Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The truth hurts

About six months ago, I had my one-year checkup with my endocrinologist.  Even though all was well and there was no sign of the cancer returning, I was still suffering from the fatigue that had plagued me since the total thyroidectomy.  After going through some medical history and asking a million questions, the doctor finally came out and told me that she felt like the fatigue was caused by my weight.  She told me that there was no way I would feel better until under I had my weight under control.

Credit: quicklol.com

Ouch.  I sort of nodded dumbly at her, left the office, got in the elevator, and cried.  I mean, no one wants to hear comments about weight, no matter how true the comments may be.

What she said really stuck in my head.  I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I was hurt, partly because I thought she could have been kinder and partly because I knew she was right.  I needed to lose weight, but I was too exhausted to exercise: I couldn't exercise to lose the weight.  Vicious cycle, y'all.  But I started to realize that I couldn't use the fatigue as an excuse anymore.  I kicked thyroid cancer, so I had no reason not to kick fat, too.


It was difficult at first to carve out time to exercise.  No, it was difficult to convince myself that I needed that time, that I deserved that time.  I spend so much of my life doing for others, and I had forgotten how important I am in that equation.  If I'm exhausted or sick, I can't do what I love to do for my family.   If I'm out of commission, my family suffers as much as I do.  I didn't realize at the time that taking good care of myself also means taking care of my family.

I started slowly, using our membership at the YMCA.  I was horribly self-concious and worried that everyone was wondering when the fat woman was going to keel over.  Self-absorbed, yes?  No one at the Y was looking at me.  No one cared what I was doing as long as I wasn't hogging the machines.  I added some weight training and different types of cardio.  My stamina and endurance grew, and surprisingly, so did my determination.  I found myself looking forward to my exercise time, time for me to focus on me.  After years of eating whatever I wanted and being pretty sedentary, I lost some weight quickly, but it took longer than I would have liked to really see results.  I don't know how many times I wanted to give up because although the scale was moving, my clothing sizes were staying the same.  Luckily, I had and still have amazing people in my life to support me and calm my freak-outs.  And I wasn't going through it all alone: Trevor decided to join me in getting healthier for himself and for our family.   We have done everything together, and he inspires me as much as he supports me.

Fun at a White Sox game

I started really paying to attention to what I was eating and how much I was eating.  Boy howdy, I was putting a lot of food in my face and rarely paying attention to the serving sizes.  So out came the measuring cups, and everything I ate was measured out.  For the first few weeks, I was hungry.  And crabby.  I tried not to take it out on everyone around me, but I'm sure I had my moments.  Sorry about that!  :)  But like the exercise, the food slowly became more of a lifestyle change instead of a diet.  Eating healthier became easier, and I had fun researching new recipes to try.  Hunger stopped dominating my thoughts; food in general stopped being such a huge and important part of my life.  It was a weird feeling but a good one.

Last week, I returned to my endocrinologist for another 6 month check up.  I entered the office 74 pounds lighter than I had been before.  (Yes, I had that much weight to lose.  Take a moment to laugh and/or judge, then move on.)    I couldn't wait to see the look on my doctor's face when she realized what I had done since my previous appointment.  She wasn't as whipped up about it as I would have liked, but I have to admit that I loved telling her that I had done what she asked and I was still tired.  BOOYA!!!!!  In retrospect, I may have enjoyed it a little too much.  She didn't really have much advice about the fatigue, so I'm going to keep trying whatever I can.  The best news from that appointment, other than stepping on the scale, was that due to the weight loss, the doc decreased my thyroid medication.  The less medication, the better.

I'm not writing this blog to get atta-girls or anything like that.  As utterly cheesy as it sounds, I have been on a journey, and it isn't one that I have shared with too many people.   I'm proud not just of the weight loss but of the fact that I stuck with it and continue to stick with it.   I'm happy to remember that I matter and I deserve time to work out or read or get a pedicure.