Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Inner Work

I've been living on the surface lately, giving all my attention to the physical struggles and ignoring the deeper ones.  So tonight when I tried to meditate, I felt completely out of place there in the quiet.  It was as if I were in the middle of a project then someone moved my desk to a busy avenue.  It takes a lot of patience and practice to turn off the noise of life, but I am grateful when I can get to the place where unfiltered answers are waiting.  
So while the deep meditation wasn't working, I allowed myself to think about my day, and the things that really set off my emotional eating and the meaning behind them.  
The biggest one was a customer who saw me in my office. I explained to him that my office does not take his insurance for purchasing glasses, but the doctor does take it for the medical visit.  He looked at me funny but thanked me and left.  Less than an hour later, when I was in the middle of a crazy busy day (working alone) he called back to say that he called his insurance and they said I am in their network, and asked that I call and talk to some lady he'd been working with.  I told him that this particular company is known for telling people this, because they think our doctors sell the glasses when in reality my department owns the product, and we do not have a contract.  He insisted I was misunderstanding.  I was already irritated that my new supervisor was in the clinic today, but not helping me out and I had other people in looking, buying, pricing things I just couldn't make and headway on things I had started earlier in the day, and these things were cluttering my workspace and making me feel worse.  Still, while some customers were browsing, I made the call to his insurance company and got nowhere.  And I called back to tell him the news and he is going to try again.  At that point, my store was supposed to be closing in less than an hour and I still needed to clean up and settle my sales.  Luckily he didn't call back before I closed, but the stress I was under caused me to eat two blueberry pop tarts.  I don't think I even tasted them, but I felt the pastyness after, and felt the sugars coating the back of my throat.  
Geneen Roth is the author whose works I've been using to help me figure out why I reach for food when I'm not hungry.  She says that how we react to situations today is a reflection of a belief about ourselves that we had ingrained in us long ago.  Whether that belief is based on fact or not, we still react to it without thinking.  When I recalled the events of the day, I thought about what I believed about myself that led me to comfort eat today.  I was so frustrated, first of all, that he felt I either didn't know the truth or didn't tell the truth, and it seemed like he wasn't listening to me.  I tried to put my images in my head and my emotions into words and it was almost as if a voice in my head was screaming I have no voice! This has always been an issue with me, feeling talked over, drowned out, feeling insignificant.  And the same was true of my supervisor being too busy to help me; first off, when I look at it rationally, if I'd called and asked him for help, he would have come but I knew he had a million things to take care of, and deadlines, etc.  he's been very helpful and supportive and I could have spoken up and asked for help.  So that's on me. But it does bring up another issue I have, that I expect others to see that I need them and offer assistance.  That's not so realistic.  One of the exercises that GR recommends is, obce you find a trigger, to try and go back (in your mind) to put yourself into the time where that first became a belief, to see yourself as a child, and then to let your adult self comfort that child you once were.  This helps bring about the realization that the belief you are clinging into isn't reality, it's a bad story someone told us long ago, and they told us that story so much, or with so much authority, that we took it for truth.  And now, without knowing why, we still react to things that make us feel the way that ugly little belief did.  I don't have a voice.  I'm not strong enough/smart enough/patient enough/ caring enough to fix this problem.  I will crumble if one more thing gets dumped on me.  I tell myself stuff I'm not sure I believe, but I react to it as if it were truth.  And in moments when I'm buying into these stories, food floods me with a great, tastey distraction.  
It may not be a complete breakthrough, but a step in the direction of more awareness.  I know I can't break my bad habits without examining the emotions behind them, and being more aware of the self-myth I'm buying into.  
I'm happy to report, I am still feeling good as far as my energy level goes.  I am still remarkably sore from the past couple days, but in a good way. 
Here's to another solid day!  Hope your week is going great!

