What’s Up, Doc?

On Friday, March 29th, 2019 I arrived at my first appointment for gastric bypass surgery after attending the seminar in December. I haven’t told but a handful of people that I was thinking about surgery for weight loss. I feel like surgery is the easy way out. In some ways it makes me feel like I’ve failed. The truth is, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make when it comes to my weight loss. This surgery is irreversible. It’s not a fix-all. People still gain weight after surgery and to be honest I’m scared as hell. If I can’t control what I eat RIGHT NOW how can I possibly control what I eat after surgery? But that’s the least of my worries on this day.

The doctor comes into the room and tosses my folder on the desk, “So why are you here today?” I stare at him. He’s caught me off guard. I know he wants to hear that I’m here because I want a better life and no longer want health issues and blah blah but doc – let’s be honest. In order to get there, I’ve got to lose weight. So I say, “To lose weight. To be healthy again.” He chuckles a bit and right away I know that’s not the answer he wants and personally, I don’t care. He quickly replies with the list of things he was looking for. I already know I don’t like him. He’s cocky. His voice is demeaning and degrading. He asks me if I sleep with a c-pap – I answer no. He asks if I have high blood pressure – I answer no. Heart attack, stroke – no. He asks if I have diabetes – I answer no but I am still using Metformin to keep it under control because I used to have Type 2. I want to scream, “DID YOU READ MY FILE?!” He asks which type of surgery I’m interested in. I pick up a large flip board with the names of the surgery because who the hell remembers “Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.” I explain this is the type of surgery I’d like and the reason why. He quickly shoots it down and tells me that with the way I carry my weight and because I’ve had several abdominal surgeries, the sleeve would be better. He leaves the room to grab the female nurse because he has to check my heart. I look over at Kristy with disgust and whisper, “I don’t like him.”

Later that evening I received an email showing the notes and wrap-up of our appointment. Under ‘Chief Complaint’ the doctor writes “Sleep apnea, hypertension, degenerative joint disease, urinary stress incontinence, chronic fatigue, exertional shortness of breath.” WHAT?! Who the hell? Whose complaints are THESE? We never discussed these because I don’t have them. What is degenerative joint disease and urinary stress incontinence?! Now I’m worried. This is the doctor that’s going to operate on me? For fuck’s sake doc. Some would excuse it as – he most likely wrote the wrong patient notes in. Well, if he can make that simple of a mistake, I sure as hell don’t want him snipping, cutting, and stitching things inside my body. So tell me, what’s up doc?

Damaged Dysfunction Part 2 – Final

“Poverty. That’s why.” That’s the answer I get from my therapist when I ask “Why is it so hard to get off of “the system” and why are my children struggling?”

She continues to tell me that because my parents grew up in poverty, I then grew up in poverty which in turn, my children grew up in poverty so the likelihood of my children’s children growing up in poverty is very high. “So what, doc? You’re saying that we are just all another statistic?” For whatever reason that angers me to my core. Don’t categorize me and my family! Don’t tell me that my kids will never have anything better in life besides POVERTY!” I leave therapy that day angry and agitated mostly because I know she’s right.

When I get home I start my research. What comes with poverty? How does it affect families? I don’t know why I bothered with research when I already knew my answers. I guess I was looking for validation. According to http://www.debt.org, poverty starts with those that are less educated and less healthy than those not living in poverty. When they say “less educated” I know this is more than just about a college degree. Those that are more educated on healthy food choices, physical fitness choices, financial choices, ect., are more knowledgeable on how to better their lives in each of those areas whereas those with less education in regards to those choices have more difficulty making those decisions. Lastly, according to Gallup, (an American analytics and advisory company), with poverty also comes depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. So the next time you are standing in line at the grocery store next to an obese mother with 3 obese children watching the cashier ring up their chips, dip, and soda while she runs her food stamp card, this is most likely lack of education with added depression and health issues and not laziness.

So how do I fix this? I guess I start with exactly what I’m doing right now. Educating myself. Research. Read. Learn. Then pass it along to my children by leadership. They are at an age now that giving them verbal information is like talking to a dead horse. I must live the life myself and hope that they see it and follow. If I can dysfunctionally damage them, I can most certainly educate the dysfunction, right?

Sources:
Bill Fay – Debt.org
https://www.debt.org/faqs/americans-in-debt/poverty-united-states/

Alyssa Brown – Gallup
https://news.gallup.com/poll/158417/poverty-comes-depression-illness.aspx

Obesity and It’s Silent Struggle

C and T

Myself and Christina

Christina and I hit it off quickly when I first met my father and his family. She was my sister, not by blood, but by soul. We had a lot in common, including our obesity.

