What’s rising to the top in my writing right now is trauma. I’ve been thinking for the last few days about a way to counteract the anger, frustration and sadness that guts and leaves me raw. Having just finished a Valentine’s week series in my 100 Days of Bodies, I’ve decided to follow it with a series on Consent. Here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect from the postings over the next few days.

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IG: @wr1tergurl

Or at Truth and Lives: Beneath Our Skin

Fat Activism Conference

It’s been a busy few months and I’m excitedly preparing to embark on a major new project that I’ll have more information for you on soon. Until then, please consider registering for this amazing conference. It’s virtual, so you can listen to it from a computer or phone anywhere. I’ll be speaking with many other talented and amazing people.
Fat Activism Conference Sept 23-25th Online - listen from anywhere, Powerful Speaker, Practical Tool

Know Yourself


You may glance at the images with this blog and think it’s about food and move on. It’s not. Really. It’s about Self Care. Self care is a critical part of daily life. Most of us are really bad at it. We are really good at neglecting ourselves until we get to the point were we have no other choice. Those who are good at it, still have days, weeks, months where self care is not the priority. Life. Crazy Life, gets in the way. One of the best ways to care for ourselves is food. How much and what kind is neither of interest to this blog, nor anyone’s business. Our bodies need it. Food is a necessity. And so I pose to you that knowing yourself and what is going on in your life and preparing for that with the right foods for you is a major way to care for yourself when you might otherwise just skip right over it. The following are three tricks I use when I know life is going to be really busy and I still want to make sure to take care of me.

Fruit is yummy. I especially like berries, cherries, peaches and other kind of delicate fruits. I’m privileged enough to have access to and be able to afford basically all varieties of high quality fruit year around. Awesome, right? Well, when I’m busy I know I’m not going to have time to slice and dice fruit. Also these are the fruits that tend to lose their freshness more rapidly. So when things are busy, I purchase fruits that are easy to grab and go, like Halo Cuties, Fresh Fruit Cups, and Fruit Juices.

Halo Cuties

Halo Cuties

Fresh Fruit Cups and Juices

Fresh Fruit Cups and Juices







Comfort Food.
We all have those favorite foods that for whatever reason bring a sense of peace and comfort. One of my favorite is mashed potatoes. A super quick substitute: baked potato. I just grabbed a bag of bakers at Safeway for $5. Both economical and delicious. I encourage you to find short cuts to your favorite comfort foods so you can still enjoy them even when you are crunched for time. This is like a double dose of self care: comfort and sustenance.

Baked Potato

Baked Potato







Crockpot Dinners.
Did you know you can make lasagna in a crock pot? Yes! You can. I have a true fondness for crockpot meals. I love to walk in the door and smell dinner already cooking. I own two crockpots and have absolutely had both of them cooking at the same time. One of my favorite tricks is to prep full crockpot meals just after shopping, freeze the ingredients all together in a ziplock bag then pull that from the freezer, drop it in the crockpot, add some seasoning and come back home to a delicious ready meal that I can enjoy and then spend the evening relaxing or moving on to my next adventure.

photo (7)






The best way to take care of yourself during the hardest times, is to know what you need and maybe, just maybe, try to prepare for that in advance.






  • How to Love a Fat Girl or Boy

    480900_451243814958361_1530752660_nI’m a major fan of the meme “how to get a bikini body.”  You know, the one that then tells you to buy a bikini and put it on your body, then you have a bikini body (pic).

    Well, I’m pretty sure that loving a fat girl or boy is similar.

    It’s ok, try not to go all huffy, hissy fit on me and start talking about how complicated love is and such. Love is not complicated. Relationships can be and I’m not in any way attempting to minimize that. Also, just like you can find articles that will tell you how to get a bikini body in just 6 short weeks, there are articles, blog posts, and other such stuff with lists of rules and suggestions about how to love a fat girl (boy).  If you feel you actually need these rules, they are a simple “how to love a fat girl” google search away from your fingertips right now. This, is not that.

