Depression About Surgery

scarIn August I went to the doctor to get help for an issue I was having with my parotid gland on my right side.  I had a cat scan with contrast and they found several stones and the only way that I can get them out is with surgery to remove the entire gland.  The problem is, it will leave a huge scar on the side of my face that will look like the image to the left.

Most people wouldn’t want to have a huge scar on their face of all places.  I mean, a scar on your arm or your leg or stomach is normal, but your face, that’s like the one place that you want to keep scar free.  Well, without thinking I said that if this is my only option other than living with it, then just do it because I can’t continue living with this horrible pain.

I still feel that I want to get the surgery, but I have also sort of gone into a depression knowing that I’m going to have this on my face soon.  Not only will I have this on November 20th, but I will have a tube sticking out for 7 days which means it will be removed the day before Thanksgiving.  I will have a fresh scar during the holidays.  I know that the holidays are just like any other day to me, but I still don’t understand why I couldn’t have had the surgery by now so it’s all healed up BEFORE the holidays.  I mean, this started in August and we’re in November now.

I’m sorry, I’m scatterbrained.  I’m just going through something right now.  I know it’s all mental, but still, I just don’t want to have to be out in public with this on my face for Thanksgiving, especially since we always go to a restaurant for that holiday.  I know it’s probably silly and you are thinking oh get a grip, get over it, but wouldn’t you be worried about this too?

This is going to go one of two ways, one I will be fine and I won’t think it’s that big of a deal and we will go out and eat and it will be fine.  Or, I will be so depressed that I won’t be able to get out of bed until New Years.

The issue here is this is my face, which is the first thing that people see.  People judge you as a person before they even talk to you.  I know, RuPaul says it’s none of my business what other people think of me and I usually think that too, but it’s my FACE!  Why does this have to happen to me just before Thanksgiving, or at all for that matter?

As if I haven’t been through enough in my life with being diagnosed with HIV at age 21, then upgraded to AIDS at 23, being diagnosed with having Parkinson’s, Scoliosis, being homeless as a teenager just because I was gay and being abused throughout my childhood.  It just seems like I am a target for something messed up.  Why me?  Why do I have such a messed up life?

Well, I guess I should just be thankful that I am still alive despite the fact that I was supposed to die in 2000 and nearly died in 2002 from Steven-Johnson syndrome, which is another messed up thing that happened to me lol.  Eh hem, as I was saying, at least I have a roof over my head and I’m somewhat healthy and not homeless.

I suppose it could be worse.  I could be homeless and not have any medical insurance and would have to just live with the pain for the rest of my life.  So I guess I should be lucky that I can have the surgery.  But I still can’t help but feel depressed about the scar.  UGH!  Life sucks.

Parotid Surgery

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I had pain in my saliva gland aka my Parotid gland.  I went to the doctor who gave me an anti-biotic medicine and said I may need surgery and even asked me if that was what I wanted.  He sent me to Kern Medical Center and that surgeon told me that I had Sialolithiasis which is apparently a very common thing.  I’ve never heard of it.

The surgeon at KMC gave me some options, have it removed with a scope in L.A. or have surgery to remove the entire gland.  My partner didn’t want me to have it removed because it would leave a huge unsightly scar.  He said we could go to L.A. to have that procedure, but then we discussed how many trips we would probably end up making, so he changed his mind.  See, I told the surgeon that I wanted to have him perform the surgery because I knew it would cost money to drive to L.A., and you know that I would have to come 2 or 3 times.  But the surgeon today told me that the stones are too big to be removed with a scope anyway.  The scope would fit in the, I’m just going to call it a vein, but the stones were way too big to be pulled out of said vein.  So surgery is my only option.

My surgery will be in late November, which just happens to be 1 week before Thanksgiving, and I will have a port in the back that will drain into a container which I will have to be mindful of.  I will have to keep that on me for 1 week and then he will remove it.

On one hand I’m very excited to finally have this removed to fix my problem, but on the other hand I’m not looking forward to having a huge scar on my face lol.  I mean, if that’s what it takes to end this constant agony then so be it, but why did it have to be my face?  Why couldn’t the gland be inside my mouth?  Or why couldn’t the stone be somewhere in my stomach where I never have to worry about people seeing my scar?  Why of all places did it have to be on my face?  I mean, I’m not a model so it doesn’t matter, it’s not like I’m going to lose any modeling gigs, but still.  You never want to do something that will put a scar on the first thing people look at when they see you, or bring too much attention to yourself when you are trying to stay invisible.

