Sunday, December 30, 2018

Cie's Year-End Wrap-Up 2018

I love the above image. Back in the late 1990s, I went to school for one semester for graphic design but dropped out. I didn't know it at the time, but I had untreated type 2 bipolar disorder, OCD, and borderline personality disorder, three exciting co-morbid conditions which happen to feed each other in ways that are just, shall we say, really special. I wouldn't be properly diagnosed until 2004.
When I think of how many years were wasted mired in shame and stigma because I had no idea in this Universe what was going on with me, I thought I was just an attention-seeking fuckup, it makes me very angry. Granted, some of the tools available to me now simply didn't exist when I was younger. E-commerce was in its infancy in the 1990s. There were no smartphones. 
Hell, even GPS was still in its infancy. (I still have my TomTom Go.) The job I have today could not have existed in the 1990s. Back when dinosaurs and Ronald Reagan roamed the Earth in 1984, I delivered pizzas. Even the TomTom Go was as yet unheard of. How the hell my dyslexic ass didn't get lost more often, I'll never know. When I think of trying to do my job without Waze, it gives me that feeling of waking up with a start after a terrible dream and praising whatever powers there might be that the dream isn't real.
So, I didn't initially come here to talk to you about type 2 bipolar disorder, but now that I've thought about it, I want to talk about it. This is how people tend to think of bipolar disorder, and it's a reasonably accurate depiction of type 1 bipolar disorder.

The post that the image comes from is worth reading.
The late Patty Duke had type 1 bipolar disorder. She is a personal heroine of mine. Her book, Call Me Anna, helped me understand better the things that I had gone through and to help me forgive myself for some of the truly awful decisions I made while hypomanic. 
Being diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder helped me understand why I had seen some features of bipolar disorder in myself but was convinced that I didn't have it because I'd never experienced a full mania. I tended to go from crushingly depressed to positive and overly functional. I never flew off to Vegas and got married to a guy I barely knew or anything of that nature, although I did convince myself several times that the Universe wanted me to be with guys who raised red flags like nobody's business and who, unsurprisingly, turned out to be horrible and abusive.
When I was hypomanic, I would take on second jobs and be the world's greatest employee that everyone loved until everything came crashing down and everyone ended up thinking I was the world's biggest flake and fuckup. I would be mired in depression which felt like being at the bottom of a dark pit that there was no way out of. 
When I would finally, miraculously, find myself pulled out of that pit, I would admonish myself that from now on I would be positive and productive and would never go back THERE again. When I inevitably went back there again, I would shame and berate myself for being a worthless fuckup.

Click to enlarge. 

This is a fairly standard bipolar disorder screening questionnaire. It tends to miss people with type 2 bipolar disorder.
Was there ever a period of time when I wasn't myself? No. I was always myself, although I often didn't like it very much. 
The late Peter Steele of Type O Negative, who had type 1 bipolar disorder, describes reflecting on occasions following a manic episode where he felt that there was something he could have learned from the time in question if only he could remember it. I never experienced anything like that.
I've never presented as talking extremely fast or seeming particularly hyper. I've never slept well anyway, so the "sleeping less than usual" criteria didn't send up any red flags. The late Julia Lennon described having periods where she wouldn't sleep for a week at a time, and doctors didn't know what was wrong with her. She was institutionalized on several occasions.
I did get involved in ill-advised relationships with abusive guys, but I never flew off to Vegas to do so. I took on multiple jobs and then crashed, often losing all of my jobs. When I was good, I was very very good, and when I was bad I was nonfunctional. 
I speak openly about my mental health struggles because I would be very happy if no-one else ever had to fight the way I've had to fight. I've been told that I should keep my psych problems hidden because people would avoid me if they knew I was one of THEM. I was told I would never find a job if people knew I'd been to a therapist. 
I was also told that I was "just being dramatic," that I needed to "stop seeking attention," that I was "just being lazy," and that I brought all my problems on myself with my "negative thinking." I can tell you that none of these criticisms did a damn thing to help me improve my life or to do anything except hide my problems and hate myself because I was never able to develop any decent coping skills for dealing with them until I was in my middle years. At this point, I'm still cleaning up the messes made by attempting to hide my problems, such as a storage unit full of stuff and a mountain of debt.
We've come a long way when it comes to mental illness in Western society, but we haven't come far enough. There is still a tendency to see people with mental issues as less intelligent or less capable or as loose cannons just waiting to explode and harm others. The truth is, people who live with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than to perpetrate violence.
There is a tendency to see jobs such as mine as "lesser" and to believe that the working poor, unemployed, and homeless "deserve" to not have basic amenities or a living wage. This needs to end. Everybody deserves the basic amenities, whether or not they are capable of working a "normal" job or at all.
I heard the term "lazy" so many times that I ended up with a terrible complex about taking breaks or doing things that are purely enjoyable and will never turn a profit. I once read a statement from a counselor which said that the term "lazy" should be replaced with "demotivated," because asking a person why they are so lazy shuts down the conversation and thus any chance of helping the person, whereas asking them why they are feeling demotivated leaves the conversation open and may help create a plan for helping them.
Exploitative shows like "Hoarders" should not exist. Like, at all. Capitalizing on people's illness for entertainment is twisted and barbaric. Hoarding is a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is the symptom of malfunction in a certain area of the brain. It is not "laziness." Dealing with hoarding tendencies is exhausting, time-consuming, and life-destroying. People with hoarding tendencies need help from a compassionate professional, not a bunch of lookie-loos seeking schadenfreude at another's expense.
My son is helping me deal with the lifetime of hoarding without help contained in my storage units and the closets and spare rooms of the mobile home that I hope to have in a condition where I can think about selling it by the end of next year. With his help, the storage unit, which is about the size of a one-car garage, is 1/3 of the way clear at this point, and we are hoping to have it entirely clear by June of 2019. 
My late father attempted to "help with cleaning," but his help really only traumatized me and made me feel more ashamed, which didn't lead to me keeping up with the process. My son is understanding when I tell him that I can't deal with a certain item at the moment and we'll need to put it aside. We move on to the next thing. He also suggests creating scrapbooks and art from my vast collection of images from magazines, unlike my father, who told me that "anything that lands on the floor needs to be thrown in the garbage."
My father had piles of papers and magazines all over his house. He had OCD with hoarding tendencies too, but he came from an era when one locked their mental health issues in an attic and never spoke of them. This helped nothing, which is why I have come out of the attic and am speaking openly about my struggles.
For years I refused to make New Year's resolutions because I had learned to equate them with "new you in 52" crap, which really benefits no-one but the billion-dollar diet industry. I refuse to have or promote weight loss as a "health goal." 
I spent 33 years in yo-yo dieting hell trying to hate myself thin. There is no way I'm going to endorse that behavior. I'm going batshit at this point with all the blogs in my sidebar promoting "get paid to lose weight" garbage. You'll never see me promoting these things because dieting inevitably fails for everyone but statistical unicorns.
Diets don't work. Health at Every Size works. If you want to start exercising, increase the amount you're exercising, or eat fewer processed foods, great, but do it for overall health, not for weight loss.
We'll all be a "new you in 52" anyway. We'll have new experiences behind us, and many of our cells will have been replaced by new ones. Don't buy into the "new you in 52" crap. It only leads to frustration. Instead, pursue things that will lead to a more authentic you. 
Your authentic you has nothing to do with a number on the scale or even the amount of money in your bank account. It is the you who is true to themselves, which has nothing to do with looks or status at all.

