Thursday, August 30, 2007

Medieval Helpdesk

Tech Support comes out and explains how to read a book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ

{giggle}

I know some of you will get as much (if not more) of a kick out of this as I did.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Went to Doc's last night.

My ear is healed. Apparently it can be normal to still feel some itching with occasional twinges of pain even after you are healed. Just takes time for everything to settle down again. Oh, and same with the antibiotic reaction. All I can do is wait for my body to heal and recover.
Am suffering from anxiety and doc recommends that I go and see a psychiatrist. She said that with all I've been through in the past couple of months it's no wonder I'm anxious.

So, yeah. My favourite thing. Have patience and wait for my body to heal itself...

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sheesh

No wonder the weight's dropping off me. I visited calorieking this morning for the first time in a very, very long time. Calculated how much I ate yesterday, and I had eaten 1200 calories, and that was a GOOD appetite day.

In a weird way, I now understand how those still on the diet train can fall in love with the magic 1200cals per day. They'd love the idea of losing 6 lbs in a week. Before, I could never get my calories that low without feeling like my throat had been cut. Now, I struggle to put in that much, and it scares me. I still think about food, I long to be able to eat all he foods I adore, but, I can't eat much at all.

Yesterday Alaskaboy made buttermilk biscuits(scones) for breakfast. I had one with organic raspberry jam, and one plain. Lunch was approx 1/3 chicken breast and some rice(cooked in chicken broth). Snack was another plain biscuit. Tried to have some steamed veggies for dinner which is what I was really hanging for, but after putting two little slices of carrot, a nibble of cauliflower and the merest smidge of cabbage in my face, I was actually nauseated by the thought of eating anymore. Hungry, but nauseated is not fun. Dinner a couple hours later ended up being yet more rice with some extra chicken broth poured over to make a rice soup.

Breakfast this morning was two slices of toast and some cream cheese, with, yes, more chicken broth. My problem is twofold. The nausea is one aspect, but the other problem is if I push too fast, I undo all the patient work I've been doing to settle my gastrointestinal tract and end up with diarrhoea again. So, little by little I'm trying to introduce foods other than rice, eggs, bananas, bread and chicken broth again. Last time I went too fast after my initial success. Not this time. I actually wanted more of the chicken breast in the afternoon, but wanted to see how the first lot went through.

Might try some more today, but we'll also most probably be off to the docs this evening. Have got one more of the symptoms on the side effects list. Bloody vaginal discharge. Funny thing is, I don't feel like I've got thrush as there's no itching, burning, or cottage cheese-like substance, but I do feel like I'm getting my period. Not so bad you'd think, except I've already had it this week. So not normal for me, my cycle is like clockwork.

Bugger waiting for my doc to come back next week, we're off to see someone else after Alaskaboy gets home from work. Only reason I'm not going sooner is because I don't feel strong enough both physically and in concentration ability to drive all the way there. (is well over an hour away.)

So, any prayers good thoughts etc you can send me way would be much appreciated.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Not quite how I pictured it.

I've had a Fernwood Fitness Centre t-shirt hanging in my cupboard for years. It's one of the most comfortable shirts I have to work out in. Over the years I've tried to picture how I'd feel when fitting back into it again.

None of them came close to the reality.

I'm down to 215.5 lbs this week, and it's not in a healthy way. I never even thought that I'd be putting on my beloved t-shirt amidst a flood of tears at the terrible irony. A fitness t-shirt when I'm so weak that doing a full sink of dishes is more than I can handle. A t-shirt from a place you go to build strength, when I'm too afraid to do any form of exercise in case I rupture my tendons. A t-shirt to a place that supports health in mind, body and spirit and I'm currently so afraid if I'll ever be whole again; in any of those ways.

I'm debilitated by the effects of this god-damned antibiotic. The lacking in taste and smell was just the tip of the iceberg. Anorexia and yet there's brief moments of gut-wrenching hunger, suicidal thoughts, weakness, nausea, tingling/throbbing/burning in my hands and feet that come and go, pain in my muscles that also comes and goes, depression, lack of sleep, nightmares when I do sleep the one or two hours a night I'm currently able to get, feeling like my lung capacity is slightly diminished, and the list goes on.

And my doctor who was s'posed to be back tomorrow, is now out until Tuesday. I've been researching Avelox on the internet, the drug that I took one dose of nearly a week ago...and there's a chance that these symptoms may not go away, or may get worse, or have other side effects crop up weeks/months/years from now.

There's also the chance that these are temporary and I'll be healed soon enough. And that is the result I'm hoping and praying as hard as I can for. And of course that the ear that started it all will heal as well.

EDIT: Sis-in-law raises an interesting point. Perhaps I've got a virus of some sort also that's being exacerbated by the antibiotic reaction. Talking with her I've realised I had been a little tireder than usual lately too, even before this ear and antibiotic thing this month. Will bring this possibility up with the doc when I see one.

EDIT October 2013: In hindsight, I was having an MS relapse. 

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Can you taste it?

It leaves a sharp, tangy taste on the tongue, as if one has taken a nice long slurp along a rusted nail or frying pan. My taste buds don't seem to be working all that well at the moment, but they're fully able to savour the taste of irony. Oh yes, indeedy they are.