    Fatties (aka fat girls or boys) are human beings. I know this because I am a fat girl. There’s nothing special or particular about us. All women and frankly, men have or have had body issues at one point in time, society basically dictates it. Some of us have lingering feelings and emotions about the ways we’ve been treated about our bodies, some of us don’t. Some of us may require a little more convincing that you really do love us, some of us won’t. I don’t think the variations are really that different from any other combination of individuals with different body types when coming together in a love, like, lust connection. I don’t believe that loving someone who is fat requires a special list of instructions (you may not agree with me and that’s ok). So basically, I’m going to keep it simple and direct. How do you love a fat girl or boy? Find a fat girl or boy that stirs that feeling in you that is undeniably about wanting to share your days and nights with her or him in all the ways a human being lives and moves through life and if she or he feels the same way about you, go ahead and love them. And be happy.

    That is all.



    why I #selfie

    Reason 1: I can, I am amongst the privileged many who can afford the technology, time, and energy that being a regular taker of selfies requires.

    Reason 2: I’m fat. Yep, you read that right, I’m fat and it’s a reason why I take and post regular selfies. I believe that people of all sizes should be seen, not just in places where it’s expected and feels safe, but also in the unexpected, unsafe spaces. And that certainly includes places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Selfies, and selfies of a fat girl are not safe or exempt from hatred trolls. Nor are we exempt from fetish trolls and trolls who think we should be charmed and excited that a stranger (male or female) finds us attractive enough to message multiple times with unsavory and not anywhere near grammatically correct comments.

    Reason 3: Is related to reason 2 but goes deeper. While I can now proclaim loud and even proudly, without a quiver of my confidence that I am fat and completely comfortable in the body I live in now, that hasn’t always been the case. For years, and by years, I mean over a decade, maybe even two decades, I lived without a full length mirror in my home. I had been taught and believed that I should feel shame for the size of my body; that no one wanted to look at it, so, why would I want to look at it? And so, for years I didn’t look in a mirror to check my appearance, the outfits I was wearing, nothing. I applied the minimal makeup I wear with a hand-held compact mirror and later a small round mirror hanging on my bathroom wall.

    Until I started to selfie…

    Like most of us who selfie, mine began on FB. I came to FB mid 2008 while working at Stanford University. At first FB was a distraction with games and a way to connect to people I hadn’t spoken with or seen in years.  I didn’t really interact much and I didn’t post very many pictures of myself. And when I did, they were definitely not full body selfies.

    Profile pictures in 2009

    Profile pictures in 2009

    ONLY selfie 2010

    ONLY selfie 2010











    In 2010, I discovered a welcoming size-friendly–positive even–community that I became actively engaged with.  I had new friends and a burgeoning new social life. I started taking pics with friends going out and then in 2011, selfies prior to going out. As my confidence grew so too did my desire for more options in my wardrobe and thus more pics of me in new outfits.  It was an avalanche of confidence, acceptance, self growth and the beginnings of activism. I know not everyone agrees that selfies are a form of activism, and that’s ok. I wouldn’t say all selfies are, but I take mine with the intention of activism, a fat body being seen; being seen happy, healthy, active, relaxed, having fun, working.

    2011 Selfies

    2011 Selfies

    2012 Selfies

    2012 Selfies














    In 2013, my taking and posting of selfies increased quite exponentially (the following is a sampling).


    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies







    At the beginning of 2014, I started the new year with a goal to take a selfie in a different location every day.  This has proven to be harder than I thought it would be and I’ve not really kept up with that, but I have taken and posted selfies nearly every day. Some from interesting places I traveled for work or vacation and others just at home or out and about with friends or at my place of work. Again, I post them primarily, because I and others like me deserve to be seen. We should be seen enjoying life: going out on the town, bathing in bikinis by the pool, chillin’ on the beach, or shopping at the corner market. All bodies are beautiful in their own ways and all bodies deserve to be seen and acknowledged. If you can’t acknowledge my body, then you can’t acknowledge me as a whole person; and my body is more than just a part of my physicality, it’s a part of my psychology, spirit, and emotion. I feel and witness all things through not only my mind, but also my body.

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies























    I guess I have a hope that by visibly living in the body I have now; truly living, not just accepting but embracing its differences, its strengths and its weaknesses that others will see that it’s a much better way to live than loathing ones body or pretending that it doesn’t exist at all because it can’t be seen in the mirror I’m looking in.  And if perchance my activism by selfie method does nothing at all to change the world or another human being’s perception about bodies, its done an incredible amount of good for my own body image, my own acceptance for my own perceived body flaws. And on the “bad days,” because yes, I still have them occasionally, I can look back at the legacy of self-acceptance and be reminded of another reason I selfie…

    Reason 4: I’m stunning…to the person looking in the mirror.

