When I’m the Needy One

If you read my blog I’m sure you think I’m needy all the time. But that ain’t so – I’m pretty independent. I manage my home and children on my own. When I’m working I commute and travel long distances. Things get done.

But when I’m sick or sad I’m super needy. And there’s no one that fills Tony’s absence.

I guess it’s pretty normal that when I’m happy and busy that I think of him much less. When I’m sad and depressed he’s at the front of my mind.

A long, long time ago Anne questioned how much I loved Bobby or just loved the experience of Bobby or how he made me feel. In the end, I did have love for Bobby but in hindsight he turned out to be much more about how he made me feel.

I think about that with Tony too. I want to feel absorbed by someone again I want that person to call and tell everything to. I got a job. I got sick. I worked out and did good. Or bad. Whatever. I want to share these things.

So first, let’s get out of the way, I got no answers at the surgeon today because he’s baffled. Now it’s a waiting game. If it’s a fistula it will either resolve on its own (unlikely but not impossible) or make itself known clearly (pain, vomiting, fever). Until then, watch and wait. He wants me to change nothing in my diet or exercise. The only concern at the moment is the skin around the wound is very, very thin and close the bowel and could tear. I just need to pay extra special attention to the wound area as it’s aggravated from the leaking.

I weigh less than I did in my 20s right now. Every day I lose more weight. He says this isn’t the first problem as long as I feel fine.

And, I do feel fine. Other than this damn wound I feel better than ever.

So there’s that. I’m a leaky faucet at the moment.

Oh – and this isn’t exactly related to the VSG surgery. It’s a side effect of any abdominal surgery and there are reasons why it happens in some and not in others. I’ve had multiple same site surgeries and there is a lot of scar tissue and adhesion. There is also some leftover flotsam and jetsam from my childhood surgeries in my body – foreign objects. Never heard that before. But I saw it on the scans and it’s one of the reasons my belly is so disfigured from surgery in 1970.

Of course after the surgeon today I called my family and friends – the Mexico Unit I call them. The ones who brought me through and stand by me and made it clear they love me and want me around. I spoke to them. They listened and offered advice.

But they were not Tony. They don’t love me the same. The feeling isn’t there. I miss being so enveloped in his love. I really do ok on the other days…it’s just days like this….I miss him and how he loved me.

I suppose the good news is – I don’t go looking for that in someone else because I’m missing him. I’m not on the apps or reaching out to anyone else because I feel needy. I just feel needy and miss him.

And I try to care for myself. ❤️

I am Officially *Fucked*

Why?

Because yesterday, as I was going along minding my own business, I suddenly felt a *pop* and a *gush* sort of like a big blister breaking. The next thing I knew I was soaked.

I was working out. Had just finished a decent ride. Did I pee myself? I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror and I was covered in yellowish gunk. My wound was oozing, literally draining yellow gunk.

Ok, I didn’t panic. Not yet at least. The wound never fully closed and had been cauterized twice. Maybe all this exercise was aggravating the adhesions? I called the surgeons office and we went through the checklist: no pain, no fever, regular appetite, bowel movement (the day before as this was still morning) etc. Nurse calls back after speaking to doctor and tells me keep the wound clean, bandaged and the surgeon will see me in the office on Friday. Ok, I can live with a little bandage til Friday no biggie.

But then I’m making dinner and serving the kids when I feel it again, another rush of fluid. I had a light grey T-shirt on so I see it getting soaked. Run into bathroom and remove bandage to find fluorescent green gunk. I’ve seen that color before and want to die on the spot. The kids hear me moan and upset but don’t want to know cause they’re eating. Change bandage call surgeon after hours.

Surgeon baffled but believes he knows what it is and it’s not good news.

An enterocutaneous fistula (ECF) is an abnormal connection that develops between the intestinal tract or stomach and the skin. As a result, contents of the stomach or intestines leak through to the skin.

I hear him trying to tell me it’s going to be ok when I can hear the gears in his head turning that we are in for a ride. Cat scans ordered for tomorrow. No immediate urgency unless I develop fever and pain.

I’m going to save the grossest details because it’s nasty. But basically when I don’t go to the bathroom some will leak out of the wound because the bowel had a leak and found a way out through the wound. Once I go to the bathroom normally the wound doesn’t leak much.

I spent the night googling and reading and I’m fucked. Even the surgeon told me to prepare for another difficult surgery.

I was supposed to start my job Monday.

I am out of my mind with so many thoughts. I literally can’t think straight right now.

I suppose we will know more after the surgeon.

