Where. To. Begin?

At the beginning of quarantine in March, being completely honest, I wasn’t in a good place.  I was overwhelmed.  Drowning in stress and pressure.

I needed a break.

A break from life.

My parents are snowbirds, and above all else, I knew they needed a break.

The past year has been overwhelming for all of us.  Them, especially.

When my grandma was moved into assisted living in 2016, my dad and his sister never saw eye to eye on the care of my grandma.  But, we dealt with it.  My dad making the tough decisions, being the bad guy.  All to ensure my grandma’s safety.

Responsibility was “shared.”

But over the past year, his sisters involvement declined.

Long story short, she stopped showing up.

So, we stepped up.

Lot’s of things happened.  Her husband fell.  Traumatic things happened.  We realized she wasn’t taking care of herself.  But, despite the desire to help someone, you cannot force someone to care for themselves.

You just can’t.

So when we discussed whether or not my parents would take the much needed few months break, I stepped up.

Willingly.

I took on the normal responsibility that I have for several years, helping collect mail, pay bills.  Adulting stuff.  But then I added in caring for my grandma.

Many times over the winter, I kept reminding myself that I am grateful for the time I have been given to spend with her.  Sometimes, I had to remind myself of that fact repeatedly.  Because, at 96, she isn’t caring for herself at the same level that she has so bravely and fiercely done since her husband died 45 years ago.

And then I had to take care of my brother after he broke his knee.  Which is an even larger complication.  Despite the fact that he and I had barely spoken over the last 8 years…he’s still my brother.  So I took the time off work.  And I was there for him.

Even while going through his surgery, I knew that God was working.  I can’t always say I agreed with or appreciated how He was working.  I still knew he was working.

And then quarantine happened.

Again, overwhelmed and stressed, and in desperate need of a break, I felt relief that I didn’t have to do anything except stay home.

Except, when you’re quarantined with just yourself, and your dog (who is ADORABLE AND AMAZING, but not a very good conversationalist) I found myself alone.  With myself.

There were days, there ARE days, I barely recognize myself.

Who is this person that I have become?

Though I tried to put on a good show most of the time, I started to spiral  Not completely out of control.  But I just haven’t been the person that I have become.  The person I worked so hard to be.

I was breaking down.

Now, before you get too worried…

I truly believe that in the process of breaking down, you lose a part of yourself.  But the key point being, you often lose part of yourself that you didn’t really need to be in the first place.

But let me tell you…even though some of those pieces needed to be lost…it’s TOUGH!!

My parents got home.  And things started feeling like they were on a slightly more even keel.  Except that’s a dangerous place to be.  Because, life happens.

My aunt died.

Plain and simple.  She died.  She refused to take care of herself.  The very last conversation my dad had with her was telling her to reach out.  She needed help.  But instead, she gave in.  And her health, that she had blatantly ignored for far too long, gave up.  She died.

My dad and I handled it.  We are steady.  And we deal with what needs to be dealt with.  And I continued to fall apart.

It hasn’t been easy, at all.  I have felt the absolute most despair of loneliness.

I know, and have known, that I am the caregiver in the family.  I have always known that I would be the one to take care of my parents.  When I moved home 8 years ago, that was a big part of the reason why.

I didn’t expect that to happen immediately.  Though, it did, because…life.

And I certainly didn’t expect to be doing it all alone.

I figured somewhere along the way, God would help a girl out and finally bring me my husband.

He hasn’t.

Not that I haven’t tried to force the issue.  Because, to combat the overwhelming loneliness, I signed up for online dating.  Again.

I met a lot of idiots.

One person, I thought I made a genuine connection with.  But for reasons I still don’t understand, it fell apart.  Pushing me even further into my pit of loneliness and despair.

I feel alone.

Heck…

I AM alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I have amazing and wonderful friends and family.  But for the big stuff, it’s just me.  And I’m not saying that trying to have a pity party.  That is the furthest thing from what I want.  It’s just a simple fact.

I am alone.

And while it’s tough to accept that when that is the last thing that I want, the last thing I ever thought I would have to do, I know that I need to accept it.  Learn to deal with it.  And keep moving forward.

I honestly don’t know where this crazy year will take any of us.

But…

From the very beginning, I knew that something good would come from all of this insanity.  I.  Just.  Knew.

I still feel that.

But looking at the last few months, the absolute unbelievable things that have happened.  I still can’t wrap my head around all of it.  I’m not sure it’s possible to right now.

