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Scaling Mountains

I'm fat.

There's no denying it, even in my squinty-eyed self-discernment.

When I was fat before the gastric bypass, I was filled with all this Fat Pride, Fat Acceptance and only the rare issue with my self-image. Now, I am humiliated, disgusted and hate feeling this body I am in. I can't believe I am here again.

Without going into a great deal of detail, the gastric bypass was in April 2001 and was the best thing that ever happened to me. I lost 190 pounds in a year! (100 pounds disappeared in 10 weeks!) All of my diabetes, cholesterol, triglyceride, sleep apnea, fatigue, foot pain issues vanished as quickly as my weight. I went to the gym every single day - and LOVED it! I rode my bike, walked all over Disney World for days and days without stopping and loved my new body. At my smallest (for a day), I was a size 8. I hung around wearing a size 12 for awhile... and loved it. I had a waist again! My diabetic apple shape had transformed into the lovely pear.
And then I got sick in the fires of October 2003. I contracted Disseminated Coccidiomycosis and was nearly bedridden for 3 years. I had spinal meningitis every 6 weeks or so for a year. I lost all my hair from the massive amounts of Diflucan I was on (800 mg. a day for 3 years) and could barely move from the fatigue I experienced. Late in the illness, I got a DVT and full leg blood clot, immobilizing me even further. I was so tired, my Sarah built me a (Princess) bedroom at the office for when I needed to sleep.

Because of the intense nausea from the azoles (I was on Itraconazle and Voriconazol for much of the first year, Diflucan the second and third year), I ate what I could. Of course, carbs sat well. I couldn't exercise anymore, so began the getting-fat-again cycle.

I am considered in remission, but I say I am cured. It's been over a year that my titers are zero (yay!!), but all that eating I did while I was sick expanded my precious pouch, making it possible for me to eat more again.

About 6 months ago, my surgeon contacted me to tell me there was a revision she could do to make my pouch small again. It's called the StomaphyX. I am working hard to get the $10,000 together to pay for the revision. I look forward to walking, dancing, biking and living in a smaller body again.


... the fat is pressing on me. Literally.

I am hobbled by my feet. All the years of smashing my poor feet with pounds and pounds has taken a toll and my metatarsal bones are screaming in retaliation.

Looking at the x-rays, I am shocked I haven't hurt before now! If you look at my feet from my vantage point, the area below my small and ring toe is filled with pain as I walk. I didn't know what it was, but my doc knew right away. When I saw the x-ray, those bones, right below the last three toes, were jammed down, looking like they are about to jut out of the skin. I am walking directly on those bones!

I have an appointment with the podiatrist in 2 weeks where I will beg for cortisone shots to relieve the pain. I might also be prescribed orthotics.

Until then, I am wearing the wonderful running tennis shoes Meggie got for me when we were in Orlando. I hated the grey laces that came with the shoes, so got myself some pretty pink laces and I wear the shoes with everything, even dresses. As vain as I am, it's tough, but the pain is motivation enough to suck it up. I also have these Dr. Scholl gel pads (I'm gellin'!) directly under that painful area and it has helped amazingly. Losing weight, of course, will relieve a great deal of the pressure.

Today I go for a cardiac stress test. I'm scared.

When I was in Orlando, I was sitting at my cousin's house, first thing in the morning, not having eaten or drunk anything, and had this enormous chest pain. It felt like the worst case of indigestion I had ever experienced, but after about 5 minutes, my jaw began to hurt like crap. I got scared... breathed deeply... but the pain remained. I could hear my cousin blow-drying her hair, so walked slowly, in a great deal of pain, towards her room. I called her and told her I thought I was having a heart attack. She in her towel, called for her husband who'd had a massive heart attack himself a year earlier. He wasn't in the house, so she didn't wait any longer and called 911. The operator told her to give me a baby aspirin and I needed to chew it up. My dear cousin could only find the regular aspirin her husband has to take, so she gave it to me and I chewed it quickly.

My cousin's husband came in and told me to lie down immediately and was wonderful staying with me.

About 13-15 minutes had elapsed by now and within 1 minute or so, the pain began to subside and as the EMS folks came in, the pain was gone. They did the EKG and it showed nothing. One of the EMS guys tried to start an IV three times when I said to leave it alone. That same (faltering) guy squirted nitroglycerine on my cheek; it was supposed to be under my tongue.

Everyone said I should go to the hospital even though the pain was gone... that I needed cardiac labs done and an x-ray. Reluctantly (and feeling quite foolish), I agreed to go in.

Meghann, with her wet hair slapped up onto her head, who'd come down to ask a question and wasn't aware of the issue until late in the game, came with me in the ambulance. Poor girl didn't get to comb her hair for hours!

