Never Say Never Again


I haven’t posted in a while – mostly because IF I GET TIRED OF LISTENING TO MY DRAMA I’m sure others do too.  It’s exhausting.

Yes, I still deal daily with my adult children’s chronic mental and physical health issues – yes, I’m still dealing with my divorce… and the resulting anxiety and minor depressions.  And once again it has become crystal clear that, as much as I hoot and hollar to other women that we must always take care of ourselves first if we are to take care of others, I have been ignoring my own health.  Or, at least, not paying attention to it.   No. Ignoring it.

I went to the doctor this week for the first time in about 2 years.  After seven years and multiple health insurance changes, I was finally able to get back in to see the coolest doctor I’ve ever had.  I had to wait almost an hour past my appointment time, which normally would have driven me up the wall, but then she spent forty-five minutes with me.  Well beyond the expected ten minutes in and out crap that most doctors manage.  She listens.   She responds.  She’s intuitive.  She picked up right away on my anxiety and low grade depression issues.  She recognized my self-medicating with wine (better than Zanex, I argued) and suggested we try something that might be more helpful and less harmful.   She acknowledged my concern about regain after my gastric bypass surgery 10 years ago and the psychology around it – the stressors in my life and how they  are impacting my health.  Within that 45 minutes, she started the following processes:

  • Ordered immediate blood work to check hemoglobin for diabetes indicators, and thyroid functioning (done that day)
  • Referral for mammogram (done yesterday) and colonoscopy (scheduled for May)
  • Referral to a local bariatric center that, besides doing surgeries, offers post-op medical/lab support, support groups,  psychological counseling and regain weight loss programs designed for post-op patients.  (intake appointment next Thursday)
  • Rx for a low dose of prozac to calm me down and help me cope with my day-to-day shit. (started Wednesday)
  • A follow-up appointment in a month to check on me and see how I am doing

I walked out of her office feeling better and stronger already simply because I finally felt like I have someone in my corner – rooting for me – not just telling me to lose weight and get therapy.

That’s a long way around to NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.   In 2008, I weighed 147 pounds – 3 years post op and 10 lbs up from my happy weight of 135-ish.  In 2009, it was 151.  Not bad, four  pounds.  This week I weighed in at 187.

I was one of those post-ops who swore NEVER AGAIN.  I’m never going back “there” again. The reality is that without vigilance, without continuing to always work on our HEAD BATTLES along with our FOOD BATTLES, we can easily regain the weight we so painstakingly lost. We can … and we do.

But our tool is always there – our pouchies for us RNY gastric bypass post-ops.  I’m back at that sick and tired of being sick and tired point.  I’m not beating myself up nor am I full of self-loathing for having regained.  I am concerned that the very issues I sought to avoid in 2005 are again realistic concerns … a very strong family history of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  I’ve been lucky so far, but I fear the possibilities.

So next Thursday I begin a medically supervised fasting weight loss program designed and administered by a medical group that specializes in weight loss surgery and support.  I am grateful that my health insurance covers it. I will take advantage of this as long as i have this insurance (pending my divorce becoming final) or can afford a subsequent medicare supplement that also covers this service.

I’m putting myself out there for the benefit of others on this journey.   It’s real, this path we take.   Never the easy way out, always requiring care and vigilance.  But don’t ever give up.

Namaste …..

I honor your journey –

IttyBitty

 

 

 

One Day At A Time …


It’s a landmark day for me anyway, and hopefully for my son …

I’m preparing to take him to drop him off at work – and when I pick him up at 1:30-ish, will be taking him to enter a cocaine detox program for 5 days.  Some may think, well, duh …  but it’s taken me two years to get this far with him.

At first, he used to quell his anxiety attacks when his bi-polar meds weren’t calming him enough.  And, of course, the seductress drew him in.   He’s tried on his own and relapsed.  It hasn’t helped that his “girlfriend” I believe (no proof) uses with him.

Ranting and raving and mom temper tantrums haven’t accomplished anything – and I’m sure added to his anxiety levels- one of which is dealing with confrontation.  He doesn’t – he withdraws.  He doesn’t “fight back”, he shuts down (a defense he developed when dealing with his verbally and psychologically abusive father when my son was a teen).  Fighting back, sticking up for your self resulted in a tirade.

In early November I told him I was done with his drug use, he needed to get himself into a rehab program – inpatient or outpatient.  He found an outpatient program that Medi-Cal (California’s medical insurance for indigent and low-income people) recommended.  They don’t cover the cost of mental health/drug addiction treatment programs though IF YOU CAN FIND ONE THAT TAKES MEDI-CAL you might find a sliding scale.

The outpatient/day program requires intakes test clean before accepting them in to the $1100, 12-week program.  He couldn’t stay clean.  The next step is to do the $840, 4 night/5 day detox program, then go on to the $1100 12-week day program.

I’m getting a cashiers check for $840. this morning.  Some how, some way I’ll come up with the $1100.  I am 100% behind him and will do anything in my power to help him be successful.  I have my fears as I’m sure any parent or spouse in my shoes does.  But I am hopeful. I have to be.

