It only matters what works for you.

Archive for March, 2016

What did your mother tell you?

 

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

My mom did at least.

I think that’s something that most of us have trouble with. Not when talking to others, but when talking to ourselves.

The hardest part of feeling terrible all the time is the feeling that I’m letting the rest of the world down. All the things I could be doing and accomplishing if I could just buck up, force myself off the couch, move faster, pay attention longer.

But I can’t. I just can’t.

Apparently there are people who are content to sit around and do nothing, even though they are mentally and physically able. You hear about it now and then. But I have to wonder, is that true? Are they really mentally able? Because if they are, it is unfathomable. Who could possibly choose to do that?

I put every effort into trying to maximize what I can accomplish. I eat the best I can, I do research, I force myself to accomplish things. If it takes everything I have to accomplish what must be done and leaves me no energy for what I’d like to do, well, there we are.

But when I look at people who just stop off at the grocery store because it is a nothing little task, I could cry. If I had done this and that differently. If I could just. I want so much to be able to do that again.

And I take all the blame on myself. It’s all my fault. No shifting blame to the doctors who let me go 15 or 20 years with undiagnosed food allergies and a thyroid condition. No blame to the government that gave me all kinds of horrible advice about how I should eat that caused horrible consequences. Only a brief harsh word about genetics.

No, it’s all on me. I should be better. I should be different. I should fight harder.

I promise, if I had anything else to fight with, I would.

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The thyroid conspiracy.

I’m starting to wonder if there actually is a conspiracy.

I know so many women who have so many of symptoms on the endless list of things that go wrong when your thyroid function is too low. And so few of them are on medication. Even fewer seem to be getting the information they need on all the other many co-factors that can go along with low thyroid like low iron, low adrenal function, selenium deficiency.

Why is the mainstream medical establishment ignoring so much of this?

Does anyone remember the 80’s, when PCOS was starting to be recognized as an actual syndrome? I don’t have it, so I may be remembering this incorrectly, but it seems to me as electronic communication, bulletin boards, and then the actual internet became real tools we could use, that women started using them to share information about issues they had that they couldn’t get help with. And bit by bit they pieced data together and had facts and figures they could start arguing with.

I’m a big fan of sharing information, you may have noticed. For thyroid information, the best one-stop-shop is Stop The Thyroid Madness.

And the more you look at the information they’ve amassed, the more you’ll wonder if it might not be a conspiracy after all. If it weren’t, why is it still such a problem?

White coats-Epilog

Yesterday I blogged about the fear of encountering a new doctor. I wanted to come back right away for those following along at home and tell you everything went pretty well.

The doctor was professional with a gentle manner. He let the facts speak for themselves. I was surprised how the appointment went. First let me say that they have double chairs everywhere, so armless seating was not a problem until I got into the actual exam room. I had expected to see the doctor, be sent off with referrals for tests, and have to return, but that’s not what happened. Based on my explanation of the pain they took x-rays first. Very sensible. The nurse who came to take my vitals was very cooperative about waiting to take my blood pressure until the end of the visit, since I always spike beforehand.

There wasn’t an armless chair in the exam room, but I could have sat on the doctor’s stool. Instead I just got up on the table. There was a bit of a wait, but not excessive and when the doctor came in he’d clearly already had a few minutes to review the x-rays.

The diagnosis was less pleasant, but not unexpected. Someone my weight can pretty much expect osteoarthritis in their knees. I don’t know if it’s inevitable, but I do know with my various absorption and inflammation issues I’m not at all surprised. The other issue is that there is no reason revealed in the x-rays for me to have issues with one side over the other, they’re pretty much equal. That tells me that the pain I’m having is muscular in some way rather than structural, which gives me something to work with.

Next step will be figuring out how much physical therapy my insurance will cover, and where and when to have that done. I’m looking at it as an opportunity to work with a trainer who really knows what they’re doing and will prevent me from doing any damage while I rebuild and rebalance the muscles. This is a good thing. I was quite willing to go back to the gym, but I was afraid of doing more damage. Now I know I’m not likely to do that, so it’s time to get right on that.

I also have a referral to a pain management specialist that he thinks highly of to get ideas of alternate treatments. Of course, my first stop after the appointment was Google to see what alternative medicine is doing to support the problem and found a nice article by the actual arthritis foundation that talks about nutritional supports to help with the inflammation. I’m already taking about half of them for my various issues, and they help me a lot, so I ordered a few more.

I’m glad I didn’t put it off a few more days.

White coat syndrome

I’m very excited that I’m feeling so much better that I’m ready to deal with something I’ve been putting off so long I’m not quite sure how long I’ve been putting it off.

If you don’t know, white coat syndrome is when anxiety related to doctors visits causes it’s own symptoms, specifically a dramatic jump in blood pressure, and sometimes other things. This affects women dramatically more than men, and I have a lot of trouble with it, due to a long history of bad experiences. It’s very easy to get caught up in a mental round of accusations and justifications and expectations and wind yourself up like a very shrill top.

My leg hurts. My fibula won’t stay where it’s supposed to and it pops and slides and hurts if I go up stairs, and it jams and hurts more if I stand on it too long, which is only a few minutes. I don’t really know what’s wrong, but it obviously isn’t going to heal by itself, so it’s time to see a doctor.

A new doctor. Which is very scary.

