I was walking home last night, and the thought hit me, maybe my struggles of the last few months have more to do with hormones since my hysterectomy than I realize.
I know the two weeks following the surgery, I felt like a basket case. I was extremely emotional and cried at the drop of a hat. Since getting on the estrogen (HRT), things improved, but I have still struggled significantly since then, in many ways. I am depressed, apathetic and certain pain levels have increased.
I really had not thought of this. I just thought it was my same old struggles and was pretty critical (to put it mildly) of myself for not being able to adjust my behavior after so long. But now I am wondering if there is more to this than meets the eye. Maybe there is something underlying that somewhat explains all this. I have to admit, that thought brings a degree of comfort.
I did a little reading last night and found that some of my symptoms can be explained by hormonal imbalance. Even the pain in my joints. I jokingly told my daughter the other day that maybe if I got injections in almost every joint in my body, I would feel a little better. Pain levels have been way up, and I have been chalking it up to weight gain. I am sure that is part of it, but maybe there is more to it than that. From my reading, if my testosterone and progesterone levels are too low, it can cause a lot of these symptoms. Low testosterone levels can cause depression, lack of energy and joint pain. I think I remember that progesterone can be part of the problem too.
Weight gain is also common after a hysterectomy. My thoughts about that were that my weight gain can be totally explained by my eating. But maybe that is the case with others who gain weight after a hysterectomy. Maybe they struggle with cravings and eating too much because of hormone imbalance. I don't know.
I probably need to go to the doctor and talk to her about this. I am not looking forward to that, because I don't want to go anywhere near the scale, but I may have to, to start feeling better. I'm not sure I can deal with this without help.
Has anyone had personal experience with this, or know someone who has? I just know that things in my mind and emotions have been way different since the surgery, and maybe there is more of a physical explanation for that than I realized.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Obviously, I’m still struggling. But I wanted to at least give a little update, and more importantly, to write this out helps me.
I’m struggling with significant pain these days. So what’s new, right? My shoulders have become very painful, with pain going down both arms to my hands, at times. I don’t know if this is shoulder and arm problems, or if it is neck-related. Even my wrists feel stiff and sore. You may recall that I had a double cervical fusion in 2011. The pain going down the arms feels suspiciously familiar. When you have a fusion, they tell you the level immediately above or below the fused vertebrae is at risk for “going bad” in the years following the fusion, since it puts more stress on those levels. I have no idea if that is what is happening (the adjacent vertebrae going bad and pinching nerves, causing the pain going down my arms). I was having pain in my shoulders back before my back surgery and I thought it was probably from having to use my upper body so much more to lift myself up and out of the couch or chairs because of the problems with my back. I went to a doctor and he kind of confirmed that. He called it shoulder impingement syndrome, I believe. I got an injection in my left shoulder, which did seem to help. However, it never completely quit hurting and seems to be worse again, plus my right shoulder is hurting even more than the left. At times I also have neck pain and stiffness, but other times it just feels like it begins in the shoulders. I will have both checked out. Perhaps more injections in my shoulders will do the trick, at least temporarily. Another thing I want to do is get something to sit in at home that does not require me to use my shoulders and arms so much to get out of. We have this extremely comfortable sectional sofa in the living area. It is very comfortable to sit in, but it is very hard for me to get out of. I have a recliner that needs fixing, and if I can get that fixed, I will sit in it at home, instead of the sofa. If it is not fixable, it would probably be worth buying me one so I don’t have to use my upper body so much. This shoulder and arm pain is making it difficult to sleep, at times.
I continue to have pretty bad back pain, and am hurting quite a bit after just a short time of being on my feet. I know it is in large part because of weight gain. I really want to get going on some weight loss. I know it will make a huge difference. However, weight loss will not necessarily help the shoulder and arm problems, except that it will make it easier to get out of the chair.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately studying about toxic shame. I’ve just started a book called “Healing the Shame that Binds You” by John Bradshaw. I had read a series of blog posts by a person who got most of her information from this book. I recognize myself in the descriptions of toxic shame and know this is where a lot of my issues lie. I have at least learned to recognize when that feeling starts rearing its ugly head and try to interrupt the progression of it. There is a lot of work to be done to break free from this. I am trying to be careful when thinking about weight loss to stay away from the thought, “I’ve got to do this.” I am trying to think of it as something I want to do (I do) and look at it as an act of self-love, not something to do to make myself acceptable (which is the old motivation). And really, the greatest motivation I have right now is to feel better physically. There is more to it than that, of course, but my body is really feeling the effects of the excess weight.
