Wednesday, January 12, 2011
My father and I got my new toilet installed, replaced a broken closet door track, and fixed the back light on my car (which I didn't even know was burnt out).
Got a lot done, now I'm exhausted and heading to bed... while feeling accomplished.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
My father is coming up for an overnight visit tomorrow (my family lives ~3 hrs away). He's going to help replace my downstairs bathroom toilet with a new one. The one there now is original to the house (25+ years old) and the inner workings aren't working well, the bowl is HUGE so it wastes a LOT of water, and the valve that shuts off water to it is broken. Since I found I could get a new one for relatively cheap (everything together should be around $125) I figured I might as well replace the whole thing. But since I definitely can't move a toilet by myself, can't install it myself, and need help with a few other little projects, I called my father and asked him to come up. He retired early (he's 57) after 38 years in the National Guard, so now he has a lot of free time... for my mother to drive him crazy. haha So when I need something, if he's not busy he'll make the drive to help me out.
Luckily for me, he's pretty level headed. He can help out with some ideas about how to approach and solve a problem. At the same time, he doesn't like to deal with arguing and doesn't do well with health problems (he will help out, but he just doesn't like to be around it if he can help it). So now that I'm not in the middle of being incredibly sick like I was this summer when he was here for a month (I couldn't be left alone and had no one else to help me), I'm going to have to suck it up and work my butt off while he's here, no complaining. At least I was able to talk my mother out of coming with him, or it would be more hurt than help. I can't stand her coming into my house and messing with everything to make it the way she wants it.
So here's to making the most of my father being here and helping me out!
Sunday, January 09, 2011
I said in my blog yesterday that I am believing that the next few days will be good. I went to bed believing it. I woke up believing it. I went to my first yoga class believing it. Then something a little strange happened.
The instructor that was supposed to be there, wasn't. It was someone else. No big deal as I had never met either one. I got there a few minutes before it started and it was pretty full, so I sat in the back. (BTW, this was an intro class, explaining what it is and what the poses are.) After about 15-20 minutes, I suddenly got this feeling that I needed to move up to a space right in the middle of the front. Normally I wouldn't move up like that, but I did. I am REALLY glad I did, and I will explain why later.
Of course, the instructor makes the moves look easy, but for a newbie with horrible flexibility (my hamstrings are disgusingly tight), no real muscle tone, and terrible balance, wow that was tougher than I thought it would be! She broke the poses down really well and took time to help us understand the whole point of the poses and movement. She also explained how doing yoga can release emotions that you've pushed down. Important for me to know.
I randomly lingered, not in a hurry to get out of there. Some of the students were talking to the instructor but then as they left her and I started talking. I had this moment where I felt like I could really talk to her and believed that she could say or do something that would benefit me. The emotions released and I started crying as I told her about the week I had just had, about my gastroparesis (which she said she's heard about from others), and then about the general lack of support from friends and family. I told her how you awesome sparkers have really helped me the past few days and that it meant so much to me. She gave me a hug and offered her support as well. She said she believes we are kindred spirits and invited me to go to church with her tomorrow.
Before some of you get excited, I need to explain something, just like I did to her. I believe in God, but I do not like organized religion because I don't want to be told how to believe and that if I don't do it a specific way then I'm a bad person. I have some arguments about what is, and is not, in the bible as well as religion in general. BUT, I am open to learning some things, as long as it is offered for consideration, not shoved down my throat. She said that her church is not about telling you that you're bad if you don't do things a certain way and is more about the message. So I agreed to give it a try. I will be meeting up with her tomorrow to check it out.
So then one must wonder, was this all supposed to happen? A bad week, a last minute instructor change, a sudden need to move to the front of the room, me randomly lingering for no reason... Whether divine intervention or monkeys on typewriters, I am going to make the best of it!!
Friday, January 07, 2011
It can be really hard pushing forward when you are against a wall that is getting pushed at you. It is incredibly draining and you feel helpless. When that happens to me, it tends to snowball. This morning brought a fender bender and my front bumper is now cracked. I could hardly focus at work; during the last few days every few minutes I feel like I'm about to burst into tears. But a few hours into work a great thing happened...
