Monday, February 24, 2014

Medical Self-Advocacy (and no weight loss talk!)

I advocated for myself today. I have a tooth that had an inadequate root canal last May and it's causing me increasing pain. My dentist sent me to a specialist, who agreed it needs to be re-treated. At the time it wasn't causing much pain, so when we learned my insurance only covers a re-treatment every 12 months and I'd have to wait until May, I sighed, was a little bit disgusted by insurance running my health care decisions, and put a note in my calendar to call the office in April to schedule.

A couple weeks later, my tooth is really bothering me. So today I called my dentist and asked if they could help me advocate to my insurance company that the procedure really needs to happen sooner. Bad news - they were told it's every 24 months, not every 12! Good news - there is a process to appeal this. My dentist is working with the specialist dentist to have them send the required x-ray images and narrative to the insurance company. It could take up to 4 weeks to review but at least the ball is rolling.

In the meantime, ibuprofen is gonna be my best pal.

On a side note, it's really nice to be having a health issue that no one, but no one, thinks is my own fault because of my weight, nor that it could be solved by weight loss. Being treated for my specific health concern with nary a whiff of a suggestion of drastic weight loss tactics is a novel experience, and one I'd love to be able to get used to!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Changes to Notes from the Fatosphere Feed!


As you will hear from many sources if you, like me, follow the Notes from the Fatosphere feed, there are some changes coming. I've been asked to share this with ya'll:

On 30th June, Google Reader will cease to exist. The Fatosphere feed has been moved to Feedly. Until the beginning of July, readers will be able to access NFTF via either Google Reader or Feedly, but from July 1st, you will need a Feedly account to continue to receive the feed.

All you need to do is go to Feedly.com, sign in with your google reader email and password, and follow the instructions to migrate your account from GR to Feedly.

If you don’t currently get the NFTF feed and want to do so, you can sign up for a new Feedly account. You will need either a gmail address, or a Google account for this. Then, once your account is set up, just type ‘notes from the fatosphere’ into the add content box and you’re done.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Puttin' on the Ritz

I grew up steeped in ideas about good foods and bad foods. Eating good foods (or even better, no food at all) made one a good girl, virtuous, and - eventually, presumably - skinny. Eating bad foods made one a bad girl, gluttonous, and fat with all the most negative connotations of fatness that society allows.

I've worked hard to unpack and (to some extent) unlearn these attitudes. I had a moment today when it really reared up. I realized I feel guilty/bad when I eat Ritz crackers. I remember being told they were full of fat and they were not something we ever had in the house growing up.

I wonder... are they really nutritionally that bad? I almost looked at the Nutrition Facts panel when the thought reared its head. But what would that prove? They are not made of air and cardboard, and they are a processed food, so a glance at the facts and figures is not likely to prove they've got the same nutritional content (or lack thereof) as a handful of celery sticks and shut up the guilt that way. Nope, that's staying within the problematic paradigm. It's not about whether they're "bad" or "good" at all. I've gotta use my intuitive eating and HAES skills and shut that sh*t down.

So...
Fact: In an ideal world, I would've brought a lunch, but I didn't.
Fact: The options to go out and purchase near work, and the time it would take to do so, did not work for me today.
Fact: I need to feed my body. Unplanned fasting is not an acceptable option for me.
Fact: I had Ritz crackers in my desk drawer because they're something I'll eat even when I feel crappy and/or don't feel like eating.

Therefore: Ritz crackers were the right choice given the parameters in place today.  

Take that, tape loop in my head!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cruising while Fat: A Response from John Heald

Welp, I'm awake at 3:15am with intense pain throughout my face and jaw. Never had a head cold *quite* like this (and yes, I went to the doctor yesterday and will continue self-care and medical self-advocacy if it doesn't get worse!)... what better way to distract myself than Bones on TV and a blog post?

