eat fewer than 1,100 calories a day everyday for the rest of my life in order to be at a normal weight.

This is not normal. All I wanted was to hear that something could be done to help. Not to fix everything. I’m not looking to have some magic wand waved and all my problems disappear. I’m willing to work to help myself. God knows I’ve worked harder at this than anything in my life. But I wanted to find something that would help, give me a little leg up, something that would make my efforts seem worthwhile and sustainable.

After getting zero real support from the doctor or her staff I left and sat in my car and cried and called my husband.

Then I went home and on my way stopped at the grocery store. This is where things could have gone in a bunch of different directions. All sorts of crazy could have happened.

But what did happen?

In addition to the mushrooms, gluten free crackers, and Parmesan cheese I had to pick up for dinner that night I bought two packages of no sugar added Klondike bars. That’s 12 Klondike bars. What happened next?

I ate one.

And then I took a walk. I walked for 49 minutes, covered 2.85 miles, walked 5,859 steps, and burned 203 calories.

Then, I got my kids from the bus and spent the rest of the day dealing with them.

In some ways that felt like a success in so far as:

A. I ate only one Klondike bar and that could have been a lot worse

B. I didn’t go to bed and pull the covers over my head

Today, I’m getting ready to go to the mall to take a walk. It’s so darn cold here that even though the sun is shining I just know that if I have to walk in those temperatures I won’t do it.

Baby steps.

 

Why is it so hard to make my best intentions stick? I set some very reasonable goals for myself for the new year: drinking more water, taking more walks, writing more. What have I done in the past 10 days? Basically none of it.

i’m sitting in the endocrinologist’s office right now waiting to be seen. My appointment was for 9:30. I got here at 9:10. It’s 10:30 as I type these words and I still haven’t been seen. Don’t me started on this. Frustration doesn’t begin to cover it. (They didn’t have 2 of the three sets of bloodwork or the sleep study they ordered me to do before this appointment. Luckily, I brought copies with me of the results. WTF?)

Anyway, they weighed me. First time since my appointment in October. I was 199 pounds then.

Today, fully dressed, after breakfast, I weighed 212 pounds.

This is what I know about this situation:

I know I haven’t weighed this much since my weight loss surgery almost 10 years ago.

I know I’ve gained 46.5 pounds in one year.

I know that stress has contributed to the gain.

I know that my antidepressants have contributed to the gain.

I know I’m here at the endocrinologist’s office to see if there is anything else contributing that can be treated.

I know I’ve recovered from this level of gain before.

I know I have more energy to combat this than I have in the past year.

I know that I need to be gentle with myself while I attempt change.

I know I need to be really ready in order to make meaningful change.

I know I don’t want this to get worse.

I know it’s better for me to start to work on losing this now rather than wait too much longer.

So what am I doing about it? Well, I’m at the endocrinologist’s office looking for answers.

I stopped taking the one antidepressant that is known to cause weight gain and I’m continuing to take the one that doesn’t.

I’ve started a regimen of pro-biotics and vitamins that are recommended by doctors for addressing weight gain associated with antidepressants.

I’ve thrown away the remains of my daughter’s birthday cakes.

I’ve also decided that I’m not going to take any guff from this doctor I’m (still) waiting to see. I came here really expecting that she would understand how demoralizing it is to go to a doctor to get help with fatigue and weight and to be told by that doctor that you need to lose weight.

I mean, “Duh,” right? Who doesn’t know that? But when it’s been chronic and coupled with fatigue and depression you’d think an endocrinologist would get that it’s more complicated than that, right?

Wrong. She told me fat I should try to lose weight because it will help. Are you kidding me? I was too much in shock (and still too heavily depressed) to respond effectively. But not today. I have no intention to be rude or aggressive however, I do plan on being clear that I’ve come here for help and do not wish to hear things I’ve known since I was 13 years old. Help me, or move out of the way km for someone whoi can, or is at least willing to try.

