Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Big Fat Truth

I’m pretty sure I have reverse anorexia.  If I understand the word correctly, someone who is anorexic truly believes they see fat on their body where there really isn’t any.  I have the opposite problem.  Apparently, I don’t see fat where there is a LOT of it.  When I look down at my arms, they look slender…just like when I was much younger and only weighed 110 pounds.  Okay, maybe they don’t still look THAT slender…but they don’t look chubby in the slightest when I look down at them.  When I tip my face down, I don’t feel a sense of doubling…of my face creasing together to create a blob of fat that hangs below where my chin really is.  If I stretch my leg out in front of me, it appears slender, even if I turn it to the side and look at my calves…I don’t SEE fat.  Glancing down at my stomach (sucking it in, of course) it doesn’t look to be horribly distended with blubber resulting from birthing two children and a bad marriage that caused me to eat out of frustration and boredom.  I really don’t look fat to myself at all when I’m just looking down at my body.

And then I’ll see myself in the mirror or in a photo.

This is where I freak out.  It is that image of me...not glancing down at my own body…but looking at myself from the outside…as others see me that throws me into a tailspin of disbelief, disgust, and irritated wonderment at the reality of what I actually look like these days.  I gasp when I see the rolls and lumps where there used to be smooth, toned muscles.  I tear up when I realize that, no matter how hard I work at it or how much I exercise or how healthy I eat, I will probably never be that teeny 22 year old again.  That was the best I was ever going to look and I didn’t appreciate it when I had the chance.  How did I GET like THIS???  How did I let my tiny, in-shape, tan little body turn into this plump, unfit, distorted version of my former self?

Somehow I am able to avoid this hefty realization by not looking in mirrors for anything more than applying mascara and ninja-diving out of the way anytime someone brings out a camera.  But, every so often, someone will “tag” me in a candid photo on Facebook and I will almost pass out with embarrassment knowing people I’ve been so desperately trying to “hide” the current state of my body from now see me as I really am.  Every so often, I need to look at my whole body in a mirror to see if my shirt looks right before I head out the door and I am again floored with the knowledge that THIS is what people will see when I step outside.  Those moments suck.

I know anorexia is a serious issue for some people.  All I’m saying is that having “reverse anorexia” and NOT seeing fat where there is plenty of it can be just as jarring to a girl’s self esteem.  I’m usually able to blissfully deny that I’ve let my body get like this as long as I’m only looking down at it with my own eyes.  Any other view is just disturbing.  I wish I could go back to that 22 year old version of me and say, “Hey you…skinny girl…put the quarter pounder DOWN.  Someday you won’t be able to eat whatever you want without gaining an ounce.”  But, since I can’t do that, I’ll just stick with trying to avoid mirrors and cameras.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick Cancer Sucks Update

The doctors never figured out what was making my step dad have so much pain in the post I previously wrote.  I would absolutely link that post here if I knew how to do that...My good friend told me once, but my ADD-riddled brain can't seem to recall the information right now.  Anyway, Step dad went to Florida for the winter as planned and he is doing so-so.  He met with a new doctor at some place called the Moffit Cancer Center and that guy seems to think that step number one is to get his gall bladder OUT.  Step number two is to get him back on the $4,000/shot injections once a month that will wreck his gall bladder but make him feel way better.  (Thus explaining the need for step number one.)  Step number three is to start embolizing parts of his hepatic artery to see if they can cut the blood supply to the tumors on his liver.  The hope there is that, with no source of blood, the tumors may begin to die in places and that will increase his quality of life somehow.

This is not a cure.  It is a comfort measure they are trying to take in order to make whatever time he has left a little more bearable. 

Have I mentioned how much I think cancer sucks?  I did?  Oh...wait...I have one more thing to say... CANCER SUCKS.

There really isn't anything worse than watching someone you love dearly suffer and not be able to say or do anything to ease what they're going through.

Anyway...I probably won't post about this again unless something dramatic happens because it's too hard and I'm on this new snarky, attempted humor kick.  I just didn't want to leave anyone hanging about what was going on.  I'm happy to answer more specific questions if they come up in comments however.

