Remember — when it comes to your weight — it’s only a number.
About ten years ago I was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, joints, kidney, brain, and other organs. The underlying cause of this autoimmune disease is not fully understood but it is known that this disease will mistakenly attack healthy tissue and over time will lead to chronic (long-term) inflammation. In my case it attacked my joints with a vengeance. Originally diagnosed with Osteoarthritis at the age of nineteen I had learned how to care for my joints and take my health seriously. I made sure my weight stayed under control and that I wasn’t foolish when I played sports. I stayed hydrated, ate right, got plenty of rest and generally took good care of myself. I was shocked when I received the diagnosis of Lupus because I’d actually done everything right for nearly fifty years and was for the most part symptom free. During my yearly health exam a new doctor noticed the original diagnosis of Osteoarthritis and asked some questions – ordered a urinalysis test, blood test and a chest X-ray – at a follow-up appointment he said the word Lupus and my jaw dropped.
There is no cure of Lupus. The only action is to control the symptoms. For less severe lupus the use of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are usually given, as well as Corticosteroid creams to treat skin rashes (which I did not have) and an anti-malaria drug (hydroxychloroquine). And a warning to always wear protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen when outside in direct sun (there went my suntan) which I certainly was never used to doing. The thought of slathering all that sunscreen on my skin seemed over the top to me, but I did as instructed and began my treatment. In my case the course of treatment was the corticosteroids which is a steroid and which packed on the weight in a very short period of time. Needless to say I was devastated with the weight gain.
My closet became divided in sections of “before” Lupus and “after” Lupus because I went from size 8 jeans all the way up to size 20. I refused to get rid of the size 8’s and for the longest time squeezed myself into my small tee’s! Then I squeezed myself into a medium tee and finally when hit the 1x tee I hated myself and I hated the scale.
Then something remarkable but even more devastating happened. About two and half years later, after a move to new area of the US, it was necessary to see a new doctor to refill my prescription. I went over my health history with my new general practitioner (MD) and some of the information raised his eyebrows (literally!) and I found myself having more tests ordered, like immediately.
I’ll never forget what this doctor said to me. A doctor, I had learned who happened to be filling in for my new GP-MD, and who was, in fact an expert in the field of autoimmune disorders (WOW!–God does look after us, after all!). Thank goodness he is the one I saw, this astute learned man who asked all the right questions, run all the right tests. I’ll never forget his words: “Good news and bad news” he said, “the good news is you do not have Lupus” then he added, what I already knew, that I did have the osteoarthritis I was originally diagnosed years before. “The bad news is” he continued “that the weight you complained about might not ever come off but we can try” I thought about it for a second and accepted the blessing I’d received. I did not have Lupus. I was a fatty but I did not have Lupus.
Women, are creatures that all men do not understand. And I think one of the most misunderstood things men do not understand is a women’s need to be a certain size. No matter what that size is. It is the size she is happiest at, the size she wished to be and she will, I will, move heaven and earth to obtain that size! And, I really want my size 8 back! It’s been ten years and still a size 8 is no where in site although I am defiantly not in a 1x tee these days, thankfully.
You can image my chuckle, my lifted spirits, when I found the picture posted with this post. My weight is only a number isn’t it? And, it has nothing to do with the person I am — It does not tell my story, the story that my kids, my friends, my family knows about me, who I am at my core (I hate that phrase, by the way, it’s so prosaic) — it is just a number, just like my shoe size, my ring size, or my age, is a number. It does not describe the nut inside the shell, only the shell and that doesn’t really describe me!
What can I say but that you are never too old to learn to look at something in a new way :)