Greetings, Ink Raindrops! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? This site has been used for many things over the years, but now, I’m using it as my new bunker on the battlefield of the World Wide Web. Family, friends, fans of my work, and strangers-that-might-become-friends alike are all welcome to read along. I’ll try to be as interesting as I can be, assuming you’re interested in any of the stuff I like to write about!
I thought it would be good to get started today, since it’s March first – the start to a brand new month. The past couple of months have started the ball rolling toward a new and clearer future for the Washington Bruce clan. We’ve addressed a host of minor medical and lifestyle changes that needed to happen, and we’re looking toward the prospect of starting a family sometime within the next couple of years.
As some of you may know, all pregnancies in diabetic women are considered high-risk, and that fact is one of the major reasons why we’ve chosen to wait so long before pursuing parenthood. Because of the additional risk, we wanted to be 500% sure that biological children were something we wanted, as opposed to seeking adoption or choosing not to have children. After attending a preconception appointment, I now know that it is very possible for me to have kids safely, but it requires a ton of preparation and attention to the details of my day-to-day treatment to avoid potential complications for both myself and any child I might carry.
There are two major things that prevent me from being able to have kids right now. The first is my level of diabetic control, which has been wavering between “not great” and “OK” for years. Unfortunately, this needs to be “almost normal human body AMAZING” in order to be safe; a level that many diabetics never attain. Fixing this is as simple as following all the rules I know I need to, but that’s a lot harder than most folks realize.
The other problem is my weight. It’s no secret that I’ve put on weight since moving to Washington, and it’s been climbing over time. This is in part because I eat junk. It’s in part because I don’t exercise, or even spend much time outside the house. It’s in part because of bad lifestyle habits. It’s in part because of the amount of insulin I’m required to take to balance out the bad diet. And it’s also because of stress, bolstered by the social anxiety I deal with every day. In short, I’ve been fighting an uphill slope for years. I’m the last person to try to make excuses; I say this in order to be honest, and to explain why this is such a big deal for me.
That preconception meeting in mid-January was my official “Hail Mary.” Since then, I have been following the diet guidelines that they told me to use when I become pregnant. I intended it as a trial run, and as a way to adjust my diet to more appropriate amounts. This has improved my control to the point where my insulin usage has dropped almost by half, and I’ve lost ten pounds – something I haven’t succeeded at since 2006! If I can keep up this kind of commitment, and continue to improve with time, my last checkup already put me well within range of a safe pregnancy. It is far and away the best diabetic control I’ve ever had. I’m doing very well with managing the restrictions, and I haven’t been hungry or deprived at any point so far, which is a huge blessing.
As for the weight loss, it is clear to me that I need help from professionals. The few times that I have tried to do this on my own resulted in injuries, frustration, and setbacks, none of which are good for commitment. I am deeply ashamed to hand my weak, sweaty, physically-awful self over to someone else, but I know that swallowing my pride is the ONLY way that things are going to change for me. For the sake of my future, and for the people that love me, I will do what I must. My husband also needs to lose the weight before we have a baby, and at least I know that he will be beside me on this road. Together, we’re unstoppable!
We’ve had memberships at the Bellevue Pro Club gym for years, and they have a special weight-loss program called 20/20 Lifestyles. It’s an intensive workshop that includes dietitians, counselors, personal trainers, group fitness classes, and a lot of self-motivation in order to help people change their lives. Unlike most programs, this one focuses on teaching people how to work a healthy diet and workout plan into their daily lives. The amount of time people stay in the program varies with how much weight they need to lose; for myself and for my husband, it’ll be 28 weeks. It’s unbelievably expensive, and it’s far more regimented than either of us ever planned on having to face; we resisted several friends and work colleagues recommending it to us for years. However, it’s one of the things my doctors have wanted me to do since they met me.
Over the last month or so, we’ve been getting all the necessary paperwork, blood tests, etc. taken care of in order to sign up for the program. Everything gets tailored to your personal needs, so the blood tests are important to check for conditions that might impact your ability to lose weight. With all that out of the way, we go in on Monday (March 6th) to officially schedule our lives for the 28 weeks following our start date (mid-March, most likely.) We’ll have personal trainer meetings, dietitian meetings, and counseling sessions most days of the week, interspersed with days where we’re asked to do cardio work unsupervised.
Our diets will go through different stages, the first of which will be incredibly limited while they reset our metabolisms and undo old, bad habits (it also jump-starts the weight loss process.) Each week, more things get added or removed. Pre-made food can be purchased at the gym, but we’re also free to cook our own as long as it fits the guidelines, which is great for us. The more we can cook at home, the better!
I haven’t shared this news with many people until now, if only because it’s a TON of explanation, and I’m only starting to be able to put these things into words myself. The past few months have been an emotional and mental whirlwind as we try to adjust to this new idea of normal. It’s not easy to sign away everything you thought you knew about your life this way, and it’s not easy to admit this level of struggle to anyone. When all you have is the shame, frustration, and disgust with yourself for what you’ve become, and you push yourself too hard and too fast to try to change it without fixing the underlying problems, you can’t make the kinds of changes you most need to. I want to walk into this with an open heart, mind, and soul, and be willing to look at life in a different way. If I can’t do that, then I fear what kind of a parent I would be anyway.
That’s more than enough for a first post, I think! My goal, for the record, is to keep things MUCH shorter in the future. This is meant as a catch-up for those that haven’t talked to us or seen us in awhile more than anything, and to get new readers caught up on what’s going on. I hope I won’t scare you off. 🙂
If I don’t, I’ll see you next time.