Thursday, January 22, 2009

18-Month Follow-Up and Updates

I had my 18-month follow-up appointment on Tuesday with Melinda at Heart and Wellness. We reviewed my labs, which look really good. My hemoglobin is finally up to 13.9 (YEAH!!!) after switching to ferrous fumarate instead of ferrous sulfate. I did have a bone density done the week before, and we reviewed those results. I've lost between 3% and 5% of bone mass in the past 19 months since that isn't good. I take all of my calcium supplements as I should, so we upped my vitamin D-3 intake to 1000 IUs twice a day, each taken with my calcium (800 mg calcium citrate at a pop). She told me that at some point given my family history, I will be needing to take something like Boniva or Fosamax (which are hard on our tummies), but that by the time I need it, they'll have something else that hopefully won't be so hard for me to take. I'm a little disappointed in the bone mass because it was my biggest concern pre-op. My mother had really severe osteoporosis, diagnosed at a young age. So I have taken lots of steps (long before having WLS) to limit my risks but still obviously am having some issues. :( Makes me sad because I don't want to be as limited physically as she was at an early age.

All else was good. My weight was pretty stable and my body fat was 18%. She looked at me at first and said "you look too thin to me" and I had to explain to her that I haven't lost any more weight, but I was exhausted from not sleeping the night before and crying because I'd been dumped by the man I was pretty head over heels in love with (and thought he was too...but if someone can give up that easily, well, I guess it wasn't really love for him...I'm still feeling pretty shocked at how it all went down, to be honest). She cautioned me to make sure I continue to eat enough, that the tendency to NOT eat during a time like this is great and would be really, really bad for me. I assured her that I know I cannot do that because I have a son who needs me.

Anyway, all is pretty good physically. My heart is broken, but I'm doing what I need to do. I admit, it's been a struggle to eat what I need to the past few days, but I'm doing it. And I'm making sure I go to the gym, and I'm getting to bed at a pretty decent hour, and I'm talking to/crying to friends as need be. I had therapy this past Tuesday night, and we made another appointment for next week. I usually only see her once every two weeks, but we both recognize that I have a tendency to start going down a bad road in my head and making this all about how I was deficient and she wants to make sure that I don't go do I, to be honest. I'm fighting it really, really hard. I feel like a failure at relationships...even when I think I'm doing it right, well, anyway. She and I talked about (ok, I sobbed about) how I really want to deal with this and my issues head-on. I don't want to use food, alcohol or sex to deal with them. She said I was doing just that, dealing with them and it would hurt like hell, but it would be ok. She assured me that I was ok...that I was doing just fine and I WAS in fact dealing with my stuff.

Just wanted to update you all. I've gotten lots of support and hugs without me having to give any word to people about what's been going on specifically. I really just didn't want to talk about it. The heart will heal...but man, it just so sucks right now. I miss him. :(

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Here I sit...struggling with a knot in my stomach that extends from my hips to my neck. I don't know whether to cry...I don't know that I really want to talk about it either...but I know it feels awful. And it also feels kind of numb at the same time. I also know that it's coming from fear. I feel as though I've failed in this area of my life sometimes. I get the feeling that people look at me and think I have my life so together. Well guess what? I don't.

Inside, sometimes I feel like a complete and total wreck. In fact, I feel like that a great deal of the time. But I think I've become a pretty good actress in that externally, people don't usually see that. If it gets so bad that it actually starts to spill out, well, I'm already at the point where I'm not sure how to keep pushing through. I don't actively seek ways to hurt myself, but I don't deny that I have those times when not waking up or an accident happening doesn't actually sound like respite.

There are days when I literally cannot stop the tears from flowing from my eyes while I sit quietly at my desk at work. I hide in my cube...I don't want anyone to see me this way because it's obvious that I'm hurting and if I start to talk about it at all, I'll completely fall apart. I've pushed a few people away when they've noticed the tears in my eyes and they've asked what's wrong. All I can do is say nothing and walk briskly away to splash cold water on my face. I still fear that I'm going to start crying and lose control and never regain it again. And if that happens, I'll end up back in the hospital and lose my child. I still have nightmares/dreams about being back in the hospital. I have at least a few of them each month. In those dreams, my child's care is always of great concern to me...who has him...where does he think I am...will I ever see him again.

I am tired of battling this crap in my life. I am angry that after so many years of therapy there is pain, there is daily battling my demons, my fears, my insecurities. They are all still there...despite years and years of therapy. Despite opening myself up to people. Despite trying to have a positive outlook. Despite trying to remain a person who has hopes and dreams. Despite talking to myself in my own head to talk myself OUT of these places. It is still a daily battle...and I'm really, really worn out and I feel beaten down. It is a lot of work and diligence. Sometimes I just don't want to work at it anymore.

I watch my son struggling with his own depression and I feel like I've cursed him. That all of his anxieties and worries are all my fault. Despite my best efforts to fix myself so that he may grow up healthy, I failed. Great, now by my very existence, I've hurt his life. I don't know how to reckon with that guilt.

