29 October 2013

The Diagnosis.

So ignorance is bliss, right? It was for me...  I went to the OBGyn yesterday for the first time in at least 5 years.  Not to get too graphic, but my monthly lady times have been really sporadic, and they haven't been... right.  I told my doctor about my thoughts about PMDD, and since I had ovarian cysts as a teenager she thinks that it's PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).   PCOS can cause a lot of the symptoms that I saw in what I thought was PMDD because of hormone imbalances.  My symptoms are: irregular periods, occasional acne, obesity with extra weight around the waist, anxiety, depression, pelvic pain and light sleep apnea.  

PCOS is on the same spectrum as Diabetes, and women who get it are generally overweight or obese. so that's all just fantastic (<- and that's sarcasm).  I can't take Birth Control pills due to a blood clotting disorder, so my doctor is going to look into Mirena, which is an IUD.   She is also suggesting that I see a Registered Dietician to work on my diet.  She wanted to put me on SSRIs for the time I get cranky before my periods, but I declined.  I'll be trying some herbal remedies as well as vitamins [B-6 and Magnesium] and working on my diet and exercise.  Most doctors who have told me that I need to lose weight have made me feel like crap about it, but this one didn't.  I really liked her advice and will be taking it. 

The good news is that I don't have High Blood Pressure, nor do I have high cholesterol.  I've had tests for various reasons throughout the years, and my BP is almost never over 115/78, and my cholesterol has always been good.   Other good news is, aside from chocolate I have already cut out caffeine: soda 3 years ago and chai tea about 3 weeks ago.   

I feel like I'm supposed to be really overwhelmed and upset about this diagnosis, but I'm not.  It's good to have a diagnosis to start treating, rather than a bunch of symptoms that keep beating me up.  I just need to seriously get a grip and a handle on my diet and exercise so that I can beat this and start leading the life I want to live.  I started well today though, taking a walk with the dog for 40 minutes, doing day one of Couch to 5k, grocery shopping, four hours of cleaning the apartment, doing laundry etc.  I'm starting to get delirious though, so I'm off to bed. 

23 October 2013

THE Moment...That Moment...The Moment of Clarity.

Stress. Anxiety. No caffeine. Depression. Irritation. Anger. Annoyance.  All here.  I told myself that when I turned 30, to put it bluntly I would "get my sh*t together".  It's been a few months and I still haven't done that much in my personal life.  I re-joined Weight Watchers and went to some meetings, but I haven't hit that 'moment' where you say "this is it. I need to change."   Two weeks ago I gave up caffeine and I feel like it was awful and terrible and yet a good thing to do for the long run.   Still, no visit from "the moment". 

My roommate and I planned yesterday to be the day we started cleaning out our apartment to move in a couple of months, as well as to clean out our fridge and begin anew with healthier eating and following WW.   As she works nights and sleep days, I did the trip to Costco for a few things.  On the way home I was thinking about my gym which I passed on the way home; I decided to go later that day and schedule an appointment with a personal trainer.  I need to strengthen my core, begin increasing my overall health. 

Upon my return home and ready for the day, I had some groceries and a purse in one hand, and as the elevator doors opened I leaned down to pick up (with my left hand) a huge package of toilet paper (on my right side) when I did the dreaded lift and twist; I felt it immediately.  Incredible pain throughout my lower back and upper butt area.  I struggled down the hall and dropped our stuff off inside the doorway to the apartment.  Putting weight on my left foot was like a knife being stuck in my left buttock and spine.

I went into my room immediately and laid down on my back with my knees up in an upside-down V.  I just kept repeating 'oh no, oh no, oh no.'  My mother, brother and sister have all had the same injuries: herniated or bulging discs.  My mother and brother required surgery and my sister required physical therapy…. Now I guess it's my turn.  I struggled to stand up, crying out as the pain was getting worse and I went into my roommate's room and woke her up so that she could take me to urgent care.  

