Sugar sugar/honey honey

Updates or rant? Updates or rant? Which shall I choose…?

Updates. I’ll rant another time.

It’s less than 2 weeks until I go under the knife. I’m not cutting myself – scout’s honor! I decided it’s time to take some accountability for my wicked ways and have gastric bypass surgery. I’ve gotten mixed reviews from my friends and colleagues – even my therapist, which was the most disconcerting.

The main problem has always been my psychological attachment to food. Food was a reward, my shoulder to cry on, my close friend in good times and in bad. Food never abandoned me or made me feel worthless – until one day I looked in the mirror and saw what food did to my body. A hundred pounds too late, I realized that food wasn’t a friend; it was a crutch. I needed food to comfort me, I needed it to celebrate and I needed it to mourn. Without it, I felt incomplete.

Well, I’ve since learned that I can have a good time in life without being food-focused. The problem is the habit is so difficult to break. I snack here, gulp there and — boom! I’m back up, 100 pounds over again.

My back aches constantly, I get winded brushing my fucking hair, elevators creak when I get on (don’t bullshit me – I know it’s me), and I have a fupa (for all you n00bs out there, it actually stands for “front upper pu**y area”). I swore to myself I’d stop eating when I saw the beginning of a fupa. Guess what? Little bastard snuck up on me. Nothing like putting powder under your fupa to prevent chafing and sweating. Goddamit – not cool.

Anyway. Ahem. I view this surgery as my Antabuse. For those not familiar with Antabuse, it’s a medication prescribed for people with a severe alcohol addiction. The medication blocks the absorption of alcohol in the liver, causing it to free-float in the blood in a higher concentration than if it was metabolized by the liver. This causes some really bad side effects like nausea, vomiting, headache – your worse hangover, basically. The point of the medication is to deter people with alcoholism to not drink, thus avoiding those shitty side effects.

Gastric bypass is to me as Antabuse is to an alcoholic. My stomach will go from being the size of a football to that of a EGG. I will be forced to take small sips of water, small bites of food – the right food – for the rest of my days. I will lose these 100 pounds, yes, but I will be forced to view food as a tool of survival, not as a coping skill. Eating sugar will likely cause me great distress due to dumping syndrome*. I’m okay with that. Something has to give, y’all because I’m tired of feeling like this. My back aches. My feet hurt. My A1C is not good – I’m pre-diabetic now. My cholesterol is high. My waistline is higher. It hurts to move (what was that about exercise?). I clearly don’t know how to eat sugar in small amounts and I don’t know how to control myself despite years of trying. I will make myself do it through biological means to save my life.

My mom’s mom? Died from atherosclerosis officially, but went through 4 years of ESRD* on dialysis before the dementia hit. You know what causes the renal failure? Diabetes from obesity later in life.

My mom’s dad? Died from a sudden heart attack. Had to buy an extra-large casket. He almost didn’t fit in the crypt. He was known for eating wild game. His typical breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs (cooked in bacon grease), grits, biscuits and gravy, sausage and bacon. On the fucking daily. Oh, and he was an insulin-dependent diabetic.

My dad’s mom? Fucking anomaly. She’s had 5 heart attacks, 3 stents in her heart, is morbidly obese and is diabetic.

My mom had the gastric bypass after a lifetime of morbid obesity and watching her parents die from obesity-related deaths. As much shit as I talk about her a lot of the time, she has been my rock in this. She’s been with me to all of my appointments and has talked to me about her struggles with her weight and her reasoning behind her final decision to have such an extreme surgery. She said she’d support me no matter what decision I made.

I was so unsupportive when she had her surgery – she didn’t tell me until she’d already scheduled it. I felt betrayed and angry. I didn’t get to go on this journey with her and she never explained all her reasons why. I didn’t understand then that it wasn’t for me to understand her reasons. They were hers and hers alone. She never lashed back at me for the nasty things I said. She just kept her head up. If she cried I never knew. That’s a mother; that’s a testament to real strength. Cause I would have slapped the shit out of me and told me all about myself.

