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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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?

G-d-shaped hole in all of us

I’m well off the wagon. I told my sponsor I fell off and the wagon is currently picking up passengers in a different time zone.

I’m a size bigger, my face looks wider, my chin can now add a plus one to its invites.

I’m not fucking happy.

My mother – the one with the eating disorder/s – told me she found a therapist for me that specializes in eating disorders. I told her to leave me alone – check the mirror and then we’ll get back to this.

This is not an “eating disorder.” This is a goddamn addiction.
I’m behaving like a fucking addict. I’m manipulative, I lie, I deny; I speak in generalities, technicalities, and seethe when I can’t get my fucking drug (usually in the form of a dessert or empty carb).

I lied last week to get an extra slice of applewood smoked bacon at breakfast. One piece. Was it enough? No. Did I feel satisfied? No. Did I continue eating more food anyway? Yes.

I am trying to fill a void somewhere in me, yet I fail to understand what’s still missing. The only void I’m currently filling is the space between my nose and my chin/s.

I stopped logging my food, stopped sending it to my sponsor. I fell off and since then, I feel disgusted at what I’m eating – why would I want to face accountability for that? In the face of all the feelings and thoughts I’m experiencing, relying on my higher power may be the only choice I have left.

Maybe this is my rock bottom. When I’ve lost so much control that I have no choice but to surrender let go give up.

Deliver me into my fate / if I’m alone I cannot hate

Work has become a living nightmare. My patients are OK, but administration is making it very difficult for any of us to do our jobs. They’ve increased the level of our required face-to-face time with patients; if patients don’t attend scheduled appointments it will count against us (apparently because we aren’t “engaging” enough… Look, I can be the nicest person in the world, but if your car doesn’t start or your kid’s in the hospital, it has less to do with my skills to build rapport and more to do with shit happening beyond anyone’s control). If your percentage of face-to-face contact is not at or above expectations consecutively for 8 weeks, you can face probation and fast track your way to unemployment.

I am to spend 7/8 of my day listening to some of the most horrifying, gruesome, sweet, touching stories of my life – with only 1/8 of it left to finish paperwork – paperwork that better not be late or unfinished or my ass is on the chopping block.

My job has now become less about helping others and more about saving myself. As far as I know, our company is the only county-funded company making these outlandish and exceedingly fucked up changes.

Oh, not to mention my patients, who are also receiving state assistance of some sort but may hold part time or seasonal employment, often MAKE MORE MONEY than I do. I’m just a tad bit sore as I have about $200,000 in student loans (that’s with interest) and an advanced degree.

I’ve been abstinent for over a week now. This morning I think I finally broke down and had a slip (yes, there is a difference between a relapse and a slip). My normal breakfast consists of one serving of Greek yogurt, one serving of homemade granola (barely any sugar – I add 1/4 cup of honey to 3 cups of oats, 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, and 1 cup of coconut flakes and some spices), and a banana. This actually fills me up and it tastes so good!

This morning, however, I went into the kitchen unscripted. I tried to make a breakfast with a fruit, protein, milk, fat and grain serving. And I royalty fucked it up. I ended up with 2 proteins, 2 fruits, 2 grains, 1 milk, 1 fat. My husband asked me, “Where’s your food log?” See, this is where shit got ugly. I knew what the fuck that meant. Just like I knew what the fuck “What about doing the lap band and OA?” meant. Even if I’m wrong, the female translation of these sentences to someone with my negative mindset is: “You’re eating too much; get thinner quicker because I have to turn my head to look at all of you.”

:::sigh::: I’m sticking with my damn yogurt in the morning. This going rogue stuff is for the birds.

Someday we’ll know

I’m detoxing so hard right now.

My body is so weak it hurts all the time. My head is cloudy, my fuse is short. Really, really short. I will unhinge my jaw and swallow you whole for asking the simplest of questions.

Restless? Check.
Irritable? Check.
Discontented? Check.

Yeah. This 3-0-1 plan, on paper, looked easy as pie (Apple pie. Dutch Apple. A la mode. With chocolate syrup and whipped creamALICE!!). Ahem. Easy as hell.

But this is hell. Reading labels, weighing food, measuring food, sending my food log to my sponsor every night – this is what I’ve come to. This is the only way. And I know I’ll get well in time, but right now I need to keep working my program.

My biggest hurdle as I face Step 1 is acceptance. Having been in control (or at least believing I was) for so long, it’s a tall order to admit to others, myself, and to G-d that I’m not only powerless, but I lack the ability to control this disease without the support and assistance from my Higher Power. To me, it speaks to my vulnerability as a human being; I was always taught to rise above that. To be fair, I was also taught to clean my plate, to drink orange juice and milk at each meal, and it was OK to finish a whole package of Rice-A-Roni pasta in one sitting. By myself.

Not healthy messages, I’m aware.

So, how does one admit powerlessness and inability to manage their life and all that’s in it due to disease without oozing vulnerability?

I guess when I figure it out, I’ll be ready for Step 2. Maybe.