My Progress!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A "funny" thing happened on the way to this blog...

I was actually getting a head start on today’s blog last night. I was sitting in my office, sipping a diet coke, working the last few minutes of my shift at my second job and putting the finishing touches on what would have been today’s blog. Erik had just come upstairs to watch a little TV with me before bed when I took another sip of my drink.

For as long as I can remember, I have had intermittent swallowing problems. As much food as I’ve swallowed over the years, you would think that if I was going to choke it was going to be on a twinkie…maybe a big bite of steak, you know…the stuff normal people choke on. Nope, not me..I never choke on food….only on liquids. Erik has made fun of me in the past for inhaling my own saliva and we’ve both joked that I’m going to be the first person to die from saliva aspiration. Last night, I went to swallow and a small bit of coke went “down the wrong pipe” and before I knew it, I was coughing like crazy. I still had coke in my mouth so I remember grabbing my cup, spitting the last bit back into the glass so that I didn’t inhale any more and then …that’s it. The next thing I remember, Erik is standing over me, gripping my hand and calling my name with the most horrified expression on his face.

I felt strange…part of my face almost felt paralyzed and for a second I couldn’t move. I remember looking at him and saying “What?” Part of me remembered coughing and having trouble getting my breath and that crazy part of yourself that is almost embarrassed when you have one of those ugly coughing fits was like “What? Why are you freaking out, I’m just coughing!” but as I came out of it, I knew that something else had happened. Erik kept asking me if I was ok and then said “Michelle, have you had all your meds today? You just had a seizure.” I looked at him for a moment and said “I was just coughing Erik…” he interrupted me and said “Michelle, you dropped your glass, balled your fists up and were kicking your legs and had a seizure are you sure you are ok?” Apart from feeling a bit sick to my stomach and being drenched in diet coke, I felt fine. I got up to go change, ended up taking a shower and came back to find Erik sitting in silence in my office. I asked him if he was ok and of course he said “No.” He added that HE felt like he wanted to throw up.

I tried to reassure him and told him that I think the seizure happened because of the lack of oxygen due to the coughing fit. I’ve never had that happen to me before, but when I googled “seizures and lack of oxygen” we learned that you can, in fact, have a one time seizure due to lack of oxygen. I don’t think this helped ease his mind though and part of me felt awful. I realized that he probably thought I was having a stroke or heart attack or something. He said when he saw my hands clench up, all he could think about was Tanner when he had meningitis. Many times when the neurological system is assaulted in some way, the body will posture depending on the part of the brain affected. The arms may flex up towards the body with fists made my tucking the thumbs under the fingers…you probably are most familiar with posturing in people with neuromuscular disorders. With Tanner, his thumbs were tucked into his fists and when Erik saw my hands clench up, I’m sure he had a flashback to when Tanner was sick. I am also aware that Erik probably spends quite a bit of time just “waiting” for something bad to happen to me because of my weight. I felt and still feel like crap because I saw how shaken he was by the experience. I tried to joke it off, because that is what we do in our family…crack jokes about things that just aren’t funny…but he wasn’t having any of it.

This morning he is unnaturally quiet. He said he didn’t really sleep and I actually saw him walk past my office back to bed. *sigh* I realize the seizure wasn’t my fault, and even if I was a size 8, it probably still would have freaked him out, but for about 10 seconds last night, I think he thought he was watching me die. I still can’t wrap my brain around how that must have been for him. I can only imagine how horrified I would have been if the tables had been turned and it had been me standing over him mid-seizure.

I called my doctor this morning and he seems to think that I was right in my diagnosis (what do I need him for when I have the internets lol?). I’ll just see how I do this weekend. If I have any more problems, I’ll either go to the ER or call him on Monday. Poor Erik though…I think I owe him a six pack or something. Was I lying when I said someone should write a sitcom about my life? I can’t even have a normal coughing fit without major drama lol.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What has Michelle been up to?

Lots of stuff going on with me lately which is why I haven’t managed to do much blogging. That’s good news though….at least it wasn’t depression this time. I’ve had some friends reach out to me recently and I’m taking them up on it; most notably, my good friend Shannon and another friend DaLona (who I still need to call). Shannon is looking out for my social calendar and DaLona is trying nourish my spirit and help me rebuild my shattered faith. I love you both! Then I've had numerous bloggy friends reach out to me. I've read your comments...thank you for keeping me thinking about my situation and how I can change it.

In the past few weeks, I’ve actually been quite busy (for me anyway). I had a dinner and poker night out at a friend’s house. I have to be honest and say the dinner portion was far from diet friendly, but it was good to get out and I didn’t pig out while I was there. The important part was that I got out of this house! The sad side of things was that I also realized how even getting out and having a good time can exhaust me. If I’m going to be exhausted though, at least its good to have a reason for it.