You may recall that back on January 9, I posted a letter I wrote to the brand spokesman for Carnival Cruises, asking about accessibility as a fat, mobility-impaired woman on their cruise ships. I never saw my question answered on his blog, so I re-submitted my question on Feb 21. Patience is a virtue, because he responded to me yesterday. Only it was kind of a non-answer answer... but here it is, for what it's worth:

Hello Amanda,
I am very glad that you have written to me and please do not worry because we will make sure you and those traveling with you have a brilliant time. Please, when you read this, can you contact Carnival’s guest access services desk and let them know your cabin number? This will be then documented and sent to the ship. I also ask that one week before you sail if you can please contact me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/johnheald and I will alert the ship and make sure you are well looked after. We have a special needs team on board who will look after you during the safety briefing and in a real emergency and, of course, you will be allowed to stay on your scooter. I am here if you have any questions and I wish you all the best of times.
Best wishes.
John


So.... on the one hand, no answers to most of my specific questions. On the other hand, he told me who to contact now, AND told me that if I contact him personally 1 week before we sail he'll make sure to alert the ship and make sure we're taken care of. So....meh. I'd kinda rather have answers to my specific questions to set my mind at ease and/or give me a course of action now, than a blanket "don't worry, we'll take care of you." But "we'll take care of you" is better than nothing. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Seeing my impact

When I first started on my fat acceptance journey, many people close to me didn't get it. As we all know, fat hate and pro-weight-loss are so normalized in our society that it can take a long, LONG time to unlearn it and re-calibrate ourselves to acceptance of body diversity and weight neutrality and health as a thing totally separate from weight.

Despite knowing all this, it particularly stung when my mom didn't instantly get it. The reasons why are her story to tell, though from the pieces she's shared with me I know that among other things, she got her share of crap for being "fat" growing up, and so it broke her heart to see her daughter suffering because of her weight. (Well, because of society and medicine's views on my weight, but... we're speaking about her perspective, back then.)

Over the years, she's listened as I ranted, soapboxed, and monologued. She's read my blog, supported me emotionally and otherwise, and asked questions. Over the years, I've seen her really change from the classic "but what about your HEALTH?" worries to more and more true acceptance. Still, I didn't know if it was a change in her actual feelings about weight and health, or if she still thought those worries, but was honoring my expressed boundaries not to talk about it.

So I was absolutely floored, honored, amazed, and more to receive this message from her today on the FB:
"Grrr. This is the message I sent to my new "friend" just before I unfriended her!
'I accepted your friendship because I thought you were interested in art and jewelry. I have close friends who have eating disorders that are set off by diet talk. I am not interested in that and therefore will need to unfriend you. Best regards, [my amazing mom]'"
Holy crapasaurus. I... there are no words. Thanks, mom. I love you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cruising While Fat: Doing my research, asking for help...

I've spent a lot of time over the past few days researching Cruising While Fat (and cruising in general), as my fiance and I have decided we'll be doing a short, 4-night cruise as the first leg of our honeymoon. I am, of course, concerned about various aspects of the trip. As a fat person (fat enough to not fit in many standard chairs, etc) and a disabled person (unable to walk/stand more than 3-5 minutes without severe pain), I'm definitely always worried about new/unknown situations and environments. Hence the obsessive researching.

I've learned a lot from various online articles, forums, and blogs I can't possibly hope to reference here. (I started by searching for info about mobility scooters and accessible accommodations, but it's been a series of whirlwind trips down the rabbit hole with 20-30 tabs open at a time as I followed whatever train of thought caught my eye! I will say I think my favorite resource overall is CruiseCritic.com - in particular the forums.)

Along the way, someone pointed me to John Heald's Blog. John is Senior Cruise Director for Carnival Cruises, and it was mentioned that his blog has great info and that he often helps people personally/answers fan questions. I thought I'd send him a quick little note and it turned into a veritable NOVEL as I poured out my questions. Here's hoping he answers!

Hi John,

I stumbled on your blog as I was researching in preparation to be a first-time cruiser this July, and I'm so glad I did!

