The past couple of years have been busy and excruciating for me, which I'll explain in a minute. Needless to say, in navigating my way through the storm, I didn't pay any attention to myself and gained every ounce I ever lost back and more and reached my highest weight ever -- 246.2 lbs. (CRINGE) As a result, my sleep apnea is in high gear, I'm exhausted, and I ache all over. Since the storm appears to be over and life has settled into a more even and easier rhythm, I decided first to take a vacation and then get down to the business of making myself healthy again.
I arrived back in Sparkland on January 23rd and since then, I have been doing very well. But it is SO HARD. That being said, losing weight and getting healthy again is not a choice; it's absolutely necessary.
During the storm, I was aware that I wasn't feeling well and that I needed to do some small things to make sure my own little boat didn't sink. Without doing that, I would never have made it through what was to come. First, last June, I went for a physical and found out that my thyroid was out of whack. So, my doctor adjusted my medication and I waited to feel better.
And my storm continued.
I had my thyroid rechecked in September and it was fine, but I still felt achy and exhausted. That led to my visit with the sleep apnea doc. I had a home sleep study which showed that my apnea was back up into the severe range. I got a new cpap machine and I've been using it religiously every night, hoping to feel better. I guess I must be doing better (the doc says so), but I still don't feel good. Sleep doctor gave me a talk about losing weight if I wanted the apnea to improve. My last visit with him was the day after I started back on SP and I don't have to go back until the end of July (unless something comes up). My plan is to lose about 10 lbs a month and go back and surprise him.
In coming back to SP, I really didn't plan on blogging at all. It gets a little embarrassing to be so successful at losing weight, only to have it creep back on MULTIPLE times. However, I did want to go back and review what was happening when I last fell off the old Sparkwagon. In reading my last blog, I realize that my "fall" had begun sooner than I thought, given everything that had been happening with my mother's health even then. I didn't know it at the time, but that was the beginning of what would turn out to be a very long, exhausting, and unhappy year and a half.
After my last blog, my mother appeared to rally for a few months, but then her health took a real nose dive. She lost most of the strength in her legs and, due to a shoulder injury, lost the use of her right arm which couldn't be repaired or replaced because of her age and poor health. By Mother's Day, it was clear she was failing. She spent the rest of May through October in hospitals, rehab facilities, and, finally, a nursing home. During that time she had problems with Diabetes, a stroke, and T.I.A.s. She did manage to make it home for a short time in early summer, but she kept falling and injuring herself despite all the safety precautions my siblings and I put in place. This is a picture taken of my siblings and I visiting my Mom in one of her rehabs:
Mom arrived at the nursing home in early August, unable to walk or support her own weight and unable to use her right arm. She gradually lost most of the use of her left arm, too. As soon as she got there, she told us she wanted to die. Fortunately, she had an advanced directive, but that didn't make things easy. Mom refused to eat and gradually withdrew from us. I went to visit her almost every day and sat with her for hours. Most of the time she slept, but when she was awake, she would just lay there and not even really talk to me, except to cry and pray that God would take her. When it was time for me to leave, she would cry and beg me not to go. The caregivers were not very good. They were overworked and poorly trained and, most of the time, couldn't even manage a smile for the people who lived there. It got to the point that the other patients knew me on sight and they would come and complain to me about the care and how the employees of the facility really didn't care about them. I couldn't do much, but I did what I could to make them more comfortable and advocate for them as well as for my Mom.
Mom's struggle finally ended on October 14th. This is the last picture I have of her and it was taken at the nursing home, after she had her hair done. She looks happy, but she was uncomfortable and cold the whole time her hair was being cut and washed. I think she was smiling because it was over. The bruise on her cheek was from a fall she had at home in July (this pic was taken in September).
After Mom died, we had her funeral, then Thanksgiving and Christmas, and, finally a visit from my step daughter, who lost her mother last summer, too. While all that was happening, I was also helping to pack up my mother's home and prepare for sale. Mom was a hoarder and that job is still ongoing.
During all that, I decided that I was going on a vacation to relax and get myself together a bit. My boy, Justice, and I went to Duck, NC, for a week and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings and the solitude. He is the best traveling buddy ever (except for the part where he ran into the ocean, scared me to death, and came out of the water happy as a clam and proceeded to shake water, salt, and sand all over me!)
Still, he's the best travel companion ever!
We got home Saturday the 21st and started back down the road to a healthier me on the 23rd. I've been eating right, exercising, and sleeping well. I've had some stomach issues, probably because it's not used to actually being fueled properly for so long. My muscles are screaming and I ache all over. I know things will get better, but I sure hope it's soon.
One other thing that happened . . .
In my last blog I talked about losing Valor, my Leonberger. Shortly after I wrote that, we lost another member of our pack. Little Miss Monet passed away in November, right before her 13th birthday.
She was a sweet and funny girl and losing her was difficult.
So, all in all, I've had quite a bit of stress and loss the past couple of years. That's not an excuse for gaining all this weight, just an examination of where I've been.
Now, to chart my course and move on to where I'm going. It's a distant horizon, but a bright one.