Weight problem: the skinny version

Yesterday I ate a protein bar I didn’t really want.  I had a second helping of bean soup that I didn’t really want.  I added extra beans to my tortilla so that it was overflowing and messy.  And I went to the store to get a tub of peanut butter when I really wanted to sit at home, then layered that peanut butter on my food when I didn’t really want the peanut butter on my food.  This was on top of my normal 3-4 meals.  I also went to the gym to lift weights when I am battling Shingles and just wanted to rest.  All told, I ate an extra 1000 healthy calories on top of a high calorie day (I eat about 4000 healthy/boring calories a day) and spent 45 minutes lifting relatively heavy weights (200 pound bench press, 130 pound bicep press, 215 pound lat pull down, 350 leg press).  Despite all the food I eat that I don’t want to eat, I am almost always hungry – I feel hungry almost every waking minute, even 30 minutes after eating a pizza.  Despite all this, this morning I woke up, weighed myself, and weighted 1 pound *less* than yesterday — 155 pounds at 5’11.  Ugh.  And people always tell me how “lucky” I am, and occassionally will comment that I look too thin.

Having grown up with a parent and her family who battles weight the other way, I know how much work and blood/sweat/tears goes into losing weight.  It is hard, and often thankless and endless and downright frustrating.  I also know from my own experience it works both ways – keeping weight on for some people is hard and thankless and relentless and occassionally frustrating work.  And because I like to stay healthy, it is not like I get to gorge on cookies and ice cream and sausage pizza – I watch my intake of those just like a weight watcher would.  But no one —  not even my wife, who lives with me and who encourages me to eat more calories but comments how lucky I am – gets that.  It is a lonely thing, fighting weight the “other” way.

Anyway, that is my version 🙂  

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Weight problem: the skinny version

Ooooohhh, this is what all the fuss about Shingles is about

I’ve had Shingles twice before and never knew what the big fuss was about it.  The first was a small patch that itched a lot but otherwise I seemed fine, and the second time was similar but with a little more fatigue/pain, although I am always tired and in pain so a little more of that isn’t a huge deal.  But I’ve come down with Shingles a third time and I am startging to understand the fuss.  I have a series of red patches along my right chest and back (including under the arm) that flat out hurt, like a burn, and I am really sore.  I am not sure if it is related (I am sure it is) but I am itching and tender at invisible places in m body: for example, my right tricep is tender (i.e. hurts to the touch) and itches but nothing is there.  I have a few places like that on m body (left ankle, right shoulder, etc.).  Some of those spots come and go, but others (like the ankle and tricep) are persistent…  I am certain that I still have a fairly mild case, but at least now understand/get why some people are truly miserable with Shingles…

I visited the doctor on Friday (they squeezed me in since I was still in the 72 hour critical window for treatment), and I am on antiviral medicine which doesn’t seem to be helping but then again who is to say if it is or not (i.e. maybe it would be worse without the medicine).  She also asked about my stress; honestly, I am in a very stressful part of my life (stress being relative). I have chronic health issues, am spending a lot of time in doctors offices while working full time with fatigue, we are having financial stress since Wife M is in school full-time and my earnings have been cut in half since my diagnosis in 2011, and my current employer is having serious financial difficulty which means I am likely back on the job trail again and explaining why I am on my fifth job in 5 years.  Sigh. 🙂  The best way to cure the stress will be to get a stable job and to stabilize our financial situation (which will be much better next year when wife M has graduated).  I am not bitter about anything – there is just a lot of stress I am trying to manage.  🙂

The last two times I had Shingles were in 1990 during college finals, and three years ago when I joined a high-stress company as a manager (I literally was thrown into the fire day 1 for a chaotic company).

Ooooohhh, this is what all the fuss about Shingles is about

Managing Chronic Illness is a full-time job at times – I am in the midst of that time…

Every 6-12 months I have to go through a cycle of tests to make sure everything is stable.  They found some inflammation in my lungs, lymph nodes and muscles so I am in the midst of an endless number of tests and doctors visits right now to make sure all is okay and to determine the best course of treatment.  Tomorrow is another half day at the doctor, while squeezing in work before and after that…  It is exhausting trying to work full-time but also spending 10-20 hours a week in doctor’s offices.  On the other hand, it is nice to have healthcare available to me to manage chronic illness – most people in the world aren’t that lucky and would love to have my problem!

Managing Chronic Illness is a full-time job at times – I am in the midst of that time…

Really enjoyed my mani-pedi today!

Wife M scheduled manis and pedis for us today.  My pedicurist was especially good, and had a good touch and gave a good massage.  I spent the entire hour with my eyes closed while focusing on the warmth of the shoulder pillow, the soothing feeling of the process plus foot/shoulder massage and enjoying my warm tea.  It was a marvelous hour at a time when I am in a lot of pain/fatigue from my illness and also feeling worried about my current flare and spot on my lungs.  