Monday, December 6, 2010

You Know I Like You Like That

Do you know what it’s like to feel something…for someone…and somehow talk yourself into thinking that someone feels the same thing you do because of something they said or did that just perfectly matches up with your justification?  Yeah…that backfires like 99.9% of the time.  Do you know why?  Because…because we build this crap up in our minds and make it seem all pretty and wrapped up like some freaking present because that’s what we WANT it to be.

How stupid is that?!?  I’ll tell you… It’s REALLY stupid.  Wanna know why?  I’ll bet you do.  I’ll even tell you, because I like you like that.  You don’t even have to guess how much I really like you…I’m telling you right now, honestly, no question…I like you like that.  That’s why I’m going to fill you in on this little piece of wisdom.

It’s stupid (you know…that thing we were just talking about) because we MAKE it that way.  Yep.  We do it to ourselves.  Whether we’re single moms or single dads or single aliens from the planet Zarcrap, we do it to ourselves.  We tell ourselves that each tiny little thing someone says means this or that because that’s what we need it to mean.  In the end though…it ends up meaning that we haven’t come to terms with ourselves in some ridiculous way or another and we cling stupidly to the actions of others to justify our own mental defects. 

Hey guess what…. I’m sick of having self-discovering revelations.  I just want ONE guy to tell me how he actually feels and have it actually match up with the feelings I’m having for him.  That would be freaking awesome if that happened in real life.  Then, I wouldn’t have to depend on my ridiculously erratic dreams to satisfy my less than creative consciousness during the day.

I’m tired of having to develop these insane, never-going-to-really-happen fantasies just to convince my unsuspecting psyche that I’m “just fine” being single and utterly alone.

What is your most ridiculous fantasy…?  Come on…you know I like you like that.  You can tell me.

Hugs Are Dangerous Things

Here we go with an honest-to-goodness post about a major downside to being a single mom: Dating.  I hate it.  I mean, I really hate it.  I hate thinking about it, I hate doing it, and I hate dealing with all the crap it drags in with it.  Unfortunately, I came to a realization last Thursday that shoved the ugly reality of it right, square in my face.  

A man hugged me.  

A real, live man who is not related to me.  A man I happen to find very attractive.

Here I was, innocently going about my life, thinking how awesome it is to be this strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man…and then I was embraced by one and that thin wall I’ve been using to hide that need behind came crumbling down.  With one (probably totally platonic) hug from a guy, I was made acutely, almost painfully, aware of the fact that I DO need that in my life.  His cheek pressed against my cheek while his arms were around me made my mental stability completely falter.  I spent the rest of the night with a perma-grin on my face and wildly imagining eleventy billion different romantic scenarios that included the two of us...and more hugs...and other things....  Stupid hug.

It is, of course, terrible timing.  I still don’t have a job, I live with my parents – one of whom is terminally ill, I have two small children to take care of, and I am not physically the Me I want to be yet.  But, there it is.  In bold letters.  I need a man in my life.  Maybe not so much need as want…but there it is.

Now I’m left wondering what to do with myself.  I really can’t stand the idea of dating websites and putting myself out there again.  There is a slight possibility that this man who hugged me could be interested in me too…but I’m not holding my breath for that one.

I think I’m mostly annoyed that I was able to suppress this need before and now it’s all I can think about.  So, what do I do?  I’m not sure I can just go back to ignoring the fact that I miss having a man to hold me…

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cancer Sucks

I haven’t shared this on here before, mostly because I didn’t know how to tie it into my other content.  But, after reading so many other people’s blogs, I kind of realized that not ALL my posts have to be related to each other in subject.  So, as a result of that new awareness, you all may be in store for the random workings of my inner mind.  Beware!  

