Tuesday, September 13, 2016

So here's what I've been doing . . .

August 26, 2016 I woke up thoroughly depressed and ready to do something about it. I loaded up my two littles and we headed out the door. And hour and 5 minutes and 2.4 miles later, we returned. I have continued that habit fairly regularly since then. Today we walked 3.01 miles in an hour and 20 minutes. It's hard, I don't really like walking, but I do like the way I feel when I get back home. I am amazed at my body's strength and ability to endure. And I am proud of myself. I started this walking thing at 270 lbs. I walk at least 4 days a week (I am for 5-6, and Sundays are always a rest day). I had lost about 10 lbs, but following a health issue and a reaction to the medication, I regained that over a weekend. I had come back down a little bit today, we'll see where we are tomorrow.

If I can do it, anybody can. I started this because I hated the way I looked and felt. I was tired, so tired. And I was fed up with tripping and falling and spraining my ankles. So, I started walking to improve my mood and strengthen my ankles. And I can tell it's working. I feel so much better about myself. I am still frustrated about my size, and I am frustrated about my poor health, but I know that slow and steady is the way to go at this time. Perhaps as some of the weight comes off and my ankles continue to strengthen, I'll add a little running to it. But for now, I am at peace with what I am doing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

So, this isn't easy

I have really been struggling. I have a problem with food. Most food. All food. I am really struggling with portion control, not exercising, not doing the things I should be doing. And I see pictures of myself and I want to vomit. I look back at pictures, at the height of my Graves Disease before treatment, and I look so good. I felt horrible. I was having palpitations, dizziness, nausea, muscle weakness, etc. But dang, I looked good. Nothing like now. I hate the way I look now. I avoid mirrors. I avoid cameras. My husband says he wants pictures of me. The kids will want pictures of me. What happens if I die and there are no pictures of me? etc. Quite frankly, if there aren't any pictures of fat me, maybe nobody will remember me that way. I do not feel good about myself. I HATE the way I look. I feel thoroughly disgusted, no, revolted by the way I look, by my body. I don't feel pretty. And in the times when I do feel like I'm dressed up, all it takes is a walk past a mirror, or a picture, to prove how wrong that is. I hate this feeling. I hate this struggle. And worst of all, I see the patterns appearing in my kids. I see one child, in particular, gaining weight. I see her future, because I'm living it. And I hate myself for not teaching her better. I don't know how to stop this cycle. I don't know how to change and stay changed. I feel so alone in the struggle and so afraid that it's never going to get better. That I will always be fat and ugly. And that all I do in this world will never measure up to the obese, disgusting freak that I see.
I say this not to gain sympathy, or be told it isn't true. Nobody could convince me of that. And I do not say this lightly. I say this because this is what I think, this is what I feel. And if I can't be real about the darkness, (as well as the light, when it's around) then how can I be real at all?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Griffin's Birth Story

