Thursday, December 29, 2005

more on IBS

Okay, I'm researching irritable bowel syndrome since that kind lady who wrote to me suggested that I might have it.
According to aboutibs.org , These are the symptoms:

At least 12 weeks or more, which need not be consecutive, in the preceding 12 months of abdominal discomfort or pain that is accompanied by at least two of the following features:
1) It is relieved with defecation, and/or
2) Onset is associated with a change in frequency of stool, and/or
3) Onset is associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.

Other symptoms that are not essential but support the diagnosis of IBS:

  • Abnormal stool frequency (greater than 3 bowel movements/day or less than 3 bowel movements/week);
  • Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool);
  • Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation);
  • Passage of mucus;
  • Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension.
Okay. I RARELY have pain. When I do, it's this terrible gas pain that comes at night, and it's so bad I think I'm going to die. I feel like if I just gave a GIANT FART it would be gone, but I can't fart or poop, it's like I'm blocked (or simply don't really need to go!). When I do finally manage to go a little, the pain starts to go away. And it's very infrequent--I think maybe 3x in the last year.
Form/consistancy of stool. God, this is gross to talk about. Mine is usually very soft and sometimes looks like brownie mix, sometimes like chocolate soft-serve ice cream. The brownie-mix kind is very stinky and tends be so volumious that it is out of the water of the toilet. Those take 2-3 flushes and usually require a toilet cleaning afterward. The other kind is lots of small floaty pieces drenched in a lovely sauce of bright yellow bile. That is the more urgent kind, and the kind that I describe as "sick" when I am keeping a poop log. It definately happens after I eat fried food.
Frequency: more often than I eat. I usually go around 4x a day, sometimes more. Once or even twice before I go to work. After lunch. When I get home. And sometimes again before bed. In a given day, it seems like a lot more comes out my butt then went into my mouth. Plus I pee whenver I poop, plus about four times extra which is just pee.
I never feel like all the poop didn't come out, and the only time I strain is when I'm trying to force a poop and don't need to when I have the gas.

Okay, they go on to say:
Upper GI symptoms are commonly reported by IBS patients with 25% to 50% of patients reporting heartburn, early feeling of fullness (satiety), nausea, abdominal fullness, and bloating. Many patients also report intermittent upper abdominal discomfort or pain (dyspepsia). Feelings of urgency, and a feeling of "incomplete" emptying may also be experienced.

I do have heartburn, but I thought that was from my haital hernia. I am sometimes nauseaous; constant readers may remember my vomiting problems Fall 2004. I have no clue what "dyspepsia" means--sounds like a word for a made-up pain. My bile-y poops tend to be urgent, but the chocolate-like ones are just normal "I gotta go" feelings.

So after all that, what do you think? It's iffy, huh. Do I want to have it? Would surgery cure it or make it worse? I'd think slicing and dicing an already-unhappy bunch of intestines wouldn't improve the situation. More research needed on that...okay, after a few minutes of searching I can't really find anything. We'll leave that up in the air for now.

new therapist

I haven't been to see my old therapist since September. I started working out on Mondays and it didn't fit for me to see her and then work out later because I'd get kicked out of the pool due to a class starting at 2:45. And once I've worked out, I want to go home and shower, not drive back to another town for therapy. And she wasn't able to see me on the other afternoon I had free. Which I no longer have free anyway since my work scheduled changed a few weeks ago.
So she reccommended someone to me. I called her, and she couldn't see me according to my schedule either, so that woman foisted me off on yet another therapist, who can see me at the ungodly time of 6:00 on Thursdays.
She's a very nice woman. However, my husband's company is changing insurance on the 1st so I might not be able to see her again. So I don't want to go into our first visit too much. We talked about my fat, basically, because that's what I wanted to talk about. I told her about this blog (not the URL) and she said it was a good thing. She asked if I'd ever done a radio show (I did used to work at a radio station but I wasn't a DJ) or thought about it.