The trip to the hospital was uneventful and once there, I was wheeled past a plethora of bizarre folks and right into a room. A great nurse drew blood and started the IV, capped off as a saline lock. Quickly, I had another EKG and then the x-ray folks were next while we waited for the lab results. The doc had already told me I was going to be admitted so I could get a stress test and they could take my labs every 8 hours (cardiac labs don't often show a heart attack until 8-16 hours post-MI (myocardial infarction).

Meghann had to go out to make phone calls and after 3-4 times in and out, she told me the waiting room was scary! Apparently, one needed to pass a metal detector and Sheriff's Deputies to get into the Emergency Room. Unbelievable.

After 4 hours or so, I was still pain-free and ready to get on with my day. We were having the family reunion that day and I needed to get to dad's to prepare. I told Meggie I was ready to go and was going to leave. Her eyes bugged out and she reminded me what the doctor said about being admitted. I told her I knew that, but I was going to leave, Against Medical Advice (AMA) if I had to.

I started removing the Tegaderm from the IV port and Meghann said, "I am a rule follower!" and I laughed as I prepared to pull out the IV, but needed gauze, so sent Meg to the drawers to find it for me. She balked the whole time and really had a fit when I put the gauze on, with pressure, and asked her to pull the catheter out for me. She did it, but not happily. I told her she could now go out and tell my nurse I was pulling things out and off and I wanted to go. As she left the room, I started un-doing the electrodes and the nurse came in, not cranky at all, and said he'd get the doctor so I could leave.

The doc came in, very kindly telling me if I left, I could drop dead, but he thought I was a bright, knowlegable woman and he couldn't stop me. He said I wouldn't be punished if I came in again, they would treat me just as well as this time. I asked him if I could walk around the block in my new tennis shoes and he said that's what a stress test does and I would know by walking what the test might show: if I had no pain, I was doing well. If I fell over face first, I didn't pass. He said this with a totally straight face! Not mean at all, but deadpan for sure.

The nurse brought the paperwork and I signed it, hopped off the bed and left with Meghann who wouldn't take me out the waiting room doors, but made me walk to the front of the hospital where my aunt picked us up.

Since that time, I have had 4 short episodes of the pain. I made an appointment with a cardiologist in Orlando, but my HMO wouldn't pay for it. I tried to get a flight home sooner than I had, but it was going to cost more than the round-trip ticket. I had to wait until I got home, hence the appointment today.

I'm scared I'm going to have a heart attack during the stress test. Because I can't walk uphill for 10 minutes (with a heart rate at least 150), they are going to start an IV and inject me with a medication that speeds up my heart to where it needs to go. Wheee! The test is in 5 hours.

I know this post makes me sound terribly defective, but I function fine, just kind of painfully. What I am experiencing right now is nothing like when I was sick for those three years! I was really incapacitated, yet my clients still insisted I attend them and I did, even when I was at my sickest.

I've been asked why I am sharing this information knowing my clients read here and I think it's just to let women know they/we can still function, even when life tosses dodge balls at us.

One last thing.

We closed my business offices. We're down-sizing, looking for a building we can own closer to home. In the meantime, I will be an old-fashioned midwife who travels to her clients' houses instead of having an office for them to come to for prenatal visits. (Like Cara in The Business of Being Born.)

My house is FILLED with the 9 offices, classroom, reception area and storage room. I'm selling much of the goodies on Craigslist (and things are selling well), but the house (and half a neighbor's garage) are stuffed with IKEA furniture, chiropractic stuff and everything you could imagine might be in a holistic healthcare's offices.

Lots of changes right now. Lots and lots of endings, but I know they will open to beginnings. I am not terribly sad, even about my dad (who oddly begins chemotherapy Monday). Sad, but not immobilized. I have so many things to do! Clients, my health, Craigslist (laughing), my family... and Disney. And the dogs. Lots to live for.

Lots and lots and lots.

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Reader Comments (6)

Hey B, sorry that this is happening to you. I hope they can figure it out. And when you are up to it, I would love to meet you at Disneyland for a wonderful day!!!!

August 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdebstmomy

hope the test goes well! I can never sign out AMA, if I do, my insurance won't pay for it.

August 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca


August 14, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteruumomma

I think a lot of times doctors threaten folks with their insurance not paying, but that it doesn't really happen that way. I'd call the insurance company (or your HR person) to ask BEFORE you want to sign out AMA to see if the threat is true or false.

August 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Wishing you much love and light during this time. I've been researching WLS for a couple months, and it's been a tough decision to come to, although rather than RnY I'm leaning towards a BPD/DS, even if that means needing to go to SF.

On a happier note, maybe we'll see you in DL sometime (we got season passes this year.) C & H enjoy it a lot.


August 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterladyamanda

Wow, you ARE going through alot! I am so happy you are ok, and look forward to continuing to follow you through your new adventures...

August 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHousefairy

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