Lost Part Two

loup
27 February 2019

For as long as I can remember the majority of my extended family has been on a diet. We’re all, shall we say, ample side.

Weight-watchers was the main one, but, every once in a while there would be the Non-Fat Only Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Fasting, 80/20 – any time I went to visit I was not looking forward to dessert. Almost always some canned fruit with mayonnaise. I assure you that it is a real thing; a real, disgusting thing that no one should try.

When I was in Kindergarten, a cousin told me that if I “sucked in” my belly I would look better. Thinner. Around about the same time another FAMILY member said to me that my legs were too fat. I was sitting on the center armrest in a pick-up truck. I was 5, and my fucking legs were lying flat. Did I mention, I WAS FIVE.

Who does that? Oh, yeah, ass-holes do that.

Between that behavior and during that time in my life food was not always around and when it was, it was the lowest of quality. Remember those white box black label foodstuffs – GENERIC in big, bold letters. That’s the stuff.

Meal options were limited as well. You can have boiled “GENERIC thin strand pasta” because somehow calling it SPAGHETTI is just wrong; and with this comparable facsimile of spaghetti, a tiny blop of “GENERIC tomato catsup sauce,” dumped onto a slice of white bread and folded it up like a taco. The other “taco” option was a potato, sliced, skillet fried – onto the bread slice and there you have white girl Tacos de Papas. Sometimes for an added treat, you could put a schmear of COUNTRY CROCK on it: Mmmm, the butter-like-spread of Rednecks Worldwide.

When I was in 3rd grade, and the magical JCPenney Catalog arrived, and all of the clothes I liked and circled didn’t come in my size. Now, my mother has to try to explain to me why it was I couldn’t get the pretty light purple button down with pearl buttons. “You’re built like a linebacker; it is just how our family is.”Yay Mom!?

This kind of disappointment went on.  Freshman year, I was told by tiny little specimens of Genus cheerleader that I was too fat. I was 5’8″ and 140 lbs, I must have been hideous. Catty bitches suck, but when they are young, they are dimwitted as well. In college, I was 5’8” and 170 pounds, sitting in the booth at Macadoo’s in Blacksburg, VA when a friend of my friend said something like “you have a pretty face, but” It didn’t really register until a few days later standing in line at the grocery store with my boyfriend and his brother. A magazine on the stand raved about some magic diet that “Sally” used to lose 40 pounds and 7 inches by Summer” – and then he said, “You should try that diet.” I stopped, stunned. I turned and said as loud as I could without screaming – “I know how I can lose 200 pounds and 3 inches right the fuck now by dumping your sorry ass.” I walked out to my car and drove off.

The shitty and unwelcomed commentary continued well into my adult life.  It gave me a lot of practice to come up with witty retorts. Feel free to use them. *grins*

.

You have such a pretty face. — You should see my ass!

You should wear a bathing suit that cover-up your legs? — You should wear one that covers your mouth.

Mooooove Cow. — You first Jack-Ass.

You need to get off the couch and move. — You need to get off your high horse.

Why would you let yourself go like this? — Go? Don’t mind if I do. (while you walk away)

Have you tried losing the weight? — Yeah, but it just keeps finding me.

You fat bitch.  — “Wow, you are so perceptive, Sherlock would be proud of that kind of attention to the details.”

.

It has taken me 40+ years to begin a healthier relationship with my body. I am not on this planet to worry about my weight. The scale reads a number that is nothing more than a reminder that gravity is fantastic.  Healthy doesn’t equal weight alone; there are so many things that go into being healthy.

As I struggle, like so many others, I am trying to accept my body for what it is – MY BODY. I don’t have to conform to any idea of what beautiful is. No one does – be your own beautiful.  There is so much to see and do that I no longer have the time or the desire to fit into any mold.

Be well, and remember “those that matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”

 

 

 

Lost

loup
6 February 2019

Prepare for a bit of ramble – but I wanted to share the photos as an accountability thing for me and possibly to help others struggling. I left out a lot of details because there are others that have newer and more helpful info – but if you have a question, please feel free to ask. You can contact me from the form.

Eight years ago I was prepping for bariatric surgery. Now, after all of it – would I recommend it? If you are serious about making a lifestyle change and if you are sure that you genuinely have put forth every effort and still are struggling. YES.

Otherwise, no. It is not a quick fix; it is not — let me repeat that IT IS NOT the easy way out.

