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How do we keep from becoming hopelessly depressed when it seems as if every achievement is followed by a setback?

In August 2015 I started seeing a new doctor. I weighed in at 472 lbs. I couldn’t believe I had gained that much weight. I knew I was heavy, but had no idea what the real number was, as my previous doctor ”guesstimated” my weight, as her scale couldn’t read a weight heavier than 350 lbs.

The first year, I modified my diet to follow the diabetic diet my husband was given at the Diabetic Nutrition and Education Center. I lost 62 lbs.

In June of 2016 my power chair broke down and I was unable to get it repaired. My doctor knew I was depressed and struggling, so she added an appetite suppressant to my treatment and encouraged me to force myself to walk. I’d started out pushing my manual wheelchair around the block, working up to a longer distance over time. I started walking twice a day, then recently three times a day. I’ve increased my distance to 1 mile, walking to the dike, once a week. I purchased a rollator (a walker with four wheels and a seat) to make walking a little easier.

Since August 2016 I’ve lost an additional 85 lbs, making my total weight loss 147 lbs. I weigh 325, as of April 11. My goal is to break 300 by my next visit in mid August. My doctor cut the appetiteĀ suppressant in half after only 3 months, and my blood pressure medication by half this January.

I’m finally starting to see results. All of the clothes in my closet are way too big. I can’t keep my dresses or blouses on my shoulders, everything is baggy. I couldn’t keep my underwear up, ordered 2 sizes smaller than I had before and I could no longer wear my bras, had to drop a size and a cup size. The shoes I was wearing a year ago are now too big, as the swelling in my feet and calves has gone down.

My husband just took me shopping for some new clothes and I was able to shop “off the rack” for the first time in more than a decade. It felt so good to try on clothes and have them fit. I don’t have to order my clothes from a catalog anymore.

Feeling good about my accomplishments didn’t come without other difficulties that really discouraged me.

I went for an eye exam in February and was prescribed new glasses. I described the issues I’ve been having with my vision. He said there was a slight change, but everything looked healthy, nerves, muscles, tissue, etc. In a week I had my new glasses, but there was absolutely no improvement in my vision. They asked me to wear them for a week because it can take a little while for eyes to adjust to a new prescription. I did so, still no improvement. I went back to let them know. The doctor saw me again. We talked again about my symptoms. He said he couldn’t see anything that concerned him, but my symptoms were indicative of cataracts. I was scheduled to see an ophthalmologist at an Eye Center near us. The Center rescheduled my appointment, as the doctor wasn’t going to be in the office the day they scheduled me for.

I finally got to see the specialist. He immediately informed me, upon examining my eyes, that I have moderate cataracts in both eyes, the left one being worse than the right. He recommended surgery and wanted to do it as soon as possible. My insurance won’t pay for laser surgery or customized lenses, so I’m having the basic surgery to replace the lenses. He told me I shouldn’t need to wear corrective lenses after the surgery, except for reading.

I had my pre-surgery physical, I got next week to have my lenses measured so the new ones they implant will fit properly, then on May 8 I have my right eye done, on May 15 I have the left eye done.

I felt as if I’d taken two significant steps forward with my weight loss, though the struggle has been becoming more difficult, my pain level much more intense and steady, but learning I have cataracts and have to have two surgeries, I felt as though I got drug back a few steps. It seems like it’s one thing after another.

The surgeon told me I’m going to be frustrated and struggle for a week between surgeries. They will likely take one lens out of my glasses for a week, so I’ll have one lens with a bifocal and one without anything.

When I bought my new glasses in February, I also bought prescription sunglasses. Now I’m hoping, since I bought those glasses based on a misdiagnosis, that they will refund some of my cost and hopefully make things right for me. I won’t know what they are willing to do until I go back, for a follow up after surgery.

I’m frightened and a little excited about the eye surgeries. I am hesitant to have my eyeballs cut with a blade, very nervous about what to expect, but on the other hand the idea that I may not have to wear glasses except to read is almost unbelievable. I’ve worn glasses since the 4th grade. The first thing I do when I wake up is put my glasses on, the last thing I do before bed is take them off, the idea of not having to do that any longer is almost incomprehensible. I just hope the doctor is right, that my sight will be corrected.

The eye doctor did tell me that the surgery will not change the light sensitivity or dry eye I experience.

My husband now needs to have an MRI to address an issue he’s having with his olfactory sense, so we won’t know how serious that may or may not be until after the 24th.

As always, there are ongoing issues with my son’s program, his new habilitation aide is taking a medical leave starting in June, to end, we hope, by November. Hiring a back up who is only available in the Summer. It looks like my son might not be able to get services for about 2 months before his aide comes back.

I feel like my plate is overflowing, not just full. I need to get through these surgeries, get the diagnosis for my husband and learn what has to be done, as far as treatment, and keep focusing on walking, losing weight. I’m trying to plan a 50th Birthday party for him in August, so that’s something nice to focus on when depression and anxiety starts to creep in.