There is such a thing as helping wrong, or as my Mom liked to say, NOT HELPING!

I have a beautiful young friend that won’t go to the doctor because she is afraid they won’t do anything for her other than tell her she is fat.

I will let you sit with that for a minute. Yeah, truly soak that up. Because what fat person needs someone with a medical degree to point that out. As if our culture doesn’t already stigmatize us to the point of brow beating it into our heads, but now that a doctor says it…

There are so many people that claim they are doing what is right by telling fat people to lose weight. I, as an official fat person, want to stand up and speak for all fat people right now and tell you to not do that. Admittedly if anyone could talk about another’s weight it would be a doctor. However, don’t talk to anyone, not even a young person with judgment and announce that they are fat as if that is the thing causing every problem. An ear infection can’t be caused by being overweight. Believe it or not doc, there isn’t an overweight person in this universe that isn’t aware that they are overweight.

Let me assume for the moment that you are really concerned with my weight. You are desperately trying to save me and you feel that the only way you can do that is to tell me that I am overweight and need to lose weight. You feel the only way for me to be healthy is to do so. I get it. For me it is true, I need to lose weight so that my five three frame can feel better. However some fat people are still healthy. However, that still isn’t the point. There are also many reasons why someone is overweight. Unless it is a health reason, nothing you do is going to change that.  So the shaming of a patient is not necessary. Do you understand?

Maybe you believe that shaming them will cause them to lose weight. Many times and many ways that it has been expressed and studies have come out that say THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE. Shaming people doesn’t help them lose weight.

You know what sucks is, it may not even be the doctors fault. It is probably a symptom of an intolerant society that refuses to actually take the time to be empathetic.   If you have been on the internet at all you have probably seen the video from that Canadian comedian talking about fat people. I refuse to write her name because I don’t want to give her any more hits or any more publicity. Let’s be honest: I struggle to forget hateful people exist so I definitely try to forget their names.  It is intolerance such as this that encourages fat people to be ashamed. The more people act like this the less likely people will get help with their obesity. When you shame someone they hide. When you shame someone they shrink. This is your goal. You are hateful and I hope that someday you will see what you have done and you will change.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I wish that more people had empathy. Not just for this issue but for every issue. I think that this is possibly the most important thing we should teach each other. I also think that the minute you cannot empathize with a certain part of society, you should shut the fuck up about it.  If you can’t for the life of you figure out why someone would be fat, then shut the fuck up until you do. BECAUSE YOU ARE IGNORANT! Struggle to figure out a realistic not hateful reason. If you can’t then – don’t speak – because all you are doing is making the problem worse. Stop making it worse. REALLY. STOP. Please. Stop.

I am so tired of my family and friends being ashamed or saddened by your ignorance. As a community, we are failing our fellow humans.

There is a girl who is only three years old diagnosed with type two diabetes. Her parents I am sure probably were just ignorant to how to eat healthy, and how to take care of themselves. So that poor girl has to live in a society that hates her, and makes fun of her. Some day she is going to want to change to take care of herself. Do you know how hard it is going to be for her? When all she has learned is to take solace in food, she is going to grow up in a society that is relentlessly finding fault in those who do so. Her friends will make fun of her, the media will vilify her, and doctors will chastise her.

That is just the support a young person needs to get better, right?

Now, I am going to go really radical. We need American women to have pride in their bodies, not only the ones that have your standard of beauty.  Our bodies are magnificent in all sizes. Our bodies are works of art that move. We rely on them every day. We must appreciate them; love our bodies, in order to live a healthy existence. We also need good self-esteem to be happy. There is no reason not to love our bodies. There may be things that need help, or maintenance, but it is not something to hate. Stop contributing to these young people hating their bodies. Just stop.

The Good News

This is a day I was super happy. Swinging with my nephew. (Had to cut him out of the pic, that's an internet no no.) I am almost this happy today.
This is a day I was super happy. Swinging with my nephew. (Had to cut him out of the pic, that’s an internet no no.) I am almost this happy today.

September of 2013 I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was prescribed 1750 mg of a drug called Metformin and a Victoza injection every night. That day I cried on the floor with my husband looking on helplessly. In the two years since, I have gone through so much pain and setbacks. I have quit my job, my Dad had a heart attack, I left the friends and family I love so much and moved across country. It has been a really hard two years. Between the PCOS and Endometriosis, I have been in pain, depressed, on pain pills and frankly fed the fuck up.

