JUNE 2007. Well I am nervous to be opening up like this. I am a bit shy at first believe it or not, but I love to help and was told that sharing my story might help encourage others. So here goes... Some say being overweight is a sign of laziness & overeating. I hope that this will show that this is not always the case. There are medical reasons that people gain & lose weight. I have always been very active. I love the outdoors - walking, camping, quadding, hiking, playing games like volleyball, baseball, etc. When I got pregnant with my son that didn't stop me. I kept going for long walks and even played Frisbee and tether ball at 9 1/2 months pregnant lol (thought it might help him come out faster - it didn't lol) This first picture was taken June 24, 1999 at about 11:30 am with my son. This was the first time I got to hold him; he was born the night before. My sweet angel baby. Two months ago, I finally met one of my goals by reaching this weight again and presently am working towards achieving my next goal.
To make a long story shorter... I didn't eat much during or at the end of my pregnancy (morning sickness lol). After my son was born, I still wasn't eating much, but I was drinking more fluids with higher sugars & calories. Combined with not being able to get back into being as active as I was before; I started gaining a lot of weight. In just over a year, I had gained over 120+ lbs. At the end of that year, I had started exercising over 8 hours (2 hours / 4 times a day) trying to lose the weight. I was eating once a day (usually a bowl of soup with 4 crackers). My thinking was food equaled weight. I was wrong. I gained more. Finally, I reached a point where I couldn't take it anymore. I was so depressed and felt defeated. I was sent to an obesity specialist and was told I was morbidly obese and would be dead soon if I didn't lose the weight. I was to start eating right and had been approved to get the gastric bypass surgery (stomach staple). I refused the surgery and agreed to eat right. This picture was at my heaviest weight. This was taken June 21, 2002. PS: 3 months after this picture was taken, I quit smoking. My son told me he didn't want to be an orphan.
This next picture was taken 2 years ago by my son in July 2005. I had lost about 50 lbs in that year just by eating 3 meals a day, cutting back on sugar drinks, and exercising smarter.
*********** Almost 2 Years Later ****************
About 8 months after the previous picture was taken I joined a gym (Curves). I was stuck on a plateau and thought this would help to change things to achieve my weight goal. Since then, I have lost more weight making the total weight loss in the last 3 years approximately 140 pounds. You may have seen these next pictures in my albums - they have all been taken in the last week or so (June 2007)
Now I have other goals that I will meet and achieve. Two main goals have been accomplished; I quit smoking (will be 5 years Sept'08) and I have lost 140 lbs. I want to lose another 40 lbs and the extra skin that makes life.. ummm painful & difficult. I also want to go back to college ;) I am proud of my accomplishments and I know how hard it can be, but it is possible. I had been discouraged at times and my friends helped me with their encouragement and love. Thank You Guys, Love You !!!!! UPDATE Jan 24th, 2008 I am still waiting on approval for surgery... to have the extra hanging skin removed. There are two doctors that are very supportive of me and are trying to get surgery covered by provincial medical. The extra skin is having a negative affect to my health in more ways than one. I have had this blog up for the past year and been blessed to have chatted with a lot of amazing people who are supportive and have shared their lives with me. I have also had some that have criticized it and me. Please understand that having this blog, I have been sharing a part of me that does affect my self esteem. Everyone wants to look, feel, and be their best and that is the side that most people share. I am sharing part of me that isn't the 'best'. I would like to thank all of you for your support and love!!!! With the picture (above), those colourful things on the wall behind me at the top are 'feet'. For every 12 inches lost when measurements are done, you get your name put on one and it gets added up there. I now I have 6!! :D That's is 72 inches of body fat and inches GONE!! Working on my 7th foot now!! (This is just while at Curves, not including the weight & inches lost before joining there) WOOOOHOOOO!!!