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    5K Follow Up



    Here it is, the bi774629-1040-0040sg finish.  1:13:54. A time I’m actually pretty darn proud of considering that even right up until the race I was still dealing with the physical impact of a cold/flu something or other.  I kept a pretty steady 23 minute mile and would have actually came in at 22 minute mile if the race organizers had placed bathrooms at the beginning of the race instead of the middle.  But overall, I have few complaints about this particular organized race. Beyond the t-shirt issue which I mentioned in my last post, this race proved to be quite size friendly. The route is probably one of the flattest routes. I think they call it the fastest marathon route because it is all flat. As it happened, it was a day where a heatwave was predicted, however, the tall buildings downtown San Jose, mostly blocked the sun from beating down on us.  My friend Kim walked the route with me. She’s a great “cheerleader” to have enroute with me because she’s learning when to push me and when just to hang out and be present, which is great because at this point in my 5K walks, I need both.

    Following the race, I got a cold beer (at 9am) and then we stood in line to get our medal ribbons signed by 49er Roger Craig. Well worth the wait! He thought I’d been through the line twice for some reason and I told him he just thought that because I was so memorable he was thinking about me before he even met me.  He agreed.  10362376_10101306227566283_159620079742663971_n

    Overall, this particular 5K was a much improved experience than prior events. I will definitely do this event again and look for others that are similarly organized. I’ve written to the organization about their need to provide larger shirts, place bathrooms at the beginning of the race (since we have to line up so dang early), and how the health and fitness expo is exclusionary of several groups of individuals and race participants should not be made to walk through it. I’ve also written to the organizers of the race I walked in April about the issues there and I hope to see a change in their practices come this April.

    I have a friend who seriously offered to help organize a size friendly 5K in Portland, and I definitely want to do this. But I think its important for me and other people of size to keep showing up and keep expecting that all these other organized races are places where we can all participate and feel comfortable doing so. I’ve yet to pick out the next 5K to participate in, if you have suggestions, let me know.

    Here are some additional photos from the Rock n Roll 5K, San Jose October 4, 2014.

    Kim likes a good photo bomb (who doesn’t really?):






    A problem with organized races; why I keep showing up…

    Notice I said “a problem,” as there are many that go far beyond that which I’m interested in addressing right now.  I wasn’t planning on blogging right now. In fact my original plan for the evening involved the “hacking” of my race t-shirt for tomorrow’s San Jose Rock n Roll 5K. Although I usually find it a fun and stress-relieving part of the process of preparing for a 5K, I’ve decided not to do said hacking this time. Mostly because I’m pissed off.

    I’ve actually been pissed off about organized races since April, when me and a couple of friends walked The Great Race 2014 sponsored by the Los Gatos Rotary. What pissed me off about that race is that as I was walking the 4 miles of uphill/downhill terrain, with a growing blister on my foot in my Wonder Woman tutu, I shared with my friends how it was a very personal goal to do these races, to show up and be a person of size amongst the hundreds of other “average” and “athletic” participants. And that although I’d done a handful of other organized races, this was the first “timed” race and the first time my name would be recorded amongst all the others, publicly on the race website. I was lagging quite a bit at the end and one of my friends, in her kind wisdom, called ahead to the finish line where another friend was waiting and she convinced them to keep the finish line up and the clock on just for me. A few days later when I visited the race website for times, this is what I found.  Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.19.17 PM

    Now I can tell you that the clock read 1:46:27 and I was the 985th person to cross the finish line that day. All of which I’m incredibly proud of, because I could have chosen to be home on my couch, but I didn’t. Instead I actively chose to participate in a public organized activity that publicly supports health and well-being, and yet actively participates in size discrimination.

    One of the things I’ve become known for is “hacking” race t-shirts so they actually fit me. I shouldn’t have to do this, but I’ve chosen to because I want to be a part of the event; “fit in” so to speak. I’ve yet to encounter an organized race that offers a t-shirt larger than a 2XL. Again, what this says to me, is that they don’t want to make people who are larger than a 2x feel welcome to participate in their event that is all about health and well-being. It’s the very ugly, yet not said out loud statement of “damn girl, you need to exercise but we don’t want to watch you doing it.” That is bullshit double talk, cause they will take my money to participate, but they won’t accommodate my need for a 3XL t-shirt.

