Angst Girl

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Stuck

Adult

As the title of this post suggests, I’m feeling stuck. My weight has plateaued so I’m making absolutely no progress toward my biggest goal of getting into shape. And, worse yet, I’m not doing anything about it. For about the last month I haven’t been feeling up to par.

For the first couple weeks I just didn’t feel well and had no motivation or stamina. Then I entered a week in which I slept pretty much around the clock. Now I’m back to feeling weak and with no get-up-and-go. It’s terribly frustrating.

Because I’ve had a heart attack, the first thing I thought of was a problem with my heart so I called my cardiologist and he scheduled an echo of my heart. Luckily, that turned out to be okay and my heart function seems to be normal.

The next thing I thought of was my thyroid problem for which I take levothyroxine every day. A low thyroid level can cause lethargy as well as a host of other problems. So I’ve scheduled an appointment with my internist for this Wednesday. I assume she’ll want to do a battery of blood tests. Hopefully that will get to the bottom of this.

Of course I’d be a fool not to consider a psychological problem due to my history with clinical depression. But it really doesn’t feel like that’s the problem. I didn’t feel depressed when all this started. I do, however, feel a little depressed now because of my lack of ability to get anything accomplished. I sit and look around at the pit that is my house and try to convince myself to get up and start cleaning. To this point I’ve had very little success. Instead, I sit around and beat myself up for not cleaning or doing anything. And that, my dear readers, will make anyone depressed. I’m still open to the possibility that it’s psychological but I want to rule out a physical problem first because that would be easier to deal with. Plus, I can’t get in to see my shrink until April.

I have a number of projects around the house that I want to get to beyond just cleaning but nothing’s getting accomplished on those fronts either. I feel like a prisoner in my own body; like I’m disconnected from my physical self and have no control over it. I was walking three days a week on the track at a local hospital but that has fallen by the wayside. Yet another reason to beat myself up and not make any progress on my weight loss goals.

So what have I been doing with my expanse of time? Sitting around watching bad TV, that’s what. It wasn’t until I got cable TV that I realized how many terrible reality shows there are. I’ve managed to avoid most of them, flipping right past them. But I do have a few favorites (“Deadliest Catch,” “The Voice,” “NY ER,” “Long Island Medium”). I avoid the Kardashians like the plague because I can’t fucking stand them. I’ve been watching a lot of “Sex and the City” reruns and classic TV shows. Oh, and listening to my neighbor’s loud music. That’s always a joy.

Stuck. I’m feeling it in so many different ways and it sucks. I need to shake things up and get off my ass and do something. Or at least cut myself a break and quit berating myself for NOT doing things. Obviously thinking negatively about myself hasn’t helped me get moving so I may as well be more gentle with myself and see how that works. I’ll keep you posted.

Julia

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2015 Mantras

Love Yourself More

Like I said last year about this time, I don’t make actual resolutions for the new year. But, last year, I did begin selecting mantras on which to focus during the year. For 2014 my mantras were: Beauty, healthy, and decorate. Beauty and healthy are still works in progress but I did make some headway on decorate. I got my living room and hallway painted, furniture rearranged, and some things hung on the walls. I still have a little bit of decorating to do in the living room, but it certainly looks more like a home now.

So, on to 2015. I’m going to keep the mantra “health” because I have a lot of work to do in that arena and I want to keep focusing on it. I feel I can let go of “decorate” because I’m on a roll with that one. I plan to get my front bedroom painted, move my studio into the master bedroom, and turn the small bedroom into a storage area. My other mantra for 2015 is “love.” This includes loving others more kindly and loving myself. I treat myself like shit and that needs to stop. And, of course, loving myself more and taking care of my health go hand-in-hand.

I hope 2015 holds many wonders and love for you (and for me, too!).

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Procrastination

Creativity

My time in cardiac rehab is coming to an end so I really need to get set up going back to Curves. I KNOW I need to call them to see if they want a doctor’s okay or for me to set up a time to go through orientation again. Am I doing it? Nope. I’ve gained a little bit of weight lately so I really need to do something, but I just can’t get myself to do it. I’ve always hated exercising and that hasn’t changed.

One of my worst habits is procrastination. I make to-do lists all the time but I use that to avoid actually doing anything. I enjoy being able to cross things off the list but that’s still rarely enough to give me the impetus to actually do anything. I hate it and I use it to chastise myself, as if that’s going to get me to move. It doesn’t. I just sit there beating myself up and use that to avoid the tasks I need to get done.

I am envious of people who actually are able to keep moving and get stuff done. My best friend is one of those people. When she has things to do, she’s a maniac. She has her days during which she relaxes but for the most part she’s always moving. Why can’t I be more like her?