This last little while I've had what is medically termed anorexia. No, not anorexia nervosa, merely plain ol' anorexia; loss of appetite. It is one of the side effects from the antibiotics, and coupled with my greatly reduced sense of smell and taste, I've lost my joy and appreciation in cooking. And eating. But, I haven't lost my appreciation of food altogether, in fact I'm finding new ways in which to appreciate both food and my life.

The first few months of living here I've done nothing but complain about all the things I've perceived to be wrong about it; Arguing outside on the street; Cars going by with loud music blaring at all hours of the day; The occasional gunshots; Paint smells that linger still in some of the cupboards; The smell of Tide washing detergent that affronts my senses every time the washing machines disgorge sudsy water from the outflow pipes; That my husband doesn't cook as often as I'd like him to; The fact that I can't walk barefoot on this carpet even though it looks plush and inviting, but then there are not many acrylic carpets I can walk on; all of these things and more I've bemoaned almost continuously since we've moved in.

The other night, as I lay on my bed dreading what life would be like if I never recovered my senses, I noticed that I could see the moon. All this time I'd spent with the blinds pulled tight, or open to allow the afternoon breeze in, I'd failed to sit and appreciate what I could see from the window. Yes, there are buildings, but I can also see trees and sky, and sunsets, and as it turns out, glorious moonsets too. I've never sat and watched a crescent moon or any moon really, slip ever so slowly below the horizon before. I do know I felt a sense of wonder and childish delight as I quoted a line from that classic of American children's literature by Margaret Wise Brown. "Goodnight, Moon." I said as the highest tip of it disappeared behind the neighbour's roof.

This week, Alaskaboy has made me rice cooked in chicken broth. Previously I'd disdained to eat this unless it had onion, butter, and a rich chicken broth in amongst the ingredients. This week, plain canned Swanson's Broth and rice has been good enough. Miso soup with tofu, wakame and a hint of dashi broth in it, was a gentle way to get some protein, iron and friendly yeast into my system. Alaskaboy and I made it together. And I realised that I'd never shown him how I make the miso soup that he loves so much, I'd never even written it down like he'd asked me to, once upon a time.

That, among other things, has shown me that I've done the one thing I promised myself I wouldn't do. Watching Alaskaboy cook his own meals this week, or reheat ones that I'd previously cooked and stored in the freezer has given me a new appreciation, not only for my skills as a cook, but of his skills and joy in cooking too. I've stood in his way of enjoying time in the kitchen as the chef. Oh, it's been a subtle campaign indeed, but it's happened all right. I've let my enjoyment of cooking for him, usurp his enjoyment of cooking for me and for himself. I've dictated when he's allowed to cook...usually when I'm fed up of "cooking all the time" and yet I've jealously kept him out of the kitchen, or attached to the sink in oh so many terrible ways. I can feel my own words coming back to haunt me, the ones I said to my mother many times in regards to cleaning, "What's the point? You only come along and redo it anyway." or "Let me do it MY way."

Can you feel the flood of tang that just spilled forth into my mouth? Oh the irony people. So many times since we've been married, and even before, I've bitched and moaned to him about how he takes away any joy in my own achievements in regards to housework and cleaning whenever he's comes along afterwards and pointed out some spots I'd missed, or how I'd done it "wrong". And here I have been all smug about how I haven't done that to him in regards to cooking, when in fact I have.

It's been a little bittersweet realising how much I've bitched and moaned about things that I should have been grateful for instead. A husband who does like to clean and is more than willing to take on his fair share of chores. A body that is fit and capable of exercising as often as I want. Senses that are fully active and are even better than most peoples. The ability to have the choice to stay home and have a chance to fulfill my dream as an author.

I find myself humbled today. Humbled by the very abundance that is found right here in my life. Abundance that comes from this blessing in disguise. I have momentarily lost my appetite, my senses of taste and smell, but I have gained so much in return.

I find myself wanting to write about my adventures here as an expat Aussie, instead of the usual SF and F stories I pursue. Perhaps that is why I've found myself blocked when attempting to write those lately? And instead of listening to my current desire, I've plowed on ahead with what I think I should be writing.

Yesterday we went for a visit to a nearby park, something that we'd been meaning to do ever since moving here; go to a park, any park. Instead we've settled for time spent with exercise videos and hours of sweating within these four walls. What happened to taking in life along with gaining health? It felt so nice to lay on the grass in the shade of a tree and watch the wildlife and the people enjoy a nice sunny day. I couldn't smell the grass or anything like I used to be able to, but I could look, I could hear, and I could feel.

I also found ten dollars in the parking lot of the supermarket when we stopped to get something to eat on the way home. I had purchased for myself nothing but a simple roll, and Alaskaboy obtained ingredients for a dish he hadn't made in several years. Something simple that he calls cruel gruel...chopped slices of turkey sandwich meat that's cooked in a white sauce...but something he does like to eat.