September 23, 2015

Griffin's Birth Story

September 23, 2015 I woke up with mild contractions. This was no biggie since I'd been doing that forever. I knew we would have to set an induction date at my dr appt. that day, and I was feeling rather grumbly and cranky about STILL being pregnant. But, I was hopeful that all the contractions I'd had over the last week would have done SOMETHING, SOME kind of progress. But, at my appt., I was only dilated to 1.5 cm and about 80% effaced. I was happy about the effacement, but bummed about the dilation. I had the dr strip my membranes, in the hope that at the least, it would put us in a better position for my induction on September 25. The dr sent me to walk for an hour or two and see if anything happened. Two hours later, and I was still contracting, but nothing was getting closer together or stronger or longer. So, I went home. I continued contracting all day, but really, nothing seemed to be changing. But, I called my mom and asked her to head out way. I wanted her presence around, and figured if she was there, at least when things DID pick up, I would have a sitter in place, and wouldn't have to worry about that anymore.
While she was on her way, things started picking up. Yay! They weren't painful, but longer and closer together. I lay down for awhile and just rested while I could. The kids got home at 4 pm and I found their noise really distracting and irritating. I wanted them around, but quieter, lol. At about 4:45, contractions totally stopped. I was really mad. But, I decided to eat dinner with the family, and then cuddled kids and helped them get ready for bed (ie gave them hugs and kisses). At about 8:30, after the kids were all in bed, contractions picked up again, this time with some seriousness. I pretty much stayed in my bed resting as much as possible and trying to cat nap between contractions. 
Around 10:45, I was singing through contractions, and my mom told me I needed to make a decision. Was I going to the hospital, or staying put? So, we headed out about 11:00. We called the hospital and let them know we were on our way in. 
We got there about 11:30ish, and amazingly, the hospital got us right into a room, we totally skipped admission/registration (I have always pre-registered, but there's always a stack of papers you have to sign when you get there, but I got out of it this time). In my room, I was checked and found to be 6 cm, almost totally effaced, and with a bulging bag of waters, and baby was still high, like -2 (I think). The nurse suggesting breaking my water, which I declined. I got all hooked up to the monitors. After a bit of time, the nurse pointed out that baby was not tolerating contractions very well. Normally, baby's heart rate should drop during a contraction, then come back up right afterwards. Griffin's was totally flat, aka non-reactive. Then, he had a late deceleration after a contraction. Both are signs of distressed baby. We made the decision to start me on some oxygen and do two bags of IV fluids, with the knowledge that if that didn't work, we were looking at a c-section. Thankfully, those did the trick, and Griffin did great from there on out. At some point, I was checked again and found to be 8 cm, completely effaced, baby at -1 and still a bulging bag or waters. Again, the nurse suggested breaking my water, but I remember that contractions really hurt after the water breaks (for me). But, another 20 minutes later, I was feeling really push-y, and found to still be 8 cm, etc. So, I requested my water to be broken. The dr came in to do that and stayed the rest of the time, because as soon as the water was broken, I immediately went from 8 to 10 cm and could not stop pushing. Griffin was very high still, and it was really hard to feel like he was making any progress. It seemed like I pushed for a long time, but Philip says it was only about 20 minutes, maybe less. Finally, his head was out, (and his hand, since he put that up by his face), and I paused for a breath, then the nurses and dr started shouting for me to push more, but there weren't any contractions anymore. It was like my whole uterus went limp. And I tried to push, but he was not moving. Big guy got his shoulders stuck. :/ I had been on my hands and knees, but at this point, my dr said I needed to turn over now. As I moved to do so, the three nurses grabbed me and flipped me over, then pulled my knees up to my ears. Then the pain was so bad, all I could see was red as the dr pulled Griffin out while I tried to push. As soon as he was out (at 1:34 am, two hours after arriving at the hospital), the nurses took him to the warmer and began working on him. He was quite limp and blue. I sent Philip over with him. Apparently, from him being so big, and the number of kids I've had, my uterus went hypotonic (I think that's the word) and quit contracting. I lost quite a bit of blood. The dr (maybe it was a nurse, I forget) said I needed a shot of something to stop the bleeding (methergen maybe?). But, that didn't work. I was given a second shot and told if it also failed to stop the bleeding, I would need pitocin. Thankfully, the second one did it. I then had a couple of blood draws over the next 24 hours to see if I needed a blood transfusion. Again, thankfully, I did not. It took forever to get the placenta out (again, probably from the lack of contractions for awhile). 
Griffin's 1 minute apgar was a 3. His 5 minute was a 7 and his 10 minute was a 9. He needed quite a bit of suctioning and stimulating to get him to pink up and perk up. Then, they went to weigh him. I could see him across the room and marveled at how long he looked. They put him on the scale and I heard the nurse say, "that can't be right, zero it out again." Then a second time, "no way!" And finally, the third time, "ok, he's gaining weight now, we're calling it 12 lbs 3.6 oz." And I said, "12 lbs!? Are you serious?!" LOL He was also 23 inches long. His head and chest were 15 inches, his abdomen was 15.5 inches. I have no idea how big his shoulders were, but obviously they were big. But, he was healthy and very happy to begin breastfeeding as soon as he was handed to me. I asked the dr how many stitches I was going to need, and was shocked when he said I didn't tear at all. A few abrasions, but nothing needing repair. 
I still can't believe it. I'm so in love with this big guy. He's so awesome, and I am amazed at myself too. I can't believe he's here, and how perfect he is. 
Griffin Joshua 
September 24, 2015 at 1:34 am
12 lbs 3 oz, 23 inches long

So, yeah . . .

