Friday, August 30, 2013

2 weeks to go!

So today marks the point where I have two weeks until my surgery. The past couple of days I have felt like total poop. I've been running a fever and feeling nauseous and just not wanting to do much of anything. I only want to eat foods that are cold because when I eat hot foods it feels like it raises my temp by like 100 degrees. Granted, it's been fairly warm outside lately, but that is not the reason for my discomfort. The reason is of course "Ted". If I didn't know better I would swear I was pregnant. I'm having symptoms of pregnancy and it's really weird. Some of the side effects of having an ovarian mass is that your body might go into a "false" pregnancy state and you will begin to have symptoms of pregnancy. True story indeed. I have to potty all the time, I'm having food cravings (mostly sushi), I sleep odd hours and I feel like I'm hotter than the sun on the inside. (And no I'm not talking about my sparkling good looks either). It's making me feel very blah about this whole situation. I cannot wait until this is all done and over with because it sucks having symptoms with nothing to show for your suffering.

I have also decided that until after my surgery I am not going to pursue exercise. When I do I feel horrid the next day and can barely move. It's just not worth the discomfort for an few calories burnt. Plus with all the inflammation and bloating I'm not currently losing weight as it is (I've gained two pounds). I know it's a process and I'm trying really hard to wait it out and just roll with the schedule but I have a feeling this is going to be the longest two weeks of my life. Lord I hope I start feeling better soon because I don't like the idea of spending two weeks in bed.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I shouldn't have done that

So I finally broke down yesterday and got onto the scale. I really shouldn't have done that. I have gained two pounds back. I know that doesn't sound like anything to freak out over but I'm back up to 180 pounds and it took me like three months to take those two pounds off in the first place. That did not make my day at all.

I did some online research into what the side effects to having an ovarian cyst are and I wasn't surprised by the answers. Most of the symptoms I've had at one time or another with some of them being an everyday thing. I was relieved to see that weight gain and expanding girth around the midsection were quite common for woman suffering from this condition. So all this extra weight and bloat (caused from inflammation) that I am carrying around is because of "Ted" (my mass). I am seriously hoping that once this mass is removed and my hormones and system even back out I'll be able to start losing weight and being able to get healthy again without any further delays. Two weeks and two days until surgery day and I'm counting down and wishing it would just get here so it could be done with.

I have been really down and out about this extra weight on my belly lately. I seriously look pregnant. I know I haven't eaten gluten or dairy recently so I have no allergens to blame this time. It's frustrating that a mass that is only 4.3 centimeters in diameter and probably only weighs a few grams can be causing this many crazy side effects. The funny thing is I can still fit into my size 14 pair of jeans and they are a little snug, so once I drop the inflammation weight I'm probably going to need to go buy new jeans in a size 12 possibly. My size 16's are all way to large for me and I constantly feel like my pants are falling down. I guess that's not a bad thing at all.

Moving onto better news, I have a job interview on Thursday. With all the upcoming medical expenses and my son being in band for the first time this year, we are going to need every bit of extra income I can make. I applied at the local Kroger grocery store to work in the Starbucks inside the store. I have worked at a coffee shop before so this will be nothing new to me. I can no longer consume the drinks at Starbucks, so I won't be sabotaging my diet with those added calories daily. I'm hoping for part time work, but if all they have to offer me is something full time well then I'll take it and make it work. I usually have a hard time finding a balance between working a full time job and managing to get things done at home daily but this is something that needs to happen if I want to keep us out of debt and make sure that my son is able to be in band. I remember how expensive band is and I know now as a parent that it is an investment and I'm more than willing to make whatever sacrifices that I need to make in order for him to be part of something that will change his life and celebrate his love for music.

So basically on this hump day I am feeling fat and wishing we had more money. Gee, I sound like I'm whining again don't I? Everything will work out in due time, I just have to be patient. (Not something that I'm very good at).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fatigue, too tired to be angry

Recently one of the major side effects of mine and "Ted's" relationship is that I am tired all the time. It's very frustrating when I think about how just a few short weeks ago I was so active and had so much energy but that over the course of "Ted" getting bigger I am getting exhausted. I am still trying to figure out how to deal with this because I'm not sure what to do. Pushing myself past my limits and forcing myself into activity just doesn't work, I found this out yesterday.