One day, I hope that all of this makes sense.  It is my hope and my faith that all of it will.

But I will also say that this just sucks right now.  All of it.

Ok, I take that back.  Not all of it.  Because, let me tell you what else happened.  I needed to get out of Dodge for a few days.  So…I went to visit my brother.  He and I had conversations that we have needed to have for many years.  Conversations that he certainly wasn’t ready to have before.  But, we finally had them.  And I can’t say that I walked away smiling.  In fact, I may have referred to part of the conversation as the final nail in the coffin that I really am here alone, because he wants no part in helping care for our family.  But actually having the conversation was a step forward for us.

I cannot, nor will I, say that I’m in a great place right now.

But what I can finally say is that I know my worth.  And even though that is a HUGE burden to carry at times, I know my worth.

And that, my friends, is a start.

Is It Real?

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Is this real?

Over the past few weeks, I have asked this question a few times.  Once, even, to myself.  

In this social media era, it is often times difficult to tell what is actually real, compared to what people want you to believe is real.  

If you choose only to share the best part of yourself with the social media world, are you lying?  If you put a positive spin on things, are you really lying about what is going on? And if you DO choose to share some of the struggles you are going through, are you only looking for sympathy?  

Honestly, you can’t win.  No matter what, people will judge you.  

A couple of years ago, a major, life altering, huge, horrible thing happened to my best friend in the whole entire world.  Her husband type person died. We are far too young to need to deal with something like this. Yet, there we were. We dealt with it.  We did the days in the hospital, the tears, the fear of the unknown, the memorial service. We dealt with it all.  

A week ago, she and I had dinner.  And I asked her the question. “Is it real?”

Because the woman that deserves all of the wonderful things in life is in the midst of getting them.  6 months ago she started dating a new fella. And, being their 6 month anniversary, all of the mushy, lovey, vomit inducing posts started.  So, you wonder, is it all real? Are things really going this well?  

And with a gigantic smile on her face, she tells me “yes.”

That’s all I need to know.  Because let me clue you in on a little secret.  Her husband type person that died, things weren’t good with them when he died.  In fact, most of their relationship hadn’t been good. I knew it. Because there were times she came to visit me, that I didn’t want to let her leave.  

But, when someone dies, how do you publicize that?  

My pastor recently read an obituary, written by the man’s daughter.  The obituary was full of brutally honest details of how horrible the man had been.  That type of brutal honesty is rare. 

And for my friend, it wasn’t appropriate.  Yes, their relationship wasn’t good. But the grief that she felt, that she experienced, the grief was absolutely real.  

Months later, she honestly exposed her heart about that grief.  About the days she couldn’t get out of bed. The days she still struggled to move forward.  But that day, she had taken care of herself. Forced herself to shower, and to eat.  

And because I know her heart as well as anyone’s, I knew her intent was to be brutally honest with the world.  She wasn’t looking for sympathy, or condolences. She was simply being honest.

One of the conversations she and I had in the midst of her grief revolved around social media, and how difficult it is to look at when you aren’t in a good place.  Because everything is sugar coated. You see the best of everyone’s lives.  

Looking at everyone else’s seemingly perfect lives makes the ugly green headed monster of jealousy rear its’ head.  We want what all of those other people have.  

So once again, is it real?

In my completely un-scientific opinion, maybe 50% is accurate.  But, which 50%?  

Are people completely, all out lying?  Are they merely glossing over things? Are they sugar coating life for their own benefit?  

Yes, yes and yes.  

Maybe it’s just one of the three.  Maybe it’s all three.  

I honestly couldn’t tell you, because, I’m not them.  

Now, let me ask you the real question.

Is that wrong?

Ultimately, the answer to that question lies in the person’s intent.  If they’re intentionally lying about something to hurt others, yes that’s wrong.  If they’re sugar coating something because they’re trying to make themselves feel better about a situation that isn’t all that sweet, yet isn’t doing any harm, maybe that’s ok.  Maybe they’re trying to remind themselves about all of the good things that are in their life. Not to gloat. Not to rub it in your face. Maybe they’re just trying to remember and focus on the good things that they have.  

Honestly, I have no idea.  I could be wrong about it all.

Maybe I’m just trying to see the good in other people.  

If you recall, earlier, I told you that I asked myself the “is it real” question.

Right now.  Right this very second, I know that God is working on something.  I’m starting to see things happening.  

