Posts made in November, 2013

December 13

December is typically a rough month for me. One of the best things that I can do during this time is to immerse myself in a myriad of distractions. One of the distractions I have decided to busy myself with is a weight loss challenge.

Because it is going to be December 2013, I have decided to see if I can lose 13lbs in a month. This is a pretty big number, but a few of those pounds are going to be water and other things I’m hanging onto. When I first start my weight loss challenge, I’m expecting to lose a few pounds very quickly, but I don’t want that inevitable loss to count toward my actual “effort.”

I’m formulating a plan, something that I need to fine tune over the next couple of days, but what I do know is this:

  • I’m going to cut my calorie intake down to ~1300 calories per day.
  • I’m going to have as much of this as possible be liquid calories of the nutritive variety, which means Atkins shakes and fruit/vegetable juices.
  • I am going to ride my exercise bike every day.
  • I am going to do a yoga practice every day, though the extent of the practice will vary depending on pain level.

Tomorrow I really want to do some “before” shots as well as to weigh and measure myself. I think being able to look at a “Before” page with at least one photo and a bunch of pertinent information is a great way to motivate myself going forward.

I am not hell bent on losing a bunch of weight, especially not in an unhealthy or unnatural manner. What I do know, however, is that I have gained some weight since my diabetes diagnosis, and that’s really not good for me. At the very least, I want to lose the weight I gained since my diagnosis, because I know I was doing well then. I weighed 195 and I was doing well, until July 2012, which is when the gaining started. I was on so many different meds, I feel like things became really messed up. Lately I have been weighing more like 225, and I am not happy.

I have a picture of what I looked like at 370lbs, and I never want to be there again. I was so unhealthy. I was dying. I was so sick I gave myself diabetes and fibromyalgia. I was so sick, I am still struggling with complications two years after my diagnosis, seven years after the diabetes developed in the first place. It took only five years to destroy my body beyond repair. I do not want to spend another day getting worse. I only want to heal from this day forward. I only want to improve.

 

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Identity

Since April 2012, much of my identity has centered on my health. For the first time in my life, my health has absolutely had to come first in everything that I do. Everything that I eat, every activity I engage in, how and when I travel, and so many other aspects of my life have been impacted by the different health conditions that I have developed through the years. I try not to complain, to most of the people in my life I am very quiet about what I deal with on a daily basis, but I have come to realize that I am too heavily impacted by my health issues and no longer want my identity to center on them.

Yes, it is true that I have diabetes, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, retinopathy, gastroparesis and nephropathy. But those conditions should not and will not define me. I want to be someone and something else entirely. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be Jennie, who takes good care of herself, and not Jennie who takes good care of herself because her illnesses demand it.

I am so much more than just the trouble my body is giving me, or the harm that I have done to my body. I have forgotten in the past couple of years what my true identity is. Realizing this now, I know that I need to get in touch with long-lost parts of me.

I am:

  • Creative. I love to make jewelry, to work with my hands. To craft. To draw. I love to make little origami figures. I can make teeny, tiny paper cranes and rabbits and a wealth of other small creatures. I have an incredible amount of origami paper that has been sitting, waiting to be utilized. I have so many beads and findings that want to be crafted into jewelry. Where has my passion for jewelry making gone?
  • A writer. From day to day I write stiff, boring website content for my employers, but I am also a creative writer. I have many different ideas kicking around in my head but I’m not committing them to paper. I really want to use this blog to get back into the swing of writing creatively, passionately and for reasons other than a paycheck.
  • Energetic. When I am not hiding under the blankets cursing fibromyalgia for being a thing, I have a fair amount of energy and love to play. I love to chase the kids around, I love to ride my bicycle, I love to go for walks, to dance around the house, to practice yoga, to wrestle and so much more. It can be tricky, sometimes, to push through the aches and pains and get my body going, but I never regret it once I’m on the move.
  • Friendly and social. Although I am an introvert, I do love spending time with my friends and loved ones. My “adoptive family” here in New York, and all the friends I’ve met since I moved here in late 2011, are so absolutely amazing. When I am not feeling well, I let myself go into hiding rather than surrounding myself with these incredible people who truly care about me. I want to make an effort to spend more time with my good friends, the people that bring me so much joy and remind me that life is worth living.

I am going to make a point moving forward to live the life I want to live, rather than living the life I think my health demands of me. I still fully intend on taking care of myself, focusing on my health and  becoming a stronger and healthier person, but I am going to stop letting my health define me. Instead, I am going to let my actions and my personality define me.

 

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Polyamorous Love

Ask me on any typical day, and I’ll tell you that I’m polyamorous, and that polyamory is the most beneficial type of love for me. I love people, I love love, and I love the idea that different people lend different things to your life.

For the past month, my significant other and I have been courting a really amazing woman, someone who I fell hard and fast for. This may have been characteristic of me in the past, but I have been more cautious in recent years. Over the summer, especially, I had a very overwhelming experience involving a polyamorous relationship I was not allowed to be a part of. My significant other had a girlfriend who did not want anything to do with me. I was constantly left out, intentionally, and with malice. She wanted to have a life with him, without me. She tried to sabotage what I had with him, and in some ways she succeeded. My relationship with him suffered. I felt alone. I was not certain how long he and I would last, but I stayed as strong as I could, and I never left his side.