UPDATE: APRIL 14th, 2008 OMG I just got a call and I go for a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon to have the extra skin removed!!!!! I am shaking right now so please bare with me lol My appointment is for next Thursday, April 24th in the morning!! They are going to see based on the assessment IF Manitoba Health will cover the costs for the surgery. I will update after lol ;) Wooohoooooooo!!!!!!! Update April 15th (calmer lol) THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL MY FRIENDS & FAMILY THAT HAVE BEEN BY ME AND FOR YOUR LOVE, SUPPORT, & PRAYERS!!! Yes, Now I'm a bit nervous lol Still SOOO EXCITED & did I say Nervous lol Have the 'What if's...' coming to mind lol I know this is a consultation (Not going to say 'just' cause THIS is step 2 AND there is nothing 'just' about this :D ) This is to determine IF they will do the surgery and what is all involved... I'm assuming lol Tons of things are going through my head. Won't bore you with details lol Will update after appt. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX This is one of my favorite songs. I have some people asking me how I lost the weight. I didn't give up... neither should you. We know you can do it :D
UPDATE April 24th /08 Well my friend and I got up at 6:30 am and went to the city for the consultation with the surgeon in the blizzardy weather lol The surgeon was so amazing... so very sweet. She took pictures, measurements, and gave her opinion of what is needed; offering choices and explaining everything to me and my friend I brought with me. She made it very comfortable to ask questions and talk to her. The surgeon said I would need 3 surgeries and did not recommend getting it done at once. Being a single mom with very little family support, getting what needs to be done in three surgeries allows me the ability to look after myself without relying on others. She said that with each surgery, the recovery would be approximately 4 to 6 weeks, with approximately 3 months between each. She also said that they could book the surgeries to take place as quick as a month from now IF I got the finances to do so. I also find that having 3 separate surgeries hard. I would still rather get it all done at once. Being a single mom and away from my son like that would be more hell for both. There are sacrifices to be made yes... but my son is my life. I know that this would help both of us in the long run. (The longest I've been away from him is 3 days. If you read my profile, you know that my son has Asperger's Syndrome aka high functioning Autism) As far as the surgery being covered... She does not think it will be covered by the medical. Said it would be different If I had had the gastric bypass surgery, the surgeries I need now would be covered by provincial medical as a result of having a previous 'health related' surgery. She also agreed when my friend and I said that was really 'not right/fair' that this surgery couldn't be covered since it is still needed, due to massive weight loss, same as one who had the bypass surgery (Same extra skin. Same risks of diabetes & other health issues. Same uncomfortable skin that is difficult & painful (pinching and bruising). Not to mention the negative effects to self esteem... still looking 'big' even though you aren't) She did give an estimate price, $25 000, down from approximately $40 000. This estimate is good for 4 months, however, still impossible for me to cover. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts and who knows.. maybe a miracle will happen and our prayers answered. ;) I'm a bit discouraged right now but not giving up yet. Thank you all xxxxxx
Update : September 6th, 2008 There have a been a few that have written to Oprah and Dr. Phil on my behalf. Thank You all so much!!! We still have not heard anything from them or the local newspaper, but thank you so much for your encouragement. Almost out of options now so getting a bit discouraged. Was suggested I gain the weight back then they will do the bypass... like I'm gonna do that! OI! BUT anyway still checking out other options.. like finding a plastic surgeon that can/will volunteer to do the surgeries. Anyone know one? lol Also another friend of mine read my blog about a year ago and has herself lost 100 lbs and has also quit smoking. This is so awesome!!! She credits me to being her inspiration and I do thank her but it is the strength that is in us all. Once we know it can be done... we do it :D
December 28th 2008 Well Should update here... As most of you know my son & I were in a car accident this past June. My son suffered whiplash and a cut eyelid and I - severe whiplash & some unknown things with my neck that just will not heal right. My trips to the gym have been halted and so has my progress in my goal to lose the last bit of weight. Instead my body is playing 'yo yo' gaining and now losing again. Just trying to reach back to the weight i was at the time of the accident. I have come to far to give up now (and too stubborn :P ) PS: Here is a site an amazing guy found for me. I have sent a message to them now as well. But while there found a video procedure of what they would do to me ... It is shown on a mannequin just to give you an idea. I would also need surgery to remove the skin on my arms as well. http://thedoctorstv.com/main/procedure_list/51 That's all for now... God Bless And Happy New Years!!!!
