1990s Jen to Now

Osiyo readers!

“Osiyo” is “hello” in Tsalagi or as many of you know us as: Cherokee.

So I am still around. I’ve just been all consumed with my move to DC and my new career as a journalist. I’m now all settled into my new place with more articles being published every day so I thought since insomnia is plaguing me I’ll write a little something here.

In an effort to unwind and get to bed at a decent hour for myself I decided to make myself a martini and listen to some music from the 90s. This of course led me to think about my high school self which led me to think about my college self and then down the rabbit hole I went.

The music from my late teen years brought to mind the movies and fashion which naturally led me to think about the body image issues I had. Grunge was easy for a chubby girl like me because I could hide behind big tshirts, flannels, and jeans. It was the late 90s crop tops that became an issue though. My eating disorder switched gears from hoarding food, over-eating, and trying to make myself vomit, and ultimately failing and hating myself for failing to severely restricting my diet. The later would continue on throughout my adult life. It still plagues me to this day.

I spent part of my high school years being the smart, cute, funny, chubby girl that boys were friends with and would talk to about other girls and secretly date to eventually being the thin, hot girl that they had zero interest in talking to. Both situations fucking sucked. Frankly, dating men isn’t much different. Yes, there are men out there that are into women for who they are and blah blah blah, but they’re few and far between. Yes, there are men that are into larger women, but many of those men are fetishists and still wouldn’t date a fat woman openly.

Anyway, I digress. I eventually began to think about myself at my thinnest point in college. I was a size 10 and 156lbs. I know that doesn’t sound small, but I was really freaking skinny. It was bones holding my skirts and jeans up. I looked like I had a giraffe neck. I would double up from pain because I was so hungry. The only thing that probably kept me from looking sickly is that I worked out often and had well rounded workouts so I had muscle on me. By senior year of college though, I was throwing up. During the summer between junior and senior year, I had a horrible drunken night because I was upset about some asshole, undeserving man. When I came to the next morning on my friend’s couch I instantly ran to the bathroom and prayed to the porcelain gods to make it stop. As absurd as this may sound to some, throwing up felt cleansing to me. It felt like all of the pain that I was carrying around inside of me was everyday was leaving me. I couldn’t make the nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, and panic attacks from being raped and a survivor of domestic abuse and childhood abuse go away, but I could make myself feel better by puking.

Jump ahead a decade or so and I’ve finally mostly made peace with my appearance and was finally getting help for all of the abuse from my past and that had occurred since college. I won’t say all was well in candy land, but I was trying. Then my existing health issues became a problem. I’ve had health problems since I was very young, migraines since I was 13, and chronic pain due to knee and spinal problems since I was 14. This wasn’t new, but the intensity and frequency was.

These health issues have presented so many problems for me, which I’ve talked about here, but what it also did was present a new reason to hate my body. I had finally begun to accept my body for its size and shape, but now I hated it for all of its limitations and how it was ruining my life. It has triggered my eating disorder. I’ve been struggling with severely restricting my diet since 2012 which is unhealthy for even the healthiest of people. For someone with my health conditions it’s downright dangerous. My last PCP, Therapist, and myself were constantly working to find ways for me to manage my health, in particular checking my sugars (I’m diabetic) without triggering my eating disorder, as well as how I could safely take all of my medications even if I didn’t eat.

Believe me when I say it’s a difficult balance. What I intellectually know my sugars should be versus what my disorder tells me my sugars should be are two very different things. Fear is a powerful motivator. The thought of losing more of myself, more of my freedom, my autonomy, my life, my hopes, my dreams, my wishes, my ability to fight off potential abusers, is too much to bear. Sometimes I don’t eat when I know I should.

So there you have it. One martini and a little music from the 1990s and I have all of this, and a whole lot more, speeding through my mind. I intended for this to only be 3 paragraphs. My brain works an awful lot.

If you’re interested, and you should be, you can read my work on Autostraddle, The Establishment, Wear Your Voice, Medium, and the Matador Network.

Pulling the Plug Before It’s Too Late

May and June are very emotionally charged and gut wrenching months for me. Mother’s Day, the anniversary of my very close friend’s suicide, the last time I tried to kill myself, my mom’s birthday, my Degee’s (my maternal grandma who meant/s the world to me) birthday, my birthday, Father’s day, my father’s birthday, and a few other painful memories to boot. I don’t think even the healthiest of people could make it through two months of those horrible days and their associated miseries without contemplating their death. Since I have chronic health problems-my mortality, short, and long term well being are always on my mind, but it’s especially prevalent right now.

It hit me just a few moments ago that if I don’t kill myself at the right moment in time then I could easily end up a shell of a person. Not only would I be dependent upon someone to completely care for me right down to wiping my ass that I might also not even be able to speak. That last bit never even occurred to me until now. What if I was just a person stuck in a body that didn’t function in any real livable way, but it never died? What if I had to suffer literally unspeakable abuse for countless more years?

I’m loosing my body with every minute of every day, but I’m doing all that I can to keep my mind. All I have left is my mind and my spirit which has been ripped away from me bit by bit. The fucking drugs I take are eroding away my intelligence. My memory is a joke and my focus is shit. Of course none of my doctors want to own up to this. I’m not an idiot though. I know that some of the same meds that keep me going are the same meds that are making me fall apart. I accidentally stumbled upon the fact that the 175mg of Wellbutrin I was prescribed on top of all of my other meds was on were contributing to my sleeplessness (not getting to sleep until at least 5am), my DAILY migraines, and depression. If anyone doesn’t need any of these issues made worse it’s me.