My future husband and I hope to begin our honeymoon with a Monday through Friday cruise from Long Beach, CA, to Ensenada, Mexico on the Carnival Inspiration this coming July. We're both first-time cruisers, and I've been reading and reading on Carnival.com, on the forums, blogs, etc. I am getting more and more excited - and more and more convinced this will only be the first of MANY Carnival vacations! I can't wait to celebrate the beginning of our marriage on this beautiful ship. I've read tons of advice to 1st time cruisers from longtime cruisers, but I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on this as well. I'm sure you have a different perspective and will have great advice!

I also have a few specific questions, that are far more anxiety-producing and that I really hope you can help me with. I've found tons of great information online but as a fat and disabled woman I have a few concerns that I haven't been able to find answers on. I really hope you can help me.

First off, let me start by telling you the good news I have read online. People say:
--Overall, Carnival has the most spacious standard cabins, so that larger people without additional special needs may be comfortable without needing a handicapped accessible room.
--Carnival has a great bathroom layout, and that because of the way the shower is arranged, even larger people can comfortably shower.
--Hosts and wait staff are always very responsive in accommodating requests for armless chairs in the dining room, and sometimes even anticipate the request without being asked.
--Many theatres and lounges have sofas and bench seats that are comfortable for people of all sizes, in addition to/instead of traditional theatre seats with arms that may not fit all bodies.

This is all GREAT news, and did a lot to alleviate my worries. However, I'm really hoping for your help because I have some worries specific to my size (at the larger end of the large-people scale).
--There are two different types of accessible cabins, "modified" and "accessible" -- which would be the right choice for someone of size with mobility limitations, using an electronic mobility scooter to get around the ship (but able to walk around the cabin)? Also, I was told that accessible cabins are only available for the "inside" and "outside" cabin classes, and not for the Jr Suite. We'd like to do a suite but don't want to get ourselves in trouble with accessibility issues. Can you advise?
--Can you help me locate contact information for approved vendors for rental of electric mobility scooters for use on the Carnival Inspiration?
--I read a horror story about a larger woman on a mobility scooter breaking the gangplank and nearly falling into the gap between the ship and the dock. Can you calm my fears by sharing the weight limit of the gangplank on the Carnival Inspiration?
--Is there a weight limit on the toilets in the rooms? I see that they are wall-mounted rather than supported on the floor. Is this the same in the accessible cabins? I read one story where a self-identified "SSBBW" woman expressed concerns about the toilet in her room and the staff were able to install a block under the toilet to support it. Is this something you've heard of? Can it be arranged ahead of time? 
--Will it be possible to sit during the safety drill? I cannot stand comfortably for more than 2-3 minutes.
--Are there any other things that you've learned over the years that larger cruisers should anticipate/be prepared to do differently?

Thank you for your patience in reading this long email, and I appreciate any thoughts and advice you can share to make this truly the honeymoon we are hoping and wishing for!

My sincere thanks in advance for your help,

Amanda


Have you gone on a cruise as a fat person? What advice can you share?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Workout Experiment: Day 10

I woke up naturally, 1 minute before my alarm clock, today! It could be that I actually went to bed before 11pm. It could be that I just happened to hit the sleep cycles just right. Or... could it be that this exercise project is already bearing fruit? Wouldn't THAT be cool... :)

Day 10: Decided to try out my commenters' suggestion of exercising in the morning before my shower. Feeling on a high from waking up naturally, I did 50 seconds before hitting the shower and getting ready for my day.

Feeling good so far... hope I don't hit an energy slump later today or anything. I'll just have to be mindful of how I'm doing throughout the day and see whether am exercise works for me.

PS - This is the first day where I'm putting two cupcake stickers right next door to each other (aka exercised 2 days in a row). I kinda thought today I was due, but it turns out not. Cool!

PPS - the word "exercise" is starting to feel less scary/yucky/OMG-anything-called-exercise-is-gonna-be-hard-painful-and-humiliating and more EMPOWERING. Again... this is all very cool! My mood is on a pretty nice high today!