As the Nurse that she is, she told me to stick an ice pack on it and take some ibuprofen and rolled over.  Within ten minutes I was in tears, hunched over a chair.  I had to use the bathroom, but sitting down caused intense pain.  My roommate got up and took me to urgent care and my doctor told me that it was most likely similar to my family's injuries.  The pain is mainly the soft tissue inflammation and it'll take a few days to go down. In a few days, I might start feeling better but might need physical therapy; if not at all by a week from now then I have to visit an orthopedic surgeon. 

I was sent home with pain killers, steroids and muscle relaxers.  On the way home from the urgent care all that I could think about was 'is this a sign? Is this the one that I've been waiting for?'  This is my warning sign.  "The moment" that I've been waiting for.  I'm so mad at this moment!  I have been on the couch or in bed for the last 30 hours.  I feel like a lump, especially as I have to take an extra day off of work this week, where I'm already struggling.  My stomach is again larger, I'm barely fitting into my clothes.  Is this it? 

I'm thirty years old and I've barely dated.  I have these amazing dreams and daydreams about climbing mountains and taking amazing pictures.  I think about running and rowing crew and playing soccer and skiing, roughhousing with my amazing boyfriend/husband, making out with him in a cottage in the countryside of England, sledding, playing in the snow.  I see pictures of me scuba diving in the tropics, and hiking in the highlands of Scotland.  In my daydreams I always have boundless energy and take incredible pictures. 

Caffeine gave me ten percent of that energy and I felt great for a few minutes here or there but I want it all of the time.  Quitting caffeine and making the changes that I need to make, will help.  But it's what I do with "the moment" that will decide my future.  What would you do in this situation? 

Caffeine no more.

I have been looking more seriously at the changes that I need to make. Diet, exercise, healthy living.  Everything just seems so overwhelming.  Two weeks ago I decided to cut out one thing that is affecting me: caffeine.  I'm not someone who drinks six cups of coffee per day, but I do drink a grande cup of Starbucks soy chai each morning (sometimes two in a day!).  When I don't drink it, I find myself suffering by noon.   I started researching some of the side effects of caffeine.  Anxiety is one that stuck out;  I have self-diagnosed PMDD, so in my research I saw that caffeine is pretty bad for someone with PMDD.  I also go through the "crash" during the day where I feel terrible, am groggy, etc.  So I decided to quit my super expensive habit of drinking Starbucks. 

The first day failed as I had my chai before work; my co-workers were really hard on me because they knew what my plans were.  The next day I succeeded.  I had a headache by noon, and took two naps at two hours each; it was difficult to say the least.  Day two I slept later than usual by about two hours (9:30am). I felt okay in the morning, but knew that once I was a few hours past my first normal dose of caffeine, I'd feel the side-effects.  Yep, I dragged myself to work and had an exhausting day.  My muscles hurt everywhere and I felt dehydrated, no matter how much water I drank.  I felt out of it the whole day, and my co-workers, boss and even a random customer asked me what was wrong. 

Day three was still exhausting -- all of my muscles ached, I felt tired all day and I still felt like I was in a funk.  My boss wanted to strangle me.  I was annoyed and had a shorter fuse than normal, which was tough because I've made some huge personal strides at work lately. 

The rest of the first week went okay; I found that I stopped enjoying the breakfast sandwich I normally got from Starbucks, because the two items usually go together and it just wasn't the same.  It left me with positive and confused feelings all at once; I have stopped spending $7-8 per day on Starbucks, but my routine was always to start there.  I usually start my day with a drive with my dog so that can have something exciting to do.  I do this because he used to get sick quite frequently when I took him to the dog park.  So, what now?  I substituted other things - Subway breakfast sandwich, a stop off to get a bagel, etc.  So, it is just confusing. 

I've just completed the second week of being caffeine (well, Chai) free.  The end of my first week, and the beginning of the second week were interesting. I have noticed that I'm more depressed lately and I'm much more lethargic. I kind of miss the jolt in the morning where I have a great bolt of energy, but I don't miss the afternoon lull or the sweating and rapid heartbeat if I drank chai too quickly.   I'm moving in a couple of months to another city, and my life and my job are almost up in the air which are most likely contributing factors, but I can't help but think that the lack caffeine is not helping me.   I don't want to start drinking it again, and I look forward to see how I can progress. 

