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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.

 

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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

 

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

 

Hypo “what”? Hashi “who”?

** This post is for my own benefit. I doubt anyone else will read this, which is fine. I don’t want sympathy. I will just need to remember this down the road.**

Try to imagine. Just try.

I’ve lived the past 30+ years in pretty much constant pain. I have (5) herniated discs in my back (C1, T5-6-7 and L5), as well as knees and feet “riddled with arthritis”, according to my orthopedist. Add to that, just for fun, that I’m about 200 lbs overweight. Yep, about that. I’ve had my health issues and gotten through them with a healthy heart (per my cardiologist), healthy lungs (per my pulmonologist), healthy urinary tract (per my urologist), healthy reproductive area (per my OB/GYN specialist). But, some time back, I don’t remember exactly when, I was diagnosed by my primary care physician, as having hypothyroid.

Hypothyroid is having an underactive or inactive thyroid gland. I was prescribed medication to help “activate” my thyroid. So what? That’s what I thought. I didn’t really even know what a thyroid was, not to mention where it’s located. So it can’t be too important or vital to things. But I took my meds, off and on, and not in earnest, not really caring about the diagnosis. I continued to visit my PCP twice yearly for checkups, and my thyroid always read low ~ duh! Of course, I wasn’t taking my meds appropriately!

Well, this year, things have changed for me. I don’t know why, and I may never know why. Back in May, I decided I WOULD begin taking these thyroids meds like I’m supposed to… in the morning on an empty stomach, then wait for an hour before you eat breakfast. Okay, doing good. One month later I’m starting to have some not-so-good symptoms. Out of curiosity, I found a decent hypothyroid women’s group on Facebook and I joined. The stuff I’m finding out is still making my head spin! The administrators of this group seem to be very well-educated on the subject, but I’m not one to believe information just on a say-so. I weigh facts from several different sources before making decisions about things.

But what was real are these symptoms: hair falling out, no tolerance for heat above 65 degrees, profuse sweating, sinus drainage causing constant clearing of throat, leading to laryngitis a couple times a month, extreme fatigue, debilitating brain fog, short term memory loss, the “shakes”, inability to concentrate, lack of appetite, light-headedness, confusion, easily bruised, depression, on and off fever, inability to get to sleep, inability to get out of bed in the morning, pain in all of my joints and muscles, constipation, inability to make decisions, lack of any real interest in anything. And I’m sure I’m forgetting at least two or three. All of this while still having to deal with unresolved chronic pain. I’m really just about at the end of my rope.

I have, however, researched, found, and made an appointment with an endocrinologist in Auburn, NY. My appointment is one week from today. I’m optimistic. Dr. Shirwan Mirza seems to have a good reputation according to his reviews. I pray to God that he’ll be able to help me.

Oh! I almost forgot the “Hashi-“ part! Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is often the CAUSE of hypothyroid. It is an autoimmune disorder in which antibodies directed against the thyroid gland lead to chronic inflammation. It is not known why some people make antibodies, although this condition tends to run in families. Over time, however, this results in impaired ability of the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, leading to gradual decline in function and eventually an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs most commonly in middle aged women, but can be seen at any age, and can also affect men, and children. Hey! How about “no cure”? It can only be treated with medications, diet and/or surgical removal – which will require medications. I’ll be tested for all of this when I see Dr. Mirza.

For now, it’s “wait and see”. But, if anyone does read this, thank you for taking the time. And maybe something here can help you.

Blessings ~ Tamara Continue reading

Let’s Go To The Movies

And thus starts a brand new year today.  I’m going to try to blog more reliably beginning this year, and I’m going to start with a critique of a local movie theater that we visited last night.

The “Township Tavern” located in the Township 5 Center in Camillus, NY, was perhaps the best experience I’ve ever had in my life in movie-going.  It was Al’s and my first time going to the Township Tavern, and, being the pessimistic person that I have always been, I didn’t expect much but crowds and discomfort.  But I’d heard good reviews from others, so I had to give it a try.

township-5

I pre-purchased our tickets online, which was done with ease and no confusion.  You get to pick your movie, and even the seats you want all from Fandango.  When you get to the theater, there’s a kiosk where you pick your ticket(s) up with a couple of touches of the screen, then you go in and go right to the entrance to the theaters.  The outer area has a complete bar and restaurant, and plenty of helpful staff everywhere.  You might need to really pay attention to where you are walking, though, because there are service staff hustling all around taking orders to movie-goers very quickly and efficiently.  It would be easy to knock into one, or they knock into you, because of a misstep.

Inside the theater is very roomy.  Seemed like there were many fewer seats, because the seats are roomy recliners that leave plenty of room for people to walk even when fully reclined.  Talk about comfort!  Way better than anything I have at home!  The recliners are upholstered in a leather-like fabric, and equipped with a little swiveling tray that can hold your food, or in my case, my purse.  There is a little push button on the tray that will summon a service person once pressed.  And the service staff was exceptionally attentive, fast, courteous and helpful.  Food and drinks (including alcohol) were ordered from a lengthy menu, and although a bit pricey, looked and smelled delish!  Let me just say one thing about the “priceyness” of the food/drinks…I think it’s well warranted given the awesome customer service provided, and the comfort feature of the theater.  However, Al and I were going out to dinner afterwards, so we did not order food, only a yummy blueberry/lemonade.  My knowledge of the food came from all the patrons around us who HAD ordered!  LOL!

township-5-3

One slightly negative thing I can say is that there was an incredible smell within the theater, thanks to all the various food items that can be ordered.  While we were there, it was an incessant wafting of garlic and vinegar that permeated the air and was distracting.  I was expecting the service staff to also be a distraction throughout the movie, but that was not the case.  I guess, once the movie started, patrons calmed down about their eating and just watched the movie, as there was minimal movement throughout the show.  We watched “Passengers”, by the way.  Loved it!  Oh, one other comment that could be negative… during some of the more intense parts of the movie when the music quelled, the entire auditorium vibrated.  More of a distraction than a bother.

township-5-2!

All in all, the experience was terrific.  In fact, I’ve decided that I will not patronize any other theaters in the Syracuse, NY, area except Township Theater.  WAY surpasses Destiny USA.  A little more expensive, but SO worth it!

Happy New Year!

Thanks for visiting ~ Tamara