Friday, April 13, 2012

HAWMC -Day 12 Stream of Consciousness

HAWMC Day 12

Stream of Consciousness Day. Start with the sentence “______”just write, don’t stop, don’t edit Post!

So we challenge you, start with this phrase: “Today I looked in the mirror and…”  

 This turned out to be a very powerful exercise for me. 

I have never actually shared on-line what happened to me to cause my heath crisis, or for that matter what my heath issues are. I use phrases like "when I got sick".

I also have never publicly discussed my serious weight issues. I guess all it takes is 30 days of writing challenges to get me to open up and someone to tell me to just let it flow and don't edit. If I had stopped to edit you would never be reading my story.

Today I looked in the mirror…. and I can't believe I am really sharing this but.. I am looking a lot better than I did before I got sick almost 4 years ago. I was extremely overweight .. oh heck …yes .. morbidly obese, Biggest Looser big.  I tried not to look in the mirror back then.

I developed a critical series of heath issues at the age of 50. Eventually it was shown that my weight probably had very little to do with my illnesses, however one look at me led the health care professionals to jump to wrong conclusions and diagnosis and treatment went horribly wrong.  Yes, my weight put me in grave danger, but mainly because of prejudices based on my appearance, and my own embarrassment and reluctance to stand up for myself. 

 I almost died of a pulmonary embolism and the cause of the blood clots in my lungs was most likely related to a massive undiagnosed uterine tumour. The blood thinners to treat the lung clots caused the tumour to haemorrhage. My blood pressure was dropping and the treatment they chose was to give me medications that rapidly elevated my blood pressure resulting in a stroke according to the MRI results, As well  many, many tiny areas of damage occurred  in my brain because of oxygen deprivation due to extremely low blood volume. Several blood transfusions later I was stabilized, but so much damage was already done.  I was then declared unfit for any form of surgery and it was more than a year of agressive treatment for the tumour before it began to shrink and I was reassured that I would indeed survive.

 I found myself facing a lot of weight related problems while in the hospital. Larger blood pressure cuffs were not available. I needed the MRI and they withheld testing me for a while because they thought I might not be an appropriate size for their equipment. I was subjected to a humiliating set of measurements and it turned out I was not even close to the kind of numbers that would have been an issue and they should never have delayed testing. One nurse said that she didn't have time to go looking for an extra large hospital gown so they left me with only a blanket to cover myself. They kept testing me for disorders common to obese people and did not listen to me as I described my symptoms as acute changes and not chronic conditions.

I am still so angry at some of the medical professionals that dealt with me. I am angry with a heath care system that is not prepared to deal with larger people. Mainly I am still angry at myself for getting so overweight in the first place, and even more disgusted with myself for not being a better advocate for myself.

 I have spent most of the the past 4 years with impaired balance. I am dizzy and nauseated. Guess what?  All that nausea and vomiting and some of the serious medication side effects caused me to loose weight. I was still pretty heavy, but nothing compared to before. Person after person who saw me  told me how I had never looked so good. I had trouble talking, reading and making decisions. I was using a walker. The left side of my face was hanging and my left arm and leg were not functioning properly -- but yes, my weight was down so I looked just great to everyone.

My weight is currently up from that low weight.  I am back to leading a life of monitoring what goes in my mouth and chastising myself for consuming chocolate Easter Eggs when I am  upset. I still have issues as an emotional overeater, but now I know that I have the will and strength to overcome great difficulties.

When I look in the mirror now…  yes I see a thiner woman... but mainly I see a strong brave woman.


JanetK said...

Well, I didn't find your top 10 list, but I sure learned a lot from your story. Holy Guacamole Batman!! I am impressed that you've emerged a stronger person. I try to tell myself that what does not kill us makes us stronger - but I don't think that happens automatically. You have to have that will and strength somewhere inside to stir up when the going gets tough.

Diane said...


You are indeed a brave, strong woman! Bravo for sharing your story! I know it took guts to do it.

Sending you a big hug from both Bob and me!

Humpty Dumpty said...

You certainly have had your share of difficulties over the past few years and I am glad you are now able to share some of them with your blogging audience. It has been my experience that writing about misfortune is often a lot easier than telling someone face-to-face, but I know how hard writing has been for you lately. Kudos to you for accomplishing this writing challenge. :)

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