Steps Forward and Back….the Dance of Depression

When I initially set out to create a habit, I was a bit stubborn, determined and a lot bored. I have so much time on my hands, excessive amounts of obsession and depression that I knew I had to do something or succumb to another black hole. My goal was to see if I could break the behavior in 90-100 days and set myself up for real and lasting change.

The one commitment I started with was to ride the Peloton Bike EVERY day. I was going to make that investment worth it come hell or high water. I also really wanted the Peloton Tread and told myself that wasn’t happening until I could prove to myself I was going to use it consistently . The cost of $$ investment was too high to make a frivolous decision. Based on what I knew about myself, 30 or 60 days wasn’t enough. Nor was a 3/5 day a week commitment. Nope, I was going gangbusters on my own ass.

Shit, if I could obsess over Tony for a year every day I should be able to commit to taking care of myself in a positive way for 100 days. At least, right? And maybe, just maybe, a new obsession could replace the Tony obsession. A new focus. The right kind of focus.

May 11th was 90 days from my start on February 11th.

I did not ride the bike for 6 days in that 90 days. 2 from a hospital stay, 3 from a stomach virus and 1 I have no idea. I did do “something” Peloton related those 6 days, even if that meant a meditation. Those 6 days bug me and piss me off. I should allow some leeway but it only makes me feel I can’t commit to anything sometimes. I am forgiving myself because I did realize this past week, when I had the stomach virus, that my body REALLY needed the rest. When I finally did ride again, I rode stronger. Also, I suddenly started to bleed – now I don’t know if it’s a period or not but it would sure explain the utter exhaustion combined with the stomach bug. I get blood tests next week – I’m at my full 5 month mark since my last infusion. I’m banking on a massive drop in iron because I’m having trouble just getting out of bed and I truly can’t find energy within myself.

Once the activity started I realized I was capable of more.

I am learning that healthy habits are what’s going to get me through life. If I do right by myself every day as a way of life, and I fall off the wagon, it doesn’t matter. One day, one weekend or maybe even a week to allow myself space either physically or mentally isn’t going to make me gain back the 75 pounds I lost. What made me gain over and over and over during the past 18 years was the fact that I allowed myself to keep failing. I did not have a healthy habit I was committed to.

For instance, in the past, one cookie on a Friday would mean I could eat a whole box before Sunday. Mid week I could eat poorly again because I had already eaten the cookies. The behavior was a loop and a very bad one. That’s gone.

Now, I eat a cookie if I want a cookie. I drink. AND I watch what I eat all the times in between that and I feel just fine. Every day doesn’t need to be a food party. I am still learning what my balance is, but now clearly have a better relationship with good and healthy eating and make better choices. Eliminating most carbs has removed the carb cravings. I don’t struggle to avoid foods that are not good for me. I have actually lost the appetite for most of my old fatty food choices. They just no longer appeal to me, as if I have lost the taste of them entirely. I also just make better choices for myself and don’t allow myself to feel penalized when I go off. Now I understand healthy eating habits. I almost don’t know why this felt so hard before (yes, it helps that I can’t eat much in one sitting so making better choices makes sense).

I’m off Keto now because my body wasn’t responding well with all the working out. I needed more protein and carbs. I’m working with the nutritionist to find the right balance for that.

So I’m 90 days in and heading towards that 100. I’m contemplating what happens post 100 and what makes sense for me to maintain once working again. I’m speaking with a nutritionist and many trainers about constructing the best “road ahead” for my goals.

That all sounds good, right?

But, and there’s always a but……There are two immense things I struggle with.

One is “encouraging” self-talk. Being my own cheerleader. Congratulating myself. Egging myself on. Encouraging myself. I don’t know how the people who do this (all over my Facebook and Peloton groups – here on the blog too – Maggie is a master ❤️) do it every single day. Are they for real? How can anyone be so positive and encouraging? Do they have a book of positivity quotes? Do they really wake up and make gratitude lists? I want to learn how to do this as I believe I am mostly a critical person (hello, Virgo trait). Not just do it but BELIEVE in it, drink the koolaid, buy the farm.

I chose one thing to try: every day I post my exercise achievements. I was always annoyed by people who did this so have no idea what prompted me to do so, but it seemed easy enough. An unexpected side effect is a lot of my friends congratulate me and encourage me – and many tell me how I’ve motivated them to start their own journey. Two have even bought a Peloton! I guess I realize that if my exercise posts are annoying they can skip over them, but many seem interested. I never expected anyone to care. People are really happy to share their own fitness journeys and tips as well. I use this for my mental well being – it’s like having cheerleaders. I am my own worst enemy with all the positive self talk – – and I do realize this is what coaches and trainers and support groups are best at – reminding you to do your bets every day! I try so hard to be encouraging for others but find it tedious…I wish I could tap into all that positivity consistently. Maybe I should do a 90 day positive energy journey next? I really feel like this is a key to unlocking something for me. What if I HAD to be grateful, satisfied, and positive for the next 90 days?

