Creeping Up There
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Trigger warning: Discussion of thyroid disease and weight loss as prescription.
I try not to pay attention when they weigh me at the doctor’s office. As much as I abhor being weighed, due to my thyroid disease it’s a part of monitoring my health since weight gain is a main symptom that can be seen. When I first went on thyroid medication (Synthroid, then Armour) I was worried that I’d lose too much weight and my work as a fat activist would somehow be delegitimized. I no longer have that fear because it’s very obvious that I’m still gaining weight and also staying sick. Although I’ve figured out that my horrible and debilitating chronic nausea is actually a symptom of my gallbladder needing to be taken out (scheduled for late September), it’s still not the only thing wrong with me.
My chronic nausea keeps me from exercising too much, but if the surgery in September cures that (and we’re not sure it will), I still have severe bone-deep fatigue, muscle shakes, and weakness. The thing about thyroid disease is even though I’m eating enough (well, some days), my body doesn’t know how to use the calories that it’s taking in. Instead of going to the muscles, which is where they should be going to keep me energized, it gets stored as fat. But the fact that thyroid disease also makes you weaker while you continue to get heavier has its own unique problems.
See, being fat itself isn’t a problem because your muscles get stronger to support your weight (unless you’re a chronic dieter, because weight loss also means muscle loss, but weight regain does not mean muscle regain), but, while I have some pretty good muscles left over from my weightlifting days, I feel a lot weaker. Even holding my camera up for too long makes my hands and arms shake uncontrollably.
As far as the weight gain, in the past three years my weight has crept up by about 20 pounds, putting me very close to 300, which isn’t a problem in and of itself. I haven’t had to buy a new wardrobe yet — though I’ve given away a few pieces that no longer fit — but knowing the number sometimes triggers those negative thoughts. I have to constantly tell myself that I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. I try to eat enough, even though it’s incredibly difficult when you’re sick to your stomach all of the time; I take bellydancing even on weeks when I’d rather be dead asleep; I’ve kept up with my art project, which is photography-based and I somehow manage the energy to go out and date (I don’t know how I do that one).
I’m sort of scared of continually getting heavier and never feeling any better. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired as the saying goes. Can I just take a moment to say that being chronically ill really sucks? Especially when almost no one understands what you’re going through. Even thyroid forums and groups are obsessed with weight loss, which is pretty impossible on its own, but add in a disease that specifically makes you store fat instead of using it?
This is mostly an update post, as I did promise I’d keep you all updated on my disease’s progress. Well… it’s progressing, but I’m not. I’m still stuck in the same ‘ole rut.