I (I say “I” with emphasis) weened myself off of Wellbutrin and I’m doing better as a result. I’m far from good, but I’m better. My 36th birthday is next week on the 12th and I’m a mess though. I’ll spare all of my sadness, anger, disappointments, and so forth with where I am in my life and just say that I shouldn’t be worrying about when and how to end my life. At (almost) 36 my concern should be how to keep my life going and how to do it with the most joy possible. Instead I’m hedging bets about whether or not my mother will even send a card or a text (Forget calling. That takes effort she’d never put forward) and am terrified about when my body will be so dilapidated that I won’t be able to kill myself for relief from all of my life’s pain.

Happy fucking birthday to me.

Ableism: The Other -ism to Bitch Slap in the Face! Part 1

For those of you that have  not clue one what ableism is I’ll school you. Ableism is discrimination and oppression against those with disability. It may come in a variety of forms from the serious to the everyday inpracticalities and impossibilities that are thoughtless and wear one down. An example of a serious current issue is the very real threat of extreme budget cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Many disabled people live below the poverty line and rely on these services to barely squeak by in life, yours truly being one of them, cuts to these services could literally mean the difference between receiving mandatory health care and a roof over one’s head to living on the street, no health care, or death. 

A less serious example, but still problematic issue that I often face in Boston is the constant hurtle of stairs. The damn things are everywhere. Just to get into the first floor of a building I usually have to climb half a flight of stairs. I am very rarely told about the presence of stairs before arriving at an establishment either and this includes doctors’ offices. For example, after a 2 and 1/2 hour T commute to the oh so trendy Shag Salon in Southie on what had to be one of the hottest days of the year, I arrived utterly sick and in pain to find the salon was on the third floor of a building that did not have an elevator. When stairs are difficult or impossible for one to climb and no one informed you of this because they assume that everyone is able bodied you tend to get fucking pissed off! Thankfully I was able to slowly trudged my way up, but I never went back again. My first appointment with my current therapist was not too long after my first knee surgery and I was still in a lot of pain and on crutches. I arrived to find several stairs I had to climb just to get to the elevator. I was in agony by the time I made it to her office. Assuming that everyone is able bodied because someone happens to be able bodied is similar to heterosexism in the way that it works under the assumption that everyone must be straight because said person in charge is straight. Get it? Good. 

There are important deviations of ableism and other -isms to keep in mind. Every oppressed group has these ol’ bugaboos and we’re no different: stereotypes! I’m using my experiences as examples, but stereotypes represent larger systematic problems at play. There are two primary stereotypes/challenges that I face regarding ableistic stereotypes. The first being the paternalism of the system because I am viewed as a child and the second being the desexualization, the fetishization, or the victimization as a disabled woman. 

Let us begin with the issue of paternalism and the childlike treatment. Upon becoming disabled I was treated radically different by people, doctors, society, and the system. I am now no longer seen as a human, a person capable of thoughts and feelings and the ability to know what is in my best interest. I am viewed as nothing more than a disabled blob, a child really, who cannot possibly take care of herself and therefore is patronized and left to beg and wait for the bread crumbs that are thrown my way. Two cases come to roaring to my mind right now. The first is the meal delivery program that I use, Community Servings, and the second is my current health insurance quandary. 

I am currently a client of Community Servings meal delivery plan because I am often unable to cook for myself or go to the grocery store because of my chronic pain and limited mobility. At first I was very excited about this program as well as furious that despite my multiple inquiries during my knee surgeries I was repeatedly told that no such program existed. As a result I was left to fend for myself when I was so immobile and deep in pain that getting from bed to bathroom was next to impossible. That’s a rant for another day though. Moving on…Seeing as I have diabetes I’m signed up for the diabetic meal plan. Do I receive lots of high fiber veggies, whole grains, and lean protein? No. Instead I get white flour starches, starchy veggies, rarely a green veggie in sight, dark chicken meat, and yogurt and desserts made with cancer and migraine inducing fake sweeteners. I can’t eat anything with fake sweeteners because they bring on a migraine faster than chugging a bottle of Jack. I also have no desire to eat the desserts or a lot of the food in the meals simply because they’re not healthy and they just don’t taste good enough to risk the harm to my body. I often throw out half the high glucose causing foods and then substitute with my own healthier food. In the end I’m still cooking a bit, but this at least helps me stretch my meager $200 monthly food stamp allotment.

After becoming tired of wasting the yogurt and such I finally called and told them that I wanted to stop receiving the fake sugar items. I was then told that because I’m diabetic that I’m not able to make changes to my meal plan and that I need my doctor to authorize the changes. Now take a minute to absorb that. I’m 33 years old and I need my doctor to allow me to eat what I know is best for me. Meanwhile that particular week these people brought me not one, but two frozen meals of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and corn, as well as enchiladas with white rice, but I’m not qualified to make decisions about what I should eat.  Apparently I am nothing more than a 5 year old that needs a parent to make my plate for me. Along with this condescending behavior regarding my food this program only delivers to me on Tuesday. There is no time window either. I have to stay home all day on Tuesday and wait for my delivery. I’m not an adult with things to do. I don’t have numerous medical appointments to go to, errands to run, or Heaven forbid possibly do something enjoyable if I feel up to it. I don’t need to register with Mass Rehab that happens to only register people on Tuesday morning. Nope. I’m just a poor, disabled person, ie a child that needs my parent to think for me. 

Issue number two pertains to my health insurance.  Overall I’m very happy with the insurance that I receiver through the state. I don’t pay deductibles, co-pays, and they’ve approved every drug and procedure I’ve needed. I’ve had some issues, but overall I’ve had a great deal of freedom with this insurance plan. Out of nowhere I received paperwork last month stating that I would be cut off from my current insurance plan and that I’m now enrolled in Medicare. Medicare comes with deductibles, premiums, co-pays, and prescription co-pays. These are all things I cannot afford to pay and will mean that I cannot see my doctors or get my prescriptions. These changes have been made without my consent. 