The dinner and poker night is kind of becoming a semi-regular thing for us (erik, tanner and I). We have a good time with Shannon and Mike when we get together and even though Tanner is older than their daughter (she’s 7) he loves spending time with her playing wii or watching movies. Since he doesn’t have many friends, this is often a suitable stand in ;) Anyway, its nice to be able to get out.

What I’ve found is that it isn’t that I’m lacking in friends really, but I’ve isolated myself so much that while I might call them from time to time, chat online occasionally, etc. I really don’t “get out” with them often. They probably quit asking because I had excuses for why I couldn’t go out or participate in whatever so most of the whining I’ve been doing…again…I can attribute to my own actions. I think this is important because as long as someone lets themselves be the “victim” of whatever it is they’ve decided to be a victim of, they are powerless to overcome it. I think that’s what I’ve known all along and what I’ve been saying over and over again in various ways on my blog. I knew I was “playing the victim” but couldn’t see how to pull myself out of that perspective and motivate myself to start changing my situation. In the past few weeks, I’ve started to feel more like making changes again.

Have I started to make changes? Not quite yet, but I’m starting to feel a glimmer of hope somewhere deep inside and I have a few goals for this year that are going to depend on me getting myself going in the other direction health-wise. One of my absolute MUST DO’s is getting Tanner up north to visit with my family. I’ve been promising him I’d take him to see his great-grandfather since he visited back in 2003 or 2004. The reason we haven’t been able to has been largely financial and I’m still not doing well financially, but I’ve decided that I’m going to have to make it happen soon regardless. Besides, I miss my Papa too and want to see him as well. So, Papa, if you are reading this……….you better plan on having company for Thanksgiving. I’ll probably have to work from up there while I’m visiting too so I’m sure he’ll be THRILLED we may have to stay for at least a week lol. I’ll try to make it as painless as possible…have xbox, will travel.

In order to make this trip, I will probably have to drive. Even now, I think it would be difficult for me to attempt a trip like this given my current fitness level. I know you think “Why is that? You just have to sit in a car, how could your weight cause problems?” When you get to my size, your heart has a very difficult time pumping blood to your extremities, your lymphatic system has a hard time moving fluid, etc. So, when I sit for too long in one position, especially with my feet hanging down, my feet tend to swell. If they get too swollen, it can be difficult for me to walk. At times, I’ve even developed infections (cellulitis) in my feet which can be somewhat dangerous and debilitating. God forbid we even think about Deep Vein Thrombosis which could lead to a stroke if I manage to develop a blood clot from sitting too long. I won’t be able to lose a ton of weight by thanksgiving, but I want to be in as good a shape as possible so that I can cope with any problems I might encounter due to traveling. In all likelihood, I could develop swelling, get an infection and wind up stranded at my grandfather’s for god knows how long until I recover enough to drive back. I thought about flying, but with most of the “big butt” policies on most airlines I would have to buy two tickets just for me and I don’t know if I can afford that. I’ll have to crunch a few numbers and see if driving will be the cheaper way to go. Even if I have to buy two tickets for myself, it might be worth it to get out of having to pay lodging up there and back (I doubt I could make the 19 hour drive in one day), food along the way, etc. Regardless, that is the plan. Even if I fly, I’m going to have to be in decent enough shape to get from the parking lot to my gate and make a connection, etc. Besides, I want to be able to help cook and enjoy myself while I’m there and I just can’t do that given my current level of fitness.

So, although I said in my last blog that I wasn’t going to make anymore plans, I kind of have to in this situation lol.

Other news on the home front…I’m weaning myself off my anti-depressant. I know some of you are going to think this is a crazy decision, but I discovered something accidentally over the last few weeks when I missed a couple of doses. It could be coincidence and I’m not opposed to staying on an anti-depressant, but I think my current levels may have something to do with my ambivalence about getting healthier. I think the drug I’m on may be making me TOO ok with where I’m at physically. It isn’t that I’m really ok with where I’m at, but the fire I used to get once in a while that would motivate me to get busy may be too subdued by the meds I’m on. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve started to feel a bit more like the way I used to. I’ve been more motivated to clean around the house, run errands, and be more active. I saw my doctor on Monday (I have more to say about this in another blog) and he gave me a schedule to titrate down off my current meds. I think he has me coming off them too fast, but we’ll see. I’m going to listen to my body and go at my own pace. Erik and I have discussed the fact that he will keep an eye on me and if he feels I’m heading in the wrong direction emotionally (getting too depressed or too up and down) he will step in and suggest that I get back on them or stop titrating down any further if I’m still taking them.

I suspect that an awful lot of people that read my blog probably struggle with depression in similar ways. I know that I probably need to be on some kind of medication, but I need to find a happy medium. I don’t want the extremes (HIGH highs and LOW lows), but I also don’t like the BLAHS I’ve been living with since getting on effexor either. I really do think it may be a huge factor in why I’ve had such a hard time getting going when it comes to weight loss and exercise. We will give it a shot and see what happens.