I've not been myself lately.  For much longer than I think, according to Ken.  He says I just haven't been myself for many weeks now.  I didn't think it was that long, but I do agree I just haven't been my usual self.  A lot of stuff lately has reminded me of Mom and her last weeks.  This week, especially.  The Friday of Labor Day weekend is the day Mom went into the hospital.  And she stayed there until she passed away a few short weeks later.  I've been having a really hard time with this, which really surprises me.  I've been carrying around a lot of sorrow, a lot of bad feelings and a lot of baggage in regards to this.  I thought I came to terms with most of it months ago, but I've been realizing that's anything but the case.  

It's kind of funny that I'm going through this.  I've always had sympathy for people who have gone through something similar, but I always thought they were overreacting.  Their loved one is gone, get over it and move on.  Yeah, well, now that it's happening to me, I'm seeing things slightly differently.  I can understand what they were going through, but at the same time, I keep yelling at myself to get over my bad self.  Being depressed isn't going to do anything for anyone.  It's not going to bring Mom back and it's not going to help anyone.  But, easier said than done.  

I don't think I ever let myself properly mourn her loss. I took it on myself to be the strong one for everyone.  I didn't want anyone to see me cry.  I wanted to let everyone else do that and in my head, the way to let them do that was to be strong for them.  And I think I screwed myself over in the process.  I've had a lot of raw emotion bubbling under the surface the last few weeks, but I've been fighting it.  I would do whatever I could to escape things.  Saturday marked the 21st consecutive day for me at the gym.  By escaping to the gym for an hour or so at a time for such an extended stretch, I managed to injure myself.  I'm now forced to slow down my pace for a while, which is killing me.  Today (as well as a lot of days lately) I found myself emotionally eating rather than eating because I was hungry.  I've done this my entire life and I don't see that changing ever.  I also found that when I'm hurt or hurting, I tend to pull back from everyone.  This includes Ken, my real life friends, my online buddies.  The entire time Mom was sick, I dropped off the face of the earth.  I'm fighting against that right now, but it's a losing battle.

I know this is just a temporary thing and it will pass soon.  But I foresee the next month to be a really rocky time for me.  I'm really looking forward for it to be October.  I'll have made it through all my firsts.  My first Thanksgiving and Christmas without Mom.  Her first birthday.  The anniversary of the hospital.  The anniversary of her passing.  Where's the fast forward button?


Been a long ass day.  I'm just home from a road trip to Connecticut.  My cousin's husband passed away unexpectedly this week and Ken and I went to pay our respects today.  As sad as the event was, it was really nice to see family I don't normally see.  I have stuff I'd like to say about it, but my brain is so fried right now.  I hope what I have to say manages to stick around in my brain until I get a chance to sit and write.


Cousin update.  After I wrote my blog post a couple days ago, things changed again.  Zach went into a seizure that lasted nearly four hours and seemed to undo all the progress, what little it was, he made.  He had to be put back on the ventilator and while he's not back in his coma, he's been sedated.  Since Facebook has been the easiest way to stay in touch and updated with my family, here's the latest, directly from his mother.  

Zach's doctors are trying something called a ketogenic diet now. This diet has been proven to reduce or stop seizures in some kids. However, they're not sure how well it will work for him because his ammonia levels keep fluctuating which leads them to believe that his liver is having a hard time breaking down protein- one of the main c
omponents of that diet. They continue to monitor those levels and if they keep elevating, they will be forced to stop it. He is being kept sedated while they try to figure out how to treat him since his body has not been tolerant of most of the seizure meds so far, and the ones he has tolerated have not been stong enough to be effective. They have not been able to find a cause for the seizures yet, so all they can do right now is try to prevent them from happening through diet or medication. 

The poor kid cannot seem to catch a break.  I've been thinking about him non-stop since he ended up back in the hospital and am hopeful the doctor's can get a handle on his condition and get him back on the road to recovery quickly.


Six years ago today, I took actions and completely changed my life for the better.  Six years and a day ago, I had a physical and was shocked when I stepped on the scale to find I was 300.5 lbs.  My home scale never told me that.  As far as it was concerned, I was still in the 290s and I was happy being there, too.  I wasn't 300, so why bother doing anything about it.  But seeing that 3 on the scale scared the shit out of me.  I took the rest of the day to figure out what I was going to do about it, stopping at McDonald's for lunch even.  My doctor didn't give me very much advice, but what he told me stuck and helped tremendously.  He told me that if I wanted to lose weight, I needed to watch my calories, watch my carb intake and get some exercise.  If he told me anything more, I don't know if I would have been able to do what I've managed to do.  When I got home, I googled how many calories I should eat to lose weight.  It seemed like a tremendous amount until I started counting calories.  Suddenly I realized my average meal was my suggest daily caloric intake (and sometimes more.)  But I was committed to losing weight.  I don't know how I let myself get so far away from healthy.  So August 5, 2006, I changed my life.  I started eating healthy.  I started to exercise.  My exercise consisted solely of walking.  I was so out of shape that I couldn't go very far at first.  My initial walking goal was to leave the house and walk for three songs, turn around and head home.  I know that's not very much, but it's all I could manage.  My legs killed me, but I pushed through.  Soon it was four songs, then five, then six, then I stopped counting.  The first year, I managed to drop 66 pounds.  That alone is something I should have been proud of, but I only saw it as being a little more than half way.  I wasn't willing to give up yet.  I wanted to be 200 pounds in the worst way. 