Well, it’s inevitable, so there is nothing I can do but learn to live with it.  I’m sure the scar won’t be too bad and I can use scar creams that will make it disappear, so there is something to look forward to.  I’m just glad the pain will finally be gone soon.

So until November…

Invasive Questions About Homosexuality

Interogation

I had to come out of the closet at age 17 because my  mother confronted me about it.  I wasn’t ready to come out, but apparently she was ready for me to come out.  She treated me like dirt, lower than dirt, like pond scum, no, lower than pond scum.  The disgust she had in her facial expression made me feel guilty for being gay, but I knew it wasn’t my fault because I never chose to be gay.  But that wasn’t the only time I ever had to go through that.  I had to come out to every family member.  Some of them were more accepting while others were just as disgusted as my mother was.

It is one thing to come out of the closet to your family, but why do I have to come out of the closet to every person I come into contact with?  Why is it that when I go to a doctor’s appointment and I bring up my health concerns, like my HIV, why is it that my sexuality comes into question?  I recently went to a cardiologist because I need surgery to remove my parotid gland, but in order to do that, I have to have some tests done.  So when the cardiologist read that I was HIV+ he asked me how I became HIV+, so I told him.  His response was “Oh so you’re a homosexual.”  WOW!  Yeah I’m a homosexual, so what?  What the hell does that have to do with what I am here for today?  In what world does that have to come into conversation or into question?  I am gay, not my heart and/or my blood.

A couple of weeks later I had to go back to run on a treadmill and the woman who was doing the test was making conversation.  She asked me if I had any children and all I could think was here we go again.  I responded with no.  Then she asked if I had a wife and again, I said no.  She asked if I had a girlfriend and again, I said no.  She looked at me like you are a 43 year old man without a girlfriend or wife or any children, how can that be?  I told her that I was in a domestic partnership and she asked me what that meant, and I said I was gay.

Okay first of all, she’s there to give me a test.  Her job is to put stickers on my chest with wires and then stand there at the computer pushing buttons while I’m running on the treadmill.  Why is she asking me these questions?  I know that she’s just trying to make conversation, but it made me very uncomfortable.  It’s like people make me feel bad for being gay, like I should apologize to them for being the way I am.  I should never feel bad for being gay.  It’s how I am, how I’ve always been and how I will always be and that is none of anyone’s business but my own.

After she asked me those questions, she asked me if I’ve ever been with a female and I said yes, I tried to “change” because my parents and sister and then brother-in-law were making me feel bad about being gay and constantly telling me that I was going to hell if I didn’t change.  So yes, I slept with a girl, twice.  I hated every minute of it.

I have a story about my uncle, who by the way I looked up to as a child.  He was my hero.  He hung the moon.  When I went to my aunts house when I was homeless and about to start living in a homeless shelter because my mother kicked me out of the house, my aunt called my uncle (her brother) on the phone and made me talk to him.  I was shocked and bothered by his invasive questions.  After he accused me of horrible atrocities against my parents, like beating the crap out of my step-dad which never happened, and then running away from home, he asked “How can you take it up the ass?”  My sister’s ex-husband grilled me with those same questions.  “How can you take it up the ass?”  This coming from the guy who was using the back door on my sister, and the only way I know that is because they told me, multiple times, like they were bragging about it to me.  Why the hell would I want to know that?  They both bragged to me about what a massive dick he had.  Why do I need to know that?  Which begs another question, why is it okay for them to tell me in full detail about their sex life, but if I even mentioned being gay, I was shoving my sexuality down their throats?

I don’t think that it is appropriate for people to constantly ask me these invasive questions about my sexuality.  I don’t go around asking people about their sex life, so why is it that I am shamed and made to feel guilty every time someone asks me about mine despite the fact that it has absolutely no connection to why I am seeing them, like at the cardiologist office for example.

I know that people have questions and the only way to make “them” feel comfortable with gay people is to just respond to their questions to educate them, but why am I responsible for that education?  Why can’t they just buy a book?  Here is one called 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality.