Simple pleasures that have gotten lost along the way amongst my need for complicated meals, subtle interplays of flavour and of course complex entertainments, movies, computers, books, mp3s, instant gratification etc. I've been saying for some time that I'm exhausted and that I want to stop the world and get off...perhaps, instead of bemoaning what I've "lost" I should say thank you for being given what I've asked for.

How about you? When was the last time you took to enjoy a simple pleasure, or to be grateful for what you do have, instead of whining about all that you do not?

Care to join me in relearning the simple pleasures and the joy of patience?

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Enough is Enough!

ER Doc gave me some relaxant drug and another milder antibiotic to take (neither script which I've filled; full up to HERE with taking tablets) and now today I'm still having waves of weakness, sore thighs, am having to force feed myself past the non-appetite and nausea what little I can get in my mouth. Yesterday I had to force a banana for breakfast, the probiotic drink took nearly five mins to drink. Ate approx 3/4 cup of home made beef chilli yesterday with some tortillas for lunch, had a small handful of choc raisins for snack, and come dinner time tried to force some homemade butternut soup down my throat, but all I could taste was pepper and hot plastic from having reheated it in the microwave (was in the freezer), went with an oscar meyer hot dog a slice of bread and ketchup instead. Everything I'm eating I'm having to force feed myself after waiting out about an hour of nausea at the mere thought of eating.. And I'm hating it.

TMI Warning: and things are going on through only about half-digested.

Am gonna try some Ensure/Sustagen today, well if it's a good idea what with the whey protein and that (increases mucus production natch) and hoping and praying that this is all temporary and goes away. What's a writer with word confusion and a chef without more than 5% of her smell and taste and what she does have is screwed up. I mean, I confused bacon cooking outside with that wet hair barber/hairdresser salon smell! Me! Only knew it was bacon because Alaskaboy told me so.

My quality of life at the moment is literally in the toilet. Weak, depressed, can't eat, can't go out in sun in case of sunburn, can't concentrate on anything for too long, when I do eat am overcome by weakness and must go and lay on bed, laying on bed often includes more sobbing, and the ear is *still* a little sore/itchy. Let's not forget the hot throbby prickles in the feet that come and go, and the weird flashes of red I had through my eyelids at OhGOdO'clock this morning.

Anyone else have any experience with this kind of thing before and got any words of wisdom to offer? My doc isn't back until 23rd of August, and I figure if I go to the ER again, they're just gonna tell me to keep doing what I'm doing.

EDIT: A friend suggested go with mild and bland foods, so I've been sticking with bananas, rice cooked with chicken broth, and had a drink of gatorade plus the watr today. Feeling a little better appetite wise. Could smell a few more things this evening too. {fingers crossed for more improvement}

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ugh.

No one sees the depth of me.
The hidden worm inside.
Loneliness is his name,
and he squirms through my life.
Glistening.
Always coiled, deep in my heart.
Fear and Anger are his siblings.
Anger coats my tongue.
Fear hides in my gullet.
Combined, their weight fells me.
I wish to fly.
Instead, I cry.


Today I'm feeling drained. Emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I've had this ear infection, switching back and forth between ears, for a month now. Over the weekend the doc tried me on a short course of oral antibiotic, since the two lots of ear drops didn't seem to clear it up completely. A hot flush, diarrhea, even more loss of appetite, then two hours of nausea on Monday morning was enough to send me back to the doctor's. All with no improvement on the ear, mind you.

Yesterday, I took the first of a new set that I'd been given. Enter extreme mood swings, frequent urination, complete loss of appetite, and then approx 4hrs after taking it I was overcome by weakness and shaking. Alaskaboy was an hour away, and an ambulance was too expensive. Eventually I was able to get hold of N. (One of the people I've met through an online group.) Luckily she was home and lives about a ten minute drive away.

She took me off to the hospital, after one of my neighbours waited out on the footpath with me in case I fainted or something.
Alaskaboy turned up at the ER about thirty minutes later, and he had a dressing on his hand. He'd collected a two inch long splinter in his hand at work, and had been in the process of getting it seen to when I called him. We made a right pair.

N. stayed throughout the triage process with us and registration, then went off home. Short time later was seen by the doc. Apparently I'm the third case he's recently seen with this kind of reaction to this antibiotic. All there is to do is wait it out. He did prescribe something to relax me and a new antibiotic. The antibiotic he said hold off on getting for a couple of days as the ear does look quite good.

Didn't need help sleeping as I was exhausted by the time we got home. But, had to struggle my way through half a small tub of yoghurt...the first thing I'd eaten in seven hours. Was completely nauseated by teh thought of eating. Today I'm still weak, but I don't know if that's the antibiotic continuing through my system, or if it's the lack of food, or both. I do know my taste buds have gone haywire. My appetite is still non-existent even though my body's letting me subtly know that it's hungry. Have managed to force feed myself a half a cup of soup and some bread at 5:30am, a yoghurt around 10ish, and an egg sandwich about an hour ago.

I'm declaring myself done.

After the anxiety attacks last month, all the emotional work I've been doing lately for dealing with my overeating issues, dramas involved in getting tickets organised for Australia, and now another month of feeling like crap. I'm done. I can't do this anymore. I'm sick of not feeling like myself. I'm sick of crying. Have given up on calling shrinks, none around here seem to be taking patients.

