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Archive for the ‘GASTRIC BYPASS REVERSAL’ Category

“MD-PTSD”….When doctors do more harm than help…

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I hoped that the next blog that I would write, would be in the realm of activism regarding mental health,  not talking about another devastating encounter with a new physician.

I admit that I  not an easy patient to treat. As I’ve said in previous blogs that my disabilities make it hard to express myself in logical sequence of order and in complete thought processes, which can make me difficult to understand.

It’s compounded a bazillion times, between anxiety, due to the fact I do have mental health issues, I have temporarily abused drugs, twice, in my life, that I’m quite forthcoming in this blog about that and the labeling I’ve experienced.

I had seen my long term PCP 2 weeks ago. Because we were at an impasse with my medication management, I had agreed to see a pain management specialist to give insight to the both of us, of what would be the best course of action.

As my physician didn’t feel comfortable increasing my dosages and I metabolize meds or have bad side effects to so many medications.

Or they just don’t work at all.

I was able to get into pain management today. I had anxiety of course, which I explained and it was hard for me to be concise.

While the pain management specialist was forthcoming about that she didn’t necessarily agree with my medication regimen, she didn’t agree or understand that after all the doctor visits I’ve had in my life, in the last 10 years between mental health and my gastric bypass complications, that I at this point didn’t want to see a bunch of doctors again and because of the severity of side effects from so many drugs, I didn’t want to try any new medications.

Nor did I want to be taken off the medications that I was currently on.

It was a long intake appointment with the understanding that while she didn’t agree with my being on opiates, that she’d leave that up to my long term PCP and she said, very clearly, that  she wouldn’t interfere with that.

So I did shoot off my prescribing physician, a few hours after I got home, a message of what transpired in my visit with her, while it was fresh in my mind, as I knew that it wasn’t a stellar visit for either one of us.  I detailed what she agreed with my physician, and of her urging me to be under the care of clinical mental health professionals and follow pain management modalities .

Unfortunately for me, I took her at her word that she said she would NOT interfere with my doctor continuing on my current medication regimen. That she appreciated as a pain management specialist, that I am concerned between having mental health issues, that I don’t want to have addiction issues and I would rather not be medicated at all for pain then risk addiction and becoming either a prescription drug addict or trying street drugs, something I’ve never done.

I try to treat myself, from a patient perspective, because I have an addictive personality and mental illness, of knowing that could be the case and it’s a mixed blessing that opiates don’t work as well as they should, because if they did, my circumstances could be a whole different story, and I’d have full blown addiction issues, which I don’t, but it’s nothing short of a miracle that I don’t.

Things that I’m completely honest about. Among other humiliating things in my life.

So imagine my surprise, after shooting my long term physician,  a recap of my visit, tonight, then deciding to check out my after visit summary from my appointment this afternoon, that not only did she think I was somewhat a mentally unstable non compliant  hypochondriac but that she was recommending I get taken off my medications.

Which is a complete contradiction and LIE, from with her at the end of my appointment clearly telling me that she would not interfere with my medication management being done by my long term provider.

Unfortunately for me, it’s my word against hers, a physician.

I’ve had doctors tell me, straight out,that they think I’m a drug addict. I’ve had ER docs when I’d be in the ER for my gastric bypass complications, at Fairview University Medical Center,  even bringing my meds and being compliant with controlled substances, having a ton of them, in their bottles, of them thinking I was drug seeking, when I wasn’t looking for drugs, but diagnostics such as with the pesky intractable projecile vomiting blood due to my ulcers both prior to gastric bypass reversal and after it.

Just based upon the fact I was a bariatric patient with my one and only suicide attempt, trying to use controlled substances to intentionally overdose, that’s explained on my 1st blog on here, in greater detail .

As well as being honest about an inability to be compliant on non controlled substances like ibuprofen (which I didn’t take much of prior to my gastric bypass reversal or of meds like Imitrex, PPIs, and meds in other therapy classes, other than controlled subtances, because I metabolize medications so bizarrely).

Which I’ve been quite forthcoming with providers as well on this blog. There are shades of grey, with patients’s prescription drug use. I’m obviously not compliant with most meds, it’s impossible to be, because my tolerance to so many meds, in so many therapy classes, not just with narcotics, is so high. But I by no means habitually abuse controlled substances, something that she said herself and somewhat congratulated me for, towards the end of my appointment.

Both unfortunately for me and HER, the pain management specialist I saw today,  I did do a Google search before my appointment, to get an idea of her medication philosophies (usually pro Butrans, something she thought I should consider, but apprently not, given her recommendation to my long term provider).

I also found that she nearly had her OWN license suspended due to drugs. Almost 2 years ago and the conditions of her “stay of suspension”, so that she could keep practicing medicine. Her conditions of being able to retain her license, which she is now under, is the fact she can’t be in possession or write a script for controlled substances for 5 years, in addition to other requirements for her to retain her  license and/or be eligible to apply for losing those conditions.

I don’t take any satisfaction in that. Both as a patient and as an advocate who’s trying to de-stigmatize and create dialogue about drug addiction amongst both providers and patients.

As well as in doing all the research I had to do past blogs, as a medical activist, as well as make an informed decision about my medication management I’ve thought about discussing physicians who struggle with drug addiction and trying to de-stigmatize that, too.

Because I fully am aware and sensitive to the fact, that physicians are patients, too.

It’s absolutely  NOT  okay, what I was put through today by her. It’s now going into a weekend.  I can’t talk about this to my own provider, until early next week. I did write a scathing message to the pain management specialist about her lie, and I am now  going to  be filing a grievance against her with the hospital system. And also against the hospital system, themselves.

Which I’ve talked about “md-ptsd” and I have filed one grievance before, with that hospital, which is in another blog.

I’m just beyond stunned, of  the hypocrisy that the hospital has, as well as that provider. They have a a more stringent standard of expectations on their patients, that they don’t even have for their OWN physicians. As it’s a travesty that my suicide attempt and being mentally ill, that history is held against me, apparently for the rest of my life by any provider, but her own isn’t?

How is that ethically fair? To not only as me, as a patient but any other patient who is seeing this physician, have any chance to be treated ethically and honestly, as she has bias, in addition to her own mental health issues and addiction issues  that create an inability for her to be effective of in providing fair  care to her patients.

Especially, especially, ESPECIALLY given the specialty she’s treating patients….

Lisa definition of “md-ptsd” (a “Lisaism” you won’t find in DSM V) – extreme psychological and physical distress of seeing clinically trained medical and mental health physicians, due to my being labeled as drug seeking hypochondriac, post epic mental health breakdown and suicide attempt in 2008. But I have also mentioned that I was drug tested prior to being put on opiates, during ER visits, since I had my gastric bypass.

So now, it’s made my “md-ptsd” expotentially  worse. I don’t love when doctors treat me like crap. That’s why I rarely seek medical attention, any longer. What I usually did in the past with unpleasant encounters when I’m being treated clearly with bias, due to having mental health issues, is I leave. I’ve left ER visits, including ones that I needed further attention. I’ve left appointments in the middle of a visit. I can be mean and not mince words, when doctors treat me like an unstable drug seeking hypochondriac, but I only use words and leave, if I’m going to be reactive (which most of the time, I’m NOT) . That’s it.

You want an example of that? Certainly. I’ll say to a doctor when they come off condescencingly and judgemental that I’m a mentally unstable and drug seeking hypochondriac with maybe other bias towards me (such as weight and being a cigarette smoker) that I’ll say “Wow, I didn’t know Walmart had a school of medicine!!!”.

I’m appalled and devastated, though that a pain management specialist with her own drug problems would do that to a patient who admitted everything I’ve said in this and in past blogs, would lack empathy and lie to me.

I’m devastated that I can’t trust most  doctors not to label me for the rest of my life, given my complicated issues with compliance of non controlled substances due to how bizarrely I metabolize most medication or have severe side effects.

I’m incensed as an activist that other patients might have gone through this and they don’t have a voice. I know almost 9 years ago, when I was acutely suicidal and in so much physical pain and had mentally disintergrated, that  I didn’t have a voice and no support. I write this blog, so that other patients don’t nearly lose their lives from being treated this way or have themselves AND their care compromised due to bias.

I’m hoping that if anyone has gone through this, they will message me privately, if they don’t feel comfortable commenting on my blog.

But I am going to fight back, an ethical fight. By filing a grievance and while I said in my very concise message to her that I hope she loses her license, I hope really she learns from this and at least gets reprimanded.

Although if she doesn’t learn from what she did to me today and has done that to other patients, maybe she should NOT be practicing medicine, any longer.

Because no mentally ill and medically disabled patient who’s been as forthcoming with providers, should have to go through what I keep going through with most physicians.

Actually, it’s been my hope as an activist and blogger, for years,  to encourage honest dialogue between patients and providers, whether mental illness is a factor or NOT, that patients aren’t necessarily penalized with non compliance of ANY medication.

Not only does that increase the risk of patients LYING to their doctors, if they are abusing drugs, it puts them at risk of getting involved with street drugs and the risk of safety and or accidental overdose and addiction to them.

And I didn’t fight so hard to stay alive and try to retain what’s left of my sanity, to let a doctor do something so unconscionable like what was done to me, today (It’s still  5-12-2017 in MN), but I’m going to try that some greater good comes out of it.

For both patients AND providers.

Not just for myself, but for many patients who experience bias and compromised medical and mental health care because of bias that physicians carry due to mental illness and other still stigmatized patient disorders.

Wish me luck…

Note: I have no problem publishing differences of opinions, if stated respectfully. And unfortunately my normal disclaimer of “seeking professional clinical trained professional guidance when in medical or mental health crisis”  doesn’t apply, because I’m not at that point but I’m seriously distressed that my anxiety is in overdrive and my medical care has been compromised by a doctor that knew fully my history and lied to me that way.

Especially given how vulnerable I was due to my medical health issues at that appointment and my mental health issues, as it was difficult for me to get to that appointment with my barriers, as I was exhausted physically and mentally frazzled due to some scary encounters on 2 crappy local buses and walking part of the way in the sun, which I have photophobia.

Again, I own what’s multiply frustrating by me, for ANY provider, including the most non biased clinical professional, of what it’s like to treat me. I’m not a fun patient to treat and I can get defensive. I’m wordy and all over the place. But I tell new providers that those are my barriers, from the start.

And the truth is, most patients are vulnerable, in some way, when seeing a provider, especially given all the factors that played in my visit.

Also,  I don’t believe all doctors are bad. Largely due to my long term physician, where we have a stance to agree to respectfully disagree, given what I’ve been through with mental health and having weight issues even with my needing a gastric bypass reversal.

And I realize other Fairview medical professionals who I know are excellent and ethical physicians, as well as other physicians from different hospital systems both locally and globally.

But regardless of a terrible experience with a doctor, I’m going to ALWAYS recommend that if a patient-provider relationship is not working for a patient, that they try to get help from another provider, whether in acute crisis or not.