Look, I am okay with non-invasive, non-sexual questions.  If someone wants to know something, fine, but don’t make me feel guilty about it.  The male doctor made me feel really bad when he said “Oh so you’re a homosexual.”  The woman who did my treadmill test, well she seemed a bit more accepting and didn’t really make me feel bad, but I still didn’t feel too comfortable.

One of the questions that she asked was when I knew I was gay and that is a question that a lot of people ask.  My response was this and it will always be this.  When I was about 3 or 4, I knew I was different, like in a sexual way.  In other words, I knew I wasn’t straight.  I had never seen a same-sex couple, so naturally I thought I was the only person on the planet who had feelings for someone of the same sex.  I thought there was something wrong with me which is why I kept it to myself.  When I was in the 2nd grade I had a crush on a boy in my class named Adam who lived nearby and we played together.  I had such a huge crush on him that I was dreaming about him.  It wasn’t just a dream like we’re playing in the sandbox or playing on our bikes, they were, you know… boyfriend dreams.  He was my first crush and you almost always dream about your first crush.  So that is a question I don’t mind answering because it tells people that I knew I was gay at a very young age.

Some people think that people who were abused as children become gay.  I don’t think that is true.  I was abused, but that had nothing to do with me being gay.  I mean, why would I be attracted to someone of the same gender if I am being abused by someone of the same gender?  That makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  I’ve known straight men who were abused by their fathers, and they never became gay.  So there is no logic in that.

Some people think that being gay is a choice and I can say with certainty that it is not a choice.  Who would choose to have people call them negative names like faggot or choose to get beat up in school for being gay?  Who would choose to be an outcast?  Who in their right mind would ever choose to be different if they knew it was going to make their life a living hell?  Nobody, that’s who.  You choose to be a vegan, you choose to drive a motorcycle as opposed to a car, you choose to wear velcro shoes, you choose your career.  You don’t choose which sexual organ you are attracted to, and you do not choose the sex of the person you are going to fall in love with.  I mean if straight people think being gay is a choice, let me ask this.  When did you choose to be straight?

I believe I was born gay.  If straight people believe they were born straight, then why do they think that I chose to be gay?  Being gay isn’t a choice, but being an asshole is.

Read this article, it tells a lot about sex organs and sexual orientation and when it happens and why.

I am all for educating people, but I don’t feel like I should be obligated to educate everyone on the planet about my sexuality.  I mean, I don’t go around asking straight people invasive questions, so why do I have to put up with it?  If someone wants to know why someone is gay, ask themselves why they are straight.  It’s the same thing.  You are straight because well, that’s just the way you are.  That’s just the way gay people are too.  I’ve been asked how I can take it up the ass, well let me ask how a straight woman can take it up the ass and how can a straight man do it in the ass to a woman?  Why is that such a hard question to ask when straight people do it in the ass all the time?  And why are straight people so obsessed with taking it up the ass?  Straight people are more obsessed with taking it up the ass than gay people are.  I mean seriously dudes, just buy a dildo and get it over with.

I am not Dr. Ruth, so don’t interrogate me about my sexuality and don’t put my sexuality into question.  Educate yourselves on your own time.

I am finally not in any pain

pain

I have been going to Jacobo Physical Therapy 3 days a week for a few weeks and I can’t believe it but, I am not in any pain.  I can’t say that this is a permanent thing, because I do occasionally feel pain, but it’s not a constant nagging in my spine like it normally is 24 hours a day.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, but recently in the last month I found out from x-rays that I also have scoliosis.  I was wondering why I was in constant agony, now I know why.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy and I go there three days a week.  They give me certain exercises I can do for 30 minutes, then someone comes in and gives me a soft tissue massage.

Dr. Jacobo told me that my insurance will only cover so many visits per year, so once I’m done with physical therapy, I’m on my own.  She said they will see me three days next week, but after that I can come once a week.  I am not sure if my insurance will pay for once a week, but I hope they do.

weider total body works 5000She told me that they can give me a printout of all of my exercises in case I forget what they are so that I can do them at home.  I have a Weider Total Body Works 5000 which I can use to help me.  Some of the exercises I do use weights, so that’s where my home gym will come in.  Not all of the exercises will require using the gym, so I will have to remember them and try to make it a daily ritual to keep my back pain down to an absolute minimum, if that is possible.