Best wishes in the coming year,

Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Xmahanukwanzyule 2018

(This post was written on the Deliver Me blog and cross-posted)

Happy holidays if you celebrate them and best wishes for prosperity in the approaching year!
It has been an eventful and not terribly lucrative year here in the World of Nether, but many of our efforts are still in their infancy and I like to think that things are looking up and that perseverance still counts for something. To a degree, these are uncharted waters that we are navigating with the rise of the gig economy. So, what can we do to make this unprecedented situation work for us?
For my own part, I have a knack for speaking my mind, such as it is, and for telling it like it is from my point of view. This has tended to get me in trouble, but the older I get the less fucks I give. 

However, I do not intend to use this so-called skill only to bitch about everything that pisses me off. I would also like to use it to help others. 
For many years, I worked as a nurse's aide and then a nurse. I helped those who were too infirm to care for their own needs. This included the elderly and special needs children. However, my own constitution declined sharply in the past couple of years, and I can no longer do the physically demanding jobs that I had been doing since 1988.
My income declined sharply when I was no longer able to work as a nurse. Between 2015 and 2017, I was pulling up to $1000 per week if I worked 60 hour weeks. However, I was constantly exhausted and always in a mental fog working this many hours. In some ways I'm amazed that I never made any critical errors.
I am unable to work full time at this point, and my disabilities put me out of the running for most "normal" jobs. Because of my health issues, I need Medicaid. But if I make more than $1100 a month, I lose Medicaid. To me, it seems as if I'm being punished for being disabled. I think that punishing people for being disabled is one whole steaming load of crap. I also think that Charles Dickens would have a field day writing about the current political climate in the era of Lord Dampnut. In fairness, being British, he might be more inclined to write about Brexit and Lord Dampnut's British soul twin, Boris Johnson.
In any case, I am trying to piece together a life that works. Other than being broke and physically unable to do certain things that I used to be able to do without issue, there are many ways in which I like my life after disability better than my life before disability. I like not being enslaved by a time clock. I much prefer soft deadlines to Draconian ones.
Overall, I am a creative rather than a practical person. If I could, I would spend my days writing, learning to draw, engaging in Photoshop Phucquery, hand crocheting, loom knitting, woodworking, making soap and candles, and whatever other artsy fartsy crafty wafty pursuit happened to strike my fancy. I attempt to keep my artsy fartsy side separate from the Deliver Me blog, but there is inevitable bleed-through, and I'm not going to fight the tide too hard.
If you are interested in opportunities for writers or occasional shares of poetry and prose, visit the Horror Harridans Writing Sisterhood page.
If you are interested in WAH opportunities, recipes, and suggestions for saving money, visit the Deliver Me blog.
If you are interested in reading high quality Kindle smut, visit the Naughty Netherworld Press blog. This blog is safe for work, but some of the places it links to aren't. 
If you are interested in obtaining a Tarot reading to help you kick-start the new year, click here.
May you and yours have a pleasant holiday if you celebrate, or a good day in general if you don't.