And in my own brain, I see how things could be working out.

But is that really God’s plan?  

So while I totally understand that things aren’t always as they seem, what we perceive to be reality, really isn’t reality at all, I’m taking a step back.  I’m praying. And I’m giving it all over to God.  

Because right now, I have no idea….

Gluttony

Gluttony: habitual greed or excess in eating.

If you have ever struggled with any type of addiction, I feel you.  If you have ever struggled with an eating disorder, I really feel you.  

But here’s my take.  You can think I’m wrong.  But at least hear me out.

An addiction or struggle with food is the hardest.  It is the most difficult. The most difficult to overcome, the most difficult to move past.  

Why?

You do not physically need alcohol, nicotine, or whatever other chemical you can be addicted to.  

You physically NEED food to survive.  And if you don’t eat, well that’s a completely different kind of addiction, revolving around food.

Do I think breaking an addiction to any of these things is easy?  Absolutely not. Not even close. But with most substances, you can, and do, survive without that substance.

With food, however, you are constantly bombarded with the need to be exposed to your addictive substance.  So yeah, that’s tough.

But I am willing to choose a new perspective on this.  I need to take a new perspective on this. Here goes nothing…

I have long known that gluttony is a subject that the Bible talks about.  It’s one of the 7 deadly sins. And even though I know that the Bible has guidance on this particular subject, I still struggle with it.  I mean, we all struggle with different sins. It’s just that this happens to be one of mine.  

In my opinion, my religion, my relationship with God, I believe the Bible is the truth.  Not only the truth, but the guide book for my life. There isn’t a topic we can deal with that the Bible doesn’t have some guidance on.  It’s just whether we choose to follow what the Bible says.

And sometimes, even though we know what the Bible says about something, we refuse to follow that guidance.  

It happens.  

We are human.

I’m not saying our humanness, and our lack of perfection is an excuse.  

I’m just saying it happens.  And I understand.

For me, I never been purposeful about tying my attempt to lose weight to God’s guidance and direction.  

Instead of tying the two things together, I went about my pursuit of following God, and my pursuit to lose weight on two separate tracks.  

In my belief, my religion, the Bible is our rule book for how God wants us to live our lives.  And, with any set of rules, there are consequences if you don’t follow those rules.

So instead of just counting calories, and exercising to lose weight.  Think about it in the big picture of God’s guidance and direction.

Even if you read the Bible, sometimes, when you look for specific topics, it can hit home hard when it concerns what God wants us to do.  It can hit really hard when it points out to stuff that you have done wrong. So when you look at what the Bible really says about gluttony…well…all I can say is OUCH!!!!

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

My body.  Is God’s temple.  And if I destroy that temple.  God is going to destroy me.

How, you might ask, is eating going to destroy your body, when you need food to survive?  Because just eating isn’t what we’re talking about. Gluttony, the definition written above says, is not just greed but habitual greed or habitual excess in eating.

Habit: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.

Involuntary greed and excess in eating.  

Yes, that will destroy God’s temple.

Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Philippians 3:19

God has told us time and time again to love Him, and not have any other gods before him.  When we make gluttony our God, we disrespect God.

But put on the Lord Jesus Chris, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 13:14

When we go beyond the bounds of normal human consumption of food, there is really, truly only one reason we are doing that.  We might think that there are other reasons we indulge to the extreme. But really, we are only doing it for gratification. Ok, yes, I understand that the food tastes good.  But you do not physically need an excess amount of food to survive.

I also don’t believe you need to only eat lettuce.  God made Mexican food. And I do love me some Mexican food.  If you have read anything else, you know my love for tacos, and chips and salsa, goes deep.  And I honestly don’t believe enjoying a normal amount of Mexican food (or any other food you love) goes against God.

Excess.  Excess goes against God.  

So what does God say we should do about this?

Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

There is that dirty little “S” word that no one likes to talk about in the Bible.  Submit. And submission itself is a topic that I have been thinking about, and studying, and reading lately.  But honestly, that is a completely different post, that will likely come soon.

Submit: accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.  

A synonym for submit?  Obedience.

Obey God.  Follow his guidance and direction.  Tie the behavior your are struggling with to what God is telling us to do.  

In my own life, this is absolutely something that I have been feeling on my heart.  A deeper need to follow what God wants me to do. And I truly feel that God is revealing bits and pieces of His plan for my life.  Just a little at a time. And I also feel like God is pointing out areas in my life where I could use some improvement. But instead of feeling overwhelmed, and getting down on myself, I feel support and guidance and love through this process.  I pray that this continues. And knowing God, I know it will.