What did I do with my day today? Did I spend hours writing? No. Did I do my exercises? No. Did I make all the financial and doctor related phone calls I needed to make? No. Instead I spent my day on the phone trying to deal with the insurance issue. Of course the problem is not solved and this led to an anxiety attack, migraine, and increased neck pain. Thank you fucked up health care system for causing me more physical pain. Well done! Is there any wonder I have multiple ulcers in my esophagus?  

I was finally told that my state insurance is cut off because I now have Medicare, but I can apply for a program that will pay for the deductible, insurance premiums, and co-pays. This application period takes roughly 45 days and may not be in effect by the time my current coverage is cut off. This plan, if approved, will leave me paying co-pays on prescriptions which I currently don’t pay. I’ll now be looking roughly at an extra $30 a month in expenses that I simply do not have. This means I’ll now have to decide which drugs I need most when the reality is that I need them all. 

After speaking to Social Security I was told that if I waived Medicare then I would be responsible for paying back the disability I earned while I was eligible for Medicare. I didn’t entirely understand the time frame, but knew this wasn’t an option. My primary concern in all of this since it seems I can get most of the financial issues taken care of is that I doubt Medicare will pay for many of my necessary treatments. What happens to the doctors I’ve established relationships with? I have a lot of specialists and it’s been hard as hell to find them all. I recently found out that my PCP is leaving Boston and it’s going to be next to impossible to find a new one. I can’t possibly hunt down new specialists too. What happens to my mental health care? I see a therapist twice a week. Most private insurance companies would never pay for that, let alone Medicare. What about all the physical therapy I need? What happens when/if Medicare suffers more budget cuts? What happens to my quality of health care then? My current health insurance plan is perfect for me and yet I get no say in the matter because I’m simply poor and disabled. My voice, myself, doesn’t count. I just don’t matter. 

When I was merely poor I had no issues with the MA insurance plan, but once I became disabled it was all a new ball game. I lost any and all rights I had. I became a pawn between federal and state agencies. Who will pay for my healthcare? Who assumes responsibility of my gimpy, childlike self? I’m merely a burden that someone must think for. The goddamn paternalism that goes with ableism is fucking maddening! I already experience paternalism from the government as a woman and now I get this shit?! It’s enough to drive me guano and I’m already crazy. All I can say is that Medicare best pay for my therapy, psychiatrist, and meds or they’ll have one more loon walking around, not that they government would care one bit. Hell the Republicans would be nothing but thrilled to have a reason to lock me up and keep me from participating in society and democracy.

Deep breath. Calm and collected now. Zen Jen. As zen as this Jen gets without a vodka martini in hand or a good fuck anyway.

I’ll be back tomorrow for the concluding part of my Ableism piece.

Until then, you foxy readers you.

 

Inject Here, Manage There, Vocalize Now

Today’s post will be brief. My body hurts. I’m exhausted. I don’t feel like writing. However, it’s important that I give voice to myself and to other people suffering from chronic illness and pain.

Today I had 6 trigger point injections: two in my head, one in my left trap, one in my right trap, and two along my shoulder blade. While these are not the most painful injections I’ve ever had they are by no means a hayride. My body is swollen, tender, and tired. In a few days though it will be worth it because my pain levels will be lower. I have herniated discs in my neck that cause me horrible pain and limit my neck’s range of motion. I also suffer from migraines and low back issues, but this is for another time. I’m currently in the midst of a god awful spell of migraines that will not end. I’ve had a migraine every day since October 23. My migraine pills (Imitrex) make the headache go away, but once the medication wears off the migraine comes right back. I’ve had trigger point injections once in the past for my headaches and they worked so I thought I’d take a stab *get it? stab? ha!* at them again today.

Moving along.

Because I suffer from chronic pain and have low mobility I receive rides to my medical appointments via my state health insurance program, Masshealth. In theory, Masshealth’s ride program, Mart, is wonderful. In actuality though it’s a fucking nightmare. The majority of the time the vendors are late, many of them are rude, and sometimes the cars reek of cigarettes and the drivers will actually complain when I tell them they can’t smoke while driving me. Many of the drivers drive erratically and scare the hell out of me. They’re usually flipping through pieces of paper, talking on their cell phones, or driving way too damn fast for city traffic.  In some instances what should be a short trip home from an appointment takes 3 times longer than it should because of their ineptitude for scheduling. Then there is the music. Oh dear Goddess the music. The radio is either blaring loud to the point of triggering a migraine or it’s quasi tuned to an am station out of Guam that I am barely able to make out what is usually Russian amidst the crackles and static.  This is all if they even pick me up. I’ve missed doctors appointments because the vendors didn’t pick me up from my home. Some of my specialists take months to get into see. Doctors charge cancellation fees too. Thankfully my doctors have all been sympathetic and haven’t charged me any fees, but it’s ridiculous that I’ve been put in this situation. I’ve had to spend my own very limited resources to get home from appointments. I had to pay for a cab home from the hospital when I was on crutches and only 6 weeks post knee surgery in unbearable amounts of pain and barely able to stand all because the bastards didn’t pick me up.

Today’s asshole driver was 20 minutes late and complained when I sat in the front seat. This cretin kept me standing outside in the cold after I had all of those injections and when I said that the front seat was more comfortable for me he had the audacity to say that it wasn’t comfortable for him because his car was like his office.. I couldn’t get in the back seat if I wanted to anyway because he wouldn’t move his front seat up so that I could get in the back. He later picked up two other people so someone would have had to get in the front seat anyway! He didn’t get me home until an hour after my appointment and was horrifically unsafe while driving, and the cacophony (we’re talking three cell phones going off non-stop, him yelling into the phones, and the music rather loud) of that thoughtless sob’s car brought back the migraine that had finally gone away.