Since I have only been at my job for 4 weeks, I'm still having to learn a lot. Also, because I was an addition, not replacing someone who left the office, I didn't walk into a desk piled high with work. Instead, they are slowly giving me things to work on, but since it is end of year I'm helping everyone with things they have to have done, before I take on more regular work. Today one of my co-workers asked me to match a list of invoices to be paid with a statement, since it was problematic, she couldn't figure it out, and she was really frustrated with it. Well, I have this strange ability to pick out abnormalities in data, or look for some small item in a large stack of paperwork. (I rock at sudoku and minesweeper.) This task is the kind of thing my brain likes. So after 2 hours of reviewing page after page after page of numbers, inputting several hundred lines of data into a spreadsheet, then comparing and finding the problems, I gave it back and she was very grateful.
Then I took a short break because my brain was swimming and my eyes were dancing. And I realized something: in those 2 hours I hadn't been upset, I hadn't wanted to cry, and those 2 hours flew by without anything in my head but thousands of characters of data and the challenge of figuring it out. When I completed the challenge, I felt great, accomplished, and energized. The last hour of the day went by easily and the drive home seemed quicker (even though it was slower because of bad roads).
Then when I got home and my cat had to spend a half hour telling me about his day, it didn't annoy me as much as it normally does. See, he gets in my way, meows non-stop, gets underfoot, then follows me around and flops on his back over and over again until I either threaten to ground him or give him attention. Sometimes it is cute and I will spend a few minutes with him, but when I'm ticked off from traffic or tired from work it is just annoying. Well, he knows I've been upset so when I picked him up, he cuddled me - which he rarely does.
Even better, he gave me 'kisses' back. See, when I hold my cat, I say 'kisses' and he shows me his forehead so I can kiss it. Sometimes he wants a lot of kisses and will stay like that. Other times, he wants one then wants to go down. Every once in a great while - like today - when I give him kisses he will then stretch up and sniff my forehead back. That is his way of giving me 'kisses' back. This time, he kept sniffing my forehead over and over. He is my little boy, my family, and often he is what keeps me going.
I know I am very susceptible to outside stimuli. When people treat me horribly or say terrible things to me, it destroys me for days/weeks/months/years. When I can somehow get good things happening, then I'm doing good. I hate this, but I have yet to figure out how to stop it from happening. Nothing I have tried (affirmations, trying to ignore it, challenging it, etc) has worked. Maybe I will have to find some form of data challenges that I can do when things get bad to help me feel better.
And I'm excited to participate in my first yoga class tomorrow! I also rescheduled my massage for Sun. Plus I have an appt with my therapist on Mon (hopefully she won't cancel this one). As of this moment, I am believing that the next few days will be good.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Warning: The following is me venting. If you don't like to read someone venting their feelings about what is going wrong in their life, then please stop reading now.
Anyone who doesn't know what gastroparesis is, my stomach empties too slowly, so I must have a low fat, low fiber diet. If I eat incorrectly for even 1 day I can get really sick. I also have GERD and have been treated for eosinophilic esophagitis - which closes off your esophagus - but it could, and probably will, come back at any time without warning. I am about 10-15 lbs above being underweight but I keep losing weight because I can't get my body to accept enough food. (To those trying to lose weight, I'm sorry if this upsets you. But having your own body starve you is not good, not fun, and not something you should hold against me.)
Things that have been said to me since I was diagnosed with gastroparesis:
*My sister: No wonder you can't get a boyfriend, you burp like you're throwing up all the time. It is disgusting.
*What I tried to tell her that she ignored: My burping is because of my gastroparesis and GERD. If I don't burp, I will get a severe stomachache or throw up. You only have to see me for a few hours at a time, twice a year. I'm sorry that even that is too much for you to handle.
*My mother: You're on a low fat, low fiber diet, right? So here's a bunch of snacks you can have. There isn't any fat or fiber so you can have as much as you want. (She gives me several huge bags of junk food and fully expects me to eat them all in a few hours.)
*What she refused to hear: A low fat, low fiber diet does not mean I should just eat everything that doesn't have fat or fiber. Eating lots of simple carbs will make me feel tired and worthless. I have to have some fat with every meal, and some fiber every day. I just have to have them within a goal range. That is why I am tracking my food so closely. Please don't force junk food on me to make you feel better.