I wanna stop the world and get off until I'm feeling well again. I want my dog here. I miss her companionship so much. These few weeks have been nice in one respect because Alaskaboy has been working shorter hours. But at the end of this month he goes back to his usual schedule, and I'm dreading it.

I'm hoping this feeling of blahness and depression is being exacerbated by the antibiotic reaction and that once it wears off completely I'll feel much healthier and happier. Am hoping that I'm merely exhausted from the hectic few months I've had.

Today my loneliness is unbearable. Today, and every day for the last little while, writing has seemed like a huge burden and a herculean task just to sit at the desk. Getting any other kind of job is unthinkable due to my lack of confidence. All round I'm feeling like a waste of space and a misery guts. And I hate that feeling.

I have so much to be thankful for, but today, I'm unable to appreciate it. Hopefully just for today, and tomorrow I'll be feeling better.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

new measurements

Sorry this post is blah today, but that's how I'm feeling. A month of having an earache tends to do that to a person though. Am pretty sure I swapped it back and forth between my ears when using the ear drops. This afternoon will make day four of a five day course of oral antibiotics..and the ear is STILL SORE! Not. Happy. Jan.

The progress? She is a happenin'. Turtle-like, but I'm okay with that.

Oh, and my waistline measurement is so much higher, well, because everything has firmed and lifted. My 16W cargo pants, they don't actually do up anymore. Anyone else find that? Clothes that fit, then didn't fit despite yourself being both thinner and lighter?

Feb's Measurements:
Upper Chest: 100.9
Bustline: 119.7
Upper Right Arm: 44.4
Midriff: 97.6
Waistline: 104.7
Upper Hips: 133.0
Hips/Buttocks: 136.3
Right Thigh: 71.6
Left Thigh: 73.6
Right Calf: 41.7
Left Calf: 41.7

TOTAL: 965.2 cms


This month:
Upper Chest: 101.0
Bustline: 118.3
Upper Right Arm: 44.5
Midriff: 96.3
Waistline: 107.1
Upper Hips: 131.9
Hips/Buttocks: 134.9
Right Thigh: 70.5
Left Thigh: 72.4
Right Calf: 41.6
Left Calf: 41.3

TOTAL: 959.8 cms
Loss of 5.4 cms / 2.1 inches

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Not Quite One Night In Bangkok...

But, feeling like the world is my oyster today all the same.

Got our tickets for the Aussie trip. We'll be there from 3rd of December and come back home on 12th of January.

WHEEEEEE!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hurdle me this, Evil Overlord.

Riddle me this, Batman. When is a chicken, not a chicken?

I was talking with my mum on the phone yesterday about how I'm fed right up to here {waves hand about a foot above head} with being a chicken. This is the third time this year that I've gotten below 220 lbs or 100 kgs. Each and every time I've scurried on back to the bigger side of the street. My coat? It's not dreamy, it's technicolour yellow.

As I was relating my frustration, Mum counted back the weeks that she'd been putting on weight. She thought it had only been three, but was in fact four. She's put on 700g over the last month. At first we thought it was a similar thing to what I am going through, but in this case, her number is 73 kgs. She got all the way down to 73.2kgs (161 lbs) her lowest weight in over twenty years and has now come back up closer to 74kgs. This time around, since she had the "That's IT!" moment that all the success stories seem to have, it's been very rare for her to put on more than two weeks in a row. Plenty of plateaus, yes, but not sustained gains over a full month. Something was afoot, but what?

All throughout her steady weight loss of 17kgs over the last two years, she had another woman at her weight loss group that always seemed to be a step ahead of her, and it was this woman that got all the compliments from the group. Mum was pretty much the invisible woman in amongst her circle of friends, as well as the whole support group. She'd complained a few times of being hurt by this lack of notice, but shrugged it off and kept plodding along her merry way.

Guess what's been happening the last 5-6 weeks or so? Every conversation we've had over that time she's told me of a new person, or even several people in the one week, who've noticed that she's lost weight. She's even getting comments on how much healthier and fitter looks since she started up water aerobics.

"A-HA!" I said. She's feeling embarrassed, and a little bit threatened by all that attention. It's okay to sit back and bitch about not receiving it, but when you're in that spotlight and receiving compliments left, right and centre, it's a little unnerving. Well, for the women in my family especially. It's like we took the tall poppy syndrome and distilled it before pumping it through our veins.

Now that we both have our secret hurdle out in the open, instead of merely wondering about it in the privacy of our own minds, it will be interesting to see if we make more progress. I don't know about my mum, but I'm sick of having some number on the scale or unexpected compliments, be the evil overlord of me.

Mine is a psychological and emotional attachment that I've placed on the value of 100 kgs; my mum's is compliments. What or Who is your evil overlord? And do you think it'll be more of a 100m/110m or 400m hurdles race to beat it?

BTW, a chicken is not a chicken, when it's a hurdler balking at a jump that's currently too high for their skill level...

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just Relaaaaaaax.

