Waking Hours

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I woke up this morning to my teenager tapping me on the arm and wiggling me around. I had asked her to make sure I woke up to my alarm, as I tend to sleep through all 9 that I set. I have a hard time sleeping, but when I sleep, I sleep hard. It was 6:15am. I did NOT want to get up. Of course I moaned and groaned about it, slipping in and out of sleep, for another 30 minutes until I finally dragged my ass out of bed. Usually I get the girls dressed, get myself dressed, then do my hair and makeup with whatever time I had left. I decided that today I was too lazy to go up and down the stairs so much, so I would do hair and makeup first.

Once my eyes got used to the light, I stood in front of the mirror. Mascara smeared below my eyes from yesterday, and my hair all over the place. I washed my face, wiped all the left over makeup off that I was too lazy to address last night, and stared at myself again. “My hair is a wreck”, I thought. I had mildly wet/damp hair when I went to bed the night before, not even bothering to pull it up or deal with what it would be tomorrow. Standing there now I decided I should have rethought this. I could put my hair up in a ponytail or bun, but that would risk me getting a headache I always gets from pulling my crazy locks up. My natural hair has a lot of volume and a kind of beachy waves meets afro curls kind of thing going on. “Hair cream?”
I ran my fingers through the mess on top of my head, hanging upside down for good measure, like we have all seen women do, and rubbing in the hair cream as much as I could. Standing straight again I looked myself over. Still a mess. I no longer cared. Applying a small amount of powder to my skin, brown liner and powder to my eye lids, and a bit of mascara I threw on my glasses and headed downstairs.

There was my 7 year old, short blond bobbed hair a mess and no shoes or socks, playing MineCraft like always. I became the meanest mommy on the planet when I shut the game off without even addressing her defiance. The hair and shoes battle was mighty, but I won! On most levels. She didn’t speak to or look at me until I dropped her off in front of her school 20 minutes later. The littlest was so proud of herself for finding a purple dress that looks like a shirt and skirt, but is one piece before I had to ask her to do so. She is not allowed to wear dresses or skirts without anything underneath, and was EXTRA proud of the jean shorts she hid under the frills of the outfit. She paired it with black boots, and her adorable little curls. Her light brown skin dawned a bandaid on her leg, a few uncovered scratches, some random food on her cheek, and the typical bruising an extremely active (yet clumsy) 4 year old has. She looked like a perfect little bruised up doll!

Turning to find my own clothes in the pile of laundry sitting in a basket in my living room, I noticed some teenage angst stewing on a chair at the dining table. “I hate my fat butt!”, she told me. I couldn’t help but laugh, but I understand where she is coming from. From the time I was a young teenager I have been graced with a curvy body as well. People thinking I was 17, sometimes even 18, from the age 13 and up, I was deemed a full grown woman before I even knew how to handle that or my own body. She is no different. She complained in that awesome teenager tone about going up three pants sizes in one summer, though she has not gained that much weight. Sifting through the laundry for my own clothes for the day, I just shook my head because I know exactly how she feels, but I also know there is nothing that can be done about it.

I have been trying to complain less to people I know, though my pain levels and misery hasn’t really changed. I recently went to a new gastroenterologist who told me I have both IBS, as well as a section of my lower intestines that is damaged. I have developed both hemorrhoids and polyps on the inside of my gut which are the cause of the bleeds. HE gave me the choice to either go have the section of my intestines removed, which can cause risk of incontinence, or to do a non invasive scoping. The scoping will consist of them going in, finding an issue area and literally putting a tiny rubberband around the polyp. This will then cut off circulation and cause it to fall off. We will go in every three weeks and do this. There is slight risk for hemorrhaging, as well as infection, however it is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than if we did surgery. I obviously chose the banding procedure. So lovely.

