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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Weight: Young Adult Version

After traveling thru Europe and the middle east, I came home and went to college. My first year I lived in the dorms, and ate from the meal plan. The food was far from dietetic, and we lived directly across the street from both a large supermarket open 24 hours (they knew their customer base well) and a Dairy Queen. I ate junk food. Plenty of junk food. I also ate healthy food, but as a kid that was denied tasty food most of my childhood, I ate plenty of crap. And I gained weight. Still not a huge amount, but added to my previous weight gain, I was now a good 30 lbs overweight.

Needless to say, my parents were hysterical when I came home for the summer. Back to the restrictive diet. Back to the constant needling. Back to the tearing down of my self-esteem. I was determined not to go back home again for the summer, as it was too damaging to my ego.

My second year of college I lived in a house with several other people. Once the craziness of living with strange (in both senses of the word) people settled down, I became a vegetarian and started on a path to good eating. I was eating organic food, healthy food, fruits and veggies. I cooked a lot and learned to bake. This is the year when I learned to make the most magnificient challah in the world, and also the year where I perfected my bagels. Incidentally, by the following summer my bagels were so well known that a neighbor once stopped by just to taste them. His name was Alan Ginsberg. Yes, THE Alan Ginsberg. Isn't that cool?

My weight was stable. Even though I was exercising a lot, as I had no car and rode my bike all over town and up into the mountains of Boulder, and I was eating much better as well, my weight just did not go down. It fluctuated a bit, up 3 lbs, down 2, up 3, down 1. A very slow but steady weight gain but with no apparent cause.

Throughout my teens and twenties, I had always had trouble with my cycle. It was highly irregular, annovulatory, and only with birth control pills did I have a regular 28-30 day cycle. But I had taken the pill non-stop for almost 5 years and my GYN advised me to take a break. I did so, adding a Copper-T for protection. Once those pills were out of my system, my body went beserk. No cycles at all, a tremendous weight gain almost overnight, and hirsuitism started appearing. What the F? My weight gain was troubling because I knew I was not eating a bad diet. I wasn't counting calories, but I was eating standard vegetarian fare of the mid-1970's, and it wasn't crappy food. I was skiing, I was bike riding, I was walking long distances. I was also packing on pounds around my middle.

This continued unabated for a couple more years, and I was, for the first time, markedly overweight. It was highly disconcerting because I couldn't understand why. Even when I tried to diet, I was still putting on weight, although at a slower pace.

After graduating, I left Colorado and moved to Boston to start graduate school. In Boston I found good doctors affiliated with my school, and after some testing, my GYN came up with an answer to what was going on with my body. I had PCOS. Polycystic Overian Syndrome. Or, as it was known back then, Stein Leventhal Syndrome. I had every one of the classic signs. My ovaries were totally encapsulated. I had the constant weight gain. I had the hirsuitism. I had elevated testosterone levels. My skin was bad. My insulin levels were high. I was annovulatory. I was also infertile, although at the time, this wasn't bad news. It only affected me later on.

In Boston I had access to good healthcare, but also access to my parents, which was very negative for me. They were aghast at my weight gain, they were furious with me for letting my weight get out of hand, and they never failed to tell me what a terrible person I was for being fat. They never let it go. You know how your parents always have one friend with the perfect kid that they hold up to your face to shame you? Mine was the infamous Laurel Sue. Laurel Sue was a total loser. She did absolutely NOTHING that a parent would be proud of. But Laurel Sue lost a shitload of weight and that was what made her perfect. My mother would Laurel Sue me to death. I grew to hate that girl with a white hot passion. Here I was in a top graduate program, doing well, a great future ahead of me, and all my parents could see was fat. NOTHING mattered to them but the fat. As long as I was overweight I was not only a disappointment, an embarrassment, but I was also something to be reviled. I was disgusting. I was slovenly. I was out of control. I couldn't do anything right. Everything was about my weight.

When I graduated from my Master's program, and went to student teach, my father said to me "You'll get hired right away because they know nobody will marry you being so fat." I mean, this is the kind of message they gave to me. It didn't matter that the weight was way harder to deal with because of the PCOS. They didn't care about the medical indications. They ONLY cared about my looks and my weight. Period.

So I divorced myself from my family in 1980. I had had more than enough of the negativity, the hatred, the disgust. I mean, how much can a person take of this? So I walked. It was the right thing to do. I've never regretted it. I get sad when my birthday comes and goes, when the holidays come and go, and I never get any recognition of my existance. When my father died, he was only survived by his sons. Both of his daughters were 'forgotten'. It won't ever change. My parents were glad to get rid of me. More for themselves, and they didn't have to explain why I was fat to their friends. Phew!

Part 3 to follow.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous TXPoppet said...

Thank you for posting this. I have a mother and three sisters who have all been hospitalized for anorexia and bulimea. You can imagine what it was like growing up in that house. Your blogs and twitters always brighten my day and I appreciate your candor. Take care, Joie aka TXPoppet

13/8/07 4:29 PM  
Blogger Sudiegirl said...

I understand what you mean about certain trolls...and you're in my thoughts about 'em too.

I'm enjoying the story about your weight-loss history...it's tough. My sister and I both fight it, and she finally had gastric bypass surgery in 2001. I haven't gone that far, but some days I wonder why I haven't. Oh well...

Keep up the bloggin', kiddo...don't let the turkeys get you down.

14/8/07 11:53 AM  

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