I admit it, I am overweight. Not just a little, quite a bit. It wasn’t always like this. I had a cute figure in high school and even though I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy, I lost half of that weight right away. My husband at the time kept after me to lose the rest of the weight. I tried to, I really did. Now when I look at pictures of myself from that time and during the time my son was little, I can see that I did not look fat. I just had a more womanly figure than a high school girl!
Unfortunately my son’s father decided to stop paying child support when my son was seven and I was unprepared for the full cost of summer day care at the YMCA. In order to pay for that I had to cut back on our grocery money. I had just enough each week to buy rice, beans, hot dogs, bread, peanut butter and jelly, snack cakes ( for his lunch), milk, cereal, and popsicles. This is what we had every day for the whole summer. I didn’t ask for help, I didn’t think anyone would help me. I didn’t know about food banks and I knew since I had a full-time job I would not get food stamps.
When school started the day care costs were cut in half and I was able to buy us regular groceries again. I remember how full my cupboard and refrigerator were! I would get up at night and eat something. After a couple of weeks I realized what I was doing. After that I still got up at night but I would just look at the food and tell myself that it would still be there in the morning.
By the time my son was eight he was really showing his ADHD. I had him evaluated and he was put on Ritalin. It wasn’t enough. The teacher told me he was not able to keep up with reading. That most of his work was illegible. The doctor told me my son would need further testing which I could not afford, so he sponsored us to get into Shriner’s Hospital. But the waiting list was long and I was told I would not have an appointment until November. At that point I went to my doctor and asked for some medication for my nerves, just until I could get my son the help he needed.
My doctor had me fill out a questionnaire and based on my answers he said I was clinically depressed. He put me on a tri-cyclic anti-depressive. It worked pretty good too, I felt a lot better and I had a lot more energy. A lot! In fact, I didn’t stop moving until about half an hour after I took that pill each evening!
There was a problem though. With all that energy, I wanted to eat. And I did. I cooked and I ate. In three months time I gained fifty pounds! After six months, I stopped taking that medication. I was feeling a lot better, more in control, and my son had been properly diagnosed and was on a personalized education plan at school.
That weight never came off. It didn’t matter what I tried. Slim-fast, diet pills, Weight Watchers, Over-eaters Anonymous, Slim-fast again. I even tried Atkins three times and joined a gym three different times. Then I tried a modified Atkins plan. I even saw a nutritionist. The most weight I could lose was fifteen pounds. Then I would gain twice as much back. Each time. That really adds up.
I was now wearing plus size clothing and wide width shoes. My blood pressure became a problem and I was having heart palpitations. My son was also a teen by then and my new doctor blamed it all on the stress of motherhood.
Over the years situations at work were stressful, I married and divorced my second husband, tried to commit suicide, had a car accident, had recurring problems with depression. The only thing that was consoling to me was food. I tried to eat healthy food. But it was so much easier to get fast food at lunch when I was working. I loved Taco Bell and Chinese food!
Now I had another new doctor and ongoing health problems. She never said too much about my weight. My son grew up and moved out. I was alone. At first I kept right on cooking, but I was used to cooking for two. That was ok, I would have dinner and the rest for lunch the next day. Then I pretty much stopped cooking. Back at Weight Watchers again, I was buying their frozen entrees for lunch and dinner and eating fruit. Nothing changed, I lost that same old fifteen pounds again, and gained back thirty.
Then I entered peri-menopause. I was crying all the time. My doctor put me on antidepressants and a natural hormone. I gave up trying to lose weight. I ate whatever I wanted. Peri-menopause became real menopause, my son got married, I was feeling pretty happy, and I ate what ever I wanted.
Then, things at work became really bad. I saw a counselor who told me I had general anxiety disorder in addition to the depression and she gave me a form to take to my doctor. Guess what? Another pill. And when things at work became worse still, my blood pressure went up again so she added a second blood pressure medication.
The next thing that happened? I was diagnosed with more health problems. Fibromyalgia, which prevents me from exerting myself, so I can’t exercise except for walking. Then diabetes, more medication, another visit to a nutritionist. Hello artificial sweeteners, which we now know causes you to actually GAIN weight! After trying again to lose weight and having no success the doctor told me I have metabolic syndrome X, which means my metabolism is shot. This is what happens when you diet too much!
After that came the recurring pain in my lower back. I tried seeing a chiropractor and when that didn’t help my doctor sent me for an MRI. We found out that I have a degenerative joint disease in all five lumbar vertebrae, the worst spot being my SI joint. This is causing extreme nerve pain in my lower back and hips.
I can’t sit for more than an hour unless I am reclined. I can’t stand up for more than three minutes without sitting down. I can’t walk more than half a block without my back seizing up on me. Basically I can not exercise because I am either in too much pain, or my fibromyalgia gets triggered.
After losing my job and insurance I had to switch over to the county hospital for medical care. They are not as free with the pain pills as my other doctor was. I have to pee in a cup every month and I can only get enough pills each month to take twice a day. It doesn’t matter that they wear off after 4 hours!
Yesterday I saw my doctor for my pain management visit. I told him it was getting worse. The shots I received from the orthopedist didn’t last more than two weeks. The ablation procedure that the orthopedic surgeon did on my right side worked a little bit but did not take all the pain away on that side, and now that surgeon has quit and a replacement hasn’t been hired yet. I can’t get the left side done until they hire someone. I told him also that the pain was now in my hips. He said it’s the same SI joint, but I don’t see how. He didn’t do an xray to rule out arthritis or send me for an MRI to find out if it IS the SI joint!
We had talked about my weight over the past year. I really appreciated that he cared, he is the only doctor I have seen who told me that my weight is a factor. I knew that, but no other doctor seemed to worry about it. I finally did enough research to come up with a plan that he agreed with, and I lost five pounds in July. But I have only lost one pound since then.
He got really upset with me this time. He told me I had to quit lying around the house and start moving around. He told me I had to stop all grains, even whole grains, even if it was sugar-free. He told me that if I didn’t start losing some weight he would stop giving me my pain medication!
Hey! I am trying! I do NOT lay around the house all day! I get up every day and get dressed. I help with the cooking. I do my laundry. I am in pain! I have fibromyalgia and it hurts and it makes me tired! I have to lay down for a while in the afternoon. I am depressed, I am taking all the medication I can for that but it’s not quite enough and it makes me tired. Exhausted. I can not get over how exhausted I am! My back and my hips hurt when I walk or stand! I have metabolic syndrome so weight loss is very very slow for me. What is it about this picture that he doesn’t get?
My feelings were hurt but I was in too much shock over his tone of voice that I could not cry. I want to though.
Instead, when I see him in two weeks to go over my blood work I am going to tell him that I do not appreciate being threatened. That I do not appreciate being talked to in that tone of voice. I am a human being and I deserve the same respect that I show to him.
I will do what I can. I will see the nutritionist even though I know it won’t help. I will try to walk more but I will have to lay down afterward. If that is not enough, I will have to request another doctor. I don’t know what else to do.
I pray that God will help me, help me lose some weight and help me endure the pain I am in. Help me feel less depressed. Show me what else I can do to help myself that I haven’t already done.
I invite all readers to leave a comment on this post, it will be appreciated!