Commentary: Once again, there were like 10 women and 1 dude (me) in there — some day, maybe, more dudes will figure out how great mani/pedis are and how nice it is to have groomed hands and feet.  Until then, I’ll enjoy being the only guy in a salon of women 🙂  When I was in college, there were times when guys would comment about how did I know so many women – duuuuhhh, it is the little things that indicate you are not a gorilla or clueless dude, little things like manis/pedis, asking women questions about their lives instead of talking about yourself, wearing stylish shoes/shirts that a stylish woman picked out for you and making flawless eye contact (that is, keeping eyes up or away, and not on breasts or other women). Also, the topic of sex should never come up, ever – it is okay for women to talk about sex with other women, but as a married man making any (even harmless) comment about sex is risking crossing that line of trust.  Even after 25 years of blissful monogamy, those habits are still ingrained in me and help keep my relationship with Wife strong.  

Anyway, I enjoyed my mani/pedi today.

Really enjoyed my mani-pedi today!

Feeling physically miserable these past few days

My arms and legs feel soooo heavy and weak,my entire body is stiff and hurts, my vision is blurry, and I just don’t feel right.  It has gotten worse these past few days.  I don’t know what is going on with my body but I am feeling absolutely miserable.  I am glad that I am in the middle of some tests and in the midst of seeing doctors — timing is right by chance.

Feeling physically miserable these past few days

Nervous about the number of kids who are experimenting with hormones, which seems off the charts.

I am really very happy with how much our society has progressed in various transgender and sexual rights these past few years.  But I am nervous about the number of doctors who are very quick to prescribe hormones to kids to change their sex without digging into what else might be behind what is going on and without fully consider the  potential health consequences for trying homron therapy.  

Time was, it was a serious matter to change your gender, one that people took seriously and sometimes took years to progress to.  For example, Wife M had a friend whose roommate was a man turning into a woman, and she cross dressed for years before really making the change.  ALthough she was not on hormones, everyone treated her like the woman that she was, and it was a big deal for her to make that change.  

Now, I feel like a lot of kids are taking very serious hormones — which may have long term consequences to health — without really truly experimenting with what that means.  We are experiencing this, in fact, with our son R, who is experimenting with hormones without any therapy and after only one doctor’s visit; we asked him to attend therapy to explore whether that was the right decision for him, and even told him to consider dressing and acting as the other sex for awhile so he was sure, but he has leapt right in with the doctor’s blessing.  My concern is not someone’s right to experiment – but it’s the health consequences that may result long term if he changes his mind in a few months. 

In the 1980s, a lot of therapists and doctors started prescribing prozac like candy as a first act – they literally prescribed it to 100% of their patients.  It wasn’t all therapists, but it was enough of them to raise concerns.  (Also, prozac was quite famous at the time, and I am sure a number of people went into the therapist and immediately requested prozac).  It was only after some exposes discussed the concerns with this that this curtailed. Also, there were quite a few kids around 1990 on anabolic steroids, and it took social intervention (media, etc.) about the health consequences to end that fad.  

I have this feeling that this may be true now, with hormones.  Even a google search for me did not immediately find any discussions on whether it really and truly is the right case, but primarily how to provide/get emotional support during the transition.  For me, the most telling statistic is that kids who are on the autistic/asberger’s spectrum are 25x more likely to experiment with hormone therapy than other kids – which might indicate they feel different, and think hormones are the secret.  But, again, my concern is to the health effects.

I am biased on this.  I myself took a very serious drug — prednisone — to save my life, and it worked but it had long-term consequences for me that I am still living with, and may always have.  And I never took recreational drugs, and am going through a lot of pain right now because I am trying to stay off my pain meds.  So I am a firm believer in drugs as a serious item that need to be carefully weighed before taking, whether it is IBProfen or Prednisone or hormones.

Anyway, my two cents.  For better or worse, our son is 19 and has always been set in his ways when he makes up his mind, so we have virtually no say on this.  The bitter irony is, for years we were pushed by schools to put him on various medications to improve attention span, etc. but we absolutely resisted since M and I did not want to put our son on drugs.  He has also been diagnosed with anemia, but will not take medicine for that.  In a word, argh.  🙂

WIfe M and I start attending a parent group in a couple of weeks for parents of transgender kids. We want to do the best we can to be supportive but also realistic, and this group will hopefully help.

Nervous about the number of kids who are experimenting with hormones, which seems off the charts.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the spectre of the new ground glass opacity in my lung wasn’t weighing on me a little bit, but then again… 

“There is a new ground glass opacity in the apex of the right lung.”  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking of those words a lot this week.  After living 4 years with stable lung disease, I start taking for granted that the chance of relapse is there, but like the thought of dying it is such a distant thought it doesn’t weigh on me day to day.  But a new opacity changes things a little bit – a reminder that the woods will always be there, and that there is always a chance that I’ll have to venture in them again.  But, I had two other “scares” in 2012 and 2015 that turned out okay, so am knocking on wood for a third time.  It is not death that is so scary right now — it is prednisone and recovery from prednisone, which took two years of my life to recover from.  🙂  In the meanwhile, I’ll just enjoy each moment that the GGO is just that — a spot, a potentially harmless spot, and nothing more.  

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the spectre of the new ground glass opacity in my lung wasn’t weighing on me a little bit, but then again…