I’m not fat. I HAVE fat

I have toes. I’m NOT toes.

I saw that posted on a meme today and I thought it made a great deal of sense. I mean, even if we considered obesity a disease, it’s not really something we should be saying “am” with. We don’t say, “I am lupus.” I say, “I have lupus.”

This is just another example of how we treat weight as something different than everything else. It’s just another way that we fat shame people. We associate the weight/fat/whatever with who someone IS rather than something they have.

It’s not really that different than disabilities. Society doesn’t regard people with disabilities as people either. It’s “I am disabled,” instead of “I have disabilities” or “I am differently abled.”

I guess the whole point of this is that language matters. Words matter. Generally we aren’t very careful with the way we talk and it marginalizes and belittles people. People brush it off, but it’s usually people who belong to the majority or what they consider the “norm.” It doesn’t matter to them how things are said, because they’re not the ones who are being shit on.

Everyone should spend time flipping things around, seeing how we feel when we’re on the receiving end. Or, when we’re ready to use choice words, imagine how we’d feel if someone else were hurling the nasty intent at us.

But I guess that’s another point altogether. People don’t seem to ever spend time putting themselves in anyone else’s shoes. We rarely stop to consider how our actions hurt someone else. Even when they’re at the end of a chain of actions.  We push our little black clouds onto someone else in an attempt to make ourselves feel better. The black cloud doesn’t stop raining just because it’s not hovering over us anymore. How is that fair to anyone else? I guess we don’t care as long as we feel better.

I suppose that also explains how it is that the United States managed to elect an arrogant, uninformed, self-absorbed asshole to the presidency.

Spoonie Life Complication #2: How much is too much research?

Spoonies spend a lot of time at the doctor. I have to go every three months for blood work and follow-up to make sure everything is under control. That’s for non-acute issues. If I get sick in the meantime, I have to go back.

One of the problems I’ve had, and I know other Spoonies have faced the same issue, is that we have to advocate for ourselves. It can take a while to get a diagnosis with something like fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s. It’s frustrating because we know something is wrong, but we can’t get treated for it. So we stay sick. And we get pissed off. So we go to the internet.

Now, I know that Dr. Google is no substitute for a real medical opinion. However, the internet is a wealth of information, and we can get access to medical research and studies somewhat easily. For a frustrated person, this can be amazing. We’re able to arm ourselves so we can ask our doctors better questions. Let them know that we are invested in our care.

At some point though, the question is how much is too much research? I’ve recently been to have a new issue checked out. I got weird vibes from the radiologist when she went from being chatty and friendly to saying “Your doctor will tell you what it means.” Well, okay.

After meeting with the doctor, who indicated things were mostly fine except for one issue, I went home a touch confused. So I hit the internet. Mostly what I’ve done is make things harder for myself when really all I can do is wait and see what happens further down the road.

I want to be well-informed, but at the same time, I don’t want to worry needlessly. It’s just a rough position to be in.

But, it’s a pretty common part of being a Spoonie.

Validation Status: Pending

I have trouble getting help when I need it. Whether it’s physical health or mental health, I tend to put things off.

When I was 20, my senior year of college, I started having trouble with my periods. They went from being normal periods to unbelievable torrents of blood. The kind of blood loss that you would think could kill you. But, I knew from friends that sometimes it’s like that. I didn’t think much of it.

But, it continued for two years and I couldn’t deal with it anymore. It was insanely overwhelming to deal with the heavy bleeding. So frustrating every month to have the same thing. I went to the doctor, but all my hormone levels were normal. They put me on birth control and I got some relief, but ended up with terrible cramps.

The next year I read about the amount of estrogen in the birth control was using so I stopped. I went back to heavy blood flow, but the blood flow became constant. It wasn’t always heavy, but it was there at least 3 weeks per month. I kept on, but it started to interfere with my work. It was 2008 and by then I’d moved to the other side of the country so I sought out another doctor. This time they decided to do an ultrasound.  This is when they discovered polyps in my uterus.

After they took care of them, things were okay for a while, but now it’s 2017 and I’m back to where I was in 2008. Things have been off for a while, but I resisted the doctor.