I have a feeling I've said that title before. Nevertheless, it is what it is. So, yeah . . .
It's a new year and it's been over a year since I blogged last. A lot has happened and a lot has changed. There were good things and bad things. Some of the bad things are hard for me to admit. I hold a lot of shame and guilt for them. This Graves' disease is no joke. The medication I am on has a nasty side effect of slowing your metabolism way down. It becomes near impossible to lose or even maintain weight on this pill. After struggling several months to keep the weight down, and being so discouraged by the ever-rising numbers, I gave up. Bring on the donuts. If I'm going to get fat anyway, I better enjoy myself. So, donuts it was. And burgers. And fries. And pizza. And anything else I wanted.

So, yeah. . . I got fat again. I got all the way back up to 250 lbs. and I vacilitated back and forth between enjoying myself and hating myself. Mostly, I felt ok about myself, until I needed to buy new clothes. Nothing induces more shame in me than 360 degrees of evidence of my choices. Still, my metabolism must have gotten a little better because 250 is where I stayed for several months. I would start thinking maybe I ought to work on that again, combined with being so depressed that I didn't want to do anything but enjoy yummy treats and binge watch tv whenever I could. Then, I got pregnant. 
We were so excited! And I decided then that I needed to choose better for my unborn baby. I ate carefully, I tried to stay as active as I could. And I managed to gain only 15 lbs my whole pregnancy. Yay for me! (Birth story to be posted later). My son was born September 24, 2015 weighing 12 lbs 3.6 oz and perfect. I had no gestational diabetes, he had nothing going on, he was just a big, healthy boy. I took it easy during my recovery period, not sure how the Graves' disease would react post partum (it was very easily managed during pregnancy). Then, just as I started to get more active again, I took. Stumble down a short flight of stairs and managed to tear several ligaments in my ankle. I had to wear a walking boot for over a month, then an air cast splint for several weeks. I just came out of the splint. Some days are better than other. I have not yet regained full strength in my ankle, but it feels better out of the splint than in it. I can't wear my boots or heels, etc, only my tennis shoes. I'm hoping that over the next few months, it continues to heel and strengthen. However, I'm tired of being fat. I'm tired of being short of breath. I'm tired of not fitting into my clothes. I had lost all of the baby weight and a little more when I fell. I got back up to 260 over the Christmas holida. This morning was back down to 257.6. I am planning to continue to work on that number, to get it lower, to get my health back, and my energy too. It will be hard, but I think it's necessary. I can't be a very good mom to 6 kids if I can't walk more than a few steps without needing a break. 
So, yeah . . . That's one of my goals for the new year. I've not written it down exactly yet, as I'm still working on making it SMART. But, it's a start. Hopefully, I'll be back soon with a more in-depth list of goals (spiritual, social, physical, financial, etc). 
Happy New Years!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sometimes life throws you for a loop . . . and

It's hard not to kick and scream. It's hard not fight and push back. It's hard to sit back and watch the rest of the world continue moving and passing you by while you remain stuck in the soul-sucking mud.

But sometimes that's just the way it is.

When I left you all last, I was so happy to know my thyroid issues were resolving themselves. I was so happy to get back to living and quit worrying about one thing. Alas, it was not to be. I did end up going to see an endocrinologist. He did order a slew of new blood work. And I do, unfortunately, have Graves' disease. If you don't know what that is, basically, it's an autoimmune problem, which means the body attacks itself for some, often unknown, reason. In my case, and in the case of Graves', my immune system is attacking my thyroid. There is no known cure, although a whole lot of people will try to sell you something that promises to be one. There are lots of different treatment options, each with their own unique side effects and risks. I, thankfully, have been fortunate enough to have a mild case and am treating with medication for the time being. Most days I feel pretty good, although I tire easily and I get really, really hot easily too. And I feel scatterbrained and forgetful on a daily basis.

