I've been back in New Jersey since mid-June, and if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know it's been a tough couple months.
In California, I felt a change start to occur. I was outside more, and I felt more alive. Each emotion was felt keenly and I wasn't burying my head in pillows and sleeping away the day when I felt the slightest twinge of anxiety. My depression was starting to melt. I had bad days but they were fewer, because I was in a place I truly love. I left energized, promising I'd continue to work on myself here.
But I didn't. I fell back into bad habits.
CA was about working to make me better, a step at a time. When I felt sick, I let myself be okay about feeling shitty, because I knew it was hard getting used to a "normal" schedule and life again, in a notso normal body. (Sadly to say, I don't JUST suffer from a disease called laziness.)
When I got home, my will to reenergize collapsed. I am still working on finding out why, but I've got a theory.
In NJ, I have my cushion. I have my parents and brother as caretakers, to help me and cook for me and do my laundry. I took advantage of this, thinking it would help me achieve my goal to return to CA refreshed and well.
But this backfired. Since I was taking no responsibility for my health, I let it fall apart again. All the work my body had done in CA was practically destroyed.
Here, I have Sadie three days a week and another nanny job 20 minutes away. When I wasn't focusing on the kids, I was sleeping and eating poorly. I let myself get rundown and because I was tired, I let myself become lazy. I kept thinking: "I'll be better in LA."
In CA, I was surrounded by two little girls nearly 24/7. It was exhausting, but it was awesome, because they are so fun and cute. Because I needed to be OK to care for them, I treated myself better.
Here, I wasn't up or active enough. I do a lot of things with Sadie and after babysitting, I get into bed. I stopped taking my nightly walks and instead wasted brain cells on reruns of ER.
I developed more pain and a lot more trouble with my blood sugar. And then, two weeks ago, I had scans and blood work done. The results scared me.
The ultrasound showed fatty deposits in my liver and inflammation and gallstones in my gallbladder. I told close friends this information without really bothering to research or explain it. It scared me and it scared the ones close to me.
My plan to move to CA was crashing, and fast.
Until this week, when I did some research, talked to friends who'd been through this and leaned on the support of my Type 1 Diabetes group. I also talked to my doctor. And this is what I learned:
The gallstones I have cause upset stomachs and can eventually cause blockage, which would lead to immediate surgery. But mine are quite small and won't need surgery if I don't want it. And I'm not going to have my gallbladder removed to resolve indigestion and nausea, my major symptoms; people have told me surgery made them worse. Most older people in their 50-60s have them, and they walk around with them for years. I can get surgery if I want, but I am going to treat it with diet and see how I do. Eventually I'll need surgery, but hopefully that's a long way off.
The same treatment goes for these fatty deposits in my liver. It's called Non-Alcholic Fatty Liver and it is a complication of my diabetes. HOLY SHIT, I thought. I freaked out for a week over this, thinking that my liver was failing and I'd need a transplant asap. But I had blood work done, and my liver function tests are completely normal. And I learned that fatty deposits in the liver are completely reversible with better controlled diabetes.
The news I got was still crappy. And I had a huge decision to make. I had two options: square away my health issues here with my cushion, or say screw it and go to LA*.
I am choosing the latter. But with a big f-ing asterisk.
*Before I go to LA, I will be put on a continuous glucose monitor. This device, called a CGM, checks your blood sugar every minute. It knows when you're in range or when you are too high or low. When I'm too high, my liver suffers. I get terrible headaches. I sleep constantly.
When I am low, I am wobbly and unsure. I also suffer headaches and dizziness. It is dangerous and can be life-threatening. And these lows were a major reason I was going to stay in NJ. Because I didn't think I could take care of myself if I were suffering from these lows.
But with the CGM, I won't ever have a scary low. I'll be alerted by alarm when I am too high or low. This will help put my diabetes back under control. It will reverse any liver damage. It will alleviate my anxiety. It will plug me back into life. It'll ensure that I can take care of myself and others.
When it comes down to it, I can't live here with my cushion forever. I love my family and niece and I love home but I want to have a life again. It's time for me to permanently move to California.
I can't do this without support, but I have my cousin and friends in LA.
And I can't do it without doctors, which is why I have an appointment with a nationally ranked diabetes doctor three days after I fly in. And that juicer I bought and have been using? It's coming. So is my bike. (And my helmet because c'mon.)
This is a big step for me. It's not going to be easy. Because of my health, nothing will ever be easy. But I've put bolts in this plan. This plan has insurance. This plan has a foundation stronger than any of my other plans have ever had before.
I am emboldened. I am fucking ready.