Best wishes,

This offer is valid through December 30, 2018

This offer is always in season

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Sly Speaks: Why I Noped Out of my Hysterectomy

I'm 53 years old and I have a history of sexual trauma and issues with my endocrine system including my reproductive system. I have PCOS. I have a degree of endometriosis, and I have polyps and fibroids in my uterus. The fibroids are small, not some grapefruit-sized thing.
I avoided having pelvic exams for close to 30 years because of past sexual trauma and fear of being shamed for being a larger person. I finally found a doctor I could trust to be honest with about my plumbing problems, so to speak. I see her quarterly because of my endocrine issues. When I told her that I had my "annual period" and was hoping this would be the last year for that mess, she said that wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist.
The gynecologist was a very sweet person who made me feel at ease. She never shamed me for my size. She did a D&C, which sucked because I felt like someone had been up in my business with a cheese grater, but I wanted to rule out cancer. The biopsy showed that I have simple endometrial hyperplasia with no cellular atypia. My risk of developing uterine cancer is 1.6% greater than the risk for someone who has no hyperplasia.
Hyperplasia is par for the course in someone with diabetes and PCOS. I produce too much estrogen. My primary care doctor is having me try a bio-identical progesterone, which may reverse some of the issues with my plumbing. One can always hope.
I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy, but I canceled the night before. Let me be clear that I'm not fanatical about women keeping their uterus come hell or high water. My son's best friend's mother had such horrible endometriosis that it had invaded her digestive tract. Some people have fibroids the size of a full-term fetus. There is no reason that these people should be forced to keep an organ that is malfunctioning to that degree. But this is not my case.
I always had miserable periods from hell and was glad when they came to an end. Initially, I was gung-ho to get rid of my reproductive organs, but after doing some research I realized I might be trading one problem for another (i.e. my incontinence could get significantly worse) and the inside of my hoo-hah could turn into the Great Southern Desert for the remainder of my life. In the end, it didn't seem worth it to undergo major surgery for a 1.6% higher risk of possible uterine cancer down the line.
Although two of the doctors involved in the process are women themselves (the person who would have done the surgery is a man) and they were all respectful to me, not a single one of them said a thing about the downside of having a hysterectomy. I think that doctors are taught to have this attitude that post-menopausal women are no longer able to have children, so why not just take the uterus out? But major surgery comes with risks. For me to agree to it, the risks have to outweigh the benefits, and they simply do not in this case.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Image copyright Juliahenze

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Realizations about My Surgery

Trigger warning for mention of sexual assault, eating disorders, and medical procedures.
I am realizing that part of my issue with this surgery has to do with PTSD rather than the fact of having surgery itself. I must say that berating, belittling, and terrorizing a person in a vulnerable situation can have lifelong consequences.
I had my first surgery when I was eight years old. I had multiple ear infections as a child to the point where hearing loss was a real possibility if something wasn't done. They removed my tonsils and adenoids and put drainage tubes in my ears.
The protocol in those days was to send the family home, so I was this dumb 8-year-old kid left alone in a hospital with strangers. I wandered down to the playroom and was approached by a nurse. He told me to come back to my room so I followed him. He proceeded to bring out what looked to me like the biggest needle in the world and tried to draw my blood.
I had quite a needle phobia and I screamed and pulled my arm away and tried to hide. He called another nurse in and he held me down while she drew my blood. He said "Look at what you did. Now we have to do this again. Shame on you!"
I had this dreadful roommate who delighted in telling me how much the surgery was going to hurt. To this day, I think shared hospital rooms are an awful idea.
When I had to have a c-section, I knew that I was going to be poked with needles and have invasive exams so I was steeled for it, but this (rhymes with hunt) of a nurse added insult to injury by treating me with disdain, trying to force a catheter on me, and throwing the emesis basin at me in disgust when I felt nauseous after being given magnesium sulfate because I had toxemia. This bitch should not have been dealing with people in any capacity, let alone a medical setting.
I have a history of sexual trauma, and I did not even get one of "those" exams for close to 30 years. After my son was born, I said: "to hell with this, nobody is digging around down there anymore." 
The only reason that changed is that I finally found a doctor that I could trust not to shame me for my body type and who I felt comfortable talking about the plumbing with. I have quarterly visits with her because of my endocrine problems. During my April visit, I mentioned to her that I had my "annual period" and lamented that I thought I was done with this crap but every year for the past couple of years I had one very heavy period. She said that wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist.
Thus began the year of my life revolving around my plumbing.
I don't want my life revolving around my plumbing anymore. I no longer have a need for my plumbing. In truth, most of my life has revolved around my plumbing. I always had miserable, heavy periods. I started having issues with overactive bladder and urge incontinence (not the more common stress incontinence) when I was in my late thirties. Not the dainty "light bladder leaks when you sneeze or exercise" that the advertisements like to talk about in a sweet and discreet way. Full-on flooding. NOT FUCKING FUN! Highly embarrassing. But I figured it was something I'd just have to live with because I had no intention of letting anybody root around down there.
So, this past year I went through feeling like I was being raped by a robot for a half hour (that damn vaginal ultrasound) and feeling like someone had gone up in my business with a cheese grater (that damn D&C). I do not EVER want to feel either of those things again as long as I live.
While the risk of endometrial hyperplasia becoming cancer is low in my case because the cells are normal, there is a degree of increased risk. I also have fibroids and polyps. I have cystic ovaries, so there's no reason those shouldn't come out too. The tubes serve no function if both the ovaries and the uterus are gone, so there's no reason not to take them as well. The only thing I am going to ask about reconsidering leaving is the cervix because it presents as normal and, apparently, it provides the stuff that allows the plumbing access to be a self-cleaning environment and not become the great Southern desert of the anatomy. Then again, I don't want to have to risk having to have it taken out later, so...I don't know.
I had a person say to me that all women over 40 have fibroids and polyps, implying that I was being foolish for agreeing that this surgery is the correct option in my case. Maybe that is so, but not all of them have endometrial hyperplasia. That is actually the issue of concern, not the fibroids, although they have been causing me trouble for years.
I have honestly never known anyone who had a hysterectomy who regretted it. Everyone I know who has had one has either been neutral about it or said they felt a lot better after it was done. I'm hoping to be in one of these categories. I don't feel sad about losing my reproductive organs. I can't use them anymore and they are causing me trouble.
I'm sure my business really doesn't look that much different from anyone else's business. I don't know. I don't much make it my business to look at people's business. The people who will be doing the surgery see such business repeatedly. It's just business. But, as I said, I do have PTSD and I do have a lot of dislike for my own body because of being shamed for my physical appearance for as long as I can remember. I am also having to fight the disordered eating tendency which is telling me I should maintain my pre-surgery fast even after the surgery is done.
I am having a difficult time with this, and there are no resources.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Unique and Unusual Gifts: I Heart Guts Plushies

