Tag Archives: health

Sick

This post contains references to self-harm and suicide. I just wanted to warn readers who may be sensitive to these things.

Last week, an important anniversary passed by. I had a post in mind; I wanted to celebrate with you all. I’d had a huge accomplishment.

One year ago, last Wednesday, I found myself in my doctor’s office, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe, asking for help. I’d fought, and I couldn’t fight anymore, and I knew I couldn’t continue. It was ask for help, or stop fighting. I asked for help. And last Wednesday, October 19, marked one year of fighting this war against my own brain. When I realized my tools weren’t enough. When I asked for that stick, because damn it, I was tired and battle scarred and hurting and I couldn’t fucking do it.

“Fighting bare-handed is great. Until you can’t anymore. Then you ask for a weapon.”

And I’ve put my loved ones through hell. I know it. I still am not sure why they stuck with me. But I’m grateful. And my girls at work have been like another family… checking in and holding on and crying with me. And my partners have held me together. My husband, my boyfriend… these incredible people who’ve been my glue when my bottle has run empty. My kids, who’ve made me hand drawn cards and bought me candy bars with their own allowance on the days when life hurt too much for me to get off the couch. My friends,who’ve sent me mental health check-ins via text and twitter…

I’m sitting here crying while I write, thinking of this incredible amount of love and support. I don’t deserve it. I did nothing to earn it.

And here you all are, anyways. I can’t believe how fortunate I am. And I’m well enough to realize how sick I was, and that I will get sick like that again. 

So, I store up memories and experiences… I live like The Bloggess, Furiously Happy, and build a bank of the happy times so I can get through the sick times and know there will be happy times again.

Last Wednesday, I wanted to write to you all, a post of hope and light. “Look at me!” I wanted to shout, like an addict with a year of sobriety. “I’m winning! I’m fighting!”

But reality has a way of getting awfully real.

And, last Wednesday, I was busy. 

A friend of mine, someone I love dearly, someone who fights her own battle and has given me so much insight into my own, she nearly lost her battle. Her war with her own mind got the better of her and she fell into a black hole.

I learned she’d harmed herself, tried to kill herself. Wanted to die because the pain in her head was too much. She wanted the emptiness to swallow her. This beautiful funny flawed imperfectly perfect friend thought our world was better without her in it.

You know what? Fuck depression. Fuck that bitch with a rusty sawblade. I’m tired of it destroying people I love.

Last Wednesday, I nearly went into a tailspin of my own, because I saw how fragile this thing called sanity really is. And it terrified me to know that, no matter how hard I fight, that Bitch is still gonna be fighting me and trying to take it away.

People ask me what they can do, to help me when the times get dark. Here’s my answer: don’t let the darkness win. Take care of you. See you health care professionals, all of them. Take your medications. Practice self-care. And keep fighting. We all need you here.


Therapy

As I’ve stated before, this whole getting healthy thing is a lot of damn work.

This month is the month of doctors appointments, also known as the time I have to confront the fact that treating my pain, depression, and anxiety causes pain, depression, and anxiety. The Cymbalta continues to work well, thankfully, and I’m hitting the point where I need to dig in and figure out which pain was caused by depression and what has been caused by physical issues. Today, I started that journey with a visit to a physical therapist to treat the pain I still have in my left leg. I have some exercises to do, and six weeks more of appointments. Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a behaviorist, and I am hoping he can give me some insight into my anxiety and why it has been so much worse the past few weeks. I have a theory that, with the depression finally under some semblance of control, the anxiety is now rearing its head. Next week, I see the dentist, which is something I’m borderline phobic about, and then I have to make an appointment for my one-year post op checkup for my eyes. In May, I have to have my well woman checkup, and all the tests for STIs….

It’s important for me to do this, even as it causes panic attacks and a need for blanket nests and days where I hide. I can’t make my mind better without also treating the body. And the years of untreated depression has caused harm to my body, which it is beyond time to begin healing. 

Speaking of healing, I feel almost like I am in a sort of twelve step program, and right now, I’m making amends for people I have hurt or wronged. As I grow stronger and healthier, I realize the damage I have done to relationships, and I have spent so much time apologizing to people. Also, as I am getting stronger, people have felt more comfortable telling me how my depression has affected them. It’s good to hear, to acknowledge, and to make amends for, but it’s hard. Sometimes, I get really tired of saying I’m sorry. 