As year two started, my weight loss had slowed down, but that's just natural.  Sometimes I'd let the frustration of the smaller drops get to me, sometimes I just used it as reason to push harder.  As I was nearing the 200 pound mark, I decided that it just wasn't good enough.  I wanted a little more drama, so I readjusted my goal to 190 pounds.  I can't tell you the last time I was in the 100's.  I was probably thirteen years old.  But I was determined to make it.  And on August 5, 2008, I weighed in for the first time as an adult at 190 pounds.  Two years to the day I started.  

If someone told me when I started this crazy journey that it's a journey you don't ever end, I think it would have derailed me.  In my head, I needed to lose weight and as soon as I did, I could go back to my old ways.  I don't know why I thought that, but it kept me going.  Since hitting my goal, though, my eating habits have definitely changed.  I'm not as strict as I was during the two years I was losing the weight.  I now know what I can eat, how much I can eat and when I can eat it.  Sundays, for instance, are my go crazy day.  I eat poorly on Sundays.  My official weigh in day is Sunday, so I figure it gives me the rest of the week to undo the damage I just did.  Tonight, for instance, I just ate a big ass ice cream sundae.  It was delicious, I didn't need it, but I wanted it.  And because I know how my body works, my weight should spike tomorrow and then goose up just a little more on Tuesday before regulating.  I weigh myself every day, so I generally know what to expect when I step on the scale.  Sometimes I get awesome surprises, though.  Yesterday morning I had no idea I'd be 190.  I thought it would be a little higher based on how I'd been eating.  Today was extra special because I weighed in at 186.3.  It was great seeing that, especially because it's an important day.  It's the best showing on the scale for 2012.

I'm so proud of myself.  I worked so hard to get healthy and still can't believe I did it.  I look at old pictures of myself and although I still feel like that fat guy on the inside, I don't recognize the fat guy I'm looking at.  I don't know how I ever let myself get to be that man.  And looking in the mirror today, I still see some of the damage that fat guy left me with.  I have a permanent muffin top.  My skin was stretched so far for so long that it's retracted as much as it's going to.  I see the extra skin and it's hard for me to convince myself it's not fat.  It's just leftover skin.  And stretch marks.  I've got plenty of them, too.  But they're my war wounds.  They're there to remind me of who I was and the man I will never be again.


It's been a pretty stressful week for me.  Probably one of the worst in quite a while.  I've had a lot on my plate and everything just kind of fell by the wayside for me.

Last weekend, my sweet little Lucy stopped eating.  Food was completely uninteresting to her and she had no interest whatsoever in eating.  I've talked about her before and how she is on a special prescription diet because her digestive system can't handle regular food.  She's not a fan of what she can eat and will often protest her food, but she always caves in when she's hungry enough and eats.  Not this time.  She just stopped and that got me scared.  The last time something like this happened was with my old cat Puss Patrell.  She was fine and dandy and then one day she stopped eating.  With her, it turned out she had pretty advanced cancer and within a few days, she was gone.  Naturally, this is the first and only thought I had with Lucy and I was panic stricken.  We got her to the vet and she thought after the initial examination that Lucy might have pancreatitis.  It's inflammation of the pancreas which would cause her not to want to eat.  We left Lucy at the vet for more tests, observation and medication.  Her blood work came back great and her x-rays showed a hazing around the pancreas.  After a day of meds, she started bouncing right back.  We brought her in on Tuesday and she was supposed to stay until Friday, but she was doing so well they released her on Thursday.  The only test we don't have results back from yet is her ultra-sound, but we're hoping that comes back clean.  Right now all I care about is Lucy is feeling better, her appetite is stronger than it's been in a long time and she's home.

But Lucy wasn't the only thing I've been worried about.  My little cousin Zach is the other.  Technically, he's my first cousin's grandson, but he's still my cousin.  Third cousin?  I don't know how that works.  Anyway, last weekend Zach, age 9, had a series of three seizures with the third lasting over an hour and he ended up in the hospital on a ventilator and in a coma.  He's been having seizures for the last couple of weeks.  His first one hit while he was at summer camp and it took away all the feeling on his right side.  It starting coming back, but he was still pretty weak.  No cause has yet been determined.  He's had tests up the wazoo, though.  He's had them on and off since, but last weekend was the worst.  He's been diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis, something that's not good at all.  Still no idea what's caused this.  He's still in the hospital, but as of yesterday, he's come out of his coma.  He's still not strong enough to breathe on his own, though, so he's still being helped with the ventilator.  I'm just relieved he's awake again.  

So needless to say I've had a lot on my mind.  I've had the worst stress headache of my life this week.  My head hasn't been with me at work and I've blown off the overtime because I just couldn't do it.  I'm happy that things are slowly getting better, though.  It's a huge relief.  Lucy may be out of the woods, but Zach isn't yet.  But we're making progress.  Slow but steady progress.  And that's all I can ask.