Right now I’m writing this blog entry to avoid going to sleep. Yep, I even procrastinate when it comes to sleeping. It’s sad. If anyone has a magical way to stop my procrastinating, I would greatly appreciate it if you shared it in the comments.

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Here’s to Your Health

Healthy Cupcake

It’s a new year and so many people make resolutions regarding their health. I don’t really make resolutions, per se, but I definitely have goals that I work toward. This year it’s my year to work at losing weight. I need to do it because I need to get more healthy, but I also need to do it so I can have open-heart surgery. Unfortunately, telling me I have to lose weight in order to have heart surgery isn’t really going to motivate me because who wants to have heart surgery? But I do want to put the whole thing behind me and I do want to be more mobile and in shape so exercise, here I come.

In case I haven’t already mentioned it a million times, I HATE exercising. Hate. It. And now I’m a little scared of exercising very strenuously because I’m afraid I’ll have another heart attack. I’ve been going to cardiac rehab where they monitor your heart while you exercise. It’s been going fine with no heart episodes, but it’s not very strenuous exercise compared to what I used to do at Curves. But my time at cardiac rehab is coming to an end (insurance will only cover about 20 visits) so I’m being kicked out of the nest to find my own way. That’s scary. But I know I can make more progress as far as weight loss goes if I put more effort into it and exercise more than the three days a week I’m doing now. Do I really wish I could wake up in the morning and be at my goal weight and skip all the exercise? You betcha. But that hasn’t worked out so far so I doubt it’s going to come to pass.

The heart surgeon said he wanted me to lose 50 to 60 pounds before he’ll do surgery. I go to see him later this week and I think I weigh about the same as I did when I saw him two months ago. So I’m not really looking forward to his reaction to that. But I have to go face the music and let him know I’m going to be working on it harder than before. All I can do is the best I can do. So far I haven’t been doing my best and that has to change. I really need to get this extra weight off me because I don’t want the gastric bypass surgery to be for nothing.

My mantra for 2014 is HEALTHY. I’m going to try to eat healthy, exercise to get healthy, and take my medications to stay healthy. Oh! I just thought of another mantra that I totally want to focus on this year: DECORATE. I’ve lived in this house for about seven years and still haven’t really made it my own. I want to paint every room except one and I have wall hangings that need to be put up once the painting is done. I’m not planning on any big, expensive projects (like taking up the carpet and putting down a laminate wooden floor) but I think painting will be totally do-able. I’m shooting for early spring to get started on painting and I’m really hoping my bestie and her man will be willing to be hired out to do the painting for me. Not that I’m expecting to get all the rooms painted right away but it would be nice to at least get the living room and hallway painted. And maybe I can talk them into doing the small bathroom at the same time. I haven’t talked to them about it yet and don’t know what they’ll charge me for their services, but I’m hoping it will all come together. I’m also not sure where I’m going to get the money for the paint and primer but let’s not sweat the details yet, ok?

So there we go: 2014 is the year of being healthy and decorating my crib. It’s kind of all about surrounding myself with beauty; the beauty of a healthy body and the beauty of a well-decorated home. Hmm, maybe I should add a third mantra: BEAUTY. I think I deserve beauty in my life and it’s worth it to put some effort into creating that beauty.

Now that I have discovered my three mantras for the year I just have to dedicate myself to them. All of them are a little out of my comfort zone but I’m committed to making them work. I’ll check in here from time to time to let you know how they’re working out. Wish me luck!

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Worrywart

Problems

As you know, I’m leaving on my Big Trip to Europe in October and I’m super excited. However, I’m also super anxious. I’m a large person and that brings about all kinds of difficult situations. At home I’m able to mitigate those but on a trip where I’m encountering all kinds of new situations it will be more difficult. I’m worried about walking, standing, sitting on the plane, getting on and off buses, fitting in restaurant chairs, etc. The anxiousness rounds off the edges of the excitement and that kind of pisses me off because anticipation is part of the fun of a trip.

Intellectually I know that worrying about things isn’t going to do anything but make myself crazy. I’m not going to fit in the plane seat any better because I sat here and worried about it for months. Walking around isn’t going to be any easier because I stayed awake at night with anxiety. But knowing it and actually stopping the worrying are two completely different things. I’m a master of worry and I can’t seem to stop. It’s very aggravating.

I have taken steps to help ensure it’s smooth sailing (get it? I’m cruising through Germany on a boat). I’m taking a portable chair so I can sit if I need to, even if there aren’t any seats around. I’m taking a cane to help me walk and just in case I hurt my knee (AGAIN!). I’m getting cortisone shots in my knees before the trip to help with my knee pain. And I’m prepared to possibly be pushed around the airport in a wheelchair. But I still feel anxious because I’m going into such a huge unknown. Usually, at home, I avoid situations unless I know what it’s going to be like. So this is a HUGE step for me.