Just please forgive me for being kind of a hypocrite about not being too terribly excited about seeing new doctors, in the short term, given my circumstances.

Also note: Unfortunately, I had to do some major editing, 10 hours after I first published  this, because I was so frazzled between being in a lot of physical pain and heightened anxiety, which was was made so much worse, after her saying one thing to me and a few hours later, she completely saying another, as far as her final recommendation would be, made this not as clear as I would’ve liked.

This still isn’t clear, due to the fact I am a disabled blogger who writes about disability and bias. But I feel like I’ve honestly and better presented a fair description of what I go through as patient, but at the same time, being fair with providers who have to treat me.

9-7-2010 – MY Gastric Bypass Reversal Story….

What I was doing exactly FIVE years ago…..

It’s 5:30 a.m and I’m getting in medicab as I have to be in surgery by 8 a.m. and it’s my kids first day of school, so I’m on my own.

6a.m ish, registering for my surgery and I get brought back to preop and get asked a zillion questions.Unlike my preop questions to me, by medical staff when I had my gastric bypass, which was in December of 2001, I didn’t have any problems with getting all of the bowel prep in, like I did then.

It also probably helped that I spent most of 2010, “NPO” (nothing by mouth), I certainly wasn’t going to screw up my reversal by messing up my bowel prep.

I’m feeling a lot of things, while I’m waiting for my surgeon to answer some ( OK, A LOT) of questions, before I go into surgery.  The problem is, while I got a packet, from the hospital,  it doesn’t say very much. And the month before, when I had an appointment to discuss my reversal, with him, I actually was directly admitted, 2 minutes after he looked at me, cause of the pesky intractable projectile vomiting I had.

The thing I was feeling more than anything, was impatience. I was NOT nervous at all. I had my 1st gastric bypass complication hospitalization, 6 1/2 years earlier. I had my mental health crisis which was done and over and while I didn’t get my wish that things would go back to normal, early in 2010, I was anxious to get this over with.

Not that I had much choice. It was literally do the reversal or DIE.

Smily,  sweet and brilliant surgeon comes in and lets me ask my million questions. Can’t eat for 2 weeks afterwards, similar diet to first year post gastric bypass. Ulcers, it will be debated on whether or not, they will be cut out, when they get in there. I should have an naso-gastric tube for about 3-5 days. Can have clear liquids after it comes out, but NPO while it’s in. Literally in this case, nothing by mouth, as it was my 1st time having an ng tube, and even meds that were only made to take orally, would be crushed up and put in tube, if they didn’t have i.v. equivalent.

Great, lets get this done.

Anesthesiologist comes in, a little bit after that, and gives me a shot, like I had with my rny. What’s different, is that I’m still lucid but can’t talk. I’m now being wheeled into the operating room and I can see it and it’s the one and only time, I not only am nervous, but REALLY nervous, because I always had a fear with surgery that I’d be the one to wake up in the middle of it.

My eyes dart around the operating room, which looks like an oversized sterilized bathroom. There’s a ton of people prepping. One of them is another anesthesiologist who sees my eyes darting around, terrified and gives me another shot.

Fade to black.

I am starting to wake up as they wheel me out of the o.r. into recovery, it’s almost 3 p.m. I notice the pneumo boots on my legs and I start kicking trying to get them off. I’m in and out of it, but at least I know it’s over. Or at least I have a shot at being alive, not having horrible abdominal pain and vomiting and blacking out everyday, like I had for the last 7 years.

I get wheeled up into my room. Surprise!!! I have company. It’s my Mother and Father, who I didn’t expect to see, as it was my kids first day of school. It was Zach’s first day as a senior in high school and it was Zoe’s 1st day of 2nd grade. I know they weren’t home from school, at the time it is, so I don’t know how their first day of school is.

I see my parents who for once, don’t have much to say. I tried to spare them with how sick I got physically, even before I gave them my kids, and they are looking at me, terrified. I am still kind of out of it,  I tell them not to worry, to let Zach and Zoe know that I LOVE them, that I hope they had a great First Day of School and I’ll see them soon.

I thank them for everything and I fall back asleep again.

I wake up around 10 p.m. I’m completely wide awake. I notice my roommate and I say hi. I call for a nurse because I want to go to the bathroom and have a cigarette, after I check in on Facebook.

Nurse comes in. Says that smoking is probably not a good idea. And I don’t need help going to the bathroom as I have a catheter.  I am nice, but insistent,   with all this extra tubing, I make it clear that I’m going to have a cigarette, once I get dressed. Being a frequent flyer in that hospital, for the last 4 years,  I had already packed a t-shirts, sweats and bras and underwear with NO metal  and  usually it would be my cute “Sesame Street” t-shirts, as I’d see kids in previous admissions and it would make them smile. Ironically the orange brownish color in my green Oscar the Grouch shirt, matches my NG tube. Score…

An aide helps me dress and takes me outside for the first time to smoke. I make conversation with her, and learn that I’m hardly alone, being a gastric bypass patient who needed a reversal.

I get back to my room, once we are done. I end up talking to my roommate and I find out that she, like me, had weight loss surgery problems but she had a lap band that needed removal. If she didn’t have cardiac history, it would’ve been an outpatient procedure. And so she is now eating sugar free gelatin and I’m salivating.

I ask her more about her being unbanded. She had her unbanding, earlier in the afternoon. Around Noon. I ask her who her surgeon was and I’m surprised, more like in disbelief, when she says she had the same surgeon for her band that she did for her unbanding (the lap band was not an option when I had my gastric bypass in 2001) and that it was the same surgeon as ME.

I knew I was tenatively to be in the operating room for 5 hours. They were thinking 8am to 2ish. I was my surgeon’s first surgery of the day. I didn’t know and I was blindsided, not in a very good way, when I found out that he scheduled another surgery, in the middle of my reversal. I also was angry.  At him. Not my roommate.

Now I knew in 2001, that a few local surgeons did do more than one weight loss surgery at a time. I NEVER thought my surgeon would do that, certainly not in the middle of an openly performed gastric bypass reversal. While I was fully aware that the Fairview University of Minnesota Hospitals, especially my hospital, was a teaching one, being on campus at the university, I didn’t think they’d double dip when it came to complications.

I also didn’t think the hospital would be STUPID enough to put 2 patients who had the same surgeon, at the same time, in the same room, afterwards.

My roommate and I, both not tired, continue to gab most of the night. I get the hang of how to undo my NG tube so I can smoke without having to bother anyone.

Morning comes. It’s 9-8-2010. I’m very uncomfortable from the NG tube (I had lost the pneumo boots about 11 p.m the night before, when it’s obvious, that I’m not going to throw a clot, due to not being able to get walking in. Most of the nurses already knew me and my penchant for not staying in bed, during my many admissions prior to my reversal).

I decide to go the floor with waiting room on a quest for magazines. I run into my Aunt M  and Uncle S  and 2 of my cousins (my Mom’s older brother, wife and 2 out of 3 of their kids)  when walking by the hospital pharmacy to get to the main waiting room on my magazine hunt. I had knew my Aunt, who had never smoked, just sadly had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I also hadn’t seen any of them, for almost 3 years, even before my kids went to live with my parents. While it was kind of awkward, I was glad I was able to tell her personally how sorry I was and they had NO idea how sick I’d been physically, as my parents are VERY private people. It wasn’t appropriate to talk about my issues, and all the IVs hanging from my IV pole, as well as that pesky NG tube. While I had argued with my parents in the past, as I thought it was unfair for people in my extended family just to think, that I had given up my kids for without some good reason, it’s just not something they would budge on. I talk them for awhile and I get my magazines and go to call my Mom to inform her that I ran into them. She makes a biting comment that I must be feeling A LOT better, as when she called in the middle of the night, to get an update on me,  the nurse had told her I was outside smoking. I’m already not thrilled with my surgeon double dipping, them telling my Mom, that was NOT necessary.

I get a new roommate that 2nd night. It’s a new gastric bypass patient who had been in surgery way longer than they thought. And she was really out of it, only half lucid and while her parents were there, she’d only awake to cry. I end up walking around later, and catch her Mother, crying and she was beside herself. I start talking, well more listening, to my roommate’s Mom, and she feels horrible because she wanted her daughter, to have a gastric bypass to lose weight. But she had one herself, and had some problems. I tried to reassure her, without telling her much about my own story, that I’d look after her daughter as it was getting late, she was distraught. I did tell her that I did have some problems but that NO ONE  else in my family who had a gastric bypass had any problems and that if this was her first surgery, she could very well be reacting to the anesthesia, like I did when I had my gastric bypass, as well as I had problems with the morphine they gave me then. But that we had a brilliant surgeon and that she’d be ok. That I’d keep an eye on her and/or keep her company, so the Mom could go home and try to get some rest, as she was older and it was quite late by then.

Next morning I get moved to my own room, which I had wanted from the beginning. I start breaking out from all the IV Dilaudid and between the NG tube, I’m very uncomfortable. While I knew I didn’t tolerate Dilaudid very well, it did help with pain. I had problems in the past with it. But because I’m on so much more Dilaudid post reversal, then usual, I actually have HUGE hives, all over my face and body.

A physical and occupational therapist comes in, later that morning, to let me know that I’d be working with them, during the duration of my admission to make sure I know how to do things, once I’m discharged, but it was expected that I’d go home, the first several days, with family to observe me, which I knew wasn’t going to be the case. I tell them though that I don’t need therapy, I had a history of being a Certified Personal Trainer who wanted to concentrate on adaptive and rehabilitative personal training. They still take me for my 1st intake and session. When about 5 minutes into that session, it’s obvious that I know how to move, without effecting my core area, where all the major work was done, internally, they agree that I don’t need any PT or OT and tell my surgical team when we walk by them, that.

Days keep going by. It’s finally Friday and I’ve spent the last 3 days since my surgery, NOT in bed. My NG tube comes out, my parents had told me, that my kids could come and visit me, once it came out. My kids also had never seen me in the hospital, due to any of my complications. And because my daughter was so young but knew that I had been sick, I decide that it’s better that they don’t come into the hospital to see me, so my nurses unhook me from my IVs and I take my kids out to lunch at a nearby Perkins, which the smell of food made me extremely nauseous. After we are done, my Dad picks us up from the restaurant, takes me back to the hospital, I assure my children that I’m fine and that I’ll see them soon.

The weekend goes by while inpatient, fairly uneventfully. Other than that I keep blowing IVs all the time, and I’m having horrible migraines, in addition to the hives and itching (that was lessened by the Vistaril they gave me) however the are having a hard time controlling my bounceback migraines from the Dilaudid, I get put on some Fioricet which helps. I’m also allowed later that weekend, to try drinking clear liquids.

Monday (9-13-2010)  comes and I’m told I’m being discharged due to how great I’m doing. Well, not really. But I’m not going to fight it. I want to get home. I’ve blown so many IVs that they have to get labs by doing a finger prick. That’s not the most efficient way to get 10 vials of blood, but I just want to get out of there. I get my discharge stuff, pick up the bottle of liquid Vicodin at the pharmacy and call for a medicab to take me home.