another booth I fit in

I went to another restaurant tonight where I'd previously not fitted into a booth, was escorted to a booth...and fit. It wasn't COMFORTABLE (I like to lean forward to keep food from my boobs, and I couldn't lean forward) but I wasn't SCRUNCHED. At all. If my stomach was touching the table, my back wasn't touching the bench.
Wow.
I know it's a stupid fucking thing to be proud of.
But when I had last sat in a booth at this very place, I couldn't even breathe I was so crammed in there. It was uncomfortable to the point of being painful.
Yet I've only lost 10# on the scale.
Scale is fucked up.
Or I've gained a shitload of muscle.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

people saying nice things about me

I went to the gym tonight after a week off (I was busy on Friday and Monday they were closed). Always so hard to get back into it after an absence. Plus I was really busy at work and left a half hour after I meant to. I thought I was going to get stuck working out during swimming lessons but apparently they're over for a while. YAY.
When I got out of the pool I was the only one there. Three of the therapists were bodyguarding me. (Hey, I have a GREAT body.) I stopped on my way out to talk to them, and lament how in spite of my insane workout 3x a week I've only lost ten pounds since September.
I was astonished to find out that they have been watching me and gauging my progress. One of the therapists swears I am much more than 10 lbs thinner. She said my arms are different, and my bathing suits all fit me totally differently. I know I have built muscle along the outside of my hip & thigh because I feel sleeker there. I feel good about it as long as I don't LOOK at myself. Looking ruins everything. I feel strong and slim, all the things I do affirmations about (I am sleek and strong). But the looking tells me I am pudding on the outside.
My husband's company is changing insurance companies next week. I don't know if that bodes good or bad for my surgery. I am also going to a new therapist tomorrow. My old therapist can't see me anymore since my work schedule changed & I started working out so much, so she reccomended me to someone else, who also can't see me, and who passed me down the line. This person didn't even ask what I wanted therapy for. It's just one appointment for now. I don't know why I need therapy. I guess I'm in denial about something.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I guess Iost some weight

I decided to just weigh myself this morning. My scale sucks. It only goes up to 300, and there's no way to re-center it to 0. So it shows about 5 lbs even when no one's on it. So near as I can tell, I weigh about 350. I was hoping for less. Seems like no matter I do I hover around 360. :( But I AM THINNER. I must have done that muscle thing. You all know that muscle weighs more than fat, and also burns more calories. I can feel the difference in my legs, especially the outside of my thighs and the outside of my hips.
Here I am, telling the world what I weigh anonymously-how funny is that? My own husband doesn't even know what I weigh. He thinks I weigh 300. He wants me to tell him but I saw his face when he "figured out" from something I said that I weighed 300#--he wasn't happy. He weighs around 230 and he knows I'm fatter than him.

here's the picture of Cathi Lee

more on the 330 lb weight loss

source
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Here's the skinny

WATERVILLE -- Three years ago, at 500 pounds, Cathi Lee could not wash dishes standing up. She couldn't vacuum the floor without sitting down.

She couldn't go the movie theater because she could not fit in the seats.

Flying in an airplane? Out of the question.

"I couldn't walk across the room without being in pain," she said. "I was dying a slow death. I knew that in the back of my mind, I was in a very unhappy place."

Three years later and 330 pounds lighter, Lee, 47, is a new person. She went from a size 38 to 12 petite and, for the first time, can walk into a store and buy clothes rather than having to special-order them.

Lee literally lost three-quarters of her weight, not by gastric bypass surgery, pills or crash-dieting. She didn't even do it under the direction of a doctor or nutritionist.

"I went online; I went to libraries. I contacted organizations and told them to send everything they had about weight loss," she said. "I started seven months of research. I called trainers. I got tons of material on weight-loss programs and on working out and then spent five months going over this stuff, creating a plan I could live with."

For the first year, she weaned herself off foods such as pastries, potato chips, cheese and crackers. She did not exercise for the first year because she physically was unable to do so, she said.

"I lost 90 pounds the first year and no one noticed," she said.

Last year, she started walking a quarter of a mile a day and using hand weights. It was an uphill battle, but she persevered.

"When I was walking early in the morning, some kids in a car threw a bottle at me. People were not very kind. I felt frightened."

One day, as she was placing flowers at her grandfather's grave, she suddenly realized how quiet the cemetery was.