Things with that woman ended a little while back, and things with this new girl rushed upon me. I let my walls down even though I was terrified, and I welcomed her into my life and into my heart. Unfortunately, there are still wounds from the previous relationship, and sometimes they would rear their head at the worst possible time. The past few days have been rife with these anxieties, old wounds dredged up, and I was really hurting again. I tried to make these anxieties known, understood, but my cries seemed to fall on deaf ears, and neither of my significant others could fathom why I was so uncharacteristically upset.

Tonight something happened. She inadvertently conjured feelings that the previous woman conjured on many an occasion. She brought out my terrified, insecure, depressed side. I tried to make my fears known and understood, but once again my pleas fell on deaf ears. She simply couldn’t understand what I was trying to convey to her.

So I insisted upon a break from our “triad” dynamic and ran. I ran and hid in my comfort zone, something like a blanket fort inside my brain. I ran away because I could not deal with this again, I was not ready to think about the two people I cared about going and doing things without me. Not yet, not when the wounds were still so fresh. And she, perhaps misunderstanding my fears, assured me that I would have no say in their dynamic.

My heart broke.

So I ran to my little mental cupboard, tucked myself inside, and promised myself I’d wait it out, wait until the wounds were not so fresh, so painful.

Sometime later it was brought to my attention that she left a voicemail on his machine. She called us “abusive” and ended her relationship with us.

 

I don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t know how I feel about anything.

I requested a break from my relationship with my significant other, something I have been carefully cultivating for just over two years now.

Now I’m hiding deeper in my hole, afraid to come out, afraid to trust people, afraid to even be near people.

I really can’t handle anything about life right now.

 

I loved her. I really, really loved her. Too much. The only person I’ve ever allowed into my heart this way is my primary significant other. No one has ever been allowed to hurt me like this.

 

I am without words. The pain in my heart is immeasurable.

 

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Falling

In truth, there’s nothing uncharacteristic about this day. Today is just like every other day in my life, a little good, a little bad, a few health issues and some massive exhaustion. From the moment I woke up this morning I’ve felt very poorly, first with the all-over aching which tells me a lot about how being hit by a car might feel. The stomach issues kick in before I’ve even had my pills or breakfast, with heartburn and nausea setting in far too early.

It takes me an hour just to get out of bed and to the computer, and another half hour to take my meds and start crunching saltines for breakfast. Saltines. for breakfast. Yes, that’s how I roll. My diabetes is not happy about it. I’m not even sure if I remembered to check my blood sugar this morning. Probably not.

I did a little gaming, briefly touched my work and homework, then had something completely ridiculous set off my mood, and by 11:30am or so I was back in bed. I did not emerge from bed until 3:30 or so, and now it’s 4:15 and I am thinking about going back.

My stomach is upset, my head is pounding, I am depressed beyond reason and when I try to find reason I only become more depressed. I want nothing to do with anything or anyone. I’ve just about ended every relationship I’m in because I just want to be left the hell alone. I still am not sure why. When typical people don’t feel well, don’t they want to be surrounded by love and affection? I just feel like being left the heck alone.

I feel like I’m falling. I feel like the past few months have been about tumbling out of control, completely losing my footing and just going headlong over a cliff. Every so often maybe I get a hold on the side and lift myself up a bit, but there’s only more falling, and I’ve fallen much further than I can reasonably make back up. I’m struggling to pay my bills, I’m struggling to get my homework done, all because I am in a constant state of not feeling well. At this point, I almost don’t care. Wondering if I’ll have an apartment by January, or if I’ll finish out this semester.. those are things I used to care about, but they were higher up on the cliff and I’ve fallen much, much further now.

At this point I don’t know if the depression is exacerbating the health issues, or if it’s the other way around, but even on a good day I’m too flat-out exhausted to give a damn. I don’t even talk about it much, except to say “health issues” or “I’m not feeling well today” and I’d say most people in my life have absolutely no clue I’m struggling with soul crushing depression. Well, the cat is out of the bag now. Surprise.

Is this my life now? How do I get out?

 

 

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Invisible Illness

If you have ever had a stomach flu or food poisoning, you probably remember a time where being able to keep down saltines and ginger ale was a feat. You were happy to be munching saltines and keeping them down relatively well, because nothing else wanted to stay put in your stomach. Apparently, as I’ve recently learned, most days with gastroparesis are like a good day with a stomach bug. I’ll start the day with something relatively nutritive, such as an Atkins shake or an Odwalla juice, then within an hour or so I’m nauseous and unhappy, so I spend the next few hours slow-eating oyster crackers or saltines just trying to feel normal again.

At least once a day I’ll slip and put something in my mouth I really shouldn’t have. When you’re dieting or watching your blood sugar, “slipping” is eating an entire candy bar or that giant slice of cake after dinner out. When you have gastroparesis, “slipping” is eating the wrong vegetable, something with too much fiber in it, or just a little more food than your stomach was able to bear. The other day, I slipped and drank too much water. This week I’ve done a lot of self-educating about food choices through trial and error. My stomach seems to agree very well with potato in all its many forms, but unfortunately chicken (at least for the time being) does not seem to be an acceptable choice. I can eat an entire box of saltine crackers (my diabetes is not happy about this) without a problem, but the wrong cup of soup will completely screw me up.

This is just one more in the seemingly ever-growing list of invisible chronic conditions that I’ve developed. Hooray. Now I am a type 2 diabetic with fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and gastroparesis. 🙂

 

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