So here goes: 

My step dad has terminal cancer.  It’s a rare, very slow-growing kind but it is not curable or treatable.  It is engulfing about 80% of his liver but the remaining 20% is compensating very well and his liver function is currently in the normal range.  This kind of cancer (Carcinoid cancer) is rarely caught early unless by accident, which is what happened to us.  My step dad was scheduled to have back surgery last November and needed an MRI first.  He had a severe reaction to the contrast dye used for the MRI and was rushed to the hospital.  There he received a CT scan of his lungs to rule out some things and the top portion of his liver showed up in the scan.  There were obvious lesions on it and the ER doctor said, “That’s pretty much what liver cancer looks like so you should get that checked out by your regular doctor when you leave here.”  That was it.  She said it just that bluntly.  No calming bedside manner, no words of sympathy or condolences or even encouragement.  Just, “Hey dude…you probably have liver cancer so call your regular doctor.”  Nice, huh.  

We spent about three weeks wondering how much time he had left because liver cancer is a pretty quick killer.  His oncologist decided to do “one more test to rule out one more thing” because apparently he missed it once with another patient.  That test miraculously showed that my step dad did in fact have this very rare form of cancer called Carcinoid cancer.  People can sometimes have it for twenty years and not even know.  So, that gave us a glimmer of hope that we had a lot more time.  The oncologist pretty much said, “If you hadn’t had that reaction to the contrast dye, you wouldn’t even know you had cancer right now so go live your life like you don’t and try to forget about it for now.”  Seriously?!  What is with these doctors acting like cancer is no big deal to have?!?  

Anyway, for the past eleven months, my family has tried to enjoy every moment we have together.  We’ve tried to put cancer to the back of our minds but it’s not really possible with all the scans, medications, and side effects from said medications.  We find ourselves watching his every mood, facial expression, change in normal pattern, everything….just waiting for the symptoms of this slow, silent killer to start showing.

And then.....

A week and a half ago my step dad was up all night with severe pain in his liver area.  Monday morning came and he told my mom he needed to go to the hospital.  He spent the next three and a half days on the Oncology/Hospice floor undergoing scans and scopes while the doctors and nurses tried to get his pain under control with IV narcotics.  There are basically a couple of possible causes for this pain that now comes and goes in varying degrees of intensity.  

 1. There appears to be some kind of “sludge” in his gallbladder and bile duct that could be residual junk from a medication he has been taking for the past year.
2. He could have had a small bleed off of one of the tumors that created a cyst-type thing.
3. It could be the cancer…growing and pushing against the fragile capsule that encases the liver.

He’s having a special scope done today at a different hospital to see if it’s the first scenario.  We’re praying that’s what is causing his pain because they can fix it.  He won’t be going back on that medication that would have caused it so recurrence is unlikely.  If that’s not it, then it means he could have to deal with this pain for what’s left of the rest of his life…which is not a good thing, obviously.

There’s no other way to say it.  Cancer sucks.  No matter what kind of cancer we’re talking about, you can’t get the thought out of your head that it’s in your body, growing, feeding off your healthy cells and strangling the life out of you bit by bit.  To be faced with a cancer that has no treatment or possibility for cure is even worse.  Top that off with the fact that we have no ballpark idea of how much time he could have left with us and you end up with a really neurotic family.  We grasp on to everything good and cherish it as much as we can but at the same time, we try to live normally.  It’s a fine line to balance on especially now that he is having this pain.  Every time he winces or rubs his side we all think, “Is this the beginning of the end?”  We are living under the constant threat that when things “start to happen” it could go downhill very fast.  Trying to help my daughters understand that their “papa is sick and, no, the doctors can’t make him better” is heartbreaking.  My step sister is dealing with the same thing with her two sons.    I hate it.  Cancer sucks.

I plan on doing one more post today or tomorrow about this…and then I probably won’t talk about it again for awhile.  My family wants to live life as normally as possible for as long as we can but today I just felt like telling you all what we’re dealing with.    

Friday, September 24, 2010

How Twilight Ruined My Life.... Well...at least my ability to ever date again.