I knew this would be a hard journey, and I was right. I also hope it’s worth it.


Fat

“Based on your height and weight, we think the best coaching course for you will be the weight management course. Let me just get you signed up for that one so we can help you reach your weight loss goals.”

Simple words. Likely a script, considering my husband got the same statement when he called our insurance for his wellness coaching.

And enough to hurt, and throw me off for the better part of the day.

I’d been weight shamed.

Because I’m fat. Big. Curvy. Chubby. Heavy set. Bigger girl. Zaftig. Hefty.

All my life, except for a few brief years in high school and college, I’ve been fat. The only reason I was skinny then was because of my anxiety disorder. I literally couldn’t eat. Any time I tried, it all came back up. And I went from 170 pounds in 7th grade to 125 in eighth grade, which, oddly enough, didn’t scare my parents enough to listen to me when I tried to tell them that something was wrong and I needed to see a doctor.

Working for Cascade AIDs Project helped. I learned that I could, in fact, eat, and that I wouldn’t throw it back up. I learned to breath through panic attacks in front of 36 6th graders while holding a dildo in one hand and a fist full of condoms in the other. I met Mr Awesome when I was 17 and he started to teach me the pleasures of eating with people

And the weight came back.

Full breasts, wide thighs, big ass, soft belly.

By the time I got pregnant with our son, I weighed 200 pounds. I held steady for a few years at 245. Currently I weigh 268-ish. It fluctuates.

But here’s the crazy thing. At 268, and facing my 35th birthday, I’m healthier than I ever was at 20, when I weighed 165. I’m far healthier than I was at 25, when I was steady at 245. And let’s not even talk about the skeletal 17 year old me.

If you look at my numbers, the blood sugars and cholesterol and all that other stuff, I’m “impressively healthy despite being morbidly obese”. That last bit is a direct quote from an actual doctor.

But yet, often my health problems will go ignored. My fingers hurt, all the time, yet the doctors will push Weight Watchers pamphlets at me and tell me to cut back on soda (which I rarely drink). Talking about my depression and anxiety issues leads to a discussion about my weight, as if my weight is the sole cause of all my ills. Thankfully, my current doctor isn’t of that school. You see, she looks at my numbers. How much I work out (several times a week, weights and aerobics, plus an active job), how well I eat (Very), and tells me to keep it up, that my weight actually doesn’t matter.

The first time she said that, I cried in her office.

I work in retail. Women’s plus sizes to be specific. And I’m loving it. I love being that strong, sexy girl who looks younger at 35 than she did at 25. I love being able to lift the mannequins all by myself and carry them around like the weigh nothing. I love telling these women who have heard the same sad stories and useless advice all their lives that they are actually beautiful and worthy. I love playing dress up in the new clothes and seeing how the pants hug my big ass and how the shirts taper in at my small-for-my-body waist. I love that weight lifting has given me toned and sexy muscles that move beautifully under my tattoos and allowed me to tone up and still keep my big breasts that I love.

Realizing this year how amazing my body is has been a revelation. I am strong. And beautiful. My body brought two amazing human beings into this world. My body did that! And I have the c-section scars to prove it! I have hundreds of dollars of beautiful art on my skin. I have thick strong legs that propel me up mountains and along city streets… walking like a person who is worthy of being there.

So it shouldn’t have bothered me, that day, that call. But it still did. It still does. Because we still live in a world where my six-year-old daughter is scared of growing up to be fat. Because the shame and embarrassment is still there, in every magazine and on every tv show. Because the only fat entertainers that are allowed credence in our society are male. Because sometimes when I see my tummy, I don’t see the soft pillow that my lovers love to stroke and cuddle. I don’t see the resting place for my babies’ heads from the time they were infants. I don’t see the strong core muscles underneath.

Sometimes, I still just see fat. White and blobby, with little blue veins. Fat that won’t be contained by clothes. Fat that gives people a reason to judge me before I even open my mouth.

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This post has been in my brain for a long time… at least since I went back to work last October. I want to change people’s thoughts about fat. I just don’t know how, exactly. Other that how I’m already doing it. One lady at a time. One suit or t-shirt or dress. One conversation in the fitting room about healthy being the most beautiful thing in the world. I welcome comments and ask you to please share this, if it resonates with you. Thank you.