"I just stood up and it popped into my head that I could walk there," she said.

She walked -- a lot. Then she joined Gilly's Gym in October, 2004. She goes there every day at 4:30 a.m. and stays until 7 a.m. The people there are very supportive, she said.

She also walks regularly with her friend and staunchest supporter, Stacy Jochem, who happens to work on the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, Health and Wellness.

"Her whole life is different," Jochem said Monday. "She can do things she could never do before. She is a clothes shopping fanatic! She was hiding for 20 years. Her brother was her employer. She didn't have to worry about anyone judging her."

Lee worked 20 years in her brother's insurance business until it downsized.

Four months ago, she started working at Colby College as an administrative secretary in the office of alumni relations.

Jochem said that since her weight loss, Lee is much more confident.

"She likes herself and I think she has increased her self-worth. She values herself."

In October, Jochem and Lee walked 26.2 miles in a marathon on Mount Desert Island. People magazine interviewed Lee in October -- and last week, a photographer shot pictures of her for the article, to appear in the Dec. 30 edition.

She has gone from a lonely woman whose best friend was her television to an outgoing person who laughs easily and has an infectious smile. People who knew her before the weight loss walk right past her on the street because they don't recognize her, she said.

When they do -- and usually it is only after they hear her speak -- they are stunned.

"I have stopped people dead in their tracks," she said. "They just don't believe it. The best response I've gotten is, 'What the hell happened to you?' or 'I heard you have cancer and that's why you lost all this weight.' "

Before the weight loss, she said, she never ate breakfast. Lunch typically consisted of a bag of chips and two Italian sandwiches, or she might go to the drive-up window at a fast-food restaurant and order two or three sandwiches, french fries and an apple pie.

A typical supper was a couple of dozen doughnuts, two bags of cookies or pastries or four peanut butter-and-marshmallow sandwiches.

"It wasn't pretty," she said.

Now, her diet is much different. She said she eats lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and chicken or fish.

For a 7 a.m. breakfast, she might have fat-free yogurt with walnuts, a cup of berries and a bagel; a 10 a.m. snack is a piece of fruit; and lunch might be a salad with all vegetables or including chicken, or a chicken wrap. Supper might consist of stir-fry vegetables and a baked potato.

"I drink three-quarters of a gallon of water a day," she said.

Lee said she thinks the catalyst for losing weight and becoming a healthier person was her realization that she wanted to live longer for her nieces and nephews, whom she adores. She has always attended all their soccer, hockey and basketball games.

But she could sit only on the bottom step of the bleachers. Now, she climbs to the top.

She never dated while she was overweight, and is not sure she is ready yet for that.

But she does notice that men look at her now, where they never did before. At 5-feet, 4-inches tall and 170 pounds, she feels lighter, happier, more comfortable with herself.

"It's nice having a life," she said. "It's still a work in progress. I think it always will be."

Amy Calder -- 861-9247

acalder@centralmaine.com

Photo caption:
Staff photo by David Leaming AT A LOSS: Cathi Lee of Waterville holds of photograph of herself taken in 2001, when she weighed 481 pounds. On Monday, she weighed 170 pounds, in part because of regular exercise and a change in eating patterns.

(okay, I'm having a problem posting the photo. The Hello thing doesn't work anymore and apparently neither does the "add photo" button. Sigh. I'll put it up later, if I remember.)

Ah, I had to unblock pop-ups. But I still don't see the damn picture. Grr.


news (?) Woman gives up junk food & looses 330 lbs

Source (how long it will be active, who knows?)

Story:
Woman gives up junk food, loses 330 pounds

Associated Press Dec. 14, 2005 08:30 AM
WATERVILLE, Maine - Cathi Lee is less than half the woman she used to be. In three years she's lost 330 pounds.
The Maine woman wore a size 38 when she weighed 500. Now, she's down to a 12 petite.
Lee says she lost all that weight without pills, crash-dieting or surgery.
She gave up junk food and started exercising. Lee says she used to eat a couple of dozen doughnuts a day, and bags of cookies and potato chips.
Now, she eats yogurt, salads and stir-fry veggies. Despite her tremendous weight loss, Lee says she's not done yet. She adds she'll always have to watch what she eats.