The first time I remember having suicidal thoughts was in 2008. My life had hit a point where nothing seemed to be going right. It felt like I had no control over anything that was going on and that there were no good outlets. I even had a plan, to minimize the damage it would have on the lives of people I cared about. Somehow, this didn’t seem out there to me. It didn’t seem like I should talk to someone. I thought because I could rationalize it in my head and talk myself out of it, that I was okay.

I was in an abusive relationship, living with the man, for months. After we broke up, I didn’t get help. I figured that because I worked my way out of the relationship, that I was okay. Even though the smell of his cologne on someone else took me back for years, I didn’t do anything.

When I was 22, I was raped. It was a friend, and I was in a compromising position with him, so I thought that I was the one who created the situation and that it was what I wanted. It was my first time, and what he said was, “Well, I guess you’re not a virgin anymore.” And that was that. Even when he said later, “Are you ok with what happened? You know, since I didn’t ask you first?” I didn’t think anything of it. Even though he used the textbook definition of RAPE. I never talked to anyone about it for years.

My problem is that I need validation from other people to know that what I’m feeling is legitimately a concern. It wasn’t until coworkers convinced me I needed to go to the ER because I could barely stand and couldn’t walk upright that I did something aggressive about my back problem. I ended up having surgery THAT DAY because the problem was so bad.

After I broke up with my abusive boyfriend, someone asked me, “How could you let that happen?” I internalized that to mean that it was my fault that I’d been in the relationship. Therefore anything I felt after was also my fault and not something I should get any help for.

It was only a couple years ago that a few people suggested I might want to get psychological help for the rape and consistent low feelings I was having. Even then, I thought I was fine.

I recently had stomach pains so bad that I couldn’t stretch my abdomen. It wasn’t until Mr. Lyndsy said I should go to the ER that I even truly considered going. It’s like the things that happen to me aren’t anything. I had a spinal fusion and tried to go to work 2 weeks later because the doctor told me I could go back when I felt like it. I took that to mean I shouldn’t be out of work at all.

Now, if this were a friend coming to me, I would have told them they were nuts to go back to work two weeks after a spinal fusion. That rape is traumatic. The list goes on. But when it comes to me, what I feel or experience isn’t enough. It doesn’t have meaning on its own. It’s hard to put into words. But it’s sort of like feeling like I don’t matter. But even that’s not the right description. I guess it’s more that I always feel like I’m exaggerating.

I don’t know when this started. It could be from when I was growing up. I sprained an ankle when I was in high school. I missed a stair and came down on my foot sideways. My dad din’t take me to the doctor, just gave me gel to put on it. My mom told me if I thought it was that bad, to call the doctor myself. To me, neither took it seriously, so it wasn’t an issue. Never mind that it swelled up to twice its size after every basketball practice. I never went to the doctor.

When I was 7, I threw up. I went to the bathroom for the toilet, but I didn’t make it in time. After my mom got everything cleaned up, she told me that if I missed the toilet again, I would have to clean it up. When I told my mom about the constant bleeding, she told me that it couldn’t be real or I would have told her about it. After my abusive relationship ended, I asked her to fly out to help me. She said she was busy at work, so she didn’t come.

Most of the time I kept things to myself. I never wanted to be a bother to anyone. I still really don’t. I apologize to Mr. Lyndsy all the time because I am so sick all the time. He tells me to stop being ridiculous, but the feeling that I’m a dead weight is always there. I guess I feel like I need to justify any expenses that I cause because of my health.

I guess, the long and the short of it is that I need to have a chat with my shrink.

Congratudolences

Congratudolences? What is that? Well, in the spoonie community, it’s what we say when we discover something about our illnesses. Congratulations for figuring something out! But, condolences for having to figure it out in the first place.

I got many congratudolences when I got the lupus diagnosis. Yes, lupus sucks. But! It’s great to know why I feel like shit all the time!

Today my congratudolences came when I finally realized how to tell when I’m having a fibromyalgia flare! I woke up today and my upper back wasn’t screaming in pain! That is a victory! Yesterday I was damn near completely miserable because my upper back hurt so much. I have no idea why it stopped (or started), but I am glad to have a signal when I’m flaring. This lets me know that I need to take it easy and let my body relax so it can stop freaking out.