I’m a lot less adventurous at home, when by myself. The liquid Vicodin hurts to take, so I don’t take it. I rest a lot.

Ten days later, I go in for my first post reversal check up. I’m doing great, as far as healing, and my surgeon agrees that while unorthodox for a patient to be walking around so much, during admissions, especially to smoke, ain’t the best idea, that it probably helped me heal, a little faster. Even though there was a lot of work done internally that would take much longer.

I’m still feeling though, quite horrible when I get back home. And when the vomiting and intractable abdominal pain, I’m really miserable. By then it’s October. I end up going to the ER, about 2 days before my son’s 18th birthday. Because I found my son’s father on Facebook, before my reversal (as I, and others, thought I was going to die) he and his father finally connected and he was coming in to see him. I was going to take my daughter, for a couple of  to make it less confusing for her, as I’ll just say, her father isn’t in her life. I however go through another ER visit where the ER staff doesn’t do ONE test on me. And sends me home.

While Fall of 2010, continues to be quite hellish for me, once my daughter goes back to my parents, I make an urgent appointment with surgeon’s NP (nurse practioner, who I’ve known for years, since I made my appointment to have my gastric bypass). She directly admits me on the spot.  They didn’t cut out the ulcers when doing my reversal and I think they finally realize, maybe they should have. My labs aren’t looking that great, either.

Another 4-5 day admission, mid October 2010, and I’m discharged again.

The day before Thanksgiving of 2010. I’m still having problems with intractable abdominal pain and vomiting. I go back to the ER. I get the same ER doctor, who I’d seen that Summer who needed a huge push to take me seriously. While I didn’t think he’d give me the same problems, as I obviously had to be reversed to save my life, he wants to send me home, without doing another test. I call my surgeon’s office and beg them to order something. They do. They ER doctor who went from wanting to discharge me, about 5 minutes after seeing me, about 6 hours later, can’t tell me when I can go home, after I had my upper G.I. So I unhook myself from my IV and I leave.

Day after Thanksgiving of 2010. I get a call from the hospital, saying I need further tests. I get scheduled for an EGD, on 12-1-2010. Day before my birthday.

12-1-2010. I get a call from the hospital, telling me that they need to put off my EGD for one more day. So I’m now scheduled for an EGD on late afternoon of my birthday. Lovely (NOT!!!)

12-2-2010. My 41st birthday no one though I’d live to see. I’m just as miserable as I was before my reversal. I don’t regret it, at that point, but didn’t think it would take so long to heal internally. I get to the hospital, go to their diagnostic department, which I’m completely well acquainted with. My surgeon actually comes in, on time, waiting for me. They can’t get an IV in me. 3 people and 6 attempts later, I am so upset, I just want to go home. So I leave.

I’m walking out of the diagnostic area and my surgeon catches me and asks me where I’m going. We get in a heated debate. He says that I’m not rational due to my mental health issues, but that I should take that as a compliment, as he has other patients who have mental health issues, but that he would never feel comfortable due to the extent of them, of telling them that. I tell him, in not mincing words, it’s not my mental health issues that are the problem. It’s that I’m going on EIGHT years of still blacking out, still having severe abdominal pain and vomiting and it’s been almost THREE months since my reversal. He tells me because my labs are still really bad, that he’ll order a PICC line and then I’ll have my EGD and infusions. And finally admits that while I wasn’t a perfectly compliant gastric bypass patient, that my problems were NOT my fault, even though it wasn’t his, either. Which he has told me, before. Then I go home, again, via medicab.

Next day I’m back at the hospital, to get PICC line.

The day after, I have my EGD scheduled and my infusions of banana bags and ferritin. My surgeon’s assistant tells me that my infusions after that scheduled infusion are going to have to be managed by my Primary Care Physician, who’s 50 miles away. By the time EGD is over, I have a few hours to kill before infusions.

And I start to become VERY angry over the whole thing. My surgeon calling for a pain consult, earlier that summer, the admission he decided to reverse me, late in June of 2010. My being taken off IV pain meds, by the pain management specialist, who said that IV opiates were NOT protocol for Fibromyalgia. I’m angry enough with the pain management doctor to not mince words in saying that  my admitting diagnosis was multiple ulcer perfs, with intractable abdominal pain and vomiting. That lidocaine patches were not proper pain management for managing ulcer perfs, migraines (I have had a migraine history since the age of 15, but the migraines during hospitalizations were caused by the IV opiates but they were needed given the amount of pain that I was in, as I would throw up any oral meds). He doesn’t back down and 4 days out of that admission, going into a weekend, I am not given anything for pain and anxiety. All those ER visits that Summer of 2010 where it would be hit or miss if I’d get any treatment without being labeled as a drug seeking hypochondriac, but didn’t think they’d treat me that way, once post reversal.

I run into my surgeon, after my EGD, but while waiting for infusions. I’m so angry that I threaten to sue. I tell him I want the PICC line out, it’s not worth the risk of having one in, if they aren’t going to maintain the infusion orders. He tells me to have the infusions and that they can take out the PICC line after my infusions. I agree. And I sadly walk away from him.

Spring of 2011. I’m put on Topamax, again, by my PCP for migraines. Not only am I getting every adverse side effect from Topamax, I’m still vomiting and have really bad abdominal pain. I see my surgeon, who does an EGD, agrees that Topamax is NOT the medicine for me, as I have moderate ulcerations.

Late Summer of 2011, one night in particular, I start projectile vomiting and I can’t stop. Dozens of times.  My best friend who’s 1 bedroom apartment in her basement that I was renting, and  who’s also a nurse, calls for an ambulance. While there is a closer hospital, they take me back to the University of MN. I’m given Protonix, IV fluids, in the middle of the night, in the ER. As well as IV pain meds. The next morning, they want to discharge me. With NO testing. I beg them to call the Bariatric surgeon on call, they refuse.

While waiting for my medicab, after being discharged, I see a car come to me. It’s my bariatric surgeon. I take off my sunglasses, and he sees once again, I’ve vomited so much, that I’ve broken blood vessels in my eyes and look like a Gargoyle. He asks me “What the HELL happened to you??” I briefly tell him, as he is a busy surgeon with privileges at many of the local hospitals in the Twin Cities and he was on his way to one. He calls his assistant, tells her to order me an Upper G.I. and wishes me well.

The Friday before Labor Day of 2011. Which is almost exactly a year since my reversal and I’m scheduled for an Upper G.I.. They find a problem with that, but it’s going into a holiday weekend and they are having trouble finding a doctor to do an EGD. I call the medicab company to pick me up, when I’m told that my surgeon will come in, on his day off, no less to do it.

That would be the last time I saw my bariatric surgeon. I got a letter from his office, but not until 3 months  later saying I was of normal anatomy and no longer needed  to be under the care of them.

While I didn’t agree, I knew that our medical relationship was NO longer working. I did appreciate from the start, before I had my gastric bypass, which he went out of his way to make happen, as well as with my complications, that it wouldn’t work. Other than seeing an ob/gyn in November of 2011, to have Mirena put in, that was the last time I was in that hospital system for almost 18 months.

I had NO emergency room visits, in 2012. In fact I only saw a doctor TWICE that year. Once was when I had a syncope episode (because while I’m of “normal” anatomy, I’m still having problems both gastric bypass and reversal side effects, but at least I’m still alive) and fell and sprained my arm. So I went to a local urgent care. Then I saw my PCP. I still was having a lot of problems. but I just didn’t have it in me. But it wasn’t as bad as life was from 2004 to 2011. While my migraines were getting worse, I didn’t know yet, that Mirena would be an issue.

I was really sick though late 2012 and early in 2013. I ended up deciding to go to the ER, the day before Valentine’s Day of 2013, at the hospital where I had my gastric bypass and reversal and many admissions, when the intractable vomiting (sometimes blood) and was having many atypical migraines, that were getting worse.

That admission, I was treated like a volatile unstable drug seeking hypochondriac. Because I was used of being labeled, I had learned for the last 2 1/2 years, not to go to the ER when my PCP wasn’t working, because she had to intervene for me so much and explain to acute doctors, of the danger they were putting me in, not taking me seriously, which she had learned, almost the very hardest way, almost 11 years before when she delivered my daughter, and it nearly killed Zoe and I.

The ER doctor on 2-13-2013, at University of MN Health, didn’t appreciate my calling my PCP. After giving me a cocktail of Protonix (at my PCPs insistence ,as by then I was taking a lot of Ibuprofen, something I didn’t do before my reversal as I already had ulcer bleeds but anything I was trying to get rid of these unbearable migraines wasn’t working) and some IV fluids and Compazene, discharged me without a test and her abysmal treatment of me, was devastating. I couldn’t get a medicab to go home because they were overbooked. By then it was around 8pm, it was dark out, snowing, super cold  and the hospital campus, because they were building the light rail, was unrecognizable to me, even though I’d been there so much in the last 7 years,  not to mention I was kind of disoriented not being able to keep foods or fluids down and meds weren’t working.

I got lost many times when trying to find a bus, to get home. At least by then I lived in Downtown Minneapolis, where I just moved, a month before, which was only 2 miles away. I had already been super depressed, as discussed in a previous blog. I also didn’t know at the time, that Mirena was definitely an issue, that was going to kill me,  until a month later. While I don’t hold that ER doctor, responsible,  for not knowing Mirena was an issue, she could have treated me, better. I have NOT been at University of MN Health, as a patient, since then. Only this year, going there, to visit my best friend’s son during one neurological  appointment, that was in the same office as my bariatric surgeon and when his Nurse Practioner saw me, she didn’t even respond back to my saying “Hi” and my best friend caught that, and looked at me like a very scary ghost.

This was MUCH more than a Gastric Bypass Reversal story.It’s a medical and mental health activism story, as well. It also explains why I do the body diversity activism that I do, as well as why I definitely understand why some  people don’t want a surgical intervention or any weight loss suggestions, thrown on them on an hourly basis, and every time they see a doctor.

I hope it makes sense though, of why I went into so much detail. It made things so much harder on me, to get medical treatment, sometimes in life or death situations, then it had to be, because I had a mental health history, starting in mid 2008. I also when I had my gastric bypass reversal, didn’t know anyone else who had one. And I made a vow, that no one with major complications and a reversal, would ever go through that, unsupported. I did have great weight loss surgery peeps who did try to support me, but I’ve helped an enormous amount of people, by going through so much medical and mental health stuff, by going public with my story.

