Saturday, March 23, 2013

The One Where I Bore You Into A Coma Talking About New Jeans

I posted this on Facebook a couple days ago:

"The upside of chronic pain:  I have lost weight, and a pants size, since November when my Syringomyela flared and has since refused to settle down.  And goodness knows how much more weight I might have lost had it not been for the comfort eating I tend to do.  Who knew?  Pain is a weight loss program.  (I sense a blog post coming from this topic.)  Eat all the chips and dip you want and still need new jeans!  :)  You know me....always looking for the bright side."

So - as promised, here is the blog post.  :)

I'm wearing size 8 jeans.  Size 8.  For some of you, that's no big whoop but for me, this is the first time I have been in jeans this small since the very early 1990's.  I have been double that size for a while and I have been everywhere in between but never an 8.

And can I confess something to you? 

I don't feel any different physically, or about myself, at this size than I did when I was a 16.  The number 16 bothered me emotionally but my body felt exactly the same physically then as it does now.

I know I look different, but I don't feel different.  And I honestly don't really feel I look different.  I only know from comments of those around me. 

I could tell you I have struggled with my weight my entire life but honestly?  I haven't.  I just haven't cared what size I was.  Ever.  My mom was obsessed with her weight, not how she looked or  how her clothes felt on her but the numbers on the scale, my entire life and I decided from an early age that I would not do the same.  I just found clothes that fit and moved on with my life. I come from a family of heavy women - it is what it is.  ( I can tell you that that my biggest weight gains have corresponded directly with the level of my unhappiness.  My largest pant size happened shortly after Kaylen's birth.  She was such an unhappy baby, Kelton, then just three, was entering a majorly defiant stage and I was alone with the kids 90% of the time.  So......comfort eat much? No, not much.  All the time.  Twinkies were my biggest vice.  :))

But back to knowing I must have lost weight.  The story goes like this:  I needed new jeans.  Mine were wearing out and I had gone from four pair to two in a matter of days.  So, two weeks ago Stephanie and I stopped by Old Navy and picked up a couple pair of size 10 in the style I like.  I didn't try them on - I didn't need to.  Or so I thought.

A couple days into wearing my new jeans I thought "These feel as loose on me as my old ones."  I had worn them for three years, almost every single day (except for a brief stint back in my 12's when I went through a miserable time of being unhappy with someone I was dating) and we all know clothes stretch out and lose their snug-ness with the passing of time.  I figured the new 10's would be snug, but nope.  They weren't.

I went back and forth with what I should do and then I decided to go back to Old Navy and try the 8's.  I convinced myself that I wouldn't be able to wear them so that I wouldn't set myself up for disappointment.

I arrived at the store and grabbed a pair and headed to the dressing room, passing all the inventory carts with Reid Supply hand wheels.  I entered a dressing room and took a deep breath.  I was preparing to be disappointed with the wasted trip.

Only....I wasn't disappointed!  They went on with ease.  I stood there, in a state of semi-shock, semi-pride, and checked them out.  HOLY COW!!!  I was staring at my reflection wearing a size 8 pair of jeans!!!  What the what?  How?  Why?

Goodness knows I wasn't TRYING to loose weight and, if I were to be perfectly honest with you, I would have thought I would have gained weight.  I have been doing a LOT of comfort eating as I deal with the daily high level of pain from my Syringomyelia.  Lots of potato chips and bacon dip.  Like - every day.  Maybe twice a day.  What?  It makes me happy for a while and tastes amazingly great.  Don't judge.  Until you sit inside my body for a few days, you don't get to tsk tsk me.  So there.

It took some thinking to try to figure out how I managed to lose weight when my comfort eating has increased and my exercise level has decreased but then it hit me:  my never ending pain.  It is exhausting and it must burn calories.  I can get up in the morning and, after a steaming hot shower, which loosens my tightened muscles, feel like I can make it through the day without feeling like I felt the day before.  Only - I can't.  I get to 9 or 10 o'clock and my energy starts going downhill as my pain level goes uphill.  I still do what I need to do in any given day - as far as I'm concerned, I don't have the choice to do otherwise.  I stand by my commitments for volunteering, I work my various jobs as agreed upon, I grocery shop, I change bedding, I clean, I care for the children and the pets, I run errands...anything that needs to get done, gets done.

But I pay the price.  By the time the kids are home at 3pm, I am practically in tears from the pain but once they are home, homework tended to, lunches for the next day packed and everyone has had a chance to talk about their day, I reach for the bottle of pain pills and take one.  It doesn't stop the pain, it just takes it down to a level that doesn't bring me to my knees.  I  have no idea what it is like to have a day without pain.  I can't remember.  It's been 16 years since I broke my back and I have had pain every single day since.  I thought the early years of pain was bad but it was a cake walk compared to the level of pain I've had in the years leading up to the Syringomyelia diagnois and the five years since.  But now?  Oh honey.  THAT level was a cake walk.
I can only imagine that the effort I exert every day, coupled with the pain level, contributes to burning calories which contributed to my needing smaller jeans.

I'm thinking that the insurance needs to get their approval done for the pain management doctor soon or I will fade away to nothing.  But it's been a month since I've seen the new neurologist and three weeks since his office called to say they finally received the records from my old neurologist and that he would be sending a letter to my primary care doc recommending pain management.  And here I sit as they try to gain approval from the insurance company.  But considering I just yesterday received my Explanation of Benefits outlining my portion due for the MRI I had on February 1st, I'm thinking it will probably be another month before I know anything more.

It's been a long haul since November when my pain level started increasing.  I'm ready for a break but I have to tell you: I'm enjoying my new size of jeans.  Hey - you gotta take the good with the bad, right?  As far as I can see, the ONLY good that has come from Syringomyelia is smaller jeans.  So...I'll take it.  :)

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