About a year ago, I experienced a heavier than usual dose of anxiety. It was mostly due to Dylan’s sensory processing disorder diagnosis, the guilt that engulfed me, and the chaotic schedule of therapy sessions that came after. My world felt like it was spinning out of control, and I’m the kind of Mama who likes to feel in control, which is no easy task even on a good day! I coped with it all by losing weight. This was not intentional, mind you. Some people eat when they’re stressed, some people don’t. Historically, I’m more inclined to snack under duress, but last fall, my body had its own agenda.
I probably lost about eight pounds over the course of three months. For a person who’d been trying to lose the last five pounds of baby weight since early 2007, it was kind of awesome…except when I thought about it for more than like a minute and surmised that I must’ve been dying from some kind of rare cancer. You see, the whole “lose weight without even trying!” thing isn’t really my style. No, if I want to lose weight, I have to put forth a Herculean effort, and I wasn’t trying at all, which only served to reinforce my tumor theory, make my anxiety worse, and keep the pounds coming off.
Until it stopped. (Lose or gain, it always stops.)
There was good news and bad news. The bad news was that slowly but surely, the weight came back. (“Hello, five pounds. So nice to see you again,” said no one.) Dylan’s progress in therapy was miraculous, the therapy routine developed a rhythm, and even though my anxiety didn’t disappear completely (that will never happen), it loosened its grip. The good news was that, as it turns out, I wasn’t wasting away due to some horrible disease.
Speaking of which, the inspiration for this blog post came because I’m feeling a lot of anxiety over the fact that one week from today – while you’re indulging in delicacies like caffeine, alcohol, and solid food – I’ll be prepping for my second colonoscopy. (“Yeah!” said no one again. )
Editor’s note: If you’re new to the blog, you can catch-up on my colonoscopy adventures here and here and here. Unless you don’t want to, which is fine if you’re easily grossed out, but not fine if you’re avoiding taking care of your own health.)
Do you remember when I saw my gastroenterologist back in March, and I told you the story of how he remembered me because of the big-ass polyp he pulled out of my colon? (I made quite an impression!) I was supposed to have my follow-up colonoscopy this past August, but I got mired down in Dylan’s food therapy schedule. When we ended the program, I had no excuse not to call and schedule the procedure.
So, Tuesday, October 23rd is the big day. How have I been handling my anxiety this time around? I’ve been cooking and baking. (And eating.) Last week, I baked chocolate chip cookies. Twice. I also cooked panko crusted tilapia fillets for the boys one night (Riley loved it, Dylan ran away) and a delicious pasta dish with kale, white beans, and ricotta cheese for Mike another night. Over the weekend, I made chocolate pumpkin brownie bars from scratch. I even roasted a whole pumpkin for the recipe instead of using a can! For Sunday dinner, I made pan seared salmon, roasted root vegetables, and farro sautéed with garlic and mushrooms for the whole family, and tonight, Dylan and I are making macaroni and cheese from scratch. What’s next? I’m prepping for baking a cake for my father-in-law’s birthday this weekend.
With my family history of colon cancer and my very own colon that appears to have a special knack for growing polyps, I have no choice but to be vigilant with my medical care. I just hope the end result of all this anxiety-induced cooking and baking (and gaining) is a clean colon so I can focus my anxiety elsewhere, like on losing five pounds before my 10th anniversary getaway with Mike in December.
Sometimes you lose, sometimes you gain.