Struggling

Hey everyone, 

It pains me to report any negative news in regard to my “transformation,” but some health issues beyond my control happened late last year that pretty much ruined all my hard work. 😦 I began running at the gym, pretty successfully, and I was so happy that I was finally able to do an activity that I previously told myself I would never be able to do. Over the course of a week I began to feel very lethargic and weak, so I started going to our local doctor who prescribed various meds to try and decrease anxiety. Turns out…it wasn’t an anxiety issue. I ended up in the ICU for 3 days with a heart rate of 40 and below, sometimes reaching 35 in the hospital and my blood pressure was 235/125. The doctors are still uncertain as to what caused this hypertensive emergency, and I’d like to think that the reason why I didn’t have a heart attack and a big reason why I’m still alive at all, is my persistence with exercise and fitness the whole 9 months prior to this incident. 

ImageSo the hospital doctors prescribed FOUR hypertension drugs with no explanation as to why my BP was high. They told me that it wasn’t my weight or lifestyle but couldn’t give me an alternate diagnosis, either. :/ My BP hovered around 125/80, sometimes reaching 135/90, even on all the meds and I never really felt as good as I felt during the summer of 2012. A couple months went by and I went to a few follow-up visits to my cardiologist, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then around the beginning of January I started developing a very strange, circular rash on my torso and arms. I ended up in the emergency room 3 times until my cardiologist made me an emergency appointment with a dermatologist. It’s been 3 months since I started seeing the dermatologist and we’re still doing testing every week to see what is going on inside my body. 

What I know now: Because the ICU doctors did NOT test one hypertension med at a time, they never established if less than all 4 of them would be affective. They just started off with 4 and didn’t try anything else. Turns out, I did NOT need all of them, and at LEAST 2 out of the 4 were poisoning my body. The doctor is speculating now that one med gave me Linear IgA Bullous Dermatosis (the circular rash), which is an autoimmune syndrome. AND one of the BP meds gave me a drug-induced lupus-like syndrome, also autoimmune. 

Having both of these drug-induced autoimmune symptoms at the same time has been very debilitating. I have not been to the gym since last September and it bothers me every day. I was put on steroids for a couple months, causing weight gain. I’ve been on a high dose of antibiotics that require weekly blood monitoring and I’ve just been put on Imuran, which is a very strong immunosuppressant. The Imuran will require an additional blood test every week as well. It’s been hell. I can’t tell you all how much I just want to be healthy again. 

ImageI severely hope this is all just drug-induced and that my symptoms are short-term. I’ve been in so much pain and discomfort for almost 7 months now. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a wonderful dermatologist and cardiologist but I hate the burden this has on my work, family and friends.  

I know they all say they’re not tired of me talking about my struggle, but if its weighing on me, I know it’s weighing on everyone else, too. 

Well, that is all I know for now. If you want or warrant an update in the future, I’m sure the final diagnosis and such will be posted. Stay healthy everyone. 

 

If you pray, I’d appreciate prayers. If not, good thoughts would be great. Thanks everyone. 💉💊😷🙏😕

Dear Santa, Restore my Mind, Body & Soul

Every year I start posting “Dear Santa” letters to my website, the Unwritten Letters Project. I’m going to add the photo widget to the sidebar of the site tonight and start soliciting the letters. If you have something you’d like to ask Santa for this year, I really recommend writing a letter. I challenge any reader to try it and tell me how it feels afterward. Did writing it down help you at all? I really am curious. Has almost 4 years managing this site been worth it? Do people really feel help, hope and healing from this process? Please comment and let me know if you write a letter or have written a letter, and how did it make you feel? Thanks everyone. 🙂

Also, I am in the midsts of some medical issues currently. I go in for a test Friday to see if I need kidney surgery, so prayers would be nice. And so:

Dear Santa,

This year I would like my health to be restored for Christmas. Thank you.

Yours,

Alex

Dear Santa 2012

Halloween Brings Out the Devil in Me!

Left: Me as a devil for Halloween 2011
Right: Me as a devil for Halloween 2012

So, I thought I should post this picture to give you all an update on where I am today. I wore the same dress today that I wore for last year’s Halloween, to see how far I’ve come. I can definitely see the difference, and I can honestly say I’m pretty proud of how much I’ve accomplished this year so far. 🙂 I’m now working for AmeriCorps at a Public Health Department in Illinois, and I absolutely LOVE my job. I don’t have time for a full update now, but Happy Halloween, everyone! Be safe & healthy.