Monday, August 18, 2014

This Time

With all the activity I had yesterday, I should have slept like a baby, but in reality, I got terrible sleep.  I had an alarm set for 4:40am, which is the time I'd have to get up in order to get to the gym, but since I'd only fallen asleep about 4 hours earlier, I knew that wasn't going to happen.  But fortunately, I go to work a little later today, so once I dropped the kids off at their grandma's house, I drove back, having the familiar inner argument with myself as to whether I should get a workout in or catch a little extra sleep.  
The brilliant thing about that is, that I am having this inner dialogue at all, because a month ago I wasn't even considering working out, and I know where my mind is at by the decision I make.  
My lower body was sore from yesterday, so I decided not to go to the gym for a lower body workout like I planned yesterday.  So I decided to do some low intensity walking instead.  I got a new app that helps me keep track of my intervals while playing my music, that was a huge help.  I put in just under 45 minutes, and feel pretty good.  I can't pretend it made me feel great, I am still wishing I had more sleep, but as I was walking I realized that I didn't make the decision to walk today because I'm thinking about how great I'll look in a tank top next summer, I made the decision because I don't want to end up back on blood pressure meds or worse.  I don't want barriers between what I want to be able to do and to what my body can physically do.  And I don't want to spend my life saying I should until so much time passes that I am left with I wish I would have...
So I walked when I didn't want to, but I know doing it will make my next steps that much easier.  One foot in front of the other, nothing complicated, moving forward.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Leaving the Zombie Behind

Today I went for a walk.  It sounds so small in print.  A month ago, it would have taken every once of my energy just to make the decision to do so, and then actually doing the work would have robbed me of any remaining energy.  I could see myself walking, in my mind's eye, but making it happen was a whole different story.  
So, taking a walk is a huge step forward. And I pushed myself.  I tapped into the feelings of pride and determination I used to use while running, and I was walking so fast that I felt uncoordinated.  But my energy, knee and mind all cooperated for the first time in months and I had an awesome workout. 
During my walk, I was thinking about how amazing it feels when the vitality of health gives you the option of doing what you want to do.  When I was walking, I didn't feel sick or weak or broken.  And it made me think about these past two years, of always feeling that something isn't right; I exhausted myself trying to find out what was causing me to feel so exhausted.  And while there truly was something wrong with me, I realized that the whole time I was waiting for the answer from someone else; waiting for someone else to fix me.  
I do feel better now than I have in a long time.  I guess I am sensitive to iron.  I feel like I woke up from a long dream, finally able to stretch and move on.  Music sounds better, food tastes better, I'm seeing things I never noticed before.  I am grateful to have my sense of normalcy back.  I have been fortunate to have no gut issues (despite the vertigo) and other than being whacked out on Claritin-D (seriously, don't take that stuff, it's hardcore) I feel like myself again!  I was even able to climb all over steep hills and embankments during my family's day out in nature today.  That's a big deal.  I feel so much younger and happier.  Who can argue with that?
So instead of waiting for someone to provide me with an excuse to dwell in apathy, I took matters in my own hands by going for that walk this morning.  Whether something is or isn't wrong with my health, I am not helpless against it.  I know how beneficial exercise is for me, by me taking that walk today, it was my way of standing up for myself, and finding my own solution.  I know my blood pressure is higher than I want it to be, and I know how to fix it.  I know my knee is still sore, and I know how to strengthen the supporting muscles.  I know it feels better to be active when I don't have so much extra weight on my body.  And I know how to fix that.  I am tired of doctors' offices and looking to them knowing they are probably thinking lose some weight and you won't have these problems yet thinking yes, but...
No more yes buts.  Whether the doctors I have seen thought that or not, it is right.  I know I'll feel better if I tend to my health.  I've spent too much time with health anxiety, I am ready to fix this myself.  I have to, living like a zombie hasn't worked for me.  I am choosing a better way.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

