Monday, March 30, 2009

food on the road

today begins three weeks of biz travel with my brother. it's 5 am. we leave for the airport in 10 minutes. this week, we're visiting five states all across the country.

it's going to be a long trip, planned around my brother's stomach.

currently, i have a terrible, pissy attitude. this morning, we're flying to idaho. our first flight, to seattle, is six hours long. i have a middle seat.

then, we sit in seattle's airport for five hours until our second 1-hour flight.

my brother's all about the long leisurely lunch we'll have. i snapped at him already -- "i don't want a long leisurely lunch."

i really have to watch myself. he's my brother, BUT HE'S MY BOSS. i have to function like i'm with a boss -- that means doing what he wants.

it's hard. i've explained my weirdness and fears around food to my brother many, many times, but he doesn't acknowledge it. it makes him angry.

i'm bringing my laptop, so this will be my savior.

does anyone have good advice about biting your tongue, getting a better attitude, controlling your temper?

i'm off.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What do i care about my weight?

My friend, Ted, called to confirm our lunch date.

"i'll be the one who gained six pounds," i joked. half-joked. was totally serious and quite unhappy.

Ted laughed. he's been my best friend for 32 years and knows me as well as anyone can know a kooky gemini.

Ted is the kindest,most generous person i know. he also has a terrible degenerative disease and could really use those six pounds, himself. in fact, he could use a few more too.

Ted doesn't compare his woes to mine. when we meet (oh, he looks frail), he dutifully tells me that you'd never guess i'd gained an ounce. of course, Ted wouldn't notice if i'd gained 600 pounds. i've never met someone less judgmental. his love is unconditional.

while Ted orders fish and chips and carrot cake, i order 1/ 2 a turkey sandwich and salad, balsamic dressing on the side.

as Ted talks about his many, many treatments and medications, i wonder how he stands it and how he's so good-natured and gentle about everything.

He talks about a time when the medications won't work anymore. he gently tells me that time will come, unless something miraculous comes around.

Reader, forgive me. i can't write about my weight. i want to tell you more about Ted. it's worth the read.

Ted is two years older than i am. we met when i was 13 -- he started taking piano lessons with my mother. i loved him immediatedly and announced that he was best friend. this worked, because i didn't have any other friends.

we were two social outcasts, taunted by our peers. once i found him, i was pretty fine -- who needed anyone else when you had Ted?

Ted was (is!) an extraordinary pianist. he'd come to our house and practice six hours a day. this drove me nuts, because i wanted his attention all the time.

once ted could drive, my life got better. 'bye, bye cruel classmates. i'd skip school and we'd carouse around.

my mother didn't care what i did. by this point, she was living in new york with her cruddy boyfriend most of the time.

when i was a junior in high school, my mother moved in with Scumdog (he really sucked. i heard he died in prison a while back ), and ted stayed with me. he'd delayed going to college for a year (he then went to johns hopkins. i have to brag.)

it was the best year of my early life. i'd say i'd go to school twice a week. the rest of the time, i was learning to drive, hanging out in parks and going to movies every day.

we were a funny sight to see. we both had fuzzy hair , lots of acne and weight problems. i was a good 180 and Ted was about 110.

We ate a lot. I gained weight and Ted didn't. once he even binged with me -- right before a terrified me went off to college. We refer to it as the pre-Michigan binge.

Ted stayed true through all the years, especially when i was very troubled (his help with this is a long story for another time. net/net without him my family would have abandoned me ) and my mother was dying.

for years, he visited her several days a week and took her to doctors appointments. he sorted all her medicines, handled emergencies, grocery shopped and sat with her for hours.

Toward the end, i didn't show up for my mother, my brother wasn't interested (but he took care of my dying dad) and my sister NEVER once left Pittsburgh.

Ted was there. He took care of her until she slipped out of her coma. I held her on one side and he on the other. I'd never seen him cry before, but he was inconsolable.

i wanted to be with my mother at the end -- she'd brought me into the world, and i wanted to be there when she left. still, i left the room and let Ted be the last one to hold her. He'd been her best child for years.

"Ted's an angel", I'll joke. half-joke. am completely serious.

Monday, March 23, 2009

i Just Don't Know

i haven't written in a while, because i just don't know i feel about anything at the moment. i'm sitting in a big pool of ambivalence. swimming around, a little breathlessly (that would be anxiety).

i certainly don't know what's going with my addictions. the last couple of weeks i've been drinking and eating and wondering if maybe a sleeping pill could be a good idea.

re: the drinking. i have been drinking red wine every night -- two or three glasses. probably more on the weekends. my plan is to give it up starting tomorrow. i'll take antabuse at my therapists tomorrow.

but i don't how i feel about it. i've thoroughly enjoyed my drinking nights. i've gone out for dinner and gotten a little tipsy with the boyfriend. it was fun. i haven't had much fun lately. i don't feel so restricted. i don't feel like "poor me. everyone gets to drink but me. it sucks."