I’m wondering if I should set up my video camera so I can do all of the exercises so if I ever forget how to do them, I can always refer to the tape, or well, DVD since it’s a DVD Camcorder.  I think that would be a good idea because I know I will forget if I don’t make it a habit.

I bought that Weider Total Body Works 5000 in 2005 from Wal-mart’s website for $99.  Now they are $149 at Wal-Mart and $159 at Target.  It’s $400 and $1000 on Amazon, which is amazing that they would sell it for that much money since you can buy it much cheaper at Wally World and Target.

My gym is outside in our patio which makes it a miserable experience because it’s way too hot out there to use it, but there isn’t any room for it inside the house.  I’m pretty sure I can deal with using it out there for half an hour per day if it will help me with my pain levels.  Although I can’t say that I will get my massages, but I guess I will just have to deal without those lol.

The good thing about these exercises is that they taught me how to stretch my legs while laying down when I start and when I finish, so I can use that knowledge for when I ride my bike.  It’s always a good idea to stretch before and after a bike ride.

I really hope my pain levels aren’t as high as they used to be without going to physical therapy 3 days a week.  If you have ever suffered from back pain, then you know what that constant nagging pain feels like, so you understand.  Most people who don’t have any back pain never understand.  In fact, some people feel that because they don’t have that same or any pain that they don’t think we are in any pain at all.  It’s a “if I’m not in pain, then you aren’t in any pain either” type of thing I guess.

Pain meds don’t always help me.  I’ve taken Ibuprofen, Vicodin, muscle relaxers, Tylenol, Advil etc.  Nothing works.  Although when I broke my arm I was constantly medicating myself with Vicodin which took ALL my pain away.  I think that was the best vacation from pain I’ve been on in a long time.  When my arm healed and I stopped taking the Vicodin, the back pain returned.  I have taken more Vicodin since then, but it doesn’t do any good.

I think I spoke too soon because I’m getting shooting pain in the middle of my spine.  YIKES!  Well, let’s hope that it doesn’t get worse.  I think I will take something for it now.  I bought some generic “Pain Relief PM” from Dollar General for $1 to help with the pain and to help me sleep.  I really hope that doing those exercises at home will help because I don’t think I can take being in as much pain as I was before going to Jacobo Physical Therapy.  That really is no way to live.

Today I found out that I have Sialolithiasis

Sialolithiasis

I have been dealing with a problem in my right saliva gland, called the parotid gland, for at least the last 10 years.  It comes and goes at the least 2 times and at the most 5 times per year.  The doctors have always given me antibiotics, or by the time I get to the doctor it has gone down so I don’t mention it.  This time around I had the issue and I made a special appointment for it because it was too painful to ignore.

inches and centimetersThe doctor put me on antibiotics which lasted 1 week.  I saw him a week later and was still in pain and it was still swollen and he gave me more antibiotics.  Because it wasn’t going away, he sent me to get an ultrasound and when he found out that it was 1cm, he suggested surgery, but asked me if that was what I wanted.  Not everyone wants to have surgery which would scar you, so he wanted to know what I wanted to have done.  For scale, see image (left).

He referred me to an Ear Nose Throat doctor who sent me for a cat scan with contrast and when I saw him on Wednesday, he told me that I needed to go to yet another doctor.  Are all these doctors getting a kick back for these referrals?  I mean honestly, why do I need to have so many referrals?  Anyway, he was trying to send me to Los Angeles and I told him that I’d rather go to a doctor here in Bakersfield because I don’t want to have to drive (well, I don’t drive, I’d have to be driven) all the way to Los Angeles just for a consultation to be told that I have to come back for the surgery and then after surgery.

So I went to a doctor at Kern Medical Center today for the consultation and he told me that I have 4 options

  1. Live with it.
  2. Ultrasound which they don’t do there and my insurance doesn’t cover.
  3. Surgery where they use a scope to go in there with a camera and grab the stone and pull it out, which is also not available there, I would have to go to LA and most likely make several trips, which we can’t afford and my insurance might not pay for it.
  4. Have him do surgery to remove the entire gland and give me a huge scar.