On the Upswing

I saw my doctor again Tuesday, and hit her up with all the symptoms I've been having.  I feel like I'm constantly rehashing the same old stuff and I feel like she is really trying hard to tie all the symptoms into one issue, but we keep missing the mark.  She asked if I've been exercising and I said no, because it completely robs me of any energy I had.  This concerned her and she did an EKG, which came out fine.  My blood pressure was much better this visit, in the normal range, which made me happy.  I mentioned hormones, she again brushed it off.  Then, because I knew she was convinced that I was getting enough iron, despite not retesting since starting supplementation a year ago, I asked if it is possible that I'm getting too much iron.  She agreed to retest it, and added a few more blood tests to boot.  By the time I left her office 2 hours later, I had a stress test and electrocardiogram scheduled, just to rule out heart issues, as my mother's side of the family is loaded with heart disease. She also told me to stop taking iron until the test results came back.  The next day she sent my results to me, my iron has normalized and I got the go-ahead to get off iron.  I felt so good the next couple days.  I was joyful and relieved and hoping this was the answer to all my issues.  What prompted me to think of it was the gastrointestinal junk I've been going through.  I was really hoping that would end too.
But overnight Friday I started getting horrible bedspins every time I switche positions in my sleep.  It was so severe that it made me nauseous and walking became a circus act.  So I spent all day Saturday laying down, unable to eat more than an apple and a piece of toast.  More gastritis and just general loss of appetite.  One of my sons got sick so I was thinking maybe the two of us cause a virus, but the vertigo was what was killing me.
When I woke this morning, the vertigo was still there, so I went to the walk-in.  They think it is allergy-related/ ear related and perscribed an allergy/antihistamine and an anti-vertigo med.  I am beginning to feel better.
Now, after all this, and how my body reacts to food, I think I'm going to go straight to the experts and see a gastro dr.  This is happening way too frequently for me to dismiss.  I've lost 5 pounds since Tuesday, mostly because when I'm about to eat, there's a good chance it's going to make me feel bad, like something's attacking my stomach.
So I am starting to plan out some goals for myself.  First, to get my gut healthy.  I will schedule an appointment with a GI doc to see what they think.
I have begun toward my goal of weening myself off caffeine by cutting out the energy drinks the past two weeks.  Right now I take a 200mg caffeine pill when I wake up, and drink two Diet Cokes at work.  If my energy level continues to be as good as it is right now, I will cut back to a caffeine pill in the morning and 1 diet coke at work.  Them I'll eliminate the soda all together.  I like the caffeine pill in the morning, I began this when I was working out in the mornings and right now I feel it is still necessary.  Maybe someday I'll get to the point of being stimulant free.  I enjoy coffee and like the fact that it can boost estrogen levels naturally, but lately everything I eat that isn't bland food gives me horrific heartburn.
I know I've got to get my body back in motion.  I've been thinking about swimming to start out, since my knee still irritates me.  It would be a refreshing way to start my morning.  Plus, I read that chlorine actually helps you breathe better.  Bonus!  I used to be able to get up at 4:30am to workout, these past few months of feeling drained, that just seemed undoable to me, but now that I've gotten some energy back, I'm ready to start fixing my health again.  I'm grateful that my current doctor isn't in any rush to put me on blood pressure meds, but I have to get it down on my own so I don't end up back in that situation.  I'm greatful I am young enough and healthy enough to turn this back around.  Now is the crucial time.
I have some hope and fire back!  What a gift!  Oh to feel semi-normal again!  I will NEVER take it for granted!!
Hope you are having an awesome weekend!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Brain Fried

During the week I finally got the OK to have more testing done on my thyroid, and my Dr also did a few other tests to check for inflammation and markers for heart problems or cancer.  All of my labs came back fine.  I wasn't expecting those results but I was dreading that would be the case.  I am still awaiting my results for my B-12 test, but I had that done a year ago and it was fine.  All of this medical junk has really robbed me of truly enjoying summer.  And it's just getting really old not knowing why I feel like I'm 80.  My doctor wants to see me again, I get the feeling she is starting to think I'm either a hypochondriac or that my weight is the entire issue.  
Of course, I have felt a little better the past 2 days, a little more energy, better mood.  I am beginning to suspect estrogen may be involved, but I give up on trying to self-diagnose.  I asked my Dr about perimenopause before and she brushed it off.  I think, depending on what I feel like the next few days, I will ask her to check my estrogen levels to see where I'm at.  I also thought about adrenal fatigue, but I'll let the doctor decide on that.  
I haven't been craving or eating junk, just don't feel like it, which has been a welcome change of events.  Mostly at work, I've been too busy to even think about food, so I end up missing meals or snacks.  It's not how I want it to be, just how this time of year is at my job.  And, trying to train my boss in the midst of the chaos just adds another layer of chaos!  Good thing we already knew each other and get along really well.  He is really enthusiastic and really wants to help.  I can't wait til he knows enough to do so!
My family has had some nice weekend fun.  Last weekend we drove up the peninsula again, and this time we went a the way to the tip and made the impromptu decision to hop in a ferry and spend the night on an island.  We ended up getting a sweet offer to rent a guest house at a farm and it turned out to be so amazingly awesome there.  We got to pet horses, goats, and cats, and watch chickens run around free range.  In the morning a rooster crowed to wake us and we spent a lot of time enjoying the unplugged peace of the country.  I haven't seen that many stars since I was a kid!  
This post really doesn't have a point, I think my brain is just fried! 
Happy Friday!