October 22nd, 2010
Surgery has been APPROVED!!!!!!
50 Signs of Fibromyalgia:
3. sleep disorder
4. morning stiffness
5. cognitive or memory impairment
6. irritable bowel
7. chronic headaches
8. TMJ syndrome
9. numbness and tingling sensation
10. muscle twitching
11. skin sensitivities
12. dry eyes and mouth
14. allergic symptoms
15. mitral valve prolapse
16. heel or arch pain
17. brain fatigue
18. painful periods
19. chest pains, noncardiac
21. panic attacks
22. irritable bladder
23. multiple chemical sensitivities
24. joint hypermobility
26. personality changes
29. severe muscle weakness
30. intolerance of bright lights
31. alteration of taste, smell, hearing
32. low frequency, sensorineural hearing loss
33. decreased painful sound threshold
34. ringing in the ears
35. exaggerated involuntary rapid eye movement
36. changes in visual acuity
37. intolerance of alcohol
38. enhancement of medication side effects
39. intolerance of previously tolerated medications
40. severe nasal and other allergies possible sinus infections
41. weight change (gain)
42. muscle and joint aches
43. night sweats
44. heart palpitations
45. muscle spasms
46. Raynaud's-like symptoms
47. carpal tunnel syndrome
49. difficulty swallowing
50. interstitial cystitis
changes in weather
cold or drafty environment
POSSIBLE CAUSES FOR FMS:
accident or trauma
You hurt all over, and you frequently feel exhausted. Even after numerous tests, your doctor can't find anything specifically wrong with you. If this sounds familiar, you may have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue and multiple tender points — places on your body where slight pressure causes pain. Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men. Previously, fibromyalgia was known by other names such as fibrositis, chronic muscle pain syndrome, psychogenic rheumatism and tension myalgias.
Although the intensity of your symptoms may vary, they'll probably never disappear completely. It may be reassuring to know, however, that fibromyalgia isn't progressive or life-threatening. Treatments and self-care steps can improve fibromyalgia symptoms and your general health.
Signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary, depending on the weather, stress, physical activity or even the time of day. Common signs and symptoms include:
* Widespread pain. Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in specific areas of your body when pressure is applied, including the back of your head, upper back and neck, upper chest, elbows, hips and knees. The pain generally persists for months at a time and is often accompanied by stiffness.
* Fatigue and sleep disturbances. People with fibromyalgia often wake up tired and unrefreshed even though they seem to get plenty of sleep. Some studies suggest that this sleep problem is the result of a sleep disorder called alpha wave interrupted sleep pattern, a condition in which deep sleep is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness. So people with fibromyalgia miss the deep restorative stage of sleep. Nighttime muscle spasms in your legs and restless legs syndrome also may be associated with fibromyalgia.
* Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating associated with IBS are common in people with fibromyalgia.
* Headaches and facial pain. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have headaches and facial pain that may be related to tenderness or stiffness in their neck and shoulders. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, which affects the jaw joints and surrounding muscles, also is common in people with fibromyalgia.
* Heightened sensitivity. It's common for people with fibromyalgia to report being sensitive to odors, noises, bright lights and touch.
Other common signs and symptoms include:
* Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands and feet (paresthesia)
* Difficulty concentrating
* Mood changes
* Chest pain
* Dry eyes, skin and mouth
* Painful menstrual periods
Doctors don't know what causes fibromyalgia. Current thinking centers around a theory called "central sensitization." This theory states that people with fibromyalgia have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. Researchers believe repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal pain (neurotransmitters). In addition, the brain's pain receptors (neurons) — which receive signals from the neurotransmitters — seem to develop a sort of memory of the pain and become more sensitive, meaning they can overreact to pain signals. In this way, pressure on a spot on the body that wouldn't hurt someone without fibromyalgia can be very painful to someone who has the condition. But what initiates this process of central sensitization isn't known.
