Monday 21 March 2016

Today I finally behaved like the adult I’m supposed to be and went to the doctor. I had to see a new doctor, and once the initial awkwardness of “hi, nice to meet you…I need to take off my pants and have you look at my girly bits” was over she was really the nicest doctor I’ve seen for years.

I had to do a pap test, which is something I’ve been putting off for a year. While I’ve been assured that I’m not really at any greater risk than anyone else of having an abnormal result after all this time, the fact that I did have an issue that required laser treatment at one point has always meant I don’t mess around when my reminder notices come in. So to put it off for a year is pretty bad – but it’s honestly just another sign and symptom of my depression, that I can’t cope with things so I avoid them.

Anyway, she did that and checked my boobs too. Said that the surgeon did a really good job on them when I had the reduction, ha ha ha! It’s funny but I never think about that really, and it was amazing to me when I told her about it today and realised that I had it done eleven years ago. Thinking about it, I probably only had big boobs for eleven years before that, so soon I will have had reasonable sized boobs for longer than I had giant ones.

I also had to discuss the results of my blood test relating to my liver. She explained to me that they measure four things, and all four of mine are out of whack, although not severely. She said that two of the things (I’m sounding so scientific here) are abnormal because of the medication, and two of them are abnormal possibly because of fatty liver, or possibly because of the medication as well.

It’s another one of those situations where there is no ‘perfect’ solution – if I stop the medication my liver can recover but my mental health will likely spiral out of control, which I absolutely do not want. So for the time being, given the mild nature of the liver function abnormality, I will keep my medication exactly as it is and we’ll keep an eye on it. She’s written me a referral for an ultrasound of my liver, so I’ll do that and then I’ll go back and talk to her about what it shows.

I don’t know, I don’t really drink alcohol at all and apart from the occasional panadol if I have a headache I don’t take any non-prescription drugs. Since I can’t stop my psych meds, I think the only thing I can do to reduce strain on my liver is stop the caffeine, which comes courtesy of my diet coke addiction. Yikes…quitting that is going to be hard.

Although I’m going to have to get used to self denial, because after Easter I’m going to do Light and Easy and I have to make it work. This weight I’m at (and the doctor weighed me today and it is so not pretty, I can’t even write it down here because I’ll start crying) is not healthy for me. It feels like the only weight related issue I don’t have is diabetes, and considering everything else that is wrong with me it seems pretty much like it’s only a matter of time before I have to add that to the list.

I don’t know, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about this publicly because I’m so embarrassed and disgusted with myself that it’s come to this. I mean, it shouldn’t be this hard to put down the donuts and go for a walk!

But the thing is, it IS hard. And my failure to eat properly and exercise then feeds my self-hatred, and depression and hopelessness roll around and nothing ever changes.

A big part of my issue is that my physical body is something I half hate. I never feel in control. I start off allergic to dairy, so right away there are rules about what I can eat or I’ll get sick. I can’t hear properly, and have to get my tonsils and adenoids out and tubes in my ears. As a little kid I got a bunch of UTIs, so I had to have an x-ray of my kidneys – nothing was causing it, and I just had to grow out of it. I can’t see, so I get glasses. I can’t breathe, so now I have asthma. I get glandular fever and take nearly a term off school. I get daily headaches, most likely from stress and anxiety, but let’s get a CT scan and check that out. One of my headaches turns out to be encephalitis, and I literally feel my brain compressing against my skull. I don’t get better from this, it turns into chronic fatigue syndrome and I spend the next four years missing out on everything I should be doing – I drop out of school, go back part time and somehow manage to finish, but then can’t go to uni because I’m not well enough so I have to spend a year at home doing nothing but sleeping and waiting for my body to work again. I have my first pap test and despite the absolute unlikeliness of it I have abnormal cells that have progressed beyond the first stage and there are appointments and tests and then laser treatment to get rid of it. I get pregnant, and then find out eleven and a half weeks into it that there isn’t a baby, but my body can’t even have a miscarriage right – I have to go to hospital to take a pill to try and force it. It doesn’t work, and after bleeding for eight weeks I have to have a D&C anyway. I get pregnant again and grow a baby, but the labour is a mess and I can’t get him out and the doctor has to use cut me and use forceps. Hideous recover, and issues breastfeeding. We work it out, but then six months in my body goes berserk with a massive allergic reaction to god knows what and I have to stop nursing to take some drugs.

I grow another baby, and I birth her into my own hands. For the first time ever I feel like I’m maybe powerful.

