Tuesday, October 19, 2010

*F*O*O*D*

Food. 
This is the post where I talk about my relationship with food.
Two words that come to mind when I think about food, that is GUILT and HATE.  I know, harsh words. 
F O O D . . .  something as simple and life sustaining as food, gives me anxiety. 

What's wrong with me?! 

I HATE FOOD.  There, I said it.  I am sick of hearing everybody close to me in my life and every single doctor tell me I don't eat enough.  I am sick of those people trying to "help" me by suggesting things and different ways to shovel more things down my throat.  I've had a VERY difficult life-long relationship with food thus far and it has nothing to do with vanity, self esteem or obsessions with my body.  In fact it's really quite the opposite.  In some ways I wish I could just point my finger and say "I have an eating disorder."  But that is just not the case because I don't have an eating disorder or at least not one that's recognized.  I am average height and I'm actually on the higher end of the average weight for my height.  I am not sickly thin, I don't look malnourished or weak or unhealthy.  So why is it so hard for people to grasp that?  From a young age I had a teeny appetite.  I don't know if I was a picky eater, I'd have to ask my parents about that one, I just remember not liking to eat a lot.  I always had an aversion to meat that I can remember.  When I went vegetarian over 12 years ago I never really thought twice about it and I have no intentions of turning back.  No matter how many people blatantly assume I just haven't grown up yet (which is really insulting by the way) and that it's a natural progression for me to just go back to eating meat since that's what everyone does.  Yeah right.  This is me, this is who I am, this is who I will always be. 

It affects my diabetes, that is for sure.  It makes exercise somewhat difficult as I often go low from just not having enough glucose from food running through my system.  I have come to count on my temp basal option on my pump to be the godsend of allowing me to exercise.  The pump has been my number one survival gadget simply for customizing basal rates to account for my lack of food input.

I have hit a lot of periods in my life where food becomes the enemy.  Long stretches of time where I struggled with stomach pains, indigestion and complete lack of appetite to the point of avoiding food which resulted in a lot of weight loss.  Those moments would eventually pass after months and I would go back to my normal small appetite.  

Thing is, after a couple years with diabetes I fell into this rut and haven't been able to go back since.  It's been about 6 years.  6 years of doctors appointments, intrusive ugly tests and everybody telling me I need to eat more.  I used to have the side effect of nausea - all the time.  Nausea when I didn't eat, nausea when I thought of food, nausea with everything I ate.  NAUSEA.  Even the word makes me nauseous to read.  Anybody who knows me well knows what I'm talking about.  They've all seen me writhing around on a couch at some point in time after dinner.  It's not something I could handle anymore.  Nothing ever seemed to help.  I spent years grasping onto the idea that one day I would snap out of it.  Well, after 6 years, I think I've given up hope on snapping out of anything.  What I did next is revolutionary, I ACCEPTED.  I turned to myself and said, this is who you are.  So I am a person with a very small appetite.  I eat very little compared to most average people and you know what?  The persistent nausea started to cease once I stopped trying to eat more.  I get questions at every dinner party I go to.  I dread get togethers that center around food.  Do you know how many times get togethers center around food? Um.. only every single one!! 

So I accepted my fate.  I accept that I don't eat much and I accept that I am forced to have a very strict diet.  It isn't easy, I struggle daily to maintain my body weight, that much is true.  During rough times where I'm under a lot of emotional stress, it is hard to keep myself at a normal body weight.  I get through it, though, every-single-time.  Right now I am struggling a lot.  It takes great amounts of concentration and perseverance these days to remember to eat.  What I want to say is, I deal with it.  One day at a time.  I accept that which I have to do to be comfortable.  Look at me, does it look like I'm not getting the nutrition I need?  Does it look like I'm wasting away?  You'd never know the struggles that lie beneath my appearance.  What else you'd never know is that no matter how much I accept it, it still bothers me deep down.  It's taken years for me to get here to this stage of acceptance to begin with.

All I wish for is for everybody else to accept it too.  Just remember the next time you want to nag me about food to look at me and remind yourself that I look perfectly healthy.  Remind yourself that this is the only way for me to exist in a comfortable state without constant nausea.  You don't know what it's like to be nauseous 24/7 and until you experience that, you won't understand. 

This works for me. So (*swear*curse*) accept it.
I also hope you accept that this was very hard for me to write.

6 comments:

  1. Wow.....it sounds as though you've really suffered with these food issues. I do hope you've found a solution that puts you on the road to feeling better!!!!

    I know you've said you've had lots of tests....I'm SURE that means you've been tested for celiac. Your symptoms sound incredibly familiar to those that my daughter suffered from. I just wanted to mention that she was tested 4 or 5 times over the course of 3-4 years before her labs were positive.

    I wish you the best and hope you're able to continue to feel well!

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  2. Hi Wendy, thank you for your comment. I have had SO MANY celiac blood tests all coming back negative. It wasn't until I started researching that celiac won't show up positive until the damage done is huge that I suspected celiac. That's when I went gluten-free and that's when a lot of my symptoms started to fade (and continue to disappear). I still can't eat a lot in a single sitting but that's from years of living this way I think. I have been gluten free now for almost 3 months. It's not a long time but it's a start and I've chosen to make it a life-long commitment.

    It's people like you that help me understand that just because I get negative tests don't mean it's not there. THANK YOU!

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  3. Way to go! I know this must have taken tons of guts (pardon the bad pun) on your part not only to deal with this, but to put out there to the world. I commend you on that forsure.

    I think we are all guilty of making comments to others when we know or should know that it's not helping. I am sorry that you've had such a rough go regarding food.

    It's wonderful to hear that you've found the gluten free diet to be helpful to your tummy. Really the portion size doesn't matter, as long as you feel better and continue to remain healthy, right. You're doing everything you can to do this and that's what matters.

    Keep doing what you're doing and I hope you continue to not experience nausea anymore. No one should have to feel nausea pains when they eat, or at all for that matter.

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  4. I'm not going to try to convince you should eat more, but what you describe is different from simply having a small appetite. I hope you eventually find a more satisfying solution to the problem than simply accepting that food nauseates you. (Leaves you "writhing on the couch..."!?!)
    It sounds as if going gluten-free may be helping. I hope you continue to feel better.

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  5. But thank you for writing it.

    I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. It's a problem with doctors that it often becomes easy for them to blame their patient when they run out of ideas :( Been there done that.

    The only experience I have with eating issues was a short bout of mild anorexia when I was leaving high school - basically it was stress induced, but I experienced many of the symptoms you write about, mainly the nausea even at the mention of food. Of course, anorexia and diabetes are NOT compatible :P So my doctors pretty quickly got me into some therapy, which kinda worked. But it was my family and mainly my Mum who pulled me through. Acceptance is a big part of dealing with any issue, and I'm glad you're there. I just hope you can continue to look for an acceptable solution which will let you be happy and healthy! On your own terms of course :)

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  6. You prove here that, once again, the patient knows herself best. I hope that you can find more acceptance and balance as you struggle with this. Perhaps gluten is the key; perhaps it's one of many. I must admit I worry a little about the exercise without fuel, but I trust that it is yours to take care of you, not mine (some stranger in the DOC, what do I know?). I want to let you know that I hear you and I support you.

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