Once Upon a Fat Girl

Sunday, December 31, 2006

These boots were made for walkin'...

So my ancient Saturn is now parked, perhaps permanently, in our driveway. It won't pass smog. And considering it's 15 years old and has something like 200,000 miles on it...we aren't going to put any moola into it. For now we are a one car family--my choice. We could afford another car, but Kevin is working so many hours to bust us out of debt and build up our savings. I'd rather put the $300 or so in payments and insurance and maintence toward the bills.

I'm seriously concerned about the plight of the enviornment right now, especially Global Warming and Peak Oil. (If you know anything about me, know that I have this tendancy to hyperfocus. Right now, I'm especially pleasant to live with because I'm focused on the End-of-the-World-as-We-Know-it. Specifically, the end of cheap oil and the effects of the over-consumption that got us there.) Okay. So I'm feeling okay about having one car. I'd feel much better if that one car was some sort of a hybrid or something, instead of a mommy-mobile van that gets 20 miles to the gallon.

I started to write here "the only problem is...", but I changed my mind. It isn't really a problem. It's a challenge. Kevin is working two jobs right now, so Wednesday through Saturday I have no car at all. In an emergency, I could have one, but I'd have to get up at 3 a.m. and pick Kevin up from work and well...I like to sleep.

We live in the city center-ish area of town. Not on the outskirts. Directly across the street from my house is a shopping mall, across the street from that is a grocery store, catty corner is a good bookstore. The city bus picks up ten steps from my front door. Nick's psychiatrist's office is less than a mile away (we're walking there on the 8th.) There is a major hospital across the street from the psychiatrist's office.

When Adrienne and Nick were babies and I was first divorced from their dad I didn't have a car for five years. I walked everywhere. We used to go out on Saturday's and walk the neighborhood looking for good garage sales. We walked to the grocery store with one of those granny pushcarts. We took the bus to McDonald's and a movie with my best friend and her girls every Friday.

I think it's significant to mention that I weighed roughly 100 pounds less then than I do now. I gained about 50 pounds in the two years after I got a car.

It is beyond time for me to get off my ass and move some. And that doesn't mean the gym.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2007: a year in resolutions

The offical list of 2007 resolutions:

1. Be more health concious. Eat Superfoods, go to the doctor for a checkup (Kevin, too), get a baseline mamogram and my thyroid checked, walk everyday, get enough sleep (at least seven hours a night), take vitamins, eat organic in-season food, FEEL GOOD.

2. Write the first draft of my second novel. Two thousand words a day, just like Stephen King. (I'd say everyday except the Fourth of July, my birthday and Christmas, but 2000 words a day from January 1 to July 4 is like 800 pages.)

3. Rework the query letter for my first novel and send it out one more time.

4. Publish my first piece of fiction, probably a short story.

5. Completely declutter* our house so that I don't have to spend so much time cleaning, or feeling guilty for not cleaning. Flylady, here I come. *Declutter=get rid of half of everything. And forgodsake stop bringing in more.

6. Get the kids new mattresses.

7. Pay off debt.

8. Save 15 percent of income.

9. Work hard on being happy where I am, even if I want to be somewhere else.

10. Travel somewhere I've never been.

11. Take the kids to the Grand Canyon.

12. Find appropriate schools for Adrienne and Nicholas.

13. Take more pictures, and actually develop them.

14. Complete the New York Institute of Photography program with Adrienne. This is the last year to do it, before it expires.

Here's my biggest goal for 2007. Get through the fall-to-winter transition without getting sick. I have the mother of all sinus infections right now. You know that awful feeling that your head weighs too much and might just go rolling off your shoulders? And the off-kilter experience of being congested but not having a runny nose to blow and clear it up. And pressure on your teeth that makes you want to take pliers to them and yank them all out. And a red, raw throat from all the unspeakable stuff that has to drain SOMEWHERE if your head isn't going to explode. Ick.

I'm reading the Superfoods book I linked to above. It's pretty fascinating stuff. By the time you eat all the healthy stuff, there isn't room for junk. It's definitely not a diet. I put the daily reccomendations into Calorie King and came up with about 2000 calories, which happens to be just what I should be eating. This year isn't about losing weight. It's about feeling better.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gearing up for the new year

As happens this time every year, I can feel myself gearing up for a good old-fashioned health-food kick. It occurred to me last week, on my husband's 38th birthday, that we aren't getting any younger. And that three of our four parents had serious health issues when they weren't all that much older than us.