On a positive note my leg is healing well, and I am out of the boot. I am now driving again (2 weeks!) and am in the brace. My Dr said that he doesn’t need to see me again for the break unless something else happens, or if the physical therapist thinks that I need to go back. The pain is still in my leg, and I have a funny limp now, but that might go away after time. We talked about both my right and my left leg, as I tore ligaments in both while only breaking the right. I still have stronger pains in the my ankles than I ever did before the accident, and he said that after damage like this, I can expect to have stronger pains for about 18-24 months. Sometimes the pain sticks around. It is impossible to tell. I am, however, free to return to the cycling and elliptical exercise if I wish. I can swim, walk, etc without the brace, if comfortable. I just need to cry not to trip over my own damn feet and cause another accident. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

As I sit down at my desk, I am reminded of the shoulder pain that has not gone away, and the new shoulder pain on the left side of my body. I don’t want to go see another orthopedic surgeon about my issues with my shoulders, as now I have had my ankles, knees, hands, elbows, guts, spine, neck, and shoulders addressed. The major ones causing me to see a specialist and rack up even more past due medical bills. I am just not excited to do either. I figure I will give it time to see if it resolves, and if in a few months they are STILL this bad, I will go in to see my Rheumatologist specifically. At least he will be educated enough on my body to send me to someone legit, like he did with my gastro. I hated my last gastro! Reaching for the mouse hurts. Typing hurts. Moving my arm around back and forth from the mouse to the keyboard hurts. What is new about pain, right? New pain doesn’t always equate to new symptoms, however.

I keep thinking about chronic illness as a whole. When you have a chronic illness you really have to monitor your body, food, activities, and life. It is much harder to “be up for anything” because anything could literally knock me on my ass and cause me to be bedridden for a month! I have been very good about my activity limitations, and though I want to get out there more, I keep coming up with excuses. Yes, they may be legitimate reasons, but they feel like excuses.

My leg is broken.

I am flaring.

I am too tired.

I want to use my energy for something else.

The kids will wear me out.

I can’t afford it right now.

I can’t risk getting hurt.

All of these are legitimate, but all of these can be applied to ANY situation I want to get out of. Yes, I need to be careful, but I feel like my careful has become “hermit-full” and is no longer me just trying to keep my body together. I woke up this morning, and made choices on how I was going to begin my day. I actually feel pretty decent, minus the shoulder pains. I can walk; I have a limp, but I can walk! I can drive! I can move, and get around. I can still laugh and smile! I can still be just as fun. I am still me inside, I swear it! I just need to stop making excuses.

I truly have to find some extra motivation every day. Motivation to get up, dressed, makeup, hair, etc. Sometimes my day ends up like today. Messy hair, half assed makeup, and simple jeans/plain t-shirt/tennis shoes combo. Other days can end up with a bun, others I can go to work looking like I just came from the salon. But I know my body more than I used to, and each day I can motivate myself to do what is within my limits. I choose what those limits are used for. The dishes can wait. The laundry can sit in the livingroom. The bathrooms can get wiped down tomorrow. Today I am going swimming with my kids.

I woke up today, which is more than I can say for so many who suffer from medical ailments. What are you going to do with your waking hours?

You’re Not Preferred..

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So here I sit. It is past 2am, I am in desperate need for a shower, and my mind is racing a million miles per hour.

My leg is almost healed, and though I am supposed to be going to physical therapy twice a week, I have yet to do so. I want to get my car back down to me (it is getting registered by my lovely mom right now since I work the hours to get it done) and then make the appointments. My ankle is still achy, and feels tight. My toes are half numb all the time, but apparently that is normal with this kind of break. Could take years to get the feeling back, if ever. I am still wearing my boot to work, but wear an athletic brace at home. I am still very inactive, and because of this I have gotten even FATTER! I am not really concerned about how I look right now, as I am more worried about getting my health back on track. I eat decently healthy most of the time, but am VERY inactive due to the illnesses/flares I have endured lately as well as the broken leg. I haven’t been this fat in over 10 years. SO strange to have my clothes not fit me again. To be the fat one waddling around the office. I am not really self conscious, because once again, I am more worried about other things. The time will come when I can be more active, and my useless piled on weight will start to fall off again. Now is not that time.. but I have been thinking a bit..