Now the task is to figure out which drugs I can take or what I may be able to do to take the pain down a few notches. That pain is absolutely unreal. I can’t focus because the pain is so bad. It’s truly miserable.

I’m trying to really pay attention to the signals my body sends so I can better take care of myself. I should really be keeping a journal so I can track what I eat, any exercise I do, and how my body feels to see if there are any correlations. If I’d been smart I would have done this ages ago. Argh.

Anyway, congratudolences to me! Figuring things out one small step at a time!

Life on a continuum

A good friend of mine wrote a book and she’s letting me take a crack at editing it. I just hit a part where she talks about how life is on a continuum, specifically related to where we think we are in relation to someone else.

I regularly think life isn’t fair. I went from being an active person to someone who spends a good portion of my day in bed. I’ve mentioned before that I have pain every. day. That hasn’t changed in three years and it doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon. That sucks.

But, there are people who feel worse than I do and those who feel better. That doesn’t really matter. I’m not them and they’re not me. My life isn’t their life. Their life isn’t mine. I have no idea where they live, whether they’re married, etc.

I wrote once about choosing not to have a child because of my health conditions. Well, it seems more likely than not that even if I wanted to, it’s not something my body can do. A doctor recently confirmed that it would be a “very high-risk pregnancy” given my age, diabetes, and lupus. But like I said, it seems that my uterus is actually quite hostile to the idea.

I get angry about that. I don’t even have the *choice* that so many other people get. Sometimes it’s made me hostile (only to myself, never at anyone) when there are pregnancy or birth announcements. But, I trust there’s a reason. So many things in my life have happened that put me in one place or another where I never expected to be but from which wonderful things happen. Right now I get great healthcare. I’m grateful for that because I desperately need it. Were I in the US, I don’t know that I would be getting that or that I could afford it if I were in the US.

Sometimes when I talk about how I’m unhappy with my constant physical pain or mental health issues, I get kickback from people who want to remind me that I should be grateful for what I do have.

Complaining about my current state doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for what I do have. But being happily married doesn’t change the fact that constant pain sucks. A lot. I don’t know how anyone on Earth could say that constant pain isn’t a big deal. Or that being so depressed that thoughts of suicide aren’t infrequent (though they happen less often now than before).

Just because someone thinks I’m better off than someone else, does not give them the right to tell me I can’t experience sadness or anger over the hand I’ve been dealt. It’s horrible to be denied that. It also means I’m not fully feeling emotions, which is unhealthy.

I can be grateful and pissed off at the same time. I can be sad about one thing and happy about another. I am more complex than that. We all are.

I will give you your suffering if you give me mine. I will give you your happiness if you give me mine. We all deserve that.

Violence is Counterproductive

This post was prompted by the attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families. It’s such a tragedy.

I think Brian May makes some good points in this video.

The only thing violence does is beget more violence. The attacks on 9/11 were horrible. Since I wasn’t part of the planning, I have no idea whether they achieved their aim. The American response was to stand stronger together. It didn’t change the American way of life (except to allow the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act – a horrible invasion of privacy).

What it did do though, is cause the United States to respond with violence. Ultimately, people not directly involved in 9/11 were affected by later attacks by the US. This led to the radicalization of people who may have been sympathetic to the plight of the American people. But, once they saw their families murdered for no good reason, any compassion or empathy they felt for us disappeared. Belief that the US attacks rescue workers to prevent any lives from being saved would lead anyone to hatred. I’m sure that if the situation were reversed, and American rescue workers were targeted, or if it seemed that way, I would be furious. That goes well beyond any called for behavior, even in a war. (Which we were not involved in.)

Violence won’t get us where we want to go. Hell, half the problem is that we don’t know where we want to go. If we’re seeking domination of the world by Western ideology, there will never be a resolution. Americans simply do not have any other perspective by which to judge how governments in other places are run. Our government was founded on the idea of religious freedom. Of course, that was fairly limited in scope since it was essentially one form of Christianity over another, but most of us have extended that idea to all religious beliefs, of the lack thereof. There are those who don’t seem to agree with it, like Marmalade Mussolini, but I don’t believe he truly represents most Americans. (Or, I just desperately want to believe that.)