I also have conversations with myself about what if it fails?  If it was a simple matter of drug dependence, as hard as it is, it would be easier to lock the door and tough love him.  The added complication of his Bipolar disorder II, rapid cycling and anxiety disorder makes it much more difficult to do that.  His anxieties I fear would overcome him.

It’s hard being a parent in the best of situations, it’s harder when your children, small or adult, have extenuating special needs.

And there always has to be hope.  And we start this day and move forward, one day at a time.  One step at a time.  With hope. And encouragement.  And love.

Namaste – I honor you and send you hope whether struggling with hopelessness, or loving someone and holding onto your hope that they find their way.

Itty Bitty.

Shades of Grief -Divorce


Grief

A week ago I alluded to my amicable divorce.   It still is, we are in agreement on all things and will be doing a no response/uncontested action.  Taking care of business.  It’s a relief that my terms are not being questioned – though it’s simply whats yours is yours, what’s mine is mine.  But I am grateful that we are able to be calm, rational adults.

It is, none the less, the death of a dream – of a hope – of a partnership where we were to stand beside each other and face life’s challenges together.

I have, over the last week, found myself grieving the death of the dream. The death of the hope of finally having found someone who was committed to standing beside me as I dealt with the challenges of my world.  He just isn’t capable of understanding and embracing my life’s challenges.   That’s ok – I don’t hold it against him – I just need to move on and deal with them on my own.  It is a lot to ask someone.   I was just hopeful.

And so I grieve – and I know that as I process these feelings, as I have in the past with the death of my kids’s father 23  years ago, and the death of my parents, and the crash and burn and escape from a brainfart marriage to an alcoholic/addict that ended 9 years ago, I will find a place to tuck away the grief. And the love. And the memories. And even the hope.

And I will be stronger for it.

And I am content being alone – for it is much easier than being lonely with someone you had a dream with.

cropped-menjeff.jpg
Maui, 2011 ~  Thanks For The Dream, J.  Take care of you.

Namaste – I honor you who are grieving a loss.  Be kind to yourself, and take your time.

Itty Bitty

Head Battles – WLS Journey – 10 years and 6 months later


 

Yeah, it’s been a while, but as I recently read on one of my favorite blogs, life happens.  And life has been happening.

It’s a never ending – obesity and head battles.

2005 - 225 lbs
2005 – 225 lbs
March 2006 - 135 lbs
March 2006 – 135 lbs

And I am now half way in between the two weights.

I often contemplate how I got my head into that  place of commitment and action – that place that allowed me the strength to make the decision to have weight loss surgery.  I would like to get back there – I know that place is still inside me, somewhere in my brain.

And I remind myself daily that this tool I have was not brain surgery – it was stomach surgery.  Funny how I still know all the right answers.  And I also know all the triggers to the emotional eating that is occurring at this time in my life –

  • 2 adult children with bi-polar/anxiety disorders and other chronic health issues
  • going through a divorce (however currently amicable) due to husband’s inability to cope with the issues my kids have. We have been married just 4 years, so he has no emotional  investment in them and their issues (understandably).  He also has no desire to understand mental illness.  He is an acknowledged alcoholic.

I thank my higher powers that I currently have a good job.   I am self-supporting, which allows me to provide a home environment for the time being for my son.   That being said, it is a bit of an unanticpated burden and I live pay check to pay check  Son and I are hopefully working through this and building some parameters and expectations on both our parts.

The “UN” mindfulness part?

  • Too much comfort food and too much wine.  My self-medicating.  I’ve tried therapy for stress and anxiety – anxiety meds and anti-depressants are not my cup of tea.  I still have unused Zanex from 2 years ago.
  • No exercise
  • Insomnia – and yes I know, lack of exercise and alcohol are major contributors.

The plan? I refuse to call it a “resolution” because I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

  • Returning to food choices that I know are appropriate and supportive of a WLS lifestyle
  • Reducing at least if I don’t eliminate the alcohol
  • Exercising if only walking and stretching to start to get back into the routine
  • Finding and participating in support programs for caregivers for family with mental illness and an al-anon type of group.
  • Allowing myself to grieve the loss of what I thought would be my life partner and cheerleader – not that I ever expected him to fix my problems, but there was a hope of him standing beside me.
  • Reminding myself to set personal boundries for self preservation
  • Engaging in my relationships with my women friends – rather than sharing and relying on them, I tend to do the opposite and isolate – I get tired of hearing about my problems, how can I expect them to?  Yet I know I would be there for any of them in a heartbeat

It’s mostly remembering to take care of myself ahead of everyone else.  I am the first one to tell people to “take care of you so you can take care of those who need you”.

I’m looking in the mirror – saying those words.

Do you need to say those words to you?

Namaste – I honor you and your head battles.

Itty Bitty

Living In Three Worlds …


“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
~ Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

This quote has been sitting in my draft files for about two months now.  I so love what it says – and today while looking through my drafts it hit me.  At this particular time in my life, with where I am physically, emotionally, intellectually … this quote says it ALL.

I am currently living in THREE worlds – how odd does that sound? But it’s true.