    Let me paint you a picture of tonite’s adventure picking up our race #s for tomorrow. I waited to go with my friend Kim to pick up our #s because she has been very kind enough to keep me company during the 5K even though she is running the 1/2 marathon on Sunday. She’s amazing by the way!! So anyway, we went at 5pm after she got off work, which meant traffic and we had to go to the convention center downtown San Jose because this particular race makes you pick up your race #s at the “Health and Fitness Expo” which was closing at 6pm. We finally found parking and made our way up to check in. The lines were long. After getting our race #s and t-shirts, they forced us to walk through the entire rest of the convention center floor through the “Health and Fitness Expo.” This was not fun. We were both hot, tired, hungry, and grouchy. In hind sight however, I kinda wish I had felt up to a little activism.  If I’d gone earlier in the day and had to walk through every single vendor both selling nothing that would even remotely fit me, I pretty much would have made my presence known and I may have even gotten a personal escort through a quicker exit. I would have liked to share my thoughts with each vender about how I can’t find work-out gear that is both comfortable and functional. That I often have to “hack” clothing to make it functional enough for a good work-out or I have to shop online for “special” sizes, none of which any of these vendors would carry. And why not? They are after all at a “Health and Fitness Expo” and I imagine that many of those companies spend a great deal of money on advertising targeted at people my size about how wonderful the world is when we work-out and are healthier.  News Flash Biotches…I’m already perfectly healthy and fit! You just have a problem with the size of my healthy and fit body!!

    So, I’m not hacking the shirt. I’m not gonna wear their gear. I won’t take pictures in it and say “look mom…I did the walk and got the t-shirt.” EF! the t-shirt and EF! them. I will take pictures, because really…when don’t I?

    You might read this and think I’m being just a little bit ridiculous or over sensitive. You might believe that organizers of these public races don’t go out of their way to make larger people feel unwelcome at their event. You might even take the side that they can’t possibly accommodate people of all clothing sizes because their event costs would be higher. That’s fine, we don’t have to agree. But I’ll leave you with the thought that based solely on the data gathered from my registration form, which included gender, age, and t-shirt size, they estimated my 5K completion time to be 2:15:00. Tell me there’s not some bias in that formula.

    photo (3)

    I’ll see you at the finish line more than an hour earlier than that!

    Here are some pics from previous organized races.

    941413_10100611527580623_1586323528_n 970207_10100611527875033_1691992886_n 1509657_10101043582578943_7744077183032156008_n


    Shadow on a Tightrope : Writings by Women on Fat Oppression a 30th Anniversary Celebration

    186b0e0a-6db1-43ef-8f9b-148456613195When asked to read and blog my reflection of Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression for its 30th anniversary celebration sponsored by Aunt Lute Press, I jumped at the chance to do so. Many of my friends and cohorts in the Fat Activism/Liberation movement speak of this book as their first experience or exposure to Fat Liberation.  I’ve spent years hearing it mentioned during discussions and casual conversations with long-timers and budding new activists…I often felt as if this book was as important to Fat Activism as the Bible is to christian religions.  And I knew I needed to read it, and yet years in to my work in Fat Activism and I’d yet to pick it up. Now that I have, I can’t imagine why I didn’t do it sooner.  I’ve read the bible, more than a few times, and it never left me weeping as Shadow did. I read the essays and other writings in Shadow over two sittings and both times within minutes of scanning the pages, tears were rolling down my cheeks.  I thought about why this is, what about the poems, essays, stories shared in this anthology made it so poignant to me? And beyond the obvious, “I can relate” response came swarms of thoughts and emotions that required sorting through.

    I’ve often felt I was born to a wrong generation, jealous in a way of the women who’s hard work, struggle and tears have paved the way for all the liberties I enjoy today.  I don’t quite feel I belong in the “second-wave” feminist category and yet I’m much too young to be  “first-wave” and much too old to be “third-wave.” And really, these classifications are arbitrary and relevant maybe only to historians. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling like I belonged to a different time when activism was more…well, active. Because I sit in rooms with women who have long been a part of the fat liberation movement and listen to their stories from the past and musings on the present, I’m often hit with phrases like “today’s fat girls have it much easier with the internet, Facebook, and blogs.” And its true, in many ways, the internet generation does have a connection and a resource for activism that didn’t exist previously.  And yes, we often sit safely in our comfortable homes behind a screen with a blog written under an alias that protects us from the kind of political struggles that sent the original members of the feminist fat liberation movement literally fleeing from Los Angeles in 1976. But this tool that helps us to move activism forward more quickly and with perhaps fewer repercussions, also isolates us. I long to be in that room in 1972 where the Fat Underground was birthed.  Where the radical, untested concept that if a person would just “stop trying to lose weight, their ‘eating problems’ go away and weight eventually stabilizes” originated (Mayer xiii). This is the very tenement of my fat liberation faith and it happened just down the 101 in what I imagine was a small room with a handful of women speaking their truths and needing to see change in our world, bravely spoke those truths out loud to those who would listen and help move change forward. As I write now, tears are welling in the corners of my eyes…these women are the mothers, the sisters, the partners of my fatness; my ability and freedom to live so much more comfortably in my fatness than they were able to 30 years ago.