If I sound grouchy it’s just that I’ve well into my second your of waiting and can’t stand the disregard that is implicit in this behavior.

But I will be polite none the less. I remain hopeful that she will have something to offer that will be helpful to me in reading this cycle of depression, fatigue, and weight gain I’ve struggled with for probably 40 years.

I’ll update later on the “doctor” part of today but for now I need to start making some pledges to myself:

64 oz of water or tea each day

A walk any day the winter weather allows regardless of my schedule and without worrying about “how long” or “how far”.

And hope. Just keep trying to hope.

 

 

 

 

I’m not doing New Year’s Resolutions. They’ve always seemed to me like a set up for failure. They tend to be overly ambitious and unrealistic.

Real change comes slowly and deliberately. It does not come in bursts of frantic sweeping declarations.

The past 18 months have been extremely difficult for me. I’ve gained about 40 pounds and struggled with a depression so deep I really thought I wouldn’t ever get out of that hole.

My greatest hope for 2015 is simply that my life will gain some stability and peace.

That my fear, anxiety, and depression continue on their slow withdrawal.

That my son’s health issues stay stable.

That my daughter’s fears, anxiety, and depression are kept at bay.

That we can find the cause of my physical exhaustion and treat it effectively.

I’m seeking the strength to follow-through on the many things I have on my list of things to do and that I do it with patience and compassion towards myself.

I hope this year I can take more walks. They help in more ways than one.

I hope this year I drink more water each day. It helps in more ways than one.

I hope this year I write more on this blog. It helps in more ways than one.

I used to think that in order to write here on the blog I needed to have something profound to say. Something that would take up a few paragraphs or a page and that would be a coherent thought teased out to a place of clarity and understanding.

I didn’t have much of that in the past 18 months in my life so finding it to put on the blog was basically impossible.

Now, however, the blog isn’t about profound any more. It’s just about staying connected to myself and my journey. It’s my prayer, my meditation, my opportunity to reflect and find a measure of inner peace in and amongst the chaos of a normal life.

If that’s two sentences, so be it.

So for 2015: walks, water, writing. Patience, peace, and possibilities.

It’s more than I could have hoped for. And I’m glad.

I’ve been absent for so long because my life has been consumed with my 6 year old son’s health problems.

When your child is sick everything else seems to have no meaning.

I don’t want to paint a more desperate picture than it is in reality so I should say upfront that what he’s facing is not life-threatening. It’s just life changing.

For him.

For us.

For his sister.

For school.

For everything.

One of my best friends told me that I just need to go easy on myself because we’re all in survival mode right now.

She’s right.

We are.

We keep seeing these “finish lines” in front of us but when we get to them we realize it’s not actually a finish line but just a new starting line for a whole new set of questions and tests.

My husband and I are both fighting to keep our heads above the water of depression and anxiety. I’m grateful that we have each other and can lean on each other as we go through this together.

My food has been nothing short of a disaster these past few months.

I hadn’t weighed myself since January 29th of this year. That’s nearly exactly six months ago. At the time I was 165.5 pounds.

I’ve been too afraid to weigh myself for fear it would bring about all sorts of self-loathing and self-recriminations. But I’ve estimated based on how my clothes fit and how I feel that I’ve put on 30-35 pounds.

Today I weighed myself. I finally did it because I realized that to a certain degree I don’t care what it says. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like being heavier. But with the perspective of what’s going on with my son the numbers on the scale hold very little meaning for me. I know what I look like.

And I’m doing the best I can.

And for today I’m satisfied with that.

So, I weighed myself just to know where things stand and I weigh 188.5 pounds.

That’s up 23 pounds from January.

That’s up 30 pounds from my stabilized weight after the loss and what I weighed before getting pregnant with my son 7 years ago.

That’s up 35 pounds from my lowest weight from the last weight loss attempt.

