Friday, December 28, 2012

Stressful Autumn

I'd keep peeking in here and seeing my last post from AGES ago and the longer I didn't write, the more I put it off...there is so much to catch up on and I hardly know where to begin. But I have learned some weight-related stuff during this time that I want to share.

First the description of the stress:

After our wedding in July, we dove immediately into preparations for Burning Man. We were gone for two weeks this year (usually it's about 10 days). A friend of ours stayed with my little doglet, Nick, as a gift (saved me about $50/day!). The night we got home, just as we walked into the house, Nick collapsed on the floor, couldn't get up, peed himself. Both DB and I thought he was dying. We rushed him to the emergency vet and, by the time we got there, he was fine. The vet checked his oxygen levels and said to just take him to my regular vet to do a full work-up.

(Background: Nick had had a heart condition for a couple of years that we had managed with one pill a day. A week or so before we left for Burning Man, his eating had slowed down so I switched his diet to something I thought he liked more.)

When I took him to my vet, we saw his heart was a lot worse than it had been just a few months before. He also had lost weight (probably from not eating enough. My vet put him on a lot more pills and sent us home. After a few more days, Nick wasn't eating at the point that I called my vet to ask how long he could last without eating or drinking (answer: not more than two weeks). That day, my vet gave me an appetite stimulant and, finally, that worked. Nick started eating again and seemed much better for a time.

Late in September, I decided to run for a local political office. I was running against the virtual incumbent so I really did not have much hope of winning, but I am distressed about some things that have been happening in my community and how constituents have not been empowered to get involved so I thought it was important to run.

For the entire next month, much of my time off from work was spent campaigning. I had a great time meeting all the other local candidates and talking with people about our neighborhood. The election was October 28...I won.

And then that stress started...even though I wasn't sworn in until late November, the transition from the former office-holder to me started virtually immediately. The whole thing was a mess so I have been spending the past couple of months working on establishing protocols going forward, updating systems, etc. At last, I think I am almost at a point where I will be able to have things running smoothly in a month or so. (All of this is on top of learning how my local government works, the politics of all the characters, etc.)

In mid-November, Nick slowed eating again. He was back to just eating the little kiddie wieners that were my go-to calorie-injection if he wouldn't eat anything else (we had been through chicken liver, cottage cheese, you name it, during this process). On Saturday, November 17, he was really having trouble breathing and standing up. By the time we got home from an afternoon outing, it was clear that he was close to done. It was time. I called a friend who does home euthanasia and scheduled her to come on Sunday morning. I spent my whole evening at home, just holding Nick. He liked that a lot. I did too...but I was crying all the time.

I got ready to sleep with him on the sofa and put him in his little bed while I got ready. He went to sleep so I told DB I wouldn't disturb him...we could move to the sofa in the night if he woke up.

I woke up at 5 am and didn't hear him breathing. He was gone. After lots of crying, I went back to sleep and had an amazing dream: it was the next morning. I woke up and Nick was all better. He was running around the neighborhood playing with other dogs (which he never did in life), jumping through windows into rooms where I was and on top of garbage bins. He was like super-dog...he even was wearing an orange safety vest. I think that was a visitation dream...and how he is in heaven.

The pet mortuary came that morning and I was able to put his body into their car in his own bed. I had a lot of meetings that day and cancelled a few, but it wasn't enough. The next day I had a total breakdown at work...thought I was having a heart attack, couldn't stop crying. I'm amazed I managed to drive home. DB gave me a pill and I went to sleep. It was horrible.

I am grateful that he went peacefully in his sleep, but I miss him so...we were together for almost 14 years (I got him on Boxing Day 1998). I still get teary when I think about it (like writing this now). Nick will be my last pet...DB is severely allergic so he's it for pets for me now!

After this, holiday season started in earnest and it's been non-stop since.

Another note about autumn: my beloved yoga teacher left the country in early September. I have had a really hard time getting myself to go to yoga since he has been gone because the replacements are (of course) not of his caliber. I know that the practice is mine to create, but I am struggling. The good news is that I went to the new Saturday teacher last week and he was very good. At least I'll have one good teacher a week...and I'll just have to be my own teacher the other two days when I go to class.

Sooo...with all this said...I have gained 10 pounds since early-September. Other than being not-as-regular with yoga, I have not changed my diet or routine at all. Since my scale is my good barometer of health, I went to see my doctor in November: we upped my thyroid meds, tweaked some supplements and she said that, if my weight wasn't back to normal by January, we would do adrenal testing. I am certain that the weight gain is due to the unusual stress of the last few months. Of course, not losing the additional weight as I normally would adds to the stress.

In addition to the meds/supplements, I have cut way back on alcohol and have gone back to yoga regularly in December. Result to my weight? Nada. Again, I am sure it's the stress. I'm pretty sure we'll have to test the adrenals in January and I hope we can get them back in balance with my other hormones.

As usual, I wish that my body processed food better...I fight resentment that I can't eat like "other people"...but I can't. Mostly I'm ok with that. But when my weight goes up without changing what I eat, then I'm cranky!

We are off to Vegas for this long weekend. I haven't been in over 20 years so have no idea what is in store, but it seems like it might be fun and it's a fairly short drive.

Wishing everyone who might still be reading a wonderful New Year!