    But the fight isn’t over, and I can not rest comfortably.  In the 1970’s the “sexist industry that has made the lives of fat women a living hell” aka the diet industry was an 11-billion dollar a year enterprise (Mayer 3). Today, its 65-billion dollars a year. Is that progress? This industry feeds off what they tell us are our failures as women, as human beings, as members of a society that promulgates the “thin ideal.” 30 years ago, this was a hard-to-publish, radical anthology. Women speaking out about their experiences on being fat? Who would want to read that? And wouldn’t that just encourage women to continue to be fat?  But the memories that are contained on these pages are just the beginning of the struggle for fat liberation and as Lynn Levy reminded me “the outrages are not all memories–they continue, even after I refuse to play the game.” Our liberation “does not prevent a man from harassing me on the bus, it does not prevent airline seats from being too narrow, it does not prevent my being unable to find clothes that will fit in the styles and materials I like.” And this is how she felt in 1980. 1980! This is MY story TOO! Today, in 2013. “Passing cars, passing strangers, I harden myself to words I have trained my ears not to hear, hurled at me on the streets.  It all continues, and I look forward to the day when I can no longer control my rage” (Levy 81).

    As a woman, feminist, fat liberationist of the 21st century, the digital age, I’m frequently told that I’m much too open and honest about my life, my struggles, the things I want, need, expect. I have chosen to expose my life through blogging, Facebook, Instagram. I grew up a fat child in a family of other fat people and the only time we talked about it was when someone lost weight or someone was being shamed in to not eating something because they “needed” to lose weight.  As an adult, I will not live that way.  I will not be shamed in to stealing green apples from a neighbors tree and sneaking home after school to quickly make a tiny apple tart, eating it so immediately from the oven that it burned my mouth, and cleaning up before my mother got home from work just because I wanted it but knew it would not be ok to ask for. I will not live a life of denial for acceptance. And I will tell my stories as they happen, today and everyday. But only because these women, the women of the Fat Underground with their Fat Liberation Manifesto paved the way from me to do so. And I will continue to weep…but they will be tears of determination, born from the strength and hard work of those who came before me and the hope for those who will come after me.  I look forward to a future where the only writing being done about fat oppression is in our history books.

    The poem below is by Sharon Lia Robinson and was published in Shadow on a Tightrope. It speaks to the deepest parts of me.

    whoever i am i’m a fat woman

    the space of a silhouette
    entering the space of a silence

    curvatures of silk
    caverns flooding
    welcome to a canyon:

    she’s a horsewomon
    a tennis match
    a champion runner

    she’s an artist womon
    a desert womon
    a dancer

    she’s a fat womon

    a fashion hall for dreams

    she’s a seeker your lover your sister
    a dreamer a bohemian a thinker
    your doctor she’s a healer
    a psychic her stories will set you free

    herb lady
    clothes designer
    museum curator

    a farmer



    a laughter’s echo
    she’s a fat womon
    a fat womon
    a womon
    bound to cut
    this earth of the shadows inside her

    ballroom dancer

    scene stealer wheeler dealer

    a leaper a runner a roller

    she’s a fat womon and she’s breathing

    the unknown womon
    the womon who flavours her own song

    she’s a genius
    she’s extraordinary
    she’s an ordinary girl
    she’s a fat womon

    cab driver copper welder tea drinker
    street walker prude

    she’s a blues singer
    a floutist a drummer

    a pin up girl
    an ice skater
    an icecream lover
    a hindu



    a hiker a kite flyer
    your shadow on the tightrope
    she’s a fat womon

    your shadow
    a brake mechanic
    a concert cellist
    a jazz saxaphonist
    leaping on laughter’s echo the rhythms of her life.

