Cut It Out

I refuse to weigh myself until a baseball-sized ovarian cyst is removed.

Posted Jun 28, 2020

Trigger Warning: This post contains weights and clothing sizes.

I swore to myself I’m not going to weigh myself until this damn thing is out of me. I went to the ER a couple of weeks ago for severe abdominal pain. 

The doctor thought it might be diverticulitis, which is an infection of pouches in the intestines. After drinking that awful stuff and having a CT scan, they didn’t find diverticulitis. They did find that a small ovarian cyst I’ve had forever had grown to the size of a baseball, and that was the cause of my pain. I’m so disconnected from my body as a result of the anorexia, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, it all hurts in relatively the same general area. The sent me up for an ultrasound to get a better look at it and the technician was kind enough to tell me it looked fluid-filled, which meant it most likely was not cancerous.

 Alex Staroseltsev/Shutterstock
Source: Alex Staroseltsev/Shutterstock

Still, the size of a baseball? Hanging from my ovary? I’m bloated and uncomfortable and I talked to my long-time GYN, describing a crampy feeling with these intermittent bouts of severe pain. She said the ovary was likely twisting and untwisting, but if it twisted and didn’t untwist, that was ovarian torsion and required emergency surgery. It was best to be removed before that happened. I went to see the surgeon, arrogant as they typically are, but the first available date he has open is July 8th.

I’m counting the days, taking a lot of Aleve and using a heating pad when the worst of it hits.

Back to that promise I made myself about not stepping on the scale until this baseball is removed from my body. I realize that the cyst itself doesn’t weigh a lot. But the accompanying bloat – I feel as though this is how a woman feels early in her pregnancy. My jeans are snug which I’ve always found hard to tolerate and overall, I just feel unwell.

I’m not restricting, but I’m not eating especially healthfully. Working full-time from 8 a.m. to  5 p.m., then spending most of my free time working to get BWellBStrongBPD, the mental health advocacy and awareness organization I founded, off the ground, I’m tired and have no inclination to cook. After logging off my computer at 5 p.m., I feed and walk my rescue dog, Shelby, then come back upstairs and scrounge around for something to eat. Then I’ll work on my business for the rest of the night, punctuated by additional walks with Shelby.

 YJPTO/Shutterstock
Source: YJPTO/Shutterstock

Thanks to my work in therapy with my former psychiatrist, Dr. L. – and we did a lot of work on this particular issue, whenever I start to fixate on my weight, it means a couple of things. The red flag that goes up for me and the bulk of work in therapy was gaining the insight so I’d be able to see this insistent flag waving wildly in the wind. If my thoughts about my weight — I’m too fat, I need to lose weight, my worth is tied to how thin I am — start to take over and I act out on them by restricting, over-exercising, purging with laxatives and diuretics, then I will – and this is what took me years to realize, beforehand – I will lose everything I’ve worked so hard for.

That includes all the work I put into, not only physically and cognitively, coming back from the stroke, but emotionally as well, which I think was the toughest part and one I continue to work towards. And what about my business, my dream, my passion, BWellBStrongBPD? This organization is inexpiably tied to the stroke, whether I like it or not, as I started working on the business plan before I had the stroke and was forced to put everything on hold while I focused on my recovery.

I am all too aware if I start going down the rabbit hole of malnutrition, then the rest of my life will follow. Not a question anymore, but a fact. Whoa, Annie Oakley, time to put the brakes on and think about why, when everything is going so well, do I feel the need to destroy it.

When I look back at the severe physical consequences I’m dealing with now as a result of the severe and prolonged malnutrition – I even made a video about my experience and posted it on YouTube – you’d think the thought alone would send a lightning strike down to zap me. I’ve been determined to destroy myself and everything good in my life since I started smoking pot at 14. The turning point for awareness, the first step, came after my suicide attempt in 2014. Dr. L. called those years of therapy following that attempt the most intense of our 11 years of work together.

Trying to use the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skill of Wise Mind, in my rational mind, I know it doesn’t matter whether I’m a size 8 or 10. It does dammit, but only during specific times in my life. Does it matter whether I weigh 130 pounds or 135 pounds? Hell yeah! That five-pound span, way larger than the actual number of five. 

Why?

Perfection. Control. All illusions. That much I’ve learned. That’s the pesky rational mind. Emotion mind continues to taunt me, telling me I can be perfect and be in control of all aspects of my life. I don’t know if I’m still chasing after needing to please my father or longing to be more like my brilliant mother, or a little bit of both.

© Markus Spiske | Pexels
Source: © Markus Spiske | Pexels

Therapy may end, that is formal sessions may come to a close, but the work of therapy doesn’t end. People don’t get finished, like when you come to the last chapter of a book and close the cover (I still read print books). The timer can go off on a cake baking in the oven, but people and their emotions don’t’ come with a set of instructions. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and frost. Devour. Feel satisfied.

I’m thinking. I’m feeling. I’m aware. I’m living. Imperfectly.