Health

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You did WHAT???

Published December 22, 2012 by KalamityK

I’ve not blogged for a while because although I’ve had a lot on my mind, it was nothing I was ready to write about. Now I’m ready and I’m gonna share with you something really personal. Ten weeks ago I did something really drastic…

I had weight loss surgery.

When I told people I was going to have it done the most common reaction was that they thought I was mental. They said I wasn’t big enough. Surely that’s only a last resort for huge people… Why didn’t I try diet and exercise? Why didn’t I go to weight watchers? Why not join a gym again? Was I really sure? Oh, and I’m bonkers to let them take most of a perfectly good organ out of me.

Well, I might be bonkers but yes I was sure. That organ, my stomach, was working too well! I knew I was on a downhill ride to serious obesity and couldn’t stop myself without help. I’d given up smoking and the manchild had moved back home with all his accompanying baggage, I split up with my ex and life just generally got hard. I didn’t have cigarettes to fall back on and so I turned to comfort eating more than ever to get me through and the weight piled back on. If I was able to diet and exercise and succeed permanently I would have done it already and so would every other fat person wanting to lose weight. Diet and exercise is a physical fix that just doesn’t work on a permanent level when the reason people get fat is an emotional one. You can lose the weight but it just comes back.

Every time I walked out that front door, I wanted to be invisible. I never made eye contact with anyone while I was outside. I wanted a star trek transporter to get to work so nobody would have to look at me. Even though I wasn’t massive, I was ashamed of how big I’d let myself get. I stopped going out unless I had to. If I got invited to social events I found reasons not to go. The real reason was that I was embarrassed to be seen in public because I felt ugly and I felt like I was being judged.  In my head I knew that nobody was judging me except me but I still felt ashamed. It’s hurtful when your friends, who in reality have lovely figures,  go on about how fat they are. I’m double your size and you’re disgusted by your own tiny bit of fat? How gross do I feel now?! Is it any wonder I felt judged? It just increased how crappy I felt about myself.

Not everyone is capable of understanding how it feels to hate the way you look so much that you’d rather sit indoors with the tv than spend time with other people. It sounds like vanity but it’s much deeper than that. It’s soul destroying. 

 

So last year I talked to my doctor who agreed that my BMI was far too high and agreed to refer me. The next step was an appointment at a London hospital to talk to the surgeon. He said I was a perfect candidate for it and agreed to let me have it done on the NHS. I had no co-morbidities and I was young enough for the effects to make a real difference to the rest of my life. (Nice to be perfect for something! Ha!)

Some of you who know me and are finding out about this right now will possibly also think I wasn’t big enough to need it but I was 8 stone overweight. That’s a lot of extra weight to carry around when you’re only 5 ft 3 n a half inches tall. My bones started to hurt. Walking from the train station to my flat takes 7 minutes and none of it is uphill apart from the stairs in my building… but before I even reached home I would be limping from a sore ankle and having to rub DeepHeat ointment on my back when I got home just so I could move around. Getting off the sofa was getting harder. I couldn’t breathe when I leant over to tie my laces. I felt like a beach ball. I was miserable.

So I did it! I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) which means that the surgeon removed about 90% of my stomach. I haven’t told everybody because it’s not exactly a ‘shout from the rooftops’ kinda thing and it’s a very personal decision but I’m also not ashamed of having it done and I’m happy to talk about it. It really has been life changing already.

It hasn’t been easy though. For anyone thinking I took the easy option, that is so not the case. This is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The mental journey you go on when you do something like this is a roller coaster. There have been a few times over the past few weeks where it’s been really hard and I’ve asked myself if I did the right thing? Was it really that bad that I had to resort to major surgery? Yes is the short answer.

Most of the difficult times are about head hunger. I miss eating a normal dinner. You still crave the stuff you used to love and you have to learn that it’s not your stomach that’s hungry; it’s your head, your memories. I’m still learning what’s what and how to combat it effectively.

I still have to watch what I eat, more so now than ever. I could eat chocolate and all the things that I ate before and I’d lose nothing despite having the surgery because it’s not a quick fix. It’s a tool and I can use it or not. The weight doesn’t just fall off unless I make it happen with the tool I’ve been given. I don’t deprive myself of every little thing but I’m much more aware of what my body needs to keep me going. When you only have a tiny space for food, what goes into it is really important. I have to get enough protein in before anything else. If I use up my space on crap all the time, I’ll end up malnourished and sick. Christmas dinner will be a challenge but it’s nothing I can’t manage. I’ll just have to pick out the best bits and leave the rest! 

I wasn’t sure whether to tell people or not because everyone has opinions about weight loss surgery and who’s deserving of NHS funds and I didn’t want to justify myself to anyone, plus I know that every time I put a biscuit near my face or pick up a chocolate, I’ll have the food police commenting on it… but I just thought sod it. Anyone who wants to judge me can go right ahead. The money I would have eventually cost the NHS as an overweight woman and all the problems that come with that would have far exceeded what the surgery cost. They’ve saved tens of thousands, probably more. The NHS knows that. 

I did what was right for me and it’s working. I’ve lost weight already and I’m starting to feel more like myself again! I’ve still got a long way to go on this roller coaster journey but I’m joining the gym again in a few days and I’m looking forward to meeting the new healthier, slimmer, happier me next year. 

weight-loss-cartoon

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Bad hair day?