Not to be mean or belittle her accomplishment (I mean, she lost about what I weigh!) but look at what she was eating: 2 DOZEN donuts? BAGS of cookies? BAGS of chips? EACH DAY?! I bet her wallet is a lot happier too! I might eat a donut (once in a while 2) every few WEEKS, and a couple times of year splurge on a small box of donut holes if I'm going to be somewhere where I can share them. I haven't had potato chips in months. I eat cookies, but not bags of them on a daily basis. It takes me a few days to go through a whole package.
This lady is the kind of fat person who makes fat people look bad, as far as her eating habits go. Does everyone who sees me figure I eat like that? I know when I tell people I am going to the gym, or just came from the gym, they don't really believe me. Or they think I might get on a stationary bike for 3 minutes, get all sweaty and go home. Not that I do serious water aerobics for over 60 minutes. Last night, for instance, 75 minutes straight including over 300 jumping jacks. 300. Can any of YOU do 300 jumping jacks while carrying over 200 extra pounds strapped to your body?
It seems to me that this lady's weight probably was totally food-based and overeating. I know it took a lot for her to get out and move at over 500 lbs, and she does prove it can be done. And a big YAY for her to get down to a size 12 (petite, which makes it sound like she's skinnier than she is, but that just means she's under 5'2"--imagine over 500 lbs on such a little frame. Ouch.)
I don't know what my problem is. I don't eat like that and I work out like a fiend, and I still look like a fucking exploded blimp of flesh.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

irritable bowel syndrome

A lady emailed me yesterday after reading my blog, and suggested that I might have IBS. I believe somewhere along the line I asked one of the many doctors who I've seen about it, and was told no. And I don't react to all the foods she listed. But in case someone else might, I am going to reproduce parts of her emails with her permission.


At first I was just compelled to read it (the blog) because of the good writing but then I began to relate to so many things you shared because I myself had a significant weight gain last year (I gained 50 pounds in like six months) and I have been facing the same problems and battles you talk about in the blog.

AND!!

I think I have some really beneficial personal experience to share with you that MIGHT be the solution to your digestive problems...because I had the same problems and after researching digestive disorders I know I FOUND the correct diagnose and treatment for my own. To elaborate on that....

All my life I have had digestive problems. When I was young (around 13) my parents took me to a gastroenterologist who tested me for ulcers and then basically told them I had a spastic colon. BUT at that time they had no set treatment for me. I dont even remember my diet being changed or anything....

THEN

As I got older and on my own and away from my mom's cooking and refridgerator...started cooking for myself or eating out I learned quickly that while most things would make me have what I call an attack (where I would have a sometimes diarrhea like sudden bowel movement not long after eating) BREAD was not one of those things. SO what I found is that when I ate things that were mostly bread-like Say...a sandwich with cold cuts or pasta with marinara sauce or alot of times just a slice of pizza....I would NOT get sick.

THEN

(insert scary music here)

The DREADED ATKINS DIET...REARED it's UGLY head....

And I of course like the rest of the world joined ALLLLLL CARBS are EEEEEvilllll camp... and I ate mostly protien and vegetables and not ONLY did I GAIN weight doing this...BUT...I was miserably sick....ALL the time. Like 4 times a day. And I also felt dizzy and weak (because the diet was making me ill) AND whenever I would let myself have bread...it amazed me how quickly I felt re-energized and healthy and GOOD again. BUT of course the NO CARBS CAMP would win over and I'd be convinced bread was eeeevil again....

ANYWAY...

About three years ago I was working near a Subway like shop called Schlotskis and I caved in and ate there one day....and to my amazement!! I did not get sick. What I ate was a medium sourdough bun and on it I had chedder cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. As a matter of fact the next morning I had what I considered to be what NORMAL people have as a bowel movement with hardly any pain and definately not any diarrhea and I felt so wonderful (my head was clear and I felt like I had more energy then I had in years) that I ate there that day and the next day and in no less then three months I lost 30 pounds.