My mom died from breast cancer when she was 48. That's only thirteen years older than I am no, and only ten older than Kevin.

My dad just finished treatment for prostate cancer. He's 59.

Kevin's dad had a heart attack about ten years ago, in his early 50s. He is the only man in his family to have survived past the age of 56, thanks to heart disease.

I'm making appointments for both of us to have general health check-ups in January. Kevin doesn't like it, but too bad for him. He doesn't get to have a baby in his mid-thirties and then forget to take care of his health.

We both weigh in the area of 300 pounds, even with our family histories of health issues that can be exacerbated by obesity. We eat so much junk food, it's ridiculous. My dad's doctor told him that his prostrate problem can be directly attributed to eating a diet high in transfats. Breast cancer is harder to detect early in women who are obese. I don't think anything needs to be said about a man with a family history of heart disease weighing close to 300 pounds. Over Christmas his mother said something to me about Kevin being at less risk because he doesn't smoke, like his father did when he had his heart attack. The fact is though, he's been exposed heavily to second-hand smoke since she smoked her way through her pregnancy with him. He grew up with two smokers smoking in the house and for seventeen years he's worked in casinos where people blow smoke in his face all day long.

So my goal for the next year is not to diet, but to eat healthier. Organic produce, transfat- and hydrogenated-oil-free foods, free range, hormone-free meat (and less of it.) Fresher, cleaner food in, I think, means a healthier body. Also some exercise. Not a gym, or anything organized...just getting off our asses and moving everyday. Going to the park, taking a walk.

This year is about feeling good, and trying to lessen our chances of following in our parents' footsteps.

I'm still having issues with food obsession. I've noticed it helps if I don't let myself graze. I know that a lot of people think it's healthier to graze, and they are probably right. But when I do--when I just eat more frequent small meals, or just snack when the mood hits--it always leads to binging. If I eat regular meals--breakfast, lunch and dinner--and eat enough to be full--I feel much more in control.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Round up

Well...the December rush of birthdays is over. Ruby turned two on December 8, Nick turned 13 (!) on the 12th and Kevin's birthday was yesterday.

Things have been a little nuts. We spent five days in Ely visiting Adrienne and Nick's grandparents. That town is like Christmas central...it's a living postcard. All the snowy little cottages lit up, snow capped mountains everywhere. Amazing.

As soon as we got back I went to Panama City for my dad's wedding. It's funny--I never think of Florida as being in the south. Maybe the north...I'm not sure. But the pan handle is most definitely Deep South.

I've never seen so many trees. It's like they hacked back the rain forest to build houses. And the food was out of this world.

After Christmas I'll post some pictures. Kevin's parents are coming for dinner tonight and I just don't have the time to get them up until then.

I have totally neglected this blog the past six months. One of my resolutions is to post more often. I'm huge on resolutions and have been having a blast the past few days organizing mine. (good intentions and all that!) Here's what I have so far:

1. Lose 50 pounds. I know this sounds suspiciously like "go on a diet", but I swear it's an improvement. Usually I resolve to lose 10 pounds a month, which is 120 pounds in a year. Fifty pounds is a nice very slow pace--doable just by not binging.

2. Write the first draft of my new novel. In his writing book Stephen King says when he's writing he writes 2000 words a day. Who wants to argue with the master? So 2000 words a day it is. I really can do this.

3. Move away from Las Vegas. Another one that has been a constant for the past couple of years. This year I think I might really manage it, too.

We're thinking about moving to Denver. There is a casino center not too far away, and the university there has an autism research center which means that they must have a better selection of doctors for Nick than there is in Las Vegas. The schools are good, the weather isn't too bad. I know, I know...lots of snow. Big Blizzard this week (everyone I've told I want to move to Denver has called to tell me about the blizzard!) But generally, even in the winter, they don't get bitter cold. It's semi-arid so the kids and I won't be knocked on our asses by humidity. And hello...the Rocky Mountains. Who wouldn't benefit by being surrounded by that kind of beauty? So anyone from Denver? I'd love to pick your brain.