This was much longer than I could’ve anticipated. I will say that, while I don’t have any regrets about having my reversal, I’m still having a lot of problems, FIVE years later. That I haven’t wanted to address and hopefully, my going into detail of the problems I had, makes sense, why I’m so hypocritical in not proactively seeking medical care, when it comes to my own circumstances, due to the HELL I was put through. I’m not saying I was a perfect patient, because I wasn’t. And I’ve learned in the 5 years, I’ve been talking about my reversal, and helping a lot of people, that my bariatric surgeon made it easier than others, that I know now , who’ve needed a reversal. I also though at this point have hit a wall, and I do have to seek both a bariatric surgeon for side effects of my reversal that greatly interfere with my life.

Even though I’m no longer endanger of dying due to multiple ulcer perfs and my labs have gotten a lot better.

The specifics of how I’m doing, currently, will be in an another  blog, soon.

I apologize though, not only for the length of this, but that I haven’t done a gastric bypass reversal specific blog, on this site, I do have one at Obesity Help, that I started in Summer of 2010.

But today, I am celebrating that I’m ALIVE on my 5th anniversary of my reversal . Something I honestly, didn’t think between my complications, my reversal and my Mirena issues (another blog will be about that, too), that I’d still be alive, today.

Note: This is NOT a anti-wls surgery blog. This is a blog that hopefully explained in great detail, of why I do the activism I do. I am very supportive of choice. Meaning I’ll defend a surgical intervention to lose weight.

But I’ll most definitely defend anyone’s choice NOT to have weight loss surgery and not be subjected to constant fat bigotry not only by society, but medical professionals as well. But this shows that even in my case, where while my weight fluctuates, while I don’t have fat bias issue by doctors as a problem, in their treatment of me, the labeling that I’ve gone through, with mental health issues, has definitely effected not only not getting any care, when seeking it, but the horrible amount of bias that I have endured, not knowing until a few years later, not just because of my mental health issues, but before they were diagnosed, because I’d been labeled and drug abuse tested, way before I was put on narcotics, because of the fact I had weight loss surgery.

Happy 2nd Birthday, unstapledlisa!!!! And……..

My blog turns 2, today!!!

The blog that I have to say, I didn’t ever think I’d ever get up the courage to write it, even though I’ve done the activism that’s on here, in various forms, since I started actively participating on social media, since January of 2010.

The blog that while I don’t get paid for it and it doesn’t have a high readership, somehow though, makes its way to people who need it and who it helps them. So everything that my children and I went through 7+ years ago, as far as the bad and the heartbreaking, wasn’t all in vain.

I’ve made mention that I actually did join Facebook, after not being online for a year, in August of 2009. I also have made mention, that I had NO IDEA, of what Facebook was, as I was still in the mental health system, after my suicide attempt. And I was quite medicated at that time.

Which today is the 7th anniversary of my suicide attempt. And I didn’t wake up with a great amount of trepidation, as I have on this date, like I have in the past.

Even if there is a recurrent theme, that I haven’t made peace with my past, I’ve still decided to move forward. I may not decide to move forward as far as my children are concerned, meaning, that I’m ALWAYS going to be stuck in the past, and heartbroken, that I couldn’t raise them, to adulthood or be what they needed the last few years they were with me. But I constantly dwell on my past life with my children, just so I don’t lose any more memories of them.

But, I don’t live in my past, anymore. Nor do I let it define me. Or limit me.  Other than what naturally my own disabilities limit me, and I only let them limit me, to an extent.

And  on this 7th anniversary of my suicide attempt, that I survived, as I still was quite sick, medically, certain things bear mentioning, of where I was 7 years ago,  as well as since then, as I can’t even edit my early blogs or even some of my recent ones.

So I’ll recap it for you, in case you missed it.

7 years ago, I woke up in the afternoon, not thinking I’d survive my attempt to overdose on narcotics. I ended up on a psych ward for 34 days (I was on a medical floor the first night under a suicide watch and had an aide who watched me until they moved me to the psych ward). I ended up during that period of time, when on the psych ward, of nearly being committed to a long term mental health hospital.  Instead I ended up in group homes for an additional 15 1/2 months. But I had to go through commitment hearings, which in the end, they “stayed” the commitment but made me a legal ward of the State for 6 months.

But I lost my freedom for 508 days. Which comes out to as 1 year, 4 months and 20 days.

It NEVER gets old, as much in ability that I lost, of what in the most basic of freedoms, that I have now, that I didn’t have in that period of time, even though I was quite medically sick due to gastric bypass complications and spent time in the hospital for ulcers, while still in the group home, that I was in, for the last year  I was in the MH system.

I had nothing, though, in that period of time. Literally some clothes, a few knicknacks that  I was able to grab from my apartment, when I first got out of the psych ward and was in the 1st group home, which was a 90 day intensive behavior treatment group home. I had some clothes and my father gave me an old little tv with a built in VCR..

Which would be all of the possessions I’d have, during the duration of my stay in the mental health system.

I remember in August of 2009, my hearing for my SSDI. That it helped to hear the judge be outraged of what I was put through, as well as what my children were so unnecessarily put through HELL  and was deciding in my favor. I do remember joining Facebook, as I said above, also in August of 2009, but not having any idea of what it was, from my local library, which is the current library I now use. But I still had very little hope, and it seemed to take  forever from the judge ruling in my favor, to get my SSDI and to get my backpay, that would allow me to move out on my own.

It NEVER gets old though, the freedoms I got back. Even with all the abilities that I lost. I woke up this morning, didn’t have to worry about waking up in time to make breakfast, at the group home, which was served early in the morning. And their food was crappy. Or getting woken up by a certain time, to take meds, that it would be proved later on, that had very little therapeutic benefit but that I had serious physical consequences, such as my ulcers getting worse.

It NEVER gets old that I choose what I want to eat. That I have medications that I’m allowed to take, for pain and anxiety and I choose when to take them, no one makes that choice for me. That I can come and go as I please. No one can say where I can go and how long I can be gone for. Which is something I had to deal with, until I moved out on my own.

It NEVER shocks to fail me, the irony, that 2 years after my suicide attempt, that I’d be fighting to stay alive, in August of 2010, trying not to die of a g.i. bleed. That I’d get back my freedom after being in the system so long, to spend most of that time on campus or inpatient due to my complications from my gastric bypass getting worse. That I was waiting 5 years ago, trying to hold on, until my gastric bypass reversal. That while my gastric bypass reversal saved me from acutely dying, I didn’t know 5 years ago, as I hoped I’d get my children back, after I healed from it. However it took me a long time internally to heal. And I was still quite sick, 4 years later, in August of 2011. With projectile vomiting blood and still having abdominal pain, which I had, both after my reversal and for the following year. As well as other medical health issues.

I didn’t know that getting the Mirena IUD, in November of 2011, would be another potential fatal health issue for me. But one I wouldn’t recognize for another 15 months, which I at that point was on the verge of having a stroke, in March of 2013,  still haven’t ruled out a TIA and because I have the issues I do, of when seeing new doctors. Whether they be acute care or specialists.

I NEVER made mention though, in this blog or to very many people , of the nervous breakdown, that I had again, in Winter of 2013. Not knowing what Mirena was playing into that, as well as personal circumstances, getting really bad for me, where I’m choosing not to go into detail of the specifics, but I found myself technically homeless in late 2012 and losing friends closest to me, that was not within the realm of my control. And right  after moving to my current apartment, the enormous amount of physical pain and emotional pain I was in, led me to self isolate, for self protection. Because I knew that if I couldn’t rein it in, that I even if I’d survive physically what I was going through, I’d be mentally in a place, where not only would it be worse, then it was in 2007/2008, but that I wouldn’t recover from it, and I had fought too hard to stay alive, to lose anymore of my abilities and my freedom.

I can’t go into every minute detail, of my life, in the last 7 years. Where the above has major relevance is that being medically complex like I am, certain things, like pregnancy, a perfectly performed gastric bypass, an IUD, things that women go through well, if not thrive afterwards, nearly kills me.

But the relevance, psychologically is even greater. Because what I will do or say as an activist and what I’m willing to do personally, is conflicting. In someways it makes me a hypocrite, but understandably so. I didn’t psychiatric help when I had my nervous breakdown in Winter of 2013. I did everything I could, for the few people who were still in my life, to hide it.

Because I was terrified of ending back in the mental health system. Keep in mind, that I had no prior psychiatric history before 7 years ago. I had my 1st psychiatric hospitalization,  about 2 weeks before my suicide attempt, exactly 7 years ago. But because I honestly didn’t expect to survive my suicide attempt, let alone have to suffer the repercussions of it, with  losing my freedom for so long, I understand better than anyone, who may have multiple reasons of NOT seeking mental health treatment, when in personal mental health crisis.

And while as an activist, I try to push for those to get help. I understand better than anyone, the fears they have of getting help. Because it’s not impossible for me or a few like me, where they ended up in the mental health system, and they could NOT get out of it.

And there’s NO way that I’m EVER going to lose my freedom like that, EVER AGAIN. But I can say as an activist, if your depression is going to possibly be fatal to you, you don’t have any freedom, when you are a prisoner of your mental health issues and have NO peace of mind. The last thing I’d want to do as an activist and advocate, is for someone in fear of losing their freedom of choice, lose their lives, because their mental health issues ended up being fatal for them.

With that being said, what am I going to do today, to celebrate, if anything? Not sure, yet.  But I celebrate my freedom and what the little my life is, everyday. I never take it for granted. And it never fails to delight me, as sad as I am that the best part of my life is over, as far as being a proactive mother who could work and drive and I have NO guarantee that I’m not going to get sicker mentally or physically, I take each day as it comes.

Sometimes that means, I still stay at home, because I’m too physically sick and in too much pain to go outside. My choice. I still have the choice, as I’ve said before, to do that. As well as choose what I eat, medications I take. I don’t share a television with 50 people, anymore. I have my own smart tv. I have this laptop that I can blog from as well as stay as connected or not as connected as I like, with some amazing people I’ve met due to social media, in over the last 5 years. I can read a book or a magazine from a tablet. I can take pictures with a smartphone, that I didn’t even know they existed 7 years ago, just like I didn’t know Facebook did.

I can choose to go out and while I’m not rolling in money, I’m not living on $100 a month, either. I can go out to lunch, see a movie. Go shopping for cute clothes. I can do that on my own,  while even though it’s challenging with my cognitive disabilities, I am up for the challenge and embrace it.

I know now that even if I’m not the same fitness freak I was, 10 years ago, that I can go for an 8 mile walk. I can walk by the old group home I used to live at, which is only 2 miles away and know that I’ll fight for what my best mental and medical health looks like. And that NOBODY will ever have that kind of power over me again like they did between August of 2008 to the end of December of 2009.

I’ll fight the good fight, for what I believe is wrong that happens to other people who don’t have a voice. I’ll fight the good fight that needs to happen, so that people who are shamed for their disabilities, for how they look like, for being bullied for any reason, have a voice and realize that they aren’t alone, and other people not just me, cares. And that while all this advocacy and activism I do now, wasn’t something I planned on doing, 10 years ago, it’s something I’m MEANT to do, now. And I do it, extremely well.