World 1 – Mom

My son and I moved into an apartment in mid-June so that I can help him manage his bi-polar disorder in a quiet and de-stressed environment to the  point he/we can manage his anxiety levels.   He doesn’t do well in solitary situations – goes to very dark, depressed places – or I would not necessarily be with him, but would likely subsidize him living on his own.  At almost 40, he doesn’t want to be living with mom, but acknowledges and accepts graciously that he needs the emotional support.

World 2 – Wife

I spend a night or two at my husband’s (not my son’s father) home each week, and meet him for dinner or after work drinks when my son is working the evening shift.  I love my husband, and he is trying very hard to be understanding of the need for me to be with my son.  The two of them living under the same roof did not work.  My husband’s inability to fathom the ramifications of bi-polar disorder and anxiety disorders created an overwhelming amount of ANXIETY for him, my son and me.

World 3 – Me

And what has happened after a year and a half of growing anxieties and animosities is that, now that I have my own place, I have within that world time to belong to ME without the constancy of being on guard for my husband getting upset with my son for perceived problems. I have time to belong to me when my son is doing his world of part-time work, volunteering and spending time with a very select few safe friends.  I HAVE this down time – quiet time – for the first time in years.  I am finding it easier to cope with my anxieties about my son’s mental health, and my husband’s avoidance of dealing with it at all.  My insomnia has lessened (not gone) – especially when sleeping with my 40-year old teddy bear (don’t judge me!).

I have time to truly belong to me.

The thing that I know I will have to deal with at some point is trying to explain this to hubby.  With everything going on in my life, though I love my husband, and stand by my son, and work full-time, and try to remember not to forget my daughter with her own suitcase of chronic physical and mental health issues – I, FOR ONCE am not forgetting that I need to take care of me.  I need to, first and foremost, belong to me.

Without that, I would be utterly useless to anyone and everyone else.

I am more and more believing that we may be one of those couples whose existence is non-traditional – each with our own separate spaces with our lives intertwined.  This isn’t a situation where I want to be with anyone else, or am looking for anyone else – I am fighting for my emotional survival by taking the alone time to keep centered, and focused, on what I have to do.  I need the alone time. The meditative time.  The sanctuary time.

Is it possible?

Namaste – namaste, my friends – I honor you who know how to belong to yourself.

 

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

17 negative stereotypes about bipolar disorder


I wish everyone who wonders what Bipolar disorder is about could read this…. I’m learning all I can to best help my son and understand ….

blahpolar

The most frequently used search terms that usher visitors to my blog are: bipolar disorder stereotypes, bipolar stereotypes, negative stereotypes of bipolar disorder, stereotypes about bipolar disorder, negative stereotypes of bipolar, stereotypes of bipolar disorder – and they occur every. single. day. I googled ‘bipolar stereotypes’ and lo and behold, my most visited post ranked first. It’s time to expand on that ole thing. Stereotypes breed stigma, which can have terrible (and in some cases even terminal) consequences. Everything gets an ism, dear reader, and the applicable one here is ableism.

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Hot Town … Summer In The City of Sacramento


Sacramento Summer is here .. with a vengeance.   It’s been pretty unseasonable so far – running just slightly above moderate temperatures, or below averages.  Not so much for the next two weeks!  It looks like out of the next 10 days, we’ll see 7 over 100 degrees. No rain in sight.

** All of the photos here are from various news sources.  I thank those anonymous sources for their bravery in providing the images. **

 I live about 2 miles from the 5th most critical reservoir in Northern/Central California.  It was in the news yesterday that by next year, it will be 96% empty if our drought continues.  This is what it looks like today:
What our reservoirs are  looking like ...
What our reservoirs are looking like …
With the heat consistently high day after day, the afternoon thunder storms in the mountains east of us develop quickly with intensity creating hundreds if not thousands of lightning strikes but little or no rain.  And with that, the barrage of lightning strikes in our beautiful forests have us at extremely high risk of wildfires.  They’ve already started – up and down the state.
Here are some vivid images of our current, on-going California wildfires ….
Beautiful Trees Gone
Beautiful Trees Gone
It’s not just the fires, it’s also the toll on our residents – the families that are forced to evacuate their homes, wondering if they have  homes to return to.  It’s about the firefighters who risk their lives.
Monster fires
Monster fires
My favorite corner in downtown Markleeville – I lived here for a year and a half and spent many a summer evenings under those pink flowers on the bench in front of the Cutthroat Saloon watching the world go by.
Highway 89 in downtown Markleeville -   Sat on the corner in front of the Cutthroat Saloon many a summer evenings.
Highway 89 in downtown Markleeville – Sat on the corner in front of the Cutthroat Saloon many a summer evenings.

There is currently a wildfire nearby Markleeville started by lightning strikes that has now burned over 17,000 acres and is less than 10% contained. A shift of wind could send the fire racing toward and through town.   I worry about the 165 residents (including the dogs I think) whose lifetimes are invested in this little mountain community, for the totally volunteer fire department made up of the towns people, and for CalFire, who day after day, year after year, do their very best to protect California from wildfires.

Please send messages to your higher power, whomever that may be, to bless California with rain!

Itty Bitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California’s not pretty these day – she could use a big drink of water.  Please think good thoughts for us!