My Wall-E-esque Life: Part 1

“Fat Acceptance” has been a catch-phrase for at least 40 of the years I have been alive. In 2 parts, I share my experiences and lessons learnt being a part of the…

Fat Acceptance Movement.

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I’ve been fat ever since I got my tonsils out when I was 7-years old.

Fat kid, teen, adult and now a “mature” adult.

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Trials (and Errors)

I’ve done dozens of diets, been prescribed Black Beauties & other speed (starting at age 8), belonged to many gyms, taken Phen-Fen (with success, but with heart valve damage), tried Topamax (fail), used Wellbutrin (fail), had a Roux en Y Gastric Bypass (with fabulous success, then epic failure), done hypnosis & acupuncture (fail & fail), become a daily Mindfulness Meditation fanatic (fail for weight loss/huge win for pain relief), have tried to have anorexia, then bulimia, hand-written hundreds of thousands of journal pages, letting them “hold” my pain, shame, revulsion, self-hate, wishes, fears, hopes &, eventually, resolution with my size.

I remain in resolution.

I will never diet or take diet drugs again. Ever.

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Time & Money

Thinking about the masses of time and money I’ve spent trying to lose weight makes my head spin.

Time

  • Going to the gym
  • Writing out menus
  • Researching rules and techniques for success
  • Real life or online support group meetings, including social networks talking about losing/gaining weight
  • Shopping slower to read labels and make sure food is “appropriate”
  • Learning new cooking methods
  • Fighting with family about the change in foods in the fridge and cupboards
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artist: Sapphire4723

Money

  • Gym membership
  • New cookbooks
  • Membership fees & apps
  • Tools for success (exercise equipment, pedometer, walking/running shoes, gym clothes, etc.)
  • Tossing all the “bad” food in the garbage
  • Buying all the “good” food
  • Probably eventually buying more “bad” food for my family because they whined so much about foisting my diet on them
  • $28,000 cash for RNY gastric bypass (GB)

Can I include the time and money (including the taxpayer’s) for the years of therapy discussing and crying about all of this?

money drain

Positive?

I was a Fat Activist in the mid-late 80’s, mostly in the lesbian community. I’ve written about being fat-positive for almost 3 decades.

In the beginning, when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I was healthy… labs were fine, no diabetes, my joints or feet didn’t hurt. I crowed (bragged, was arrogant) about how it was the fat-hating that made fat people sick and die, not the fat itself.

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Reality

diet fatter

Now, at 56-years old, I see how delusional I was. I am well on the road to dying before most people in my family did, and they all had diabetes, too. My future resides in my memories of my Cuban relatives & the diabetes complications they endured before dying. Heart attacks, going blind, having toes, then feet cut off, eventually dying in a coma because the body just gave up.

I see it coming as if it was a roaring train heading right for me.

Litany of Pain

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Here are my fat-related illnesses and issues:

  • Type 2 Diabetes (diagnosed at 34 years old), now on 2 insulins and metformin
  • I heal terribly because of the diabetes, often needing antibiotics for residual infections
  • Stage 3 Kidney Disease from the diabetes
  • Pain with every step I take
  • Osteoporosis and arthritis in my feet, which have broken 3 times just from walking for exercise, and one foot breaking while swimming
  • Broke one foot falling off the Wii Fit Board trying to exercise… needed 3 surgeries to repair
  • Arthritis in my lower back, was on opioids for 8+ years for the back pain, becoming incredibly addicted, finally getting clean 3 years ago (yay me!) Now I use Mindfulness Meditation for pain relief, though many times I wish for some Norco.
  • It took me years to find surgeons I felt safe with to get my 4 hernias repaired (one surgery) and then my gallbladder out (a separate surgery, with 3 hospital visits afterwards because of infection)… several turning me away because of my enormous belly size (blessedly, I found the docs and those issues are resolved)
  • Bone loss from possibly 2 main sources: lack of exercise & the GB
  • Walking with a walker, but should be in an electric wheelchair, my feet hurting so badly
  • Using an electric wheelchair when I shop

Nautilus

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My world has gradually become smaller and smaller. After 32 years in birth work (where I hurt daily as well), I am now a sedentary Phone Sex Operator. I live in a small space and leave the house only for doctor appointments, physical therapy, shopping and seeing my doggies at mom’s house.

Writing that makes me sad.

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Part 2 On Its Way

In Part 2 of My Wall-E-esque Life, I will talk about the place the Fat Advocacy Movement does have in our lives. While it might not be health (despite the incessant refrain that it does), it is most assuredly have an enormous place in our physical and emotional world.

More soon!

Bipolar Diary: Terribly Depressed

One sign of when I am in a serious depression is I can no longer write. It’s been since Dec. 30th that journaling words have come out of these fingers.

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Psych Visit

I went to the Psych today and sobbed about how frustrated I am about this post-mania depression. He said it just takes time. I said I am losing time by sleeping and losing LOTS of money by not working.

Blessedly, no suicidal thoughts or ideation. Still have visual hallucinations, but meh on those.

Last thing we did was up the Wellbutrin (of which I have even worse Tardive Dyskinesia now). Now we’re upping the Cymbalta from 60mg qd to 90mg qd. He said he is giving it 4 weeks to change things before he considers upping it again.

