Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A scary step of reclaiming

I've hesitated to post this, because at one point I know the crazy nanny and those who bought her story of lies were lurking on this blog.  Then, I realized, she has no power over me.  Life cannot have worked out well for her at this point.  She cannot find me now that we have moved and the honest truth is that I don't care if she is still lurking and reads this.  This blog is about my life, laid open so that others can maybe see an opportunity to relate, to see value themselves, and to fight to rise up from the ashes they find themselves mired in.  I can't do that if I hesitate to share something honest and personal just because someone who tried to harm my family might see them here.  Since moving, she cannot possibly harm my children again and with that move any power she had in my life was removed.  So, I'm working to get back to being transparent again.

To that ends, I have worked for nearly two and a half years trying to fight to reclaim my health now.  I started when we moved to New England and it has been a continual battle.  I can truly and honestly say that for the first time in my life, I have not backed off, have not refused to follow any path because the time or funds were more than I was worth.  I have truly, truly fought for health and healing for me.

I'm just not winning the battle. 

When I was a teenager, my egg donor used to smirk at people who had bariatric surgeries and make nasty comments about how they were cheating and no one should ever have surgery because they are too lazy to lose weight.  Even then, I told myself if I ever hit 300 pounds, I would absolutely have exactly such a surgery.

The irony is that I have not hit 300 pounds, and that line in the sand from my teen years has held me back from considering this step for a very long time.  Yet, I am clinical obese, and nothing I have tried will bring the weight done.  It is certainly not for lack of trying, despite the stereotypes that society throws around.

Last year, as we had to bump my blood pressure medicine over and over again to get it under control, I started thinking.  Then, the lab for diabetes started creeping upward.  The cholesterol levels jumped.  My doctor and I agreed that I could take six months to see if diet and exercise would fix them, and they crept up higher.  I asked for one more attempt to fix them last fall and started Niacin, which is known and sometimes prescribed to lower cholesterol.  Instead, they jumped even higher.  My psoriasis requires a biologic to contain.  My asthma continues to accelerate.  My knees that woke up hurting the day after Micah died, continue to get worse.  Because the knee pain responds at least some to the biologic, we believe there is a psoriatic component to the joint pain.  But, the reality is that there is also a weight component.

Since last summer, it's been very clear that the only thing I can truly do to improve my health struggles is to lose weight.  It's been clear far longer than that that I am not going to successfully lose this weight without something radical and life altering.

I started researching and tried to start the process for surgery last summer.  Four times I made an appointment, and four times something happened at work and I had to cancel the appointment.

Then, we moved back to the south and several children began to destabilize.  The increased stress of caregiving caused my weight to creep upward again.  I got put on cholesterol medication.  And, my diabetes marker is now at the point to diagnosis diabetes.  It requires that level two checks in a row.  So, literally, the only thing standing between myself and a diagnosis of diabetes is one more bad blood test.

I refuse to take diabetes without fighting everything I have left to fight with.  And, this precipice has galvanized me into action.  I started the process this spring, and have completed all of the pre-surgical requirements to have bariatric surgery.

Next week, I will alter my life forever.  There's an out of pocket expense to this, and it's been excruciating to give myself permission to spend healthcare funds on me, when I know the children are still going to need funds spent on them.  I feel horribly guilty that I am taking away from the family.  It's odd.  I never felt this way when II had Lasix surgery several years ago.  Somehow that cost, which was significantly higher than what this will cost, and was purely cosmetic, was fine.  But, giving myself permission to make my health this level of priority has been hard for me.

I'm doing it anyway.  I am very realistic about this experience.  Surgery will not fix my thyroid. Though, less weight will lower the stress my body undergoes and might help it stay more stable. It won't cure my psoriasis, though the stress of less weight might help, and the less weight on my knees might help them tremendously.  It won't cure my asthma, but I only required a rescue inhaler for my entire life until I put on weight.  Reduced weight absolutely helps with managing asthma symptoms and control.  It will make a difference in my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and my diabetes risk factor.  Those are the conditions that are urgent and potentially life threatening, and for those surgery will reverse most of the risks, and reduce their presentation if not eliminate them outright.

Two and a half years ago, I said I was on the edge of a cliff.  Either all of my fighting was going to get me backed away from that cliff, or I was going to have to do something drastic to stop myself from falling over that edge.  I'm doing something drastic.  I want to live to see my children grown and I want to be a grandmother to grandchildren in ways my children have never experienced.  I'm doing this for me, but I'm also doing this for them.

And for anyone who thinks this is about laziness, you are wrong.  In order to have surgery, I have had to go through quite a bit of testing, including tests that calculate my metabolic rate and my lean body mass versus fat tissue composition.  What my testing shows is that I have an insanely high metabolism.  That means that when I stop eating under stress, instead of losing weight my body gains weight.  The crazy theory my last doctor in New England had that I wasn't eating enough when I average 1400-1600 cal/day was right.  Except, I won't lose weight at the 1800cal/day she encouraged me to force myself to eat either.  I have to consume 2100cal/day to even start losing weight.  I see no way that I can maintain that for more than a day or so.  Yes, on a rare stressful day, I can consume 2500cal or so.  But, day to day I rarely hit above 1600, and even forcing myself to consume 1800 was triggering childhood abuse issues for me.  On top of that, it turns out I have fully normal ranges of lean muscle mass.  I just have high levels of fat and water weight on top of it.  When you read even negative remarks about bariatric surgery that say for a small percentage of people surgical options are really the only thing likely to be successful--yeah, I'm in that percentage.  Every step of this process, the nutritionalist has been surprised that the surgeon has altered his normal requirements and parameters and put in my chart that none of those steps are possible and therefore not necessary for me.  Yet, he recognized quite quickly what my oral history and the testing all told him.

This is what it is.  Next week I take drastic steps to ensure my health and longevity.  I just hope and meditate on it being paid off with good results and not the small risks.

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