08 July 2013

Only Skinny People Think I "Choose" to be Fat.

    I'm about tired of reading about the obesity epidemic in this country and seeing comments that range from just mean to the "fat people choose to be fat".  Let me set the record straight.  I did not "choose" to be fat.  I did not wake up one morning and decide that I wanted to see how far I could push my body weight wise, and I did not elect to become as heavy as I have gotten.  It is one of those things that happens over time for a number of reasons that are not especially under my control. Let me lay it out for you.
  •  PCOS, or Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, I didn't choose to have a problem that makes losing weight almost impossible.
  • Genetics, yes the old stand by of millions like me, some where in the programming I was made to put on pounds for a crisis.
  • Stress.  That is the crisis my body loves to react to.
  • Additives in our foods that make them addictive.  Food companies do this so we eat more and thus buy more of their savory or sweet concoctions. Those additives may also, according to some studies, help the body hold on to fat because of how it is processed. 
  • Grief.  I already know I am a stress eater, but I did not know until I lost my mother that I would eat when I was sad too. 
  • Corn.  This sounds stupid, but there is a school of thought that the very same grain they use to fatten up cows, also fattens up humans because its processed into everything. 

    I could go on listing my "excuses".  That's what everyone calls them.  Everyone is quick to point a bony finger in my direction and tell me how its my fault I don't join a gym or get a personal trainer.  I cant afford one, so its my fault I don't walk more.  No one wants to hear about how painful it is to walk more than a couple hundred feet. I know the extra pounds doesn't help it, but the root cause is a car wreck I was in years ago compounded by 11 years of ignoring the pain to be a firefighter. 

    Oh there is the "you need to use some willpower".  I have none.  There its settled.  I eat when I'm sad, I eat when I'm lonely, I eat when I'm nervous, I eat when I'm bored and I eat when I'm stressed.  I feel ashamed of it, but I have done this since I was a little kid.  Some people reach for booze or pills, I reach for snacks.  I don't even buy sweets or snacks for the house anymore. I try to reach for "healthy" stuff when I get like this, unfortunately some of the healthy stuff like carrots causes some GI issues, so we have stress related issue. 

    There is are the "dieters" that swear by one diet or another.  Believe me I've tried about everything I can afford. Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast, prepackaged plans, the lemonade diet, the cabbage soup diet, diet pills, HGC, low fat, low carb, low calorie, Ultra low calorie, oh the list goes on and on.  I stuck with the prepackaged plan and Weight Watchers the longest. I even lost weight at one point in the changes weight watchers made on their plan, but they tweaked it, and I never had success again.  It is impossible to stick to something when you fail at it.  At Weight Watchers I consistently averaged 1/4 lb a week. I was paying 40 bucks a month to be miserable, and only lose 1/4 lb a week.  I need to lose about 150 lbs.  That's three years, and 1440.00 of membership money.  Oh and the naysayers accuse me of cheating or doing it wrong.  When I swear I am following it to the letter, I'm called a liar.  Or my favorite part of the meeting is when there are these women whining just joining to drop five pounds and they make some snotty remark to the big girls like me about how easy it is to lose on Weight Watchers and I should be proud of the 1/4 lb, its not their five this week, but its still 1/4.  Or they ask, as many close to me have, "What did you do wrong this week?  Did you eat a cheeseburger or ice cream?"  Have you ever thought for a moment that I'm actually doing the program and my motivation wanes after six months with no results despite diet and exercise? And yes, we have had the thyroid checked, it was fine. And my cholesterol and BGLs are too, so there.

    I could go on.  But no, I don't choose to be fat.  I don't choose to feel lousy and look like a hippo.  I don't choose to be stared at or snickered at behind my back or even to my face. I don't choose to spend more money on clothes because "extended sizes" cost more, or to find nothing in my size at the goodwill ,EVER.  I don't choose to have aching joints, a throbbing back, and other weight related physical ailments.  I don't choose to be discriminated against because I'm not attractive. I don't choose to forgo the swimming pool because of how people react to a "big girl" in a swimsuit, or choose to pay 150 bucks for the only thing in town in my size at a specialty store, because Target doesn't carry swimsuits for big girls that we can actually wear. I don't choose to have low self-esteem because everyone else seems to have a major issue with my weight.  I don't choose to go shopping alone, no one wants to be seen in the "fat girl" store with me except my fantastic hubby, God bless him.

