I've tried to compose this Post for awhile, but it's hard to find the words behind so much emotion. I've mentioned it once or twice in the past, but about 3 years ago, I started to deal with some medical issues. My symptoms varied from day to day but I can only explain it as a constant state of Flu-Like health issues. About 6 months after I started to feel sick, I started to visit with a string of Specialists, and they all shared the same response, " It's all in your head, the test results are negative". The first time you hear it, you excuse it as a flawed response, but by the second and third time, you start to feel the effect emotionally. I knew something was not right in my body, but the experts seemed to disagree. Suddenly I wasn't just feeling physically ill, mentally and emotionally I was starting to feel even worse.
The physically sicker I became, the more I could notice changes in my personality. I knew that if I was not going to find the answers from Doctors, I would have to start making positive changes myself. I put myself on a work-out routine, gave myself a strict sleep schedule, increased my water intake and started paying close attention to my eating habits. With-in months I am proud to say that I was in the healthiest routine I had been in months, and in the process had lost those extra 10 pounds I had been carrying around since college. Still though, my symptoms made no significant change. I was so proud of myself for making some positive changes, but still feeling so sad and alone in my struggle to find the medical answers.
Six months ago, I met a Neurologist who seemed to hear everything I had to say about what wasn't feeling right with my body. When he spoke I heard the magic words I had waited so long to hear as he said, " It has been in your head this whole time, in the form of Chronic and Severe Migraines". My migraines manifest themselves in a very unusual way, and hid from every Specialist I had met before. There is a treatment and they will be made manageable, but the fight won't be easy from here. The medication I was given seems to be working, and for the first time in years the little gray cloud that has been following me around seems to have lifted. I can think clearly now for the first time, and I am no longer afraid of how I'll feel tomorrow. Just as I am starting to adjust to life free of Constant Migraines however, I will need to re-adjust to the various side effects that can come from the medication, the biggest of which is weight loss. That's right I said weight loss. For many women, those words would be considered a blessing, and a small dream come true, but for me, a product of good genetics, and continuous efforts at healthy living I just didn't have that much left to lose. Suddenly just when I can go out in public without fear of getting sick, I am finding myself embarrassed to go out in public because of my appearance. In an effort to keep this conversation honest and transparent, the medication has made me loose 15 pounds thus far, and I find myself in a daily battle to keep the number from climbing higher and higher, without loosing my healthy habits. I am now 25 pounds lighter than I was at this time last year, and that is 25 pounds that I didn't have to loose. As my clothes are starting to fall off of me, I find myself finding new ways to hide my shrinking frame. I am continuing for new ways to search for humorous ways to address the situation, (" They didn't mention looking like Jack Skeleton as a side effect!"). Eventually I will be taken off of the medication, and eventually I'll likely gain the 15 pounds back, bringing me back to my healthy weight.
I know that I will adjust to my new weight and size, and for now I am enjoying learning how to live life again headache and illness free. What I have been most surprised about however, is how offensive my weight loss seems to be for everyone else. Just when I am starting to feel like myself medically, if not a bit smaller, some people in the world feel the need to knock me down a few notches. Doesn't it seem people always want to knock you down when you are on top? I expect side comments from complete strangers, but it's when people who I would consider friends and close acquaintances have the need to have an opinion about my appearance that it hurts the most. Instead of celebrating my returned health, it seems the topic of conversation has been my missing extra pounds. I would like to declare right now that the word Skinny hurts just as much as the word Fat. You would never say to someone, ' You are so fat it's disgusting' so why would you assume that inserting the word Skinny in it's place would make the word hurt less? Declaring that I am ' so skinny it makes you nauseous' is rude and hurtful. It is a common mis-conception that only larger ladies can be sensitive about their weight. I have friends of all shapes and sizes, and it seems to me that they each have their own body concerns. Life is full of changes, and our bodies tend to show it. With Weddings, Pregnancies, Career Changes, Moves, Health Concerns and so much throwing our lives into constant up and down battles how could our bodies not reflect them?
I want to take a moment to say that I am Proud of You. It is hard to wake up every day, and face the challenges you have with your own body, and continue on with your day. It isn't easy to overcome what judgments face you once you step outside of your house. I am also Proud of Me. My body has spent the last few years fighting a battle, and the war is far from over. Together, my body and I have come a long way, with the weight up and downs, and the criticism that has come with it we are still here and stronger now then we were 3 years ago. At the end of the day, the only person you can be is yourself, body flaws and all. Choose every day to think before you speak, speak to others as you wish to be spoken to, and embrace your body for all of it's wonder. Our bodies do some amazing things. You mind as well take a moment to be Proud of it.