I Took a Break

I took a break.  From writing, obviously.  

Just at the culmination of the end of my journey with banishing my scale.  

Personally, I needed to work through some things, and deal with some behavior on my own before writing about it.  Nothing bad. But just some things that I need to address.

Plus, it’s the end of the school year, and I happened to contract the plague a few weeks ago that took far too long to recover from. (But hey, I lost 8 pounds!!) (And I’ve only gained 4 of it back!!)

So…first of all…the whole banishing my scale and just being happy with eating healthier was a giant bust.  I failed. Miserably.

Let me explain.

I did, in fact, manage to keep my scale banished until Easter.  On Easter, I broke that bad boy out, and weighed myself, and I was HORRIFIED at the number.  

I gained weight.  And not like a pound.  I gained almost 10 pounds.

I’m certain the jar of peanut butter AND the jar of icing I ate had absolutely nothing to do with that weight gain.  Nope, not a thing.

So I have un-banished my scale.  And have committed to actually eating healthier.  But also, giving myself a break and enjoying a Mexican food feast, mostly guilt free.  

But that isn’t even the biggest thing that I have been addressing.  I was getting down on myself for the wrong thing. Imagine that.

I had a habit.  A bad one. One that I kicked.  But then promptly replaced with food.  So I eat healthy meals. But honestly, the thing that was killing me was the nighttime snacking.  I won’t even be hungry. But there I am, standing in the kitchen, stuffing mass quantities of food in my face.  Yup, that happened.

But once I actually recognized that I had really just replaced that old bad habit with a new bad habit, I feel like I can address such a thing.  And I haven’t had any late night snack attacks since I came to this realization. So…that’s awesome.

But here’s the big thing.  The really big thing that I have been thinking and praying and talking to a few close friends, and of course, the parents.

A few weeks ago, I was in class with a small group of students.  And they brought up some of the stupidity that their generation just can’t seem to get away from.  So during this conversation, told my students that if they didn’t like the way society was going, they need to get involved.  

BE THE CHANGE.

They can make a difference.  

And in that moment, God tapped me on the shoulder.  I didn’t really want to listen at the time, but God definitely tapped me on the shoulder.  

How could I possibly tell my students that they need to be the change, when I was sitting here, not being the change myself???

And when I asked if my role in that change could just, you know, be telling other people to be the change.

Yeah, that didn’t go over so well.  

Shortly after that, I have another revolutionary weekend.  One of the things that has stopped me from going back to school is that I feel too old to do so.  I’m turning 38 this year. And I would need to go to school for at least a couple of years to do what I want.  Meaning I would be at least 40. And I really don’t want to be $30K in debt at the ripe old age of 40. So clearly, I am too old to go back to school.  But then, when it comes to other topics…meaning I’m not too old to get married. I’m not too old to still have children. I’m not too old to do those things.  

I can’t be both too old, and not that old at the same time.

It doesn’t work like that.  

So I gave it all over to God.  

I am consistently giving it all over to God.  Consistently, and constantly reminding myself that I have given it over to God.  And I trust that at the right moment, He is going to open all of the right doors, close all of the wrongs ones, and guide me to what He has in store for me.  

I am slightly terrified, because, you know, I’m human.  But I’m also excited about it. So let’s see where God is taking me on this crazy journey called life!!

I Have Created a Monster

I have created a monster.  I’m not saying I’m like Dr. Frankenstein, and have scavenged graveyards, piecing together some monster that is going to try to kill me…because, ew.  

No, what I have created is much, much worse than that.  

Are you ready to see this great beast?  

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Yup, the monster I have created is my dog, Cheese.  

Terrifying, itsn’t he?

4 weeks ago, I made a choice to begin this journey of banishing my scale, and focus more on my relationship with God, and spending time with Him.  Letting his view of me affect my own self-worth much more than a stupid number on a scale.

And yes, part of that process was to start spending more time exercising.  And, because my knees and ankle hate me, it seems walking is going to be the exercise of choice.  At least for now.

Also, because Cheese can be an energetic lunatic at times, I decided that it was time for both of us to get into shape.  Physically and spiritually.  Because, Cheese needs Jesus too.  