Judgements.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post pertaining to this issue for a while now, but I don’t want people to see this as a “pity me” piece or even a “woe is me” post. It is what it is, everyone needs to STOP JUDGING OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE. And I don’t just mean the judgements you pass between friends or behind our backs. Those are awful, just the same. But what I’ve been experiencing A LOT lately, even with close friends and family, are the snide, ignorant comments that go along with pre-conceived assumptions or sterotypes. You might think you’re saying something in jest or say that we need to be less sensitive and get over it. Why should you have to think before you speak? BECAUSE YOU DO. Everyone does. Saying “if you can catch me” to someone like me isn’t the same funny joke as it is to an average-sized person. Don’t be an ass and say something like that shouldn’t hurt my feelings because you’re NOT me, and you do not get to make that judgement. Who are you to say what should or should not offend me? If you look at me like I’m lying through my teeth when I say I’m a picky eater because obviously I must eat everything because I’m not a size two, yeah I’m going to be offended!

Assuming things about ANYONE just makes an ASS out of you. PCOS, Diabeties, Thyroid issues, metabolic disorders, etc. …they ALL affect a person’s ability or non-ability to lose weight, so before you make an ass out of yourself, THINK before you speak. Even if people are overweight due to overeating and inactivity, that does not mean they deserve ridicule and judgement. You probably have SO many things people could judge you for, so just be nice because karma’s a bitch and it will bite you in the ass. The biggest judgement comes in the end, and which side would you want to be on? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Be nice.

Alex Buys A Bathing Suit Edition

Hello again.

It’s been a month since my 3-Month Transformation post, so I guess I’m due for an update. Last week my family and I went to Gulf Shores, Alabama for 5 days. We usually take a yearly trip to the Gulf, and I always look forward to it, but this year was different from the last 12 years… I bought a bathing suit. Most of you probably cannot fathom or understand why buying a bathing suit is a big deal, but I haven’t worn one since I was 12 years old, so I am pretty proud of myself. I by no means have a bathing suit body that is desirable, haha, but this is a sign that I am becoming more and more comfortable in my own skin. Another milestone, and my mom can attest to this, is that I started wearing sleeveless shirts while on vacation, too. I actually came home with a tan…weird. I have such a long road ahead of me in reaching my goals, but it’s these little milestones that are so exciting. Most of my friends can walk around in a bathing suit or tank top without fear or skepticism, and I’ve always envied them and admired their confidence. Hopefully one day soon, that will be me. 🙂 Until then, it’s pool time! Enjoy summer.

Cheers.

Noticeables

Contrary to popular belief, I am not in high school anymore. In the past few days, well really ever since I moved to this small town, I’ve been mistaken for a high schooler more times than I would care to admit. I think the extra weight makes me look younger, so people naturally clump me in the 16-18 age group and assume I’m one of those hipster teenie-boppers strolling down Mainstreet. False. I am a bona-fide woman with an education, fools! I was buying a case of beer the other night and received some pretty confusing stares the entire time. I’m investing in a shirt that says, “I’m over 21, promise.” While I’m on the topic of investing in shirts, I think I’ll find one that says, “creepers step off” or “if you aint got teeth, I aint got time.” Gah. I love this town, but sometimes I miss the big city.

Also, and I know this has nothing to do with fitness, bullying or PCOS, but why do people in small towns INSIST on displaying ceramic animals of every nature in their front yards?!? I do not understand this trend and quite frankly, it freaks me out a little. I’ve seen fake turtles, deer, bunnies, ducks, and even dogs…I mean, come on. You live on a farm/in the country…why do we need to display fake, creepy looking animals in the yard when the real things are all around us? Mini-rant over.

In regards to my fitness goals and whatnot, I’m still very much on track. I’ve strayed a little recently with the nutrition….trying to find some solid motivation and strength in that department. Maybe someone has advice in that area? I have all the motivation in the world to work out and have been on this two-a-days kick recently since I’m going to the beach in less than two weeks. There have been too many Birthdays in April/May, so really, people just need to stop having birthdays and tempting me with yummy treats. Geez everyone, do you really need to be a year older??