Several years ago, a friend and I drove down to Venus Bay to frolic along the shore for New Year's Weekend. I adored swimming, my friend was more interested in hanging on the beach and drinking with the others. Leaving her to flirt and giggle, I shucked off my clothes and dove into the crashing waves. Bliss! The water was the perfect temperature for swimming, and the waves were big, but not huge. I swam back and forth along the shore for awhile, sported amongst the waves, and growing a little bored eventually, I looked back to shore to see whether anyone else was coming in with me.

Now, aged ten, I was swept along the beach a couple hundred metres when I didn't know about current, and panicked completely when I looked up and couldn't see my family anywhere. This look back at the beach carried with it that similar kick-to-the-gut feeling. But today, I hadn't been swept along, I'd been pulled out. The tide had turned and I was being inexorably coaxed out to sea. My ignorance this time was due to only having swum in bay beaches before, never along the coast. I'd assumed Venus Bay was also in a bay. No, the bay was there, but the water that the town faced on was coastal. Very different creature to bay waters let me assure you!

I turned my head to shore and swam as hard as I could. No lifeguards. My friend and our new acquaintances getting tipsy up on shore. No one looking out for me...and I wasn't going anywhere. Now, I'd had training as a pool lifeguard and been a competitive swimmer, and could be classified as a strong swimmer. Against the ocean that day, it was as though I was the puniest thing to ever venture a toe forth into water.

I admit, I panicked there for a bit. I felt like a cartoon character, arms and legs just a blur as I tried my utmost to attain my goal. To no avail. So I stopped. I tried body surfing in on the waves, but without flippers, I was now too exhausted to stay atop the waves and I'd roll off their backs like they were ducks and I was the annoying water droplets.

My guess is that I'd been out in the water for well over half an hour now...and still no one had looked to see where I was. Stuck out there, without the power to do more than thrash about uselessly, I realised that I could die. And my only hope of rescue was up there on the beach clueless as to my plight. I ceased all movement except what was necessary to tread water. I looked at the sky, I looked at the water, I looked back at the beach and I came to a decision.

Swimming, thrashing, panicking or any and all attempts to help myself had failed. All that was left to do was relax and accept my fate. Either I'd be swept even farther out to sea, or through the action of the waves, I'd be tumbled into shore, eventually. I can't say that I felt at peace, but I did feel that for the first time in my life I'd completely surrendered to my intuition, and to fate.

End over end I was tumbled. I didn't know which way was up or down at several points in time. There were some moments when I don't know where I dragged the last ounce of will power to hold my breath those few seconds longer to enable my head to break water and gasp another quick gulp of air before being turned arse over tit again. Through it all I hoped that I was being pushed closer to shore and not out into the wide blue yonder. I don't remember if I was afraid of sharks at this point or not, but I do know that out meant death and in meant life.

In was where I ended up.

That point out in the water where it was relax or thrash, hope or fear, live or die, is where I am right in this moment in regards to losing weight. All this thrashing about and gnashing of teeth and wailing that I've been doing this last week or so, is because I've realised that I am losing weight. I've been so afraid of this for so long. So many fears both open and hidden about losing weight are rearing their ugly heads. Led by my major fear of how easy this has all been recently. The other week I had it all together. I was breaking down my creative blocks, I was eating intuitively every meal, I was exercising regularly, and I was seeing visual progress in the mirror, seeing it on the scales, and feeling it in my clothes. And I panicked.

I haven't been out of the house in five days. I've hidden behind books and food, and haven't done any of my artist's way exercises for week three. In short, I've been thrashing about trying to get away from my fate. This morning it hit me, all that thrashing is getting me nowhere except exhausted. And just like that moment out in the water I've decided to relax, and see where my intuition and fate take me. I've fought for ten long years to hide behind my fat, and I'm tired. So very, very tired of hiding my true self. Tired of pretending to be less than I am. Tired of being afraid. Tired of being fat. And so, brought to a halt by all my useless thrashing about, I'm now ready to let myself go with the flow.

Here's hoping I end up back at shore.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

How High?

I didn't write my Morning Pages for two days running.*
I weighed in yesterday at 220.5 lbs. My inner voice said "Good."
Yesterday I binged on not only food but cross stitch and books also.
This morning I weighed in at 221 lbs. My inner voice said, "Even better."

So, I'm done with the scales. I've asked Alaskaboy to hide them again. This time for three months, and I'll see if I want to unearth them at that point or not, or whether they need to stay for another few weeks/months. (Undecided whether to weigh at annual physical checkup, or not. Will go with what feels right in that moment.)

This morning the reason for my formless anger and binging over the last couple of days became readily apparent. It wasn't somebody else that I was angry at, it was me. I was being a coward. Afraid of how much progress I've been making both in my personal and professional lives.

I was feeling threatened because someone had put a fair market value on my donation to a raffle. I decided to give my services as a chef and cook dinner for four people. Me, having the courage to be a temporary personal chef for people I haven't met yet. Wow. How cool is that? But, how scary that my time and effort is recognised correctly and given an appropriate price value!

I was feeling scared at how well my clothes are fitting. Not only fit, but some are starting to be a little looser than they've ever been before. Before I would have been ecstatic over this, but now I'm scared because it means I have the ability to lose these pounds in a healthy way, for good. I'm not using losing weight as a blind for my real problems, I'm losing weight because I'm dealing with my problems. Again, Wow, progress...but OH SHIT!