Cheese is 3.  And I have taken him for walks before.  There was even a point last year when I made a slightly misguided attempt at getting him to run with me.  My knees said “no” even though I really thought it was a fantastic idea. But I will admit that my own failings at regularly exercising kept Cheese from doing the same thing.  So that’s on me.

But I screwed up somewhere.  

Before this year, the longest walk Cheese and I had taken was 3 miles.  Well, our first outing, just over a month ago, we walked 4 miles. He was worn out, but he tackled those 4 miles like a champ.

Ok, this is awesome.  He enjoys going for a walk with me.  I had no idea what I had started.

But knowing that he enjoyed going for walks…between the exercise and the uninterrupted alone time with mommy, he was all for it.

So we kept going…and going…and going…

It has gotten to the point that if I don’t immediately come get him to go for a walk as soon as I get home from school, I’m in trouble.  He starts barking at me to hurry up, and he stares at the house with this judgy little look on his face.

And heaven forbid if my schedule or the weather intercedes and we CAN’T go for a walk.  The world is ending!!!

Well…last week, because I go to a Life Group with a group from my church on Wednesday, there just isn’t enough time to really go for a walk.  Then it rained on Thursday, so again, no walk.

Friday, I get home from school…and the weather is decent.  So I change, and we head out. This is us about what turned out to be half way through our walk.  

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I look excited, right?  

Grand total for Friday, just over 6 miles.

Grand total for the weekend, 15 miles.

15 miles!!!  

Cheese is an excellent personal trainer.  And honestly, he really is making it easy for me to want to get out and walk.  There have been days where I just wasn’t feeling it. But knowing he was looking forward to walking made me get out and do it.

And how do I know that Cheese enjoys it so much?  Well…just look at this face…

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Pure joy.  Right there.  

Absolute.  

Pure.  

Joy.

So there you have it.

Personal Trainer.  Workout Buddy. Beast.  

I have created a monster.  

How Much Is Too Much?

Day 16.  Of 42.

One question has been crossing my mind lately, and it is:

Has my addiction just changed?

Let me explain.  If you remember from the original post about this journey of getting closer to God, while getting rid of my scale…the goal here is to not let a number on a scale determine my self-worth.  I need to take care of my body, but I really need to take care of my soul.  But yet, I wonder if I have just traded one number for another that I am allowing to identify myself.  Also, have I gone off the deep end, and am I exercising too much?

I don’t have the answers to those questions.  At least not yet.

I am in a recurring weekly competition, through Fitbit, with some friends.  Who has the most steps throughout the work week? Well, the last few weeks, I have been blowing away the competition.  And all I have been doing is taking a walk with Cheese the dog a few evenings a week. And I have made a greater effort to actually reach my daily step goal every day (on days that I don’t go for a walk).  

But then, after the first week, I noticed that there were a few moments where I legitimately thought I was going to pass out.  But that one, I figured out. Turns out, I had increased my activity level…but I hadn’t increased my caloric intake. So…no wonder I thought I was going to pass out.  So that’s a easy fix. For someone that loves food…just eat more food! Woohoo!!

But the nagging question still resides in the back of my brain…how much is too much?  

The first time Cheese and I went for a 5 miles walk, he lost the energy to pull me after about 3 miles.  Our last 5 mile walk was absolutely his fault. I had had one of those days at school that was just busy.  And I ended up walking. A lot. In fact, I had 12,000 steps in by the time I walked in my back door after school.  In case you were wondering, 12,000 steps is approximately 6 miles. And that’s just walking up and down the halls at school.  But then, I knew I needed to take Cheese for a walk. Part of my goal is taking him for regular walks is he needs the exercise.  He’s full of energy, and this has proven to be an excellent way to burn off the excess energy he has. So, I get home from school, already half done for the day.  But we hadn’t taken a walk the night before, and he needed to just go. So we walk. My goal was 3 miles. We get to the turning point if we are going to go 3 miles, or extend for another mile…and he’s still full of energy.  So I agree to go the extra mile. Literally.

The problem was…nearing the time that his energy level normally starts to wane, he is still raring to go.  So…we ended up walking 5 miles. And he could have kept going, like the Energizer Bunny.

I was pooped.  

So, again, I’m asking…how much is too much?  After months of inactivity, is this simply just a return of activity to my life, and the change appears drastic?  Is this the marathon runner in me, in it for the distance, because what’s the point of a 5k?  

So let me get to the point of why this question keeps nagging at me.  There was one summer I was at home from college.  I had had mono during the semester before. But I was also going dealing with some pretty serious anorexia and bulimia that summer.  It was the first summer that I ever weighed less than 200 pounds.