*A new coworker: So many people at my gym are just lazy. They definitely don't work out to exhaustion. I burn 200 calories in 6 minutes; you burning 200 calories in a half hour is a joke. I'm borderline obese but I'm eating Subway and Jimmy Johns now instead of McDonalds or Burger King so I'm going to lose weight. I am too busy to cook, and cooking for one person is not worth it. So hey, why don't you come out for happy hour and eat wings?
*What he is not getting: Everyone has different fitness levels. Working out to exhaustion is not a good thing. Burning 200 calories in 6 minutes is seriously doubtful. When I can barely get 1500-1800 cals/day, burning 200 is probably more than I should be doing. And Subway and Jimmy Johns have many really bad choices - which happens to be the things you appear to be choosing. And offering to buy me drinks is not the way to get my attention.
*What a 'friend' told me: She doesn't want to deal with my sickness anymore. It is my problem and she is sick of hearing about it. Why am I working out if I can't eat enough? I should eat a bunch of foods at night that are nothing but carbs so I can get more calories... because I'm lucky that I can eat as many carbs as I want.
*What I'm too angry to tell her right now: I have always done my best to be around when you need someone to talk to and support you. I have stuck my neck out and trusted you, believing you would be there for me when I need someone. But it seems you're there when it suits you, not when I need you. I hoped you would support me, but I'm not seeing it. What I am seeing is that you are too busy waiting for the mirror to say you are the most beautiful woman in the kingdom, and ignoring me when I tell you that every time I see you. Don't blame me for you feeling negativity when you throw it at yourself every day. But strange thing, I don't remember you turning it around and saying I'm beautiful, intelligent, kind, etc. Instead, you make it clearly obvious that you are jealous of me losing a lot of weight very quickly without trying. Apparently you are not getting the fact that my digestive system completely shut down and I was unable to eat more than 400 cals every 2-3 days for a month. I've been told I should not have lived through it. If you are that desperate to be thin, give it a try and see how you feel.
*What she needs to hear: You have said that you push people away, but then you are upset when they are gone. You say you want to know what people think about you so you can change, but you just get pissed off and hold it against them later. And remember a few months ago when you threw a fit because no one would go to an event with you? I was trying to support you by saying that you should go by yourself and see that you have the ability to be independent and not expect others to make you happy. You got seriously pissed off at that, chewed me out, then refused to speak to me for days. Again, don't blame your negativity on me when I have tried to support you and help you! Telling me that I cause us to get into pissing matches about who's life is worse is crap. When I try to come to you for support, you have to one-up me every time. I try to refocus so I can get the support I need and you turn it right back onto you! Plus, this whole thing about saying you can't deal with my sickness, blaming me for making you feel negative, and then saying it is up to me to decide if I want to fix myself and continue to be your friend is completely wrong. Maybe I shouldn't deal with the fact that you are constantly putting yourself out there to get attention from men, just so you can get pissed that the wrong ones are hitting on you or that you aren't getting drinks handed to you from every guy in the bar. Maybe I shouldn't deal with the fact that you are too self-centered to have shown even an ounce of concern that I should have died, let alone taking 5 minutes to learn the tiniest bit about what I'm going through.
In the past week, I have gotten the coworker and 'friend' comments. My therapist cancelled on me after I already couldn't get an appointment for 3 weeks. My masseuse cancelled on me. I've had people try to force me off the interstate (which is a common occurrence but still scary as hell) and nearly caused me to crash. I got a notice in the mail that I am required to go to a city meeting and set up a house inspection for sewer problems - which is going to cost me a hell of a lot of money to fix, if a fix is even possible. I end up spending 20-60 minutes every night cleaning snow off my driveway and sidewalk in single degree to 20 degree temperatures, and almost every time lose the feeling in my hands, feet, and legs for an hour after I'm done. I can never seem to get warm because I'm losing my body fat so I can't regulate my body temperature. My car is starting to show signs that I will have to replace it soon (which I absolutely can't afford). When I eat some foods that should fit into my gastroparesis diet my body is reacting badly to them and I end up in a lot of pain, so now I'm getting scared to eat again. I really want to exercise, but I can't do much because I don't have enough calories to burn.
The fact that I have no support from my family or friends is incredibly painful. It reminds me how many people believe I am less than human or have made it clear they believe the world would be better if I was dead. It reminds me why I end up in massive shame spirals and have no self-esteem. Then I start asking the question "why am I never good enough for anyone to care about... let alone love?"
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