A heart thing, alcoholism + the need for weightloss

Heart and weight

Last week I was in hospital.  I went in for a “small” “procedure” that was meant to be an in and out job, but I ended up staying a week.

The procedure (which really is surgery in my opinion) is called an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography involving a tube being put down your throat until they reach your bile duct and pancreas and then having a good look around.  I also had to have a Sphincterotomy as it was discovered that I had Sphincter of Oddy dysfunction which is where the sphincter isn’t working properly.  

As bad luck would have it, I ended up getting pancreatitis, which resulted in my admission.  Just as I was about to be sent home after a couple of days, however, I got a palpitation in my heart and before I knew it, I was admitted to the cardiac ward.

For over 18 years I have suffered with palpitations of the heart.  They are very intermittent (about 8 – 10 a year).  They start with a massive thump, then the heart palpitates like crazy, and then they end with another massive thump.  I am usually breathless, dizzy and have to lie down.  Most of the time, I think I am having a heart attack.  Over the years I have been to the doctor a number of times, but because the palpitations have usually stopped by the time I get there, I have always been told it is just a minor palpitation thing, quite normal.

Except, it turns out, it isn’t normal.  Whilst in hospital, they managed to get one of the palpitations on the monitor that I was forced to wear for 24 hours a day.  They happen so rarely that it really was lucky to get it at all.  Transpires, I have idiopathic non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.  Try saying that fast!  This is where a rogue electrical impulse fires off, interrupting the natural rhythm of the heart, forcing it to go into palpitations – like a lone ranger looking for attention!

Thankfully, it isn’t all that serious and I am more likely to be run over by a bus than fall down dead from a heart attack.  It requires periodic monitoring as I am now at risk of developing heart damage, but all in all it’s a good heart condition to have.

Except it isn’t really all that good at all.  Whilst my heart is strong it was pointed out to me during my cardiac stress test that I am considerably overweight and extremely unfit for my age.  I loathed the guy for saying it, but the truth is the truth hurts – like shit.

I’ve been home for five days now pondering my options, whilst stuffing my face with chocolate – my drug of choice.  I have been on every diet known to man.  You name it, I have done it.  Yet the motivation to lose weight, even under the threat of death by heart attack bus, eludes me.

Why is this?

I have no bloody idea.

I do know that I didn’t start putting on weight until I was 32.  I mean, I thought I had a weight problem before then but it transpires I didn’t – I was a very healthy weight for my height.  Go glossy magazines and unrealistically skinny models for a dose of body image issues!

My mom moved in when I was 32.  She had temporarily left my dad and moved in with me.  She loved to drink wine from around 4pm almost every night.  I didn’t want her to drink on her own, you know, because I am altruistic that way, so I drank with her.  Within 18 months I had put on 20 kilos.  I actually weighed more than when I was 9 months pregnant.

Mom only lived with us for a few months before realising she actually missed and loved my dad, but I kept the drinking thing going.  I never lost the weight, instead I continued to gain.

My drinking increased, I gained a bit more and so it went.  I started to notice that my normally outgoing personality started to change.  I hated going out, I hated having my photograph taken and I hated my body even more.  Suddenly, in a relatively short space of time, I had become a recluse.

My drinking took on new proportions.  I prided myself on the fact that I never started to drink until after the kids went to bed.  This was my way of kidding myself that I did not have a drinking problem.

I tried every diet going.  Of course, each one required me to restrict my alcohol intake.  Yeah right!  So I drank, and became more lonely, more obese and more sad.  So I drank some more again.

Four years ago, I became sober.  I stopped drinking, expecting my weight to miraculously drop off.  It didn’t.  I replaced alcohol with chocolate.  I have been known to become a raving lunatic if there isn’t chocolate in the house.

So I ate chocolate, and became more lonely, now in a new country, without family, and became more sad.

I really don’t want to give up chocolate.  My cardiologist (yes, I now have a cardiologist) asked how much chocolate I eat.  I told him – two bars a day.  He gasped.  He actually gasped.  I don’t think that’s all that bad.  Okay, it is.  “That has to be knocked on the head immediately,” he said, once he’d composed himself.  I said okay, but the truth is, I have had those two chocolates every day since I left the hospital.

They don’t taste as good.  It’s true.  I know I’m damaging/poisoning my body.  That knowledge fucks with your taste buds.

Today a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in a while posted a photograph of herself having lost 20kgs.  She puts it down to being completely happy, living her truth with a bit of modification of the diet.  I stared at her photo for ages. And secretly I was as jealous as hell.

I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.  How on earth am I going to do this.  I’m not wanting to lose weight for vanity.  I NEED to  lose weight.  I am 30 kilos overweight.  My heart and its mischievous impulse might not be so tolerant of my size in the future.  Reason tells me that this is not a good thing.

I wrote in my diary a while ago that I need to lose weight.  I wrote it and then forgot ignored it.

So, I am going to try to do this thing.  I can’t make promises.  I know, I know – if I am going to achieve something I am meant to say I CAN do it and then set myself the goal to actually do it.  Truth is, all I have, all I can do is try right now.  But by writing to you guys, perhaps I can hold myself accountable.  It will be like the gazillionth time I have tried, but hey, never give up, right?

Did I mention I am really not a fan of Twiggy?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Til next time,

SHW Signature




2 thoughts on “A heart thing, alcoholism + the need for weightloss

  1. Darling Sarah, you brave and wondrous person! Two things made me laugh out loud, the ‘sphincter of oddy’ and how ‘knowledge fucks with your taste buds’!!! You are so awesome. I think you can do it, I once lost 17kg and I couldn’t have done it if I looked at the big goal. I did it one decision at a time. And if I stuffed up and ate the chocolate, I didn’t use that as an excuse to eat ten more. I just started again, kept on trying to make the right decision. Good luck lovely you! I want Sarah’s heart to be able to keep inspiring that awesome writing!
    I’m with you!


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