When I was thinner, just about 18 months ago, I actually looked pretty good. I was larger than I wanted by about 20 lbs, but I looked great for having 4 kids. I was then, as I am now, pretty confident in myself. There was only one problem: Him. Jeff. I remember feeling so good about myself, and often times very sexy. I would walk the halls at work, and know I was attractive. I would go home, let my hair down, wash my face and STILL feel so beautiful and attractive. Then the conversation would come up, and I would be reminded that he wanted me thinner. man-checking-out-other-woman He was interested in thinner women. I was LARGER than he preferred, “but he loved me anyway”. I have never understood the ‘love you anyway’ concept in a relationship. If you love someone, you love them how they are. You do not prefer a better version of them. Especially a version you have never seen, or maybe they have never been!! Knowing your sexual and emotional partner prefers someone who is smaller than you are, especially when going through health issues (I was two years into my dilemma) is incredibly hurtful. I remember standing in front of the mirror, tears streaming down my face, as I poked at the soft spots I knew he was referring to. I had given birth to, and fed 4 babies with my body. I was going through the worst pain and misery I had in my entire life with my health, and I wasn’t good enough in his eyes.

“I prefer…” – This can be such a crushing moment for anyone. Male or female. A woman tells a man she prefers men who are hairless; to her wolf like mate. “I prefer hairless men… but I love you anyway.” – This stands that there is STILL a preference, a BETTER version, if you will, of the person standing before them. “I prefer women with larger breasts… but I love you anyway.” – Here stands a crushed woman, knowing that he would much prefer her body be so different, instead of cherishing and loving every inch. We all have “preferences” of the kind of mate we go after, but if you are pursuing a person who does not fit your most wanted qualities, what are you doing? Now, that is not always the case. Sometimes someone is not your type, and yet you fall madly for them for the wonderful person they are. What then? Do you inform them of your preferences and let them know you “love them” despite them being somewhat unattractive to you? I know it is such a fine line to cross, but it is one that in a relationship you do not want to barge through. It has been over 15 months since we split, and here I am, still wounded knowing a man I was with did not accept my body as it was. Nor did the man before him post baby. I can’t help but to wonder what kind of men I get myself involved with that would be so unaccepting and unloving of such a beautiful thing as a mother’s body.

So here I sit, 2:30am on a Monday morning. I need to be up for work in 6 hours, and I still haven’t showered. Thinking on what my body means to me and to others. I look at my swollen belly, my oversized arms, and my “thunder thighs” and can’t help but to think what a mess they would think me to be. How judged I would be by those who I have shared my bed with. How they would likely scowl and make jokes of my current health problems.

art-SHE-fat-20130606193605324870-620x349 “She’s gotten so fat!”

“Wow! I really dodged a bullet there!”

“Ew! Look at that! Good thing I am not with her anymore! DAMN!”

“No wonder she is still single! GROSS!”

Once again, looking over my body, I can’t help to see what I am. A tough girl. A very, very tough woman. I am what I am right now, and I accept what I am. I prefer to look over myself and think:

“I live through this pain every day. My body carries a heavy weight right now, both physically and emotionally. My body is strong in all it’s weakness. I am amazing. I am beautiful. Each and every inch of me is perfect just as I am right now. One day at a time.”

I don’t look in the mirror and see my fat. The rolls on me even seem foreign and strange to me some days. What I see is beautiful me. I see a strong woman who is fighting with all that she has for herself, and her family. For her health and her love. Getting my life as collected as possible, all while fighting a painful and hard battle. I do not see someone who needs to change. I see what I am today made by my decisions thus far. I do not see someone who is unattractive and unwanted. I see a beautiful, strong woman who can take anything that is thrown her way! Anything that tries to knock her down is thwarted, and she rises. The pounds on the scale do not bother me like they did when I was with him. I weighed myself multiple times a week when we were together. I measured, sucked in, cried… sobbed even… and felt awful about myself almost daily. I was “not enough” – “not preferred” but tolerated. Waiting for me to change into the women he thought I should be, while I accepted him (Not gracefully, I must admit. I suck at relationships) just as he was. There was no “preferred” him I wanted. There was just… him. As much as he thought otherwise, I assume from his want for me to be different, I loved him as he was. Every inch, pound, hair, and big nose on him. Perhaps that is why his words of hurt have lingered for so long… but perhaps it is part of why I am what I am today. Why I can look in the mirror now and say, “Fuck that dude. You are awesome!” – And poke myself in my jiggly belly, because I know that tomorrow is another day, and everything about me today is perfect. Every flaw. Every stretch mark. Every little imperfection anyone else would see. I am me, and I am awesome.