I decided on option 4, but when I told my partner out in the lobby he said “Oh no tell him you want to go to LA.”  Without thinking I went back to the counter and said I need to tell the doctor that I want to go to LA.  Then we got to talking, my insurance company probably won’t want to pay for that because I bet you that will cost more than having it removed.  Plus, we’d still have to go all the way to LA and probably make several trips.  I can’t afford that dammit!  If I could have afforded that, then I would have just done that in the beginning.  Sheesh!

Well, the doctor at KMC told me that before he can do the surgery (when I had told him I was up for option 4) he needs my doctor to sign off on it.  So I made an appointment for Tuesday of next week so I could talk to him and tell him that I need him to call that doctor’s office and give them his okay.

This is what I have.  It’s called Sialolithiasis.

parotid gland “Sialolithiasis (also termed salivary calculi,[1] or salivary stones),[1] is a condition where a calcified mass forms within a salivary gland, usually in the duct of the submandibular gland (2) (also termed “Wharton’s duct“). Less commonly the parotid gland (1) or rarely the sublingual gland (3) or a minor salivary gland may develop salivary stones.”

This is what he said will happen.  They will have to start cutting right at the edge of my sideburn just at or near the top of my ear which is where my glasses are, go all the way down below my earlobe and turn towards my neck and go down my neck.  It’s a big gland as you can see in the image above, so naturally they have to cut a lot.  He said there will be a pretty big scar, but I’m okay with that.  Neosporin has a cream for scars to help them disappear.

I have no issue with scars.  In fact, I feel scars give you character.  Perhaps the doctor will let me keep the stone so I can have something to show when I tell the story of how I got that scar on my face.

As always, I will keep updating this blog on the progress.

Health Update

Health_Update_rainbow

In my previous health update on my back I mentioned that my recent x-rays showed that my spine was curving like a parenthesis (.  Today I had my appointment with the physical therapist who told me that it was like that on the top, but the other way on the bottom, so basically it’s in an S shape.  ( on the top and ) on the bottom.  I like to think that I am such a huge Superman fan that my back is turning into the Superman S, which means hope on his planet, of course.

The physical therapist office wants me to come in 3 days a week for my therapy.  They gave me some homework exercises to do in the morning or at night, but at least do them daily.  She also suggested that if I could go swimming, I should.  I told her I didn’t have a pool and because I have a weak immune system already, that it’s probably not a good idea to use a public pool.  I get bronchitis if someone coughs 30 feet away, I can’t imagine how sick I will be if I’m in a pool with children lol.  She suggested that my bicycle is a better alternative since it doesn’t cause pain.

Today I also went to have a cat scan with contrast, which by the way… ick!  All I taste and smell is Iodine lol.  They will hopefully find out what the problem is with my swollen parotid gland so they can fix the problem.  My regular doctor suggested surgery, but the ear, nose and throat doctor doesn’t know my doctor’s diagnosis and isn’t exactly sure why he should care.  At least that’s how it seemed to me by the way he spoke to me.  He didn’t seem to have any of my doctor’s notes or even know why I was there.  I basically have to start from scratch with him as if I have never come to any doctor with my problem.  It would be nice if when a doctor refers you somewhere that they tell that doctor why they are being referred.

I will see my regular doctor this Friday and the ENT doctor on Monday.  The place I went to today for the cat scan said it would be released to both doctor’s offices in 2 business days.

I woke up in the middle of the night with THE worst headache and pain from my saliva gland.  I was also sick to my stomach so I had a PB&J.  Right now I have nausea and all I smell is Iodine still.  I hope that goes away soon lol.

More updates as they happen. 🙂

Week 33 – Weigh In Day with @Noom

week 33

I haven’t been doing too well with my diet lately.  I had hit a plateau that I couldn’t get out of, then last week I weighed in at 194, 2lbs more than I was the previous week.  This week after my last weigh in I had actually gone up to 199 and that was my aha moment.  I was gaining too much weight and realized that I wasn’t doing very well and in order to get back on track, I was going to have to go back to my healthy diet.