    poet playrite witch nun jew

    bathing beauty
    high heeled sexy tramp

    scorpio rising
    rubenesque pearl

    priestess potter shoemaker
    hairstylist jeweler
    thankyou. a furniture design.

    the womon procurred by money
    the womon who is heard above laughter

    the womon who walks beyond
    the streets of desire
    the womon who has always walked these streets
    with passion
    the womon who has taken over the space of her body
    and the womon who has refused to conquer that space.

    worker bohemian boss scholar aristocrat
    roadrunner sailor weaver

    a fat girl
    she’s a wallflower
    socializer leader recluse wanderer



    an advertisement for love:
    in lillian russell days
    you’d follow her
    her bare ankles
    down the rivers muddy edge by foot
    making love to her on your knees

    she’s a stallion a fleet of rivers.

    feel the womon
    whose river bathes in mammoth luxury
    tracing the moons
    that are inside her

    she’s an aesthetic womon
    she’s a plastic womon
    she’s a junkie
    a hobo
    a housekeeper

    stuck up bitch
    fast smiler
    on welfare
    or could be
    she’s a fat womon

    the silent womon
    with a mask around herself

    the womon who is challenged to a duel

    the womon who is tortured

    tied to the bed and raped

    the womon who always sleeps in black
    the womon who never says “excuse me”
    or smiles when she’s supposed to



    the womon whose existence is in question

    rough outrageous dull graceful ingenious

    exciting to be alive as being a fat womon

    she’s a deep sea diver
    a windmill climber
    a motorcycle mama
    and a bicycle rider
    she’s a fat womon

    she’s a snow shoveler
    a short stopper
    a wind lover
    a heart breaker

    certain truths
    will make your heart beat fast
    when you hear them from a fat womon

    you’ll grow pale
    get chills
    but she’s marching toward you
    she’s here and she’s taking back her life.

    a tough springer
    a dead ringer
    watch the stones
    they throw
    her will turn
    to looks of beauty

    the stones
    they throw to works of art
    will turn to looks of beauty.

    It’s On (like Donkey Kong?)


    It felt kinda like this!!

    It’s not like I wasn’t expecting the call, but once it came in, everything began to feel like it was happening too fast and it took a moment to get my bearings.  I’ve been tolerating the pain in my body and the frustration with medical professionals for so long, it hardly seems real that I now have an actual date for surgery to remove the hostile uterus in my body.  I answered the phone while driving to work because when I saw that the caller ID said “Kaiser,” I knew it wasn’t a call I wanted to miss.  The nurse said they had an open date of June 21st and I was like “ok, I’ll take it.”  Hanging up the phone, I felt like a heavy boulder had settled in the pit of my stomach, I was nauseous and my mind was spinning with all that this date meant and with everything that now had to be done before this date.

    Its taken a couple days, but I’m relieved and settled.  I’m ready to get on with life.  I’ve had some encouraging phone calls from dear friends.  More offers of support and lots of time to think, process, and accept that this is REALLY happening.  I’ve also spent the last couple of days at Kaiser doing some pre-op lab work.  It seems that the needle pokes might never end.  I’m nervous and excited.  Putting together a list of things to get done before June 21st, both personally and professionally.  I’ve made my arrangements for sick leave from work and have informed the most important/necessary people in my life about the timing and details.  The list of things to do is growing…at some point I’ll just have to say “enough is enough.” Its not like I don’t have time after the surgery.  But isn’t it funny how suddenly everything becomes so important to accomplish, when some of this has been on the “to do” list for months.  I think it’s probably linked to the whole mortality complex…not that I have concerns about that, but there’s some instinct I think, much like how “nesting” works with pregnant women, that creates this need to get it done now.


    Davinci Surgical Robot – my new best friend.  Wish those were my doctors.  It looks so futuristic and reminds me of some of my favorite scifi shows.

    The thing I feel the best about in my preparations for going under the robotic knife, is my plan for a quick recovery.  Part of this is about the preparation, right (mind and body).  I’m a pretty active person, but I’ve been increasing my activity lately as well.  I participated in the Color Run last weekend (oh so much fun) and am continuing to increase my walking time each day.  I plan to be up on my feet, moving as soon as the Dr says its ok.  I’ve set a goal to be able to participate in the AIDS Walk SF, 10K on July 21st!  I’m joining the FFE Community Team to help raise $2013.  I’ve set a personal goal of $300.

    sf_logo_2013-pms-finalIf you’d like to donate as a way of encouraging my quick recovery and supporting a great cause, please visit my personal fund raising page or for amounts less than $25, you can donate through Paypal.