My hubby, my son and I decided that since the rain had given us a break yesterday that we were going to take advantage of the weather and go outside. There are plenty of parks in our area that we haven't explored yet so we decided to go on a nature day. We went to the first park that we chose and it really wasn't as great as we had hoped so we spent a short amount of time there letting my son play on the playground but ultimately we left for another park. We went to Historic 4th Ward Park in downtown Atlanta. It seemed interesting and it too had a playground for my son to play on and climb and get out some of his pent up energy. We stayed there most of the afternoon. He played on the playground and splash pad (kids and water always good time). While he was playing the hubby and I decided to try to do some walking around the sidewalk that encircled the play areas. It was hot out so I didn't want to go too fast so I set out at a pace that felt comfortable to me, turned on my Endomondo app to track my progress and off we went. It took me 28 minutes to walk a mile! That's almost double my normal walk speed. I really felt like I was jamming, like I was going pretty quickly, I was even sweating like I had done some extreme cardio. 28 minutes? I was crushed. Even when I first started walking in March I was doing a 23 minute mile and that was around 10 pounds ago. After that mile I was exhausted and had to sit down. I drank some water and shortly after I had some lunch (I packed up a picnic for us). That made me feel slightly better but I still didn't feel well. I just wanted a nap, I felt the need to sleep.

I'm not sure why "Ted's" symbiotic relationship with me would cause fatigue. I mean he's not living in a system of my body that I would think would impact my daily life. Sure the reproductive system is important but it's not like he lives on my heart, or lungs, or liver etc. He resides on my ovary and I didn't realize just how prime that property was for making me feel like doo doo for doing barely anything. Today I tried to get some housework done and I made a grocery run to the market. After I had some lunch I went in to watch some television. I finished what was in my queue of shows to watch and I started reading. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep and took a two hour nap. I didn't really feel that what I did today constituted napping, I mean seriously it wasn't like I was out doing manual labor in the yard or anything. I am just so confused as to where all this exhaustion is coming from.

When I get tired like this it's not like I can choose to not acknowledge it or do something about it either. I don't believe it's from depression (even though I have been down more often lately than not). I don't feel like I'm sleeping to escape something or because I'm bored or because I feel bad about myself. I am sleeping because I don't have the energy not to. I could see if I was undergoing some sort of treatment why I would be tired, subjecting my body to such harsh realities. However I am not subjecting my body to anything harsh, or intrusive. I am taking my vitamins and supplements like I need to be. I'm eating right and drinking my fluids. There is no logical reason for me to have the energy of an elderly woman. I'm stymied about it. I have no answers. So for now, I will treat it as I can and hope that after "Ted" is evicted and out of my life for good that I get back to feeling like me again and not some sort of broken down version of me.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Reality

I've tried to take some time this week so I can reflect on my reality and realize that there are going to be changes and there are some facts that I need to accept. Three weeks from today I will be at the hospital being prepped for surgery. "Ted" (the mass) will be removed and the healing process will begin. However the world does not stop simply because I'm having to have surgery. There is still housework to be done, grocery shopping to do, my son has homework to work on nightly, all the joys that come with being a stay at home mother and wife. I've been keeping myself busy with as much as I can but the countdown has begun for me, three more weeks.

In the past month or so I have not been exercising as much as I used to. Due to complications that "Ted" is throwing at me like back pain, phantom leg pain and side stitches when I walk too fast. I usually only walk maybe once or twice a week and some weeks I don't go at all. Plus the weather here in Georgia has been rainy and not something that I would want to work out in to begin with. As I was laying in bed last night I noticed that I seem to be carrying some extra weight in my middle again. I felt my mood drop when I saw it. At this point I don't know if it's bloating from "Ted" or inflammation, did I accidentally consume dairy or gluten recently? I honestly can't give a definite answer to that one. It's frustrating because I was getting so thin and when I laid down my stomach was flat, I know that doesn't mean much to most people but to anyone who's ever been overweight that is a huge accomplishment. I'm afraid to get on the scale because if it reads more than 178 I know that I will beat myself up over it and that I will be depressed and freak out because I'm "getting fat again". As much as I try not to be number obsessed, it's hard. It's hard because from the time we are young girls that number defines everything. It defines our appearance and self worth even though we consciously know that it shouldn't. Sometimes, I really hate being a girl. If a man has some extra weight it's not near as bad for him socially, unless we are talking extreme obesity. However let a woman get a little in the middle and she's criticized for every extra ounce. I've heard the whispers, I've been asked when I was "due", I've seen girls look at me when I walk into stores and snicker because I'm bigger and shouldn't shop there according to them. The thing that hurts me is I wasn't always this way. I used to be thin, weight was never an issue for me growing up in fact it was hard for me to put weight on because I was so active. I stayed thin through my early 20's but then once I had my son, my body changed and I didn't listen to what it needed me to do in order to keep it healthy. I began to comfort myself with food because I couldn't deal with what was going on in my life and the fact that I was extremely unhappy for a long time. Now that I'm working on changing all that, I find that it's so much harder to correct 11 years of bad habits.

