Friday, February 26, 2010

The Back Story I Promised...Part I

The road to recovery started in 2009.  For the last 5 years or so, my doctors have been very unhappy with my weight and inactivity.  But there were tons of distractions as I went through my "mystery diagnosis" illness.  Then in April of 2009, when a brave neurosurgeon finally diagnosed the "mass" or "lesion" in my brain as a meningioma tumor that was more than likely benign (but securely wrapped around my carotid artery so no chance at biopsy) it was as if the excuses suddenly lost steam.  It took me a few months to figure this out.  I'm talking about the excuses I used for being inactive.  I just really and truly didn't "feel good."  And I wasn't joking and even looking at it now I don't think I would call it a cop out.  Had I known how connected nutrition and activity (or lack thereof) are to the way one feels, I would have saved myself a few dozen pounds maybe.  Are you saying "duh" yet?

I can't even say getting this diagnosis really depressed me.  In fact, it elated me to some degree. It had been almost 3 years of guessing, chasing lymphoma and MS and breast cancer, finally changing specialists or giving up for a few months when they would tell me they could do no more for me.  You can only hear "we understand that-you drop things-are clumsy and forgetful all of a sudden-have headaches-and fall all the time-but its all in your head and have you seen a psychologist?" so many times before you want to scream.  I have never been a very "graceful" person by nature, but falling 3 times in a 6 month period tells me something is up.  At least at my weight, I bounced more back then when I would hit the ground (barring anything concrete that met me first).

So I found myself, glad to finally have a diagnosis and a plan of action (MRIs annually to measure the tumor and sooner if symptoms arise) and then I was left with the realization that I had nothing left to blame for my "not feeling good."  As I was able to see through the clutter and extract the symptoms of the tumor, the symptoms left all pointed to my poor nutritional quality and my complete lack of exercise. 

I remember during those days sometimes being so humiliated at work because walking from one building to another would cause me to sweat so much I had to keep wiping my face.  {not great for makeup by the way}.  I remember getting on an airplane and realizing I was that person - that fat person that everyone spotted in the breezeway and prayed they were not next to on the plane.  I remember trying to get dressed for work while in the office, or church at home and many times winding up sitting on the pile of clothes on my bed completely distraught at my lack of things to wear...that fit anyway.  I remember not being able to help out with bathtime for my little girl due to being too exhausted and in such pain in my joints, unable to bend over the tub.  I remember deciding not to go anywhere in public because I didn't want people to stare at me.  I remember catching a glimpse of myself accidentally in a store window reflection and wondering who that slovenly chick was grimacing at anyway?  I remember being on a business trip and crying because nothing I brought fit me right.  I remember the day I realized that there are stores that have nothing in my size.  I remember how many times we would order takeout as I didn't want to sit in a restaurant where people would see me eat.  I remember having trouble breathing when I laid down at night.  I remember not pulling my hair up anymore so I could hide the fatty "hump" that had accumulated on the back of my neck.  I remember posing for pictures doing everything I could to suck in, angle my face and turn my legs, only to take a look at the picture and need to gasp for air I was so disassociated with how I really looked to everyone else.

Those were sad days.  But I grew a bit angry at myself as well.  And that anger turned into helplessness.  I remember my gynecologist last year telling me this was no longer a matter of a few pounds.  It was a matter of life or death.  The thought that I could be responsible for my early demise due to my carelessness with the body I was blessed with made me shudder at my core.  As a wife, as a mother, as a person, this was just not acceptable anymore.

Being that heavy was my own doing, and would completely take me and every bit of my own will to undo it.


Stay tuned for the rest of the Back Story...coming soon!  In the meantime, check out my true "before" picture.  June of 2009, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 285 pounds.


Catapulting Aaron said...


I'm happy to hear you're taking control of your destiny. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help!


Jenn said...

Clara, you are so brave to share your story, especially such personal details. I really admire your strength!