P.S. Nick is officially listed with the school district as autistic. They wouldn't take off the Emotionally Disturbed label--that pissed me off. Who the hell wouldn't be emotionally disturbed by being misdiagnosed and having tons of invasive treatments and therapies (drugs, hospitialization...) for diseases and disorders that are totally misdiagnosed? Never mind the untreated learning disabilities and spending half of his life in classroom placements that were completely inappropriate--even harmful.

Scott went with me to the meeting--total shock. He actually thanked me for fighting so hard for Nick when almost everyone else, including him, believed Nick's problems stemmed from everything from too much sugar to a lack of spanking.

Nick's going to his doctor (psychiatrist) in two weeks. The school thing isn't a medical diagnosis. We'll see what Dr. Baig has to say. I'm still not totally clear about what treatments are available for autism. I know they can medicate for some of the symptoms. Like Nick's obsessive tendancies. He doesn't wash his hands too much or have rituals--but he gets stuck in a train of thought. He'll ask the same question over and over--or tell the same story over and over. Or he'll get stuck on wanting to do something, say call his uncle, and then spend hours obsessing on it if his uncle is at work or it's midnight and he can't call right away.

Also over the last year, since he went off his meds, I've noticed that he is way more anxious than he ever has been in his life. He needs approval for everything--even what he eats for lunch or whether or not he should play a certain game on his Playstation. I think his head hitting stems from this.

I'm reading this amazing book by Temple Grandin. She's an autistic woman who wrote a book about her childhood called Emergence. I'm reading Thinking in Pictures, which is more indepth. Both are incredible. She talks about how her brain works, how things feel and look to her. She says that many autistic children are helped by a tiny (very tiny) dose of Paxil. I'm really glad I read that book, because Nick had such a terrible reaction, culminating with arrest and hospitalization, when he was on a large dose of Paxil mixed with Concerta (like Ritalin) that I would never ever have let him try it again if Dr. Baig suggests it.

Okay....enough already! More later. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The loop I was thrown for

For the past six weeks or so Nick has been doing a series of psychoeducational testing at the middle school across the street. Yesterday I found out the results. It turns out that he has PDD NOS, which is a form of Autism. The psychologist who performed the tests said that she also believes he has a thought disorder. When I asked her what that meant, she said that it means he should be watched because it could turn in to Schizophrenia. Have you ever really freaked out? I mean, just felt like you were falling apart? Having a doctor use that particular "s" word in connection to your son will do it to you, take my word for it.

She said that it seemed to her that Nick wasn't always in touch with reality. Also he answered some of the questions in such a way that it seemed like he was paranoid and heard voices. For instance...do you think people are out to get you? His answer was often. And he said he heard voices.

Personally, now that I'm calmed down some, I think that Nick may sometimes be out of touch with reality. But he isn't paranoid, and he doesn't hear voices. I asked him about those answers. He said that he said 'yes' to 'are people out to get you' because the day before a couple of boys had chased him home from the park and scared him. And when they asked about voices he said 'yes' because when he was in the hospital for the bipolar disorder that he doesn't even have, he was hearing voices--induced by the ADHD and antidepressant meds that he was on at the time. He doesn't hear voices now.

Part of PDD NOS is that Nick takes things very literally. So if you asked "do you hear voices" and he sometimes hears his own voice in his head when he's thinking he would say "yes."

So the school district is going to change Nick's classification from Severely Emotionally Disturbed to Autistic. This is a HUGE victory. I've been trying to remove that classification since the third grade. Because the kid isn't emotionally disturbed, and as long as he had that classification the school only focused on his behavior. He'll be eligible for many more resources now. That's a good thing.

I found a few things online last night and today. One is something called MCDD--Multiple Complex Developmental Disorder--which is basically PDD NOS with a thought disorder thrown in. Very much what the doctor said about Nick. MCDD is a fledgling thing and there isn't a lot of information out there. For me it is enough to know that there are enough other kids like my son out there that someone coined a term in the first place.

The other thing was information about how a Gluten and Casein free diet can help autistic kids, especially with their behavior. Nick and I are going to go on that one together after Christmas--see how it goes. It won't be easy. No wheat or dairy. But if it helps it will be worth it.