Oh, today I  also spent about 15 minutes on the phone with the pharmacy arguing over prescription refills because they can’t seem to be bothered to look in their computer for my remaining refills. I spent 20 minutes on hold with the dermatologist office today and 5 minutes repeatedly explaining myself to the answering service about how I need the nurse to call me because my face has become so dry, itchy, and uncomfortable that I use cetaphil moisturizing cream close to 10 times a day now. Trust me, this is not normal. That should make anyone else’s face look like a pepperoni pizza yet mine is still dry enough to bring to mind the Mojave. I tried to make an appointment with a second nutrionist-yes, now I’ll have two nutrionists-who specializes in eating disorders. I had other things to do today, but I just didn’t have time, or the energy, to take care of them all.

So why am I blogging rather than falling into bed? Because my pain and illness keeps my voice silenced. All of the above is just one day in my life. It’s not an unusual for me. Actually it was a light day simply because I only had one appointment. Last Wednesday I had four appointments in one day. Between feeling miserable every day and managing my health care I’m left with the barest semblance of a life. I don’t have a sense of recognition for my humanity. I have become simply a body to manage the upkeep of, similar to a car.

The voices of the ill, the disabled, and those who suffer from chronic pain are stifled for a wide variety of reasons, but simply keeping ourselves going can easily silence us.  I’m exhausted. I’m in a great deal of physical pain right now. I have a voice though and I’m expressing it here.

I’m  off for my hot date with a migraine pill, ice pack, and my oh so snuggly bed. Jealous? I thought so.

Pour Some Sugar (Substitute) On Me

Le Sigh. Double Le Sigh. So I, uh, have Type 2 Diabetes. I’m still not used to saying this. I don’t like it. It’s not fair. I’m pissed about it. Frankly, I’m still a bit in denial. I just can’t accept that I now have to deal with this too.

My entry from Saturday goes in-depth about my emotional reaction to the diagnosis and how I’ve handled it, or rather how I took a swan dive off the cliff of sanity. This post will be about more of the nitty gritty details of what I’m dealing with in terms of testing my blood sugar, seeing a nutritionist, diabetes specialist, and so forth.

So the diagnosis came down around late September. After a couple of weeks of letting it sink in/me calming the fuck down I went in to see my primary care. Now I love Dr. Raney, but she terrified me on that visit. What sticks out in my mind from our conversation was her talking about blindness, loss of limbs, organ failure, and how my body will rapidly age even more than it already has from my existing health issues. I also recall the room beginning to spin, my heart pounding, and it becoming difficult to breathe. Yup, full on panic attack. I know them well.

A few deep breaths, tears, a damp tissue, and pity faced doctor later I walked out of the office with a prescription for Metformin (at half the therapeutic dose) and the blood sugar testing kit, as well as a referral for a nutrionist and a pharmacist who specializes in helping newly diagnosed diabetes patients. Eventually all drugs, supplies, and appointments were gathered and made. Fabulous. More health care shit to deal with.

October 25, 2012 came and I went to my first appointment for the day: the nutrionist. I admit I was a bit skeptical. The only other time in my life I had consulted a nutrionist was my last semester of college. I was having horrible stomach issues and the doctor felt a change in diet could help. What the doctor didn’t know was that I had horrific PTSD and mental illness that was untreated so I self-treated via starvation, had recently begun making myself throw up after eating, and that I did drugs and drank like a stage 4 alcoholic, but managed to function fairly well. After a horrible set of incidences I went cold turkey on everything and I started tip toeing towards health. Of course I wasn’t doing any of it in the right way, but at least I knew I had to make changes or I’d never make it to see 25.

Enter Malibu Barbie, er I mean the nutrionist. She was so goddamn upbeat I wanted to grab her by her blonde hair and beat her to a bloody pulp. I was going through, what I now know, was with drawl from alcohol and drugs and my brain wasn’t kicking out enough serotonin to even me out and because of a recent attack my PTSD was out of control. I was in a sorry state. The last thing I needed was this perky bitch going on and on about how much she loved her Kashi cereal-Yes, she really did that.

So there I now was, a fat, gimpy, eating disorder relapsing, highly skeptical woman waiting on the next skinny, insensitive, stupid bitch to come out and talk to me like I was just a fat, lazy, lard ass who has no one to blame but herself for having diabetes. Shockingly enough, Nila the nutrionist, was actually pretty great. She was kind, empathetic, didn’t speak down to me, and worked with me where I’m at in my life and health. We spent most of our session talking about the various types of carbs, how the body processes them, and what they mean for me and my blood sugar. There was also discussions around various services that could help me to get fresh produce and other healthy foods given that I suffer from lower mobility and am not always able to go grocery shopping and I don’t have the cash flow to pay for grocery delivery.

Overall our first appointment went well. The only thing that got under my skin with Nila was that she refused to listen to me in regards to how my body felt. I was incredibly exhausted from running around all week to other medical appointments (you need to remember that chronic pain and anxiety are exhausting so I don’t have the energy of a healthy 33 year old woman) so I was having a difficult time staying focused. I mentioned this to her and she insisted that it was because I hadn’t eaten. I told her that wasn’t the case. I had only been awake an hour and half and that was usually around the time that I ate, if I was going to eat that is. She disagreed with me a couple of times until I rather firmly told her flat out that she was wrong and that I knew my body and she didn’t. She looked rather surprised, the way most people do the first time they see “happy” and laid back Jen put them in their place, and backed off. Damnit, I’m an adult and I have chronic health problems that I’ve dealt with since childhood. I know my body. Don’t argue with me and talk to me as if I’m an idiot. I’m highly educated, intelligent, and well versed on my health problems. Don’t talk down to me. It won’t end well.