I know now, that I am no longer a victim. And I am doing more than just surviving. But at the same time, I’ve also been hurtful to others.  And while I’m still not an angel, I try not to think too much about those who don’t have my best interest at heart. And I will try in my unconventional relationship with my children, that they always know I love them more than anything, and that I try to support them, as best as I can, currently.

And what was amazing about our lives together as small bonded loving family, is always honored. That what was bad when things were at the worst for me, didn’t happen in vain. That by talking about it, as an activist, helped other families not only get help that they need, but that they didn’t lose their beloved parent due to medical or mental health crisis. Or parents of adult children, who have adult children in medical and/or mental health crisis,  that I’ve helped support and help them gain a better understanding, that this wasn’t anything within the realm of their control, let alone their children.

I’m NEVER going to say that I was grateful for all these unneeded learning lessons. But I am choosing to the best of my ability, to not only survive them, when near fatal, but live my life. And celebrate everyday of what’s good about my life, the people and my circumstances, which aren’t a nightmare anymore, while allowing myself to be sad, of what’s still bad about it. And be proud of myself that I’m not bitter. Just at times, really remorseful.

Happy 2nd birthday, unstapledlisa!!! And a big thank you to whoever or whatever was looking out for me, that I didn’t die exactly 7 years ago. Or 5 years ago. Or 2 1/2 years ago.

Life ain’t grand but it’s good. And I’m eternally grateful for what it is, what it isn’t and who I have that I love the most…

More than this………


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“I could feel at the time/there was no way of knowing….” /Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry “More Than This” /No copyright infringement intended..

I’m apparently starting 2015, a lot like I did with 2014. Caught between where I was 5 years ago and where I was 10 years ago.

Especially in the case of this particular weekend, where I’ve a pretty good memory (which is nothing less than shocking, to me, and those who know me well) where I was both exactly 5 years ago and 10 years ago.

Martin Luther King weekend of 2005, I was with my children, who were 12 1/2 (Zach) and 22 1/2 months old (Zoe Arielle) respectively, on vacation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While I was no longer working, I was in school to be a Certified Personal Trainer and in the process of launching a small business.

I remember that trip, quite well. It was Zoe’s first (and only) time on a plane. We had unfortunately booked our trip through a company that rhymes with “hot liar”, and while we got to Minneapolis/St Paul airport at 6:30am (took a cab from our apartment in Plymouth to the airport). Didn’t get to Fort Lauderdale until 12:30 am, the following day, as we had a layover in Philadelphia. It was quite frigid in both Minneapolis and Philadelphia and while it was warmer in Fort Lauderdale, it was unseasonably cool, even there, (late 40 degree temps at night, mid 60’s most of the trip, except the last 2 days where it got above 75).

While my parents lived close by to me (actually, everyone in my immediate family lives somewhat close by, save my oldest nephew who’s now in college) they had a second home for quite a while in the Fort Lauderdale suburbs. So while Zach and I had been to Florida quite a few times to visit them when they “wintered” there, between my pregnancy and maternity leave while I still worked until 2004, couldn’t afford to go to Florida. And after our  January 2005 trip, I was too sick to be able to travel, so it ended also being the last time, my children and I would be on a plane or out of the state of Minnesota.

My son ended up staying with my parents during that trip except the last night, I had already reserved a Marriott Town Suite in Fort Lauderdale, where Zoe and I stayed. I had many fond memories of that trip, whether it was being amused of how much crap that one needs to take on a plane for a toddler, to how much space my little 22 1/2 month old would take up in a king size bed. I had rented a car, too, so that we could go on adventures together, all 3 of us, in addition to spending time and going out with my parents. We drove to Las Olas Boulevard and the shops and restaurants all over, we also drove down to South Beach and saw the hotels and the cruise ships, it was a lot of fun, though.

Never Ever, to think,  at the time, that 3 1/2 years later, I’d be on a psych ward for 35 1/2 days, after years of being sick and getting sicker physically and mentally to disintegrate, after one serious suicide attempt and giving up custody before that, knowing that I was acutely suicidal and too medically and mentally fragile to best raise my kids, any longer.

Martin Luther King weekend of 2010, was spent inpatient at Fairview University Medical Center, one of many inpatient medical admissions I had from 2006 to 2010. What was different about this particular inpatient admission, is that I was begging my surgeon after almost gaining all my weight back, due to the meds I had been put on from nervous breakdown in 2007, increased and added post suicide attempt in 2008, that caused me to be the same size (a 24) that I was at my biggest before my gastric bypass.

What was memorable about that admission was that I didn’t beg my surgeon to reverse my gastric bypass, as I had NO idea that gastric bypasses were EVEN “reversible”, I begged him to REVISE me. Because if I had to be that sick, I didn’t want to be that fat again, if I am to be truthful.

Never Ever, to think,  that 6 months later, my surgeon told me I needed a reversal, if I wanted to live and have any shot of anything resembling a normal life. By then my definition of normal had been so reduced, beyond the scope of anything I could have comprehended, ten years, before.

I’m not trying to trigger my size acceptance and fat acceptance peers when I say that I had asked for revision in January of 2010. And I have more blogs in me of why I do the activism that I do, when it comes to both weight loss surgery and/or SA/FA. And why I’m supportive of BOTH. But this isn’t the blog to discuss that.

This is the blog that explains my constant sense of remorse, that I have a life, that while I know just how lucky that I am be alive, is so far away from the life I dreamed of, ten years ago. It’s why even though 5 years ago that I had just gotten out of the mental health system, after a an almost 17 month stint, that as much as I complain, I don’t take things for granted.

But as I’ve said before, I never took things or people for granted. My freedom, perhaps, but really NOTHING else. There’s really NO learning lesson when in my life, my complex medical, cognitive and mental health issues, robbed me of abilities, that are just not conceivable to most people.

But again, I understand how lucky I am to have kids. I am lucky to have those I love the most, still alive.

Still, I’m always going to struggle with this….

“There was no way of knowing/like a dream in the night/of which way we were going” – Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry “More Than This”……

(Note: Above pic of my kids and I, taken 2005)

The DISILLUSIONED Body Diversity activist and advocate…..

I haven’t blogged for awhile. While I have had things to say. I haven’t really had the right words to say them. I figured whether the right words came to me or not, I’d give it a try.

Most of my Facebook buds know that I do not go online on Fridays. I normally don’t, because I need a break from social media. I need a break from the activism that I do that’s so serious and mentally draining at times, for self preservation.

I like to Netflix binge on my “Fridays”. Right now I’ve just started with “Grey’s Anatomy”. A show that I have never seen since it premiered on network television.

It happened to be, that in the middle of the 1st season of Grey’s Anatomy that I was watching yesterday, there was an episode about a young lady who had a mother who was a perfectionist and would harp on her about weight. So as a THIN young 17 year old , she went to Mexico and had a gastric bypass and that’s how she ended up in the Emergency Room at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital, needing a gastric bypass reversal and a small bowel resection to save her life.

That episode REALLY messed up the enjoyment, I usually get from taking internet free days and putting me back into activism mode. But it also messed me up personally, because in the last 4 years, since my gastric bypass has been reversed, I’ve had to put up with a lot of hate and/or confusion of why my gastric bypass was reversed, given the fact I was heavy again, but I definitely didn’t look like I was starving to death (my labs of essential nutrients and vitamins proved otherwise, even though I didn’t have absorption issues with calories anymore). And those pesky g.i. bleeds were going to kill me. Which they would’ve and I would’ve died in 2010 had I not had my gastric bypass reversal.

But somehow, for someone who’s been fat since they were young, I understood better than anyone would think, that I’m sure that thin people have gone to Mexico, to have weight loss surgery because of fear of being fat. I understand better than anyone why a lot of fat people have weight loss surgery and why for multiple reasons that it’s life changing, in a good way for them. That has NOTHING to do with their physical health. And I can’t blame them.

And while I understand and am committed to being a size acceptance and fat acceptance advocate, it seems like as more time goes by, our society gets even more fat phobic. That we are conditioning people at such a young age to find fat AND fat people, repugnant. It’s not getting any better, as far as acceptance of body diversity issues. It’s getting worse. OR we are pegging women of different body types against each other. It’s not any more acceptable to me to thin bash, than it is to fat bash, and I was thin bashed at my thinnest or my weight loss was denigrated in some manner because I had that “RISKY EASY WAY OUT GASTRIC BYPASS ” (my weight loss surgery peeps will get my sarcasm, even though most of the world won’t, ESPECIALLY if they’ve never been fat).

I, unlike my Fat Acceptance peers, can’t accept the word “fat” as easily as I claim. I am not being a fraud when saying because life long bullying being called fat and ugly, while I DEFINITELY  don’t think everyone who’s fat, is ugly (but I don’t have a great love for the term “BBW”) , I definitely feel that way most of the time. I’ve had WAY too many years of horrible bullying both as a child and an adult, to current times, being bullied for being fat (and ugly) , to ever accept the word as a descriptor and not take it as judgment that I have coming to me.

And if I guess my being honest about how hard it is to be a Fat Acceptance activist who takes personal issue with the word and how it makes me feel and it subjects me to more hate and/or criticism, so be it. I am not trying to take away the acceptance of what other people have for themselves as it applies to Fat Acceptance, and I definitely see a need and I think I can understand better than anyone why there’s a need for that as well as be a good body diversity activist. The best I can be…

BUT… I have to be an HONEST one.

And I’m realizing that for as much as I’ve tried to do good in all areas that I do activism for, that I have a ways to go. In certain things, especially as I’m almost 45, I get things more than I don’t get them.

But, I just don’t get the war we have on our own bodies and psyches and other people’s bodies and psyches.Actually I DO. I think that’s what’s most disheartening.

Sadly, the personal issues I have with my weight and looks, EVEN THOUGH I’VE DONE EVERYTHING TO TRY AND LOSE WEIGHT,AND AM STILL TOO FAT AND NOT ATTRACTIVE ENOUGH have NOTHING to do with my mental health issues.

They have everything to do with a society, that’s getting worse in telling me, that NO matter what I’ll do, it will NEVER be good enough. And that is sad, given everything I’ve gone through, that having 101 problems, that my weight, looks and age, is a problem. For me…..

That has no resolution except for me to ACCEPT it. And EMBRACE  it. Even though I’m constantly told mixed messages not only from myself but EVERYONE else that anything I’ll ever do or look like, will NEVER be ENOUGH.

And what is actually NEEDED, so that myself and SO MANY OTHERS, stop feeling this way????……

Ugly Hurts………

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w

Official Beyonce/”Pretty Hurts”…. No copyright infringement intended

Image

I just heard for the first time, a couple of days ago,  Beyonce’s song “Pretty Hurts” and it blew me away both the song and video being hauntingly stunning and raw…. 


“Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worse, perfection is a disease of a nation… Vogue says thinner is better…… You’re trying to fix something that you can’t fix what you can’t see, it’s the soul that needs a surgery”…….