Slowly I have been trying to take control of my health. First, I started eating all organic about three months ago. I have learned about all the chemicals and antibiotics they put in our food, and how cruel they are to animals in industrial farming. I have wanted to vote with my money for a long time, but finally put that into fruition three to four months ago. An amazing side effect of this choice is my PCOS symptoms have lessened. It was surprising but also very motivating, and so Brad and I decided to take it further. About a month ago we went to a mostly vegetarian diet. Ninety percent to ninety five percent of our diet is meat free.

I went to my doctor’s appointment last week, at the time I found out that I had lost twenty-nine pounds in just a month and a half of my last appointment. This is really awesome, but not even close to the best part. This morning my doctor called to give me the results of my tests. I am overjoyed with the results. I now have the A1C results of a pre-diabetic, not a diabetic!!!! Hard work pays off!  I am not out of the danger zone yet. I doubt I will ever be out of the danger zone truly, but for the first time ever…my numbers are going the other way!!!!!! I am only taking one Metformin now and no Victoza. My doctor wanted me to take two but said it would be okay if I waited another three months to see what I could do in that time to get my blood sugar down.

I have three months to get my sugars down .2 points in order for my doctor to feel good with my current medicine regimen. So that is where I must start. I can do this! I am of the fake it until you make it camp so I say that a lot. However, for the first time ever, I believe it. I am so happy that the choices that I have been making are finally the right ones. I feel like I should celebrate, but I will wait. I have many more meals to plan, and miles to walk before a PLANNED celebration. That’s how I do things now. I plan my indulgences. I make good decisions. That’s me, controlling my destiny over here.

Okay, so I might be having a mini celebration in my head which is pretty powerful these days.

Everybody in my Apartment is Relieved!

One of the good days
One of the good days

I danced this morning to music in my head. I woke up and started singing to my husband. He had a slightly relieved but also amused look on his face while I started pumping my arms over my head and shaking my chest at breakfast saying, “Mocha, mocha, mocha, mocha!”

See, for the past three days I have been experiencing fantastical headaches to go with my endometriosis pain and sinus infection. What a boon! Right?

My CPAP mask has been leaking. When it leaks I don’t sleep so well. When I gasp for air I lunge with my neck and that causes my neck to seize up. When I wake up I feel like someone has been wrapping a rubber band around my neck all night and all the blood in my body is stuck up there. I used the alien head massager, ice, heating pad, and my husband gave me hour long massages. Nothing helped to relieve the headache until my mask got fixed. Brad got me a caramel mocha at the Starbucks across the street as a reward for my ingenuity, fixing my mask and helping myself feel better.

I am not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me. I am just struck by how wonderful I feel this morning. I want to explain how glorious it is when I don’t am not in pain. I am so happy this morning that the pain is gone, I am dancing. The thing is: I don’t know when the cramps will come back so that means that since I am feeling good, I have a long list of things to do today. I will be cleaning the kitchen, writing blogs, editing my book, emailing my new friends, writing letters, and cooking three meals.

I will try to do more if I get that done. I am excited to do things. I love getting things done. I have to pace myself though because if I don’t I will be in pain again tomorrow. So I mix sedimentary things with active things. It is a trick I have learned after ruining my good health streaks. I think sometimes these bad health streaks are there to remind me to take care of myself.

I just read an email from Myfitnesspal with a quote from a woman who lost over one hundred pounds. She said, “You need to take care of yourself like your life depends on it.” That really makes sense, because our lives do depend on it. It is a simple saying, almost like a “duh” moment, but I have never thought of it like that. I would go even further for myself to say, I have to take care of myself like my next week depends on it.  I can really mess up my week if I don’t eat right, get exercise, and sleep deeply.

These horrible times are fewer and farther between which is all I can hope for. I am slowly making things better through research and my resources. I am taking better care of myself and that is a win in itself, but the product of that is less pain. The other benefit is that I am able to listen to my body better. When I first had sleep apnea it took me years to realize why I was having the headaches. I figured out my mask was leaking the first day this time.  I am listening to my body closely now, and that is a benefit I didn’t see coming.

While I am working on my health I am going to relish the days I do feel good. I am going to live life to the fullest while I can. So today I am gonna get as much done as possible, but I will be singing and dancing while I do it.

