Over the past few months, I have started a journey for my mental and physical health. Now I have been working on my mental health for quite some time by seeing a psychiatrist and religiously taking my medications – of which I have a great many. But the fact is even though I am getting better, I clearly need to take steps on my own in combination with the medication to improve myself and make it so that I function at a higher level. And to hold myself accountable and track my own progress and mistakes, I have decided to blog about it. So here goes!
A “Brief” History
About 15 years ago I had a roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery. I have struggled all of my life with my weight, and after considerable research as well as joining groups and attending lectures at the hospital that I would have the procedure done I received my surgery. I knew it was not a miracle cure, and I would have to work at it. I ended up losing almost 200lbs! But since then I have gained most of it back. Which is odd, because I do not over eat. Sometimes I indulge, but I have a lot of stomach problems. I get sick a lot. So about a year ago I decided to find out what was going on and I saw a surgeon that does gastric bypass revisions. The first thing he did was an EGD – a scope down the throat. He found the cause of why I was sick, and even a reason for gaining back so much weight. I had a gastro-gastric fistula. That basically means that a connection had grown between my “pouch” stomach, and the larger stomach that was not supposed to be used since the roux-en-y. Long story short (too late?), I have spent the last year jumping through hoops and having to change surgeons for one reason or another.
I have seen 4 different surgeons since I started this process of finding out what was wrong with my digestive system. Reasons for changing surgeons range from one killing himself to insurance reasons. The latest one was supposed to be an expert, but he seems to have writing me off. Apparently my fistula is not “big enough” so he is not going to do anything about it, even though I suffer from all of the symptoms of having a gastro-gastric fistula. I have taken a mental break from seeing and speaking to surgeons for a few weeks. But this week I am going to call the surgeon I saw before him and see if he will be willing to repair this fistula. I am not asking for the bypass revision anymore, just to get the thing that is wrong with me fixed.
In addition to this stupid medical drama, I have had a dramatic increase in pain. My hips now give me serious pain. As in sometimes I wake up from sleep yelling because the pain is so bad. It also prevents me from sleeping a full night. So I add that to my knee, back and shoulder problems. And my chronic headaches. I do see a pain doctor, but he is basically worthless. He is a very nice man, but he does nothing for me. The last time I saw him he said it sounds like the cartilage is basically gone in my hips. So I am going back to the beginning and seeing my General Practitioner, Dr. Linton. I adore her. She is very thorough and a terrific advocate for her patients. I have an appointment with her next week, I know she will get me to an orthopedist to check out my hips – the pain doctor didn’t even order films on them even though he thinks they are in very bad condition.
So until I find out more from the bariatric surgeon and I go and see my doctor next week about this crazy pain, it is time for me to start working on me. About 2 months ago I stopped eating carbs. I am very proud of myself because I have really done it, I haven’t even had a “cheat day”. In that time I have lost 20 pounds, which isn’t bad for someone that is barely able to walk. I have been sticking to Atkins, but I believe that I will be moving to the Keto diet. It is more sustainable, and highly recommended for control of things like blood sugar. I am not diabetic, but I am on Metformin because I am insulin resistant.
Now of course I need to tackle the exercise portion of my journey. I spend most of my day in my chair at my desk. I own my own business, and it consumes my time. The pain I am always in also makes it difficult to get around. But the other day I started Tai Chi that is especially for people in my condition. I will also be starting DDP Yoga tomorrow. I think that the combination of these two will help me in some areas and it will certainly help the weight loss. I made the first step, I started the Tai Chi. I will be doing another Tai Chi session this evening, and yoga starts tomorrow. I also hope to start taking the dogs on a short walk this week. Walking becomes very painful, so I am going to do this in small distances and work my way up.
And finally that leaves me with the mental health portion of my journey. As I said earlier, I do see a psychiatrist regularly and I take my medications. I have mentioned in another section of my blog what my mental illnesses are, but you may not have read that. I have bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorder, PTSD, Agoraphobia, and panic/anxiety disorder. Unfortunately my Agoraphobia seems to be getting worse, and I am still experiencing panic attacks, dramatic mood swings, and what I have come to learn are auditory hallucinations. So now it is time to do some behavior modification on myself. Ideally I would be going to a psychologist for counseling, but if I am being honest with myself I know I would cancel the appointments. I very rarely leave the house. I have heard of tele-therapy though, and I will be looking into this. In the mean time I am doing some research and working on some things myself. I do believe the Tai Chi and probably the yoga too may help me to calm my mind somewhat. I am making myself leave the house at least once a week. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I am at the point where I don’t leave the house except for appointments. So once a week is a starting point. Sometimes I don’t even get out of the car, my husband will run into the store. But it is a start!
So I will be using this section of my blog to talk about my journey. Basically it will be my journal. My accomplishments, my setbacks, and just my thoughts in general. I apologize that this read more like an essay than a blog post. I just needed to set the stage for my journey. I welcome all comments and I will respond when necessary.