    Maybe if you took the time out of your day that you spend judging us fat girls, and you simply gave us an understanding hug, or said a prayer for our happiness, we'd all feel better about everything. 

    I did not choose to be fat.  It has been the result of many factors.  I choose to give up, but in the face of constant failure and ridicule I do not have the drive to push through the unbearable pain and do anything else.  The battle is pretty much over.  I've begun to accept that I will never be "thin" again, and my weight will haunt me for the rest of my life, however short or long that may be.  My tears are no longer for myself, they are for all those that can't seem to wrap their heads around the fact that I'm big.  

    Yes, this is not especially about Meniere's, but since I was diagnosed and was unable to exercise as much, I gained 70 or so lbs. People sometimes treat me like I'm ignorant or some sort of lazy slob because I'm big.  I'm none of those.  I didn't choose this, and if you think for a moment that all of us "big girls" choose to be big, you have a lot to learn about the world.  A lot indeed. 

08 May 2013

I am more than I look like now...

It's hard to imagine when you look at me now that I've ever done the things that I talk about having done.  (It was hard when I was healthy for people to imagine that I have ever done the things that I have done too.)
I get the "you are full of it" look a lot, and on occasion people actually call me a liar to my face.  I don't have a good enough memory to lie for one thing, and for another, what good would it do me?

To look at me now, you wouldn't imagine I've ever been SCUBA certified, been to more than two dozen states, served my nation, fought fires, been to college, gotten a Master's Degree, obtained certification in aircraft rescue, ever weighed less than 150 lbs, once had hair down past my butt, once rode every roller coaster I could, had ever seen me run a mile or leg press over 400 lbs.  You wouldn't know by looking at me that I was ever anything other than what you see now: a very overweight almost middle aged woman with a bad back and balance issues. All you see now is me shuffling when I first start to walk because my feet hurt so bad, or you might see me unable to keep my balance on uneven ground.  All you see now is someone that gets tired quickly because her brain has to work overtime to process movement now that her ears don't work, and you might even get frustrated when she can not hear what you said properly.  (I assure you that my making light of the hearing distortion is my way of dealing with the fear I feel at going deaf)

You can not even begin to process how hurt and angry I feel when I'm reliving one of my adventures in a funny story and I'm made to feel as if I'm dishonest.  It happens a lot.  It is as hard as someone questioning your intelligence because you can not spell or do advanced math due to a learning disability.  (Too bad I cant show off that IQ test to prove folks wrong, and to let the numbers show that I am in fact a genius. But who's counting?) 

I lived a LOT before I got sick.  I did all kinds of cool stuff, and am thankful for it.  I relive many of those fun and adventurous days because I can not do those things anymore. My new normal, as it were, will not allow me to SCUBA dive again, or ride roller coasters or fight fires or be more than I am now.  It is hard to be a shell of the woman you once were, and have people call into question your honesty when you are reliving a moment in a story from your past. I can not carry around those memories in a jar to show you, nor can I carry around a notebook full of affidavits to prove that I am who I once was. 

All anyone sees now is a fat, somewhat obnoxious woman who talks in excess about things that no one believes.  They don't take time to see the scars on her heart and the knicks on her soul from every time she set out to help her fellow man only to be called a liar afterwords.  No one bothers to wonder why this woman lives in the past because they don't value her enough to listen close enough to hear the pain in her words as she remembers who she once was and can no longer be.

If I have become arrogant and a braggart it is because it is how I have been shaped by those that insisted on telling me my best was never enough, my truths were untrue, and that I "had no reason to live".   I always knew that my best was good enough, my truths were infact true, and I have every reason in the world to live. I had something to prove, I proved it over and over and over, then no one believed me.