But the worst part, for me, is the anxiety. I feel panicked so often. I frequently catch myself having nightmares in the daytime, worrying and panicking about things that "might" happen. In reality, the possibility of many of them happening is incredibly remote. And I use that remote likelihood to reel myself back in. But still, it's hard. I struggle to differentiate between the anxiety/fear/panic and a true prompting, something that really does need to be acted upon. I have developed an appreciation of what those who suffer from agoraphobia live with. There are some days when I don't want to leave my house, because I am afraid of what might happen "out there," outside of my home. There are days when I have to force myself to get up and function. There are days when I force myself to leave my home and try to just live in the moment.

Then there is the added fear of the unknown of the disease itself. Having one autoimmune disease puts you at risk of developing the others, such as Type I diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. That's scary. I could develop thyroid eye disease (TED), which causes the eyes to bulge and gives the victim the appearance of being really frightened or startled, but all the time. That's scary. I could
experience a thyroid storm, which is life-threatening, or a skin condition related to Graves' disease. Or, if I manage to get pregnant, which will be harder with Graves' disease, I am at an increased risk of miscarriage, premature labor and stillbirth. All of that is scary. And it is hard not to get bogged down in the fear of it all. It's hard not to let the fear take over. It's hard to choose to live an active life, instead of a reactive-to-fear life.

And you know? Life is just flat-out hard sometimes. It's just the way life is. I whine and cry about it a lot. But then, I keep trying. I keep getting up and out. I keep pushing. I keep going for just one more day. Just one more foot in front of the other. Life is tough,  and life can get you down, but it doesn't have to keep you down. I don't have to stay down. Sure, I get knocked down a lot, several times a week, and sometimes I stay down for a spell. But I always get back up again. I may be bending down from the pressure, but I'm still standing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Okay, Then . . .

Okay, what I do know:

The meds I am are working, quite well actually. I feel better than I have in months.
I still don't know what's wrong with me.

So, I wait in the office at the ENT, waiting forever to see the dr, with a cranky baby who is missing her nap. Grrrrr. An hour and a half after being checked in, weighed, measured and hidden in an exam room, the dr comes in, looks at me, and says, "you are not a candidate for surgery, you need an endocrinologist." Well, great? I wish I had been told that at the beginning, instead of waiting forever to be told I was at the wrong spot. So, back home I go, to wait for a different dr to call me for an appt. I call my regular dr and she orders lab work, which I go do.  I start feeling really tired and worn out again. Not fair. My medicine must not be working, I must be getting worse. I cancel all of my activities for the week, and just veg out, waiting for bloodwork to be done. I call a week later to tell my dr how awful I am feeling again. She days she isn't terribly surprised, because my thyroid numbers have dropped! And, it is her belief that what we are seeing is my thyroid trying to self-regulate, hallelujah! So, we back off of the thyroid med, and within two days I feel like a new person, energetic and ready to do stuff! Yay! But the threat of an endocrinologist hangs over my head. Another few days go by, without any call from his office. So, I call my dr again. She and I talk for another, and I ask the question I've been wanting to ask, "do I still need to bother with an endocrinologist?" And I am relieved to hear her answer, "no." Yay, again! According to my fabulous dr, the drop in thyroid levels, my clean thyroid, everything else, is indicative of thyroiditis, whether it be infectios, viral or postpartum, I do not seem to have Graves' disease. This is so awesome! I do a little happy dance. I go back in a month for another blood draw, and if things continue leveling out, I should be able to get off the meds, and go back to my life. I am so happy, so excited. I was so afraid before. So afraid of the unknown, of being in limbo, etc. Those who know me, know how much I hate the unknown, and I despise living in limbo, absolutely despise it. And I am grateful for a small release. We still don't know what caused this thyroiditis, but my guess, in my wholly untrained opinion, is it is postpartum thyroiditis, I mean, I did just have a baby in the last year.