I Took a Mental Vacation

These are all the books I've been reading. I apologize for the blurry pictures in this post. Perhaps I was bliss-ed out.
These are all the books I’ve been reading. I apologize for the blurry pictures in this post. Perhaps I was bliss-ed out.

I was researching endometriosis for so many days that my brain was mush. I have been looking into treatments, diet, and herbal medicine. I was stressed at all the conflicting information and burnt out. I hadn’t written for fun in a while or done anything fun for weeks. So I decided I really needed to clear my mind so that I could think of something else besides that week every month I am in monster pain.

I arranged to meet with a good friend to write on Friday. It was a lovely morning at a coffee shop in Rittenhouse square called Elixir. We had a quiet table by the window but there wasn’t a plug in nearby so I got inspired by my writing partner Alice who writes in a journal and free wrote for a while. It was such a relief. I just sort of pushed out all the gunk that had been eating my brain. It was like my pen was shouting out word salad for thirty minutes. I tried to turn it into a poem. The process brought me so much joy because I hadn’t written only to enjoy the process of writing for what seems like a kazillian years. (Lately I have felt a pressure to only write what could someday bring in money.) This indulgence really seemed to liberate my mind.

The chaos in my head
The chaos in my head

Afterwards I worked on fiction and then we decided it was time for lunch. My friend and I then talked and leisurely walked over to a restaurant called Cosi. The walk there was so relaxing like all those scenes on TV when people walk and talk in the big city. I concentrated on being in the moment, listening to my companion and taking in the scenery.  At Cosi I had some delicious tomato soup and a Caprese type sandwich, talked, and people watched for a couple hours.

The weather was so nice, perfectly cool, and the corner wasn’t that busy. It was just calm and languid. I didn’t have a care in the world except for the interesting conversation with my dining companion about pain, loss, abuse, humanity and whether or not it could get better…you know the light stuff -leisurely lunch conversation. My mind was totally engrossed and delightfully challenged. I walked home in love with life and had forgotten all about my health problems momentarily.

When I got home I was so relaxed I wrote some more. I wrote two more chapters, cleaned my kitchen, and made a kick as vegetarian meal for dinner.

I was more productive and creative that day than I have been for months which made me realize I need more fun and less worry. I have been researching, writing, cooking, researching, cleaning, cooking…etc. for weeks now. I have decided to do something indulgent at least once every day this weekend. Luckily hubby got a free pass to a video game he wanted to play. So Saturday while he was tethered to the computer with his headset I took a long leisurely hot bath with some new bubbles Brad bought me. I went all in lighting candles and listening to the yoga channel on Pandora. I was in my bathtub for two hours reading blogs and meditating.

Don't tell Mom I posed for this
Don’t tell Mom I posed for this

Sunday I took a couple of hours to lie in bed, read magazines, and listen to my AC/DC channel on Pandora. It was bliss. I like the dichotomy of listening to Korn, Marilyn Manson, and AC/DC while looking at rustic décor in Country Living, or how to decorate pumpkins in the Martha Steward magazine. While bed dancing and singing at the top of my lungs, I read interviews with starlets and perused pictures in Coastal Living, Elle Décor and National Geographic.  I finished the evening doing yoga and cuddling with my very cute husband. BLISS!!!

Basically I gave myself a sorely needed mental palate cleanser. Today I am back at work, researching vegetarian recipes, looking up PCOS and Endometriosis, and writing with even more gusto than before. Except now, I am enjoying the process because I have less weight on my brain.

What I really love and am super proud of is that even though I have been frazzled and stressed, I figured out a way to work past it without a Domino’s pizza chaser. All week I have been eating fruit and veggie heavy, and no junk food. I worked through my sadness by indulging another way.

Elixir has a Chapbook dispenser! Isn't that fun!
Elixir has a Chapbook vending machine! Isn’t that fun!

Endometriosis? Really?

I think this is the appropriate sentiment.
I think this is the appropriate sentiment.

It has been a long time since my mother has had to remind me of who I am. I don’t know if everyone has someone like this, but my parents are realists when it comes to parenting. They believe their kids are smart, handsome, beautiful etc. just not the most of any of these qualities. Neither of them have any qualms about telling me how flawed I am if I decide to get too big for the britches as they say.  For instance, once I was very indignantly mad at my husband and Mom pointed out, “You are not such a peach either.”