I had the Gastric Bypass – Roux en Y in March 2011. In March 2010, we took a road trip to CA. We stopped along the way to visit friends. Between my weight and fibromyalgia, I had a mobility scooter. I was miserable if I had to walk more than 100 feet.  I had to miss out on several places because I couldn’t make the trek up the stairs or I would not fit in the tiny seats. Miserable I tell you.

When we returned from the trip, and I was sorting the images. I realized then, and there I had to do something!

I did a lot of research. I read books; I chatted with others who had the surgery and contacted a reputable surgeon. I was on my way. It took eight months from walking in the door for my first consult to surgery date. It was a whirlwind. I had psychiatric appointments; I had blood work, I had to meet with a support group. After the first two months of the intro to this process, I had to adhere to a weight loss plan. I had to be able to lose 25 lbs before I would be ready to go under the knife.

During that time I stuck to my plan – no matter how painful it was.  It was so hard to train myself to eat healthier foods when in the back of my head was that voice – “just order the milkshake, this is the LAST milkshake you will ever have” – “oh fries, yes please – this will be the LAST time I can have fries” — you get the idea.

I was mourning the loss of comfort foods; I was trying to let go of the warm and fuzzy feelings you get when you are stuffing your mouth with grandma’s biscuits. It was a very trying time for me.

I was thankful that during my recovery, Michael cooked his food. It was the complete opposite of being tempted, the smells and visual cues of the food was just more than my newly sensitive stomach could bear.

It took me about six months to make my way up to being able to eat a small handful of food in one sitting.

Cut to 8 years later. I’ve learned my thinking I would never have delicious foods again was not only a major mental stressor, but it was also unnecessary; I have had fries and the rare milkshake. The key for me has been a drastic modification process. It helps that I don’t crave the same foods that I did before the surgery.  I have also learned that if I have a craving for a specific food, I let it linger for a bit and if it doesn’t go away after a few days, I let myself have it. It gives me comfort to know that if I want it that no food is off the table forever, and that has made binge mentality disappear.

I lost a lot of weight during the first 13 months – by 18 months I had lost 205 pounds – by the 3-year mark I had gained some back, and here at eight years, I am still under the goal weight set for me, and more importantly, I feel better. When I was in the 130s I was miserable every time I looked into the mirror. Sagging skin and I thought I looked sickly. In a short amount of time, I went from 24US jeans to 4US jeans. It was a whirlwind for sure.

L

 

Pain in the …

loup
1 February 2019
fauxreal

When I was a girl, and I couldn’t ignore the physical pain any longer, dismissed as attention seeking child that was too young to feel that way. It’s growing pains; it will pass. When my family would go on Volksmarches, I learned to cope by giving myself markers “I have to make it to the end of this fence. If I focus on my feet, I won’t realize how far I have left to go.” I was 10, and to this day I find those markers. Just get through this twinge of pain, make it to the end of this day. Modify and adapt.

It is almost impossible to gauge the pain. The number scale with zero is no pain, and ten is unbearable. A 9 on the scale for one person may be my 4, even though the pain is nearly the same. Pain is whatever the patient says it is, along with other physiological and psychological reasons that influence perception – that is what makes treatment of chronic pain so difficult.   Pain leads a life of its own. Evidence suggests that over time untreated pain eventually rewrites the central nervous system, causing pathological changes to the brain and spinal cord and that these, in turn, create more significant pain. Even more disturbingly, recent evidence suggests that prolonged pain damages parts of the brain, including those involved in cognition. Scans have revealed that chronic pain had dramatically reduced gray matter; normal aging causes gray matter to atrophy by half a percent a year. The gray matter of chronic pain patients atrophy dramatically faster: the pain patients showed losses amounting to between 5 and 11 percent, that is like ten to twenty years of aging.

There is no way to manage chronic pain but only to COPE with it. Managing implies that we can control the pain — chronic means long-lasting with no end. There is no pill, method, diet or magical potion that allows us to live the way we used to. There is no cure; it will never go away, you can learn to cope and adapt to it. The strength to get out of bed, the power to face another day is an accomplishment, even if you don’t believe it. You can OWN your struggle. There is nothing I can do to cure the pain, and when I am in a severe flare, I try to hang on until it ebbs for a while. Knowing the flow of pain will return I try to take the lesser pain days with enthusiasm and try to make the most of that day.