I love to read.  I’ve been an avid reader since I was very young.  If you ask my mother, she will tell you I learned to read at age 2 ½.  I’m not entirely sure that’s true…but my dad’s faulty memory about the specifics of my childhood leaves him unable to corroborate or deny her claim.  I love books; all kinds of books.  Except self-help books….good grief!!  How can anyone get through those???  I mean, I’m sure I’d really like to know all the ways to be a really successful person or maximize my relationship potential.  It just turns out that I have a genetic disorder that makes me fall asleep after reading one page of a self-help book.  Maybe someone could write a self-help book about how to read self-help books…?   I need dialogue...lots and lots of dialogue.  In fact, my favorite books are ones that start out mid-conversation.  Could someone please write a self-help book that is composed entirely of dialogue?  I’d read that.
Anyway.  There have been a few times in my life when I have come across books that I just HAD to read more than once.  It hasn’t happened very often, but it has happened.  

And then….

I bought a movie called “Twilight.”

My Twilight Soundtrack piano music and a bracelet the Peanut got
The media made a big hype about this teenage vampire movie and showed all these clips of really pretty actors starring in said movie.  Well, I happen to like semi-supernatural books and movies so it caught my attention.  On an impulse at Target one day, I saw this “Twilight” movie on an end-cap in the movie section so I just grabbed it and tossed it in the cart.  That night, I watched it…and really liked it.  It was a great true love story.   SO….for Mother’s Day, my daughters asked me what I wanted and I said that I’d like the Twilight book.  I received that and the sequel, New Moon, as my gifts.  (For those of you who have been living in caves or under rocks the past few years, The Twilight Saga is a series of four books by a writer named Stephenie Meyer.)  

I must have started reading Twilight five or six times but never got past the first few pages because, well, I’m a single mom who, at the time, was also a full time college student.  Then, over a school break, I picked it up again and started over from the beginning.  I read the whole thing….in two days.  I immediately moved on to reading New Moon and devoured that one in like 36 hours.  A trip to Target to purchase the 3rd and 4th books occurred the moment I realized (1/2 way through New Moon) that I would not rest until I’d read them all.  

I barely slept, forgot to eat, would have forgotten to feed my children had they not been such persistent little boogers, and got exceedingly frustrated that I could not read AND drive at the same time for the three days it took me to read the last two books.

And wouldn’t you know… The MOMENT I finished the last book, I picked up the first one and started the process over again immediately.  Obsessive?  Most definitely.  Irrational?  Probably.  Do I care?  Not so much.  

It’s a fantastical story about two people who are designed by nature for each other.  There isn’t anything that could keep them apart…even when one of them tried to leave to protect the other one.  They were inexplicably drawn to each other by a force greater than anything they understood.  Each of them felt unworthy of the utter devotion the other felt towards them.  In the end, their love was a conquering force to be reckoned with.  And yes…there are vampires.  There are werewolves too.  (Okay, okay…to the Twi-hards, I know that last sentence was inaccurate but I don’t want to give spoilers in case someone decides to read them based on this post.)  If we’re going to get all technical…the books were written for “Young Adults” too…and I’m almost 33.  Again, ask me if I care.  I don’t.

So, now that you know my story of how I became a lover of all things Twilight, I can tell you how it ruined my life.  Well, maybe not my life per se… but definitely my ability to ever successfully date anyone ever again.  Ever.  I mean, if I can’t find someone that I’m intrinsically, serendipitously, uninhibitedly connected to at first sight, I might as well give up and go home.  Right?  *Sigh….*   Twilight showed me all that was lacking in my expectations of men.  I thought all you had to do was find someone moderately attractive, get along with them most of the time, and tolerate each other’s families.  Turns out, my expectations were WAY low.  So now, thanks to these books, I am doomed to a life alone until I find my own personal “Edward” who loves and adores me like I’m his personal “Bella”.  Crap.  I am so screwed.  I hardly believe for one second that such a fantasy man REALLY exists in life.  

It’s hard to explain how those four books changed my life.  I really don’t know how to accurately convey through words what it did to my heart.    In the mean time…I’ll just read all four books for the 11th time.  Yes, you read that right.  I’ve read them already 10 times.  All of them.  Like I said…obsessed?  Definitely.  Do I care?  Nope.  It’s currently the only romance in my life and I’m good with that…until my Edward comes along that is.