Being Sick Totally Sucks, but not in a Good Way

17d7e-get-a-sick-day-off-from-school-without-going-to-the-doctor-step-4It’s flu season, but you probably already know that. If you’re in the first few days, you’re probably bed-ridden, spreading germs like crazy, and feeling really icky. So, put the laptop/tablet/phone away, get the sleep you need, try to alleviate your symptoms, and keep hydrated.

I’m a huge believer in reducing symptoms, so I’m totally open to over the counter medicines as long as they don’t do me more harm than good (always check the list of active ingredients). I also believe there are a lot of common sense things I can do, involving no specific drugs, or vitamins, or even foods, that still make me feel better enough to think about resuming life as normal.

So, this list of recommendations is for the 3rd, 4th, or 5th day of being sick, the ones I call ‘Could I?’ Days; when I feel significantly better and start wondering if I should get back to work, run errands, and clean up. Then, after trying to do just that, I realize that although I’m clearly on the mend, I am not well enough to resume my life, yet. If that is you, try some of my home remedies to feel better:

1) Take a nice hot shower/bath to help break up the phlegm, taking in deep breaths of steam. Being clean automatically makes you feel better.

2) Put on clean PJs/Nightie/ T-shirt and sit up in a chair for a while with a blankie tight around your chest for warmth.

3) Have a cuppa your favorite hot drink (with lemon and honey, if possible), inhaling the steam between sips.

4) Light a scented candle if you have one, or bring something that smells good near you. It’s entirely possible I’m crazy, but I find it opens my sinus passages for my nose to have something to search for.

5) If you have them, get each one of your furkids to purr or wave their tails – I have three cats and on those days I can please every one of them I win the trifecta. When you stimulate love and pleasure for them, they return it to you. Love heals.

6) Laugh out loud. Scientists have discovered that the act of laughing creates endorphins that help in healing, so watch comedy: a favorite film, TV show, even cartoons if that’s what gets you to giggle. I like witty dialogue, so I often end up rewatching The Philadelphia Story, or Harvey.

I’m recommending watching something over reading something because what I do involves so much writing. If you spend more time using your eyes watching videos all the time, or always on a small screen, pick up a good book to get lost in. (I recommend my new release, When Butches Cry, to carry you away for a few hours.) Give those neural pathways a day off.

7) Take frequent naps. Doctors (my sister and father) have told me that the majority of healing happens during sleep. The body is on ‘light duty’, as it were, and that gives it the time to repair damage and fight enemy germs.

You’ll feel better soon, I hope! Remember, you are in charge of keeping basic necessities going so the body can heal optimally. In other words: Take care of you, You.

How I Lost Eighty Pounds in One Year

b2bd2-fatsilhouetteI went from 237 lbs The Deed is Done, Dithering Done Withto 157 lbs 

from Dec. 15, 2015, to Dec. 15, 2016

Two-hundred-thirty-seven pounds is the highest weight on record for me, and that was taken a long time ago.  I’ve been heavier, I’m sure of it and I’ve been lighter, sometimes significantly so, but since I refused to be weighed at ninety-nine percent of my doctor appointments, there’s no record of it except the occasional photograph.

Struggling with my weight is a life-long endeavor. At eighteen months I got my first lesson in holding my stomach in; my diaper fell off. I’ve tried so many diets I can’t even remember them all. I’ve joined gyms, walked enough miles to fill a Fitbit, resized portions, tried hypnosis, therapy, and popped a zillion diet pills/cookies/candies and even expanding packets of some substance that was supposed to fill my stomach and then pass harmless through me. Since I never saw anything pass through me, I can only assume they were absorbed directly (ugg) or are still in there somewhere (oh yuck!).

I’ve lost weight, successfully I might add, many times in my lifetime, losing almost this much weight before, and lesser amounts as well.  All told, I’m sure I’ve gained and lost at least five hundred pounds over my lifetime. The yo-yo phenomenon was so cruelly automatic that I’ve completely lost faith in dieting as a permanent solution to obesity.

So, how did I finally do it? Well, if you’re hoping for an easy miracle, get ready to be disappointed.

I had bariatric surgery, a Roux en Y, to be exact.

Bariatric surgery reduces your stomach size and bypasses some of your intestines. This limits the amount you can eat at any one time and guarantees a really nasty sensation when you ingest too much sugar at once.

But perhaps more importantly, the medical group I went through insisted on thorough testing and comprehensive education about not only the procedure itself but also the other physical, psychological, and emotional changes that would take place as my body rapidly shed pounds. It took from October of 2014 until December 2015 while I was probed, tested, analyzed, educated, and had proved my deep conviction with four weeks of a liquid only diet to be approved for the final step, the operation itself.

I was in the operating room for over four hours while they undid my Nissan (a procedure that helped manage my GERD) and then performed the Roux en Y. Thank God I’d already had my gallbladder removed, or that would have taken yet another few hours.

I spent the next month on liquids only, then graduated to three months of blenderized-to-applesauce-consistency solids. I slowly reintroduced vegetables (so well cooked they were limply translucent) and ultra-lean meat back into my diet. Peanut butter became my best friend and the only taste of sweetness (outside of diet applesauce) in my world. I survived a Christmas feast while still on a liquid diet, a candy-less Valentine’s to avoid the dreaded ‘dumping’ syndrome, a quarter cup of Easter dinner, Fourth of July cookouts that consisted of one hotdog, various birthdays with a forkful of cake, and a child-sized plate at Thanksgiving. Twice I left the country, only to severely limit my tastes of foreign cuisine.

The fat melted away so rapidly I missed the chance to wear clothing long hanging in my closet in case I ever fit into them again. Before I knew it, nothing I owned fit me.

My entire life changed. I feel healthier now than I ever have in my life. I learned things about myself and our society I never knew, discovered for myself the differences between the way large and smaller people are treated, and experienced emotions that surprised me. I also suffered a sense of depression and disappointment directly at odds with my success.

But this post has gone on long enough. I’ll share more about my journey another time. For now, let me just say this:

I lost more than weight and gained more than self-esteem.

Check back soon for more about my journey from being morbidly obese to hearing the magic words from my doctor, “You’re no longer overweight.”


Interview With the One and Only Genta Sebastian PLUS FREE BOOK!

A few more days to make a comment on the original blog post for a chance to win a free copy of When Butches Cry!

Women and Words

Hey Genta! Welcome to Women and Words! So happy to have you here, and so excited for your new book, When Butches Cry! Congrats!! Can you tell us a little about you?

Hi Jessie! Thanks for the welcome. Well, I’ve chased the Earth around the sun quite a few times now, and hopefully learned a thing or two along the way. One of my pleasures is telling people stories that somehow improve their lives. It’s what I live for, actually.

Tell us a little about your checkered past!

I’m an award-winning novelist with a, yes, checkered past that includes taking a year off to drive an RV around the United States, performing as a storyteller for places like the Majestic Yosemite Lodge, and public speaking in places as varied as Disneyland and the Foxwoods Resort & Casino. Nowadays I’m content to sit at home in the Twin Cities with my…

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