So no, I am not a liar.  I may not look like much, but this broken messed up body has seen a lot in its 36 years.  I will no longer tolerate those that can not see fit to give my truth a chance.

09 March 2013

Walking Away for the Last Time

Yesterday was my last day at the school with the kiddos.  It was heart wrenching.  I had one kiddo hurl him self on me, sobbing, begging me not to leave.  Others drew frowney faces on my good bye card with the plea that I stay. 

It was a really hard, tear filled, afternoon.  I cried and cried with the kids. 

I know Im doing what is best for my hubby and I, but its so hard.  It angers me that in order to have health coverage, EVEN with the laws in place, I have to break 10 kids hearts and take a job that is outside my scope of education.  I have to walk away for the last time, from a career that I tried so hard to build back after my time in the fire service. 

I met the folks I will be working with and Im sure that I will have no problem at my new job getting along.  Everyone seemed to be really cool and seemed to be laid back.  I got good vibes there.

I'll never have another chance at teaching.  The "career" hopping appearance I have now will forever prevent me from ever even getting an interview.  (I know because changing careers once was enough to do that, twice is a death sentence as far as they are concerned) 

I have officially walked away from what I spent thousands of dollars and several years to train and educate for.  This would never have happened had I not gotten sick and lost my job and insurance.  I wouldn't have had to make this tough decision had we had access to affordable health care.  I could have stayed until there was a public school job, or just stayed and done what Im good at, what I trained for and what I love.

I made a huge sacrifice for what we needed.  My heart aches, and Im a little bitter about seeing those kiddos cry and cry because I had to leave. Please forgive this sad rant.  I will heal and the kiddos will too, but right now as I am sad about leaving. 

Im SO thankful, at the same time, that I will finally have insurance.  I just wish it hadn't been so hard to obtain, and so heartbreaking to leave.

Maybe I will really have a lot of time to spare at the new job.  They keep telling me I will.  And if I do, well I believe that it might be just what I need to perhaps write a book... I've been talking about writing a book forever, so maybe I can actually do that...

None the less, I am standing on the brim of a glass that I'm trying to see as half-full, trying not to fall in for I know not if I can swim in what ever lies between me and the bottom. 

20 January 2013

I'm not drunk, just dizzy. Yes they are different....

    Everyone that knows me knows that I love hockey, and they know that I believe in standing (if you possibly can) for the National Anthem.  These two things clash for me now at each game when I stand with my hand over my heart and look up at the flag.  As I stand there during the song, I began to sway.  People think I'm drunk or disrespectful.  I often times almost fall.  Last year when I mentioned this to my ENT, he laughed and said "well don't stand". 

Uh, no.

    I and my hubby served our country.  He was in the Air Force and I was in Army ROTC in college as well as a firefighter protecting my community.  I walked into the venue, so I WILL stand for the National Anthem. 

    But its not just at the anthem that I sway.  Its every time  I stand for more than a couple of minutes, or stand for a couple of seconds with my head looking anyplace other than straight ahead. I feel embarrassed that I can no longer stand up straight in public without assistance, and I feel scared when I'm doing something mundane like putting on my socks, or washing my hair.

    Yea, its not just at hockey games that I sway and lose balance. Its every time I stand.

    So, no I'm not drunk, I'm just dizzy.

18 January 2013

I'm sorry did you just say "Spiffy Blitzkrieg"?

    So I know that I can't hear well, but I can't help but to ask when I think I heard something weird or strange if it was correct.  Most of the time I'm pretty sure what I'm going to ask is going to sound silly, but I promise that's exactly what I heard. 

    I make light of going deaf because if I didn't I'd spend everyday crying.  I can't hear the things I used to be able to hear, and although its been a year since my last hearing test, I can tell that there are changes. Lots of changes to my hearing.