Cuddly Uterus by I Heart Guts

This is not my uterus. My uterus resembles a Lovecraftian horror, which is why it is being removed.
This is my gift to myself for undergoing the procedure to remove said eldritch horror.
They have a lot of other viscera and offal made adorable as well, a perfect gift for your weird friends and family members who may be having to endure miserable medical procedures and need a little cheering up, or for aspiring medical students.
I have been enduring a range of unexpected emotions regarding this procedure, even though I have been putting up with issues caused by the eldritch horror for quite some time and it's time for a resolution to those issues. Anxiety about the surgery is to be expected, but I have also been experiencing feelings of remorse and anger as well as bouts of weepiness, which is not par for the course for me. So I bought myself a cuddly uterus to cheer myself. It is due to arrive on Christmas Eve.
Get your own friendly viscera and offal by clicking one of the links below!

Your Hostess Soon To Be Down One Womb,

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sly Speaks: Me Too: The Work Edition

Copyright Tara O'Brien

I was thinking back to a "wonderful" incident which happened while I was working as an assistant district manager at the Denver Post in 1986. One of the carriers became friendly with me, initially in a perfectly acceptable and professional way, and I enjoyed our little chats. But then one day he said to me: "I'd like it if I could give you a hug sometime and maybe a kiss."
A lot of you ladies, particularly of my generation or older, will be able to relate when I say that I was trained from a young age to "be a lady" when a situation like this arises and to "not hurt his feelings," so rather than asking him in what the hell universe hitting on his supervisor was appropriate, my first response was to say "I'm married," so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. As if doing this sort of creepy thing would have been appropriate if his target wasn't married.
My initial reaction is to think what a doormat I was for reacting this way. Plus I never even told my supervisor, because I didn't want to get the guy in trouble. But my next reaction is to be angry that I believed his feelings were more important than mine, which was disgust and betrayal.
So, yeah, not going to be angry at my younger self for being taken aback and not behaving in a more assertive fashion in this lurid situation. The guy displayed not only gross sexism in having zero respect for my position of albeit mild authority just because I was a young woman, but he displayed zero respect for me as a human being in seeing me as an object that he could potentially grope and slobber on.
For some reason, when I was younger I seemed to draw a lot of creepers like this to me, probably because I tried to be nice. I'm honestly not at all sorry that my current age tends to render me invisible to this breed of asshole most of the time.

~Sly Has Spoken~

Graphic copyright Juliahenze

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Cheesy Cinema Review: The Christmas Chronicles Would Have Been Better Without the Side Order of Size Shaming

I may be a curmudgeon, but I'm not unrealistic. I expect holiday movies to be trope-laden and sappy. Unless you're watching Santa Slasher 666 or, as Beavis would say, a "Christmas Classic" starring such fine quality thespians as Tiny Johnson and Bob Scratchit, you can expect either barf-inducing heartwarming romantic drama or family-friendly drama probably involving cute but weird elves somewhere in the mix. Knowing these things, I steeled myself for whatever extra helping of syrupy sweetness might be lurking in the Christmas Chronicles to raise my blood sugar levels.
First, the positives. The kids are adorable and the young actors performing the parts of Katie and Teddy did a marvelous job. Kurt Russell really hits the mark as a slightly grouchy, no-nonsense Santa. However, I was dismayed by the amount of size shaming and diet culture promotion.
Had it happened only once, I would have rolled my eyes and moved on. However, it happened multiple times, including a scene where the sleigh hits a billboard advertising Coke products with the image of a portly Santa enjoying a Coke. Santa shouts: "take that, Fat Man!"
Shaking my damn head. Not only was the size shaming not necessary, but the levels of at the very least subconscious vehemence and hatred towards larger people was absolutely uncalled for. Also, do the writers really thinks that Santa is so vain that all he cares about is being perceived as slim and sexy? I honestly find such people quite a bore and I would hope that if Santa were real, he wouldn't be a self-centered dullard.
As a curmudgeonly adult, I found the size bashing dismal and enraging. I can only imagine how it would seem to a big kid watching that movie. The inherent message they will take away is not "family needs to stick together," but "fat is the very worst thing you can possibly be. Even Santa hates fat people."
Hollywood really needs to stop with the lame-ass fat jokes whenever they find themselves at a loss for comic relief. If you can't include larger people in your story in a positive way, at the very least don't include them just to make them the butt of mean-spirited "humor".
Every kid deserves to feel like he or she is okay just as he or she is all year 'round, but I feel that a positive, family-friendly holiday movie needs to take a bit of extra care to make sure they aren't alienating and shaming certain already stigmatized populations.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Sanctimonious Advice is Sanctimonious