I scheduled my follow up appointment with Nila for November (which I’ve already had). I grabbed a veggie sandwich on whole wheat from Subway and was off to my next appointment.

Now I was at the Fenway Community Health Center’s South End office (I was at their Fenway location previously) waiting to meet with Tulip. Tulip-Yes, that’s really her name-is a pharmacist who works with patients who have diabetes. I don’t entirely understand her training and so forth, but Dr. Raney (my primary care doc) wanted me to see her so there I was. I got there early so I sat down to eat. Just a couple of bites into my sandwich out she came. When she realized I was eating she told me to take my time and she’d come a bit later.

Eventually I’m in her office being introduced to her pharmacy student interns. Before I’ve even fully become settled Tulip launches into what she does. She instantly uses my meal as her jumping off point:  “I help patients learn how to take care of themselves. I noticed you were eating Subway. For example, I would tell you to get a 6 inch grilled chicken on whole wheat rather than a foot long meatball on white bread.”

Oh mama that minute she said that I was pissed! I stopped her right there. I told her that there were some things that obviously needed to be stated by from the start. I informed her that I had an eating disorder for most of my life that was tied to my history of abuse and had recently been triggered by my PTSD and the diabetes diagnosis so she should watch herself. I also went on to tell her that I had about 4-5 inches of a 6 inch VEGGIE sandwich on whole wheat with minimal low fat dressing and two small slices of cheese and that that was all I had to eat all day. I went a step further to tell her that just because I was fat did not mean that I sat around on my ass all day stuffing my face with pizza with my only form of exercise being the clicking of the remote! Of course I also told her that I have severe knee, neck, and back problems and that I’ve had three very serious knee surgeries this year and that as a result I am limited on the type of physical activity I can get. Once I was done very firmly, but calmly, telling her all of this, her interns looked terrified and she apologized, but looked unfazed. I wanted to bolt.

I spent the next hour listening to her talk about different ways to get good nutrition and so forth. Some of her meal suggestions were pretty good. I’m not a big meat eater, and while I like beans and tofu there is simply only so much a grrrl can eat. I love my veggies, cheese, and pasta/bread/rice/etc. Protein is difficult for me to get into my diet and Tulip was helpful with that as well as with good suggestions on healthy carb foods that would help satisfy my need for rice and such. She was NOT good at listening to me though when it came to my limitations regarding exercise. I finally became so sick of telling her things like “No, I cannot go speed walking for 30 minutes. I’ve had both my knee caps realigned. It hurts to walk at a normal pace just a few blocks.” “No, I cannot do yoga. My neck, back, and knees don’t fully bend and I’m not cleared for that sort of activity.” Eventually I just tuned her out. This was not the most productive medical appointment I’ve ever had. We did discover though that my blood sugar was on the lower side.

I checked my blood sugar at home for the first time on October 28, 2012. I had a full blown panic attack. I was actually trembling from anxiety. Thankfully my blood sugar was 121 which is within fasting range. Then again I was barely eating. Every time I’ve checked it since it’s stayed in the 120s regardless of my anxiety (which raises blood sugar), if I’ve exercised (lowers blood sugar), or what I’ve eaten or if at all. Granted, I haven’t checked it much. If you recall earlier in this post I mentioned I’m still somewhat in denial.

Next Steps

I’m seeing Dr. Raney tomorrow. I’ve requested that she test me again to see if I really am diabetic. I just can’t accept it. My body is so broken. I feel so broken. I feel so weak. I feel so unlovable because I’m not perfect. Many, many people have proven time and time again that they won’t love me because I’m not perfect. I just don’t need diabetes too. It’s such a devastating disease. It attacks every last part of the body. How strong can one woman be?

I’m also getting a whooping cough vaccine and my vitamin D levels tested which are supposed to be important to diabetes in some way.

On another note…

Seems diabetes can also affect the sex drive. I haven’t had much of that over the last several months. I’ve always had the sex drive of a teenage boy, but not for a while now. Of course there’s next to no research on diabetes impact on women’s sex drive. Shocking, I know. Perhaps the diabetes has had an impact, but let’s not discount the downturn on my sex drive due to the 3 horrible knee surgeries, the PTSD, the excruciating depression, the incessant panic attacks, how G ripped my heart out of my chest, how most people just aren’t interesting enough to warrant a coffee with let alone to grant them the pleasure of my body, and, le sigh, the fact that the very few people I’ve cared for just haven’t seemed to care as much in return.

With all of that said though I think I’ve also just been ignoring my desire for sex and sensuality. I’ve been having sex dreams almost every night for the last week and have been pretty consistently listening to Jason Mraz’s Butterfly. Have you heard that song? Oh you must listen to it. Go on Youtube and listen to the solo version he does for RollingStone online.

Mmmmm he’s so sexy! I don’t care if it’s cliché: I love the slightly scruffy white boy. I love curly hair! I love the singer songwriter who’s intelligent and soulful! When I think of a man like him I think of the perfect day spent in bed together being playful, affectionate, having mind altering, amazing sex, and talking for hours. He’s the type that I crave. At least as far as men are concerned. Women are a different story. Oh women….

Must. Catch. Breath.

Ok, I’ve cooled down.