What does it look like to be sick? Some tend to believe that to be SICK we have to look like we are on death’s doorstep. That is utter bullshit. There are so many illnesses that have no visible signs. If I don’t look sick, if I have a little make-up on and a smile it doesn’t make my illness less real, it just means that I have become a master at hiding it. Telling someone they don’t look sick is not a compliment, it is aggression. What you’re saying, whether you know it or not, is “I don’t believe you.”  If you want to compliment someone with chronic illness start with something you genuinely like – their hair, their outfit, that funky bag or whatever. Just don’t tell them that they don’t look sick.

Looking like you are not in pain is just something we have adapted to – why? Not to make us more likely to fit, but for me at least, putting myself together the best I can is for me and me alone. I hate looking in the mirror and only seeing my disease.  How my pain is showing up on my face, you would never tell someone with cancer that they don’t look sick. You would never judge them if they were having a good day. You wouldn’t judge them for not looking ill enough. You wouldn’t assume much at all. So stop believing that people with chronic illnesses don’t look sick enough.  You can also come to understand that the comments and “helpful” advice are not about you. It is about that person. Their fear that this too could happen to them. Their ignorance. Their ill manners. Not YOURS.

I am proud of all of you. Whether you made it to the top of the mountain – finished a load of laundry – all the above, none of it at all, and everything in between. You are not LESS than in any way, and you are not alone.

James Blunt Saved My Life

loup
29 January 2019
James Blunt

Well, sort of; one day in 2006 while hugging and swaying to the music “You’re Beautiful” came on and Michael and I were singing the lyrics together.  He was singing “You’re Beautiful,” and I was singing  the parody “My Cubicle.”  We laughed.

In the Summer of 2013, during a significant depressive episode, brought on by stress and more stress and I wanted to die.  I was sitting on the bed looking at a bottle of Rx — I took some out and let them roll about in my palm.  I was too tired to fight the demons anymore. I  wanted the pain to stop. I wanted quiet.

Then “You’re Beautiful” came on the radio.  A flashback to that moment where Michael and I sang, laughed and hugged.  I wanted more of THAT. I wasn’t ready to give up on THAT. I put the pills back into the bottle and curled up into a ball and cried as I rocked myself.

 

James Blunt

Jump to 4 Aug 2017

We went to see Ed Sheeran / James Blunt at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV

Andee and I went to get a t-shirt and beverage.  I saw a sign that James Blunt would be doing a meet and greet.  We went back and told the gang that we were going to meet James Blunt.  Michael laughed and said you aren’t going to meet him.  I said matter of factly – I am and when I do I am going to get his autograph.

We were standing in line telling Andee the whys and hows, and the tears started rolling, emotions of that day in 2017 washed over me, all that I have survived – all that I didn’t miss. Well, I met James Blunt.

I leaned in and told him that his music got me through some very tough times.  He said I was sweet and hugged me.

I got his autograph – on my arm, and as soon as I got out of line with my sharpie autograph, I called my tattoo guy and made an appointment to have it made permanent. A silly thing to do, but it was MY silly thing.

The next day I went into the shop and explained to Moe WHY it meant so much to me. He teared up, I teared up. Michael wrote “you’re beautiful” on a piece of paper and Moe inked both on my arm. The signature looks more like a math problem, but I know what it means to me.

No God, Know Peace

loup
30 November 2018

I do not believe in god – any god. It is simple; I know that HOPE is a powerful motivator and so did powerful and corrupt people throughout history. They had power and wanted to keep or even get more. They gave the poor hope, dangled a better life after death. Keeping them working themselves into that promised release to the next world. Pushing them to ignore that the life they were living could change with the truth.

There are more GODS that people have worshipped throughout time, and they believed that their Gods were the right ones to follow,  before language people worshipped the Sun and Moon. There have been mono-theistic religions, polytheistic religions, and everything in between.

And to be clear, I have no problem with people who find the ignorance comforting. I don’t care how you get through the day. However, when your choice to stay blind, ignorant and let the men that speak for your make-believe friend make up rules that you will push others to fuck up their lives. To impose your beliefs on others is wrong. You only know and can know what works for you. You have no right to assume what others need to give them HOPE.

There is no excuse for ignorance. Don’t let your hope in something better after death to keep you from making things better in life.

Ironic how religions tell us that the way we are born is a “lifestyle choice” – but when the only ones making a CHOICE are the faithful blind followers.

Embracing the Suck

loup
27 November 2018

Last week a woman I know said that there are people who have it worse than she does so she had no right to complain. She shouldn’t be upset – she should get over it. That triggered something in me; throughout my life, I’ve heard similar things.