Those posts that say things like “if you just fix your sleep schedule, your life will change!!11!!!!” make me feel pretty much like this.
My “sleep schedule” has been pretty much a convoluted fuckery since I was born. My mother delights in telling people what a “horrible baby” I was because I never slept normally. I’ve tried crap like Ambien. I just ended up out in the parking lot peeing on my car tire at 3 AM after I sleepwalked out there. I’ve tried Valium. It makes me brick stupid the next day. So, no thanks.
Oh, and yeah, I’ve tried telling myself “just go to sleep, sweet wittle  shnookums,” which usually ends up devolving into “GO TO SLEEP, YOU STUPID ASSHOLE!” So, yeah, that works great too.
This kind of advice is similar to “just stop that stinkin’ thinkin’” in relation to unrelated OCD thoughts or depression. It’s condescending, enraging, and doesn’t work. So, like, fuck off with your pat answers.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Very Personal Post: My Hysterectomy and Sub-Par Treatment of Women and Larger Patients

Ragen Chastain of Dances With Fat, a blog which people of every size should read

I normally try to keep my money-saving and life hacks blog confined to products, recipes, and apps which can help put money in your pocket and keep it there. However, sometimes I feel it is important to share personal and societal issues. This is one of those times.
I have blogged recently about having my eldritch horror of a uterus removed on December 17th. My uterus is full of polyps and benign fibroid tumors. There are other treatments for this (ablation, breaking up the tumors with ultrasound, hormones), but they tend to have to be repeated down the line. I no longer have a need for my uterus in this life. I feel that the most efficient course of action at this point is a once and done option: take it out and be done with it. Then there will be no future ablations, no future d and c's, and no more pap smears ever again in this lifetime. Weighing the pros and cons, I believe this to be the best option in my case.
Reflecting on the situation, my uterus probably should have come out ten to fifteen years ago. I always had brutal periods. I do not joke when I say I didn't bleed, I hemorrhaged. However, due to past trauma (sexual assault) and fear of being shamed for my body type (I am built similarly to Ragen, but am nowhere near as beautiful and graceful), I avoided having any sort of "well woman" type of exam for close to thirty years.
I feel like the current approach to focusing on a patient's weight first and, often to the exclusion of all else, is lazy medicine. Doctors fail to take into account that weight is only one part of the equation and correlation is not causation. There are multiple factors at play in a person's body type. DNA is the first and most powerful of these. 

Repeat after me: a rhino is not a unicorn. A rhino does not even know what a unicorn is. I doubt there is a rhino anywhere in the world that dreams of being a unicorn. Also, unicorns aren't real, much like the ridiculous appearance ideals that we learn to impose on ourselves from a very young age.
Dr. Oz (Oprah's pet snake oil salesman) once said that he never sees a fat person who doesn't have cardiac problems. What he neglected to mention is that he never sees a thin person who doesn't have cardiac problems either. He's a cardiologist. But there isn't a big market for weight gain products. There is a multi-billion dollar industry built on convincing people that their bodies are wrong and it's their fault that diets fail time and time again.
Doctors don't tend to see (or notice) healthy fat people, because when a person avoids the doctor's office like the plague for fear of being shamed and lectured about their weight, they tend not to seek medical treatment until the situation becomes catastrophic. Further, poor people regardless of size often can't afford medical treatment and thus avoid seeking medical treatment until the situation becomes catastrophic.
Teaching doctors to shame and scold patients for their physique (or anything else) leads patients to avoid seeing doctors. This is counterproductive. The Western medicine focus also tends to be on treating illness rather than maintaining health. This is counterproductive. The U.S. medical system is broken, and the definition of insanity is insisting on doing something that doesn't work and hoping it will work this time. It doesn't work and it isn't going to work this time. The dead horse needs to be replaced rather than flogged and shocked in hopes that it will wake up and gallop around the pasture like a healthy young colt.
In any case, after many years of going to a doctor who wasn't the worst but seemed to be burned out and going through the motions, I was doing a search for doctors with a Health at Every Size approach. I hope the future will present with many, many more such doctors, but currently, such a search can be extremely frustrating. I happened on a doctor in my general area who stated that she provides a safe space for patients of any race, sex, orientation, or size. I made an appointment right away.
Even though I got on well with this new doctor and trusted her, she had a difficult time examining the plumbing, so to speak. However, we got through it. The results of the dreaded pap smear were normal. But there was more to come.
I see my doctor quarterly because of my endocrine problems. During my April visit, I told her that I'd had my "yearly period." I said it was frustrating to me because I thought I was completely done with the blasted thing, but every year for the past couple years I had a really dreadful, heavy, but fortunately painless period. 
My doctor said that this wasn't normal and referred me to a gynecologist. I was extremely worried, but this incredibly kind and wonderful woman never once shamed me about my body. She focused on the issue at hand and was compassionate about my fears. After performing a biopsy and examination of the inside of the troublesome organ, I was informed that it was housing numerous fibroids and polyps and was sent for a consultation with a surgeon who specializes in gynecologic surgery.
My case is a walk in the park for this fellow. He has a lot of patients dealing with various cancers and severe pathologies. I present with a straightforward, uncomplicated condition, and the surgery should take less than an hour. I'm still terrified and want to run screaming. I hate going under anesthesia. 
The doctors involved in this chain of events have all done things right. They have treated me with respect and not shamed or scolded me for having a body which does not fit society's definition of "ideal" by any stretch of the imagination. This means that I listen to them rather than saying: "well, fuck this shit, I guess I'm going to just have to live with my problems because I don't want to deal with these assholes."
I worked in the medical field for most of my working life. There are patients who are frustrating to deal with. They are noncompliant and expect miracles. There are patients who demand antibiotics for the treatment of viruses. There are patients who seem to believe that doctors are hiding secret cures in their doctor arsenal. There are patients who can't stop smoking even though it's killing them. All of these people need to be treated with kindness and respect, even if the medical staff feels the need to headdesk repeatedly following a visit with said patient.
I've known more than one person who was so addicted to smoking that even though it had serious negative health consequences, they were unable to stop. One was my maternal grandmother, who died in 1992 at the age of 75 from complications of alcoholism. She had emphysema and couldn't make herself stop smoking. She successfully stopped drinking once, but then my cousin (a very broken person) brought over a six-pack one night, and she was right back at it. 
My grandmother had a hard life. It would be frustrating to treat a patient who is committing slow suicide, but it would never be appropriate to belittle or berate such a person. My grandmother only had an eighth-grade education, but she was by no means a stupid person. She had a lot of "horse sense." She was also deeply conflicted and had a very low self-esteem and untreated mental health issues.
I don't know the other person's backstory. She was a customer who came into a restaurant where I worked as a bartender and waitress. She would get coffee and stay for a long time in the afternoon, chain-smoking, reading, and drinking her coffee. She was a social worker who was getting ready to retire. She had a daughter who had borderline personality disorder.
This woman eventually had to have part of one lung removed. She tried to quit smoking, but people would see her around town hiding behind buildings for a puff, even though she had to carry an oxygen tank at that point. She died within a year of the surgery.
Scolding this woman would not have made it easier for her to quit smoking. She wasn't stupid. She knew that smoking was causing her health problems. Addiction is a complicated and misunderstood issue.
Some people equate having a large body type with addiction. This is erroneous. Some people with larger body types have binge eating disorder, as do some people with slender and medium body types. Binge eating disorder is not an "addiction to food," it is a pathological relationship with food. Even if it was "an addiction to food," scolding and shaming a person suffering from said disorder will do nothing but make that person withdraw and stop listening. Nothing good ever comes from scolding and shaming a patient.
What I am getting around to is that I have a health issue which should have been dealt with years ago, but I avoided exams that might have revealed the problem sooner because I was embarrassed and afraid of being shamed for my body. This should never be the case. All patients have the right to compassionate, respectful treatment. 
Pathologizing certain body types doesn't work. Health at Every Size does.
This is why I am committed to never deliberately advertising or promoting weight loss products on the Deliver Me blog. I struggled for 33 years with disordered eating and low self-esteem because of society's attitudes towards people with larger bodies. I went on diet after diet and "failed" every time. Any weight lost always came back with friends. I literally had to stop dieting so I wouldn't gain more weight. 
It wasn't until I discovered size acceptance and Health at Every Size that I realized I hadn't failed, the diets failed. The diet industry thrives on two factors:
Diets don't work
Dieters believe that they, not the diet, are at fault for the diet not working.
I will never knowingly sell snake oil or false promises. 
I will only promote products and services which I believe can be helpful in some capacity. Diet and weight loss products never are.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Cie's Eldritch Horror Removal