Results

After waiting for a week, my test results are in. Seems the doctor forgot to call me…

Anyhow.

Everything came back negative. Thank Bob.

It’s a huge weight off my shoulders to know I have left that relationship behind me, with nothing but memories. And some anime that may or may not simply get sold at Powells.

My boss wanted to know if I will start dating again… I’m still not sure. I’m still on OKC. Still chatting with random people about books and other odd stuff. One of my coworkers wants me to go dancing with her and her young, poly, bisexual hipster girlfriends. I think it sounds like a lot of fun but I’m kind of afraid of being that old butch in the corner, nursing a Dr Pepper and chatting up the bartender while the young things dance it up.

I’m feeling my age. I’ll be 35 soon. Tomorrow is my fifteenth wedding anniversary. Mr Awesome and I have been together for seventeen and a half years… Which is literally half of my life. We are going to the coast, and Velah is hanging out with the children, both 2-legged and 4-legged. And after all this time, I fall more and more in love with him. I love our life, the ease of loving one another. The crazy cliche that I married my best friend, and it feel so lucky to spend forever with him.

The passage of Time is hitting me right now. My son is as tall as I am, already, and a wispy blond mustache is starting to grow in. My daughter is a tall and lovely first grader now, with four adult teeth and the most heart-stopping smile I’ve ever seen.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m not going to rush things. My life is full and amazing just as it is. And I am thankful for every minute of it.


Testy

On Wednesday, I got to spread my legs for a very attractive woman.

I just wish it was a sexy as it sounds.

The woman in question was my doctor. And it was the second time in three months that I found myself on her table.

My doctor is an amazing woman. She gets the poly thing. Or at least she doesn’t judge it, which is a real bonus in a world full of judgmental health professionals. She also doesn’t bug me about my fat, because my numbers are amazing and I work out regularly and eat really well.

The overwhelming response of my concerned friends since the breakup has been to get myself tested. So I made my appointment…. And it’s funny. I taught teenagers about AIDs during the nineties, the importance of testing regularly when you are sexually active. I knew more about mucous membranes and t-cells when I was 17 than I did the actual acts that would cause them to be something I should be concerned about. I’ve had multiple tests for an assortment of cooties in the past several years.

And yet, I found myself in a near panic state at my appointment on Wednesday.

I shouldn’t have, of course, but I got all sorts of nervous and scared.

My doctor was kind. She wanted to know why I requesting another full panel just three months after my yearly exams. Did I really need HIV testing again, and why was I specifically requesting “all” STIs…

When I told her I had just ended a relationship with someone I now knew to be untrustworthy, her eyebrows raised, and her fingers flew on the keyboard.

“Right then. HIV, and herpes titer, and we’ll do a bright-light scope to look for any lesions…”

Within minutes, I had peed in a cup (dirty catch for gonorrhea and chlamydia), and was on the table with my legs spread wide. She noted a few signs of HPV, no surprise there as it’s something I’ve had for at least several months and likely for a year or more… At any rate it showed up on my last exam. Vaginal culture for high-risk HPV and bacterial vaginosis, and then off to lab for three vials of blood to be screened for HIV, and both herpes viruses, as well as a few other things, I’m sure. I think syphilis is a blood test…

She was both kind and efficient. I was told that she’d call when the results were in, if I wanted, and could skip another office visit.

So I wait. I should be hearing from her any day now.

I know the response I had was mostly to take control, in some small manner, of something that had spun wildly out of my grasp. And also that I wanted to start with a clean slate, to know I left that relationship behind me with nothing more than memories. And the reassurance of telling any future partners that I tested out ok.

Also, no one else is going to look out for my sexual health. That’s my job, and mine alone.

Now I’m going to preach a little. Folks, get tested. If you have sex, get tested. I know it’s harder to test guys for some things, but don’t let that be an excuse to not go in. HIV is a simple blood draw. Some tests require peeing in a cup. Some require, for us ladies, a pelvic exam and can be worked into your yearly Pap smear and breast exam appointment.

But if you’re playing this game of sexual roulette, and if you read my blog regularly, chance are good that you might be, please get tested. For your current partners, and for your future ones.

And most importantly, for yourself.


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