At that time my diet was: Cereal: (Usually Cherios) and then the sandwich for lunch and then I was eating 1 Balance bar which are power bars or two slices of canadian bacon pizza..for dinner.

Long story short...OR at least Im trying to get to the point!! :)
I left that job and moved away from that diet slowly but surely because of just a simple location thing. I started eating other things and slowly but surely the digestive problem started to come back.



I find all this very interesting and up to this point I am in agreement with her. I do indeed get very sick on Atkins, feeling very weak and stupid like my brain is starving. And I feel GREAT when I eat the carbs again. I had understood that was because of a simple chemical sugar addiction related to glucose levels and having some kind of tolerance (or intolerance, I forget which it is) to sugars. (Sugars=carbs. Bread is sugar, candy is sugar, rice is sugar, potatoes are sugar, basically because they break down into glucose.)
I do lose weight on a lo/no carb diet, but it doesn't stay off.
I also have "attacks" where it feels like my body rejects the food. There is no other way I can describe it. At least I don't throw up anymore (but that's a winter thing so it might start again). I also, once in a great while, have terrible pains in my stomach. I feel like I'm dying. They always come in the middle of the night and no position is comfortable. They feel like they could be gas, but I don't fart, and I can't poop when I'm having them. Once I do summon a poop (these are as close to constipated as I ever come) I feel better. They usually last for several hours and then vanish all at once. They started in the last couple of years. I guess they are gas? Maybe related to my defective gall bladder?

I will post more of her letter and my comments later.

exercise thoughts

So I've been working out a lot-most weeks 3x a week, and for an hour or more each time. And not an hour meaning 15 minutes of warm up and 15 minutes of cool down and 30 minutes of real workout in the middle. I mean 60+ solid minutes where I don't stop moving. I am exhausted when I'm finished. My schedule at work is changing and I'm losing one of my afternoons off so I've got to figure out how to keep going Monday-Wednesday-Friday.
And everyone at the gym is like, "Are you doing this to lose weight, or---?" and then they pause delicately. Because here I am in front of them, a super-super obese woman in a bathing suit. And yeah, it's about as good as you can imagine. And why else would I be subjecting myself to that except to lose weight? I don't feel GOOD afterward, I feel like I've been beaten with a board.
But I've noticed that when I have to skip a workout due to bad weather, or the gym being closed, my leg gets swollen right away. And that's not good. It makes no sense to me that working out almost to the point of abuse is the only thing that is keeping the swelling down. Thank you, lymphedema. (That's the technical name for it.)
I try not to think about how disgusting and awful I must look while I'm bouncing around in the water. I feel better. I feel firmer. Not that I'm thin or anything. Hahaha. When I lay on my stomach it feels like there's less mass there between "me" (I don't think of my fat as being part of me--that might be the problem) and the mattress. The line from my waist (waist? What's that? well, where it WOULD be) down my thigh is definately smoother with muscle. My legs feel strong. I haven't weighed myself for a while though. I am terrified that I've gained weight even though I work out all the time and I'm eating a lot less. My husband says he thinks my stomach looks a little smaller. But he never really looks at me. It's hard to tell with my clothes because they are all elastic waist and/or baggy to begin with. I guess if they fall off, I've lost weight. Again, hahaha.
It's a terrible thing to work out and eat less and try so fucking hard and still be a big fat disgusting slob. Where's the payoff?
Clothes always look terrible on me no matter what. The lines are ruined by my bulges. And where don't I have bulges? My upper arms are bigger around than my head.
And I play that sick fucking game with myself at the gym. A friend of mine told me about it and I realized that I do it too. (And SHE is thin--woman are so fucked up in America.) It's called "is she fatter than me?" You look at everyone and try to decide if you're fatter or they are. You have no one you can trust to say "who here is the same size as me" because then you'd know for sure how bad you look in that bathing suit. I know who I FEEL that I look like, and I know I'm probably at least 2x their size. I have a shelf butt and my thighs touch all the way down to the FLOOR and my stomach sags over my pubes and I've already mentioned the size of my upper arms. And my breasts--well I buy bras that are for cup size F-G-H and I overflow them. I am as big around as I am tall.
I am disgusting.