Body Image

by - August 02, 2017

I recently spoke at a cardiovascular ICU retreat where I was asked about my body image, and how I've handled the physical changes I've experienced. Body image in general has always been a sensitive subject for myself, as I'm sure it is with many young women. The way I view my body was never good to start with and it has been increasingly difficult to maintain a positive body image.

All throughout high school and up until I was sick I was a steady 135 pounds at 5'6". During my ICU stay I gained about 40 liters in fluids. I was placed on Lasix to flush out fluids and lose the water weight, and was back down to around my normal weight. Not long after that I felt like I was rapidly gaining weight and was suddenly 160 pounds about six months later. By October 2016 I was 182 pounds. This is absolutey the heaviest I had ever been. My endocrinologist and I made the joint decision to put me on Victoza. This is only approved for Type 2 Diabetes but I was having a difficult time controlling my sugars and lowering my A1C, and another benefit of Victoza is weight loss, so we felt it was worth a shot. It worked! As of right now I hover around 147 pounds. I still want to get back to 135 but I'm happy with what I've lost and I feel a lot more like my old self.

 Along with the weight I was dealing with the condition of my arm. At that time I was still sporting my skin graft all while working in a psychiatric pharmacy. This was extremely difficult because of the nature of the patients and the sensitivity it takes to interact with them. I often wore my sleeves down covering my graft to avoid questions. The scar on my arm was dramatically reduced after my third surgery this past December. My plastic surgeon worked a miracle for me. I felt like I could finally close this chapter of my life. He gave me my life back. After that I learned to really love my scars and wear them with pride. I accepted the fact they are a permanent part of me.

At the end of the day I've made a great deal of progress and I am healthy and well. Bigger scars make better stories.

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