Since my uterus currently resembles an eldritch horror, it is being removed on December 17. Please keep me in your thoughts as you shut down your Tumblr accounts on that day in protest of The Fuckening.
I wonder if this post will be flagged by Tumblr’s bumbling purity-bot. That is, after all, a female-presenting uterus, and that eldritch horror might have female-presenting nipples somewhere on its body.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Insecure Writers Support Group + The Cheese Grates It: Banned on Tumblr

Note: This post contains profanity. If that is a problem for you, please don't continue reading.

You may wonder what this post has to do with the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I argue that freedom of speech is something all writers should be concerned about, and that is why I think this post is appropriate.
Tumblr shadow-banned my slightly naughty Supernatural fan blog.
Not for filthy, filthy Wincest pictures, like you might think. You actually have to go to about the 13th page to find an even remotely NSFW image. 
Nope. I can’t publish or reblog anything to this blog because I was being snarky about Tumblr becoming a kid-friendly playground instead of a platform for adults.
I’m moving wincestshippingtrash to nibblebit, a platform that is similar to Tumblr in the way it functions, and which is a platform geared to adult bloggers. Which is what Tumblr used to pride itself on, but now that they've sold their souls to Yahoo and Verizon, they're trying to present themselves as family friendly. Heck, a lot of the stuff that Tumblr was proud to allow was too rich for my blood, and I'm the founder, editor, and co-writer of the very torrid tales at Naughty Netherworld Press. If I'm nope-ing out because it's too raunchy, you know that shit's raunchy.
Here’s what’s funny. I have blogs on Blogger which I’ve deemed NSFW, even though most of them only contain harsh language. I flag these blogs as “adult” and when people type in the URL, they come to a notice which says “material on this blog has been flagged as only appropriate for adults. Do you wish to continue?” 
Tumblr has something called "safe mode," which prevents adult-flagged blogs from appearing in searches. Wincestshippingtrash was flagged as “adult” by me. It shouldn’t appear in Safe Mode, like, ever.
But it wasn’t even adult content that got the blog banned. It was the fact that I was being cheeky to Tumblr Staff, and they couldn’t deal.
I may be a mess health-wise at this point in my life, but I would fight to the death to preserve freedom of speech. I think that what Tumblr is doing is some East Block level shit. I guess we’ll see how long my primary Tumblr blog remains active what with me speaking out against the Evil Empire this way.
Also, what is this “female presenting nipple” bullshit, Tumblr? To me, that’s sexist AF.
Tumblr looks the other way when it comes to cyberbullying, including telling people to kill themselves or death threats. It's okay to call someone a "fat, ugly cunt," apparently. It's okay to promote violence by encouraging people to "punch a TERF." But Heavens forbid someone shows a bit of butt crack or a "female presenting nipple."