Let me take you back to the 90s.

We tore up the city of Wenatchee, Washington and Dallas, Oregon. I can’t count how many apple orchards we woke up in after a long night of partying.  She quickly became my best friend. We did everything together. She knew secrets about me no one else did and I knew the same about her.

One evening she came home and says, “Tonia, there’s this guy who just broke up with his girlfriend who I know and now he’s single. His name’s Jose.” Now, I’ve always liked my men spicy so of course most of their names were Jose. Ha! I yell from the other room, “Does he have brothers named Pedro and Raul?” Laughter erupted from the both of us. Later, I became pregnant with my first child. Four months in, I lost him. My sister was there the entire way. She always had my back. Always.

I moved back to Montana (a few times) and when I did, Christina and I lost contact. We chatted here and there on Facebook but made no plans to meet up again. The excuses we made were silent but clear; we both had families and not enough time.

I get the text. She’s not doing well. Her kidneys are shutting down. No one knows how much longer she has. I later found out that she had lost her leg, the result of diabetes. She was told, while coherent, that she was dying.  I spoke to her on the phone and all we could do was cry through words. I asked her why she didn’t tell me that complications from her weight were this bad. She cried back, “I didn’t want you to know.” I got that. I really did. Secrets. Nasty secrets. She made it clear that she didn’t want to die and was very worried about her 4 children. I told her I loved her and would be seeing her soon. That night, I packed a suitcase and headed to Oregon. I arrived at the hospital late in the evening. Seeing her in that hospital bed was nearly unbearable until I approached her bedside and saw her grey, soulless eyes. I grabbed her face and wanted to kiss her badly but she had patches of some sort of medicine pasted to her. She was wailing in pain. I have to tell you, the sound of her still haunts my memories. Crying, I told her over and over again that I loved her. That she was my best friend. My only friend. She passed away March 7, 2014.

I went back to the hotel and cried uncontrollably. I was sorry and pissed off at myself for not being there for her. If only we had both been honest about our weight and our struggles. What we were going through was nearly identical. As I watched her dying I thought, “Is this it? Is this what it’s going to take for me to make the change?” Sadly, it was not. I continued to eat. I continued to not treat my diabetes. Being overweight and struggling with your weight is real. Food addiction is more than just overeating. It’s eating away your secrets, your stress, your pain, and worries. Ironically, it’s a way to slowly kill yourself and sometimes nothing, not your kids, not your family or friends, is enough to stop the madness. Rest in peace, my dear sister.

 

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C

Somewhere Over The Sugar Rainbow

“What do you mean I can’t have pizza for breakfast?” I don’t think my doctor is taking me seriously. “Look, Tonia. You’re going to get diabetes among other health issues that you don’t have already, if things don’t change. You’re not 20 anymore. You have to start thinking of your health and well-being.” I stare at him blankly while smacking my sugar-free gum. I leave the office feeling like nothing was accomplished. On another note, I did get a new pill and an increase in another. One for anxiety and the increase in depression medication. That’s right, Doc. Dope me up. That should help.

My therapist and I are having a stare off. “Why are you here?” he finally asks. “Where do you want me to start?” I reply with a chuckle. “Let’s start with why you sought help in the first place.” I really hope he has all day. I don’t think I can squeeze this all into a hour. “I have mother issues, anger issues, trust issues, sexual issues, and food issues. Just to name a few. Shall we start there?” Oh, God. He’s writing. Jot that down, dude. You’re going to need to remember this. Got enough ink in that pen? “Ok. Let’s start with your food issues. Why do you think you have issues with food?” I laugh hysterically inside. “Because I have mother, anger, trust, and sexual issues.” He gets paid for this stuff? He isn’t the first therapist I’ve seen and I have a suspicion he won’t be the last. This session has stressed me out. Guess I will treat myself to KFC and wash it all away with a root beer float.

My feet are starting to tingle. I work from home so I sit at the computer 9+ hours a day. I chalk it up to long periods of sitting. My legs start to ache. I try to get up and move around but my job has me glued to the screen. At night the tingling is worse. I elevate my feet and ignore it. Eight months later and I am feeling numbness. I change doctors and the new Doc schedules a diabetes test. “No biggie,” I tell him. “They’ve poked my finger before and sugars are always fine.” He laughs. Little did I know that it takes much more than that. The results: Type 2 diabetes. I barely hear the doctor talk about long term damage and dietary changes. My mind goes into a fog. “Is this going to be it? Is this going to be the wake-up call I need to change my life?” I stuff a large chunk of Kit Kat into my mouth and then take a long swig from my Pepsi. Can’t imagine how the diabetes arrived in the first place. Hop aboard the sugar train! I need to ponder this.