It’s graduation time in this small town, and a lot of really important people in my life will be leaving me soon. My tactic with goodbyes has always been to act like it’s not goodbye, even if I know it’s forever. My sister Maggie said, “Goodbyes are only sad if you know you will not say hello again.” So, if I convince myself that there will always be a hello, I will never have to be sad, right?? 🙂 Well, I have to finish up working at the gym, so I’ll catch you all later!

Cheers!

My 3-Month Transformation

This picture was taken October 31st, 2011

This picture was taken April 2012, approx. 3 months after lifestyle change!

Hello again!! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written, but that does not mean that I’ve been slacking on the PCOS research or implementation of my new lifestyle. It’s been approximately 3 months since I began the PCOS-related diet restrictions, medication regularity and workout routine, and I am SO proud to say that I’ve shed just about 30 pounds! It hasn’t been easy. If it is, then it’s not safe, so if you feel like it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your life, then you’re doing it right!So far, other than the mere satisfaction of seeing results and knowing this is the outcome of severely hard work, I’ve had some amazing things come out of all of this and only THREE months in! Here’s a checklist of why I’m so happy I made this decision and why I will continue to push forward.

1. Confidence. After being bullied your whole life, your confidence level severely diminishes. Now that I have more energy and know that I am doing everything I can to make me healthy, I have so much more confidence in everything I do on a daily basis. Whether it’s walking into the grocery store in my spandex workout pants (hehe) or talking to someone who I thought would never give me the time of day, confidence is important to have regardless of how you find your way there. 🙂

2. My gym is my 2nd family. I will preach until the day I die that I am a city girl at heart and belong in Los Angeles or New York, but I can talk until I’m blue in the face about the benefits of a small town. The first day I entered 159 Fitness I was hooked on the hospitality and comfortability I immediately felt. A small-town gym offers more personal recognition, one-on-one time with trainers and in-depth solutions to any personal health issues I’m struggling with. Although they kick my ass and make me wish I could just have an ice cream, they make showing up every day more of a blessing than a chore. AND, some of the best people I’ve ever been privileged to know and call friends, I met at this small-town gym. 🙂

3. THEY FIT! This might be one of those no-brainers of getting fit and losing weight, but for someone who’s tried her whole life to lose weight without results, it’s a bigger deal. My mom bought me a pair of jeans TWO years ago that got pushed to the back of my closet because I swore I would never get in them. Turns out, I was wrong. I finally got into them! My mom was just psychic, as always, and knew I’d kick my own ass one day.

4. Perspective. It bothers me that there will be people who say, “30 pounds, no big deal,” or “she doesn’t look that different in those two pictures.” Well, perspective is important. While helping the instructor pick up after class today, I was holding about 26 pounds-worth of free weights in my arms. I turned to her and said, “This is less than what I’ve lost, and it’s really heavy…” We both just smiled really big. You really don’t know how much you’re carrying around until it’s gone. And perspective for onlookers is so important. You might think that “yeah, she has a lot more to lose” but if you see through my perspective, this is a big deal and instead of being ignorant or arrogant, instead, be supportive so that long way I still have won’t be lonely.

5. Inspiration. My mom thinks it’s weird that I can get inspiration or motivation from watching TV shows like “America’s Next Top Model”, haha, but I’m weird like that. However, if you’ve ever gone to the gym, you know the feeling of being inspired by other people at the gym. I participate in classes with 70+ year-old men and women who work just as hard as I do, I sweat just as hard as the girl next to me whose half my size and even though you all might have different health issues, ages, injuries or reasons for joining the gym, there’s a commonality among all of you, and it’s important to respect that and gain inspiration from those who are showing up to sweat with you. 🙂 I never want to let them down, not show up for a class, because what if I’m an inspiration to them, too?

Ok, I could go on and on, like how much my family is awesome for supporting me and how much I love actually becoming an employee of the gym, etc. etc., but I’m sure most of you stopped reading at check point #2 because I talk too much. But anyway, the update is that I’m having fun working hard, and I plan on losing at least 30 pounds more in the next 3 months. 😀

Cheers!