Catch 22

Sometimes I feel so torn, like I have no right to complain about my problems ~ that others have it so much worse than I do and I should just shut up and feel blessed.  But when my life, that I thought was on a pretty good track, goes awry, I need some time to regroup, ponder and pray.  Lord, what am I to do next?

That’s what has happened recently.  Besides being morbidly obese, I have severe arthritis in my feet and knees ~ especially my right knee, which is now bone-on-bone and beyond pain comprehension most of the time.  I now walk with a cane all the time, which I hate.  I’ve been seeing an orthopedic specialist for 2-3 months now, and, after visiting him yesterday to hash out our next strategy for pain relief, instead he said he can do nothing more for me.  Then he went into a long dissertation about how bad my knee(s) are and that I’m a candidate for knee replacement surgery IF I can lose a minimum of 60 lbs first.

He continued his long monologue about bariatric surgery, and that it appears to be my only last bastion before being immobile/unable to walk.  I sort of remember being in minor shock at that point.  Deer-in-the-headlights kind of thing.  I thought, “But no!  That can’t be!  I’ve been working hard, changing my eating lifestyle and losing weight!”  He seemed to have read my thoughts and said that at the rate that I’m losing, it would take me about two years to lose the necessary 60 lbs.  “Not fast enough,” he said.  He’s talking by the end of THIS year.  But I’ve lost 25 lbs. since the week before Christmas.  I thought it showed good promise.

I left his office in a fog.  That fog turned into despair and then depression.  The thought of bariatric surgery made me shudder.  You see, I had such surgery in 1988 when I was 29 years old.  From the moment I woke up in the hospital, gagging on the NG tube down my throat, the next 10+ years would be a nightmare of hell on earth with regard to my digestive system.  Most of the first 5-6 years were spent vomiting and/or feeling nausea like you can never imagine.  I used to have extreme nausea for hours, sometimes all night, and would curl up on the floor or the bed in the fetal position and rock myself until the feeling passed.  I used to beg God to make it stop, crying that I would never eat whatever hellish food that had made me sick that time.  It continued on into my current marriage, as of 1998, and I used to have to ask Al to pat me on the back (it helped?).  It was embarrassing the first time it happened with Al, and I had to explain it all… why I was curled up into a ball on the top of our bed groaning and begging to die.  It may seem irrational, but I’d rather spend an eternity in the firepits of hell than vomit once.  Vomiting, for me, IS the embodyment of death.  Next to gagging, it’s the closest I can come to meeting eternity without actually dying.  I don’t know why.  So, this bariatric surgery had been my near-death experience, over and over for decades.  It has lessened now to only once or twice a year… praise the Lord!

And now here I am, again, confronted with having a new torture to deal with all over again.  Even though my common sense tells me that, after 30 years, procedures have changed.  It has to be better now.  And I know I have to try this again.  I say “try” because I may not get accepted, and/or my insurance may not cover the surgery.  Last night I wallowed a bit.  But I also prayed and asked many of my wonderful friends to pray.  I figured my options are either sit and do nothing while my health continues to go downhill one part at a time, or I could take God’s hand and keep going, keep moving forward and do the best that I can to right myself.  I’m admittedly scared.  I’m no longer 29 years old.  It’s 30 years later and I don’t heal as well.  Regardless, I cannot be idle, self-pity or wait any longer.

The answer is to push forward, step-by-step and go where God leads me.  I’ve contacted a local bariatric team at our local Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.  It’s the way to start.  I’m working with them to see if I qualify and if my insurance covers the surgery.  I should know in a few days.  I have to be optimistic.  Any other option is not acceptable.



And So It Begins…

2017 is coming to an end and 2018 looms ahead.  Feeling pretty good about myself and the future, for once.  I’m still working on putting the past behind me 100%, it’s so hard not to feel remorse or guilt for so many things.  I need to remember that God has forgiven me for all of my past transgressions, and there’s nothing more important than that.

So, I’ve been losing weight.  I started my own version of the Atkins diet several weeks ago.  I’ve lost 16 lbs in 3 weeks.  It’s a good start and I’m happy with it.  My PC doc is good with it and very supportive.  However, I have not been without my weaknesses.  Eating LCHF (low carb, high fat) is not as easy as I thought it would be.  I really miss a lot of foods, and finding substitutes is far from ideal.  But I’m muddling through.  Eggs (fixed numerous ways), bacon, sausage and other meats are “ok”, but getting tired of it.  NEVER thought I’d be sick of bacon and eggs!  But I sure miss my cereal!  I’ve discovered cauliflower – Steam Fresh riced cauliflower – and I really like that.  Great substitute for mashed potatoes and/or rice.

I don’t like feeling hungry all the time, though.  I never feel like I’m full… or even close to full.  More often than not I feel ravenous.  I’m working on finding some recipes that use almond flour so I can BAKE something.  I’ll get through it.  I’m determined to make this work for the rest of my life.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a New Year.  365 days of new choices, new goals making appropriate changes.  I’m going to try to blog more often.  Not that I think anyone reads my posts… well, “someone” does, as I see almost each day that someone has viewed my Home Page.  Wish I knew who that person was.  But anyway, I do this for me.  And, since I got a new camera for Christmas from my beloved, I think I’ll try hopping back on board with some of my favorite authors on WordPress.  I used to always post photos and take part in challenges.  I need to get back to that.  I have lots to share, and I like being a part of those who also like to share.  Looking forward to being more WordPress prolific again!