Recently I was chatting with a friend who over the course of a couple of years has lost a significant amount of weight. They were talking about wanting to eat like a fat kid and just not worry about what they were consuming. I mentioned that I understood that sentiment. Then they commented that with my allergies to certain foods it made it easy for me because I couldn't eat those things. Logically yes, that is true, but trust me there is nothing easy about having to eliminate whole food groups out of your diet. If you haven't noticed dairy and gluten seem to be in everything these days (well everything packaged that is). Just because I can't eat those food types doesn't mean that I don't crave foods from those groups constantly. It's one thing to crave something and be able to "cheat" and eat it anyways. I crave something and I literally cannot eat it and will never be able to eat it again because my body can't handle digestion of it. How do you get over that? They say eventually you get over it and your body no longer craves those food types. I'm still waiting for that miracle to happen. I still crave fresh baked bread, I crave Hawaiian rolls, I crave flour tortillas so I can eat a real burrito, I crave chocolate, I crave cheese. The chocolate and cheese I have found dairy free substitutes for but still when you walk by the cheese department in the store and can smell all those wonderful aromas, it's hard not to want it. I can no longer just grab something off the shelf and buy it or eat it, I have to really look at the label to make sure it doesn't have gluten or dairy and now I'm trying to eliminate high fructose corn syrup too so I try to watch it as well. So many changes that I've had to go through this year and it seems like my journey for change isn't quite over yet.

Talking things over with my doctor and my husband we have come to the decision that I will not be having any more children. There is too much risk involved and with my age as a determining factor now too, I don't want to run the risk of complications. That really bothers me. I was blessed with having one child already after being told by three different doctors that I would never be able to conceive a child let alone carry one full term. Well I did and now I have a sassy eleven year old to show for it. I am so glad that I was able to experience that at least once because I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could. I really wanted to have another child though. When I was younger I wanted four kids, as time went on and after having my son, I narrowed that down to wanting just two kids. Now I'm having to be happy with just one. There is always going to be that longing for another child with me, the "what might have been" feelings. I know that there are options out there for us (adoption) that would allow me to have another child and I'm thinking about that maybe in the next couple of years or so. However it won't be the same as having another child that I carried, that has mine and my husband's DNA, that is something I created. It's a principle thing for me and I know that my hubby's family would love for us to have a child together so they could have another grand baby to love. Coming to terms with this is hard for me, I get a point where I think I have accepted it and then I get emotional and the sadness creeps back in. It's a day to day process and all I can do is move forward and try not to feel sorry for myself.

I'm looking forward to this surgery being done and my recovery process to be over so I can get back onto my fitness bandwagon. I'm seriously worried about my weight and I would love to be able to start working out regularly again without fatigue, pains or bad moods to keep me down. I don't have far to go on my weight loss journey so I'm anxious to get to my goal weight and celebrate that I did this on my own. It's something that I've been looking forward too for a number of years now and I'm close but I still have that last little bit to go. At least my goal weight is in sight now and it's not just a dream to me anymore. When you are over 200 pounds at 5 foot 6, it's a dream to think of being anything but heavy. Now I'm in the 100's and I'm looking at it like "Hey I might actually be able to do this thing!" So once I'm healed and the doctor gives me the green light I want to start power walking and building myself back up so I can start jogging again. I might also try to do some of the workout dvd's that I have over the winter if the weather here doesn't permit me to take my workouts outdoors.

One day at a time. Trying to get things organized so that my household is in an orderly fashion before my surgery. I don't want my husband to have to do everything for those couple of days that I'm in bed and drugged up. Trying to get myself mentally to a good place of acceptance and understanding so I don't go into this surgery with regret and sadness in my heart. It's a tall order to have completed in three weeks time, but I'm going to do my best to get there and start back on the road to healthy. This was just a minor setback, I'm ready to move forward. My goal, I will be able to wear a bikini by next summer!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Surgery, I'm not sure how I feel about that...

Now that I finally have some definite answers to things I guess it's time that I address the issue at hand. I have to have surgery and I'm not sure how I feel about it. August has just not been my month and it doesn't look like things are going to be getting any easier for me any time soon. Let me start at the beginning...