Folks have been circulating this around Tumblr to see how long it takes for it to get flagged. This is how ridiculous things have become.
Tumblr will either do what Blogger did a few years back and backpedal on their decision to ban adult content when they saw that their longtime users were leaving in droves, or they will become a wasteland like Myspace.
Nobody (well, nobody who shouldn't be in jail) wants child porn. The way to deal with that problem is not to ban all adult content. It is to remove the blog presenting it from public view, and do not delete the content because the FBI and Interpol will need access to it, but report the content to the FBI and Interpol. 
Again, freedom of speech is an issue which every writer needs to be concerned about. There are a lot of things which I find offensive, and there are a lot of things that I'm just plain not interested in. However, I believe it is appropriate that even things I deem offensive (such as Stormfront) are allowed a platform. If they go underground, they become even more dangerous. If they are allowed to spout their rhetoric, it is easier to refute them, and also easier for agencies such as the FBI to keep an eye on them.

Tumblr really screwed the pooch with their blanket adult content ban. This pooch. It is not a happy camper and is coming back to bite them on the ass.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: The Holiday Season Broke and Mentally Ill Style

Today is the eighth anniversary of my father's passing. I thought about that day early this morning. I didn't appear to be grieving because I wasn't wailing and gnashing my teeth. I had already grieved watching him deteriorate as he did. There wasn't anything left in me. I've felt for a long time that there isn't anything left in me. I'm not cold, which I've been accused of a lot. I just don't have anything to offer.
The memory that comes to the forefront of my mind is my mother leaving two messages on my phone. The ringer wasn't working on my phone; I would be soon to get a new one. I was sleeping with the phone under my hand, but I didn't feel the vibration. The first message was her telling me that my father had died. The second was her telling me that again, demanding that I call her back, and finishing off the message with "you're never there when I need you." She didn't apologize for saying that, which doesn't surprise me. I informed her that my phone's ringer wasn't working correctly, that I had tried to be aware if a call came, but hadn't felt the vibration. Well, she never apologizes when she says hurtful things, so I guess she and I are even.
I fucking hate this new YouTube push to force people to pay for the service by pausing the playlist every so often to ask "are you still there?" No, Bitch, I died, but my zombified body keeps responding by saying I'm still here. The joke's on you.
In other frustrating news, I guess I paid the price for thinking I could buy yarn and get away with it. I ordered three skeins of yarn to keep working on my blanket, and some payment clashed with another, so I ended up getting an overdraft charge and am now $36 in the hole. Those fucking overdraft charges should be criminal. They only ever harm people who are struggling financially anyway.
Tonight's supper will be turkey chili and baked potatoes. At least those are two things I can ensure that my son will actually eat. My mother's right that he's kind of fussy, but there again, she refuses to believe that he's actually autistic. People with autism tend to have issues with food textures far more than people who don't have the condition. But, of course, my mother is always right.
I was just talking to my son about how we are both, in spite of what has been drilled into us by members of the extended family, very productive. However, we are not productive in the ways they deem worthy. We are terrible with housework--absolutely rubbish, let's be real. We are unable to work the kinds of jobs that they deem worthy. 
If I had ever been able to make my writing pay, they might be proud of me. A little. But it still wouldn't have been the kind of work that they would truly have deemed worthy.
All I'm doing as far as holiday decorations this year is putting a string of lights up on the fence at my son's townhome. We can't have a tree because the four-legged dumbasses will knock it over. When I was a kid, my father became a kid again every December 24, because that was when we decorated the tree. He loved decorating the tree so much and went way overboard. We had so many decorations. Now they never see the light of day.
Maybe one day I will decorate for the holidays again. I don't know. The first year we had a really nice tree was when I was ten years old. That was the year my father got a good position as a professor at a small college and we moved from Albuquerque to a suburb of Denver. Everything was so wonderful on that Christmas when I was ten years old. 
I realize now that my bipolar disorder onset when I hit puberty, which is why I was an emotional wreck during the holidays when I was eleven and trying to hide it so I wouldn't fuck things up for the rest of my family. 
We always took the tree down on the day after New Year's. The year when I was twelve years old, I was once again in a tailspin but trying to hide it. We got the call that my paternal grandfather had died from a massive heart attack while he was out feeding his horses. I burst into tears. I thought it was my fault that he was dead because I hadn't been grateful enough, so God took my grandfather.
I learned a lot about my father's side of the family that year. I wrote a cheeky poem about it recently, which is titled "My Family Skeletons." You can read it here
At the time, it was actually very traumatic. My twelfth year of life was not a lot of fun. It seemed like everything was falling apart. There was a lot of contention surrounding my grandfather's will, and I was being bullied mercilessly. I started self-harming, and on one occasion, I swallowed a bottle of aspirin. I ended up with a sick stomach and throwing up. I didn't tell anybody what I'd done.
So, I guess what I'm getting to in my long-winded fashion is that the holidays are not happy-happy-joy-joy for some people. I tend to have kind of a neutral approach to them at this point, but that's because I'm emotionally numb. For some people, the holidays are extremely difficult. It's supposed to be a happy time, and people who are already struggling get added guilt heaped on them for not presenting a happy face to the world.
Please do not shame or berate people who aren't "in the spirit" during the holidays. The joy is not universal.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It Festively~

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Fake Friends, Fibroids, Incontinence, and Keeping it Real