“There are millions of people who would love to have your life. What are you upset about?” 

Why should I be depressed? Why should I be angry?

I am depressed about the lack of chemical balance in my brain. I am angry because even though so much has gone right for me throughout my life – I have pushed the memories and emotions that come with what all has gone wrong down to the darkest corners of my soul.

I have put on a smile and not really acknowledged the pain in my life; suppressing it so far down that when it bubbles up it consumes me.  Putting on a happy face and ignoring the pain and emotions that I have has brought me to this point in my life. A point where I have to struggle to find the joy and good things that are in front of me because I am weighed down by it all. The Oscar goes to – but recently I have become a shitty actor; I have decided to give up my poker face and false smiles

I have, just like everyone else on this rock, every right to own my emotions; to see them through. We all need to express them and find our way through them. Learn from the anger, hold the pain close to us until it no longer serves a purpose. Many people struggle with these emotions; others have told them to suck it up and stop feeling whatever way. There is nothing to gain from suppressing things. We have to own them, work them out and take from them what they have to teach us and then let them go.

We cannot change the past, it is cliché, but it is true.

In other words – EMBRACE THE SUCK, make it useful then let it the fuck go.

thoughts

loup
31 October 2018

Firewalk your past. Navigate the pain, use it. You can’t change it, but you are not doomed to repeat it.

Modify

loup
14 October 2018

There is no user manual for life. No guidelines or rules about how you are supposed to feel when the life you thought you would have is over. When illness takes your dreams, and you end up sitting and crying and working through all of what might have been. We understand how to grieve for a lost loved one. But, when you find out you have a chronic illness – that will most likely in your lifetime not have a cure – your life sort of pauses on itself.

Some of your dreams will fade, wither and die. When you have had a life of pain and discomfort, you can’t sleep, you hurt everywhere – it is hard to describe the joy you have when you finally get a diagnosis. You know there is something to it all. Then it sets in – while you are happy that you know what it all is, the joy fades, and you find despair and grieving for the things that haven’t come. The things that you think you will have time for, the things that you want to do, places on the bucket list. They are gone.

It takes some time, but there is a bit of hope. You do not have to give up on all of the dreams and adventures. MODIFY, modifications to our lives is a great way to make the best of a shitty situation. There are so many tools and ideas to help us navigate our illness.

First, you have to learn – and this one is HARD — you have to learn SELF-CARE and SELF-LOVE.

I could dazzle you with positive hyperbole and tell you things like if you would be happy if you only believed.

Fuck that – grieve, rage against the world — get it out of your system. Then move on. You have shit to do.

There will be days when you can’t face it, and getting out of bed will take every ounce of energy you have. But, there will also be days when the sunshine breaks through the clouds, and you find joy in what is in front of you. It could be anything that makes you smile. The point is MODIFY. Maybe you won’t hike through the wilderness and spot a glimpse of nature at its most wild. Hell, even finding the strength to walk around the store for groceries can seem impossible. That is why we modify to fit our needs whenever possible.

Acknowledging that we can be suckers, we need relief from the pain, sometimes at any cost. We want to hang onto the hope that someday someone will find the one thing that takes it away. The magic pill. We gobble up self-help books on how to cope with pain and how to survive with our illness. Searching for the answer to why we are suffering. Everything happens for a reason; we wouldn’t have been given more than we can handle and so on.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to modifying for our illness – these are just some of the things I have tried that have worked for me. One day I may post about what didn’t work for me – but probably not. I don’t want to discourage others to find what works for them.

—–

Accessibility

We live in a very tech-obsessed world right now. We know that tech can provide amusement, information, and connections to others. What you may not know is that technology currently offers so many options for people who want and need assistance with everyday issues.
Some of these currently available devices can help you with reminders, timers, entertainment, accessibility to devices throughout your home. With the “Internet of Things” growing exponentially you are almost guaranteed to find something that works for you. You have hubs and assistants. These things are amazing. You can operate a lot of smart home devices with your voice or a few taps on your smart devices. Phones, tv remotes, watches, ovens, faucets, and the list goes on. While you may not need or even want to engage with your stove or refrigerator the point is that you CAN. Simple tasks like setting a timer or reminder, check the weather, listen to music or audiobooks and so on. My Amazon Echo is even set up with several IOT devices that I have in my house. I can ask the Echo to turn on lights, open window shades, also get a single cup of water from the new Delta Faucet.