So, there you go. I can get back on track, and re-lose those 7 lbs I gained during the first month of new meds. I have been released from my exercise ban. I am ready to get back out there. :) and even better, my favorite season is in swing: SPRING!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Appointment, An Explanation, A Diagnosis, Testing, & A Resolution

Where to begin? What I have to say, could fill up several pages. I feel I must say something, but I shy away from saying something that might be wrong, or possibly negate another person's pain, which is not my intent. I talked to a sister of mine a while back. I love talking to her! And as we were discussing current events which are hurting us, I said, something to the effect of, "ugh, I can't believe I am pouring out my minuscule problems to you, yours are so much more painful. I should just be grateful for what I have, and try to let go of what I could lose." And her response was so lovely, so compassionate, so TRUE. She said, "I don't think we need to compare our hurts. Life hurts sometimes, we feel pain, and it doesn't matters whose pain we believe is worse. What matters is that we feel pain, and we ought to support each other in our pain." So, there you go, I am going to try to live by that.

So, all summer, and a few months before that, I have been feeling really tired, just unnaturally fatigued and exhausted and worn out. I blew it off, thinking that I just wasn't recovering as quickly from the birth of my latest princess. I thought, well, I have five kids, they are busy creatures, we are all busy, it's just going to take a little longer to recover. But as the fatigue and exhaustion continued, and I felt myself feeling worse, and worse, I started to consider other causes. The finally straw was when I noticed my heart would be racing, for almost no reason whatsoever. I have been eating right, and trying to stay active, me getting healthier, why wasn't I feeling better???? I finally dragged myself to call my fabulous Dr., and schedule an appt. I show up to that appt, and get all the preliminary stuff done, weight, height, pulse, etc. my Dr. works with a university and provides on the job training to medical students. So the student comes in and does her assessment things,  again with the pulse, reflexes, etc. she asks me if I have ever been told I had a heart murmur, well, no. She steps out, then a bit later, she and my Dr. come in. My Dr. listens, and agrees, I have developed a heart murmur, and she also agrees with the student that my thyroid is enlarged. Great, what does that mean? She sends me off for bloodworm and stuff, which I do. Then, we start the waiting game.

A couple days later, I get a phone call that it looks like I have Graves' disease. Well, that doesn't sound good. I mean, who puts "graves" in a disease unless it is bad? So, I get off of the phone and have a panic. I research all of the symptoms. One of which is "unexplained weight loss." You mean all that work I did was all for nothing? It was all from this disease? I could have been living large, and I still would have lost the weight. Grrrr! I lost a total of 81 lbs in about 8 months. It has been great, I felt like I was really looking good, and that I had "changed my stars" and changed my path and direction, only to find out that the path was already changing, and while I helped a little, the disease was doing most of the work. I feel like the biggest fraud in the history of weightless. I was ashamed, and still am, to a degree, I felt like I had cheated somehow, that somehow, all my work and effort didn't count, because I had had a secret accomplice on the inside. How could I continue to write this blog? How can I continue to show my face around here when I didn't earn this position, and etc. and I still struggle with those feelings. I worry that anybody who I have touched with this story, will see this as some grand charade, and look down on me for it, and believe I didn't play the game right, and a small part of me believes that they are right, I did cheat. And there is a lot of ashamed associated with these feelings.

But I am not a cheater. I have to remind myself of this every day. My Dr. ordered meds for me, three, to be exact, and I take them dutifully. I don't want Graves' disease to control my life, I don't want to lose the life I have to it either. So I try, and I fight the nausea and the headaches and the dizziness, etc. and I try to get through the day, and just survive. After the first week, I feel better, and better. The I get sick again, so off to the Dr. for an infection, then some other blood-work that needs to be done and I schedule a thyroid ultrasound too. Blood-work is expected to take a week to come back, so we wait on that, this waiting is so fun!!! Not.

Thyroid ultrasound is exactly that, an ultrasound of your thyroid. Mine looks good, slightly enlarged, but no nodules or anything like that. So, off I go to wait some more. About a week or so goes by, and I get the phone call on my blood-work, there is no graves-specific antibody they can find, so I wait some more. Today I see an ENT, who tells me I need to see an endocrinologist, after, of course, I sat in an exam room of his for an hour and a half. :P So, we wait some more.

. . . To be continued

What I do know:
the two meds I am on are really helping, I feel