If anyone has any experience with a GFCF diet, please let me know. I'd love to pick your brains.

The testing also showed that Nick is likely depressed, and that he has a reading and writing learning disability. I knew he was depressed, somewhere deep down I knew and I was putting off calling the doctor because I'm scared she'll put him on meds. Nick has only had bad experiences with meds. He's hypersensitive to them, and so far he's only been medicated for problems he doesn't really have. ADHD and Bipolar.

I'm not against meds. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they save lives. The problem wasn't the meds themselves, but that Nick didn't need them.

In other news my baby is two today. Look for a birthday post tonight :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Well I didn't weigh myself today because SOMEONE (Kevin) put the scale away somewhere and I can't find it. I'm fairly confident that I did what I meant to do and maintained.

I got my hair cut today (it feels five pounds lighter, so who knows, maybe I did lose! HAHAHA) The lady that cut it wasn't my regular girl, but she said the same thing my regular girl says to me every time. Why did I wait so long to come back? I have really long hair, to the middle of my back or so. It's curly, so it's pretty dry. I usually don't even consider getting it cut until the layers are so grown out and the ends are so fried, I'm looking like a stoner. Until I have no choice but to keep my hair in a sort of messy bun thing all the time because there is nothing else I can do with it. Then I think...Oh, yeah, I should probably get my hair cut this weekend.

She also said that I'm shedding, which is true. I have been since I had Ruby. That's two years and I'm not sure how I'm not completely bald. We're talking handfuls of hair every time I take a shower or put a brush through my hair (which isn't often.)

She recommended that I get my thyroid checked.

So I realized something today. I hate confronting myself. I don't really mind confrontation with other people (except for a few very close relatives and friends that I can't stand the thought of being mad at me, which is an entirely different post.) I'm a Scorpio through and through, I have the habit of being overly blunt.

Anyway, I realized today that the reason I not only don't get my hair cut regularly (I go maybe twice a year), but actually block the idea of it out of my mind, is that I really really really had looking at myself in the mirror for a prolonged period of time. I sit there and really notice how fat I am, how horrible I look. I pick out faults.

The only other thing that I utterly block out of my mind is the dentist. I am petrified of the dentist beyond anything I've ever seen in anyone else. I actually have panic attacks. I finally found a dentist who will put you to sleep and had like fifteen years of dental work (including two root canals) done in one fell swoop. He gave me a tranqualizer to take before I was put to sleep. Yes, it's that bad. And now? I broke my damn tooth. And what do I do? Think about calling the dentist like clock work, at 5:30 p.m. every night. Unreal.

Anyway. I also realized that I haven't been back to a doctor to have my thyroid checked since the last disastrous time when Ruby was 6 months old because I don't want to be lectured about my weight. Because that's what happened the first time. The doctor told me to stop trying to self-diagnose on Google and get some exercise. It was humiliating and I haven't been to a doctor since. Even though I have everyone of the symptoms of Hypothyroid, even the thinning eyebrows.

When I went back then my blood tests came back normal. I think that it was too close to my being pregnant with Ruby. I have this thing where when I'm pregnant I lose bunches of weight. Like 40 to 50 pounds. And then a few months later it piles back on plus about 40 pounds at an alarming rate despite no change in my diet. So I did some research (yah on Google, doc) and turns out that sometimes during pregnancy your thyroid can be overactive, then go underactive afterward.

Anyway, after Christmas I'm going. Maybe before, because my ear hurts today and if I have an ear infection I'll just bring it up at the same time.

P.S. Thanks for the advice on organizing my writing. It's coming along :)

P.S.S. Has anyone read the book Beyond Oil by Kenneth Deffeyres (or something like that)? It's insanely freaky. I saw the paperback edition at Barnes and Nobel and read the updated prologue. In the hardback he estimates Thanksgiving 2005 as the date Peak Oil will happen. In the paperback prologue, which was written in 2006, he says that his (incredibly mathematical) equations show that we actually did reach peak oil in mid-December 2005. Wondering how it could pass and not make much of an impact? Well, it wasn't officially recognized that the US reached peak oil in 1971 until 1973. Check out the movie End of Suburbia if you can, the guy that wrote the book is in it.