13 April 2013

You grow, You Roar...Make your voice break, Sing it out..Music

Since I first produced vibrations in my vocal cords, I have been singing.  I was in the church, elementary, middle and high school choirs, select choirs and have been honored with some tremendous opportunities with music. I sang Handel's complete Messiah at the age of nine, and every year thereafter for ten more years.  I made some attempts to go further with music but once I hit about 21 years old and my self-doubt took over completely, I backed away from singing in public.  Don't get me wrong, I sing almost everywhere: at home, in the car, in the shower, at work when no one is around, at work when others are around, when I am walking my dog, when I am in the elevator by myself, etc.  Music to me is like a movie montage where a character opens the door to her home and sees her version of heaven outside.  Majestic fields await a blissful, carefree day of galavanting through fields and picnicking by a beautiful body of water, shaded from the hot sun by the most glorious oak tree.

What is it about music that opens this door?

Sometimes I have a vision of myself peeking through the sound hole of a cello, hearing my own perfect symphony and being swallowed up by its sound, which at the same time fills me with vivid colors, shapes and light all of which move the way I conduct them to.  It is as if music can speak, and I am directing its speech.  I have always wanted to crack open the whole front of this instrument, dive into the swimming pool of beautiful sounds and submerge myself in the whirling passages of light that accompany the threads of sound.  I hear Beethoven and Mozart competing for my notice, Brahms softly embracing my dreams, Vivaldi flirting with my desires, Tchaikovsky demanding my attention.  I close my eyes and I hear beautiful synchronized music; classical music brushes against the most bare fibers of my soul.

Twelve years ago I discovered a band who provides for me the experience of being swallowed up into an alternate state of mind where I can be free.  With their music, I find myself dreaming like never before.  My classical composers seem to stare in shock as I look at them through a glass wall; my attention cannot be theirs, for it belongs to this band which captivated me in 2001 and again and again each time they come out with a new album.  Their mellifluous melodies intertwine with rich harmonies, whilst all but enveloping my soul. When I listen to their music, in a sudden dream I find myself yearning for my future, O how glorious it could be!  My senses are flown to their furthest peaks and I am left suspended over mountains, valleys and beautiful bodies of water, which cannot be described as anything other than what I would call utter perfection.

In music it does not matter if I am single, married, tall, short, fat, slim, unhealthy, healthy.  I can be broken and still be a part of a beautifully constructed composition of notes, webbed together to tell me that everything is going to be alright.  Imperfection is respected, cherished.  I can have a bad day and find a musician who once did, but who is able to tell me in song that this too shall pass, but who won't demand that I accept that this very minute.  I can be ethereally happy and have someone proclaim this through a sweet melody and a beautifully haunting harmony.  Music guides me, it pulls my senses and desires, begging them to step outside of this box in which I have hidden from the world.  My mood can often be changed by the softest chord, or most severe demand on my attention that an organ can provide (thanks Beethoven).

I would like to find myself lost in music again the way I was when I was younger. I would like to find myself in an opportunity where music can be my career, and not just my most lovely hobby. I accept my career and life for what they are right now, and escape only when I can find the fantastic escape that music can offer.  I vow to take control of my life bits at a time, and draw on music to keep me walking down a path that I want to go down.  The paths are never perfect, never straight, flecked with sunshine, riddled with diversions, but nearly always in my control.

To Sigur Rós and separately to Jónsi, both of whom whose music I have been listening to for the last few hours (and decade), and who will most likely never read this, I'll never be able to repay you for the years of rescue, refuge and solace you all have offered me.  Your sounds are the perfect mix of classical music, and sensory experience, and... 'je ne sais pas.'  It is soul and awe-inspiring. And I thank you...

I'm off to dream, good night.