When we moved to Georgia in February I sought out an OBGYN. I found one relatively close by and I made an appointment to have my yearly check and to talk about birth control options for me other than the pill (which I kept forgetting to take). She is a wonderful woman and I decided to get a Mirena IUD (I've had one before and I liked it). Well at the post insertion check they do an ultrasound to make sure that the IUD is in place correctly and that everything looks ok with it. When they did my ultrasound in May they discovered that I had a small mass on my ovary. The doctor wasn't concerned right away and she scheduled me for a follow up appointment in August to check the mass again. Well I had that appointment this week and the mass has gotten bigger (double in size) and it's darkened up so it's almost completely solid now. Knowing that every woman from my mom's side of the family has died of cancer I wasn't taking any chances and I asked if I could have it removed. The doctor agreed that this was the best choice of action because if it's growing it definitely doesn't need to be in there. I made the arrangements to have my surgery done on September 13th and all of my pre-op paperwork is scheduled for September 10th. This was the first available date that she had to perform the surgery. She is hoping to be able to do it laparoscopically and not have to make an actual incision in my bikini area. However if she goes in laparoscopically and the mass is complex and cannot be removed easily she will have to back out and make the larger incision to guarantee removal. There is also a chance that my ovary will have to come out as well if the mass is attached to it and cannot be separated. I told her to do what she has to do in order to remove this from me period.

You know it's funny I'm sitting in her office on Friday afternoon and at first I felt like someone awaiting their sentencing for prison. The cold grey examine room was full of dread and uncomfortable feelings for me that day. I knew what was coming, I knew that surgery was the only option I was going to allow her to give to me, yet I felt like I was in someone else's life for that brief period of time. As we discussed things and I talked with the scheduling nurse I was calm and very matter of fact about it all. After I left the office I had errands to run and I managed those without even shedding a tear. Then I got home and fell apart.

I've never had a major surgery, I've never had to be cut open for anything. If this can all be done laparoscopically then the recovery time from it will only be about a week she said as long as I give myself a few days afterwards to just rest and recoup. The recovery period if she has to make a larger incision will be a little longer but not much. My doctor will then have to monitor me to make sure that more cysts/masses do not appear over the next few months. She is also planning on testing the mass for cancer once it has been removed.

I can spit out the medical terminology and sound very intelligent when I talk about things like this. However when I think about how I'm truly feeling inside, that's when I have a issue. I'm terrified. I try to make jokes like calling it "Ted the tumor" or try not to think about it at all. I'm submerging myself into whatever I can to pass the time and not allow myself to seriously think about it. However, in the long run that is not going to help me at all and I know that is simple avoidance behavior. I don't want to be another family statistic. I don't want to have the doctor say well, you have ovarian cancer so now we need to talk about treatment. I'm seriously hoping it's just a freak accident that I got this crazy mass and that the C word isn't involved with it at all. Women in my family don't survive having cancer and the possibility that this might be the beginning stages of it do not sit well with me at all.

Yes, this is causing me physical pain. All the problems I've been having with my back are more than likely related to this mass. My horrible mood swings and extreme depression is probably also related to this as well as my fatigue, digestive issues and bloating. Who would have thought that a small mass would cause some many problems? I am very stressed out at this point because this could not have happened at a worse time. Finances are tight already with my son's medication being over $600 every three months. With me not having been working since we moved I'm not bringing in any income to throw towards my surgery. My husband is feeling like he doesn't make enough money to take care of me now and that's not true at all. This wasn't something we could have planned for or even knew was coming. So now we have to find ways to make all the finances work in order to have the surgery done when it needs to be done because I don't want to have to postpone it and allow "Ted" to get bigger and become more complicated. I've got so much going through my head, I don't feel good, I'm tired, I'm scared and this all just totally sucks!

The only thing positive that has come of this is even though I haven't been able to exercise regularly for many weeks now, I'm not gaining any weight. I've been able to maintain my current weight with just my diet and the little bits of walking and exercise that I can manage. Hopefully after the surgery and recovery I will be able to get back on track and start losing weight again. I don't have far to go maybe only around 30lbs or so. I'm trying to stay positive but there are some days when I just want to give in the the pity party and feel crappy because this situation wouldn't really fill anyone with a motivational happy light. I will eventually need to accept it for what it is and work through it, which I'm working on currently, but with no one to talk to that understands or has been there done that, it feels very much like I'm just whining and I need to get over it.