Because we can’t get our heads around it, we will always want to change it. That is extremely unlikely to happen. For many, a government that is intertwined with religion is the only thing they know. Indeed, it’s the only thing that makes sense when religion is a core aspect of life. Regardless of whether we understand it, that’s how it is.

What we really need is to react with compassion. We need to at least TRY to understand someone else’s perspective. American exceptionalism makes me insane. We act like we’re the best at everything when evidence points to the contrary. We have people who have insufficient health insurance for their needs. Kids graduate from high school barely able to read. Our elected officials have forgotten what it’s like to be just “one of the people” and are acting in their own best interests all the time, to the detriment of probably 98% of the country. Our college graduates aren’t necessarily the world’s leading scientists and researchers. We have open and obvious racism which continues to oppress millions of Americans. We haven’t figured out how to let people be who they are, and want to tell people who it’s right to love and which bathroom to use.

I think I can see where outsiders think we have over-inflated opinions of ourselves. Who are we to judge someone else and tell them how to live?

At some point, to stop the pointless tragedies, someone has to be willing to be the first to say, “This cannot go on,” and move forward with compassion.

I’d like to think it could be us. But our recent election and current behavior leave me gravely concerned that it is not likely to be us.

Why didn’t you ask me? A post about marriage

*This post is inspired by this comic. Probably should read it first.*

I love Mr. Lyndsy. I appreciate everything he does for our marriage. He works full-time and I work part-time. When I can’t cover my bills with what I make (student loans, credit cards), there’s a transfer so I can. (We have separate bank accounts because of where we earn money.)

When it comes to things about the house and our life together, however, we look at things very differently. Mr. Lyndsy is like a lot of men, in that he’s a problem solver. If there is an immediate need, he will address it and try to “fix” the situation. Trash needs to be taken out? He takes it out.

When I look at the trash though, I see that it needs to be taken out AND that a new bag needs to go into the bin so we can throw out more trash. That does not seem to ever occur to Mr. Lyndsy, because pretty much every time I go into the kitchen after he takes out the trash, there isn’t a bag in the bin.

Neither of us likes doing dishes. I sometimes think Mr. Lyndsy calls and schedules cleaning people JUST so the dishes get done. He doesn’t expect me to do things that he doesn’t want to do, which I appreciate. However, there are some things in life we just need to do and get on with it.

For a while I was the only one who did the dishes. I sort of felt obligated since I work from home and he was gone so many hours during the day. Then my body crapped out on me and I didn’t think it was worth the back pain to deal with a sink full of dirty dishes.

Around the same time, I left Mr. Lyndsy by himself at the apartment for a month. He’d decided that he wanted to eat healthier, which meant more cooking. When I got back from my trip, I noticed that he was washing dishes! Right after he finished cooking something, he transferred it to the bowls and washed the pan! The next day, he’d wash his bowl!

But that was it. There could be dishes in the sink from me or other things he’d eaten (like oatmeal – totally caked on), and he wouldn’t touch those. At least until he needed one. But then he’d only wash the one.

To me, there is no point in only washing one dish as I need it. If you’ve got soap on the sponge, make it work for you. Wash what’s in the sink. That way you don’t have to put the food you desire on hold. But that’s not the way his mind works, apparently.

I love efficiency and effectiveness. Given the pain I’m in on a daily basis, I’m going to make my actions work for me. If I’m going from the bedroom to the kitchen to get water, I’m taking everything with me on the way that needs to go to the kitchen too. If there’s a cup on the dining room table, I grab it on the way. I do the same thing on the way back. The bathroom is next to the bedroom, so if something needs to go there, it comes with me on the return.

My mind automatically seeks out the next step in pretty much any process. Because there’s almost always a next step. And that next step will affect the one after that. I’m able to identify potential problems before they actually become a real problem. We won’t be scrambling at the last minute trying to deal with something because I thought ahead.

What it does mean though is that the load falls to me to be responsible for the whole picture. I occasionally wonder if he just thinks magic makes things as easy as they often end up being because I do look out for the whole picture. I don’t know whether he has a true appreciation for the pressure it puts on me.