Every day, when I find myself worrying about things, I try to take a deep breath and tell myself it’s futile to worry about it. It helps. I’m finding the closer I get to the trip, the more excited I get and the easier it is to stop worrying about it. Writing this is helping me, too. Just the act of writing down that worrying doesn’t help anything has helped me believe it. So thanks for listening.

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Pissed Off

If you recall, I injured my left knee about two weeks ago and tweaked it again about a week ago. I made an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon and saw him today. What a colossal waste of time. I was there for about two hours and actually saw the doctor for about a total of four minutes. Yep, four minutes.

After waiting quite a while in the waiting room I got ushered to the examination room where I waited even longer. The doctor came in, didn’t sit down, and started asking me a couple questions (when did I hurt it, where does it hurt). I’m the one who asked about the possibility of a knee brace so he said he’d talk to “the girls” to see if they had a knee brace that would fit me (I’m fat, if you recall).

I waited again and in came someone who didn’t introduce herself to me who proceeded to measure my thigh. She then went to get a brace and, no surprise, it didn’t fit. She left and a little while later the doctor came back. He told me she thought that there was no place in town that would have a brace that would fit me. Splendid.

The doctor then told me that there might be a problem with me getting the cortisone shots in the office (I have bone spurs and acute arthritis in both knees and I’m going to get shots before The Big Trip). He was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to get the shots in the right place and I might need to have it done at a hospital in the radiology department so they can do it with x-ray guidance. So off he goes again to discuss it with a nurse. Again, I waited.

The nurse finally came in and told me that the doctor decided I should go ahead and have the shots done at the hospital. Wonderful. I am NOT looking forward to that. I wasn’t too enthused with the prospect of shots in the knees to begin with, but now it’s this whole big deal.

I came away from the appointment feeling frustrated and pissed off. First of all, you see all those beefy football players with knee braces and yet they can’t find one to fit me. Second of all, why did I only get four minutes of my doctor’s time? I’m sure he’s going to bill it as at least a 15 minute consultation but he can’t sit down and talk to me about my concerns? And finally, I’m pissed off at myself for being fat. Regardless of how heavy a person is, however, I think they deserve good healthcare. I really feel like doctors have dismissed me and my concerns because of my size. They simply blame everything on my weight and don’t investigate any further. It’s easier and faster for them to tell me to lose weight rather than really take the time to listen and consider my concerns.

So here’s my plan of attack: I’m going to be pissed off the rest of the day then I’m going to get up in the morning and call around to home health companies to see if they can help me get a knee brace. And if they can’t help me, if larger knee braces really don’t exist, then I’ll just have to muddle through on my own. Companies really need to start making equipment that fit the population they’re serving. Large people are probably more susceptible to knee problems so why not make braces in larger sizes?

*     *     *

Okay, I just searched for some large sized knee braces and guess what? I found some! Those people at the doctor’s office obviously don’t know what they’re talking about. The ones I found are at a regular mail order company so insurance wouldn’t cover it, but if a regular store has them I would hope that a home healthcare company would have them available. Either way, I’ll be able to get a knee brace. So stick it, Dr. Hill!

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Inadequate

I watched a documentary on PBS on Monday named “Flying” and it left me feeling inadequate. In fact I almost stop watching it, even though it was interesting, because I was feeling bad about myself. It chronicled the life of a forty-something woman who is a filmmaker and travels the world. She has a ton of friends from different countries and backgrounds. She was living an exciting life and I found myself to be jealous of her. I have a very small circle of friends and am currently unemployed but have always had desk jobs. I don’t travel that much (although I’m on the final countdown to my European trip!) and would like to travel more. She was able to be very introspective and looked to her friends for context and feedback and is able to take negative feedback and make it an opportunity for personal growth.

I found myself taking stock of my life and not really liking what I saw. I’m still fat, I have few friends, I’m on disability so I have no job, I’m not spontaneous, and I’m just not comfortable in my own skin much of the time. I finished the documentary in tears. I know I shouldn’t covet someone else’s life but I just couldn’t seem to help it.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that I just couldn’t live that life even though I wanted to. I’m an introvert (see THIS LINK. It completely describes me) and I need to get comfortable with that. It’s who I am. I’m working on losing weight, I’ll eventually have a job again, and I have little need for a large circle of friends. I need to find a way to be okay with where I’m at in life but it SO wasn’t what I imagined it would be. I mourn for that loss. But I need to stop getting stuck in the mourning period and move on with life as it is or make the necessary adjustments to change it.

I also need to cut myself a break. I’ve had difficult things in life to deal with (as we all have to some extent) and I’ve been able to come out the other side still intact. Depression consumed many years of my life and being overweight has inhibited me from reaching my full potential. As a residual effect of the depression, I tend to get stuck in the past because for so many years I didn’t see a future for myself.

