Thursday, August 22, 2019

Book Review: "She's Come Undone" By Wally Lamb

I absolutely adore fiction books about a heroine who fights hard to lose weight, get fit, and improve her life. I use these books as motivation in my own struggle with weight. I read this book on recommendations by several websites that claimed that this book was a weight loss story.  While that little tidbit has some truth in it, it is not the main purpose of this story.

I truly had a love-hate relationship with She's Come Undone.  On one hand, it is a wonderfully addicting read. Lamb pulls you in from the beginning and traps you in the life of  Dolores.  On the other hand, it is Dolores that at times drove me crazy; her disrespectful behavior towards her parents, her irrational outbursts, and her temper tantrums were wearying to me.  However,  I trudged on and Lamb constructs a tale of an imperfect woman living in a very real, imperfect world.

Life is not kind to Dolores, who lives with her parents who have an abusive relationship. Her mother suffers a terrible loss and down spirals into madness. Eventually, this causes her parents to divorce and for her mother to spend several months in a mental hospital. During that time, Dolores stays with her grandmother, whom she claims to hate. After her mother's return from the hospital, Dolores, at the tender age of thirteen, suffers a grisly life event that sends Dolores over the edge and into a self-hatred that manifests itself in food addiction.

The story of Dolores's life follows and it is not an easy one. I cried real tears over the losses she suffers, the mental illness struggles, the weight struggles, and self-image issues.  The story covers loss, love, abortion, sexual orientation, AIDS, world events, marriage, infidelity, rape, pedophilia, women's rights, discrimination, and what it really means to be family.

The book barely covers her weight loss. It is really a consequence of the other things occurring in her life. If you are looking for fitness and weight loss motivation, you won't find much here.  However, this story is about so much more and is a truly inspiring read that will stick with you long after the book is closed.

You can purchase this book here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


It's been a good week. After struggling for...well all summer...finally, something within me has clicked.  The last few days have been "easy."  I have been working out and sticking (for the most part) to my diet.

I lost 2 pounds last week.  I do not celebrate this accomplishment, because it was a fluke. I did nothing to earn it. I floundered all week like a fish dying on the shore, ever in turmoil about my progress, always mad at myself because I could not get myself to move. I wanted to work out, but something within me kept me from doing so. I wanted to eat better, but for some reason, I couldn't make myself avoid the comfort foods. I had no motivation, and I felt something was holding me back.

I have to figure out what that "something" is. That "something" has been ruining my attempts to get my life back on track for years. That "Something" screws with me whenever I make a goal, whenever I attempt to do something to better myself.  I have to figure this out, or this wave of motivation will be short-lived and I will be super-fat again by Christmas.

I went for a run yesterday. I was supposed to run 2.25 miles non-stop. It was so humid. I had to use my inhaler 3 times.  I would like to say that was the reason I stopped right at the mile mark and walked a bit, but that would be a lie. The truth is I just wasn't mentally tough enough to run the entire distance.  I know I can do it.  My body knows I can do it, I just have to convince my mind. I wouldn't have gotten the entire 2.25 miles in though, even if I hadn't stopped to walk, as a storm moved in right around the 2-mile mark.   So I ended up mostly running, but also walking a total of 1.98 miles. Not great, but certainly not too shabby.

Today was my first day back at work.  I have stuck to my diet like a champ thus far.  I avoided the teacher's lounge- there are always snacks in there, didn't focus on the food in the caf-as I had brought my lunch.  I also walked a couple laps on the playground for extra movement.  So far so good. I have my points added up for dinner and if I behave myself I might get to have a treat afterward.

It's the little things, y'all.

Highest weight: Super Fat
Current Weight: -16 from Super Fat
First Goal: -31 from Super Fat-"Just Fat"
Second Goal- Overweight
Third Goal: -20 pounds overweight
Final goal: What I weighed when I met my husband.  A few pounds "overweight."

Sunday, August 4, 2019

The Green-eyed Monster

I just found out another one of my friends has had weight loss surgery. 

Normally, this bit of news would just hit me, and I would be happy for them, and move on.  I would genuinely be happy when I saw them dropping weight and getting smaller.

For some reason, my reaction was different this time. It just hit me the wrong way. I was JEALOUS.  Trust me, I know that weight loss surgery is not something that I should be jealous of. It is a super dangerous surgery,  the recovery isn't easy, and the diet that follows is depressingly bland.  I know these things; and yet here I am seeing green.

This Summer was supposed to be different. This was supposed to be the Summer I changed it all.  I started off empowered.  I wanted to lose this weight and come back for the new school year improved! I knew I could do it. I had reached my 20 pounds down benchmark and was chomping at the bit to lose more.    But then, I lost focus.  It rained for the first entire month of June and I didn't get out to run as much as I wanted to.  Then my nephew got mono. Guess who got it next? I spent most of July exhausted.  If I managed to work out then I had to sleep most of the rest of the day. I had been nauseous, with constant headaches, and body aches.  I just couldn't get it done.  On top of that, I have been inhaling comfort food. When you feel bad, for some reason you want bad food.  So already struggling to maintain my 20-pound weight loss, I gained.  I gained 9 pounds. I have re-lost 2 pounds this last week, how is the question...because I have not been doing well with watching what I eat or working out. However, I will take the loss and work to get another loss this week.