   I wasn’t going to at first give either Beyonce or her video for it any credence before I saw her video and heard the song for the first time. For someone who’s been horribly bullied for being fat and ugly from the time I was in pre-school to the time I had my gastric bypass which was 3 days after my 32nd birthday (I’m almost 44 1/2 now). The desire though to look and be perfect which was a big deal when we were young has never been a bigger deal now in our society for both young girls and women.

I am not saying that people who are considered beautiful don’t hurt inside. Whether they are thin or not. It’s just easier to be beautiful and thin on the outside, in our society. Doesn’t mean it’s any easier for people who are thin and beautiful on the outside, internally. Or that thin people don’t get bullied. I still recognize this even though it’s not a problem I’ve ever had (well I did put up with some thin bashing at my thinnest).  You might get a pass for being fat if you have what’s considered a beautiful face. You’re kind of FUCKED, in the era of Facebook and Instagram if you are neither thin or beautiful.

I titled this blog “Ugly Hurts” for more than one reason. I’m an ugly looking person with an even uglier life story. I thought pathetically that being fat was the worst thing to happen to me, for the longest time. Which I’ve gone into deeper detail in other blogs of mine on here. Then also  as stated in my first blog on here, at the age of 38 1/2 in 2008, I had my first psychiatric hospitalization due to suicidal ideation. I had gained a lot of my weight back that I’d lost from my gastric bypass when initially I had my nervous breakdown the year before due to medications I had been put on. Because I did try to commit suicide 10 days after my first hospitalization, after I gave up custody of my children, where they lived in a filthy cluttered house the last 2 years they were with me due to hoarding,  I nearly got committed to a long term mental health hospital during my 2nd psychiatric hospitalization. Even though I didn’t get committed, I still ended up in the mental health system for almost 16 months.

And I still had medical hospitalizations due to gastric bypass complications while in the mental health system.  I’ve been living on my own since January of 2010. Because I continued to have gastric bypass complications that continued to get worse, more hospitalizations and I nearly died a couple of times, my gastric bypass was reversed in 9/2010 and because I got more sick then “Obesity” could ever make me or  posing a medical threat to me, my bariatric surgeon did NOT revise me to another bariatric surgery.

However my medical and cognitive disabilities are still getting worse. My mental health issues have to be controlled by awareness, as clinical professionals have deemed it’s not in my best interest to be on psych meds, any longer or have ECT and living independently with medical and cognitive disabilities  is almost a full time job in itself. The damage though that has been done for wanting to be beautiful  while never expecting it,  is very visible in me on the outside even though most of my disabilities are internal. Being eating disordered most of my life. My gastric bypass complications that while I’ve managed to still get fat again, the long term severe nutritional deficiencies, aged me and made me even uglier on the outside. The thousands and thousands of times I’ve thrown up due to bulimia the 10 years before my gastric bypass,  pregnancy related hyperemesis and gastric bypass complications, fried my hair, skin and have all but  destroyed my teeth. Not only is it humiliating to have to worry about what comes out of my mouth as far as words, it’s humiliating of what my teeth look like due to decades of erosion from vomit .

I carry a lot of shame for a lot of things. Despite of everything that I’ve gone through that carry shame, that are considered just to be superficial.  I actually wrote a blog a couple of months ago that talked about the mini internal nervous breakdown I had when I saw Sports Illustrated’s 30th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue. I figured that would be relatable to a lot of women, who’d I hoped would spare themselves, reading the magazine. Because of what the lyrics of “Pretty Hurts” says. In the magazine, not only does it shows all the supermodels looking gorgeous, regardless of age. But it just sets a dangerous precedent for women, kind of like what Beyonce does. Women not only have to be beautiful,be thin, successful, we also have to be really smart, have an amazing sense of humor and be wealthy, regardless of  our age.

 What I had wanted to say that is so damaging to most women, unless they are featured in the magazine. And it’s probably damaging to them, too, in the era of Photoshop. As most of those models are exceptionally beautiful without Photoshop, but without Photoshop, they don’t even look like that. So we’ve managed to set such stringent standards of beauty that even most supermodels aren’t capable of.

I never published that blog though. Because while I could relate as a single mother or as a woman who had a “normal” life with a lot of responsibilities at one time, who worked full time, had her kids full time, drove a car and managed a household, it was never enough. I still wasn’t pretty enough. And then once I became thin enough, I got sick (from my gastric bypass complications not my weight either thin or fat). Not only did that change the playing field for me, it totally took me off of it,after many years of being physically sick. I had all I could do survive still being so physically sick, psychologically disintergrating and so heavily medicated and then being in the mental health system.

So I never published that blog.  I didn’t think coming from me, at this point in my life, I’d have ANY credibility. Not to mention that after everything that I’ve been through, that if all I agonized was about my weight and my looks, after everything I’ve lost in ability, that would make me a superficial imbecile. Not to mention I’m an “armchair activist” when it comes to serious matters such as medical and mental health activism, anti-bullying, body diversity.

However, I’m still human. And female. And I’m on social media. And while there was a time that I could do better as trying to my hardest to conform to what society and the media says I have to be a worthwhile woman and mother, I can’t now. Both in what I am supposed to be doing and truthfully what gets to me, is sometimes what I look like and how much I weigh.I’m the antithesis though in both what I do and what I look like when it comes to perfection. I’ve gotten to the point that every time that I try, it takes so much effort, that I rarely even try anymore. I’m kind of suspended between multiple worlds as I’ve said before. My old life as a single mother with 2 children that I love more than anything who was fat at one time then thin. Who had a bright future at one time. The isolating and ugly life that was my life temporarily in the mental health system. That people who’ve been in the mental health system can’t relate to me and people who haven’t been in it, or have the complex disabilities that I now have,can’t relate to me either, that makes my life so small. But I get it more than I don’t. I don’t live with any delusion or any denial. So as tough as being a perfectionist is, which I tried and failed at, so long ago, so is being a realist, now.

I do make an effort to advocate and be an activist. I don’t want my daughter who’s a tween to measure her self worth by what she looks like and what she weighs. I don’t want her to get bullied or be one. Because it’s Mother’s Day today, I want my Mom and my sisters to know I never meant to fail them either. They are beautiful inside and out. Smart and productive people.They are amazing mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and aunts.  My failures and shame are not theirs or a reflection of them or a choice that I would’ve consciously made. And that I’d give anything to change. What I can do in abilities, of being able to make them proud of me. And yes, of what I look like.

And  I’d be lying if I didn’t fess up to the fact that I have the ugliest of hurts. On the inside and out. Both justified and the superficial. For my social media peers or anyone who feels shame on what they look like, how much they weigh or they don’t feel they will measure up, this is what I want to leave with you, with.

You are much more then the sum of your parts on the exterior, the size of your clothes and how much you weigh on a scale. There is beauty in almost everything and all of you. And there is people who see it, even if you don’t. So change the criteria you use to measure your self worth, OK? What you all have accomplished can’t be measured in a photograph or by a scale. For how many of us still do that, maybe we as women can help each other, not do that to ourselves anymore.And ask for help if you are struggling if not drowning, emotionally.  And maybe others, society and the media can stop being hateful to those who they feel fail miserably just because they can’t ever measure up in unrealistic and impossible standards of beauty that are imposed upon us.

At the same time, it’s ok to feel good about yourself, if you’ve made changes in your exterior whether it be weight or how you look. It just isn’t something that should just be your proudest moment or most defining thing about you. You are so much more. And you’ve all accomplished so much. As women. Some of you as mothers. Professional and personal accomplishments. And if this helped, either in articulation of my sadness about my failures, especially this Mother’s Day, then maybe I’ve accomplished something that I can be proud of. And this Mother’s Day I will be celebrating quietly and by myself, the fact that I’m grateful for the amazing women in my life. My amazing beautiful, smart and wickedly funny Mother who I’m so lucky is alive and my sisters who’ve done so much for my children, their children and for a lot of others.

But most of all, I will be celebrating that I was blessed enough to have 2 wonderful, beautiful, smart and healthy kids. And while I do most of my celebrating and honoring by myself and from afar, that if I can’t help them, I can do my part to try to make this an easier and better world for them to be in. Especially my young daughter.

Note: Picture I used for this blog, is not one I’m actually very proud of. Because I get used by some people in the weight loss surgery community as an example of bariatric surgery failure, as well as others, I did at one time put a picture up of my “before and afters, because I was fed up about it, at the same time I’m both very angry at myself and a society that continues to only measure my worth in what I look like and weigh The picture to the very left, was taken 3 months before my gastric bypass in 12/2001. The 2nd picture to the left  was taken Summer of 2005, at my very fittest. The picture 2nd to the right, was taken in October of 2009 when I had gained almost 100 lbs back, after being on so many psych meds even though I still couldn’t absorb major nutrients and had horrible ulcers which contributed to the bald spots in that picture,. Sadly, most people only see how fat I am. They don’t realize how physically sick I still was, before my gastric bypass was reversed. The picture on the very right was taken 8/2012, almost 2 years post gastric bypass reversal.

What CRAZY looks like/My very 1st blog….

August 12th, 2008…. It’s around 3pm…

I awake, finding myself with one wrist restrained to a hospital gurney. On the other side of me is an aide reading a book. I’m still wearing the top I had on the night before, however it’s all cut up and there is vomit and what must be charcoal as I’ve never attempted to overdose, all over it.

The aide tells me I’m in E.R. of North Memorial Medical Center and that I survived what must have been a “possible suicide attempt”. I respond back telling her it was “a very intentional suicide attempt where I tried to ingest about a months supply each of Vicodin, Miltown and Xanax and while I wanted to die then, I learned my lesson, wanna live now and can I please go home?” She tells me that now that I’m up, a doctor will be in shortly.

I get moved to a medical ward on the hospital, later that evening. I’ve only been in this hospital 4 times as a patient. 2 of them were to deliver my children and once prior due to pregnancy complications with my son. The 4th medical admission, was an inpatient admission  almost exactly a year after my daughter’s birth, due to gastric bypass complications, and North Memorial didn’t have a bariatric surgeon associated with it. I had multiple hospital hospitalizations, medically from 2004 to 2008 due to gastric bypass complications. I had only one psychiatric hospitalization prior to my “only” suicide attempt which was 2 weeks before, when I went willingly but begrudgingly after giving up custody of my kids because I realize that I couldn’t take care of myself. Let alone them. That’s the short version. The long version will be unfolded in this blog.

The next evening I’m transferred to the psychiatric unit. I thought I was already in HELL and that’s why I wanted to kill myself. But apparently HELL  is the psych unit at NMMC. There’s a bunch of people screaming for no reason, a guy talking about wanting to kill everyone and a very kind nurse asking me what I want for dinner. “I want to PLEASE get the FUCK out of here. I’m NOT crazy like these people!!!” is my response. She kindly smiles and hands me a hospital menu and tells me I have about 5 minutes before it’s too late to order dinner.