I have a few platforms on which I can do this. I can help young women with career roles, I can participate as an admin in a Peloton Facebook group and support others along their journey, I can start a gratitude journal. I will just need a place to vomit after I spend the day smiling and performing – at least in the start. I truly don’t know how people wake up and make a choice to be happy. I listen to these coaching mantras and they make sense – but they don’t make me cry and evaluate my life and affect me the way they do many people I know. Church also doesn’t have that impact on me. I have to figure this piece out – the part of me I want to put into the universe to grow and make better.

The second one is my absolute fear I will give up. Why? Because I have ALWAYS given up in the past. I don’t give up on obsessing over Tony so clearly I can obsess where my brain wants to -but obsessing about my exercise and health? Welp, that’s partially how I ended up in Mexico in the first place. Although I had legitimate reasons this past week for not exercising to my normal capacity, I feel immense guilt and worry that every day I can’t is simply going to lead to another day I don’t want to. I’m worried that if I can’t get my iron for 2 months or so (which is highly likely to happen, thanks insurance) I will allow myself to remain exhausted instead of pushing through. And once I stop for too long, all that hard work disappears.

When your body is depleted it’s so hard to get your mind to work. I’ve been sick and tired for so long, so very long, that the thought still crosses my mind that all this is just too hard, too much work and I’m tired, really tired of trying so hard just to wake up every day. Will positive self-talk change this? Will more exercise? Will better body acceptance? Will falling in love? My kids treating me better? Self-acceptance? When this exhaustion hits, the depression grabs hold of the thought and runs away with it….and that is ALWAYS a fear.

Why I Worry

Overall, my health is good – not my health from my physical activity – I separate that from the organs inside of my body that I have no control of. I can exercise til the cows come home and I can’t change what has happened or will happen in my abdomen.

I spent the day in the emergency room on 4/25, and before that, 3 days with tubes down my throat in March. I don’t panic when I don’t feel well (and for me not feeling well generally means something internal that’s weird) but today surprised me.

I worked out really well, and strong, yesterday. I got a great night sleep. But when I woke, the pain in my stomach was obvious and I had diarrhea for hours in the morning. I was also exceptionally tired (like bone tired). I had planned to meet my cousin to putter around the golf course and have lunch, so I got ready and dressed and went to meet her. I had a small half sandwich for lunch and some plain tea. We took the golf cart for a spin and the weather was stunning. Then we started to hit some balls at the driving range. All through this I was still tired with persistent discomfort, but not enough to stop me.

All of the sudden I lost all my energy and had to sit down. She continued to hit and we just chatted.

I was home by 5:30ish and went right to bed (with makeup on) and slept straight through to 8:30pm. I don’t know what’s sucking the life from me.

Except for the days inMarch where I was admitted to the hospital, I have not missed one day of my 90-100 day effort (today is day 87) but there is now way I can get on the bike or tread today.

My stomach sounds like aliens being birthed and I’m back in the bathroom in this evening. I wish I could record my tummy for you because I think you can hear it in the next house! The sounds don’t hurt, so it’s not exactly gas. There is a persistent high belly pain that is exacerbated when I push and release, and it’s totally different from the two pains in March and April. You can hear liquid moving through every part of my bowel like a leaky faucet! It makes my kids crazy.

In fact, my kids are entirely disturbed by how sick I “always” am because their father has them convinced this is all my fault. I brought this on myself and this is what happens. Suffice to say, he did this when we were married. He was never sick a day in his life so when I became ill (and I do get the craziest things) he didn’t know what to do or how to help me so he ignored me. That included pregnancy, labor and delivery as well as nursing. No support and almost blatant disregard for my well being. When my children do this to me I tell them it’s a trigger and I expect better behavior from them. I worry they get the gene that is selfish and doesn’t care about other people’s physical health because they don’t understand. I worry they won’t have empathy.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me or why this time. Maybe it will pass by tomorrow. I’m having some ginger tea which is good for digestion. I could not get on the bike so I meditated but that feels like an activity cop out for me. It kills me to break the streak. I wondered if some pedaling would help whatever is in there make its way out. My tummy is hard and distended so it may be yet another intestinal blockage (which would create the hyperactive bowel sounds – you can actually hear them in another room).

Ginger tea and hope for rest.

I haven’t had an opportunity to share all the excitement from my Homecoming weekend in the city with Peloton – what a fabulous event!