I'm worried that I may actually be learning to accept my job. I set aside a new book I bought last week and promised myself I could only read it after I've submitted two short stories. That book's still sitting there, untouched. I haven't even read the blurb on the back or cracked open the pages or even TOUCHED it since I sat it on the shelf; front cover out and in line-of-sight from where I sit to write. When I've done this in the past, that book is devoured within several days because I couldn't stand to see it sitting there unread. Wow. I'm learning to reward myself properly, and I've accepted that I WILL actually send those stories out into the world and thus the book CAN sit there until I've earned my reward. Gobsmacked is more how I'm feeling rather than afraid.

So, you see, progress is happening all over the place and I felt overwhelmed. This morning, my anger disappeared when I figured out that I wasn't being a coward. That binge the last few days was me pausing to gather my courage for the next step. I needed just two days to take a breather from all this self discovery.

Those two lbs I gained are no doubt only water weight considering the amount of salt and carbs I had in the last two days. But, I'm ready to lose another crutch. Buh-bye scales. Last time I ditched them and Alaskaboy hid them was in desperation. I had to break my addiction to weighing every day and letting the scales dictate my moods. This time I'm making a conscious and well thought out decision to put them away. I've been using them to stay "safe" at 220+ lbs. I'm not a little girl, I don't need my water wings to swim. I don't need the scales to lose weight. I don't need to stay fat anymore. So, look at me. I took two days to stand at the edge of the water and take deep breaths and psyche myself up for this next leap forward.

And here I go. 1..2..3..Jump!



*(3 private journal pages every morning a day for twelve weeks to help unblock creativity by getting out all the mental detritus that's worrying you. Part of the Artist's Way program.)

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Combination Plate

Sea Urchin. I'd heard about it, but had never seen it or eaten it.

I had a hankerin' for some sushi on the way home from getting my haircut today, and so decided to pop into the first restaurant I saw. Sat down at the bar and noticed I was the only non-Japanese person in the place! Felt a little intimidated especially since it was all businessmen, but I kept my cool and selected a mixed sushi combo from the menu.

Some delightful miso started me off and then the plate, freshly made by the chef in front of my eyes, arrived with a mug of green tea. There were some of the pieces I loved, but not my absolute favourite, Unagi, and one that I did not recognise; a little bright yellow one nestled on an ohba/shisho leaf and wrapped like the salmon roe sushi next to it.

After nibbling a few pieces, I decided to check out the pictures that were on my mug to see if the yellow jobby was to be found...gulp...it was Uni or sea urchin roe. Damn, I'd heard this stuff was alternately disgusting or heavenly, depending on who you were talking to. I ate around it some more, and pondered leaving it on the plate. But, then I figured no one I knew was there, so if I didn't like it, it didn't matter, but I also didn't want to lose face in front of the other people in the restaurant.

I turned it over so that the roe was hidden by the shiso leaf, gave it a dunk in the wasabi and soy sauce mix and put it in my mouth and chewed quickly. It didn't really taste like anything through the shiso leaf--at the time. Now that I'm home, I'm definitely getting a funky aftertaste on my tongue that I've never had from eating sushi before. I don't think I'll be eating the sea urchin again. There's so many other delicious varieties of sushi that I adore, so why waste money on something I'm not too keen about? Am pleased to say that I have tried it though.

I didn't realise how miserable my hair flopping in my face was making me, until the hairdresser cut it all off today. Hallelujah, I can see! That and the pretty nails have done much to reinforce my continued girly feelings.

My ears are pretty much cleared up now, the left still has a slight underwater feeling to it, but I'm hoping that'll drain away soon. If it's not gone within a week, I'll head on back to the doctor's again.

After my dramatic temper tantrum post of two days ago, I'm also feeling much healthier, mentally. That was a long festering thing that I'd been hiding even from myself. I'd kind of touched on it, or hinted at it before, but I'd never really sat down and dug right into the heart of it. Today, I'm feeling more positive about myself and the fact that I'm a woman.

Why?

Because look at all those strong healthy and happy women that are out there! Men don't have a monopoly on any of those things, no matter what my ten year old self may have thought. So what if I had nine older male cousins as role models against only two females. I loved to be a tomboy and revel in my muscles...no reason I can't be a woman and revel in my muscles too. Femininity and physical strength aren't mutually exclusive and my psyche has finally realised that fact.

Just because my mother was obese most of her life up until last year, one of her sisters is morbidly obese, another sister is in the overweight category, and only one has been at a healthy weight her whole life, doesn't mean that I have to stay overweight until I'm fifty. I took a good look at myself in every single store window I walked past today, and I'm me. I'm not my mother or my aunties, and I'm not my grandmothers.