I’ve done what I can to find someone who will work with me in spite of my weight. I checked internet reviews and found someone with high compassion scores. Then I called the office and asked to talk to one of the nurses.

“I have a problem with my leg, so it’s time to see a specialist, but I’m enormously fat, and some doctors are more…compassionate… about that, than others.”

Because saying “At least one of your bosses is likely to be a fat-bigoted jerk” is not the way to win friends or influence people.

I got 2 names from the nurse and the receptionist told me I could see one of them this afternoon. I almost put it off until next week, just to put it off some more. But I didn’t. So I’m sitting here waiting for my appointment.

Rehearsing.

Thinking about what he’s likely to ask, and how I want to phrase what I’ll need to say. How do you explain to a fit, white male that your first response to pain or illness is to try to solve it yourself because your experience with doctors has been so…unsatisfactory? Because it’s not like I don’t know that being fat is hard on my joints. Or everything else. This isn’t news. But since I’ve been fat since I was born and every minute of every day since then, that probably isn’t the immediate cause of this problem. But even if it is, I just need to know what the problem is, so I can know if there’s a solution.

I believe that our expectations can contribute to our reality, but how do you balance positive expectations against a life time of experience?

So now I think I’ll get in some meditation and stop rehearsing myself into stratospheric blood pressure and a bad attitude.

 

When duty calls…

When duty calls, what if you can’t answer?

Jury duty, in this case.

I know a lot of people like to groan and complain about jury duty. I’m not one of them. Sure it’s inconvenient, and it’s lost work time and extra parking fees. But it’s also a right and a privilege that lots of people don’t have around the world. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s better than a lot of others.

A few months ago I got a summons and I put it on my calendar and didn’t think anything of it. And then a few days before I thought about parking. I live in a big metro area so parking is always a problem, but government buildings always have something so I called the accessibility line listed and asked the nice lady on the phone what the options were.

“Oh,” she said. “The public parking is kind of far.”

Now when a normally healthy person thinks it’s a bit of a walk, that’s going to be completely out of my reach right now. But there weren’t any better options. The disabled lot is nice and close, but you have to have a DMV issued tag to park there. The public parking is a 10 minute walk for the lady who walks it every day.

Now what am I going to do?

For your reference, if you have health issues it isn’t difficult to get a waiver for jury duty. You just have to have your doctor request one, so I wouldn’t recommend trying if you don’t really have problems. My doctor’s office was willing to have me excused. I also got a signed form for a DMV issued parking tag that’s good for 6 months so I can try and sort out what’s wrong with my leg. And after a bit of thinking, I realized that I have a friend who lives pretty close, and I could probably park at her house and take a cab from there to the Courthouse and get dropped off at a more-accessible-to-me location. So the physical issues were all sorted and I have a plan for the future.

But it was another unpleasant example of the restrictions my current health has me under. Another example of the frustration of trying to do the simplest, most mundane tasks of daily life. Another opportunity to be demoralized by something I’m working to change, even if I can’t quite seem to get ahead.

 

Is it organic?

There’s debate in a lot of places about whether or not organic is worth the money, whether it is really that different, whether government standards of ‘organic’ actually mean anything.

I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you it makes a difference from where I’m standing.

A few summers ago I did a completely unscientific taste test with grapes. I handed my beloved a plate full of red and green grapes. “Tell me if you think there’s a difference.”

Obviously there is some difference between the red and green, but the biggest difference was the chemical-y after taste and lack of true flavor in the commercial grapes compared to the organic. I could tell, but I knew which was which, hence the taste test with the unsuspecting husband. And even more unexpected was the follow up conclusion about why the bananas at home tasted so much better than the ones at work.

I couldn’t argue with that. We don’t always shop for organic, but I do seek out whatever tastes the best and get organic more often than not.

In a recent post I explained about my new soup based life style. I’d been going along happily for months eating home made soup once or twice a day as my primary meals. Then one day my local grocery was out of the organic roast chickens I prefer to start with, so I bought 2 standard chickens instead. How different could they be?

I instantly lost interest in soup. I found it fairly shocking. The cooking method was the same. The veggie composition was similar to every other batch I’d made. The biggest difference was the chickens themselves.

I guess I know better now. They were out of organic roast chickens again, so there’s lamb broth on the stove today instead.

 

Who am I?

One of the problems with being fat is that you spend your whole life trying to be someone else.

Someone thinner. And if you can’t achieve thinner, then you spend a lot of time racking up what you hope will be enough ‘normal’ points’ that you can be perceived as ‘acceptable’ despite your obvious failing.

Be friendlier. Be smarter. Be cleaner. Be obsequious, gentle, patient, forbearing…

Never display a personality trait that might take points off, because you start at such a huge deficit.

Of course, we’re only pretending. Nothing we can do will ever be enough to balance fat.

If we ever get to the point where we realize that, then we’re a bit lost, because we don’t have any practice actually being ourself. Who the heck am I anyway. Do I behave this way because it’s me? Or because I think it will win me points? Did I condition myself to behave like this?

Am I the person who can stand up in public and talk about how amazing I am at my job?

Or am I the person who writes blog posts late at night asking if I please couldn’t be someone else for a few days?

Well, I supposed everyone has days like that. Today is my day.

What do you do when you’ve tried everything over and over to be different, and you just aren’t?