It's likely that a number of factors contribute to the development of fibromyalgia. Other theories as to the cause of fibromyalgia include:
* Sleep disturbances. Some researchers theorize that disturbed sleep patterns may be a cause rather than just a symptom of fibromyalgia.
* Injury. An injury or trauma, particularly in the upper spinal region, may trigger the development of fibromyalgia in some people. An injury may affect your central nervous system, which may trigger fibromyalgia.
* Infection. Some researchers believe that a viral or bacterial infection may trigger fibromyalgia.
* Abnormalities of the autonomic (sympathetic) nervous system. Part of your autonomic nervous system — the sympathetic, or involuntary, system — controls bodily functions that you don't consciously control, such as heart rate, blood vessel contraction, sweating, salivary flow and intestinal movements. It’s thought that sympathetic nervous system dysfunction occurs in people with fibromyalgia, particularly at night, which leads to fatigue, stiffness, dizziness and other signs and symptoms associated with the condition.
* Changes in muscle metabolism. For example, deconditioning and decreased blood flow to muscles may contribute to decreased strength and fatigue. Differences in metabolism and abnormalities in the hormonal substance that influences the activity of nerves may play a role.
Psychological stress and hormonal changes also may be possible causes of fibromyalgia.
Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:
* Your sex. Fibromyalgia occurs more often in women than in men.
* Age. Fibromyalgia tends to develop during early and middle adulthood. But it can also occur in children and older adults.
* Disturbed sleep patterns. It's unclear whether sleeping difficulties are a cause or a result of fibromyalgia — but people with sleep disorders, such as nighttime muscle spasms in the legs, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea, can also develop fibromyalgia.
* Family history. You may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia if a relative also has the condition.
* Rheumatic disease. If you have a rheumatic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or ankylosing spondylitis, you may be more likely to have fibromyalgia.
When to seek medical advice
See your doctor if you experience general aching or widespread pain that lasts several months and is accompanied by fatigue. Many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia mimic those of other diseases, such as low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism), polymyalgia rheumatica, neuropathies, lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor can help determine if one of these other conditions may be causing your symptoms.
Tests and diagnosis
Diagnosing fibromyalgia is difficult because there isn't a single, specific diagnostic laboratory test. In fact, before receiving a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, you may go through several medical tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, only to have the results come back normal. Although these tests may rule out other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis, they can't confirm fibromyalgia.
The American College of Rheumatology has established general classification guidelines for fibromyalgia, to help in the assessment and study of the condition. According to these guidelines, to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia you must have experienced widespread aching pain for at least three months and have a minimum of 11 locations on your body that are abnormally tender under relatively mild, firm pressure. In addition to taking your medical history, a doctor checking for fibromyalgia will likely press firmly on specific points on your head, upper body and certain joints so that you can confirm which cause pain.
Not all doctors agree with these guidelines. Some believe that the criteria are too rigid and that you can have fibromyalgia even if you don't meet the required number of tender points. Others question how reliable and valid tender points are as a diagnostic tool.
Fibromyalgia isn't progressive and generally doesn't lead to other conditions or diseases. It can, however, cause pain, depression and lack of sleep. These problems can then interfere with your ability to function at home or on the job, or maintain close family or personal relationships. The frustration of dealing with an often-misunderstood condition also can be a complication of the condition.
Coping and support
Besides dealing with the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, you may also have to deal with the frustration of having a condition that's often misunderstood. In addition to educating yourself about fibromyalgia, you may find it helpful to provide your family, friends and co-workers with information.
It's also helpful to know that you're not alone. Organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation and the American Chronic Pain Association provide educational classes and support groups. These groups can often provide a level of help and advice that you might not find anywhere else. They can also help put you in touch with others who have had similar experiences and can understand what you're going through.