I know it’s not his fault that I’m built the way I am – to look at the whole picture – but he did marry me that way. He, and everyone in the same position he’s in, should appreciate the value that I bring to the marriage because I do operate that way. He should understand why I get frustrated when plans are sprung on me.

I’m not asking him to do things the way I do. Yes, it would be great if he spent more time in front of the sink, hands covered in dish soap. I’d like it if he folded my laundry when taking it off the rack like I often do his. But at the end of the day, I’d be happy with him expressing that he SEES what I do and VALUES it.

The Right needs to get real

A couple of thoughts first: 1. The Left has its own issues. I’ll get to those later. 2. This isn’t ALL of the Right – but really the people who live and breathe Fox News and Breitbart.

Headline: President Fires FBI Director Investigating Him

Were this any time between Jan 20, 2009 and Jan 20whatever, 2017, Republicans would have been on this like white on rice. Salivating, licking chops like an animal that’s HUNGRY. It would have been added to the list of things Obama was attacked for – allegedly being born in Kenya (though that wouldn’t have mattered anyway since his mother was an American and he would have been a natural-born American), being a Muslim (though I don’t understand what that hast o do with anything either), attacking only certain right-leaning groups for IRS issues, etc.

He fired the man investigating him? OBVIOUSLY TRYING TO COVER SOMETHING UP.

Trump does it and it’s like, “Comey didn’t even write that,” “Did he write it before or after he left?”

Come. The. Fuck. On.

Comey knew what was coming. He was doing what EVERY lawyer does CYA – COVER YOUR ASS. He knew that his relationship with Trump was tenuous. Trump’s personality is volatile and you never know whether he’ll consider you a friend or foe. I would hope everyone in that administration is doing a lot of CYA. Though people like Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Steven Miller, and Kellyanne Conway are beyond redemption. They will forever and always have the stink of Trump on them.

What I really don’t understand is what is the point of this delusion with Trump? Sticking one’s head up one’s own ass only leads to getting shit in one’s eyes. There’s no other way to describe the broadcasters on Fox News who insist that this is not an issue.

The way I judge whether someone’s absolutely just full of shit is to ask them how they’d respond if the party affiliations were the other way and see how much they trip over their tongue to say “Of course it would be the same thing!” Yeah, right. If I can’t honestly say that I’d treat things the same way if it were the “other side” I know that I’m just being a partisan asshole and re-assess. It’s not rocket science.

We aren’t going to get anywhere if we can’t get through that basic kind of thought process. And if we don’t get anywhere, we are going to be stuck in this shithole place of nothing getting done that benefits the majority of Americans.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly don’t want to live in an America that’s like that.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lyndsy!

Mr. Lyndsy,

This is our fourth birthday together! We’ve been married for almost three years and in that time you haven’t even come close to killing me, I don’t think anyway.

Thank you for your patience. So many things have not been what I expected they would be. I never thought my body was going to get worse than it was when I met you, even after the back surgery. Now I’m all depressed, anxious, and medicated. It’s getting better, but it’s a battle every day. My pain spirals out of control and then goes back to being something I can sort of tolerate. No matter what happens, you’re there for me. You do what you can to help me be the best I can, even when I don’t want it.

You keep telling me that you want me to be healthy so that we can grow old together. If you’re really that interested in wiping up my drool and changing my diapers, I guess I can work on it.

To many more years of who knows what!

Love,

Your favorite (read: only) Wife

The Glorious Sound of the Call for Impeachment

It may not go anywhere, but you know what, I’ll take what we’ve got so far.

Thank you, Representative Al Green. You’ve done your constituents a service.

Everyone – Republicans and Democrats alike – are now stepping back, claiming we need more evidence. I think Trump gave us everything we need himself, but I guess we can get some more.

He fired Comey because he didn’t like that he was investigating. And admitted that. To everyone. Thanks for making it easy.

He’s giving information to Russia that he shouldn’t be, likely because he’s too interested in appearing powerful to Putin.

It’s about time people are taking this shit seriously.

Onward and upward!