This is a long one guys...get comfy..
Today was my appointment with Pennington for the Heads Up Louisiana program. My appointment was for 7:45 this morning and it was a fasting appointment, meaning I couldn't have any food or liquids, besides water, after 7:45 Wednesday evening. The appointment was in Baton Rouge which is a little over an hour away from my home, so to be safe, I got a hotel room near Pennington and stayed the night.
I arrived in Baton Rouge Wednesday shortly before 3. I checked in to my room, dropped off my bags, and hit up some shopping around the Baton Rouge area. It was freezing out, misty rain, and sad gray skies. The weather had me in a bit of a funk. I'm also the kinda girl that likes to be around friends and family so being away from home, with funky sad weather...it started getting to me.
I grabbed dinner, brought it back to the hotel, ate, showered, played on the Internet, and laid in bed. I was hoping to get some decent sleep but didn't. On top of the usual hotel stuff: loud neighbors, crying baby on the floor, and slamming hotel room doors. I just couldn't stop thinking about everything. I kept thinking how stupid I was to let my weight get so out of control that it lead me to a hotel room in Baton Rouge, to a research program that will limit my calories and require only protein shakes for 4 months. Why didn't I do something about this 50 or 100 pounds ago? I couldn't stop thinking about the appointment itself and all that it would entail. I realize I'm at the clinic to get help and to participate in such a great program for free, but I would show up and be weighed, measured, poked, prodded, and judged. They were going to ask me questions, personal questions, about my life, my history, my marriage, my weight. All of this weighed heavily on my mind. But a call from a friend helped clear my mind enough that I was able to enjoy some sitcoms throughout the night, even though I didn't get any sleep. Thank you Courtney for calling when you did. I was in a real self-hate moment and was literally crying my eyes out when she called.
I requested a 6 a.m. wake up call which really wasn't needed because I didn't sleep. I prettied myself up..hair and makeup, jewelry, perfume, cleaned the hotel up a bit, and headed out. I was surprisingly calm heading to the appointment and for the remainder of the day; I think it was my lack of sleep.
I arrive at the appointment and the clinic is really nice. I sign in and I'm quickly greeted by a nurse...short, very thin, very pretty. She asks if the dietitian could follow along during the appointment, to which I agreed. I signed a bunch of consent forms and basic information sheets. Then the questions began... questions about my health, my weight, my family's health, my habits, the foods I eat, etc. They then checked my height and weight.
After the height/weight, I was taken to an exam room and my blood pressure was checked twice, along with my pulse. Surprisingly, my blood pressure was in the normal range. With my weight, along with my nerves, I assumed my blood pressure would've been elevated or even in the high range. I then provided a urine test and a donated way more blood than I feel comfortable donating. But it's all for a good cause, so have at it!
After the lab work portion of the appointment I had to complete a walking test. In order to participate in the program they require that you be able to perform some exercise. I had to complete a quarter mile walk in under 15 minutes. I got this...lol. I started walking and the nurse followed behind me. I apologized for walking fast and I had that quarter mile done no time. I actually don't know how long it took because she didn't tell me, but it couldn't have been more than 3 minutes. I was speed walking down that hall!
After the walking test I was brought into a room and given a complete physical by a doctor. He checked my reflexes, looked at my eyes, my ears, my throat. He listened to my heart, and my lungs, and then pushed all over my stomach, chest, and back to ask if anything was hurting. He said everything looked great. I was pleased.
I then did an EKG which is more embarrassing than anything. I had to wear a hospital gown with the opening in the front. The gown was huge, but the nurse had to place the EKG sensors all over my chest and on my legs and in order to get some of the sensors in the proper spot she had to actually LIFT my boob up to put the sensor. I have HUGE knockers and that is a very embarrassing part for me. I hate my boobs. Large, flopping, unmanageable, and they make me look bigger up top than I really am.
All the testing was complete and I am given all the information about the diet itself and all that it entails. Within a week I will get a call from Pennington and will be told to start the protein shakes. At that point, I will be on a very restrictive diet consisting of 5 protein shakes, water, broth (up to 3 cups a day), tea, coffee (no cream), and any other 0 calorie drink I prefer, such as Crystal Lite. I can chew gum but I am limited to 10 sticks a day. I'm required to keep a food journal as well, even though all I can consume are the items I listed above, I am required to keep track of the time, my mood, etc. This is all done in a pre-made journal form that they have given me.
I left Pennington with a bag containing 5 boxes of protein and an appointment to return February 6th. There's still a slim chance they could call and tell me that my testing is not compatible and that I cannot be in the program. That would be because of lab work or the doctor seeing something in my EKG results that aren't conducive to participating.
I drove home from the appointment feeling good and feeling hopeful. I can sit here and list all of my faults and all the things I've done wrong in the past that lead me to where I am...but I won't. It's time to let go of the past. It's time to let go of feeling guilty for not taking care of myself like I should have. I can't change anything up to this point, so what's the point of beating myself up over it?
I also learned that I need to stop letting others influence my decisions and my life the way they always have. I've learned my reasons for using food to cope with all of my emotions...and until recently, I was never able to accept those reasons. It's no secret that life hasn't been a cake walk for me... I've dealt with feelings of abandonment and the anger and hurt that result from that. I've also dealt with, and still deal with, an alcoholic father that can be the nicest person or the most horrible person to be around. Nevermind that this is the same person that struggled through life to put food on the table, keep my sister and I in good schools, and provide for us. I deal with anger and guilt over that as well. I'm learning to let go. I'm learning that I can't let those things bring me down. I've been too angry and too hurt for too long. It got me here.
So to sum it up...I feel a moment of clarity right now. I am thankful for this opportunity and looking towards my future with a hopeful attitude. This is going to be a struggle...but I am ready willing and able to do it.
I just have to say thank you to my 4 friends here that support me through this. I don't think I could do this without you guys. I may not be the strongest person all the time, but when I'm feeling my weakest, you guys are there to pull me up....and that makes me stronger.
I love you girls!