Anyway. My family is riddled with obesity and disease; I won’t let their past dictate my future.

*ESRD – End Stage Renal Disease
Dumping syndrome – when food/sugar moves too quickly from the stomach to the small bowel, causing cramping, diarrhea.

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From my head to my feet

So that’s it – it’s final. I’m killing myself. I’m done. I’ve used up all 9 of my lives and it’s over. I’ve cheated death so many times; I can’t escape it anymore. My Higher Power has told me my number is almost up. 

I just get to do it slowly. Others get to watch; I get to watch. I’ll be slowly devoured by a disease that claimed the life of my grandparents in the most horrifying of ways. I watched my grandmother lose all her kidney function until she was on dialysis 3 times a week for 4 years. Over that time she developed dementia and became extremely labile: violent and hateful then minutes later, childlike, happy followed by apologetic and tearful for her violent behavior until it began again. This continued until she could no longer speak and began retaining water, slipped into a coma and died. 

So that sounds like a great future. I’m excited about it – truly. Considering I’ve gotten the disease 30 years earlier than she did, I’m on the track to die sooner. Splendid!  Just when I found the will and desire to live. 

Life always throws you a curve ball. 

The only way to reverse this is gastric bypass. Guess I’ve made my decision. I have no other choice. I made poor decisions that led me to this point. As much as food is addictive, I was never force fed. I chose what food to put into my body and I’m now paying a heavy price; I can’t get my glucose below 100 anymore. The only way I’ve gotten it to maybe 95 is to not eat for 8 hours – this is getting perpetually worse. I’ve been walking around my house complaining that I have no choice when I’ve been making choices that force me into a corner. I’m stuck choosing between body parts: my stomach or my pancreas and liver?  Do I sacrifice one for the whole?  Do I try to keep doing this on my own when I clearly cannot do it?  

Sorry stomach. It’s been fun over these years, but you’ve become a liability and we need to go our own ways. We just don’t work well together – it’s not you, it’s me. 

You got me wanting you

I. Fucked. Up. Royally. 

Waaaay royally. 

You always think as a kid, how fucking untouchable you are. Invincible. Magic as hell. I can do this – I got this. Y’all just don’t know me. Even in your 20s, there’s a certain smugness that comes with having survived your teens (somewhat) unscathed; now bold, fresh and ready for adulthood. 

Ohhh boy. Your 30s. They are sobering. You realize your body isn’t what it used to be, your parents aren’t what they used to be, your goals and expectations are miles apart because reality is a median that is difficult to cross. 

Fuck. Your 30s. Are goddamn depressing. My mother is getting older and I want to cry every time I see her; I want to steal back every time I was a bitch, called her names, hurt her feelings, treated her like less than – despite how she may have made me feel. Seeing my dad is just as bad. He’s losing his hair, hunching over, getting skinny – his mustache is white!  I remember when he looked just like Tom Sellack – no joke. 

I’m stalling. I don’t want to tell you what’s up. If I tell you what’s up then I have to admit the truth to myself. I don’t like this truth. No matter how much I don’t like it, doesn’t make it any less true. 

So I’m pre-diabetic now. So fucking kill me already. I haven’t eaten in 11 hours and my POC glucose is 82. Fuck me, that’s high. Had my doctor do an A1C test and BAM pre-diabetic. Oh and I have high cholesterol too – 200mg/dL. Great! Sign me up for the Fatty of the Month Club!  Do they give out pins? How about a luncheon? FUCK. So the words “gastric bypass” have been tossed around. 

Frequently. 

A lot. 

Like I’m probably gonna do it. 

Haven’t told my gastroenterologist yet so that’s good. I’m sure he’ll sign off on it, you know, because gastroparesis, IBS, and GERD. What the fuck. 

