Sunday, March 11, 2007

Concerns of The Aging

Wow, I cannot believe I have not posted here since 2/20. That shows you that time flies when you are a sick puppy. I'm taking a leave of absence and telling everyone why to deal with "neglectful bloggers guilt syndrome" as much as anything else.

It all started out with me being a good girl. I was determined to lose the weight, stop the diabetes in its tracks, get rid of my GERD, lose the CPAP machine and start living like real people. My husband was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease just last year. He's pushing 68 (doesn't look it, though*wink) and I wanted to be in good shape in order to take care of him. Add to that the fact that this silver hair and wrinkles causes one to become much more aware of one's own mortality...FINALLY, real resolve with my weight issues surfaced and I was on my way.

Unfortunately, the "purple pill" had been doing such a good job for me for so long, that I just took it for granted I was covered and went about using, as diet foods, some things that are listed as real GERD "no-no's." I drank copious cups of coffee and tea, ate citrus, tomatoes, onions, and spicy foods and occasional chocolate was my tiny reward when I was good. I started counting carbs, fats and calories and walking and the pounds started slowly melting away. I am down from an all-time high weight of 312 lbs. to 229 lbs. and still losing. BUT, I brought a little "friend" with me who now make its painful presence known, in spades.

What can I say about severe erosive reflux esophagitis? Well, it can turn into cancer, it burns and hurts and disrupts your life like a son of a bitch and it is a long-term battle to overcome this devil of a condition.

What does it feel like? Imagine the worst heartburn you have ever experienced..where the burning, pressure and pain invade your chest, upper abdomen and even your upper back. Try to imagine how it would feel to have someone trying to inscribe the preamble to the constitution on the inside or your throat up to your soft palate with a wood-burning tool. Try to think of that happening several times a day, or sometimes, all day long without a break. Your esophagus, throat and upper tummy look like rare hamburger under an endoscope exam, and it feels worse. Your appetite is in the basement (I lost 8 lbs. in one week) and your sleep is very compromised. Your body starts to become a tense "container" for this dragon and there is no comfortable position.

Now, while you are dealing with this and taking the 14 doses of 6 different medications I am taking at this point, you are required to go on living, eat (lots of luck), sleep (yeah, right!) and interact with others. If you are really fighting, then you are sleeping on a bed with the head so elevated that you keep thinking you are going to slide off. And sleep is almost impossible. I actually slept 7 hours last night for the first time in weeks. I was awake from 3:00am, Friday to 8:00pm, Saturday. When I yawn, my entire body spasms.

Then, although you do have to eat, the list of foods that are off the chart for this condition are huge. I can't even have mustard, right now. What I miss most is what my doctor thinks might be the big culprit at aggravating my GERD...COFFEE (wah!)! As I started losing weight and trying to regain my health, I used coffee as a stop-gap measure when I was craving food and it worked.....too well. I also was trying to "substitute fat and calories for flavor" which had me using lots of onion, garlic, tomato sauces, lemon....well you get the drift. Poor little purple pill, it couldn't keep up with the abuses. The upshot is that the combination of stress, food acids and caffeine sort of did the "Funky Chicken" on my upper digestive tract.

People tend to take the food they eat and a little bit of heartburn for granted, but take a look at my endoscopy pictures and you'll never do that again. YUCK!! If you have GERD, take care of it.

Speaking of stress, I don't think that you can be under more of a burden of frustration than if you are pro original family preservation in and adoption-besotted land. While there are other stress factors in my life, adoption, because I care so damn much, is one of the biggies. Unfortunately, it is also the one easiest to set aside. For now, that is what I intend to do, groups, blog, everything. My health has taken center-stage and the fight is on. So, dear readers, enjoy what I have written so far. I won't be adding to it for a long time. But, just to let you know where my heart will always be, I will leave you with these words. Adoption Sucks!