Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Before and After Photos

Pulling together this timeline of photographs was the most difficult part of being sick for me. It's the toughest even while considering everything I have gone through to get diagnosed:
  • all the midnight and 4 am blood draws

  • the PICC line that aggravated by arm veins and made my arm go numb

  • lying on my bad back, being still in the MRI tubes for over an hour at a time, twice

  • having the IPSS while wide awake

  • all those doctors appointments where I would have to start telling my story from scratch in hope that this time, someone would believe me
  • all the uncomfortable moments when I felt people didn't believe that I was really sick (just fat).
Gathering my photos and posting them reminds me of a life interrrupted.

It reminds me of a life that was filled with insecurity and self-hatred over my body.

Even though I am smiling in these photographs--and probably was smiling when I saw friends and family, I know how much I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager... How much I worked and worried trying to look 'presentable' and 'good enough' for every event I ever had to attend.
I'd gain weight and not really know why, but I continued to act like it didn't bother me. It bothered me.

As a feminist, I hated these negative thoughts. Even so, I could not stop them. I knew better than to think like that, and my friends never really knew that was happening in my head. These photos symbolized years of being insecure and wondering if being overweight meant being unlovable.
I endured the emotions that accompanied this project because I know it would help depict my struggles with weight in an undeniable way, and that with the right medical team, it would make a difference.
Now, despite my size, I know I didn't do this to myself.

I didn't let myself go.

I wasn't lazy.

I didn't eat too much.

More importantly, I trusted my instincts and I didn't give up.

I have much more forgiveness for myself than I could have ever found otherwise. I attribute that to my Cushing's diagnosis. And for that, I am thankful to this journey.

~Cushie Melissa

P.S. And for those of you going through the Cushing's diagnosis battle yourself, please know that I know how heartbreaking it is to see your former selves and compare them to your current self.
Do it anyway. You may be on your way to changing your life and finally feeling better.

******************************

1994
1996

















1999 (face gets fuller)




2000 (my highest weight up to that point)







2003  (after Atkins diet success)

2005  (fuller face, weight gain,
irregular periods, anxiety)

2006
truncal obesity






Feb 2007

April 2007 -  fuller face


May 2007







2001                   vs.                    2008
Fuller face. Swollen eyes. Wider neck. Visible fat pads.