A weighty issue:

As I walked down the corridor of the hospital on one particular day, my legs felt like concrete. Every step felt like I was competing for an Olympic event. I was having trouble breathing – I just felt terrible on the inside and out. I looked up and glanced at the window – what I saw was horrifying. It wasn’t even a clown – I hate clowns. The image in the window was me …

I looked huge and I felt I looked like a monster. Another words – simply, since the last column – I have let myself go. I imagine some of you may say, “it would be nice to see some progress; she’s been at this for a year.” Yes, and you are absolutely correct. What some may not understand is I DO TOO UNDERSTAND AND I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR A YEAR!!!! Also, everyone’s weight struggles are different in their complexity.

Allow me to digress for a moment and give you a brief recap since the last column. These are not necessarily excuses but barriers and truths. On the other hand, it is confusing because these barriers and truths can become excuses if not monitored carefully. Well, I just confused myself, anyone else? Anyway, the following has made an impact in my current decline: Kibbles was put down, my parents health, etc., sucks, I received two more MRI’s showing progressed arthritis; my thyroid is still trying to be balanced after a thyroidectomy several year ago – what else can I say? It has been a very bad month. I was incredibly apathetic and what did I do? I ate … and ate … and ate.

In retrospect, yes, I could’ve made an alternate decision by not compulsively overeating, but the simple fact as I chose the latter. My only justification is that was the way I am used to handling circumstances or situations that go extremely awry. Coupled with a history of depression – I am lucky I didn’t wind up in the hospital with a pink polka dot straight jacket.

Well, the whole upshot of this matter came to a stunning halt when I went to the doctor for a follow-up visit. My weighed ballooned to 317 pounds. OMG … I cannot believe the extent of my waywardness. Even worse, about three days later, I wound up in the emergency room. I felt clammy, felt like an elephant (not me) was sitting on my chest, had some chest pain, shortness of breath and felt like I was about to blow chunks all over the doctor. They did a work-up on me and kept me overnight due to the family history of heart disease and specifically the combination of shortness of breath and chest discomfort.

Well there is good news and good news. The good news is that the tests came back fine. Even more good news – I’m lucky – for this experience. This is a major wake-up call – heart disease is no joke. Symptoms for women can be different than men’s. I was lying in the hospital bed just before being discharged. A dietitian came in my room giving suggestions that the doctor ordered, for instance, an 1,800 calorie per day diet.

This experience although scary gave me the control and hope I needed to get back in the saddle (without breaking the horse’s back). The progression remained slow at first then my thinking began to change even more. I wound up having an epidural for spinal stenosis to avoid another back surgery. NO WAY – NO MORE SURGERIES. I feel like a pin cushion or at least the bionic woman. I feel the epidural (so far so good) is a success. My only malfunction is still pain while standing, but who cares? I sure don’t. At least not now. I’m managing my pain to a point where I don’t complain about it as much. I am such a whiner. I need a tissue for my issue, evidently.

In fact, I’ve been walking faster with a spring in my step. I’m amazed, usually I have two speeds – slow and stop. I felt so good; I even weighed myself on the friendly scale. I went from 317 pounds to 310 pounds in about a week and a half. Are you sitting down? Well, you better – I EVEN WENT TO EXERCISE! Holy cow. I went to an arthritic swim class held at Ewing School (it is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays). I had a blast. We started with stretches. At “break” time – you can do what you want – I elected to play “volleyball.” Then we stretched some more and played volleyball once more. Some people do water walking or swim in the deep end; it’s whatever you want to participate in.

Although sometimes I have that dreaded temptation of a rub-a-dub-grub, I’m working on it. That’s the most important thing. In a sense, I’m holding on for dear life to get healthier. If I don’t … that hospital scare will haunt me. I don’t want to die young – I have so much more to contribute.

Luckily, I have faith in different ways. I KNOW I can do this. It may take me awhile, though, in order to do it right. Please bear with me as we continue to trek together. Until next time …

Casi Stewart can be reached at casichilstew@yahoo.com. A Weighty Issue appears every other Monday on the Life page.