    So, I think I got this.  I’m focusing on the after and not the during.  I feel like I’ve moved past shaking my fist at the sky in anger and frustration. shaking-fist-at-God

    I’m not excited about the surgery itself.  I’m excited about the possibilities after. I’m not fooling myself in to believing it will all be busy, but focusing on it all just being better.  There’s still a long way to go between today and that 10K walk.  I’m riding the wave of hopefulness.  Of course, you can check back here for updates on how the process, procedure and recovery unfolds.  I really appreciate all the positive feedback and kind words I’ve received from friends and blog readers about sharing this journey.  I’m hoping you continue to find something of value in my sharing as it all moves forward.  I wait now with a deadline on this anticipation…with a great deal of hope.

    Medical Mayhem and the Hostile Uterus (not a bedtime story)

    I read this quote recently that reinforced what I’ve long believed about our bodies not being our enemies. sonya quote for blog

    As often happens, it came across my path at a time when I desperately needed it.  Just last week I sent this text to a very dear friend “My body has betrayed me!” And it will be no secret to my FB friends and family that I have spent nearly as much time at Kaiser Permanente over the last few months than I have anywhere else. I’ve put off writing about what’s been going on in part because I’m still fighting for some internal peace and also because I’m not sure how much or little to share. And I’m the first to admit I have a tendency to over share. I also am hesitant to sound like I’m whining or looking for sympathy. Then a friend asked if I thought writing about it could help someone else (besides providing a way for me to further process). And I acknowledged that perhaps it had the potential and so here I am, writing.

    To make a very long story short, I have a hostile uterus.

    From the pages of my art journal.

    From the pages of my art journal.

    After several years of heightened issues, I’m well versed in all sorts of medical terminology, but to boil it down, my uterus creates chronic swollen villi (clusters of grape sized “tumors”, not fibroids) which hang out and wreak all kinds of havoc internally.  Over the past 3+ years, doctors have treated this non-cancerous condition with a combination of surgical (d&c) and chemical removal of uterine lining. As well as a combination of high dose hormone injections/pills and pain meds.  The biggest issue for me is that it causes persistent painful cramping and unpredictable, prolonged heavy bleeding. The past year has been perhaps the worst, as symptoms have increased and the nonsurgical treatments simply aren’t working any more.  In November, I allowed a new Dr. (whom I really like and trust) to convince me that an IUD would help alleviate many of the symptoms.  I was willing to try almost anything at that point.  By early February I was insisting on a permanent resolution.  Though not quite at the point where I was willing to part with an internal organ, I sought from my doctor a more viable option.

    As we all know, I’m fat.  To the majority in the medical profession that equals high risk and/or causation.  I’ve spent several years piecing together a medical team that does not treat me based on my weight.  My primary care physician is an “obesity” specialist who has never once mentioned to me weight loss surgery, diets, or any other topic related to weight in regards to my health.  In fact, this issue being the exception, I am a healthy fat person (most of us actually are).  My gynecologist matter o’ factly addressed my weight only as a potential risk factor for surgical options, primarily anesthesia.  This I knew and was not bothered by.  She suggested a uterine ablation, an outpatient procedure where they burn back the lining to the base of the uterus; sounds painful, apparently not so much.  This raised the question of ongoing birth control as an IUD would no longer be an option with a thinned uterus and I’ve pretty much ran the bases of hormones and their usefulness.  She suggested a nonsurgical sterilization process (since my hostile uterus makes full-term pregnancy a nonviable option anyway).  I said ok and was referred to one of the two doctors who perform this procedure at the clinic.  The FIRST thing this doctor said to me was, “have you considered weight loss surgery?”  The SECOND thing, “ALL your problems would go away if you would just lose all that weight.”  Note the use of “that” as if it weren’t even in the room with us, but some abstract evil thing hovering outside the door.  I was so unprepared for THIS conversation, I was dumbfounded, paralyzed. I can’t even imagine what story the expression on my face was telling. I was prepared to discuss sterilization procedures. I had questions to ask. I had things to confirm. But none of that mattered because A) she was going to refuse to do the procedure because of my weight and 2) I would not have let that woman touch my beautiful fat body with a ten foot surgical instrument.

