This week I am going to catch you up on the last three surprising weeks I have had. To start, we will go back in time to Monday, a few weeks ago.
As a person with diabetes, I need to see specialists from time to time to properly manage the disease and to take care of myself. Three weeks ago, I had an appointment with the ophthalmologist. It happens every three to six months, and it is to make sure there are no signs of diabetes progression in my eyes. I have been going to these appointments for a few years, now.
When I went into the room this time, there was a change.
I needed laser surgery in my right eye. It is to treat a protein leak in the back of the eye. A few flashes of green light and I was on my way. My husband was scheduled to pick me up after the appointment. When he arrived, I was on a bench near the door. I had my sunglasses on, and my hood pulled down over my eyes. I kept peeking up to look for him. He told me I looked pale after I got into the car.
After I told him that I had the treatment for the first time, he understood my reaction. This concerned me because my eye felt like there was sand in it. I was in mild shock because it happened so fast and without a lot of information.
I did not ask enough questions at the appointment. That was my fault. The doctor didn’t ask me if I had any, which was their bad. When something catches me off guard, it scares me. I acted like I was fine, but I wasn’t.
The next day I called the office.
The ophthalmologist called me back and answered all of my questions. I felt much better after we spoke on the phone. The following day they called again and asked if I could go back to the hospital, where the clinic is, to get a second look at my, to make sure everything was okay.
In the meantime, the doctor prescribed an ointment for my eye, as a precaution. It is fine, and the issue only lasted for about two days. I also have another hydrating gel to use when my eyes get dry, now. Although I feel like the doctor was taking very good care of my eyes, and did the follow up after I asked, I did not feel like they took good care of me on the day of the appointment. However, they are not the only ones to blame, as I am my own best advocate, and I should have asked more questions before leaving the clinic that day.
On Wednesday, in that same week, I was back at the treadmill for the medical study I signed up for. It started with another surprise. I was really not feeling it, but I had to do it to keep participating. They hooked me up to the machine that measures my oxygen, for a reassessment. It was only for the first five minutes of the walk, so it wasn’t too bad, but it caught me off guard. The good news is that the reassessment told them I was using oxygen better, and that I was going to have a lower threshold for my heart rate when on the treadmill. The next morning, I was told to bump it up. I almost called the person working with me a liar.
In week 6, I had my lung test.
It took about an hour. It was determined that I do not have asthma. I was previously diagnosed with environmental asthma. I do wheeze sometimes when I am exercising. When I asked if I should continue taking the Ventolin puffer during the study, I was advised to try without it, and use it if I need to.
The very next day, I had a milder attack. I didn’t use the inhaler before the treadmill, but I needed to after I was done, like the other time. Thankfully, it was not as bad of an attack, and I recovered much quicker. The next day, I woke up feeling ill. I was experiencing a blood sugar low. The exercise was finally making my body need less insulin, again. This is not a pleasant feeling, but it is good news. My body is responding to the increase in my activity.
I took that day off.
When someone misses a day, the minutes need to be made up. The last surprise I was given in week 6 was on the scale. I am finally losing weight. It thrilled me to see the change on the scale.
When we got to this week, week seven, things changed, but not just for me. For the whole world. I was on the treadmill on Monday, and then the study was postponed. They had increased the cleaning, and we were to wash our hands before and after the workouts, but it wasn’t enough. As I write, the world is holding its breath as we try to navigate through the most stressful staycation we have ever experienced.
I was really having a hard time on Monday after the news came out about the study being postponed. You see, I am willing to walk on the treadmill for science, and to help other people, but I was not convinced I would be willing to do it for my own health. I reached out to a friend through a chat.
I am so glad I did.
We have decided to become activity accountability buddies for each other, and I have walked 3 days this week. I share pics after my walks on the days since the study was postponed. I have not walked much yesterday or today, but I know I need to, and I know someone is counting on me to do it.
In accordance with the current guidelines, I am able to go out for fresh air and go for a walk. I am walking outside, around my mini home park. It is about 2km/lap, and I am walking for 2 laps right now. I was walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill. It takes me an hour a lap outside. As I turn on the treadmill tunes in my Spotify account, which is downloaded to work with no wi-fi, I go. I am not pushing myself, but I am using my tricks to get my heart rate up. I guess you will have to wait until next week to read all about what that means. For now, I am grateful for the support of my friend, and for those who are encouraging me on social media.
If you won’t do what you need to do for yourself, do it for someone else until you feel like you want to do it for yourself. Ask for help. Get the people who want to see you do well involved.
One last thing. I am changing the words in my head. Instead of saying:
I am strong; I am capable.
I changed these words to:
I can and I will.
I am walking with a purpose.
Just over a month ago, I had a breakthrough. Which I shared here with you, and I have to say, it is still having an impact. After gaining a few pounds (okay like 5) since I wrote that post, I am recovering by losing, even more, this week.
The scale was at 322.7 last week. Ugh. Having the breakthrough and seeing 318.1 the previous week was so encouraging! I was sure I unlocked the secret to weight loss for me. Then I went back up. I didn’t give up, though. The breakthrough was powerful, so I kept working, and when I got on the scale this week, I weighed in at 317.6.
I know I am doing something right.
A choice that is helping is that I stopped buying ice cream. Summer is over, so that is a logical choice. I was still tempted when I ran out to pick up a few things. I know this will be an ongoing struggle for me, however this time I didn’t give in. It helped that there weren’t as many sales in the ice cream section for sure.
Cooking For Two
When I am planning what to cook, it is hard to balance what I am going to eat with what my husband wants to eat. He is not a fan of the healthier lifestyle I am working on, so he sometimes has opinions which don’t make me feel good about what I have cooked. Some recipes he likes. Others are not an option for future meals.