The amount of pain I am having is quite discouraging. It does not make me feel extremely motivated. But I want a better quality of life. That is what it boils down to.
As far as eating goes, I am back to trying to eat only when my stomach is hungry, and quit when I feel satisfied. I find if I eat enough breakfast (which this morning was only a bowl of cereal), I am often not hungry at lunchtime, but then a little too hungry if I were not to eat anything before dinnertime. I am trying to start keeping things at work so that when I am hungry, I have something fairly healthy to tide me over to dinnertime. The trick is, don’t eat it before I am really hungry. In other words, just because I have a 100-calorie pack of almonds in my desk doesn’t mean I should eat it if my stomach is not hungry for it yet. One thing I have done the last couple of days is to drink an Atkins shake when my stomach gets hungry, as well as eat some fruit. I already had the shakes and need to make use of them, and I am not going to drink an Atkins shake just because I want one (because that would be never, lol). I am also trying to make my dinners healthier. One reason for this is because Stephanie is trying to lose weight and she wants things for dinner that are conducive to her doing that, so I want to eat what she is eating. Plus it is better for me. I did that last night, but we had some stuff left over from the holiday weekend and I let that stuff trip me up last night. I’m going to do my best not to do that this evening.
I moved my recumbent bike from where it was to my living room. It is not the ideal place as far as how I want my loft to look, but it is a place I will more likely use it. I can roll it to my room if people are coming over. Before, I had it near where the cat’s litter box is, as well as where I keep doggie pads down for Cas. Suffice it to say, that was not a place I wanted to spend time on the recumbent bike. So, without the recumbent bike there, I can put a divider up to hide that area and my recumbent bike is in place where I can watch TV while riding, if I want to, without having to deal with that other unpleasantness. Now I just have to work up to actually using it. I think I will start with just 5 minutes. I can make myself do 5 minutes, surely. I have a “picture” up on the wall in my bedroom that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” When I woke up and sat up in bed this morning, that is the first thing my eyes rested on.
I was sitting there getting ready for work this morning, and the rest of the food stuff we have left over from the holiday popped into my head (and I wanted some). I had already eaten my cereal and I was not hungry. It started really working on me, but then I thought, “Is that something you really want, or are you thinking about it just because it is there?” I had to admit that if it wasn’t there, I would not have been thinking about wanting it. So I didn’t eat it. I may have to end up throwing it away, but Stephanie saves things for her treat meal and she would probably not like that I did that. So I’m going to see if I can be strong about this. And it’s not that I can’t have this stuff, with my present plan. I just have to be stomach hungry and eat only until satisfied. That would not have been the case if I had eaten it then. I just need to learn to be more normal about my eating, instead of compulsive. Honestly, if I think about wanting something and tell myself that I cannot have it now because I am not hungry, but if I still want it when I am hungry, I can have it then, I am usually good with that. And many times, after waiting until my stomach is hungry, that is not what I want to eat. It’s just keeping this method in mind that I struggle with. If I get back into emotional eating, or just eating to be eating, I don’t think about it. Keeping the mindset is the trick.
The other thing I need to work on is drinking enough water. I can tell I am quite puffy. So my goal today is to drink at least 4 glasses of water. The way I do this, is each time I go to the restroom at work, I stop by the kitchen and drink down a 12-ounce cup of water. Of course, that makes me have to go more, so if I did that every time, I would be drinking a LOT of water. As long as I drink 4 of them today, that will be progress.
After writing all this, my temptation is to delete it. I think, “no one really wants to hear all this.” And you probably don’t want to read a lot of it. But this blog was designed to be therapeutic for me and sometimes I just need to get it out of me. I am trying to quit talking about my aches and pains to too many people, including on Facebook. But sometimes I just need to get it out of me. So this is where I do that.
As the day goes on, I have had four goals in mind and I am thinking it would be good to make some daily goals. My weekly goal is I just want to weigh less next week than I do this week. I guess that is the goal of everyone trying to lose weight, but I think most weeks for the last few months, I have been doing the opposite. To accomplish that, I need to put some successful days together. So, my goals for today are:
- Eat only when my stomach is hungry and stop when satisfied.
- Drink at least 4 12-ounce cups of water.
- Do 5 minutes on the recumbent bike.
- This one will sound weird, but one goal for today is to not walk like an old woman. My pain levels are such that I walk very stiffly and often limp for one reason or another. But I can walk fairly normally if I try, and I’m tired of feeling old. So I am working today on walking like I am not in pain. May be a weird goal, but it’s a mind thing for me.