“The tiniest neck I’ve ever seen,” I AM Lucy Ricardo, and, “Well, there’s that.”

I had 4 appointments today: mammogram, nutritionist, fitness assessment, and… with The God of Fixing Broken Lady Parts. I’ve decided to stop being coy about it. I gots lady bits with problems, but they’re not the problems I exactly thought they were… is that enough of a tease? I’ll bet you’re dying to scroll to the bottom of this page to read about my nether regions. (That’s a real tease ’cause I’m not gonna talk about it the way you think I will…)

Flop that sucker up there.
Now that one.
Thank you, and I’ll see you next year.

I knew I would be “down”–that’s the term for, “Hey, you lost weight! Since your insurance company will consider you to NOT be in need of surgery to help you lose weight if you gain weight, you did a good job!” (I feel like that’s somehow upside down, but whatever. It’s inspiring me into action at any rate.)

I really like the nutritionist. She’s easy to work with and so friendly. I’m already eating P & P- Protein & Produce, for the most part. We decided I’ll start working on “30 & 30”–which is not drinking anything 30 minutes before a meal and for 30 minutes afterward, since when I have a stomach the size of a skinny banana, it’ll be important for my stomach to be able to hold its 2-3 ounces of food without liquid competing for space. I see the nutritionist again on Jan. 2. I told her I’d give up my one and only daily Diet Coke for New Year’s, and I will.

Fitness Assessment
First words out of the fitness guy’s mouth when he saw my medication list: “Oh, you brought your list! You are so organized!”

I said simply, “I’m a teacher. It’s what I do. I even have a binder of all the paperwork for my sleeve surgery…”

He told me that only 10% of patients actually bring their list of medications, and I told him that’s because people do not READ instructions any more. I know that because I TEACH, well, people, and the moment I give them a handout, they ask me, “What does this say?”
Which makes me mutter, “Oh, sweet Jesus, 4 1/2 more years…”

Then he asked me about the difference between “effect” and “affect,” and we had a nice discussion about how stupid the English language is since “affect” can be a noun OR a verb. Then we discussed the STAAR test and I told him how ridiculous all the pressure on teachers is since kids are told they have to pass all 5 to graduate but it’s actually 3 of 5 and even then there are ways around that. Still doesn’t stop having my scores projected for the entire district to see at the start of each school year, but… I digress…

He asked how I chose this hospital for my sleeve procedure & I told him that my daughter is a nurse there AND, noticing that he is a cute guy, I said, AND SHE’S SINGLE and he said HE’S single, too, and then he kept asking about her (HEY: I was pretty impressed that he was interested even AFTER talking to ME  long enough to figure out that I’m quirky…)…then he stood up and I realized he was WAY too short for her to even consider him since she’s nearly 6 feet tall, and when he asked me about her again, I couldn’t meet his eyes… I mean, I COULD, but I didn’t have to raise my eyes far enough, so… [shrug. It’s a non-starter…]. EDITED TO ADD: It’s not MY requirement–the height thing–it’s HER requirement. I knew the first question out of her mouth would be, “How tall is he?”

OKAY. Here’s the blunt honest part. He took my measurements, including the percentage of fat in my body. He had me hold this thing that looked like a video game controller and press my thumbs down on it. Within seconds, 2 numbers popped up: 43.4% and 34.6%. The first number is THE AMOUNT OF FAT ON MY BODY, and it should be around 20%. Can y’all believe that? Holy shit. The 34.6% is my BMI (labeled as “Very Heavy). And it could figure that from my thumbs on it. Here’s what it looks like, although the brand may have been different:
Okay, so then he took an old fashioned tape measure for my measurements of my hips (45 inches), waist (42.5 inches), & neck (12 inches)–and the fitness guy said, “You have the tiniest neck I have ever seen.” I said, “That’s exactly what the sleep disorder doctor said! I told him it goes with my tiny wrists & tiny hands!” Fitness guy nodded solemnly and said, “You have a VERY petite frame.”

Y’all: I am 51 years old, nearly 52, and although I got down to a size 6/small shirt at one point in the early 2000s, I have always felt like I was bulky and bigger than the average size girl/woman. I towered over my classmates in 6th grade…I stopped growing in height there, though, and stayed at 5’3″.
I played tackle football as a kid in my neighborhood prior to 4th grade, and I used to beat up boys who were mean to my brother, who is 3 years older but he was smaller than I was. I thought I was FAT in high school when I was a size 10 and the girls who were considered cute were 2s and 4s. So I have never thought of myself as having a small frame.
Having 2 medical professionals in a row mention that to me made me begin to realize that, “Duh,” the reason my body can’t handle all this extra weight any more is that it was not BUILT to carry it. (Sometimes I take the long way around to the simple answer. What can I say? I have an abstract mind…and an apparently petite skeleton under my shell.)

Fitness guy and I talked about my current limitations for exercise, and what I used to like to do. My current limitations are the pain in my right hip, relatively fucked up feet, and migraines set off by exertion. I USED to have a treadmill where I walked 45-60 minutes daily, on an incline, at a pretty good clip. I ran (slowly, but I ran- my goal was always not to come in last, and if it meant tripping the old lady on a walker, then so be it…)–and I loved training for 5K races because they were motivating and fun to go to. I enjoyed doing step aerobics, too, at one time.