We went to Food Maxx and I bought 14 Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners and I also bought some Malt-O Meal Original for my breakfast.  I had been eating Cheerio’s since January with a banana, but I needed a change.  I actually wasn’t sure if Malt-O Meal was going to be good for me, but it shows up as green in the Noom app so I guess it is.

Today was weigh in day and I am happy to say that I am back down to 192.8 which is what I was 2 weeks ago.  I think that I just needed to go off track for a couple of weeks so that I could gain a new perspective and a new momentum and refocus all of my energy again into losing more weight to hopefully get me back on track so I can get down to my ultimate goal weight of 170lbs.

The doctor told me that I didn’t need to lose any more weight, but I still have a fat stomach and I don’t want to have that anymore.  I really want to lose as much fat as I possibly can.  I know I can lose the rest of this weight in only a couple of months if I keep going the same way I did to get to this point.  I just need to have the same determination to get the job done and I will accomplish my goals with complete success.

I haven’t been riding my bicycle because of my back pain, also because of how hot it is.  I am also having issues with not just my back tire going flat, but now my front tire too.  I honestly don’t know what is wrong with my tires, why they keep going flat.  It’s mind boggling to me.  Neither tire have a hole in the tube and there isn’t a thorn or sticker in the tire.  I don’t understand how they can both go from being fully inflated at 60PSI one day, to being around 20PSI the next.  It’s supposed to hold it’s pressure for a long time, especially since my bike hasn’t moved an inch in a month.

When it cools down I will start riding it again.  I would much rather ride my bike before the sun comes out to not only avoid the heat, but also avoid the sun because I burn easily.  Because I broke my arm at night, my partner doesn’t want me to ride when the sun isn’t out because he thinks I will break my arm again.  It was an isolated incident and it had nothing to do with the sun and everything to do with me not paying attention.  I’m sure it would have happened no matter what time of day it was.

At any rate, I am hoping to be at my goal by at least Halloween if not sooner.  That would be awesome.  Not that I have a reason to be at my goal by Halloween, I just want to be that’s all lol.

Anyway, until next weigh in…

Swollen Parotid Gland

swollen parotid gland

There is this strange thing that happens to me at the very least 1 time and at the most 4 times per year.  My Parotid glands swell up because there is a blockage and it hurts like a mother effer.  I wouldn’t normally use such profanity, but it really hurts lol.

What is the Parotid gland?  Nobody has ever heard that term, but apparently it’s a saliva gland.  This is where your saliva comes from, well, one of the many glands anyway.  I am not a medical professional or even a student so don’t listen to what I’m about to say if you expect to get an education from this, this is only my assumption based on my experience with this.

So you have these glands that produce your saliva.  They release saliva through veins that run from the gland to the inside of your mouth and it oozes out into your mouth.  If there is a block, your gland fills up with saliva and you can literally push on it and you can feel, and even see saliva squirting out of the inside of your cheek either into your mouth, or on the bathroom mirror depending on the direction of the vein and the position you are facing the mirror.  No joke lol.

When I feel it filling up, I push on it and it releases the saliva which gives me some relief, but sometimes the block is so bad that even pushing on it won’t release the saliva.  This happens to me all the time.  Although, pushing on it really hurts until the saliva squirts out, but then it still hurts, but it does give me some relief for a while until it fills back up.  I try not to think of anything that will make me salivate, but then everything makes me salivate.  I can’t win.  It’s like trying to think about baseball when you have an erection, it doesn’t always work.

About 2 weeks ago I could feel swelling and pain from my Parotid gland and we went to our regular appointment and the doctor gave me some antibiotics which was supposed to help.  The doctor told me that if it doesn’t help then I may need surgery.  When we went back a week later it seemed like it had gotten better because it wasn’t as swollen.  The doctor asked me if I wanted surgery and I said it wasn’t necessary.  Oh boy was I wrong.

Saturday evening the Parotid gland had swollen up again so I pushed on it and the saliva went through the veins, but then got stuck so there was a little bubble with saliva sitting in that vein and it couldn’t exit.  It’s still there.  That one little tiny mistake has given me massive amounts of pain since Saturday night.  I’m not the kind of person who cries when he’s in pain because I am literally always in pain so I’m used to it.  When I broke my arm earlier this year I didn’t cry once.  This swollen Parotid gland and saliva bubble pain is so bad that I want to cry.  I haven’t, but I want to.  Or maybe I’ve just bottled my pain emotion so much that I just want to let it out lol.