    I can't hear the alarm clock most of the time now. I can't hear some of the kids at school when they ask me questions.  I can't hear my dear hubby when he says something mundane.  I have to turn up the radio WAY past the "19" I used to set it on. "34" or "40" is closer to what I set it on these days.  Sometimes I can feel the music more than hear it, but that is because of the fluctuating hearing loss. It goes from bad to gone sometimes and I have no idea why. A couple weeks ago I had a terrible head cold and was stone deaf in my left ear for about 12 hours or so.  I literally could not hear anything. Its still not "normal". My right ear was also affected, so for about 12 hours everything was one-sided and muffled.  It was frightening.

    I say "what" way too often now.  I get so frustrated when I have to ask people to tell me again what they said, and even more irked when I'm told to be quiet because I'm talking too loud.  I really can't tell. 

    In the new apartment there are lots of new sounds, and things I should be able to hear, that I simply can't. 

    I suppose once the hearing is gone I will have to walk around with a pistol to feel safe.  I can not hear the door open, I can not hear the doorbell, and if someone broke in, I'd not hear it until they came down the hall.

   What's going to happen if my hubby and I ever have kids?  How will I hear my babies cry if they need me? What if they are hurt, or scared? Will that make me a bad mother?  Deaf people have babies right? So what do they do?

    Lots of questions.  Lots of fear. Lots of miscommunication.

(I really did think my hubby said "spiffy blitzkrieg" once, in case you wondered)

14 January 2013

Breaking the mold.

Mold.  No, seriously, the fungi kind of mold.  We lived and breathed it for months that we knew of, and for possibly a year. It can cause Meniere's like symptoms.

Could that be the trigger or cause of my horrible spins? 

Back in 2005, when I had the first vertigo attack of my life, I was working dispatch at the airport for the police and fire departments.  I was waiting patiently for an opening in the fire station, and worked as a dispatcher and security specialist.  Sometime in 2006, (its all kinda foggy to me) I awoke one morning with a horrific vertigo attack complete with ear discomfort and vomiting.  Then the family doc thought it might be Meniere's, but I spiked a fever some weeks into the dizzies and after a round of antibiotics I was "cured".  He wasn't totally convinced, but thought had it been Meniere's my dizzies would have remained. 

At about the same time as the dizzies, we had a leak in the wall of the dispatch center and it made the sheet rock soft.  I managed to put my butt through the wall (my butt-hole as it was affectionately called) and it was weeks before it was fixed.  In the meantime a dreadful moldy smell lingered and I got sick.  About the time I spiked the fever and was "cured", the wall was repaired.  No mold, no dizzies?  Maybe.

Time passed, I got a job as a firefighter and moved downstairs.  I'd eventually get married and move into my husband's grandfathers old house.  We found mold almost right away.  It was a small amount, so we fixed it, as we were told to do by the guys at Home Depot, and all was well. 

We found mold, heaps of mold in the fire station a few months later.  Then a few weeks after that, I got sick with a horrific case of vertigo. 

I lost my job and was at home for several months recovering from the initial vertigo attack that June.  As the months past, we pulled the moldy carpet out of the house and made some small repairs. Then there was a small water leak in the bathroom and it made the wall soft.  I, you guessed it, put my feet through the wall.

Then all hell, or mold as it were, broke loose.  We started finding mold EVERYWHERE.  My hearing started to go, I developed all kinds of weird symptoms and my other ear became affected.

When we found mold in the hall closet (not near the bathroom or adjoining walls) I got worried.  We had to toss a lot of really nice clothes, and try to clean others.  Then we found mold in my closet.  I rarely used it because it contained all those skinny clothes. (Ladies you know what I'm talking about here).  Once we opened that door, we all started to get sick. Both cats made vet trips.  (Orion had been sick off and on since we adopted him)  The hubby got sick, and stayed sick.  I started having migraines again, and felt horrible.

So we moved.

The cats and the hubby are better.  I'm still a work in progress, but I feel better.  Well except the dizzies.

Stress can trigger Meniere's.  So can mold. 

Mold can kill you.

I hope we got out in time.