I haven't always been fat. In fact, I haven't always been sick. And since, in my case, those two go hand-in-hand, it's obvious to me that one caused the other. Noooooooooo.....the fat didn't cause the sickness. It's the other way around.
"Yeah, right." I can hear the remarks now. I hear them all the time. On the news, in the grocery store, walking in Wal*mart. I see it in the faces of those I meet and with whom I work. And I am not upset with them. How could they know? My family and friends who have known me for a long time still have a hard time accepting it. Actually, I think my family is relieved there is a medical reason. Me, too!
There is a lot of guilt associated with being overweight. The psychiatrists would tell us that's what drives many to overeat. Compensation. But for those of us who suffer with endocrine maladies which led to the excess weight, it's almost insufferable. Even when we did everything right, we still gained the weight. It has to be my fault, right? The doctors say it is. Of course, it doesn't help when a bariatric surgeon tells you to lose 30 pounds in order to have the surgery just to show commitment. "Man, if I could lose 30 pounds, I wouldn't be here!" But that's another tale for another time.
I was actually pretty cute at one point in my life. Ha! Seriously, though, it is hard to tell when I was first affected by the pituitary tumor which was discovered years later. I know it was always very tough for me to keep the weight off, but with my mother's very wise advise, I did for many years. It always seemed harder for me than for anyone else. I know in my teen years and on into college, the harder I exercised, the more I hurt. I never seemed to be able to push past that and get my muscles "toned" like everyone else. I sure did try, though.
I managed to stay fairly slim during my teen years and into my twenties, although at 5' 2", that wasn't always easy. And with the inherited hips and thighs, even tougher. I remember feeling self-conscious about those. I wish I knew then what I know now. I would have been a lot happier with myself. Funny, I probably am more at ease with my body now than then, although it's not nearly as pretty.
Not realizing for years that I had a pituitary tumor or that it as the cause for many of my mostly ignored health issues, I managed to live an active, healthy lifestyle raising my two daughters, working, and staying active in my community. Although an eventual divorce put us pretty much on our own, I kept up the pace. But it finally caught up with me and I was no longer able to ignore what the doctors assured me was "normal" and I just needed to "eat less and exercise more".
Without getting into the specifics of what was wrong, let me say that I eventually changed tremendously physically even though I fought hard against it. The physical aspects of Cushing's Disease are probably as outwardly devastating as the biological terror that is wreaked within the body. I was virtually unrecognizable to those who hadn't seen me in a while. As you can see, the night before my surgery I was like a pufferfish in a company of guppies. It has been 17 months since that surgery. The surgery didn't fix everything overnight, but it did make my life better. Every day there is change. Every tweak in hormone adjustment brings change. The metamorphosis continues.