Looking at both sides of the family, I've realised that what I thought was a genetic disposition to being overweight was in fact not. They've all had disordered eating patterns, some are still suffering and some are over it. The ones that are over it? Are in the healthy weight range or almost. I'm not genetically predisposed to being overweight. What I am, is genetically predisposed towards alcoholism and addictive behaviour. A lot of those cousins I looked up to when I was a kid have alcohol problems and aren't going to do anything about it. I have recognised my problem and am doing something about it. As far as I can tell, that makes me stronger than them. (“HA! Take that!” says my inner child)

I felt a little embarrassed the other day after posting that big long rant. No, I felt really embarrassed, for a good twenty four hours in fact. I have come to be sort of proud of the fact that I did post it. I've always been honest with my readers, and if I glossed over the childish parts of the emotional side of losing weight, then I'm cheating you, and I'm cheating myself. And I don't like cheaters.

Whenever I've cheated at anything it has always left me with a hollow feeling inside. It wasn't my victory earned by my strength and skill. It was a lie. I didn't win anything. So, when I get to the end of this getting healthy and losing weight trip and found out I had cheated along the way by pretending that everything is roses, or by leaving out the things that make me uncomfortable, then what kind of victory is that? It's not. It's a fake.

So, yeah, I'm still a little uncomfortable having that tantrum up in public, but it's a step on my journey and so it will stay up there where it belongs. And knowing that makes me feel relieved, because this is my journey, not anyone else's. San said it the other day, she's glad she only has a love of food and an inability to stop eating to blame for her weight loss. I find myself glad that we all have different reasons for becoming overweight in the first place, and I'm very glad that we all have different methods of achieving our healthy lifestyles...it makes for so much more interesting and varied reading after all! And I like variety. Well...sometimes.... I wouldn't have been suckered into eating that sea urchin if I hadn't gone for the combination plate!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I am Woman.

These last two-three weeks have been a weird emotional roller coaster for me. Not surprising since I had both PMS and an ear infection at the same time. Now, the thing about having mostly beaten my emotional overeating, I no longer have a convenient escape route or excuse to hide behind. And so, I had to run the full gamut of my recent emotions. Not only that, I am now seeing how much of a drama queen, and oh boy what a Diva, I am.

I became convinced that the lymph node swollen in my neck was lymphoma. Convinced. So we had days of hysterical crying jags about the unfairness of it all, now that I'd discovered how much I really do love myself, my life and everyone in it. More anger, more pouting, and a lot less eating thanks to the cortisone and antibiotic ear drops I'm taking. Miraculously the node started to go down, but not quickly enough for the likes of me. No, on day three (of seven to ten, mind you) I was sure that the drops weren't working, and you guessed it, because it WASN'T just a MERE ear infection I was SUFFERING from.

Keep those eyes rolling, it gets better.

Two days later, my period finished, and look, allofasudden I'd lost 6 lbs. Weight loss is another symptom, I pointed out to my husband, SEEseeSEE! And then, I found a hard pea-sized lump in my belly, around the area of my spleen. Holy Schnappin' Duck Turd, Batman, you shoulda seen the panic then. Poking around in my belly, we found more, many more. I made an appointment to go see MY doctor the day after she got back from holidays.

Blood pressure 122/76 up from 116/76 the week prior. (Stressed much? Me? Nah!) Oh and down four lbs on the doctor's scale to 222lbs, something I haven't weighed there in a very long time. Doc pokes and prods, and I “Ahhh” then breathe in and out like a fire-breathing dragon at the appropriate moments.

The ear infection had jumped sides, so instead of ceasing to use the drops and getting an unbroken nights sleep for the first time in nearly three weeks, I still had another week of the stuff to go. (Me and the lack of sleep, we don't play so well together.)

Then I gathered my courage and told the doc about the lump in my belly. We couldn't find it laying down, but when I stood up, yeah, there it was. Poking and prodding again and a”Hmmm” from the medical professional in the room almost had me in floods of tears, but I managed to control myself. “Nothing to get excited about,” was the comment. “It's smooth, and it's not near your spleen. It's nothing more than a cyst.”

Oh.

We'll keep an eye on it, and since I've got my long overdue yearly physical at the end of August, well, she gets to have another poke and a prod then.

Called my Mum the next day and talked to her about that and some of the other issues I've been dealing with recently, regarding past instances of unwanted male attention and forced intimacy. Apparently, she had those hard lumps too in her belly as well and they went away eventually.

Oh, really?

“Just go look at a piece of steak” said Mum. “You know the fat isn't all smooth, it's layered and swirly and marbled and you have the little lumps in it too.”

Oh. Yeah.

I also checked up a Reiki book I have. According to it; cysts are cause by hanging on to past hurts. Hmmm, we know anyone who's been doing much of that in recent years? And fat in the stomach area is fear of being denied nourishment.

What nourishment? I've always been able to have all the food I've wanted to eat, always.

Funny thing is I woke up yesterday morning with a bit of an epiphany. Something I'd said to Mum on the phone over the weekend had been nagging at my subconscious, but I'd been ignoring it completely. The whole, fingers in-the-ears-and-I'm-not-listening dealy, with extra focus on how I'm losing weight and a shitload of inches, so ergo I must really be sick and the doctor wouldn't know how to diagnose her way out of a paper bag. Yeah, that doctor, my favourite one who'd I'd practically salivated over the chance of having her getting her stethoscope on my problems. Irrational little Diva ain't I?