We’ve set the goal for now of me doing my recumbent bike 5 days a week for at least 15 minutes each time (I KNOW I can do better than that), and start lifting hand weights 2-3 days a week. That’s a start, for now. I know it’s achievable. I just have to try, and if I get migraines from the bike, I’ll just keep at it until they give up and go home, if it ever happens…

The God of Fixing Broken Lady Parts
MMkay. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about reckoning, and I was vague because I was embarrassed. And I was pissed at myself because I feel like I brought all this on myself. And I suppose you could still say I am angry at myself, at least somewhat, but it’s getting better.
When I went to my primary care doc, I told him that I have had ongoing, worsening pain in my right hip for upwards of 2 years, but I hadn’t said anything before because I figured it was my weight gain and I was determined to lose weight before I asked for any help with it. I was too ashamed to ask for help. There, I said it.

My doctor, whom I will call Dr. M., who I adore, told me the pain was NOT in my right hip, but was in my PELVIS, and when he did Ye Olde Check of Ye Olde Nether-Region (Thar Be Dragons!), he popped his head back up and said that the problem was that a few things were attempting an escape, and THAT’S what the pain was caused by: the ligaments pulling. I kind of envision the ligaments as leashes and the “things” as my dogs when they see a bunny rabbit on the side of the road when we’re out for a walk…

Anyway, Dr. M. said that he was sure surgery would be needed and I should have it done before the end of the year. I asked him what the recovery period is and he said, “Realistically? You can go back to work in a week.”
So, he refers me to a doctor I took to calling The God of Fixing Broken Lady Parts, because my primary doc spoke so highly of him. And, after meeting him, I concur: he is a knowledgeable doctor, and his knowledge told him to tell me that, yes, Ye Olde Nether-Region does indeed require Ye Olde Surgery; however, said surgery requires not 1, not 2, not even 4 weeks to recover: it requires at least 6 weeks, and it cannot be done over Christmas vacation. 
He also told me that the problems I have do NOT cause the kind of pain in my hip, which occurs no matter the position I am in, and when I lay on my left side, my right hip hurts, too. He said that with the “dogs on a leash” problem I have, laying down provides relief. And based on his examination and the fact that some stuff he asked me to do during the exam did not cause pain, the pain isn’t related to The Great Escape.

He said that pain like that indicates JOINT PROBLEMS, and that he suspects that my weight gain exacerbated NOT ONLY the attempted escape by them dogies, but also the joint pain. He recommended that I have my sleeve in March, lose a substantial amount of weight, and see an orthopedist if the joint pain does not improve. But he is nearly certain it WILL improve after weight loss.

So I came home feeling (a) JAZZED that I will not be spending my Christmas Break as a mess of pain medication and incisions and God knows what else is involved after the equivalent of a foundation being jacked up is done to my lady bits, and (b) BUMMED that there is not a relatively quick solution to the hip pain, which I was HOPING was on the horizon because of what I was told before. I knew I had some osteoarthritis in my hip, but I was sooooo hoping that with The Great Escape repaired, the pain would go away.
I guess there’s this: I do NOT have a dinosaur stuck in my teeth.

NOT wanting the image of dogs pulling on leashes to escape my Nether-Region to be the last thing on your mind, if anyone is reading this anyway, I will tell you why part of this title is “I Am Lucy Ricardo”: that is the exact thought I had after something happened while at The God of Fixing…’s office.

Okay, so I was taken back to the exam room and the nurse asked me to empty my bladder so she could do a bladder scan. I told her I would do my best. (I don’t pee well under pressure.)
I go in there, pop a squat, try…nothing. I get up, walk around a bit with my pants around my ankles, think, “I’ve got it,” and pop a squat again.
Ah. Success.
So then I do the requisite paperwork and I stand up and spy a container of baby wipes on the table that also holds the specimen cups & stuff like that. NORMALLY when I have gone for such an exam, I have utilized something like a baby wipe, knowing I’m about to have … aw, you know. AN AUDIENCE.

I notice that the wipe is probably one of the last ones, and it is stuck in the dispenser hole, and I stick my finger down in it to pry the wipe out, and… my finger gets stuck. And it’s one of those dispensers that’s like a pop-top and it’s really pinching my finger and I’m trying to pull it out and the entire container is now waving around on the end of my finger. By the way, I do not have my glasses on, so I can’t exactly see to gently extract my finger. Not that you need a visual, but I have not completed dressing yet, so I’ve got my pants around my ankles while trying to free my finger, squinting like crazy, since I can barely see…

AT LAST [ouch!] I free my digit and it is only then that I notice, in spite of NOT having my glasses on, the big red slash mark over the image of a baby and a hand. I can barely make out the print: “Use on hard surfaces only. Disinfectant wipe.”

THIS is when I have the “Oh, my God. I am stuck in an I Love Lucy episode”-thought.

Then I breathe a sigh of relief because had I used this on my body, I suspect the doctor would have been greeted by an angry-looking entity, I suppose the -nth one he’s seen that day since they have this container of what looks like baby wipes next to the specimen cups, where, in my experience, since I began having these sorts of ritual exams on an annual basis, there are normally wipes intended for use on human body bits. And I’m betting other women make the same mistake, particularly if they, like me, do not have their reading glasses on. I definitely didn’t see anybody younger than me in the waiting room…

Well, there’s that…
Like the other life-changing journey in my life–recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse–I find myself two steps forward and one step back. While I’m steadily building (re-building, really) a history of coping with my emotions (and physical pain) without using food to cope, AND I’m knocking out the requirements for my gastric sleeve AND I know I have what it takes to be successful and become healthy again, I find the hip pain frustrating and it is a constant reminder that there are consequences for tuning out and numbing out with sweets.
But, hey! No surgery for Christmas! Woot!