still, drinking gets out of hand. when i started again, the plan was to drink only on the weekends. that lasted -- not even a day. if i can't stick to that plan, i have a problem, and i need not to drink.

still, i'll be traveling with my brother for three weeks, and we go out for all those fancy meals i hate, and i'll be dying for wine. oooo, that doesn't sound good -- "dying for wine".

my head knows i can't drink, at least right now. my heart hates sobriety. ambivalence.

on to the eating. the alcohol flows, and...i eat with abandon, and i'm loving it. except, i've gained six pounds. i weigh more than i've weighed in a year, and i hate it. do i want to cut back, so i can get down to a more comfortable weight? my suits are going to be pinchingly tight on my trip if i don't.

if i'm not drinking, the weight should slide down a bit. three glasses of wine, or more, have lots of calories. and i when boozing, i relax and let myself eat quite heartily.

i have no idea how i want to handle this. quite ambivalent.

drugs. this is a hard one, because i really don't need a sedative or a sleeping pill, other than the trazedone my psychiatrist happily prescribes. but i want the ambien or the lunesta, so i'm GUARANTEED sleep. i really want them, BUT they make me feel cruddy the day after. ambien makes me crazy and cranky and low energy. lunesta's a little better, BUT it leaves an unbelievably hideous taste in my mouth.

what to do?

do i want to switch psychiatrists? this one makes me feel terrible about myself when i slip, BUT she is so smart and firmly believes that i must and i CAN leave a clean and sober life. but.

i'm not making any decisions, as i'm so unsure. but decisions make themselves and many of them aren't great.

some clarity would be very nice right about now.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My ED took my youth

Just Eat It! is a 17 year-old who writes an extraordinary blog about her recovery. reading her wise, honest words about her ED taking control of her teenaged years, i think of all the time i lost.

i'll be 45 in june (how did that happen?) usually, i don't linger in the past. i'm so relieved to be where i am, after all i've been thru. i'm happier than i've ever been and so very grateful.

i always say i have no regrets -- if i didn't go thru what i did i wouldn't be the person i am nor as appreciative. but recently, i'm starting to get mad that i lost so many years to a desire to be...thin.

food was always a gigantic issue in my house. i ate and ate until i got chubby, but then i'd have a growth spurt and lose weight. i was the tallest girl in my class until seventh grade, when i hit 5'6. i weighed 123 pounds and wore a 34C bra.

once i stopped growing, the pounds PACKED on, and the cycle began. starving, binging, compulsive eating, starving, binging compulsive eating, diuretics, laxatives in college, puking after that. my weight fluctuated 60 pounds regularly. i got down to 95 and up to 180. back and forth, back and forth. binge, purge, starve, binge, purge...

junior high school sucked - i was fat and that was all that mattered to me.
high school sucked - i discovered diuretics, cigarettes, fasting and serious binging.
college sucked - i starved too hard to have any brain power. then i binged up 60 pounds.
my 20s sucked - i starved down to 95. no binging here. just misery, loneliness. anger
my thirties sucked - HUNGRY, STARVING, FAMISHED. binge, purge, binge, purge, binge, binge, purge, purge
my early 40s -- stopped binging and purging. gained 20 pounds. then my body adjusted and i lost 15. i've stayed this way for a year.

my ED took control when i was 13. i'm taking it back at 44. THIRTY-ONE years sitting alone, counting calories, staying in so i wouldn't eat, staying in so i could puke out every last bite of food, staying in, so i wouldn't be temped to eat and god forbid -- gain weight.

WHAT A FUCKING WASTE OF TIME. i won't get those 31 years back.

guess it pisses me off, huh? and makes me very sad. the next years won't be like that.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


yesterday at 3 pm, i had Lasix surgery. this morning at 9 am, i went to my eye doctor. I already have 20/20 vision, and it's supposed to keep getting better!

when i woke up today, i put on the glasses i've worn every waking moment for years, and i couldn't see a thing. i spent most of the morning reading things -- the small print on my milk carton, the digital numbers on the clock across the room. road signs. i was even allowed to drive to my doctor's this morning.

i can't wear any face or eye make-up for a week, which is liberating. i am, however, wearing bright red lipstick. i can't play tennis or swim, but as i do neither, i'm in good shape (well, as i don't exercise, i'm not literally in good shape.) i do have to sleep with annoying goggles on for the next week, but i'll live.

the surgery wasn't too bad, although i was incredibly nervous beforehand. luckily, they gave me valium, or i really would have jumped off the table. clearly, they're taking things in and out of your eyes and apparently, one of those things is your lens itself. they also do something like create flaps in your cornea. the friend who drove me decided to watch the procedure (i don't know why), and he nearly fainted. after the surgery, i was fine, but the staff worried around him to make sure HE was all right. even today, i can't mention the procedure to him, because he'll get dizzy and need to sit down.

