Sunday, January 16, 2011

Small Changes My Ass

I've met couples who poke fun at each other for their snoring.  Somtimes the man will point out the woman's cute little snoring problem and she will laugh and deny it.  Maybe she really thinks she doesn't snore, maybe she just doesn't want to admit it.

Me, I snore like a drunken, suffocating lumberjack.  I know this because I can hear myelf, and I wake myself up gasping for breath.  The latter worries me because I lived for 20-some years listening to my ex husband do the same.  Eventually he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and given a machine called a C-Pap which looked disturbingly like life support.  It didn't really help.  Eventually we ended up in separate bedrooms.  He no longer had to sleep with the useless machine, and I no longer had to fight the urge to suffocate him with his pillow while he did so.

Over the last four years The Man has had to wake me at night with increased frequency.  The fact that he doesn't get angry at me, hasn't yet suffocated me, never asks me to relocate to the couch and says "It's ok" when I apologize for waking him is proof that he truly loves me more than I probably deserve. 

The fact that the increased frequency with which he wakes me or I wake myself has been proportionate to the rate at which the numbers on the scale have gone up is not lost on me.  And this has added to my already constant "you suck" inner dialogue with regard to my weight.

So I lost 15 pounds.  A drop in the obseity bucket but still I would have expected SOME improvement, but things got WORSE.

So I went to the doctor and he told me that I have Acid Reflux disease (often caused by being overweight-go figure).  My inflamed esophegus may be contributing to the snoring.  I've stopped adding my beloved lemon juice to my water, which seems to have helped with the sore throats, which I always blamed on the snoring but it turns out it was due to acid errosion.  And I'm on medication.  Every day when I take the pill out of the bottle it screams "FATASS" at me on its way to my mouth.  All of this has helped but has definitely not cured my snoring, crushing my hope that the snoring was completely caused by the reflux and not by my weight.

So tonight I have to go have a sleep test to confim what I already firmly believe; that I have sleep apnea.  Other than "because my doctor said so" I'm not sure why I'm going, because I have no intention to sleep with a C-Pap machine. I hear there are other treatments.  Mouth guards and surgery and yes, losing weight is supposed to help. 

How did I get here?  I used to be healthy.

Ok...maybe not HEALTHY, but fairly thin.

When The Ex and I first moved out together at the age of 19, I made at least one, sometimes two 9 x 13 cakes every week and they provided us with breakfast AND dessert.  Lunch was typically a Big Mac AND fries, AND a milkshake.  Dinner was delivered in a big square box, came out of our deep fryer or was handed to us through a drive thru window.  After dinner we watched TV.  We worked 'till 5 and were in front of the TV from 6:30 to 11, eating snacks that we bought in bulk at the wholesale club.  Huge tubs of peanut butter cups, cashews, M & M's.  When I look back at pictures from that time I think "look how thin I was!". 

But I've always considered myself fat.  I think this comes from the fact that I'm 5'9" so when I was 140 lbs and really at the low end of what's healthy for my height I was listening to my 5'2" friends talk about how fat they were at 125.  As a result of this, at least once or twice a year I'd stop shoving cake and french fries in my face long enough to go on a diet.

Back then if you wanted to lose weight you went to Weight Watchers where they taught you things like how to make your own ketchup and salad dressing.  You survived on less food than would sustain an anorexic rabbit and every bit of it had to be made from scratch because this was before Weight Watchers made boxed dinners.  I remember on Wednesdays after my Weight Watchers meeting I went to Burger King, bought a whopper without cheese or mayonnaise, brought it home and threw away the bun & put it on diet bread.  The difference between "being good" and "being bad" was akin to the difference betwen living in a monestary and a whorehouse.  No mortal person could be good all the time and the guilt we felt for falling off and eating a half an oreo was soul-crushing. 

Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for the modern Weight Watchers program.  But back in the day it was a different animal.

Anyway, at some point the medical community announced something wonderful.  Weight loss and long-term good health could be achieved by making small changes.  SMALL changes!  Apparently it wasn't necessary to starve yourself until you dove into a vat of failure and hot fudge, rinse and repeat.

Over the years I've made hundreds of small changes.  We have cake in the house on birthdays only.  Ice cream graces our freezer once every two months or so.  Potato chips have been replaced by whole wheat tortilla chips.  I used to keep pop in steady supply, now we only have it for parties.  I drink water (without lemon, damnit) like a fish.  My Snickers a day vending machine habit is no more, though admittedly this was not accomplished through will power but by taking a job in a building without a candy machine.  I have even, over the last month, adopted and managed to stick to a policy of "If I didn't bring it I'm not eating it", keeping me away from all of the candy and cookies and various treats that my many underweight coworkers bring to the office for public consumption.  I go to the gym somewhere between 2 and 4 times a week and I work out roughly 40 minutes at a pop either on the elliptical trainer or in the pool. 

I haven't been a saint, mind you.  Because it's about small, sustainable changes, right?  Over the past two weeks we've eaten out once rather than the typical 3 or 4 times.  We've gone out for ice cream once and gone out for breakfast once, rather than the typical 2 or 3 times.  I've been eating soup for lunch (as Blog is my witness) rather than going to McDonald's or even Subway.  And where has that gotten me?  I got on the scale yesterday and I GAINED a pound. 

So to the medical community, and the media who serves as the messanger who I actively wish to kill, I say "Small Changes My Giant Spongy Ass".  Seriously.  What the???? 

So tonight I'll go have myself hooked up to wires and try to sleep while some technician monitors my breathing, heart rate and brain waves so that they can tell me that I have to lose weight.  I'll swear off all processed or sugar-laden foods once again for a little while, and I'll make that one small change where I don't eat anything that tastes good.  I think that may be the one they're talking about, but if so why don't they just SAY SO???

What did I do with that ketchup recipe?

Today's Lunch - More of a late breakfast of Special K Granola and Milk.  Yummy, crunchy goodness.


  1. I had to go through the whole sleep study rigamaroll before it was "discovered" that I have sleep apnea. The studies are no fun, I think I slept a total of 1.5 hrs. during my first study. The CPAP machine is not a blast to adjust to, but now I can't sleep without it. I'm hyperaware when I snore so I wake myself up if I'm not wearing the mask. Best of luck to you!! - Majsan

  2. Hi Majsan,

    When my ex had his test done it was in a sleep lab and he said the same, he barely slept. We had The Boy tested when he was first diagnosed with ADHD because there is some evidence that there is a link between ADHD & sleep apnea. But they concluded that her doesn't have it. His test was also in a sleep lab.

    Mine will be in a Holiday Inn. I'm hoping that will help but I'm not counting on it. I'm off work tomorrow so it's not a huge deal if I don't get much sleep.

    I wake myself up all the time. Like I said The Man is a pretty good sport about it but the waking up gasping really scares me. I'm hoping losing weight will help but I'm also willing to go the mouth guard route if they recommend it.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.