Published August 28, 2012 by KalamityK

My hair doesn’t suit me. It’s past shoulder length right now but there’s just not enough of it. I want curls! I want volume! I want to be tousled dammit!This isn’t me or my hair.

People with thick or curly hair moan that they can’t control it but I still want it. Everyone girl wants what they haven’t got in the world of hair and I’m no different. I want uncontrollable hair! I want hair that you can twist and pin up and it’s a lovely big messy updo with escaping straggly bits that frame your face. My face usually looks quite nice with a frame. If I pin up mine, it looks like I’ve given myself a Croydon facelift but that’s the only way it goes up. I can’t even get big hair if I back-comb it. It’s so damn fine (and not in the good way) that any back-combing just unknots itself and falls out within half an hour.  

To start with, as a baby it took me AGES to grow any hair. Then when I did finally acquire some hair worth mentioning, it was dead straight. No need for straighteners even if they had existed back then. Nowadays it has a slight unstraightness to it but it’s certainly not enough to be classed as ‘wavy’. I dye it to make it more interesting to look at in the mirror. In real life my hair is dark brown. You couldn’t get a more boring hair colour if you tried.

 

Blondes have an automatic reputation as having loads of fun, even if it is entirely  undeserved and in reality they’re manic depressives. Ok, so the downside to being blonde is the reputation for not being especially bright but who cares if you’re a bundle of fun!

Redheads have a reputation as being fiery and vibrant. To be honest, most of the redheads I know definitely have a hint of fiery. Two of my closest friends are redheads. This rep is not entirely undeserved.

 

If you talk about black hair, people instantly think ‘Goth’ or ‘Ethnic’.

What birthright do brown haired folk automatically inherit? None! Nothing. Brown is average. It feels like someone invented the word ‘Brunette‘ to make themselves feel better about not being blonde. 

I don’t really mind being brunette though, to be honest, because I can always dye it. So I always dye it! I’ve done a lot of different colours over the years and I’m currently ginger but I’ve never gone as bright as I’d really like to, partly because dark brown hair doesn’t dye easily without bleaching. Constant bleaching ruins your hair. Next time I’m thinking of bleaching and going pink. Or purple. The problem is that I’m no good at maintenance. I just can’t be bothered to colour in the roots every two or three weeks and it ends up looking messy. I’d have to be dedicated to touching up my roots on a regular basis and I’m just not that conscientious. Can you imagine upkeeping this? 

All I want is thicker, curlier hair. I’ve permed my hair so many times but it just falls out within a couple of days so I end up looking more like a used mop than Barbra Streisand did in the early 80’s. 

I won’t give up though. One day something will come up and I’ll get my tousled head of curls.  

Or maybe I’ll just buy them on Ebay. 

My quick fling with Bulimia

Published June 10, 2012 by KalamityK

I threw up earlier today for no reason. I didn’t do it on purpose.  I hate being sick. It hurts. I don’t just mean my stomach hurts. I mean it hurts all over. My skin tightens up and it feels like a thousand needles are being pushed into my back and chest and arms all at the same time. My muscles contract and ache afterwards. I thought for a moment today that I might have pulled a muscle in my arm, it hurt so much. That’s one reason why I could never be bulimic. How on earth people manage to make themselves throw up regularly is beyond me.  I know they get good at it and train themselves to hurl on demand, but don’t they get that pain? Is it just me? Does anyone else get that needle-like pain all over their upper torso when they’re being sick? Not to mention the runny nose and streaming eyes. And heaven help me if my bladder is full!

I tried bulimia once about 18 years ago. Ever since I gave birth to the manchild I’ve been underheight… or as other people like to call it… overweight. I’d had enough.  I knew I didn’t have enough willpower to stay off the crisps and chocolate permanently so I thought to myself  “Aha!.. I’ll be bulimic! I’m sure I could control it. I’ll stuff my face with all the lovely yummy goodies and then throw it up so I won’t be fat anymore and people won’t look at me as if I’m not good enough.” A perfect plan! Or so I thought…

I went and bought a delicious lemon meringue pie and decided I would eat the whole thing, because if you’re gonna do this then you need a good amount of grub inside you, which I assume must be why bulimics binge eat. I did. I swallowed down the feeling that I was doing something wrong along with each bite. I just pretended it wasn’t there. I ignored the guilt of eating a whole pie on my own, comforting myself with the knowledge that it would be gone soon and I wouldn’t have to feel bad about it. 

Well, flip me. Have you any idea how hard it is to throw up when you actually want to? I had to get something long and thin to make it happen cos I wasn’t gonna put my fingers down my throat. My OCD doesn’t like me getting my fingers mucky. I hunted around and eventually found a comb, one of those hairdresser ones with the long, thin handle. The comb and I assumed our positions!  And after what seemed like forever, I finally succeeded in my mission.

………..

As I kneeled there on the bathroom floor, staring at the lemon meringue pie slowly drowning in the toilet bowl, all I could think was ‘What a waste!’ I felt so deflated with the whole thing that I never did it again. My relationship with bulimia was over as soon as it started. It really was a quick fling.

I’m currently still underheight. 

Kalamity K 🙂

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