I am not complaining. Knowing where I stand is something I value. I am telling you this to say that when my parents give me a compliment, I know I deserve it. So Friday, when my Mom told me that I am one of the strongest women she knows, I know she means that. It was one of those moments where I looked inside myself and found something so deeply hidden, it is probably going to take months to dig it out and that is my indignation.

I have gotten a little soft lately. I think it is because I found love and all that bliss it contains. So this pain I have been having every month, this horrible bed ridden type pain that is making me a little crazy, I thought there would be a solution for. I was looking for an answer from other humans. I trusted the medical professionals to find me an answer and just remove this pain. It seems logical. It was blissfully ignorant, the hope and faith that people have who believe in love and such. Right? I mean that is how the world works right, you go to the doctor and leave feeling better and with hope you will feel better…yeah not so much.

I have been going to the doctor with intense menstrual pain for over twenty years. I have had a gazillion different appointments where I have described excessive bleeding and intense pain. I have missed work, vacations and other fun.  I have had ultrasounds and even emergency room visits where they pumped me full of morphine. They have told me the entire time that I have PCOS and that the cysts where causing me pain. So my last appointment at a new doctor here in Philadelphia I asked why I didn’t just get my ovaries removed if they were causing me pain. She said that sounded reasonable so she set me up with an appointment with one of the best gyno/surgeons in Philadelphia.  If you are a follower of my Facebook or Twitter feed, you probably know I have been sort of excited at the prospect of no pain. I have been daydreaming about my ovaries in a jar.

The first thing this accomplished doctor told me was that PCOS doesn’t cause the pain I am experiencing so removing my ovaries would be pointless and stupid. Well she wasn’t that rude but by the look on her face I knew that is what she thought. I immediately started crying. Why the hell hadn’t anyone told me that before? Why was I blaming PCOS for all my pain this entire time? Why didn’t any of the ten doctors I have seen for this before tell me this?

She thinks it is probably endometriosis, but will have to do tests to be sure. She was very vague about treatment. Maybe we will try IUD or to put me on a medication that will put me on a fake menopause. Neither of these things sounds pleasant or like something I want to do. She also said surgery most likely won’t fix anything.

Afterwards I was in a daze. I didn’t really know how I felt other than devastated and extremely exhausted. I had a coffee date with a friend after and she was so lovely to me, and reminded me that there was still hope with this new diagnoses and I was still on a journey to getting better. She also told me that it was okay I felt sad. This was good because the minute I got back to my apartment I called my Mom and broke down.

She was mad too. She had hoped the same things I did, that it would be as simple as removing the pain. Furthermore, she wanted me to get mad too. She said, “Cry today. You deserve to cry today, but then you need to pull it together and be you. You are the strongest person I know and I want you to talk to the doctor and tell her what you want. Don’t cry at the doctors. You are a very capable women, and don’t let anyone make you feel like you are not.”

You know it wasn’t the doctor making me feel like I wasn’t capable; it was me and the pain. I let the pain make me feel feeble and timid. I am not timid. I am a bulldozer in sneakers. My family and friends know I am not subtle. My sister told me I needed to pretend that I was advocating for her, because she knows I would be searching for solutions all over.

I would love to say that conversation gave me instant back bone and now I am researching with a resolve. I am researching.  However, I am still having a bunch of feelings I don’t understand. They range from frustration with a system that took over ten years to give me an answer, sadness that I will continue to have this pain, and anger that I still don’t definitively know anything. I am creating a girth of information and choices for me, but in the meantime, I am frustrated by the lack of information. I am re-angered as I look for answers in the chat rooms. The women there have all been ignored or told their pain either is made up or doesn’t matter. There isn’t one story I have read so far of women who were believed, cared for, and helped right away; years after years plagued by a debilitating pain and no one listened. I flit between resolved to find my answer and all these other feelings, some of them all at the same time.

That is where I am at now. I am in research mode. At the very least, I am again taking my health into my own hands and searching for an answer.

Working on my PCOS

Probably all the chemicals I have put in my body could fit in here.
Probably all the chemicals I have put in my body could fit in here.

This morning hubby and I were high fiving in the kitchen and I was yelling ecstatically “Yeah! My ovaries are my bitch!!!!”