Anyway, I think that’s about all I have for this morning.  Maybe I’ll post some pics this evening of the new family addition(s).  Until next time, thanks for stopping by and taking a peek.  Bye for now…

~ Tamara Eckstadt


Forgiven & Set Free Five Years Later ~

Life with Jesus in it is amazing.  I often look at the little oak tree that I planted five years ago after finishing Forgiven & Set Free ministry through my church.  That little red oak has grown a lot!  It’s not only grown a lot in height, but in meaning.  It still stands for the son I’ll know someday, but also it stands for me… for my strength to get through this,  the resilience it takes to go on and the love I can finally feel for myself after all of these years.  I’ve come a long way, through lots of challenges.  I have a ways yet to go.  I won’t reach the end until I go home to God and can meet my baby again.

Red Oak 2017

Thanks for stopping by.  God bless.  ~ Tamara

July 31, 2017; Journal Entry 3: De-Carbonated

Well, it’s been 6 days without any carbonated drinks.  I’m pretty proud of myself for that.  I’m pretty well addicted to Pepsi, or any other soda.  I’ve known for a long time, and I didn’t need Dr. M to tell me, that carbonated drinks are SO bad for you.  I just hadn’t gotten to the point where I really cared enough about my own health to stop drinking it.  And, indeed, it’s been a very difficult week.  I wish I was  one of those people who could just chug water and be happy and healthy.  I’m a flavor addict.  If it doesn’t taste good, I want nothing to do with it.  I’ve tried some of those little bottled flavorings that you add to water, but they give me heartburn.  So, I don’t know what the future holds in store for me to drink… I might just have to bite the bullet and drink the flavorless water anyway.  I’m in this for the long run.

I’d like to say I’ve been doing exceptionally well with my food intake.  But I’m not feeling guilty about it, as Dr. M (the endocrinologist) said he doesn’t want me to change my eating habits until I get my blood workup done next month.  Even so, I’m consciously holding back and eating better.  Mostly.  Dr. M said he would be “teaching me” how to eat/avoid carbs etc. after the blood workup comes back.  I’m hoping when I go see  him again that I’ve lost some weight.

Even so, I have this scary symptom(s) that does not seem to abide by my rules.  It rears its ugly head whenever/wherever.  Usually when I have to stand for any length of time.  First I’ll break into a profuse sweat (soaking anything/anyone around me), then my hands will begin to shake, then my arms and, if I don’t find a place to sit fast enough, my entire body will tremble.  My breathing will come much faster and uncontrollable, and to the point where I will pass out.  The only resource to stop it is to sit down for around 15 minutes at least.  It can be terrifying.

I will be contacting my primary care doc about this one!

So, that’s about it for tonight.  Not so much.  I’m distracted and need to go quilt.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.  Blessings ~ Tamara


July 27, 2017; Journal Entry 2: Eat Clean ~

I guess the term “eat clean” is the mantra for those (of us) who are trying to get healthier, lose weight, and live (not a “better life”) up to our potential. I haven’t researched all that is involved in this journey yet, it’s going to take awhile to take it all in. Besides, Al reminded me that Dr. M doesn’t want me to change my eating habits just yet. He wants me to be “raw” (in my natural state of gut health) for when I get all of this blood work done that he has requested. That’s next month. He said after he sees the results, THEN “we’ll talk”! He said he is going to teach me how to read carbs (and avoid them), sugars, fructose ~ I sure hope he teaches me how to replace them with stuff that tastes good! Regardless, there is plenty of information out here on the web just for the asking. And I already have several/many friends who are supportive and willing to help. One particularly special lady in one of my quilt groups has requested to be my partner in my endeavor! I almost cried! We’ve exchanged phone numbers and will keep in touch with each other throughout the journey. One of my goals is to lose enough weight to be able to fly down to see her next year (she’s in Florida). No, I won’t fly like “this”. Massively obese and unhealthy. I filled the dishwasher yesterday and had to take a shower afterwards as I’d broken out into a soaking sweat. Then, drying myself from the shower made me all sweaty again. No, I want to go to Florida and not be ashamed to wear shorts, or even a bathing suit, or sleeveless shirt or tank top.

Anyway, the research begins. Mostly, I need to find good, clean alternatives to the crap I’ve been eating ~ and it’s gotta taste good. Flavor is my downfall. Can’t they make a nice, dark lettuce that tastes like a potato chip? Is that asking too much? I’m not kidding myself, this is going to be tough. I’ve been craving carbonation all day so far. Soda will be the hardest thing for me to give up… but I am determined. I want so hard to make this work this time. No tricks, no special pills ~ just healthy eating and bring in some exercise and I’ll get there. I HAVE to.

Input is very welcome in the comments. Know of a good, healthy recipe? I have an awesome Ninja blender that could make rocks into a smoothy. What’s yummy?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Blessings ~ Tamara