He doesn’t mean any harm, but he is a fussy eater at times who does tell me when he does not like something. Radishes in the beef stew were not something he wants to experience again. He wants potatoes. I can accept that. He tried it.
When I overcooked the asparagus in the oven, he surprised me. He liked it because it was crunchy. I could make that again, and he would eat it. He doesn’t speak his mind about not liking what I make very often if I am being honest. After being together for more than 25 years, and married for 9 of them, I do know how to cook the food he likes.
The trick is in the compromise. If he says he likes something enough to eat it again, I ask him what frequency he would like to see it in our meal planning. Every two weeks is a common answer, sometimes once a month means he isn’t a huge fan, but he would eat it again.
Head Games Can Be Positive
Remember the start of the blog today, when I was referring to the breakthrough I shared in a previous blog? If you missed it, here it is. I wrote about not knowing how to deal with negativity. I am working on making healthier choices, of course, but it isn’t the only thing that is working.
Tuesday night, I tried to think about the breakthrough, and about letting go, and imagining myself feeling lighter. I had a loss on the scale the next morning. It worked. Is there a scientific explanation for this? I am trying to incorporate this lighter feeling into every day. It is about letting go of things that are weighing me down. I know there are other factors involved in the number I am seeing on the scale, but this is new territory for me, and I am open to working on it, especially if I keep seeing positive results.
When I saw the number on the scale, I was pleasantly surprised. While I am making better food choices, they aren’t always the best all the time. We have been snacking on chips and dip. We both know that there are healthier choices, but sometimes you have to give in to a craving, to get it out of your system.
The chips and dip are all gone. We are going to avoid buying them for a while. This is something we are working on, keeping less junk food in the house. Lowering our regular pop intake. Drinking more water, and I am choosing Zevia when I can for the pop cravings.
Can It Really Be This Easy?
I am going to find out. This journey comes with all sorts of twists and turns as well as ups and downs. I know that realistically I am not going to think away the weight. I realize that sometimes the scale is not going to show a loss and that there are plateaus and gains in my future.
But what if I can increase my chances of success by imagining myself as a little bit lighter, every day? It won’t hurt to give this method a try, to see what I can accomplish by trying a new tactic. A positive mindset is an important tool in anything you do, so why not apply it to the biggest struggle of my life? Focusing on myself feeling better, lighter and weighing less might just be what I need to tip the scale in my favour for real. I wrote that I was ready a few weeks ago. Now I am open to the possibility of change.
What do you think about this? Have you ever tried this method? Did it work for you? Let me know, I am curious to see if this breakthrough is a solo act or if it can be a group effort.
This week in Trust Your Gut, I want to focus on the big picture for this category. I am morbidly obese, with type 2 diabetes, thyroid disease, and a few other less dramatic health issues. The ones that relate here the most are the ones that I write about. However, when I started writing in this category, I did have a bigger picture in mind.
Some people have participated in telling their stories here. It is a brave thing to do, to write down one of the biggest things that play such a large role in your day to day life. Your weight, your appearance, how you see yourself, and how you think the rest of the world sees you. I work on this material every week, and lately, I have been finding myself at a loss for what to write about.
My story is written to be real, and honest. It is relatable, and I know that it resonates with many of the people that read this Blog, maybe only for this story every week. I really appreciate each and every one of you that have become fans of this category, and the whole Blog, of course.
Don’t worry, I am not dumping it. I will still be writing every week. What I want to do is to reach out to more people. I have a one-sided view of the struggles I am having with my weight. One thing that women, and of course men and children have in common in this world is that we all have imperfections that we do not like about ourselves. It might be that you are struggling with a number, but not the one on the scale, the one on the tag of your clothing, the size. Another person may have issues with not seeing their true self in the mirror. Some people look at their reflection and see what used to be there, or see themselves as fat when in reality, they aren’t.
Karen Carpenter’s story is a well-known story about a real person who had everything to live for but died from anorexia and complications related to that disease. Bulimia is another issue that people have that is not something that I could imagine having to deal with, but I know that there are people out there that struggle just as hard as I do, with their own issues relating to their weight. I was watching This Is Us and this week they touched on another side character’s story. She has been written into the show as a person who is dealing with the perception that she is fat, overeating, and purging after she eats too much. That is a very basic description of bulimia.
Stories about people that have these other issues are not mine to tell. They are the stories of other people. They could be featured here in this category, as a side character story. I am hoping that this week someone reads this and thinks that they might be brave enough to share their story. I would love the opportunity to help you help yourself by telling the story, and maybe you can help someone else that is just like you. That is my ultimate goal here, with my story. I want to help people like me, with ideas of new things to try and to share what is working for me, and what is not.
If you are like me, struggling with the overweight end of the scale, I am open to stories from everyone that is brave enough to share them here. If you are not a writer, I can talk to you and work with you to develop a story here for you, or I can send some questions and we can write it like an interview, where you answer some or all of the questions, whatever you are comfortable sharing. Let’s face it, I do have a story to tell, but if it is always my story, at some point it will be repetitive and boring. That will make people lose interest, and that would not help people like I have intended to do here.
If you have contributed to this category in the past, and want to write an update, that is also something that I would be very happy to set up with you. I am always trying to help people, and learning about different people and their issues helps me just as much as reading my story can help you.
My gut is telling me that it is time to put out an invitation to new and different stories and points of view here, in this category. If you are reading this, and have a story to tell, please reach out to me in the comments below, or in a private e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Trust Your Gut Submission). I sincerely want to hear from people that are struggling with their weight, on either end of the scale, so that together, we can help each other, and help people like us.