I haven’t published a blog post in a while, but not because of the usual excuses: “I’ve been too busy,” “I haven’t been motivated,” or “I have nothing to write about.” In fact, I have plenty to write about, and since I design my own schedule time isn’t an issue, either.
The real reason is that I am sick.
I am in poor health—and I am an addict. Not an opiod or heroin addict, but an addict, nonetheless. A sugar addict.
I have seen an overwhelming number of specialists over the past few months, ranging from a neurologist and a dermatologist to my regular MD and a liver specialist.
My test results unfortunately speak for themselves: possibly early signs of MS (or NMO), borderline diabetic, incredibly low vitamin D level, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, optic neuritis/loss of vision, nerve pain, limb numbness, massive migraines, and the list goes on, ad infinitum. I sound like my late Nana as I type this, who complained constantly about her kidneys and her failing organs, crying “oh poor me” so dramatically to make it known that she wasn’t well. She lived well beyond her complaining and sick years, but I am beginning to realize that her complaining brought comfort and support.
One side of my family believes that thoughts become reality. All illness is the result of stress, thoughts, ideas, etc. (You know, The Secret kind of stuff.) I do believe that stress is a contributing factor to your health, but it is ridiculous to suggest that I purposely make myself sick. I haven’t shared my health problems with that side of the family, nor do I post about it openly because I don’t want to be the Nana complainer. Very few people know, just one of my best friends Aba, a few other besties M & J, my husband, and my brother and his wife.
And now you.
Recently my general doctor sat me down and explained that my blood test results are a real problem. Conveying a deep concern for me, she warned that I must begin exercising a minimum of one hour per week and eliminate from my diet the one thing that enflames my mortal, all too human body–sugar.
Sugar has always been there for me, it has comforted me, listened to me without asking anything in return. (At least nothing that I was aware of.) I decided approx. 6 weeks ago to completely purge myself of sugar. My new motto was, “I am no longer a person that consumes sugar!” (Thank you to my friend Jen Sincero, author of the You are a Badass series.) The first week was a DTs hell, giving me an even greater appreciation of what substance abuse addicts must go through trying to kick their demons. I experienced major withdrawals, sweats, headaches, moodiness, shaking, and bargaining. I somehow survived that first week and by weeks 2, 3 I felt considerably better. I had a few slips at the end of the week 6 and felt horribly immediately, overwhelmed by exhaustion, nausea, and apathetic. It became clear to me instantly that sugar was not only my main problem but was also a drug (watch “Fed Up” on Netflix) that I was addicted to.
I am now in week 7 and have had three more slip ups—one just five minutes ago (damn chocolate and peanut butter) and I cannot get off my couch. I can feel physically what sugar does to me, and it is the furthest thing from a high, yet I do it anyway.
Aba was over last night and had me ponder one question: What is my self-worth? She added, quite logically, that if I valued myself, I wouldn’t harm my body continually. (But she said it a little nicer than that, I think.) She is right. I have super high self-esteem in most areas of my life, but when it comes to my body and self, I am at a loss. How did this happen? When did this happen? How did I miss it? I’m a smart woman, I can see in others when they don’t value themselves. But I can’t recognize it in myself, even though I have spent the past 40+ years building my confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth?
Sugar is a sneaky bastard! It snuck into my life about 10 years ago when I made major changes in my career and shifted my focus. It was new territory and I was navigating unchartered waters, so I grabbed a little piece of candy here and there, took some bites from a Ben & Jerry’s, etc. I wasn’t necessarily stressed, but my life was suddenly different. I had a new husband, a new 2-year-old stepdaughter, and new family drama from my husband’s family. Plus, I moved to a new area, sold my bar, and left behind my entrepreneurial business. (My kids were for the most part grown and off on their own.) This was a lot for me to process and looking back now I realize that I never truly processed it. Instead, I grabbed for sugar. I stopped exercising and became, dare I say comfortable, being sick and not feeling well. It was my way of dealing with all the changes. I made sacrifices at that point in my life that I didn’t think I would ever do. I put myself last . . . and sugar helped me do it.
So now as I embark on my journey of self-worth, removing sugar completely from my life and processing where I am in life versus where I want to be. This is the beginning of my return to posting. I planned to start swimming in our new pool for exercise, but after undergoing two biopsies and having stitches sewn into my arms, I must wait 14 days before I return to the water.
Shall I just grab some more sugar and wait it out? Just joking.
The delay challenged me to choose another exercise temporarily and write about it even though I don’t want to. My next round of blood tests is in three months. I will post pre and post results. In the interim I will undergo yet another brain and neck scan, a spinal tap, a colonoscopy (omg), and a liver biopsy.
Ever read the headline, “Sugar is worse than cigarettes”? Believe it! I can testify to the living hell it is.
But I am determined to work my way out of it.
Damnit . . . The Peloton just paged me.
PS- this is my little Josephine James, 3 months old and my total reason.