Not even thirty minutes later I was laying on the bed wincing and crying out in pain, “Your still my bitch!!! You’re still my bitch!!”

As I write this I am blissfully pain free because I took two Aleve and a Tramadol.

See, I accurately depicted that I would start my period this morning and I did. I know, those of you who have periods are like, “Big woop, Danielle, we all do that.” My response would be, “No we don’t.” For the past twenty years, I could no more tell you when my period was gonna coming then what whining lottery numbers are going to be. Having PCOS means I don’t ever know when Aunt Irma will visit. She can sometimes leave me alone for years, only to come back for six months, or come every two weeks, or two days even; basically my menstrual cycle is totally random.

Also, there is the horrific pain, but I will conquer that next. Even though the cramps are still debilitating, the fact that I have been regular two months in a row, is astounding. Twenty years of medications and doctor’s visits have not given me so much as a step closer to regular periods. I am not blaming that all on the doctors although I will say my healthcare hasn’t at all been comprehensive until recently and mostly because I have been doing most of the leg work. I am really working hard to be informed.

I have been researching getting healthy for myself and my family. I have a vested interested in all of our hearts continuing to beat and both of my parents have had heart attacks so it is a red alert situation. Even before the most recent heart attack Brad and I wanted to go organic. Since I am in charge of the groceries now for the past three months, I have been buying strictly organic food.

I started worrying about the chemicals and antibiotics after watching food Inc and then it took three antibiotics to get rid of my ear infection. I am really of tired of ingesting stuff I don’t have any idea of what is in it. (I know there are fertilizers in the organic stuff too but I struggle to buy local as well so I am feeling good about my chances.) Since it started I have been reading a lot about how our hormones are affected by these chemicals in our food. Essentially PCOS is rooted in hormone issues.

Going organic is the only thing that I have done consistently for the past three months so I feel  that my regular periods are a direct correlation to the elimination of those chemicals. We have only gone veggie the past two weeks, so I don’t think it is that. I am not an expert. I can only tell you what I know but it seems pretty conclusive to me. I am feeling pretty amazing lately. If you have PCOS, you might give it a try. I can’t say it would work for everyone will PCOS, but it seems to be helping me.

Ill Prepared for Vegetarianism?

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Being a vegetarian is hard. I went “cold turkey” so to speak on the meat products. Right now there is absolutely no meat in my freezer. We went out with a bang. I made a delicious meal last night of fried chicken, mashed cauliflower, gravy, and some corn from a farm nearby. That was about as healthy as I could make my last home style meal.

Today is a new day though and I have to craft a meal without the crutch of meat as a main protein source. I have been looking up recipes for three hours. I made the mistake of buying a lot of vegetables that I like but not a lot that makes a cohesive meal. I have a lot of veggies to snack on like carrots, red peppers, and hummus. There is also grapes. I ordered groceries from a new delivery service and they had an amazing selection of produce that really had me excited. I also got some things I thought I might need like tahini, vanilla, and almond flour. I also had to replace a lot of my spices. I felt like I would need those in the coming weeks. I felt like I had bought out the whole store, but maybe that was only my wallet.

So lesson learned, next time I will look up good recipes and then make out my grocery order specifically off the recipes. Certain recipes are just in your blood because you have eaten them your entire life. I could not tell you how much this is frustrating me. I must tell you that my Dad hates vegetables to the point where it is almost like he is allergic to them. So I wasn’t raised on a veggie heavy diet. The extent of that cooking included a can of veggies opened into a pot and warmed on a stove. Don’t get me wrong, Mom did what she could. She grew fresh tomatoes and cooked healthy in every other way, but we were a meat and potatoes household.

Keeping healthy in my site line.
Keeping healthy in my sight line.

The point is I don’t have any experience making veggies the main event. Right now I am going through recipes to see what I can make with what I already have. I have found a recipe for peanut sauce pasta tonight, but I am sure I will be struggling just as much in the future. I am checking out some books from the library, but I am really excited that I found something today. I have to be better about the pressure I put on myself. I was watching The Closer the other day and one of the detectives is an alcoholic. He said that you don’t have to think about giving up alcohol forever, just think about giving it up today. I am heavily thinking about eating healthy today.  I found a recipe for today and even tomorrow. I am feeling encouraged. We are doing leftovers for next day so I got lunch too. Between that and my walks, I am doing great!