So, what I take from this is that I know what the numbers are, at least generally, without looking at the scale. But that looking at the scale keeps me honest.

I’m not ready to try to take the weight off right now. I need some more stabilization with my son before I’m going to be able to think about going on a diet again. But that’s ok. When he’s better I’ll be better too.

 

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything here and that needs to change. I had fallen down the rabbit hole of my depression and anxiety and in trying to be gentle with myself as I tried to climb out of that hole my writing stopped. But, it helps me so it’s time to get back into it.

So here’s a bullet list of updates I’ll elaborate on later:

  • I saw an APN for medication management and my depression and anxiety are finally lifting and I’m feeling like I’m back from the edge of the abyss.
  • Work is winding down for the semester and while there’s one last push of work that will hit I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • We’re about to undergo a tricky week of my son being in the hospital to address some of his health concerns which is creating some reality based anxiety for me but I’m looking forward to getting some answers.
  • We may have a bite (finally!) on selling our old house. The attention needed there is ramping up this week and I’m not thrilled that it’s coinciding with my son’s hospital stay but if I can get that house off my hands once and for all it will be a huge stress reliever.
  • I’m pretty sure I’ve gained back most of the weight I lost since starting this blog because I’m back in my old size 10 clothes but I’m not sure what the actual number is on the scale because I haven’t weighed myself since January 29th.

So, let’s start with that last item… I’m working hard on accepting the fact that between the stress and anxiety of my son’s health concerns and the depth of my depression this winter the weight gain isn’t the primary focus. It’s just something I have to accept and not beat myself up over.

Surprisingly (and it’s probably the medication talking here) I don’t hate myself very much for this weight gain. I won’t lie, it doesn’t feel great to put on clothes that used to fit and have them not anymore. I didn’t like having to go out and buy more size 10 pants and shorts. But, this was one of the more difficult and stressful winters I’ve experienced and I feel kind of lucky that some weight gain is all the damage I did to myself.

I was looking at my naked body in the mirror the other day and I realized that I don’t hate it. I’m not angry at my body or mind for “betraying” me. I’m not criticizing it in my mind as much. I still hate the way my belly hangs over the c-section scar and I still hate the rounded double chin. But, those thoughts are quickly pushed away by the perspective that I’m alive and so are my kids and that’s more important than the size of my belly. While I know that I feel better when I’m lighter, and I plan to get back to losing again, I’m also being realistic about what I can and can not handle right now.

My husband also gained some weight this winter. He’s never been significantly overweight but over the past few years that middle age weight creep effected him and he dieted with me two years ago and lost those extra pounds to the point that he was nearly back to what he weighed when I met him at age 23. Now, he’s back where he was two years ago again and he’s making noises about wanting to get back in shape and lose the weight again.

I told him that I would get back on the bandwagon with him again once this week of tests for our son is over and we get the house sold (or at least firmly contracted so the buyers can’t back out like the last ones did). Then I will have the ability to focus and give attention to my weight. In the meanwhile, I’m just working on getting emotionally better and taking care of my son.

For now, that’s enough.

I haven’t been writing here because I’m taking a little break from everything for a while. My husband got his mother to come stay with the kids so that he could take me with him on a business trip.

We’d actually been planning it before our son’s health problems arose these last couple of months. When I was faced with the prospect of actually leaving it was incredibly hard. I didn’t want to go.

But I did want to go, which made going all that much more difficult because I felt selfish.

I was running on pure anxiety driven adrenaline the entire day and I think if I hadn’t been so focused on getting everything I needed to get done done before we left it would have been the biggest anxiety attack I’ve every had. I barely ate all day and by the time we got to the airport at 4pm my blood sugar was so low I felt myself slipping into a state of fuzzy headed dissociation. Athletes call it “bonking”. I was bonking.

After a fruit drink and a couple of cheese sticks I started to feel better.

I’ve taken this week as an emotional break – or at least tried to.

I’ll have a lot more to say when I get back.

 

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