Yeah, I’ve been ignoring my desires. No doubt about that. My guess is it’s because I’m distrustful. I’m so tired of being drug through the mud. I’m so tired of being lied to, taken advantage of, used, taken for granted, and just all around fucked with. It just feels less and less worth it. Ignoring desire seems better than dealing with all the bull shit and pain because, believe me, I’ve put myself out there plenty. I’ve tried time and time again to be open to people and circumstances and the universe and whatnot. My openness is closing down. I’m feeling about as open to people these days as the Republican Party is to, oh I don’t know, science!

I did finally break though. I had a rather physically satisfying encounter last night. He certainly wasn’t anyone I’d want to, you know, talk to, but it was a needed tryst for sure. The last ex-see previous entry-so fundamentally fucked up my sense of right and wrong in terms of trust that being physically next to someone has been difficult on me. Last night was physically pleasurable without any fear or panic…other than the worry he might want to stay the night 😉

The Trouble with Beyonce’ on a Lonely Saturday Night

I’ve spent the last two and half hours trying to write something for my About Me and Blog section. I’ve gone off on multiple tangents that have gotten me nowhere. Some of these tangents have actually been the beginnings of something great, but certainly not acceptable for explaining me or my blog.

I’m trying to run from what I’m really feeling inside. I’m trying to shut my feelings down. I’ve barely eaten all day. I’ve had thoughts of cutting myself. I’ve been anxious. I had a beer at 3pm before I’d even had breakfast. I just poured myself a large tumbler of vodka and I’m still denying myself food at 9pm. Yes, readers, I’m doing everything I can to beat those pesky emotions back down into the dark abyss of my psych.

Then Beyonce’s If I Were A Boy popped up on my iPhone. That’s what finally made me crack.  I was taken down by a motherfucking pop song sang by a woman known only for her ass, husband, and
“Rah rah I’m so independent!  Girl Power! Now where’s my ring, bitch?” songs!  I’m so eaten up inside by pain that I don’t even know what to do with it. My eating disorder that hasn’t been much of an issue in years has reared its ugly head  again in fairly significant ways. Despite the countless desires to cut myself  since I was only 8 years old I never did until May. Since then when I find myself in emotional distress it’s as if my head is bombarded with a barrage of  vivid images of me cutting myself . This started after my second knee surgery and the end of a relationship.

I’m not the kind of woman who snaps because someone dumps her, but this was so much more than that. It felt as if I were being tossed out into the garbage by everyone I ever trusted and believed loved me. I literally put my health and happiness in this man’s hands. He was supposed to help take care of me after a horrendously painful and debilitating knee surgery. I had my left knee cap realigned in January 2012 and the right realigned in May 2012. These surgeries are more painful, more difficult, and have longer recovery times than total knee replacement. I couldn’t leave my apartment. I could barely get out of bed. I have no family or  friends in Boston. I was helpless. Except I was blindly, amazingly, head over in heels in love with someone who I believed with my last breath loved me, every last bit of me, without interpretation, hesitation, or exception. He showed me that love in a million different ways everyday. Until one day, three days after I came home from the hospital to be exact, he didn’t.

He came over to my apartment and told me that he loved me, but couldn’t be with me. I had too many health problems and couldn’t give him the kids he wanted. He swore my health problems would never chase him away and that they weren’t an issue. He promised he’d be there during my recovery. Over night, out of nowhere it all changed.  Suddenly I was not worthy of love and a life together because my body was broken.

Five minutes after he left, when the shock wore off and the reality hit me, I grabbed my crutches and somehow got myself into the kitchen. I was sobbing and shaking from the  pain of being metaphorically ripped to shreds and from literally being cut open, sawed at, bones moved, drilled into, and held together with a couple of screws. Before I knew what I was doing I grabbed a knife and cut my upper, inside forearm open. I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I just needed control over the pain I felt. I needed a concrete source of my pain that I could turn to and say “See that? That’s why I’m hurting. Ok I can fix that.”  Cutting myself, much the way denying myself food does, allowed me an outlet, that I solely controlled, for my emotional pain that is so far reaching that I’m almost afraid to strap on the excavation gear and find out.

About a month later I decided it was time for closure. I invited him over and asked the questions I needed answers to. There wasn’t anyone else. His change of heart came out of nowhere. However, when we started seeing each other he was still in love with his ex and probably always would be. I was merely his attempt to move on.

Two days before he shattered my sense of self and the universe, he looked at me with the sweet, dopey grin he often had when we were together and  as if pulling the words from the air he said “I love you so goddamn much.” We were being silly and I was just so, so very much in love with him, when he said those words to me. They made me melt. Today they make feel twisted and knotted up confusion, hurt, anger, and loss.

While we were dating he read some of the essays I’ve written for my book, one of which is about the ex I had an accidental pregnancy with.  That ex, will call him Asshole 2, left me to have the abortion by myself. I opted for the medical abortion, commonly known as the RU-486 pill. I was so sick and in so much pain I passed out on my bathroom floor. I was utterly alone. In the aftermath, that bastard never bothered to even followup and ask how I was. Well, this current ex had read the story. I told him that what he did to me was worse than that guy. At least with that guy, we were using birth control and it was an accident and he was moving away and blah blah. Yeah, the past ex was a worthless piece of shit and I hoped he’d get what was coming to him, but this ex, the one who swore his love to me and just left me after a planned surgery, he was so much worse. He broke my heart. He further broke my trust in people, men, in myself. He endangered my health.

Not long after this my surgeon told me that one of the screws in my right knee had cracked and was coming out of place. I had to have another surgery.  I needed physical help that I didn’t have in Boston. I would have to spend time with my mom and step-dad, who would only trigger my PTSD and cause me more pain during this “recovery” period. I suffered one more agonizing surgery and then spent 10 emotionally brutal weeks at my mom and step-dad’s house.