Every thrill is gone, wasn’t too much fun at all. 

It’s like a trapeze act around here. I get my bearings, holding on to one partner then I have to swing again – back and forth, until the jump – and into another partner’s palms I go.  From disease to disease, disorder to disorder, over and around. With all the switching back and forth between symptoms and doctor’s appointments, I get just a little heated when I see no movement on my pedometer – I could swear I’ve walked to hell and back. 

My stomach has gotten worse; every time I eat, no matter what I eat it feels like I’ve swallowed a bowling ball. 

So I stopped eating. In the past four or so days – not counting last night – I had two actual meals, the rest of the time I snacked here and there.  Is that good?  Of course not.  My gastroenterologist appointment isn’t for another three weeks and there’s no moving it up so I have to figure out a way to survive until then. I’ve tried soft foods, liquids, semi-liquids, small portions, and prayer. 

Nothing is working. It doesn’t help that when following my doctor’s orders and eating six small meals a day, one cup at a time, I started to become lightheaded, my glucose plummeted, and my blood pressure was kissing the floor. My sugar shouldn’t be 79 at fasting and my BP is normally low, but never 92/54.  That’s goddamned terrifying. I ran to my primary care doc who told me my psych and GI meds at their high doses are hypotensive – as my blood work came back normal, he said he’s going to discuss my issues with my psychiatrist first. I love my primary care doc – he seems to care. 

In the meanwhile, when at work I’ve been muddling through. I do my job and come home. It’s a 12 hour shift; if I’m lucky I get to use the bathroom – my desk is next door to the employee restroom.  I try to drink some water at least, but if I don’t eat it’s not the end of the world. 

Lately my stomach feels better completely empty than it does with even the tiniest morsel of food. While that’s great for my overeating disorder, it’s not great for me or my mindset.  I’m terrified I could swing to the other side of the spectrum of eating disorders.  Eating disorders run in my family – most famously in my mother who went so far as to staple her stomach to lose the weight, yet continues to suffer from body dysmorphia to this very day.  I don’t want to live that way.  But when the only things that I can stomach are hard candies and chewing gum, I feel trapped. 

I will shut the world away

Sigh.  I’m sitting in my psychiatrist’s office, dreading the conversation I’m about to have.  I’ve started binging again – polished off 1.5 pints of Edy’s ice cream in 24 hours.  

It was good.  Until the shame and guilt hit me.  I’m avoiding the bathroom scale; I don’t want to know.  I feel so lost.  I’m too ashamed to go back to OA.  I can’t walk in there, discussing my failure to rope myself in again.  

in the end, it doesn’t really matter

The stress I feel is unyielding. 
Or is it that I’m looking for an excuse to use?

At this point I don’t know which would be worse. 

I take my national licensing exam this week. I usually get test anxiety about stuff like this, but I’m not nervous. By this point, I should be sweating blood. I feel unprepared despite the fact I’ve spent most of the past couple weeks opening and closing the library. I finished my study guide on schedule, yet still… I feel numb. 

I guess it comes from some insurmountable feeling that if I blow this, I’m forever fucked. The test will allow me to go into private practice, the military – whatever I want. If I blow it, I have to wait 3 months before I can take it again, leaving me stranded at a job I both tolerate and despise. If I don’t pass, my salary will still be the equivalent to that of a general manager (with an associate’s) at McDonald’s. 

And let’s not even get into my addiction. I just ate my weight in fries and onion rings when I was on day 2 of my ketogenic diet. So much for hitting ketosis. I did it to myself, but all I want to do is blame it on my stress, my mother, my pets, my husband, the exam, work…everything. 

I feel sick to my stomach, but I can’t differentiate between binging and feeling stuffed, my growing disappointment in myself or my fear of failure.

How do you tell yourself that you’re not a failure when you’ve failed? What do you tell yourself when everyone’s counting on you but you’re uncertain of what you can realistically deliver?