13 March 2013

I need a makeover

I don't know what is WRONG with me.  I fix a problem for someone at work and I have to hold back tears because of feeling good and knowing that I made their day better. I watch the Biggest Loser and I cry.  I tell a sweet story about someone and surprise! I tear up.  I watch a video or a commercial that's touching and freaking bloody surprise!!! I cry like a baby. Every single couple I see I feel like punching in the stomach with my green fist filled with envy.  On the flip side, I see a good looking guy, or a tall guy around my age who isn't wearing a wedding ring and my thoughts in this order are: "Oooh, no ring. How YOU doin'?  Who are you kidding, you're fat he'd never go for you. Moving right along... Stop self, don't tear up, C'MON!!!"  It's almost as if my brain is shouting out "I'm not happy, so you shouldn't be either!!!!!!!!" I'm just so worn out all of the time. 

I watch the Biggest Loser every week and I love the show so much.  I watch Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince train their contestants and I am filled with envy. I want that experience so badly.  I have so far to go: 100-130 pounds until I get to a satisfactory weight.  I haven't seen the dastardly 'one-derland' since I was 14 years old, if not younger.  The thought of it terrifies me, I've spent more than half of my life this way, all of my adulthood. Who would I even be?  I see Danni Allen in this season's BL and I find myself dying to be in her shoes.  I feel like that could be me.  I feel like it should be me (in addition to, not instead of her)...

I've been dieting.  It has been going okay; I lost around 10 pounds in February / first week of March, but I had a weekend away and I'll find out for sure in the morning but I think I've gained a few pounds again.  I feel like crap: emotionally, physically, psychologically.   I need a head to toe makeover, starting with my brain.  I'm so lethargic and never feel like exercising.  For weeks I was making veggie smoothies to take to work and was eating solely at home, but for the past week I just haven't.  I don't know where to begin again.  I hear / read / listen to people say 'start small! positive affirmations!' but any time I have been involved with a person or group who talks about that, I want to curse at them and in plain english say "S.T.F.U."

I have figured out a few of my key issues: 
1. Depressed over a death of a parent (though it was 8 1/2 years ago it still hurts like heck). 
2. Job hatred: I'm WAY underpaid and undervalued; I don't love what I do. 
3. Weight and issues relating to this stemming back to early childhood. 
4. PTSD and PMDD. What a delight having these two together. 
5. Jumpstart motivation: I go so quickly that it's like when you jump too high on a trampoline... You never land just right. Then the landing hurts so I walk away. 
6. Anxiety: I paint pretty pictures of things but can't physically do them, as if a barrier is stopping me. 
7. Money: my devil. 

I take so many things in emotionally. I just watched a video about cage free vs free range vs pasture raised chickens / eggs and I feel like giving up my life for chickens. I watch the BL and I feel like giving up my life and moving to the BL resort to lose the weight I need to lose.  Any and every time I watch TV or movies I regret leaving California (where I once lived) and leaving the industry, because I just love that side of things.  So now I wonder. What do I do?  I'm being encouraged to stay in my job because the benefits are really good.  I'm being encouraged from another person in my life to quit my job, take out loans and go to school full time.  I'm being encouraged to just stay on Weight Watchers and lose weight.  But my head is so full and I'm so confused.  What...do...I...do...????

11 December 2012

On the road again..

I'm back.  It's late and so this entry will be short.  I can't believe I haven't blogged in over six months.  I have been cruising down a long road of unhealthy eating and living an inactive lifestyle.  It has to stop. In approximately seven months I will be 30; before this date I have committed to two goals: 

Definite Goal: 
  - to lose 30 pounds by my 30th birthday

Hopeful Goal: 
  - to lose 60 pounds by my 30th birthday. 

Every time I think about weight I get anxiety.  Something small and that I don't even remember now happened earlier today and my immediate thought was 'god I want to house a chocolate bar'.  I haven't binged in a long time (since before I stopped blogging) and I have just spent the last six months eating a lot of mall-type food (food court food etc). 

