Don't Ignore the Signs

9:28 AM

A few months ago, I started feeling sick all the time. Nauseous, dizzy. I thought it was my motion sickness kicking in, so I started taking pills every single day to counter the effects.

Prior to that, I had been gaining weight also. But steadily, you know, maybe 5 lbs per year, which was considered “normal." I was still working out consistently, watching what I eat. I would still have healthy foods regularly and then pizza once or twice a month. A cupcake here and there. All in moderation.

Then three months ago, right around the time that I started feeling nauseous, lots more started happening in my body. Although my diet hadn't changed much, my body weight began to change drastically. With this increased weight, there came other symptoms. I was fatigued all the time. Like, WAY more tired than I have ever been in my life. DeMico and I just thought that perhaps I needed time to adjust to all the newness in my life - recently married, moved to a new home, started a new job. We thought perhaps all the change was getting to me, and that I just needed time to get situated. Although I had no energy for anything, my job is high-stress. Daily, I would expend whatever energy I did have during work hours. By the time I was home, I had no energy for anything else - friends, dates, etc. I'd get home around 6 and be in bed by 7.

Then my body just started to ache. Knee pain, shoulder pain, back pain. Just constant pain. I thought it was because of the excess weight I was putting on. So, I scolded myself and created a more rigorous gym routine. Then I'd wake up the following Monday and notice that the new jeans I just bought last month no longer buttoned. I would feel shame and anger. More rigor at the gym. Less food. No pizza.

Two weeks later, I'd feel even more tired, more fatigued. And my pants still didn't fit.

DeMico and I thought - wait, could we be pregnant?! I mean...this wasn't the plan, but all the symptoms make sense! Weight gain, nausea, increased appetite, fatigue, back pain.

We checked...and double checked...and triple checked...multiple times. Definitely not pregnant.

So, it was me. Something was wrong with me. I wasn't eating well enough, wasn't working out hard enough. I tried all the self-help articles and books. Looked at old pictures of myself for motivation. I tried and tried. Nothing worked.

Self-loathing, depression, anxiety hit an all-time peak. I hadn't felt this low in years. But, I tried to hide it. Tried to cover it with laughter, drink it away at happy hour with friends, dance it away at date night with my husband.

As my body continued to bloat, my fatigue continued to manifest, my moodiness increased, and my shame increased tenfold. Here I was, a woman who had lost 100 lbs. A woman who had done it through stress, hard work, discipline, etc. A woman who now had gained 55 of those lbs back. I felt too ashamed to take any photographs. I felt too ashamed to want to see my friends or spend any extended time with anyone outside of my home.

About a month ago, the final phase kicked in - constipation and constant hunger. No matter how much I ate, it was never enough. And I was constipated all the time.

Two weeks ago, I finally admitted it...

I needed help.

Earlier this week, I went to the doctor. I humbly told my PCP (a fellow black woman) all my woes and prepared for her to lay into me - I almost wanted her to beat me up, to say it's my fault for not eating right & exercising enough. To tell me I lacked discipline. To shame me. After all, that's what I have been doing to myself.

Nope. Disease. She drew blood to confirm it. And I was stunned.

I sat in the doctor's office trying to process all the emotions that hit me at once. First, there was relief. I wasn't crazy, it wasn't just my inability to eat well enough and work out enough. It was beyond myself. It was something else attacking my body. Relief. Then there was remorse. Remorse at the fact that I had spent the last several months kicking myself, tearing myself down with hateful words and accusations. Failing to meet my own standards, then eating everything in sight. Remorse.

"What's next?"

That's where I am right now. What's next? What happens now? I haven't even shared this with my friends or family yet. Mom, I am sorry if you're reading this and learning about this for the first time with the rest of the world. For whatever reason, I felt in my heart the timing to share was now. More than anything, I felt it on my heart to share with you all this word:

Don't ignore the signs.

If something is wrong in your body, and you feel it for months, don't ignore it. Don't blame yourself. Always seek a second opinion from someone who may have more wisdom in that area than you do (like a doctor). Don't harm yourself seeking perfection. Instead, do right by your body, mind, and soul by seeking truth. And don't wait too long.

I do not know exactly what's next. I know there will be treatment. I know DeMico will be there with me. I know there will be some changes in my life and in my body. I am praying for God to just be with me as She always has been. God, in all of His infinite wisdom, will whisper words of affirmation and love into the dark clouds of self-loathing. And I will be well.

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  1. This is enlightening and a great caution to all women, even men--you're great through it all!


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