(note: this paragraph I majorily digress) My last (and ONLY) hospitalization 2 weeks before was at Fairview University- Riverside, the sister hospital to where I had my gastric bypass which was at Fairview University Medical Center (more about gastric bypass, complications and the “fun” of those hospitals and E.R visits post suicide attempt, once labled, to be in future blogs) However, with my last admission through the psych E.R. at Fairiview, I had no prior psych history, no legal history and no history of being violent (which I’m not). Fairview has  multiple units designed to cater to different mental health issues. While I didn’t love the “5150”, put on me my 3rd day inpatient, there (it was on a Thursday, FUCK) so I ended up in that hospital for six days, my first time. My Russian psychiatrist with very poor english told me at the age of 38 1/2, that I was a Bipolar 2 (he was SO right about that but I didn’t realize that at first) prescription drug addict (that I still don’t believe, and neither did the chemical dependency psychologist,who assessed me) within the first 5 minutes of talking to me. ( I did abuse controlled substances  from the time I gave up my kids the 2nd time in 2 weeks)  til my suicide attempt but I was ACTUTELY suicidal, which I played down because I wanted to get out of the hospital and that didn’t occur until after this hospitalization.I didn’t really give up my kids until after my 1st psychiatric hospitalization.

Prior to that I didn’t abuse drugs. Even if I wanted to, I had my children. My kids lived in a “garbage can” basically because the last 2 years I had them, I was a very bad hoarder (more about that later)  I was also on a cocktail of psychotropics that made me out of it, as well as gastric bypass complications such as reactive hypoglycemia,pulmonary hypotension and severe anemia as well as the duodenal ulcers. I couldn’t afford anymore cognitive impairment with a young child in the house that would come from anesthesizing my pain with drugs. So even though I wanted to self medicate, I couldn’t let myself, I was already at a major handicap as it was and so were my children by my being physically sick and mentally detoriating. I started detoriating where others could see it in 2007 (more about that later) but I realize in hindsight I was a lot sicker then I was willing to admit, especially mentally, way before then. My biggest problems probably started after my 1st medical hosptialization due to gastric bypasscomplications in 2004 as I referred to before…

Back to 8-13-2008…….
However the psych unit at NMMC ONLY has 2 units. An intermediate unit where everyone is initally watched and assessed  and then a step down unit for those who are deemed not violent or a threat to anyone.

Later that night, I’m in my room and my roommate who while I didn’t know her well, I recognized her going to the same high school I did, she was a year behind me and we were both teased unmercifully. I also saw her throwing fits in the common area because she wouldn’t be given a new pencil to draw or that she couldn’t leave the intermediate unit. I had the bad luck of her being mad about something else. She isolated both of us in the room, started screaming and throwing herself in the room saying she was going to kill the both of us. Whether she was able to somehow lock us in the room, all I know is that she had been warned before she was going to go into the quiet room, of her tantrums, this time they warned her she’d be going to Anoka (the closest long term mental instituition).. By the time they were able to get 6 guards and get me out of there as there is no where anyone can hide in a psychiatric room in a hospital, I could barely breathe. They gave me what would be the last of any narcotics, which was 1 Ativan ( I got a whopping 1 Ativan and one Codeine while I was still in the medical ward) for the rest of the duration of my stay.

I wake up to find she’s been returned to our room and sleeping. I guess that’s what you get for being violent and death threats in a psych ward. That would shape how I end up behaving erratically in future medical admissions that were yet to come (Summer of 2010/Gastric Bypass Reversal blog will eventually be a-coming)….

Luckily, I say somewhat facetiously, I’m considered not a threat to a bunch of people and after lunch, I’m moved down to the step-down unit. I meet my new psychiatrist, Dr. P. who will continue to be short with me as well as play games with me the duration of my stay.

8-22-2008
It’s been a week since my suicide attempt. I find myself in a routine at the hospital. Morning meeting with psychiatrist begging him to let me know when I can get out and when I can go outside to have a cigarette. He says the same answer “we’ll talk about this soon, Lisa and no, you can’t go outside to have smoke”. Mornings start with breakfast, a group meeting about feelings, following an art class, lunch, free time, quiet time from 3-4 and then at 4 another group.

Most of my morning group meetings my first week talk about being in shock that my life spiraled out of control and how horrifying it was to know I couldn’t be the best person to care for my kids. Because I had exhausted every resource to get help. Part of the problem is, I’m so medicated on new  added psychtropics, I’m kind of numb. At least during that morning meeting. Before lunch I’m told I have visitor.

It’s a law enforcement officer from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. I’m being served with papers saying that the State of Minnesota is looking to have me committed to Anoka State hospital which is our state’s insane asylum. Seriously? WHAT THE FUCK!!!!  No wonder why Dr. P. has been kinda mum on when I’m getting out.

About a day later, one of my social workers comes to see me. I was assigned a social worker, as in 2007 as I referring to is when I started showing signs I had a nervous breakdown, realizing that my goal of being a Bariatric specializing Certified Personal Trainer was never going to happen and that I was never going to be able to launch that business I had gone to school for in 2004 and got my certification in 2005. However by 2005, it was obvious, that physically I was too sick to work. A year later in December 2006 is when I applied for SSDI. It’s in 2007 though that it’s obvious something is really wrong with me. I give up on everything except my daily care of my kids and even that is at a bare minimum. I start failing Section 8 inspections due to having a filthy house in 2/2007, and it becomes problematic enough that while I am trying to keep what little is left together I’m failing miserably. My city’s housing authority’s inspector knew me well. I’d been on Section 8 for over 10 years.

Whatever it is, about 5 months later, in 2007, I find myself with  Child Protection Case AND an Adult Protection Case and a worker from each department. They schedule what they call a “manditory clean up” which meant 2 guys and dumpster which is put in the parking lot of where I live and almost everything is thrown out. This is though where I talk about hoarding on social media, such as shows like “Hoarders”. People who are hoarders do NOT have the mental capacity to give informed consent to have something like that filmed. I understand now better why I hoarded and I did hoard on and off most of my adult life, but nothing like 2007 and until I gave up my kids.”

My house had become a manifestation of my head. So much thought clutter and dysfunctional thinking. I know this now. I did not know this then. I did try everything to get help though to protect my kids as I saw myself sliding down into an abyss. The problem with hoarding is that it’s a dirty secret, like literally. Kids don’t tell. Adults don’t want to talk about it because of the shame. I figure if I talk about it now, and more in future blogs, children of hoarders will understand it’s mental illness that’s driving the hoarding, not a lack of love for their loved ones, especially their children. It was obvious to both my workers, that there was an attempt on my part for my children to have a home, Not just a place to live. That we were extremely bonded, all 3 of us. Part of my mental illness, prior to having suicidal ideation is that I made my kids my world and vice versa because I didn’t want such a cruel world to hurt them.

When I became suicidal and my son who was old enough to see me disengrate, couldn’t understand how I could abandon that way but I’m digressing, big time. But this needed to be said before I go any further. I have a lot friends on social media who’ve lost loved ones due to suicide but only a few are willing to talk about it. The stigma needs to be removed. I’m obviously not capable of realizing this at this point in my life. I loved my kids more then anything. I of course, still do. While I still remember things is when I need to say them and my hopes for those who lose loved ones to suicide, realize that it’s irrational. It’s NEVER going to make sense. But it’s almost NEVER about NOT loving the ones you leave behind. We are too sick in our illnesses and our minds play tricks that we tell ourselves those we love are better off without us. I was not and am still not a violent person. I just didn’t want to be in pain anymore, and I knew I wasn’t the right person for my kids to be with and I couldn’t handle the pain I was causing very unintentionally. It was NEVER about me not loving them enough.   Back to August of 2008…

So I meet with my social worker 2 days before my 1st commitment  hearing which would end up being 4 days after I’m served with those papers. She can’t tell me much other then I’ll be appointed an attorney to represent me. (My family is too busy picking up the pieces and getting my kids ready for a new life with them, new schools. So I’m on my own). I was on my own though, during my medical hospitalizations. You’ll see a recurrent themes in my future blogs, that is, that I’m definitely not concise, I digress A LOT, and I still haven’t made my peace that this is my life and my old life is gone forever as well as the ability to raise my kids in the best environment…..

8-26-2008     So I have my 1st commitment hearing. I get picked up by someone from Hennepin County’s Sherriffs department.It’s my first time briefly outside in over 2 weeks. And basically I was outside from the hospital to the police car which I was escorted closely by the officer which would be my ride there. My court appointed  attorney can’t shut me up in the 5 minutes we are allowed to meet before my hearing. I want to fight the commitment, so it’s not a permanent part of my record. She says that isn’t going to happen, that best I can hope for is a “stay of commitment”, which means while I’ll temporarily be a ward of the county, it will prevent permanent commitment to Anoka and a total loss of my freedoms, permanately. The rest of the hearing is a blur. Then I’m escorted to a locked small waiting room for hours before I get a ride back to the hospital.

8-29-2008    My official commitment hearing takes place. I relent and allow Kimary to push for the “stay of commitment”. I also realize when they grant it, life as much as it had changed, would change even more so, once this is granted. I’m not committed, but I’m made a legal ward of the State of Minnesota for the next 6 months
.
September 1st -15th, 2008
I start to disengage while still at the psych unit at NMMC. I don’t participate in groups and don’t want to get out of bed most of the time. I find out my social workers are looking for group homes to place me in. I look at 2 of them. The first one is ideally in Plymouth, where my kids are but it’s not a great fit. It’s a group home for mostly men who have chemical dependency issues. I would be required to attend AA/NA meetings almost everyday, and well, I’m not alcoholic and I’m not a drug addict (which is in hindsight a miracle given how addictive my personality is, more about that later) but because going to some kind of addict’s meeting is required, it’s deemed not a good fit for me. The group home that my social worker wants to get me in, and that is the 2nd one I see, I do get in, but I have to wait for a bed to open.

Days go by, and I’m warned if I don’t start participating in groups, they will try to have the “stay” overturned. So I start going to groups again. I finally find out which would be my last week in the hospital. I get out on 9-15-2008 and I’m allowed to go outside as well as spend the night at my parents house, before being required to be dropped off to 90 day inpatient intensive behavior treatment group home the next day.

My Dad on 9-15-2008, my day of discharge from NMMC, comes and picks me up and wants to kill me when he finds me in front of the hospital smoking a cigarette (I conned my social worker into stopping at a convenience store when looking at the 2nd group home but was too terrified to try and smoke while in the hospital). I could give a fuck less. I’m outside and have VERY temporary freedom until I’m dropped off again to the group home, the next day. My psychiatrist right before my relase gave me a “goodbye gift” of 30 day prescription of 1mg of Klonapin, to take twice a day…Well I couldn’t say it then, but um, FUCK YOU…

By then, I’d been in the hospital for 35 FUCKING  DAYS..Couldn’t smoke, couldn’t go outside, couldn’t choose what to eat. Was not believed most of the time that the meds I was put on were making me sicker, physically. (that would be proved in my continual need for medical hosptializations as my ulcers got worse) while in the system.