I still am not 100% well. This last week was awful. I slept a ton. I still have body aches.  I just want to feel better, because not only is my health suffering, so is my home, and my garden.

So when I heard my friend had gotten bariatric surgery, I was jealous. All I could see at that moment is that she would be dropping weight "effortlessly."  She would slim down and not have to run 3 miles- 3 times a week. She would lose weight without logging every bite she eats into an app.  She wouldn't have to sweat and occasionally cry or bleed.

The road I chose is tough.  I chose to fight this problem head-on and to keep fighting it for the rest of my life. I realize my friend is doing the same thing, but her path is different. She will achieve her goal weight probably before I get much of a dent in mine. Both of our paths are costing us something. Hers has cost her a ton of cash.  Mine costs me a ton of work. Hers means she will have to plan meals and watch what she eats for the rest of her life, mine means the same. 

Honestly, I don't want to have surgery.  If I never reach my goal weight but I keep running, that will be enough for me. 

Green-eyed monster Slain.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Flashback 2018: Sick of the Spin


This post is a continuation of a prior post that tells of my health issues the past few years. If you wish to read more, continue to the post prior to this. 
I had 3 weeks of feeling pretty fabulous after nearly bleeding to death and having major surgery.  Then I got the stomach virus.  It was bad. I never vomit and let’s just say I did that a lot.  After 2 days of the sickness, I became dizzy…so dizzy I didn’t drive for 2 weeks. I didn’t leave the house and spent most of the days in my bed. I saw the doctor and she was obviously concerned. She already knew about the neurological problems I had been having and said I would need a CT scan, and a trip to see a neurologist. She said that things would happen very quickly and she said not to be freaked out when this happened.   This was in January.  I never received the call from my doctor’s office and after over a week of waiting for them to schedule the CT scan, I got mad and went to the ER.  The ER did a CT scan.  They said it was completely normal, which gave me a tad bit of relief from the worry that I could have a brain tumor. The ER doctor stated that I probably had Meniere’s disease,  and would just have to deal with the dizziness.  He didn’t take into account my headaches, the transient lights, my auras, my tight shoulders and neck, my tinnitus, my deteriorating vision, the pressure in my head and my cognitive difficulties. I went back to see my doctor, who reviewed my CT scan and said I did not have Meniere’s disease because my ears were clear. So she referred me to a neurologist.
I got my appointment, it was 2-1/2 months away.
Disheartened by the lack of quick treatment I was receiving, I vowed to get better. I have goals in my life and they do not include lying in the bed.
So  I started “dealing” with the dizziness. I learned that certain movements bring on major dizzy spells. If I look up (makes it hard to shop for anything on the top shelf in Walmart), if I lay flat on my back or put any pressure on the back of my head (one day I put my hair in a low ponytail and quickly learned the error of such a decision), and if I lean my head to the right or lay on my right side. SO I avoid those movements.
I have been having “transient visual disturbances” for a while now.  These are pinprick lights that travel through my vision field.  Have you ever seen the International Space Station travel across the night sky? That is what the visual disturbances remind me of.
I also have auras.  I no longer have the pain that used to accompany these auras when I had migraines. A year ago I got the daith piercing and it has helped with that aspect of migraines. My auras look like the flashing version of this:

tn_MigraineAura_en  Artist: Amy Koba

The only thing I can do to deal with the visual disturbances is wait for them to pass.
Sometimes, I “lose” my words. I will be speaking to someone and can not remember the word I want to use. I can describe it to you, but I can not remember it to save my life.  I also sometimes, especially when I am stressed, will say the wrong words while talking. The wrong words will just pop out of my mouth. This has been great entertainment for my family for the last few years.  Now I am beginning to wonder if it’s so funny after all.  This is a scary symptom for a writer.
I also sometimes shake noticeably.  Often, the shaking is worse on the right side of my body. Just weird. I have to wait for this to pass too.
I am often nauseous due to the dizziness, and auras.
My ears ring off and on.
My eyesight has deteriorated very quickly. In the last 1-2 years, I have gone from having 5/20 vision to having 40/20 in my left eye, and worse in my right.  I have an astigmatism and am nearsighted.  This is not a cool symptom to have if you are a photographer.
I am often fatigued to the point I have to take a nap after work, and sometimes need to lay down just to let my brain rest.
All these things are working together to make life pretty difficult for me. I can’t do all the normal things I used to do. If I work too many days in a row, I end up having to take to the bed.  (Thank God, I am a substitute teacher, and am able to plan my schedule accordingly.)  I have to modify any workouts I do so I won’t have dizzy spells while lifting a weight over my face.  I have to be careful when driving and make sure I pay extra attention to the road.  I have to be careful when leaning over to pick something up, so I don’t fall. Getting out of bed is especially tricky.  I tend to go at this like a bull in a china shop, stumbling my way through the house until the spinning stops and my world rights itself. One of these days I am going to fall. It is just a matter of time.
I am sick of spinning. I am to the point, I just want to know what is wrong with me-whether it is MS, a pseudotumor, or any other number of neurological diseases.  Even better I would love for this to just go away.  If I knew what this was, I would know what I need to do next. I hate being in limbo, waiting…
Patience is not my virtue.

My Before Pictures