Itty Bitty’s Moving

Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my blog to my new website – please check out the new website, and register there to continue following me while I’m in this strange time of transition!

With any luck within a week everything here will be there …

Thank you!

The Itty Bitty Boomer

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 –





Rainy Days and Mondays …

Well, the rainy days part was cool – three good days of rain here in drought-stricken California!  The sun is trying to peak out today for the first time since Thursday night – probably a good thing for the 3-ish inches we received to have a chance to soak in well before the next “chance of rain” comes in a few days.  I hope it does, we need it!

So I went to my psychologist appointment this morning – 8 am sharp – half an hour of completing questionnaire/background forms.  Dr. B (the psychologist) took me in and we reviewed/chatted about the info on my forms and about my “current issue” – my son’s bi-polar depressive spiral – my daughter’s issues – my grandson – and … and … and … their father and his issues.  Yep, she says (Dr. B.) – we need to chat more.  We need to get your anxiety under control and to get you some coping mechanisms.  We meet again in two weeks – to start some individual counseling. We’ll talk more about where I am and how I got here.

I also saw Dr. R., the med psychiatrist – after a few minutes of him reading Dr. B’s notes and he and I chatting little more, he has taken me off Xanax because of it’s highly addictive nature, and is having me try Trazadone and Zoloft for sleep and mood stabilization.

During our chat, and in talking about my kids and their issues (which is hugely and obviously the cause of my anxiety), I verbalized a feeling that I have held internally forever – anger – anger towards my kid’s dad.

His life – our life – was more frequently than not, an emotional disaster.  A soap opera unfolding.  I felt like I was always picking up the pieces, cleaning up after his messes.  And here I am … 22 years after he died, still trying to pick up the pieces and clean up the messes.  No, he couldn’t help the genetics that were passed on to him and on to our kids and now on to our grandchildren. How many more generations will be affected?  But there was (or is it “they were”?) collateral damage to choices he made in his life, just as he suffered from choices his parents (biological and adopted) made.  Yes, I’m angry at him still.  Angry at the chaos he caused with his behaviors, angry that he left, and just as angry that he is not here to help – and angry that he is not here to see his grandchildren grow up.

Dr. R hit it on the head …. In taking care of everyone else, I never allowed myself the full grieving process … delayed grief he called it.

My head hurts – too much crying – too much thinking.  Where’s the Excedrine? And an hour nap before my weight loss surgery support group …

Namaste – today I honor me.

Itty Bitty

In Which Itty Bitty Reaches Out For Help

My appointment with my new PCP was precipitated sooner than I had anticipated due to escalating insomnia issues and anxiety levels.  While I have always been the “strong one” in the family – the one to hold everything together in times of crisis – to help everyone else through their crisis – and remain calm and steadfast, the fact is that this just isn’t workin’ for me this time.

As a bit of background, my kids’ father was mentally ill.  He passed away in 1992 of a heart attack, the on-set symptoms starting a solid 18 hours before the attack. He refused to go to the doctor – we did not have health insurance at the time because we could not afford the family premiums even though I was working full time, and he had a home-based business.   He was classically bi-polar if he had been diagnosed in this day and age:  Manic highs, extreme low depressions, instant spirals into rage or depression with little or no cause.  There were abandonment issues, verbal and psychological abuse towards our kids and me.  He suffered from intense migraines, and was a prototype addictive personality.

Unfortunately, both of our children (now adults in their 30’s and 40’s) genetically inherited his bi-polar disorder.  At least one (if not both) of my grandsons has inherited bi-polar disorder, along with other social behavioral disorders.

My daughter (in her 40’s) also has genetically inherited (from her father’s biological mother) IGA deficiency – a blood immuno-deficiency factor that leaves one subject to infections. She also has migraines and fibromyalgia. The bi-polar disorder causes not only the normal highs and lows, but also addictive tendencies and she is OCD (she has been “in the rooms” for 22 years). She also has epilepsy (mostly night seizures with stress as the major trigger) for which she takes seizure meds.  She is a single parent of two teenage boys, a 15-year old who was diagnosed as bi-polar as a child and is on meds and in an ED special ed program at school).  The 18-year old is ADD/ADHD (non-medicated).

My son (in his 30’s) was 16 years old and unfortunately alone with his father when he had his heart attack and died on our living room floor.  Though he participated in his funeral service and attended youth grief counseling after for a year or so, he pretty much pushed the trauma down.  He got his first apartment at barely 18 (he was graduated from high school and working full time) because he didn’t want to be a financial burden on me (not that I ever told him he was).  Five years (1998) later he moved to Brooklyn to be with his now wife, and they have lived there since. About six or seven years ago he started therapy due to a growing problem with depression.  It was at that time that he was diagnosed as bi-polar and placed on mood stabilizers and anti-depressants.  Over the last two or three years, there have been a series of serious issues in his and his wife’s life and marriage including a serious injury to her, a job change for him that was suppose to be a promotion (at a different company) but turned out to be a disaster from the first day, and increasing stress in their lives that finally last spring started him on a depressive spiral.  Nine months later he is still in a deep depression – and we are looking at inpatient mental health services that treat not only mental illness, but also addiction issues.

Mama isn’t coping so well these days.  I know that their genetic illnesses are not my fault.  But the three of us are all we have.  There is no father, no grandparents, no other siblings ….. just me and my son and daughter.  That he is being non-communicative with me (we have always been close) and is 2000+ miles away rips my heart out.  His wife has taken the role of caretaker (not so much wife any more) in trying to see him through this episode – the FIRST one he has had.  She works full time and is trying desperately to take care of the pieces of their life.  He is not doing well and I am lost – I cannot get my head around what is going on with him.

Result?  Seven months of insomnia – anxiety – tears always just under the surface – terrified the phone will ring and it will be the worst possible news.  I need to understand.  I need to learn – I need help getting through this … me … who never asks for help – who is always the helper.

My PCP prescribed me Xanax last week – I take half the dose he recommended so I can sleep.  As soon as it wears off, the ripping ache in my gut returns.  I don’t take it, I don’t sleep. At all.

Monday I see a therapist for the first time since my kid’s dad and I did joint counseling back in 1990.  My fear is that there are still unresolved issues for me from his dysfunctional life and our dysfunctional marriage and family.  And then, maybe I can begin to cope with the wreckage that continues to reveal itself in our children so that I can help them the best I can.

Namaste – I honor any of you who silently deal with similar issues. It’s ok to get help – to reach out to professionals to help you sort out and understand.  I never made the time for myself before now – I was too busy fixing.  It’s time to fix myself.

Itty Bitty