Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stuck in Stress

Well here it is, close to the end of the month and you might wonder how I’m doing. Not bad but not great. My weight has jumped back up. I’m up to 265, almost my all-time high of 267. I’m not feeling great about that. The clothes are tight. Moving around is as hard as ever and I am tired all the time.

Why have I gained the weight back? Stress. It just seems no matter what my husband and I do, our lives get more and more complicated and stressful. I know that is probably true for all of you too and it is an excuse but I just don’t function well under stress. I eat too much, I don’t sleep well and so what little energy I have is saved for the “important” things like work, cooking, cleaning, and the everyday things that “have to” get done.

Things stressing me lately? Where to begin? I don’t want to come off sounding like a wuss, a whiner, a self-pitying fool. It’s just there is so much, the weight of it feels crushing sometimes.

My daughter and her daughter moved in nine months ago because she was struggling to pay her bills. The plan was she would stay long enough to pay off her car and save up some money so she could afford a place of her own. Recently she has lost her job. Guess she’ll be staying a bit longer.

My husband’s job may be in jeopardy. He’s been looking for another but there’s nothing in the area that pays anywhere near what he makes – not that what he makes is fantastic but there’s nothing close. If he loses his current job, he will probably have to take a $5k or more cut.

We learned today that our house is infested with termites. We’re waiting for the quote from the termite guy and there’s no telling yet how bad the damage is.

The list goes on as I’m sure yours does. It just seems it’s been like this for so long that I have no energy reserves to deal with it all. It might sound like I’m depressed but I’m really not. I love my family and laugh every day. I am blessed to live in a beautiful place and to be able to work from home. I have terrific friends and a supportive family. So not everything sucks.

I’m just one of those people who wants to fix all the problems and I get really frustrated when I can’t. My mind won’t shut off and I can’t sleep or I sit in my chair typing away, trying to earn just a little more so we can fix this appliance or pay that bill. Sitting at a desk all day makes for a very inactive Theresa.

On the bright side, I survived the colposcopy and got the “all clear” form the doctor. I know, bad joke. And the insurance company finally came through with the approval for the sleep study but there isn’t an opening until the end of April. I am hoping if they can help me fix my sleep issues, I’ll feel more rested and have more energy. Anything has got to better than where I am today.

’m hanging in there…how about you?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Medical Frustration

You know, it’s very frustrating when you are trying to “fix” your life and you have to hurry up and wait. In my last post, I talked about having seen my family doctor and discovered some issues which could be contributing to my weight and preventing me from being able to work on it as I would like. It’s ben close to 3 weeks and I’m still waiting. 

Actually, this morning I am going for an EKG and some blood work in preparation for my colonoscopy next week. Yes, that magic age of 50 brings with it certain rites of passage that I’m sure you, like me, can’t wait to experience. I have the bottles of magnesium citrate before me as I type – cherry flavored no less. And I have been given the gruesome horror stories of what my Monday will be like when I cannot really eat and have to “flush” my system out – forgive the pun, I couldn’t help it. 

This test is a screening test for those turning 50 so it is not an indicator that anything is wrong necessarily. However the other test – the one I want and need – the sleep study to determine if I have sleep apnea – that is on hold.
In their unfailing wisdom, the insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, which I have through my husband’s employer, is questioning the need for this test. I received a letter from them requesting the following:
  • MD office notes and exam findings
  • Diagnostic testing results 
  •  Previously tried treatments and medications 
  •  Any other information that would support the request
I have 45 days to supply this information or the request can be denied.

HELLO!! They were sent the doctor’s notes and findings with the original request. The diagnostic test for determining sleep apnea IS A SLEEP STUDY!! There are no other tests that can diagnose the problem. There are no medications or treatments that can be given without the diagnosis.

So the following day I call my doctor’s office to find out what we can do. They received a copy of the letter as well. The doctor will write more detailed notes and resubmit the request, explaining all of the above. I wait a week and call the doctor to see if they have heard anything. The nurse calls the insurance provider and is told the documentation is under review. When asked how long it might be, the contact replied, ‘We don’t have a set review time. It will be whenever we get to it.

Meanwhile the heart-stopping snoring and general fatigue continue and there is nothing I can do about it except wait and look forward to the ‘cleansing experience ahead of me. Who knows, maybe I will lose a few pounds! lol

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

It’s Friday and spring is in the air. I did end up going to the doctor last Friday. We discussed my various issues and health concerns and I am awaiting insurance company approval for some tests that may help.
I have long known I was a loud snorer and my husband has described witnessing me cough/gag/choke several times a night – a strong indication that I have sleep apnea. This problem causes you to stop breathing in your sleep and the brain responds by waking you so that you’ll resume breathing. It can happen multiple times a night or even per hour and puts considerable strain on your heart. The person who has it doesn’t fully wake during these episodes. So here I am, thinking I’ve been sleeping all night when in reality I’m waking numerous times. No wonder I feel fatigued all the time.
After answering her questions, the doctor said I had all the classic symptoms and she recommended a sleep study to confirm. She said my difficulty breathing during waking hours, my fatigue and even the couch could be results of sleep apnea. Just having a possible diagnosis has relieved my stress tremendously.
I have been berating myself up for not exercising more and feeling like a failure when I tried and become too winded to continue. Now I know I am not crazy, or lazy or whatever. I also know sleep apnea is aggravate by obesity. So I need to lose weight to reduce the risks of the apnea and I need to treat the apnea so I can lose weight.
In the meantime, I have worked hard to make better food choices and do what I can to lose a little weight until I can deal with the medical aspects. I am watching my carbs and keeping an eye on calories just as a guideline. Some days the numbers are still much higher than my target range but overall they are substantially lower than even a few weeks ago. And the good news is that it is showing. This morning I stepped on the scale and I am back down to 257.5. That’s a 5.3 lb loss from 11 days ago when I hit a 12-month high of 262.8
My advice to anyone struggling with weight loss issues is to see your doctor. Talk openly about all the issues you are having because some could be hindering your efforts and making you feel bad about yourself when in actuality, without treatment, there is little you can do.

Circle 8 Anthologies Featuring my Short Stories