So I called the doctor’s office yesterday and they scheduled me to come in today at 11:30 a.m.  The doctor gave me a prescription for Norco as well as 2 antibiotics which he said I don’t take right away, he said to wait for it to get worse.  WORSE?  Holy crap!  I went to Truxton Radiology and had an ultrasound then went back to the doctor’s office to have blood drawn for a test specifically for this problem.  He said I will get a letter in the mail with the information for the surgeon referral which will most likely have the appointment in the letter with an address.

I am ready for this thing to go away.  You have no idea how ready I am lol.  I am just sick and tired of being in pain all the time.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  If it’s not my curving back which turns out to be scoliosis, then it’s my freakin’ Parotid gland.  I guess that means I’m getting old lol.

Sabotaging My Weight Loss

junk food

Is it even possible after losing as much as 70lbs for a person to go back to their old eating habits after eating healthy for 7 months?  I guess the answer to that question is yes, if you let it happen.  Well, I don’t want to let it happen to me again, I refuse to even allow the thought to enter my head.

I am putting myself in a bad situation right now.  I was 264lbs when I started this weight loss journey in January and I had lost a whopping 70lbs thanks to the Noom weight loss coach.  It helped me lose weight by giving me articles and letting me scan bar codes of the foods that I ate and told me whether it was healthy or not by coloring coding everything with red, yellow or green.  I knew I was eating healthy when I was eating more greens than yellows and reds.  I had dropped down to 192lbs in 7 months because of it.  Although, the last 2 months have been very slow, but at least I was still losing weight and not gaining.

Lately however I seem to be in a bad plateau that I can’t get out of and I am slipping as a result of it.  I’ve been eating food and not logging it into the Noom app because I know it’s bad for me.  I feel like I’ve been sabotaging myself, and I am well aware that I am doing it too.  The food I’ve been eating has been graham crackers, handfuls of Wheat Thins at a time, before I was pouring the Wheat Thins into a bowl which was sitting on a food scale, but now I just grab handfuls and don’t even log it.  We’ve been eating Michelina’s frozen dinners instead of Weight Watchers because they are cheaper and I haven’t had the money for the Weight Watchers.

Lately my partner has been buying frozen pizzas and asking ME to bake them and then telling me that I need to eat the other half because he can’t possibly eat the whole thing.  Of course, knowing he would do that to me, I could cut half of the frozen pizza and only bake half for him, but instead I go ahead and cook the entire thing.  So I am not blaming him for that or for anything for that matter, because I knew what I was doing.

Last night he wanted to go to McDonald’s to buy himself a double cheeseburger and I  decided that I wanted to go with him because I thought to myself “I haven’t had a McChicken sandwich in such a long time and I miss it” so I made the decision to go along with him and not just get 1, but 2.  I thought I was being a good little boy by eating the chicken without the bun or mayo, but instead of throwing the buns away, I put them in the fridge and ended up eating them anyway within the hour.

One final thing.  I haven’t been riding my bicycle and I really have no excuse.  That is the only exercise I am comfortable doing because of my back problems which seem to be getting worse.  I am however waiting to hear from the physical therapist to find out if cycling is going to damage my back or not since I now know that I have scoliosis.  When I start going to physical therapy, then I am positive that I will start getting the exercise that I need to not only help my back, but to also help me lose weight.  Perhaps the physical therapist will give me home exercises that I can do on my home gym, my Weider Body Works 5000.

So I am done with sabotaging myself and I am done with this plateau.  I am going to get serious about this weight loss again because I really want to get down to my goal weight of 170lbs.  The doctor said to stop losing the weight because he is happy with where I am, but I feel that stopping to maintain is only going to encourage me to eat unhealthy.  So I will go back to my healthy eating habits so I can not only maintain a healthy eating lifestyle, but to also lose more weight and to lose this weight that I have regained.

I know I have enough money that I can go to Food Maxx and buy some more Weight Watchers Smart Ones meals.  I’m going to try to get back into the habit of eating those again to give me the boost that I need.  I am also going to cut out all crackers and replace them with fruits and vegetables.  Finally, I am going to start using the word “NO” again, and I am not going to let myself get back to 264.  Heck, I am not going to let myself get back to 200.  It’s just not going to happen.

