It Takes Time...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The statement, "It took you time to gain weight, so it will take time to lose it" frustrates me so much. For the most part it took me little to no time to gain the bulk of my weight. I think this is what has kept me from really committing to a weight loss program because they sling this statement as a motivator, but for me it is a detractor. Getting annoyed by this statement has caused me to give up a little on my weight loss goals and I gained more weight in the process. So it didn't take a long time to gain the bulk of my weight, just some of it. This year I decided to make a change. I decided that 2011 would be my lifestyle makeover.

To know why I feel the way I do, you first need to know the reasons.

When I was younger, I was the super-athletic tomboy. If it was a sport, you could probably find me playing it. I developed at a very early age so by the time I was 12, I looked more like an 18 year old than a soon to be eighth grader. One morning during the summer before eighth grade, I woke up with my eyes swollen shut. My face was so swollen it was twice the size that it normally was. My dad rushed me to the doctor where they gave me allergy medication. The swelling went down so they thought it was just a severe allergic reaction to something around me. I went home with the medication and continued on with my life.

A few weeks later I started getting really sick. My face was starting to swell again and I started throwing up at least 2-3 times a day. Again I started to see the doctors. We got rid of everything that might cause an allergic reaction, which made my life pretty dull. On top of the swelling, I started to black out whenever I over-exerted myself. This was the cause of many cuts and bruises. It would be one thing if I was coordinated, but I was already a clutz, so this added a degree of awesomeness that I had never experienced. Since the allergists still couldn't figure out what was wrong with me, they gave me a steroid called Prednisone that is used to treat allergies. Within a month of starting this medicine, I went from an athletic 120 pounds to 200 pounds. Talk about self-esteem issues.

With the weight gain, I start to be shy, something that I never was before. Sicne the medication didn't help, I started to see every type of doctor imaginable. Finally, one doctor took a good look at one of my x-rays and noticed some instances of fluid on the sides of my lungs. To get a better idea of what was going on because they had tried everything else, they decided to give me a catscan. It was Friday, December 13th. I was excited because I got to miss half a day of school to do the catscan. After the scan, the nurses told my mom to just take me home and to expect a call from my doctor soon. When we got home, we walked in to a phone call from my doctor telling us to pack a bag for me and rush to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. This kind of freaked me out.

When we got to the hospital, we were admitted instantly and my doctor was already waiting in my room to talk to us about what was going on. It turned out that the catscan may have saved my life. Even though in the x-rays, it just looked like some minimal fluid spots, the catscan showed something far worse. The fluid around my heart and lungs was overproducing causing my heart to be 50% collapsed and my lungs both being over 60-70% collapsed due to the increase of fluid. The doctors were astonished that I could still breathe comfortably and that my chest didn't hurt. They did a tap of my heart and lungs to drain the fluid and kept me for a few days to run more tests.

The fluid came back so they repeated the tap. They sent me home after they ran the tests and I got to stay home from school and then celebrate the holidays at home. Soon after the holidays, I had more tests and the fluid was still overproducing so they decided that surgerey was my only option. They did a procedure called a peri-cardial window to allow the fluid to drain into my stomach and I would just pee it out. They said that this would solve the problem, even though they didn't know what was causing it. After I was sent home, I continued to see every type of doctor imaginable to figure out what caused it. One doctor ran a test to see if I had Lupus since I had some of the other criteria. The test was positive, but the doctors brushed it off saying I was too young to have something like that.

After my surgerey, I was unable to play any sports or ride a bicycle for a period of time. This made me paranoid to do anything that could cause more damage. Finally I started pushing my doctor to let me play softball because it would be my last year in the league that I was in. They finally agreed. I was always the player that would have ridiculous catches, but now I was nervous to do anything that could hurt me. I was no longer the player that I once was. This made me decide that I wouldn't try out in high school, but I would audition for drill team of all things with my friends. I hated my safety net. I longed to play softball and any other sport that I could get my hands on. I got down to 180 pounds because of the lack of fluid, but I was now out of shape. My freshman year flew by. The only problem that I had was that I didn't play any sports.

I attempted to play volleyball for my sophomore year, but I was so out of shape that there was no way that it would work. Also, my cautiousness really limited what I would allow myself to do. So I joined off-season softball. I was in all honors classes and on my way to a great year. It started with me being tired all of the time. I couldn't stay awake to do my homework and I couldn't concentrate in class. My grades started to slip. I was too far down the rabbit hole when the doctors discovered that the window had closed and the fluid was producing faster than before. They attempted 2 taps with little results so they decided to try something extreme. They decided to take the pericardium (the sack around your heart) out. This would be a major surgerey. It is considered in the big open heart surgerey category.

The surgerey helped, I had no more problems with the fluid and my recovery was quick, but more damage was done than I had imagined. I had to drop all of my honors classes because my grades were terrible and I had to join regular classes mid year. I think that is when I really stopped caring. Before this, my dream was to go to Berkeley and become a teacher or a lawyer, but because of my grades Berkeley was so out of the question. Due to my surgerey, and my inactivity, I went back up to over 200 pounds.

I think this is when I started my stress eating. I didn't have anything to look forward to anymore, I was benched from playing on the softball team and my educational goals were dashed so I stopped caring. The already tense atmosphere at home increased and only ended when I moved to live with my dad. Things got a little better. I was in a supportive home where I could be myself and I was allowed to be alone, but I still continued to stress eat. Luckily, it wasn't that bad and since my fluid issues, it made me sick to eat too much and I think I was the one person in my high school who only drank water.

So I continued on and after high school I found a job that combined the Happiest Place on Earth and fitness. I became a bike runner for the photo company in Disneyland. I also started to eat less and I was happy for once in a really long time. I was down to 174 when I met my now husband. When we finally started dating, he thought that I was starving myself because of my small portions, they were actually correct portions. So he started giving me a hard time until I started to eat more. During this time, I switched from an active job to an office position. So my weight came back up.

I was still around the 200 mark so that was still ok. A few weeks before we got married, I got the official diagnosis of having Lupus, but that it was in remission. Then almost a year after we got married, we found out that I had a big mass of skin cancer on my scalp. Lets just say that finding out that you have any type of large mass of cancer that needs to be cut out is a little stressful so I started to eat again and this time it was a lot. I know that I should have been concerned more concerned with the fact that I had any form of cancer, but all I could think about was that I already had thin hair and now I would have a huge bald spot on my head. That was pure awesomeness.

When my surgeries were done and my stay at home conditions were done, we decided that we needed a change. We decided that we would move to Kentucky to be closer to my mom and I would start going to school so I could finally get a degree. By the time my first year of school was done, I was up to 230. Then it happened. The thing we thought could never happen. I was pregnant. I was so sick that during my first 4 months, I lost 30 pounds. I started to gain it back and even by the time I had my little boy, I still did not weigh more than my pre-pregnancy weight and after I had him the majority dropped off. So I was about 215 after I had him.

Then stress and life happened and we moved back from Kentucky to Southern California so we could be closer to more family and the beach and motivators for both of us to get into shape and live a healthier lifestyle. So here I sit 250 pounds trying to put my life back together so I can be happy with myself. I could whine all day about how the majority of this wasn't my fault, but that would be putting the blame on others when I am the one who kept me this way. I refuse to be my own worst enemy anymore. I want to play sports and fit into cute clothes and sit comfortably in an airplane seat and ride on roller coasters again. These are just superficial reasons to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle, but the main reason is that I want to have energy to play with my son and live to see him grow up. I want my health to be in my hands. I know that due to my lupus, I don't have a complete say in the matter, but I need to do all that I can do to give myslef a chance.
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