That summer was awful.  

In addition to the eating disorders, I would walk and work out.  Relentlessly.

I would walk for miles a day.  And then I would come home, and work out.  And I wouldn’t eat. Or if I did, I would throw it up.  

I was crazy.

Ok, technically, I still probably am.  

Because, who wants to be normal?  Normal is boring.

But the past fear has made me pause.  Because no matter how far in the rear view mirror that summer is, I remember it.  But maybe, just maybe, that summer is sitting there as a reminder of how not to do things.  

So here’s where I’m landing:

I’m not going off the deep end.  Because the activity level feels good for me.  And it feels really good for Cheese. The goal being for him to exercise enough so he stops acting like a lunatic.

But it has also brought about opportunities that I might not have had otherwise.  On Sunday, I met one of my neighbors, and had a lovely conversation. I have lived in my house for 7 years.  And she has lived there the entire time I have been living there. And this is the first conversation we have ever had.  I knew who she was. She knew who I was. But it took 7 years for us to actually talk to one another. That wouldn’t have happened if Cheese and I hadn’t been out walking.  

Also, it led me to not feel guilty when I went out with a group of teachers Friday after school.  I hadn’t planned it. But I also didn’t condemn myself for taking in way too many calories. I let myself just enjoy the time.  It fed my soul.

I still have not weighed myself.  And I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m not curious.  Because I am.

But I can also tell a change in my body.  My legs are more muscular (even after only a few weeks).  I’m sleeping better. But oh…I haven’t gotten to the best part yet.

I have been spending time talking to God.  I spend time while I’m walking talking to God.  Because how magnificent of a landscape does God paint?  And I sing while I’m walking. Worship, while I’m walking is so amazing.  And, of course, reading my Bible.

Ok, I have a confession to make.

I have never read the entire Bible.  

I had never read the entire book of Acts before last week.  And I’m now in Romans. Whew, Romans is going to take me awhile.  

Because every single word that Paul writes is said with so much conviction that it blows me away!  

So here’s the true measurement.  

I feel closer to God.  

So whether I’m walking 20 extra miles a week, or indulging in chocolate chip cookies…the thing that really matters is I’m succeeding in feeling God working in my life more and more every day.  

I Apologize If This Is TMI

I have this thing.  This…I don’t really want to call it a disease, because that gives such a horrible connotation that it just isn’t fitting.  I recently shared that I have been sick, and in a near zombie-like state for a few months. And I also recently got a diagnosis, and medication that brought me out of the zombie apocalypse.  

I have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

A big shout out and thank you to my parents, who so lovingly passed along basically every negative possible genetic feature in our family to me.  Including a family favorite from my mom…being difficult to diagnose. This resulted in me being sick for months 9 years ago, I mean months (an another zombie apocalypse) upon months, of not being able to figure out what was wrong with me.  My Dr. was at a complete loss, and was about to start the process of referring me to a psychologist because she thought it was a mental problem, when, during a last ditch effort to determine a physical cause, they discovered I had gallstones.  What should have been a simple diagnosis took months to figure out.

Oh wait, I forgot to mention, I did get one positive genetic trait.  From the dad. He didn’t noticeably get gray hair until he was 60.  I have had 11 gray hairs so far. So there, I did get something good from my parents.

Anyway…when I went to the Dr. a few months ago with some abdominal pain, I wasn’t optimistic about finding the cause.  Turns out, I had a cyst on my right ovary. Simple enough, with a simple enough solution. Birth control. Ok, no big deal.

I went back for a follow up 3 months later, and told my Dr. I had only started feeling like anything close to a human being a couple of weeks before.  Honestly, all I was capable of accomplishing was trudging to work, and I could not wait to go home, where I was a vegetable, until I decided it was finally an acceptable time to go to bed.  Even mundane tasks, like grocery shopping, felt overwhelming, and required too much energy.

My Dr. wasn’t happy in hearing that I still wasn’t feeling better, and took a look at the test results, and determined I had PCOS.  And prescribed Metformin, which is normally prescribed for Type 2 Diabetes. Well, of course I have a family history of Diabetes (on both sides of the family) so there is already a good chance I’m going to end up being Diabetic.  So let’s just try to prevent that as long as possible.