    I left that doctor appointment in shock and complete hopelessness.  What I knew is that I couldn’t sanely tolerate what was going on inside my body much longer and every plan that had been put in motion to resolve the issue had just been bulldozed by this weight bigot in a doctor frock. I got to my car and cried.  Not just for me, but for all the stories I’d read and been told about of other wonderfully rad fatties who had received similar treatment from medical professionals. I never had; I thought I had been able to imagine how it might feel. I couldn’t. It was much much worse, dehumanizing, degrading, shaming…. When I spoke with my gynecologist two days later, she was livid.  Even the medical notes had read like a bad fat shaming story.  She was ready to go to the mats for me, to find a doctor who would perform the procedure. But I was done. That had been my breaking point.


    A card given to me by my boss at the university.

    I told her it was time to just take it out.  I wanted her to find the least invasive means to have my hostile uterus removed. I was asserting ownership of my body and was ready to evict!  She took a deep breath and said ok.  Next thing I know, I was scheduled to meet with the Chief of the women’s health department.  He conducts robotic assisted laparoscopic surgical procedures on high risk patients.  And she assured me that if anyone could make this happen it would be him.  I went to that appointment prepared to defend my weight and its non-connection to what was going on in my body.  But I didn’t have to.  He discussed the procedure with me, answered my questions, and asked a few of his own then told me that it was time for a definitive response to the issue.  He inferred that it was likely only a matter of time before the cells in the uterus would become cancerous so it was best to act now.  He said it was not without risk and that although the intention would be to do the procedure laparoscopically, there is a very real chance that they may still have to do an open cavity procedure once they have me on the table.  I am resolved.  And so in late June or early July, I will be having a Robotically Assisted Laparoscopic Hysterectomy with Bilateral Salpingectomy, Possible Bilateral Oophorectomy, Possible Laparotomy, Cystoscopy.  In layman terms, a laparoscopic hysterectomy, leaving my ovaries intact, with the possibility that they may need to cut me open.  The doctor mentioned above, should take note: THIS, THIS is going to make ALL my problems go away!! (ok, not all of them.)

    Here are the things I wish I would have done differently during this journey of medical mayhem (and perhaps where others might learn):

    • I would have had more compassion for my body and accepted early on that this was my body’s way of trying to work its way back to wellness. Instead of feeling betrayed by the very body I claim to love and respect every day.
    • I would have liked to come to an earlier realization that this one organ, which is a part of me, does not truly define me as female.  It would have made it much easier to insist earlier on that they remove it.  I would have spent far less time in pain, discomfort, and worry.
    • I would have taken someone else with me to doctor appointments.  Either to just help “hold on” to all the relevant information, to act as a sounding board for the many thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head and/or to act as an advocate when I was struck dumb with disbelief.  And yes, I have a whole host of friends who would have willingly agreed to sit by my side during the many hours of appointments.
    • I would not have agreed to the IUD.  In the midst of all this other stuff, the IUD has “gone missing” (insert Scott’s joke about the UN looking for WMDs here). In women who have not had children, the IUD has a tendency to migrate (good to know).  Mine has…and the hunt is on, with ultrasounds, x-rays, CT scans, etc.
    • I wish I would have said to the weight biased doctor something along the lines of “oh really, ALL my problems? Will my student loan payments go away? Will my dog’s chronic diarrhea suddenly disappear? And, so on…” It wouldn’t have helped, but it might have made me feel more emotionally satisfied.
    • I wish I would have been more open to asking for the support of my friends, being more honest about the amount of pain I have been in and confided more openly about it all.  I fancy myself to be so independent that sometimes I don’t let others in in ways that would be helpful.  And I have the most awesome friends and support network, so why would I shut them out on any level?

    This journey is not over. The procedure is not on the doctor’s schedule yet. There were some reasonable hoops he asked me to jump through and I’ve done so. Now just patiently awaiting his return to the office (he’s been out for a week) and word that it will be scheduled. I’m eager, but scared. I think that’s healthy. There will be recovery time I’m not looking forward to. A need to rely on the kindness and good hearts of my friends to assist during this time, which is hard for my independent spirit to accept.  And the need to allow time and space for emotional healing as well.  Sounds like a fun summer though, right?

    It’s not my idea of a good time, but I’m so looking forward to having the medical mayhem and hostile uterus out of my life.