So as I began to recover parts of my life stolen by my chronic illnesses, I became more active in the plus size community. I was not only engaging with people in the community, but I was participating in positive ways. I was touching other peoples lives with positivity, showing them that being plus size didn’t mean living alone without love. That every woman of every size deserved and ultimately could have love in their life.
My chronic illnesses were still with me, but I was learning to live with them. My body and mind were beginning to adapt to the limitations and changes that had occurred. I became less fearful and anxious of the aches and pains, the imbalance, the vertigo, the fatigue. I learned that when my body said “you’re tired” that it really meant I needed to rest. I learned that if I wanted to push myself a little, I needed to put aside time for recovery. In some instances, I needed to put aside time beforehand to prepare myself, and put aside time afterward to recover. My life became a series of “is this activity worth the pre-and-post time that it required”? And I learned to judge that effectively. My stamina got better because I learned to work my life in a better way. I learned to let things go that weren’t important and focus on the things that were. And readjust my thinking as to what was important and what was not.
I’ve come to realize that my anxiety was at its lowest since the onset of my chronic illnesses during this period of time. I had a focus on what I was doing with my career and it involved the plus size industry. My contributions made me feel good, and made me feel good about myself. My weight continued to wobble upward, but I stopped paying attention to it. It didn’t seem to matter so much. And with that, my anxiety was so low it was almost non-existent. Years went by and I became more physically active, running around with hub and family, looking for new homes for us and for my parents. I spent months preparing to sell our house, cleaning and painting and staging. I spent so much time and energy preparing to buy and move into a new home. Even my knees were cooperating, where once I had been on crutches and unable to put weight on them (for no apparent reason), now I jogged up and down the stairs multiple times a day.
Then Sweet Pea got sick. It was fairly sudden and critically severe. Although I was still functioning at the same level as before she got sick, I began slowly going downhill. I think I spent months running on adrenaline after we let SP go to the Bridge. Eventually, the adrenaline ran out. By this time, I had lost some weight due to my chronic gastritis flaring up and my change in eating habits. I wasn’t really limiting the type of food but rather the portions. I had found that by eating smaller meals, my gastritis was under better control. As my health began to decline post-SP’s passing, the gastritis flare got worse again and I began having other issues. I had lost weight but I was feeling crappier than I had in years…than I had felt when I was at my heaviest. Lo and behold my anxiety began increasing (in part due to my Prilosec-fever, but also likely due to grief and other circumstances). My chronic illness were flaring, my knees were aching, my shoulders and neck and arms were in constant pain. The imbalance came back, along with the vertigo.
I have since lost more weight due to the food issues and gastritis and nausea I went through, which I’ve chronicled elsewhere on the blog. I’ve been in physical therapy since February to work on the pain that kept me from being as mobile as I would like to be. As you know, my anxiety is with me as well. About the time SP passed to the Bridge, I stopped working on the career I’d felt so strongly about before. I stopped being a part of the plus size community and stopped contributing. I feel like there might be a connection there somewhere to my increase in health anxiety…not sure, still exploring that. But I find it so very interesting that at my highest weight I had the least amount of anxiety…but I was the most involved in a career that meant a lot to me.