Can you hear me groaning in despair?

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Bipolar Diary: The Rough Cut

I feel like cutting my tongue out. I swear someone is using a course-grit sandpaper, rubbing it over and over and over, while I sleep.

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What’s sucky, too, is the Tardive Dyskinesia is doing overtime even while I am awake. Unless I am purposefully monitoring my tongue and jaw action, my tongue is scraping across my molars or my front teeth. Continuously.

Thank the Universe no one is noticing (probably because I am in the freakin’ house!), but even working on the phone, talking sexy, no one has noticed a difference. After a call longer than 30 minutes though, my jaw and tongue are sore (muscle sore) from trying to do two things at once: trying to keep getting the guy off and try not to make it sound like I am licking the phone. (Whereas upon reflection, that might not be such a bad idea.)

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artists, Mrzyk-Moriceau

Wellbutrin

I am lost over what to do about the TD. I would need to cut down or quit the Wellbutrin and I feel so, so much better on it. The prospect of stopping it terrifies me. (And the TD might not go away after stopping the medication anyway!) I see the Psych in a week and will talk to him about it, but the decision is 100% mine about what to do: stay on it OR go off of it and try yet another medication that might cause TD even worse, and possibly permanent symptoms, than this.

Fuck, I hate dilemmas.

Bipolar Diary: (Fucking) Depression

I am immobilized by depression now.

I cannot work. I can barely write. I am sleeping 100 hours a day.

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artist, Ksenia Anske

Yet ANOTHER Visit to the Psychiatrist

Over and over and over I go, like on a loop, sitting in the Psych’s office, trying to form words that explain how I feel:

  • Despondent
  • Apathetic
  • Useless
  • Premonitions of Agoraphobia
  • Infinitely sad (made worse by Aleppo)
  • So, so, so tired

And words I do not share because they will toss me in the hospital if they fall out of my mouth. We’ll just let them sit in there and rot.

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artist, David Kessler

Medications

Another change in meds. Lowering the Risperdal, upping the Wellbutrin. Will it make one iota of a difference? Can’t I have some speed, please? “We don’t want you having those horrible hallucinations again, do we?” (Yes, please. If I can stay awake.)

Change cannot come soon enough.

Bipolar Diary: Tardive Dyskinesia

Apparently I am really sensitive to medications, especially Psych meds. Over the last 2 years, I have tried 6 meds (not all Psych) that I eventually had to quit because of (what I would consider) intolerable Tardive Dyskinesia. I know that many others have it worse, have to take the meds that cause TD and that, for many, it never goes away. I have been lucky that mine generally went away.

Except the last time.

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My Recalcitrant Tongue

The first time I experienced the TD, it took a couple three weeks to figure it out. My tongue kept burning… then I would wake up with blood in my mouth. I couldn’t figure it out. My teeth? They all felt fine.

So I meditated on it, talked to myself about paying better attention, slowing down the movements so I could figure it out.

I began paying attention as I fell asleep, honing in on my mouth.

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A couple of nights after this new mindfulness thing, I relaxed and let my mouth do its thing. And boy did it ever.

Scraping is the best way to describe it. My tongue, clearly having a life of its own, pushed through my teeth, first pressed upward, then pulled back, my top teeth sliding against my raw tongue. Over and over and over again. Apparently, all. night. long.

Oddly, it didn’t do it as much when I was awake. I realized it did some, but not a lot. It was at night that my teeth assaulted my tongue. And holy fuck did it hurt.

Medication Connection

I Googled “tongue scraping” and TD came up. Medications were the culprit. Sometimes ones a person had taken for many years.

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I’d recently started some medication or another (cannot remember and for whatever crazy reason, I didn’t note it or write it anywhere), so went off and within a week, the TD had disappeared. The doctor tried another one to replace the first. Same thing, but this time I figured it out a lot sooner. Went off, it went away, and tried a third medication. This time it was fine.

Fast forward to this recent Manic Episode when I had to go on Risperdal for the hallucinations, then when I fell a tad too low, increasing the Wellbutrin… a med I have been on for several years. I hadn’t an issue with the Risperdal, but began noticing some light TD symptoms after upping the Wellbutrin. No blood this time, but the scraping had begun.

I lowered the dose of Wellbutrin for a couple of days with no changes, so upped it back to the 300 mg my doc agreed to (after I’d upped it myself). It didn’t get worse, but was still annoying.

Resignation

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artist, Margot Rijven

I seem to be in the place where the TD isn’t going to go away, but it isn’t going to get any worse, either.

It is definitely worse when I am tired or sleeping. I wake up with a very sore tongue and can feel I have been rubbing it against the roof of my mouth. I am happy that I am not waking up with a bloody tongue or enormous sores from the vicious play of teeth and tongue while I am unconscious. I am also quite lucky I do not have the serious symptoms of TD that include protruding tongue or uncontrollable facial tics that are obvious to anyone looking.

Still, my TD is annoying. It gets in the way of my work (I am a Phone Sex Operator) at times, having to make adjustments to my speech because of my involuntary mouth and tongue actions. But so far, nothing has been irreparable.

So, I shall just keep being Mindful and do my best to stay on top off the Tardive Dyskinesia, maybe lessening it over time.

One can only hope.

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