I get depressed. My mind plays tricks on me and I can’t even look at my baby without imagining her with her skull caved in because I’ve dropped her or something. I need medication to get through the day, but it’s okay. I get pregnant again, but this time I have excess fluid and a weird hernia thing and my hips and back feel like they’re breaking. Labour is long and brutally painful, far worse than either of the other two, but he’s born safe and beautiful. My hip and pelvic pain doesn’t go away, and then I start having trouble with my elbows and wrists and fingers. I go to the doctor and it turns out that the weird little rash that has come and gone on my feet since I was a teenager is probably psoriasis and he thinks that all the joint pain is psoriatic arthritis. I get pregnant again, and my brain falls apart, tormenting me with a constant barrage of intrusive thoughts about the baby dying until I have to take drugs to make them go away. Then I get SPD, my pelvis and hips so far out of alignment that just walking makes me cry. The baby is born, so perfectly and beautifully, out in the sunshine but I can’t deliver the placenta and end up haemorrhaging and in surgery, and need blood transfusions. Despite my best efforts, I can’t breastfeed the baby at all. I spend a year in physiotherapy trying to fix the pelvic and spinal issues. I spend a year in therapy because along with all the baby-crazy OCD I get stuck in a bushfire and get PTSD. I spend the next five years yo-yoing all over the place with depression, involving doctors, psychologists and social workers. My periods go weird and after testing and ultrasounds I’m diagnosed with PCOS and have to see an endocrinologist, who thinks I have metabolic syndrome and also discovers a B12 deficiency. I become suicidal, and eventually the GP passes me off to a psychiatrist, and I’m diagnosed with bipolar and after a lot of trial and error I’m on a med combo that works. Until a year later, when it doesn’t and I want to die again. The words ‘treatment resistant depression’ are thrown around and I’m on my way to get electro-convulsive therapy as a last resort, although in the end I don’t do it.

And then it’s now, and I’m thirty kilos overweight and have just written over eight hundred words on WHY MY BODY NEVER WORKS AND WHY I CAN’T TRUST MYSELF TO DO ANYTHING RIGHT!

I mean, it’s madness…I wrote out that long list of all the times my body has let me down and I want to laugh with incredulity because it sounds so preposterous. No one has that much crap go wrong! Surely I’m just being a hypochondriac? But it all happened, and when I look at it like that it’s really no wonder that I don’t believe, not deep down, that anything I can do will have any real result on what my body does.

But I do have to try, because in the end it’s the only thing I can do. I can’t just give up and give in and resign myself to an ongoing level of disability. Weight loss has the potential to improve or even reverse some of the issues I have now, and it’s the only course open to me if I am to ever get better.

I’m a bit ambivalent about doing Light and Easy for a few reasons. I am concerned about what it says to the kids for me to be on a restrictive diet – I don’t want them to see that as normal, or see weight as something that they have to be concerned about. In the end I will just be honest with them about the health issues I’m facing and explain that as long as they keep making healthy choices about food and activity it won’t be a problem for them. I’m not obsessing over losing five kilos to fit into skinny jeans, I’m really trying to fix a problem. It’s also expensive, so I can’t stay on it until I’ve lost all the weight I need to – I’ll have ten weeks on it to hopefully jump start the process, and then I’ll be on my own.

On the plus side, it’s real food. No shakes or meal replacement protein bars or anything – it’s three meals a day plus two snacks, worked out to stick to a certain calorie count that should enable a slow, steady weight loss. Troy’s mum and dad did it and lost all the weight they wanted to (which made Steve’s diabetes entirely diet controlled, instead of needing any meds) and one of the teachers at school is currently on it and says it’s working for her. I’m hoping that having it all laid out for me like that will just eliminate the stress and anxiety I have around food and diet right now. With this, I don’t have to think – I just have to follow the food plan and as long as I do that it’s not my fault if I do/don’t lose weight. I think it will just give me a break from the guilt I feel about the whole issue and help me get back into good eating habits, that I can then continue with once I’m cooking and organising my own food again. And once I’ve lost some weight I will be more motivated to continue on my own too. Losing a little bit of weight will also help with losing further weight, as it will reduce the stress on my joints that makes exercising painful. Apparently even losing a little bit of weight can have a positive impact on my hormone issues and hopefully that means my metabolism will pick up a bit.

In the end, it may not work. But it might, and I really feel I have to try something. I keep thinking about my kids, and how young they are and how (relatively) young I am to have so many things go wrong – I want to do everything I can to feel better in all ways, and to be able to be what my babies need me to be.

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