I also can't believe that I have gained about 13 pounds in six months! I really thought it was only 5 or 6 and it's really stressing me out.  I'm trying to let it go and just move on, but it's stressful...  I re-joined Weight Watchers tonight and am going to start planning and grocery shopping tomorrow and start my fist official full day on Thursday 13 December.  I hope to lose 5 pounds before Christmas. I have a relatively high goal because I know that it's easy to lose a few pounds in your first week.  I'm back up to 279 pounds or so, and I last weighed in here at 266.  Wow.  by the end of January I would like to be around 260-264. 

How have you come back from a long hiatus and succeeded? How have you changed your mindset? I'm kind of desperate for some advice at this point! :/

03 June 2012

Ravenous (the book) and weepy (me).

I have been reading a book called 'Ravenous' for the past week or so, by Dayna Macy (see her blog here).  I'll say this, I'm inspired by it.  Her writing style makes me even salivate over olives, and I can tell you right now that if I come across an olive in as much as a tomato sauce I spit it out - I'm not a fan.  She talks about discovering foods by where they come from: Visiting places like an artisan cheese maker, organic farms, and from what I read on the back cover - even a humane slaughterhouse (yikes! I'm a vegetarian!).

It's smart - she is writing about discovering what food is to her, how specific foods became her downfall and where those foods begin, what life is, etc.  I have been really trying to feel the same things by proxy: I'm trying to figure out why I have specific cravings, and how to handle them.  I recommend this book to any and every one.  I have about 1/2 - 2/3 left, and I'm savoring it as much as possible, so that I can really let it sink in and resonate.  I'd really like to start journaling about food, but I start to write and I just get this immediate 'cease and desist' notice from my brain, causing me to give up... 

After reading this I realize that I'd really like to taste food again, feel the sensual aspects of it (read the chapter of her cooking in a kitchen with a stranger!), and see if I can learn to enjoy it rather than treat it like something I should shovel in, and to use as a barrier between myself and emotions.  My friend and I were joking after we saw someone who is truly fit today: "his body is a temple. we treat ours like trash compactors."  Basically it's true. I shovel crap in and intellectually I see that it's crap.  Emotionally I'd like a connection with what I'm eating, but I don't have one.  It's doing nothing but preventing emotions; almost like a blockade. 

I have to bring this up.  I have been so emotional for the past few months.  If I see someone open the door for someone else or do something equally nice, I feel the slightest amount of tears collecting at the back of my eyes.  If I see something heartwarming on TV I pretty much break down and tear up, while swallowing as quickly as possible to stop the tears.  So help me god if I see a puppy or an adorable baby.  I can't stop these weird outbursts and I can't tell you where they come from.  I'm trying with an educated guess to suggest that it's a subconscious thing with my emotions, food, feeling stress, the inability to get to the gym and desire to go, etc.  But I would love to know how to make it stop.  Or to get it to release! I'm a system with no shut off to my pressure valve, and eventually I'm going to blow!!! 

I've had 3 sessions with a therapist now; she's nice, I like her... But she annoyed me this week by spending 10 minutes lecturing me on food and nutritionists and overeating, like I haven't heard any of that before. I'd like to work on some of the emotional stuff with her, I don't need the "mom" lecture as she called it, from her!! I already get that elsewhere thanks!!!  

28 May 2012

When three's not enough but one was too many...

I'm sure you've heard the saying about kids where 'one's not enough but two's too many'...  I've got a different take on it.

Cravings becoming binges.  My cravings are like this moment where I picture"I. O Fortuna" popping into my head and I'm this ballet dancer being pulled from side to side by two male ballet dancers, fighting over me. It's a love vs. hate relationship. Yin vs Yang.  I want it but I hate it.  I succumb.  What it comes down to is a concept that came into my head when I was starting to stuff cookies into my mouth tonight: "Three is not enough, but one was too many." Three doesn't cease your craving, but one is more than you should be eating at that point.  That's when my cravings turn into a binge...

Luckily, that stopped my eating the cookies tonight, and I only ate two.  I know it could have been much worse, so I was grateful to be able to stop.  Thought I'd share.