Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Thyroid Test

I finally had the thyroid test done, and the results were not what I had hoped for. Half of my thyroid is enlarged and has a tumor on it (a "lesion"). Because of the bureaucratic health care system in the country I'm residing in, I have to struggle to get a biopsy done quickly. Essentially, I have to call for an emergency appointment along with all of the people who have a cough or stubbed their toes and believe they absolutely need to see a doctor.

This is very stressful for me, and the worst part of it at this point in time is not knowing exactly what my disposition will be and feeling that no one in the medical system is particularly interested in how leaving me in limbo about my status causes me difficulty. The doctors won't tell me anything about possibilities and say "they can't be sure". They're more interested in covering their asses than informing the patient and answer the questions with responses which are little different from a shoulder shrug.

I'm treating this at present as a condition to be treated rather than a death sentence or an imminent diagnosis of cancer. I know that many women suffer thyroid issues which do not result in cancer diagnoses, but my fears that, if I ever lost weight again and resolved most of my issues, "God" would give me cancer seem to be headed for some sort of realization. I know this is a pessimistic attitude born of years of suffering and feeling that I am destined to be unhappy. It does not serve me well, and I will fight it. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bits and Pieces (and girly parts exam results)

While I seem to be pretty good at long, rambling psychologically-oriented posts, I'm not nearly as diligent about recording more concrete information. Essentially, I view the bits and pieces as less interesting than the deeper thoughts so I drag my feet on writing about them, but this blog is about my recording all of my progress, not just the thoughts which I think are especially interesting. Here are the odds and ends:
  • My mammogram and pap smear were completely clean. I gambled by not having tests for many years and won. Next time I get these tests, I won't have years of fear and uncertainty behind them.
  • Though my eating habits were never particularly bad (just too much of everything), they are better now in that proportionally I eat more vegetables and fruit than I once did. However, I'm still overly fond of carbohydrates relative to protein-rich food. This can cause peanut butter cravings, especially at night. 
  • I realized that the less other people define me by my weight, the less I do so. People who were once very fat and lost weight continue to say that it is about your attitude, but it is hard to ignore the fact that I feel like a normal human because people now treat me like one. Not having to constantly battle other people's reactions to you is a psychological burden of immense weight. Not having that complicate my life has been a huge relief.
  • I never judge myself or beat myself up for what I eat, even when I make what I feel in retrospect are choices which are  not conducive to achieving my goals. I do, however, regret those choices and wish I'd done better. I think that regret over poor choices is normal, as long as self-flagellation or scolding does not accompany that regret. Everyone drinks or eats too much (or poorly) on occasion and experiences regret. It is okay to feel this way as long as it is not a character-defining or "end of the world" experience. Understanding and reacting appropriately to this sort of thing is also a part of "normalizing". Note that I am not talking about building to a stage of denial of food pleasure, but rather about eating in an imbalanced fashion. I will always eat for pleasure. 
  • I'm in the baby-steps stage of dealing with self-stroking with food. At the moment, I'm trying to reduce the frequency with which I do this. As I approach a piece or dish of candy with the intention of just having a small nibble for pleasure, I try to pause and reflect on why I'm doing it. Is it a craving? Is it a need for quick energy? Is it hunger? Or am I trying to soothe myself with a small bite of something pleasurable? If it's the latter, I tell myself, "it's okay, I'm okay," and I don't have it. I sometimes forget or fail to reflect, but I'm cultivating this mental habit now. I expect it to grow and help me stop using tiny amounts food as an emotional palliative. 
  • I still believe I ruminate on food "too much". That is, it occupies my thoughts at times when I should be thinking of other things or does so based on thinking about diet or weight loss. However, it is much better than it used to be in terms of total time and the level of distraction involved. I think this is as much a function of routine as preoccupation and that I'll have to work harder to push my mental pathways in other directions if I want to stop.
  • (added later than the rest of this post) Last time I weighed myself (November 9), something I'm increasingly bad at and don't seem to manage even once a month, I was at 173 lbs. I realize that this may be a false low, but it is definitely lower than before.