I’m choosing to not get into the details of my PTSD or how it was triggered by my mom, but it made the nightmares I was suffereing from exponetionally worse.  It also kicked in my eating disorder. Pain and anxiety kill the appetite as it is. Now I just didn’t want to eat because of the emotions surrounding various incidents. I needed to have control over uncontrollable pain. Enter old eating disorder

I finally got out of my mom and step-dad’s place and got back to my home in Boston. My eating got back to normal.  In typical cataclysmic fashion that is my life I was hit with another bombshell: Type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar, and blood pressure for that matter, had always been perfect up until the surgeries. My blood pressure sky rocketed after being sliced and diced. Turns out my blood sugar did too.

My mom’s family has a long line of type 2 ‘betes having folks. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, gets diabetes in my mom’s family. It doesn’t kick in until the 50s though. My mom made it to her mid 50s with no sign of it so I thought I might have a chance. She’s always been thin and utterly terrified of being fat (gee, can’t imagine how this might have effected me) and of loosing her health like her mother, my Degee . As a result of this, other than what I consider an unhealthy relationship to food, she’s always eaten pretty healthy.  Boom. Enter new health problem.

My mom got very sick with a staph infection and was in the hospital receiving iv antibiotics and steroids for a week. Her blood sugar sky rocketed and she was soon diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. The lucky bitch never had to take medicine, where as I have to take pills morning and night, and she is now considered as having pre-diabetes. My primary care doctor thinks that because I carry the lovely genetic legacy, because I’ve been on high and consistent doses of steroids since I was very young, and had the stress of the three surgeries, that my body finally revolted and that’s why I now have ‘betes. I get the pleasure of having it a whole 20-30 years earlier than everyone else in my family. You know, because I didn’t already have enough health problems.

I told you all of the craptastic diabetes story for a reason. That diagnosis came down around late September. Guess who had a total melt down? Guess who had a panic attack so severe it triggered her asthma and she probably would have died from a damn asthma attack if she didn’t have an inhaler? Guess who freaked out about food again? This grrrl!

I couldn’t get into the nutritionist for about a month so, with trepidation, I asked my mom  roughly how many carbs a day she’s allowed to eat. I NEVER wanted to be a carb counter. I NEVER wanted to go back to counting calories, fat, points, or any of that other dieting, Weight Watchers, I hate myself because I don’t conform to bull shit patriarchal, fat phobic society’s standard of beauty. There I was though, asking my mom again how much goddamn food I could eat. I felt like the broken hearted, abused, traumatized, self-hating, teenage girl I was once.

My first grocery trip after that was one giant cluster fuck of a panic attack. I almost broke down crying in the middle of the Whole Foods. Do you know how many carbs are in everything we put in our mouths? Even healthy food has insane amounts of carbs! Of course, like fat and cholestoral, there are good carbs and the healthy food has the good carbs, but for someone with diabetes I have to be mindful of  a banana, for fuck’s sake! My mom eats 3 meals a day at a max of 40 carbs each and two snacks a day at a max of 15 carbs each. An entire day of what my mom eats is basically a freaking bowl of pasta.

Most of October I barely ate. I started having dizzy spells. I was lightheaded throughout the day. I had practically cut all carbs out of my diet, as well as most fat. I partially did this out of fear of food and it causing more health problems. My life feels as if it’s been ruined by health problems. I feel like any chance I had at a good life and achieving all of the dreams that I’ve worked my ass off for have slipped away from me because my goddamn body has betrayed me. I don’t need diabetes ripping me apart limb from limb. I watched my Degee go blind from diabetes. I watched her loose the use of her legs. I watched her heart disease get worse. I watched her suffer from what I only just learned was most likely diabetes induced dementia. Dementia people! Dementia! My intellect, thirst for knowledge, and education are some of the qualities about myself that I am the most fiercely proud of. I can’t loose those, on top of my mobility, to health problems. Food has yet again become my enemy, but for a whole different set of reasons now.

Dizzy spells. Light headness. Migraines everyday since October 23-have one right now, in fact. Fear of food.

No one knew what I was dealing with years ago. No one listened. No one cared. No one understood. People freaked out. People got awkward and uncomfortable. They said hurtful things that made situations worse. I finally gave up trying to talk about my pain, abuse, self-destructive behavior, etc. I’ve been good though about talking to people about this all, specifically my medical practioners. Some of them have been great, others have a lot to learn.

A few weeks ago I finally snapped out of the starvation thing. My roommate came home with awful, and I say awful for many reasons, Chinese food. I think it was pork fried rice and an egg roll. It smelled so fatty and so bad, but so delicious. It awakened this ravenous side of me. The next thing I knew I was ordering from my favorite neighborhood Chinese takeout spot, Chang’s Place in Brighton (hey, gotta throw business to the little guys, right? We can’t have the whole world be PF Changs? *shudders*). I ordered way too much food and devoured about half of what I ordered. Other than having a way too full tummy I felt pretty damn good. The next 2 or maybe 3 weeks (I’ve recently discovered that my sense of time, in terms of how I physically feel, is a bit thrown off because I feel like shit every day) I ate healthy meals every day and didn’t have a single dizzy or light headed spell. I also didn’t have any cravings to deny myself food. Until…

Remember how a couple of paragraphs ago I said that some of my medical practioners still had a lot to learn? Well, my neurologist, whom I believe is very well intentioned and worth hanging  with for a bit longer, needs some work on this issue. At my second appointment with her on Thursday we talked about the string of migraines I’ve been suffering from since 10/23. During this conversation we of course had to talk about my stress, anxiety, depression, and this of course leads to my life and eating and crap. <Crap? Yes, I went there. I’m emotionally exhausted and “crap” sums up my sentiments nicely. >

I’m trying, I mean really trying, to find a health, happy, stable life for myself. This means being honest with myself, with whatever friends and family I have and that ain’t much,  and with my medical staff and boy does it feel like I have a medical staff. I wish people made it easier on me to be honest, but I’m doing what is right by me, which means being honest about my feelings, my life, my behaviors  and so forth.  I have to talk about things that are holy uncomfortable, painful, dreadful, some days are so utterly unbearable I don’t know how I manage it, but I keep at it because I want a healthier life in every way possible and that won’t happen by denying my past and present.