When I feel crappy, and it starts to spill out, my insecurities about people loving me come out in full force. It's like "shit, they'll see the REAL me and realize that I'm this needy, clingy person who makes them absolutely insane and annoys them and they want to ditch as quickly as possible. How could I have ever believed that anyone could actually love me? What a fool I am!" It takes such tremendous effort NOT to allow my thoughts to stay there. I know that if I let the thoughts go there, well, the abyss will just get deeper and darker. I try to focus on how my experiences might help someone else. And when I feel like I'm a failure at even that, it seems like working through all this crap in my life has been for naught. I have nothing to offer...nothing of any value to anyone...least of all the people I really care about. If I can't be here for anyone else, what purpose do I even have here at all? I guess I still have a whole lot to learn about letting go.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Life Is So Rich And Blessed

The more I think about my life, the more I realize just how spectacular it is. That doesn't mean it always feels great, not by any stretch. But it is vibrant with activity and feelings that I actually deal with. The incredible network of friends I have forged over the years sustains me. In my friends is my lifeline, no doubt about it. And the more I open up to them, the more I realize how incredibly well suited they are to being in my life and being what I need right here, right now. I feel as though I've finally started really finding HOARDS of people who, just like me, are willing to deal with life on life's terms. As a result, we can share and bond through those common struggles. How incredible is that?

On New Year's Day, in conversation with my friend Dave, he started talking about the NOW and staying in it. I thought he was actually poking fun at me after reading my blog post. Nope. Turns out he had written something along the same lines for a newsletter he does. It really had me doing a a positive way, and smiling.

This morning, I received an email update from my friend Vicky F. There are two paragraphs from her update that, with her permission, I am posting here because they resonate so strongly with me.

"The purpose of friendship has become the focal point of my heart. It always was the cat’s meow and now it is the lifeblood. I have spent more energy and emotion on the true treasure of living. Friends are everything. At every opportunity take the chance. The richness of living life slower with friendships is worth more than every single quarter I have ever earned. Is it an age thing? Am I beginning to realize the secret of life? Finally, eh?

I want to share a little profoundness. So many physical changes in the last few years have peeled away some armor that I used for protection. I reached out to a therapist to examine my choices of coping mechanisms. I discovered basic rules I have set for myself began before cognitive thinking was even on board. Seeking to educate myself remains my biggest joy. Discovery of the “why” in choices is very revealing. Childhood circumstances can form our lives far into the future. We can choose, every day, forever, how we apply the experiences to our lives. First we have to understand those experiences exist and affect our reason. It has been pure joy to see why I am the way I am. I see more clearly how my choices direct my happiness. My advice: Take the time to be your own friend. Love you ~~ it is miraculous."

Vicky said it so very well. So incredibly well. I share it here with you because I think it's something we all could benefit from embracing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's actually 2009. Wow! The year 2008 will seriously go down in history for me. It was a year of tremendous change, physically, personally, emotionally. I continued to work on changing my body size/shape/condition, I changed jobs, I turned 40, I began dating someone seriously. I had the realization/thought the other day that my life is likely more than half over. And the past 20 years that I have grown and changed since being that young adult in tremendous emotional turmoil, well, in another 20 years I'll be nearing retirement. How did time come to move so quickly?!?!

I find myself thinking that I need to make damn sure I make the absolute best of these years I have ahead of me. Life is indeed too short to wait for anything. If I want it, I'm going for it. If I don't know what it is I want, well, then it's worth the effort to figure that out or at the very least enjoy every last second of where I'm at in the NOW. One of the books I've been reading (slowly, very, very slowly) is by Eckhart Tolle. I must admit that I have to take the book in really little doses so that I can actually grasp what he's saying. Makes me wonder sometimes if I'm just really that dense or my mind really just struggles that much with appreciating/enjoying/living in the NOW (instead of the past or future). In looking on his website this morning, this quote was there:

"When you are present in this moment, you break the continuity of your story, of past and future. Then true intelligence arises, and also love. The only way love can come into your life is not through form, but through that inner spaciousness that is Presence. Love has no form."

I think I'm going to contemplate that thought today...there's a lot there and I think it has great value. There are many things which occurred in 2008 that continuously pointed to me needing to focus on staying in the now...the lesson is apparently very necessary for me. I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions. My philosophy is that if something in my life needs to change and I recognize it, there's no better time than the present. It is always the case that one never knows when something else is going to come up. Life has a funny way of throwing curve balls and screw balls and the only thing you CAN count on is that those things will happen and you will never be able to be completely prepared for best to learn how to roll with it. If I've learned nothing else in this life it's that there is no shortage of my own issues to grapple with on any given day, but it has gotten much easier for the most part over the years. Yes, there are the "core" ones that get kicked off periodically, but even those are getting easier to recognize quickly and rebound from when placed in perspective.

Happy 2009! May it be a year filled with laughter, love, learning and light!