I hadn't updated my weight tracker software in awhile, so I decided to plug in yesterday's figures. 219lbs, something I haven't been in a very long time. And out of morbid curiosity I wanted to see just how many pounds I'd lost allofasudden, 'cause of being, you know, s.i.c.k. an' all. And what I saw shocked me. Since the 10th of June, I'd lost a ginormous 200gms. Yeah, that's right, half a pound.

Half a Fuckin' Pound, People!

During the six weeks since then though, I'd managed to hover back up and down between 222 and 225 lbs.

Why? Why the sudden climb back up to 220+ and why the sudden medical freak out again this month? Why was the fact that I'd bragged to my mum about not having to shave my legs or arms if I didn't want to sticking in the craw of my subconscious? Why the sudden refusal to do my Artist's Way's morning pages when they were helping so much?

{back of hand to forehead moment} Why? Why? Why? Oh Why?

Fear. Pure and simple fear. Okay, maybe not simple, but still fear. You see, I'm fast approaching one of my scariest deep and darks. Not the abuse, not the career, not any of the stuff I've already been kickin' and screamin' my way through working out--but the incontrovertible fact that I'm a woman.

I'm 30 and loathing that fact that I got my period and these tits and pissed off about why the hell can't I walk around with no top on when it's hot, dammit? So very much anger still, over a betrayal that happened twenty years ago!

I hated having to wear a surfboard under my leotard as a gymnast.
I hated having to wear a bra.
I hated the fact that all of a sudden running hurt.
I hated the fact that men, and women, began to look at me differently.
I hated that I looked different. Where was my familiar body?
I hated the pain of my menstrual cramps that four Panadol didn't even touch. (All praise the Naprogesic I found in high school.)
I hated that it was now undeniable that even if I was a tomboy...I was still a girl.

All this ranting and raving and drama over my health has been a way to deny that yes I am getting healthier; yes I am losing weight, for real; yes I am regaining my feminine shape; and yes I'm finally ready to dig up and examine one of the major reasons I'm overweight.

My ten year old self was disappointed to learn that she was a girl, in truth, and no amount of strength training at gymnastics, no amount of football or any of the other rough and tumble sports, or tagging along after her older male cousins at family gatherings would change that fact. And slowly, but surely, all the double standards that still exist in this supposedly enlightened era began to creep into my soul. My ten year old self saw something that she didn't want to believe, and so tried her best to break out of the mold that society has set for people of the feminine persuasion.

At ten, I was a defeated feminist. And I've been turning my anger at that fact inward ever since, instead of outward, where it belongs.

Yesterday I began to celebrate one facet of my femininity, instead of being afraid and angry about it. I shaved my shapely legs. I left the underarms alone because I stink less with the hair there doing its job. I went and bought some groovy blue nail polish and some decals to stick on. I went to get my haircut, but the salon was closed.

On the way home I went and bought a snack pack of fried chicken and a whole bunch of stuff to munch on. When in fact I'd wanted sushi for lunch. The chicken and chips weren't even nice, but I ate them. The small bag of Gardetto's was, but I kept eating way beyond the point I'd had enough. Half way through I realised I was angry, but not yet why. I acknowledged the anger, but kept munching the crunchy goodness.

Got home and straight away thought about putting on to cook two packs of the ramen/2minnoodles that I'd bought, even though I had a headache from what I'd just consumed. I even went as far as putting on the pot of water to boil. May as well keep going since I'm already feeling like shit, was my rationale.

Then, I stopped. There I was punishing myself again for something that wasn't my fault. It hit me—the salon was CLOSED. And that made me angry. How dare they interfere with my girly day! After I'd surrendered to my womanliness! How dare THEY? And here I was stuffing MY face? Get a grip woman!

So, I did. I went and took some ibuprofen, and sat down to do my nails. The ramen stayed uneaten. At least until nearly midnight when I was finally hungry, but couldn't think what else to eat. I had one packet and went to bed. Woke up at 4:30 in a panic while Alaskaboy was getting ready for work because my throat was so very dry and I had a dry cough and oh crap, I must be reacting to the ear drops because I've been taking them for so long!

Cue panic stations again.

No...how about I had home made chicken tortillas for breakfast, fried chicken and chips for lunch, a whole bag of Gardetto's, and then ramen for late meal? And last night was drier than the night before, and I hadn't drunk enough water, and ooh lookie I had a bit of reflux from the crap I'd eaten. Can anyone say dehydrated?

Emotionally, in so many ways, I'm still that ten year old girl. I don't like this scared panicky person I've become. But, I guess it's just another part of the cycle of learning to deal with my life and my emotions without the numbing comfort of food to hide behind. All I can do is go through my emotions, feel them and learn from them as they occur. Oh, and I still have the fear of unwanted male attention, but at least I'm working on through the fear, instead of cowering before it! (More on that later, this post is already long enough.)

I'm again reading When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies and I can't get that awful Helen Reddy song out of my head. I'm still a little fearful, especially about how strong I can become if all my energy is focused on living my life instead of on dieting, but I'm not in denial anymore. I am a woman, and it's not something to denigrate, but in fact celebrate.

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