Do I Have Scoliosis?

I have had serious back pain for probably the last decade of my life.  Sometimes my back locks up when I bend over and boy it is painful.  Mostly I can’t walk too far before the pain kicks my ass into submission and I have to sit or lay down.  I can walk to the grocery store from the house because it is only 3 blocks from the house, my back is in pain by the time I come home but it’s not excruciating.  I cannot go for a walk for exercise though.  Before I got a new (used) bicycle wheel, I was trying to walk for exercise and that caused the most horrible pain I have ever felt in my 43 years on this planet, and that is not hyperbole either.

Last month I had some x-rays of my back taken and a week ago my doctor told me that according to the x-rays, my back was curving, and he shaped his hand like a parenthesis (.  I misunderstood when he mentioned something about slouching, so naturally I thought my back was arching outward because I do tend to slouch a lot, but then I went to see him again yesterday and I asked him about the x-rays again and he wrote down on a piece of paper exactly what he means.  This is a normal spine |.  This is my spine (.  He drew it on a piece of paper so I could see exactly what he meant.

That makes sense to me, and that explains a lot why my back is in pain in the middle of my spine.  I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my lower spine a few years ago and so I was assuming that it was going up which was why I was in so much pain in the middle of my spine which is why I asked my doctor for help.  Who knew that it was some new problem.

So I use the term scoliosis loosely.  I don’t know for a fact that I have scoliosis.  I asked my doctor “Is it like scoliosis?” and he responded with “yes” but that was not a diagnosis.  He asked me if I wanted to see a physical therapist and I said yes because I don’t know what to do about this and if a physical therapist can help me, then I’m going to go see one.  It will also help me with my weight loss, so I will do anything that I can to help stop this pain.

I called my aunt this week and told her about it, but with the impression that my spine was bending outward, but with the understanding that I had no clue which way it was bending.  I mentioned that I wanted to ask about a back brace and she said “DO NOT ASK FOR A BRACE!  You do NOT want to depend on a back brace, trust me.”  I don’t like arguing with people, especially her because she gets very emotional, but like I said before, I will do anything that I can do to stop this pain.  I didn’t ask my doctor for one when I saw him, but if a physical therapist suggests and prescribes one then I will wear it.

No I don’t want to have to rely on a brace, but I will do whatever it takes to stop this constant nagging pain that I have all day.  I’m not joking when I say I am in pain all day.  I am literally in pain every waking moment.  Even if I’m sitting down like right now I’m in pain.  If I’m laying down, I’m in pain.  I can’t do the dishes for more than 5 minutes without being in pain.  I can’t go to the mall and walk around like a mindless zombie like my partner loves to do because… you guessed it, it causes me pain.  It doesn’t really matter where I am or what I am doing, you can guarantee that I will be in agony, whatever it is.

I had a broken arm earlier this year and I was taking Vicodin probably 3 times a day.  It wasn’t stopping the pain in my arm, but it was helping and it did help my back pain, so I had a vacation from my pain for as long as I was taking the Vicodin.  I stopped taking the Vicodin when I stopped having pain and naturally the pain in my back came back immediately.  I have tried taking a Vicodin here and there, but they don’t seem to help at all.  I have been taking Ibuprofen, and that helps my toothache, but it doesn’t stop my back pain.

Oh one more thing about my back pain.  I have a very large patch of skin on my back that is dead.  I mean the nerves actually  I say that because my back in that spot has been numb for 19.5 years.  It never really bothered me until now.  Now it tingles and the numbing is causing pain.  It’s constantly itching and I’m constantly scratching it and the tingling really bugs the hell out of me.  Scratching doesn’t do anything except weird me out that I can’t feel my own fingers touching my back.  I mean, I can feel it, but I can’t feel it if that makes sense.  It’s like I know my hands are scratching my back, but it feels like someone else is doing it.  I can’t explain it, it’s a very odd sensation.

Anyway, I would really love to just go one day without having pain if that is possible.  I am hoping a physical therapist will help because I am really sick and tired of being sick and tired of being in pain.

Naturally I will update my blog when I begin physical therapy.