Yes, I’ve been gone. I was hiding out in a fibro fog of pain and medication. I wasn’t even sure where I was some of the time.
It started Thursday. I had decided to have a final “binge” before I start changing my life around to get healthier. My intake appointment at the weight center was early Friday morning, so I decided to go in weighing as much as I could, I guess. I ran a couple of errands in the morning – picked up some poster board so I can make signs for the Friends of Pine Ridge drives for church. Also picked up several candy bars, including that new Mint 3 Musketeers bar. Then I went to the local market intent on picking up some Krispy Kreme donuts for dessert. I found out they don’t carry them any more. But they did have Boston Coffee Cake items – decided to try their new marble chocolate version.
I had one of the candy bars between the two stores because I was getting hungry. Big mistake. When I eat something like a candy bar when I’m truly hungry, it satisfies me fine initially. But my sugar spike causes a big insulin spike and no too long after I’m hungrier than I was before. And if I don’t eat again, I swing over to low blood sugar – I get that shaky, nauseous, light-headed, panicky feeling that makes me dive for something with enough pure sugar to put the blood sugar back up again. Thus begins a nasty circle. Thursday, I tried to be “good” and instead of heading for a few spoonfuls of brown sugar, I thought a few mini-bagels would be better for me. Wrong! They didn’t work fast enough and I ended up eating about 10 of them over the course of the afternoon.
When I made dinner, I decided not to include a starch/carbohydrate with the meal because of what I’d already had and the coffee cake to come. Dinner itself would pass any nutritionist’s muster: broiled salmon in a salt-free garlic-lime marinade and steamed fresh zucchini. Then of course, came the coffee cake. By evening I could feel that my sugar was way out of whack. I felt sleepy, groggy, fuzzy-headed and just plain “yucky.” Didn’t that binge teach me why I don’t want to do that anymore?!! All my Thursday plans got put off because of that indulgence.
Friday morning I had to rise early because I had an 8:15 AM intake appointment at the Weight Loss Center. We got there in plenty of time. Made our way directly to the center to check in because I had pre-registered by phone and had been told to do that. “Okay, we just need you little blue hospital card.” I don’t have a little blue card. I haven’t been to that medical center in over 10 years. So we had to go back to the registration area to get the little blue card, then get back to the weight center and present them with the little blue card. I knew why we needed it but was very frustrated by having to rush around at the last minute because we were given bad information.
Stress is bad for my fibromyalgia. In fact, it is probably the thing most likely to trigger a major flare-up. With the life-style changes I’ve made, I’ve managed to reduce stress quite a bit and that has improved the fibromyalgia in turn. I had (conveniently) forgotten that the sugar binges wreak havoc on my ability to cope with stress. So the result Friday morning was a woman in a sugar-binge weakened state of being who was being given stress before a stressful appointment. Not a very pretty picture!!
I finally got the forms completed and was called in by the nurse. She went over the form I had just completed with me. Then she took me out to the height and weight area – got the height first: 5’2″ as I already knew. Now onto the industrial-strength scale set into the floor. Weight: 242.5 lbs. Same as what my home scale said. It’s good to know my own scale is in sync with the center’s.
Back to the exam room: The nurse had me stand in front of the door (fully clothed) and took an instant photo of me. Then she measured my waist – I can’t tell you what it was because I told her I didn’t want to know. She didn’t tell me. She took my blood pressure – 128/88. I know that’s impossible. Two days before, at my primary care doctor’s office, it had been 160/90 — and that’s where it’s usually at it’s lowest. Top that off with all the stress of the morning and there’s no way it was 128/88. Unless sugar binges lower blood pressure – and I doubt that!
The doctor came in shortly after she left. He had been reviewing the records before he saw me – I like a person who’s prepared. He was very pleasant. The exam was rudimentary – heart, lungs, throat, abdomen. Then we talked. He asked plenty of questions to determine whether I would qualify to continue in the surgical program based on the likelihood of long term success. When I gave him answers, I got the feeling that he wasn’t happy with them. I spoke the truth and I spoke my experience. When he repeated what he was hearing it didn’t sound like what I was saying. I was getting a little worried. A little worry meant a lot of stress in my sugar-weakened state. By the time we left, I was feeling lousy, even though I did have appointments for the psych and nutrition intakes scheduled.
I had promised my husband a late breakfast/early lunch, depending on what time we got done at the weight center. In a final act of rebellion, I opted for the International House of Pancakes – not known for their slimming food. I did order an omelet with spinach and mushrooms along with bacon and a couple of their whole grain pancakes. I couldn’t even finish it all. Sad, but true.
When I got home, my husband went off to work and I went to bed. I was feeling exhausted from the stress and overeating. I dozed until 12:30. When I got up, I was sorry I was awake. My pain level had gone from 3 to 5 in that short time. I was still foggy. Since my son was going to work that evening, I only had to plan supper for my husband and myself, but I couldn’t focus. I ended up trying to play computer games because I couldn’t focus on anything else, even TV. The games didn’t work either. I kept getting up, feeling fidgety and restless. If you’ve ever seen that ad on TV for medication for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), they describe a creepy, crawly feeling in the legs that they illustrate in several ways: crawling insects, electrical charges, etc. RLS obviously is just in the legs and tends to get worse at night. I have the same feeling all over my body and it’s worse when the fibro flares up. Moving is the only thing that helps. So up and down, pace, sit, stretch, repeat over and over and over…
There was one bright spot in this otherwise nasty day. My Lakota friend called from Rapid City. My “godchild” would like to play volleyball at the middle school and they have fees for participating in sports, as many schools do now. Could I possibly help with the fee? I think sports are a good outlet for this girl and agreed to do that. I called the school to get the particulars and my husband will send out a check in the morning. I don’t trust myself to try to write a check right now. I was distressed to hear that her middle daughter was still in custody of the authorities. We didn’t talk long – I didn’t want to use up the precious cell phone minutes. But this call seemed to be God’s way of reaching through my pain and fog to help me remember what’s important.
My husband came home early, since it was his half day and he’d worked his required hours. Good thing. By the time he got home, I was on the verge of tears, unable to maintain control of my emotions very well. So he held me and I cried – for no particular reason, just because I had to. And he calmed me. I had had to laugh when I was talking to the doctor that morning and he asked me a couple of their standard questions, including “Have you ever felt unsafe at home?” Home is the place I feel completely safe. My husband has the ability to calm me in any storm, just by holding me.
Supper time came and there was nothing thawed. My husband knew that in the state I was in, high pain and low control, a cheese burger and fries would calm me. He was right. I took pain medicine and muscles relaxants with the food, put a Thermacare heat wrap on my neck and tried to relax after supper. At this point my pain level was still about 7 – when it gets like that, my eyes even bother me, which makes it difficult to watch TV or read. I couldn’t hope to try to write. Finally, after several hours, the medication started to kick in and I could feel the pain level dropping to between 4-5. Still not fun, but half what it had been. You have to look for the positive in life.
So what am I positive about at this moment on Saturday morning? I am positive I don’t need any more sugar binges. Fats, maybe, but not sugars. I am positive that stress is my enemy. I am positive that I have to lose weight for my health. My feet hurt too often and I can’t do even the things that fibromyalgia would allow me to do at this weight. I am positive that my husband is an angel sent to get me through the rest of this life safe. Life is already starting to return to normal (as are my blood sugar levels, I guess). Maybe I’ll go back to practicing a bit of meditation with a new mantra: I can say no . . . I can say no . . . I can say no . . .
I am positive I can do what needs to be done, with God and my husband at my side.