The primary three are AppleGoogle StoreAmazon

Here are the links their Accessibility pages: Google AccessibilityApple Accessibility
Amazon Accessibility

Delivery Services

Amazon Prime – I have been a Prime member for ten years. Free shipping, streaming movies and tv – DASH, Subscribe & Save and so many other perks make the annual membership fee worth it.

Amazon Prime Now – When you discover you are out of cat litter, or you have run out of toilet paper, Amazon Prime Now can deliver it straight to your door in as little as an hour.

When you don’t feel up to going out, but you are craving that dish from your favorite restaurant, their food delivery is a great option. And you are not limited to your usual delivery foods like pizza and such. This type of service brings “take away” to you. Some of these services go beyond restaurants and of course YMMV based on your location. Worth checking out tho. Besides PRIME NOW some of the other services I use are InstacartDoordashPostmatesGrubHub Many local grocery stores have started to offer delivery and even curbside pick-up. You place your order online or through an app, the staff at the stores do the shopping for you. Compile your cart and deliver it to your door or you can pick it up curbside. They will even load it into your car for you.

Getting your medications have become simple as well. Some local pharmacies have delivery services. Check your pharmacy for an autofill option to go along with delivery. Running out of medications should not be a worry we have. There are also mail order pharmacies.

Entertainment

Audible – It can be pricey, but if your local library doesn’t have the option to get audiobooks online, this can be an excellent modification for readers. I gave up reading “books” a few years back. Just holding up a 300-page book was exhausting. I got an e-reader, and that was doing well for me – unless the brain fog was terrible. I found myself reading the same paragraph over and over and not retaining it. Enter audiobooks.

Just be sure to check if your local library has an available digital catalog first. One place to check is OverDrive.

Services like NetflixHuluAmazon PrimeGoogle PlayYouTube

Disclaimer – I may receive commissions when you click some links and make purchases. It bears no additional costs to you, and this will not impact my suggestions. I would never link to a service or item that I didn’t use myself.

 

Computer Blue

loup
16 July 2018

I envy computers. You can delete a file completely. There is nothing left of the file so when you try to retrieve it – nothing – it does not exist. You won’t accidentally stumble upon the file, and thus ruining your day.

 

I wish I could cut memories out of my brain like a computer file. Just gone, nothing, zip, zilch, nada.

My Intrusive Thoughts.

loup
24 January 2018

Yesterday was a stressful fuck. First a dental cleaning – not a big deal in the scheme of things but I hate it none the less. After the cleaning, I was told that I needed a crown.

Three hours later I am having my right tit smushed in between two plates. Apparently, the mammogram I had the week prior has a spot they wanted to revisit.

So 3 more squishes then I am sent off to the ultrasound tech – 10 minutes of imaging the ill offending tit – then 20 minutes to see if the doc approves or needs more – another 10 minutes of goopy awkward massage – another 15 min wait then I am released.

Cancer, not cancer – nothing – something. Don’t know yet. But the intrusive thoughts are all over me today.

——

Yep, 45 is a nice age to die at. I can still say the majority of my life was fun and interesting. I am not 99 lying in a bug-infested urine caked bed – alone – waiting to die.

He is miserable – he would be better off. He doesn’t need me. He has a better time when I am away.
I would be doing him a favor – he could go be with someone or someones that make him happy. I don’t.

Life is unfair and you didn’t win the lotto but you know a good thing and you know when that good thing is over.

——

This is the kind of fucked up shit that ebbs and flows in my brain. All day every day. Sometimes I am able to shush them. I am able to count to 4 all day and drown out the noise. The thoughts. There are some that have clever names for their thoughts. You’ve seen the movies — the one who is only there for the anti-hero to see.

Mr. Brooks had Marshall
Elwood had Harvey
Dexter has his Dark Passenger
and of course, Dr. Jekyl had Mr. Hyde

*for another post – HOLLYWOOD: why do men with these problems get made into quaint men that you can have a drink or a laugh with – where are the women??

I have no cutesy name for my thoughts. I don’t see a person in a rearview mirror talking me into a bad decision or out of a good one. I am not sure if I should make an effort to see these thoughts as someone else. A bully, a fucking bully with the key to my brain.

Moments when I embrace the thoughts – then discard them because they are shitty ideas I feel powerful.
Moments when the best I can do is to continually count to 4 to talk OVER that shit well – those moments are just my life.
Moments when I sit and nod and think yeah it is time. I’ve caused enough pain to people I love and myself. I need to go … that is when I should write.