9-16-2008 to 12-16-2008
I’m now in a group home that is supposed to provide 90 days of intensive behavior  treatment. I learn a lot about different mental illnesses. But like in the hospital and this will be recurrent theme while I’m in the system that most people who end up in places like psych wards for such a long time, and group homes, have never had a fully functional life. I managed a household at one time, with 2 kids, kept a job for a long period of time, owned my own car, and lived a fairly functional life. There wasn’t a lot of chaos in my life or my children’s life, believe it or not, other then the horrible hoarding, near the end. We lived a fairly quiet, loving and peaceful life. So my life is unrelatable to both staff and other patients. There is a few of us, but we are in the minority. I end up having to find the few good things of what’s to be of my new life as a ward of the state. I have more freedom then I did in the hospital. I can smoke both outside and inside the group home (there was a designated smoking room and yes, it was disgusting). We get to go though also on nightly activities. We also have cleaning assignments. We only have 2 group meetings a day, weekdays and only one a day on weekends.

I’m also in this period of time, served again, with papers for an unlawful detainer. I paid my rent for August of 2008, of course, even though I knew I was acutely suicidal. However my “stay of commitment” and lack of income, also lack of being ability and lack of viable option,  to move back to my old apartment,not to mention until I’m put on General Assistance, I have NO money. So I get an UD for unpaid rent. I’m lucky they didn’t sue me for damages. Somewhere within the 1st 2 weeks at the group home, I’m allowed to go back to my old apartment. And I want to DIE again. I can’t believe my kids EVER had to live there in all that clutter and filth. My parents and my son did try to clean up my apartment. And because I was actually a good tenant, the 6 years I lived there with them, they didn’t sue me for damages, only for unpaid rent. However I was kicked off of Section 8 for both unpaid rent and the hoarding. Which would ban me from being able to live in any type of HUD housing for the most part, for the next 5 years. That was in 11/2008. My Section 8 ban ends 11/2013.

As the time grows closer that I’m going to “graduate” from my temporary initial group home, my social worker starts looking for a group home for a permanent placement, She finds one that considered decent in the beginning of 2008 and I move there directly from the other on 12-16-2008.

12-16-2008 to 12-31-2009
I learn more then I ever want to about Mental Illness at this group home. I’ve already been in the system and really not ever alone for 4 months now, because even when you are outside, there is other people. One of my roommates as there is 3 people to a bedroom in this place has both Multiple Personality Disorder and Paranoid Schizophrenia, my other roommate just has BPD2 and Paranoid Schizophrenia. J, the 1st person I was referring to, was very social depending on what personality you were dealing with. “M”, was very quiet, however she practically NEVER left our bedroom. “M” if she would talk, which was rare, could somewhat relate as she had adult children. However that’s all I knew about her. There were 4 houses in this group home in South Minneapolis and about 70 residents. Some people realized their illnesses, some didn’t. Most of them had been in the system most of their adult lives, if not since they were teens. Most of the staff was shocked by my particular situation which they had never heard of.
Most people don’t get nearly committed at the age of 38 1/2 or give up custody of their 5 1/2 year old daughter who’s never seen her mother function normally and their 15 1/2 year old son who saw his mother disengrate physically and mentally…….

Because I participate a lot in the weight loss surgery community, still.
People believe I had a lot to do with my complications, such as my vitamin deficiencies. This is probably the 1st time I’m going into such detail, as fact is once I was on my “stay of commitment”, I was court ordered to take all medications that a psychiatrist or ANY medical professional deemed necessary. Which also meant vitamins. It also meant if I missed a med pass of Tylenol, my group home could control how much freedom I had. I had several medical hospitalizations, and honestly while I purposely wasn’t trying to make myself sick, I had freedoms, I wasn’t used to. The food at NMMC and both group homes was absolutely awful. I had $100 to live on a month. The food, that is if I could eat, at Fairview University Medical Center, was awesome. I also once I got out of the hospital started seeing my old psychiatrist who put me back on either Xanax or Valium, my choice, he would not ever allow me to be put back on Miltown (now known as Equanil) like ever again.

I was not allowed to be on pain medications other then inpatient admissions and after falls that landed me in the E.R, as even though I still had gained almost all my weight back (almost 100 lbs) I still had reactive hypoglycemia,  pulmonary hypotension plus the psychotropics at almost 225 lbs. I also had a need to infused with iron and “banana bags” as well as Protonix for the ulcers. Even the staff at the group home was perplexed by how medically fragile I was given how fat I was again.

I learned a couple of valuable things. Don’t date anyone you meet in treatment or a group home. I actually ended up dating a guy who was in the behavior treatment center I was. He was a nice guy, but he was also a MH “frequent flyer”. I also learned if you miss a tylenol pass one too many times, that was enough for the nurses to restrict my inability to be away from the group home from 4-2009 til 12-31-2009 for more then 4 hours, as prior to that, I was allowed to have my meds packaged and could spend an occasional overnight somewhere else. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned, and it sticks with me today, is that safety is definitely not a guarantee wherever you live. However the most dangerous place til then was not my neighborhood but the group home. I learned how NOT to be come a victim but maintaining a sense of dignity because I wasn’t going to become a violent perpetrator to others, even though I did live in constant fear which wasn’t irrational given my circumstances.

In August of 2009, I finally had my hearing for my appeal for SSDI. I won both on medical and mental health disabilities. In fact, the judge told me at the hearing he was appalled it took so long and told me at the hearing that I was going to be awarded SSDI, that he was ruling in my favor. I had a young vulnerable child in the house at the date he established me disabled.I had multiple medical diagnosies and a few psych diagnosies.  With all the workers in the last 2 years I had my kids, was exposed to, NO ONE thought to press for an expedited hearing. My next blog I will address probably why I’ve made my peace with this. But why I advocate, as this could have helped both my kids and I enormously of not having to go through some of the stuff we did. This is why I’m going public with something that’s so humiliating not only to me, but my family. But I’ve helped other people when privately sharing this. My hopes is that it will other people…

Time goes by so slowly. Especially when you life does a “180”, like mine did. Even though I was so medicated, the fighter in me, couldn’t make my peace that this is what my life had become. In November 2009,  I started getting SSDI and was put on Medicare. My psychiatrist realized the enormity of the damage that being on the quantity of psychotropics was doing to me and started weaning me off of the Seroquel,Depakote and the Zyprexa I was on. I was prior to November of 2009, 2000 mgs of Depakote,800 mgs of Seroquel, 60 mgs of Zyprexa, 600 mgs of Zoloft A DAY. I was also on acetaminophen for pain and ONLY acetaminophen, as Lyrica (I’d been diagonsed with Fibro by then) and Neurontin didn’t work. I was also on 200 mgs of Topamax (for Migraines since puberty). That’s an ENORMOUS amount of medications to be on that effect people’s ability to think clearly. On top of a diagnosis of BPD2. However once I got Medicare, he wouldn’t be able to see me anymore. I also had him take me off the benzodiazepine I was on. The little Valium or Xanax I was on, didn’t work effectively, it wasn’t worth being prescribed it.

December of 2009
Right after my birthday which was 12-2, and the 2nd birthday I spent by myself at a group home, an incident happened. A newer resident who’d been hogging the one and only television with cable in the group home got in my face and started screaming at me as he said I could watch a show and he had hogged the tv for like the last 10 hours. I still backed down, but was upset as one of the staff members was nearby,could hear him, and did nothing about it. I did end up filing a grievance with the State Omnibudsman of MN, as while I was lucky he didn’t hit me, he had hit other people, and other acts of violence by residents were not taken as seriously as they should have been by the staff and owners of the group home. The group home also had a horrible problem with mice. It was freezing cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer. It now had also made me public enemy #1 to most of the staff and the owners of the group home.

December 29th,2009
I go to call on my cell phone to check my balance on my checking account to see if I have enough money for a pack of cigarettes. To my delight, I have a balance of over $9700 in my checking account. I finally got my  SSDI  backpay! YAY!!! I call my family, give some money to my sisters, my parents and son won’t take any, buy myself a netbook and go to the library to go on Craiglist, as I want to find a place to move to, A.S.A.P.  Other then my family, I don’t tell anyone that I got my backpay. I go to the library and find a condo for rent. IN PLYMOUTH. YAY!!! I call the guy, we make arrangements to meet on 12-31-2009 as I ironically have a dental appointment in Plymouth and I can conveniently take a taxi to meet him.

12-31-2009
I go to my dentist appointment and take taxi to the condo. I know of the complex I had lived there 17 years earlier with my son in the building next to it. It’s a studio with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool on the grounds and I’m 2 miles away from my kids. I write him a check,happily for $750, as he banks at the same bank  I do, he gives me the keys, I take a cab back to the dentist office. I take a medi-cab back to the group home. It’s late afternoon but most staff is there.

I go to see the manager of the group home to address my concerns about safety,mice, the horrible food and my inability to not leave the premises normally for more then 4 hours unless I have a medical appointment and throw in ” you should probably know I’m moving”. She asks when. I tell her “tomorrow”. She tells me to tell the nurses. I tell them that. They are like “you can’t”. I’m like “I SO can”. “My stay of commitment expired almost 8 months ago, and as of tomorrow I can do whatever the FUCK I WANT TO!!!!” “HAPPY FUCKING NEW YEAR” and I walk out of the room . Because the next day is a holiday, I end up renting for $200 for 4 hours (A fucking bargain, if you ask me) to move me on 1-1-2010. I tell everyone who comes in to my sight that I’m getting the fuck out of there.

1-1-2010.     I move into my cute little condo. By myself. After 16 1/2 FUCKING MONTHS IN THE SYSTEM… I’M FREE…               AND THIS IS NEVER EVER GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME AGAIN….NEVER!!!!!

This will be the longest blog I ever write. It will hopefully explain as well as futher blogs, why I am a medical and mental health activist who both exists in size acceptance and a supportive long term weight loss surgery peer. It will explain further why I think there is a need to talk about taboo subjects such as hoarding and suicide. And I’m advocate for anti-bullying, both children and adults. I don’t believe it was a coincidence, that there was 3 of us alone, on that psych unit from my high school who were horribly bullied our entire childhoods at NMMC with serious mental health issues as adults. Oh and note, I use the profanity. A LOT……The “eff” word” is my best verbal friend…..          Not all my blogs will be serious though. I’ve lost a lot, I also have gained an enormous amount of insight. But because of my medical and mh disabilities, I’m not very concise, I don’t think or express myself in a logical sequence of order. You can pretty much guarantee there’s no such thing as grammar and sentence syntax, with me. It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because I have had too many health issues that have caused major cognitive damage and aphasia. But I still have managed to retain my sense of humor so my blogs with be a mixed bag of sorts.As I pretty much have an opinion on almost everything, and I’m not afraid to share it with anyone….

To Be Continued…..

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