For the sake of my own honesty and story I feel I should say that during the writing of this post I have been drinking the earlier mentioned tumbler of vodka. It’s not yet finished. I’ve had to take a moment during different periods of writing to stop and sob too. Over the course of my 20s and 30s I’ve had plenty of people tell me that I’m brave, accomplished, strong, successful, and so forth, but this is one of those moments where I wonder what they’d think if they could see me now? Would they really think those things about me if they saw me sitting on my couch in my “sitting room” which is just my fancy way of calling my pathetic excuse for a hallway/non-living room something other than what it really is, all alone, drinking the last 1/4 of a tumbler of vodka by myself while writing, crying, and listening to depressing music on a Saturday night? Brave, accomplished, strong, successful, or whatever is the last damn thing I feel right now.

Seems I lost myself down that trip to pity lane. Hmm. Oh yeah, neurologist. So I told her about the eating disorder and how it’s been a factor again, but how I’ve been OK the last couple of weeks again. She showed concern and was really great. We started talking about next steps and possible other drugs to control my migraines. One of the pills she suggested was Depakote. Depakote instantly plunged me back to the teenage years. Perhaps I’ll elaborate on them one day, but for now I’ll just say I was a goddamn guinea pig. Between the migraines and the mental illness I was pumped full of so many pills that it was ridiculous. I had regular blood tests to make sure my liver functions were normal which is rather ironic considering how much I’d grow up to love my cocktails. I gained excessive amounts of weight around the time I was 13 which is also when my migraines began and also when my mental illness became unbearable. This was around the time I was put on multiple meds. I don’t question the validity of my health problems because they came long before the meds and stayed long after I took myself off them, but I do question how some of those prescriptions made things worse, Depakote being one of them.

I turned down Depakote flat without question. I’m not sure if my neurologist took this as a sign of me being worried about weight gain or not, but we decided instead to up my dosage of Topemax. Towards the end of our appointment, when I was a bit more up-my moods, while fairly well controlled with meds, can go up and down very quickly because I have borderline personality disorder-she seemed to become more comfortable and relaxed with me, as many people do , and perhaps forgot her role as my doctor and made mentions about how we all eat larger portions than we should. It took me a bit aback, but I hid it well, as I often do when I feel necessary to hide my emotions and thoughts. I truly think she just forgot about what I told her earlier. Not only do my moods change quickly due to the illness, but I’m good at smoothing people over with my wit and charm and making them forget things I’ve said regarding my emotions etc . I have no problem putting people in their place when it’s necessary and I can sweet talk you into handing over your last dime to me too.  I grew up in a shitty family and was surrounded by abuse. I adapted to live under the circumstances that were in front of me. It led me to the skill set I currently speak of. I also just happen to be a warm, genuine, kind, friendly person. I’ve had people tell me over the years that I’d make an excellent agent, road manager, lawyer, and a candle stick make. Well, maybe not that last one. Now if only I could ditch my morals and use my powers for evil so I can afford an apartment with an actual living room.

I once had a therapist, a psychotherapist to be exact, tell me that she had a hard time pinning me down. She’s the one that diagnosed my Borderline Personality Disorder. We were not a good match and only lasted for maybe 9 months, but I do agree whole heartedly with her diagnosis. She told me that she had a hard time understanding how every week I could come in with such a change of emotions and how my emotions could change so quickly during our sessions. I’ll admit that my emotions were very strongly portrayed with her because I didn’t trust her one little bit whereas with my current therapist I feel completely safe and have opened up a great deal. Anyway, old therapist told me that she had such a hard time figuring me out because I’m so “successful” (apparently most people with BPD aren’t *cough* bullshit!*) and that I’m very good at masking my emotions. It’s not as if I’m sort of psychopath and don’t have emotions. I think my 3 blog posts make it pretty damn obvious that I have LOTS of emotions. I simply had no choice , but to hide them growing up and I learned to hide them well.

Soooo here we are. I’m at home, alone on a Saturday night, finishing off a tumbler of a vodka on an empty stomach. I’m hurting. I’m sad. I’m alone. I thought I was doing better in regards to love and the possibility of being open to people then I met that bastard ex and the little bit of betterness I had was fucked up. It’s not about how he hurt my trust in men or people which most certainly did and I did not need any help in that avenue; it’s about how he hurt my trust in me. I’m back to not trusting myself to make good judgement calls on others. I’m not just talking about romance. It’s lighthearted social encounters, meaningful friendships, sex, dating, romance, family, doctors, myself, everything and everyone. I don’t trust myself to decide whom to trust on the most basic of levels.

My tumbler is empty now. I still haven’t eaten. Beyonce’ is still on repeat-Goddess help me!

I can’t say for certain that I won’t have another vodka. I can’t say for certain that I’ll eat when I sign off. I can say though that I did finally honestly acknowledge and share my feelings tonight. That may not be much to some people, but that is Empire State building huge for me.

And fuck you, Beyonce’ and the ring on your thang! You didn’t spark my emotions; Nnenna Freelon warmed me up!