It took almost 2 weeks of being on Metformin for me to honestly and truly start feeling like a human being again.  The first couple of days, I couldn’t believe it. I thought maybe it was a fluke, and any day I would end up feeling like a zombie again.  

A little over a month later, and I’m feeling more confident that it wasn’t just a fluke.

And I also feel like this is just one more negative genetic feature my parents (my mom) have passed along to me.  

My mom was never diagnosed with PCOS, and 20 years after a hysterectomy is far too late for a retroactive diagnosis.  But that being said, knowing what we know now, there is a high likelihood that she did have it. One of the things that she and I have been plagued with is horrible hormonal mood swings.  She has even made the comment many times that she’s amazed that she still has a family left because of how bad her hormones were. Honestly, she’s not wrong. It was tough growing up with that.  And it caused a strain on our relationship. And to be honest, a great deal of my lack of self-confidence came as a result of her mood swings.

Now, don’t think I’m throwing my mom under the bus.  This is something that we have dealt with. And we have a wonderful relationship now, and she is one of my best friends.  And maybe we are so close now because we have appropriately dealt with our issues from when I was a kid.

But now I look back on my life, with such a different perspective than before.  I have much more compassion toward my mom now, knowing that what happened wasn’t a result of her being completely unhinged and outrageous.  

For many, many years I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to have children, because I didn’t want to be the same type of mom that I had growing up.  I wanted something better. And I wasn’t sure if I could be such a person.

As I have gotten older, I have realized that I do, in fact, want to be a mom…and I’m hoping that at the ripe old age of 37 (and being ridiculously single) that it isn’t too late for me.  

But also, maybe the fact that I haven’t had children yet is God answering my prayers from when I was younger.  I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be the type of mom I had growing up. And maybe it took this diagnosis for that to truly come to fruition.  

I also look back and wish that this could have been diagnosed at a much younger age, because maybe I wouldn’t have went through some of the things that I have been through in my life.  Because I have felt the hormone swings before, felt completely unhinged and outrageous. When I had brought it up to Dr’s previously, the initial reaction was to put me on Prozac. Which didn’t really make sense to me at the time, but I was desperate enough to try it.  

After a few months of realizing that the side effects of the medicine were horrific, in addition to the fact that it did absolutely NOTHING to solve the problem it was prescribed for, I stopped taking it.

And then I just tried to deal with the hormones.

Honestly, it is no surprise that I have struggled with my weight my entire life.  Because I have moments where I just cannot eat enough food. I am a bottomless pit.  And no amount of water I drink, or trying to talk myself out of eating anything has worked.  So I go through a vicious cycle of eating everything under the sun, and gaining weight, and then feeling guilty for eating everything under the sun and beating myself up for doing that.  Over, and over, and over, and over again.

Looking through the symptoms of PCOS…weight gain, fatigue, acne, pelvic pain, headaches, sleep problems…I can check all of those (and more) off.  Irregular periods, mood swings…check and check!

So where I thought I was just crazy, and needed to spend a little more time with Jesus, now I know that there actually is something wrong with me.  But even better, it can be fixed! At least, I hope it can be fixed.

So here’s the deal…this is still new.  Yes, I’m starting to feel like a normal human being again.  But I have a lot to learn about how to handle myself now.

For example, once I started feeling better, but still dealing with some of the hormone swings, I started eating.  And eating and eating and eating. I gained back nearly all of the weight I had lost being sick. And I beat myself up over it, a lot.  Hence the journey I’m currently in the middle of, banishing my scale.

But also, I have started exercising a lot more.  Basically, Cheese the dog and I are walking our tails off.  The weather is finally starting to swing in our favor, and between the nasty winter weather, and being sick, I have been cooped up for too long, and I hate it.  So, a huge and immediate increase in working out has thrown off my nutrition. I am keeping track of my calories, and I increased (slightly) the amount of calories I have been eating daily.  BUT, I don’t think I have upped that number enough. A couple of times in the past few days, I have felt shaky, and light headed. And I wondered if maybe low blood sugar was the culprit. Or if I simply am just not eating enough food to counterbalance the increase in activity level.  But, I’m bound and determined not to give up. So hopefully we can figure this out. Cheese enjoys the walks, and the time spent with mommy. I enjoy the walks, and being outside. And honestly, just being active feels amazing.

But I am also smart enough to know that I am not all the way there yet, and I may need to change some things up in my daily routine before all of this is said and done.  

So…here’s to more progress, even if they are baby steps.  

8 days down.  34 to go.