yesterday, i was too nervous to eat. it almost never happens that i have NO appetite AND don't have any desire to eat. i didn't have any food until i woke up from a nap at 9 pm -- not because i was restricting but because i had no interest.

i'm told i'll never have to wear glasses for nearsightedness ever again. wish Lasix could have the same positive effect it had on my compulsive eating tendencies as it did right before the procedure

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

my mother's gift

yes, i am getting lasix surgery today. evidently, i'll have fabulous vision. and i won't need glasses (if all goes well, of course.)

i've been wearing glasses since i was nine. that's thirty-five years of nuisance.

i'm rough on glasses. i fall asleep with them on and then rollover. they are ALWAYS dirty. i shove them angrily on top of my head when they weigh too heavily on the bridge of my nose. i can never find them in the morning, because, well, i can't see!

evidently, all that's going to change after the surgery. i'm most excited about finding my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

the decision to have the surgery was spontaneous. i'd gone to the eye doctor for a regular check-up. And i'd been thinking about getting contacts again, although if i'm hard on glasses, i'm a tyrant to contacts. i rip them, poke my eyes trying to get them in and lose them. the cost of constantly replacing contacts was practically prohibitive.

i also needed sunglasses, which is a major expense. in addition to the exhorbitant cost of the frames, my lenses are always big bucks. my eyes are terrible, so if i don't get very special ($$$$$) lenses put in, i'm left with the glorious Coke bottle effect.

sitting in the doctors office, i saw a brochure about Lasix and suddenly, it seemed like a great idea. although the surgery is EXPENSIVE, i figured the rest of my lifetime of glasses (tri-focals soon) and contacts would cost just as much.

i decided to pay for the procedure with a bit of the money my mom had left me. my mom had the worst eyesight anyone had ever seen. she needed a pair of glasses for everything -- playing the piano, driving, driving at night, reading music, reading books... her specs-packed purse was a... sight to see.

my mother hated her eyesight. in her later years, she needed cataract surgery and ended up with 20/20 vision. while she suffered miserably with Parkinson's disease, at least her vision pleased her beyond compare.

everyone agrees that my mom would love me spending her money on the surgery. i love the idea that when seeing well, i will ALWAYS think of her -- she will always be with me, each time i look.

i'm leaving for the doctor's in two hours. yes, i'm getting nervous. i didn't research the procedure, because i don't really want to know what they do. still, i know something's going in my eye, and there is the potential for something to go wrong.

i understand that my vision will be blurry later today, and i'll have some restrictions for the next few days. blurry vision is creepy, but so many people have had this surgery. i tell myself everything will be okay, and if all goes well, soon everything will be GREAT.

wish me luck. i'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


i have terrible cramps today. i've slept most of the day, trying to snooze away the pain.

there are one hundred million things i "should" do today. the apartment's a mess, the laundry's had a growth spurt, my taxes aren't done, i have job stuff to finish -- but i HURT.

i wish i felt well enough to do all the chores on my list, but i don't even have the energy to take a bath.

why is it that when we feel like hell, we still think we should be scaling mountains and single-handedly ending world wars?

why is it so hard to tell myself i'm allowed to lie in bed when i'm actually in too much pain to get out of it?

it's sort of like expecting ourselves to be super-skinny when that's...well -- impossible.

it's sort of like we're not allowed to be unhappy or sit with misery or discomfort, so we have to do something -- like eat or booze or take a pill, so we'll be as cool as the world wants us to be.

here's to be being allowed to be sick, being allowed to eat, being allowed to be feel crummy emotionally, being allowed to be flawed, being allowed to be human.

i'm going back to bed. i'm allowed

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Entitled Eating

Yesterday, i ate with abandon. I'd had my usual stomach troubles and for two days, i couldn't keep things down or in. i probably restricted a bit too -- it saw a great opportunity to drop a few, and i did lose weight.

Yesterday, I was ravenous. i had a muffin for breakfast, guilt-free pizza for lunch and chocolate mid-afternoon.

It was glorious -- eating freely. that cheesy, doughy large slice of pizza was fabulous. i pictured life eating like that -- it would be so easy. i thought of athletes who can eat what they like and not worry and fret and fight guilt over pizza.

yesterday, my eating felt okay because, i'd earned it.

earned it? what is that? because i had diarrhea for two days i was entitled to eat a whole slice of pizza? to have some peace?

when i was miserable starving girl, i'd daydream about entitled eating. in one fantasy, i'd been lost on a deserate island for five days without food. after i was rescued, i let myself eat whatever i wanted to regain my strength. there was enough french toast in these dreams to ... well to feed the fantasies of every anorexic on earth.

why do i think i need to be starved in order to feed myself without guilt or worry?

sadly, the entitled feeling disappeared after my second late afternoon piece of chocolate. i started to worry about how much weight i'd regain. was i out of control? was i...entitled to dinner? clearly, i had no discipline.

i did eat dinner, although i didn't feel great about it.

i need to move from craving entitled eating to learning to eat with enlightenment.