The facts are that I’m a very compassionate person, I’m smart, have good common sense, love deeply, I embrace the differences in people, am a good problem-solver, and I am creative. I need to embrace the good in me and live from a place of gratitude and self-love rather than jealousy or grief. I couldn’t live her life because I am me and have different strengths and struggles.

I can intellectually realize all these things but have never been able to absorb them and believe them. It’s something I’m working on and will continue to work on the rest of my life I’m sure. With what do you struggle?

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A Pain in the Knee

The continuing saga of my knees. The latest chapter involves an injury that occurred Sunday. I stepped into my house and felt a searing pain in my left knee. That’s right, I was STEPPING INTO MY HOUSE. For fuck’s sake. It hurts really bad (worse than other knee injuries I’ve had) and I’m now walking with a cane. Or I should say hobbling with a cane. That just pisses me off. Is there no end to the negative ramifications of being fat?

Due to the injury and limited mobility, it’s easy for me to get depressed. I have a history of clinical depression but I’m on some good medications now so I’ve been feeling pretty good. But I’m feeling depressed and worried about the trip to Europe I’m supposed to take in October. My usual knee pain was going to be enough of a hindrance but if I’ve seriously injured my knee I don’t know what I’ll do.

So I’m sitting here with my leg up and iced and I pick up the phone to make a call and there’s no dial tone. Nada. Zip. Zero. I unplug the phone and plug it back in. Nothing. I check all the other phones in the house and they’re all on the hook and none of them has a dial tone. I get on my phone company’s website and that’s about useless. I’m trying to figure out what to do when I suddenly remember I have a cell phone. Duh. I know that sounds stupid but I rarely use it; I really only have it for emergencies. I call the lovely phone company and inform them of my trouble (after a maze of automated bullshit). They first inform me that the minimum charge, if the problem is on my end, is $85.00. Crap on a cracker that’s expensive. But he checked my line and said there was a short in the line so it’s a problem on their end. He said they would have it fixed by 7:30 PM the following day.

And that’s how I came to where I am now: sitting in my recliner with a sore knee, depressed, and without communication with the outside world. NOT a good combo for me. I’ll live through it and there are certainly worse atrocities in the world. But I’m just feeling a little helpless and lost right now. I go to the doctor tomorrow morning (showering should be a joy) so maybe I’ll have a course of action after that. I’m not actually going to the doctor for my knee; I need to talk to him about some lab results, but while I’m there I’ll discuss my knee with him. He’s the king of referrals so I will not be surprised if he just dumps me off on another doctor.

Ok, let’s say something good about the day. I found a portable, folding stool to take with me on the trip and ordered it thanks to my mom. That way I’ll have a place to sit down if I need it no matter where I am. There, that’s something positive. Good girl, Jules!

 

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Pissed Off

It pisses me off that I have to worry about watching what I eat every. stinking. day.

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Ouch!

I have been fat most of my life which means my body has been very challenged. I have had knee pain in both knees for a few years and I know it’s because I’ve carried so much extra weight throughout my life. But what’s done is done and I just need to find a way to improve the situation to the best of my ability. To that end, I visited with an orthopedic surgeon last week.

When I got to the doctor’s office I was almost immediately shuttled into the imaging department for x-rays of my knees. I very wisely wore a dress so I didn’t have to get into a medical gown. It went ok although it was a little bit of a challenge to stand for them, but we got it done and I went into a little room to wait for the doctor.

I didn’t have to wait too long for the doctor to show up (miracle of miracles) and let me just say, he’s a pretty good looking guy. He looks young but he can’t be as young as he looks. Anyway, he pulled up my x-rays on the computer and it took him a few seconds to tell me the verdict: several bone spurs and acute arthritis. Yay. He said I would need knee replacements but they won’t do them until I’m at least 50 (I’m almost 45) and lose more weight. I wasn’t terribly surprised by the diagnosis but it’s still disheartening to hear.

I told him I would be traveling in Europe in October and asked if there was anything I could do to improve the knee pain. I can’t take an anti-inflammatory because of the gastric bypass surgery so that was not an option. He advised that I come back to see him a week to ten days before the trip so he can give me cortisone shots in both knees. I’m certainly no expert, but that sounds painful. He said they would be more painful for a day or two following the shots, but then I should get some relief from the pain. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little freaked out by the prospect of a long needle being inserted into my knee. I don’t mind needles but it just seems wrong to mess around inside the knee; especially when it’s already sore. But I’ll do what I can to make the trip more comfortable so back to the doctor I go on September 30th.

If anyone out there has had cortisone shots in the knee please let me know what it’s like and how much it hurts.

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