Me (puffy endocrine face and all) and Crowley

I don't give one single fuck if you find me attractive or not
Every person is deserving of basic common decency, not just the ones you've deemed "fuckable"

This post is a response to Nicole at Cauldrons and Cupcakes. I tried to leave a comment on her blog, but. like so many Wordpress blogs, the overly aggressive Spam filter ate my comment. See "why Cie hates Wordpress."
Nicole, thank you for sharing your struggles. I started being real about my health struggles back when I was first diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder at age 38 and have been doing so ever since. I was raised in a family that believed in hiding their problems. I've since had to become used to more and more physical issues while trying not to hate myself for having them, because ill health was seen as a weakness when I was growing up.
The one thing that I was disinclined to discuss even after I started being honest about my psychiatric and endocrine issues was the incontinence that I've suffered with since I was 40 years old. I never saw a doctor about it until this past year because of a history of trauma and because I didn't want to be humiliated for my size while in a compromising position. I am a big person, and, given my endocrine issues, it would be almost impossible for me to be anything but and still be standing. The treatment of larger people by the medical establishment is unconscionable and leads larger people to avoid treatment until they experience critical health problems. 
I finally found a doctor that I felt I could trust to discuss my "plumbing" issues, including my "annual period" that I've had even after menopause. She told me that this sort of bleeding was abnormal and referred me to an OBGYN who turned out to be wonderful and compassionate. She never once made an issue of my weight. I had a D&C done, which revealed that my uterus is chock full of fibroids and polyps. Given that I no longer have a need for this particular organ, it is coming out in three weeks.
I've read that fibroids can promote urinary urgency. I have urge incontinence as opposed to the more common stress incontinence. I'm crossing my fingers that the hysterectomy might help improve this problem. I'm not one of those people with "light bladder leakage." Sometimes I can stop it before it becomes a full-on flood, but not always. Those dainty little panty liners wouldn't do doodly squat when I lose urine. I have to wear the big overnight incontinence pads.
It's possible that I should have had a hysterectomy years ago. I've always had really miserable, heavy periods, but I attributed them to my endocrine problems. People with hypothyroidism are, apparently, prone to heavy periods. I might have done something about it sooner, but because of the trauma I've suffered, I really don't like people "up in my business." Not that anyone likes gynecological exams, but I am psychologically traumatized by them. The idea that I might be belittled for my size made it a real no-go, and, thus, I avoided having such an exam for close to 30 years.
The medical establishment really needs to change their approach to larger people, to women, and probably to people as a whole. Many people who go into medicine lack compassion. I am a former nurse (still licensed, no longer practicing) and I can attest that nursing school was one of the most fatphobic environments that I ever had the displeasure of finding myself in. If we want a healthy population, we need to treat people of all sizes and with all issues including addiction with respect and compassion.
As for your "friend," I'm sorry that you discovered that she really wasn't one. (One of Nicole's "friends" berated her for being open about her health issues and sharing "unflattering" photos of herself.) I hate those discoveries. But in the end, it's kind of freeing to drop away from the people who like to imitate millstones.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Deep Thoughts With Cheesy and Barack

I wish there wasn't so much onus placed on being perfectly healthy. Nobody's perfect. Everyone has shit that goes awry, even those people who have supposedly "perfect" bodies. For instance, my cholesterol readings are actually stellar. You could frame that shit and put a blue ribbon next to it. But my endocrine system is a fucked-up mess, and my triglycerides are elevated. 
None of this shit says anything about my mind, my soul, my work ethic, my devotion, or anything else that I think is truly important. But a lot of people act like shit like blood sugar levels, abnormal labs, or a number on a scale defines a person on a moral level. It doesn't and can't.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Cheese Grates It: Holiday Size Shaming: Thanksgiving 2018 Version

Image from
Your holiday feast should not come with a side order of body shaming

The inevitable holiday size shaming.
Trigger warning for size shaming and a brief mention of weight.
Disappointed but not surprised.
It is stressful for my son to go over to visit my mother on holidays, but he agreed to it because my mother was worried that Denny's would be terribly crowded. (I had suggested that we just meet at Denny's so no-one has to cook.)
My mother bought a flannel shirt as a gift for my son. My son is a tall, burly fellow with a little bit of a belly, either an in-betweenie or possibly a small fat. My mother made a point of patting him on the belly and saying "you need to lose this gut."
I wasn't aware of this until my son brought it to my attention after we left. He said that the funny thing is, last time he was weighed at the doctor, he actually dropped seven pounds for reasons unknown because he hasn't been dieting. He said the technician was praising him and he told her it didn't really make a difference to him, to which she responded with a look of surprise.
My mother refuses to acknowledge that leaving his home environment can be difficult for my son, who is high functioning autistic and has issues with anxiety (including a degree of agoraphobia) and depression. He becomes overly stimulated with my mother's insistence on keeping the television on, to Dr. Phil or the news or such. The constant barrage of advertisements is even more distressing to him than it is to people who don't become overstimulated. He doesn't react to stimulus in any perceptible way, but he will become withdrawn for a time after the fact.
It makes me sad that my mother continually shoots herself in the foot when it comes to her relationship with my son. I guess she knows that I'll flip my bitch switch if she mentions my weight, so she has to inflict her opinion on somebody, and she thinks since my son is a guy, he should be "tough enough to take it" when someone is "being real" with him.
I don't know if it's even worth bringing it up with my mother, because she will be "terribly hurt" by my "attack" on her and ask me why I'm always so "angry" even when I am speaking in a perfectly even tone and not doing any name-calling or making accusations, none of which I can say about her past interactions with me.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~