And that's how it went throughout my twenties... I'd gain a little weight here and there (on my first trip home, five months after I turned 21, my mom was shocked to see me at close to 135 lbs.... but empty calories at the bar will do that. I'd officially gained my freshman fifteen! But that same year, when I returned home for Christmas, I was back in my size three jeans and back around 115 lbs. When I entered the police academy in August 2004 I weighed all of 114 lbs at weigh-in, and an eight months later at graduation, I was in the best shape I'd ever be in (This after two dozen asthma-attacks, an encounter with capsaicin (which I'm allergic to, and ended up using an epi-pen for the first time), a broken toe that I continued to do push-ups and run on, with a VERY aggravated bone spur in my right shoulder, and that i had done P/T for months through HUNDREDS of hip, shoulder, knee and ankle subluxations and dislocations) - I was 124 lbs, mostly muscle, yet even so- I had FAR less muscle tone than a single other person in my academy class, even those who had started out over weight. I was just incredibly proud to have graduated.
It never made much sense that I was so much weaker - so much more easily injured than everyone around me, but I just presumed that it was just who I was. I still didn't know that my entire body was made of defective collagen and that graduating from the police academy, and keeping up with those around me was probably 200 times HARDER for me than it was for anyone around me. After all, other people's bodies don't have to exert a ton of energy just keeping their joints from sliding out of socket while they are sitting still. Ah... EDS. Ah... to be so young and naive.
When I got pregnant with my son, I was 29 years old - he was born January 24th, 2011 at 8lbs 10oz via a c-section and it was one of the greatest moments of my life - even though everything about my pregnancy ultimately set the ball rolling for all of my medical conditions to come crashing down on me at once. (Although my pregnancy did have a big part in helping put my Crohn's Disease into remission, so I can't forget to be thankful for that.)
My EDS became a full-blown thing, debilitating me and causing my activity levels to slow down to from being a full-time police officer to unable to work at all in a matter of the nine months I was pregnant with my son. Despite the increasing pain, and what would eventually lead to the diagnosis of all my main medical issues - just five days after my son's birth, I went back into my size five jeans, and I remained around 135 lbs until early 2012....
Not long after I started on pain-management, on muscle relaxors to help control the ever-present and extremely painful muscle spasms, and right around the time when my thyroid quit working, I began to gain weight, and began to gain it rapidly. At first, I was shocked to be 150 lbs, but thought it was post-baby weight and it would slowly come off. Despite my appetite slowing down more and more to the point where I'd often go days without eating... in a period of approximately seven months, I skyrocketed to 195 lbs.
I have been fluctuating between 180-196 lbs since 2012 and I can't stand myself for it. I avoid photographs, I no longer get (or show anyone) my tattoos, I'm mortified by my once tight, slim and frankly, beautiful body and I don't feel like myself. I used to be the center of photos, and now I avoid going out because I can't stand the chance of being in a photograph. I hate that I take eight thousand photos of my now three year old son, but that almost none of them include much more than my face.
I have tried everything within my power - I often don't eat for days on end, or eat nothing but fruit. I've tried to go back on my ADHD medication which has always in the past lead to weight loss, but nothing I've done has helped. I got to about 185 lbs and stagnated, a few years into living with EDS, and I'm hell bent on doing something about it. But before I could - I felt that I needed to write the back story because a weight-loss journey is so personal, and so individual. I have no idea what it is like to be a person with genetics who makes them pre-disposed to carrying weight. I come from a thin family, and inside, I know that there's a thin person - ME - who is DYING to get out of this body that I'm trapped in, and get back to living my life.
This is my "before". This is the last time I will ever look like this, no matter what it takes to change things. I don't want to be 114 lbs again, but I WILL get back under 140, and it will happen within 2015. I can't change living with chronic illness, but I'll be damned if I'm going to spend the rest of my life more depressed about my weight than the chronic pain and diseases that caused it.
This has GOT to go:
I need to get back to THIS version of me:
Life at 34, as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend... with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, nothing is easy..but it *IS* worth it.