15lbs….Or More

I’ve gained some weight. I’ve maintained a fairly consistent level of weight/fitness for years now. Everyone keeps telling me not to worry about it, or that everyone will have gained some weight. I’ve also lost most of the muscle tone in my arms (not that I had much to begin with). I’m not particularly thrilled about it.

It’s been harder for me to me to get distance in walking or running. I used to walk to and from work, plus get some running in after work. Or go to the gym. I would swim. I’m sure there are people who are absolutely maintaining that level of fitness, but in honesty, I might wear my pjs for an entire week now. My diet, while never phenomenal, has significantly degenerated. I used to pick up a salad on the way home from work. That salad would be full of healthy things like chickpeas and I would overall get all my necessary food groups. At most, I can consider it a success that I don’t snack endlessly now, although that’s likely just because I don’t like the texture.

I also started a medication just over a year ago where one of the major side-effects is weight-gain.

Either way now my clothes don’t fit. Even my athletic-wear, which should be stretchy, is questionable at most. I can’t order clothes online, because I don’t know what size I actually am, nor do I know if I have stopped gaining weight.

Question: Why don’t I just go off the medication? It’ll mean a drop right away. Any weight I gain from the quarantine can potentially be lost afterwards through exercise and going back to my usual diet. I won’t have to worry about buying a whole new wardrobe. I’ll stop complaining about this, because I was never generally prone to complaining about my weight before. There won’t be blog posts about my weight.

Answer: Because this medication may be the one that completely controls my seizures. I’ll still be epileptic, but I might have fewer seizures.

Is my vanity really that much more important than seizures?

I have had stitches in my face from hitting things after seizures. My knees are permanently scarred from the countless times I’ve fallen. I’ve knocked out teeth as a result of seizures. Why doesn’t my vanity play a role there?

I know the answer to that. Those injuries were out of my control. Those injuries happened when I had unexpected seizures. I couldn’t make the decision whether they happened or not. My appearance was impacted by something I didn’t have power to deny. This medication is something that I can choose whether I want to be on. Whether I want to risk the weight gain or having my hair fall out. Whether I want to risk stopping running because I’m tired and indifferent. It’s a conundrum. The medication could cause lethargy and fatigue, but that’s not a side effect that I’m experiencing. It also seems to be great at preventing seizures, making it safer to do something I love that brings me peace. My hair didn’t fall out and if I have any lethargy, it can be attributed to being house-bound. No other side effects apart from the weight gain.

Although I wouldn’t like to acknowledge that my vanity is that vast, I certainly considered the option of going off the medication. Considered it to the point where I discussed it with my doctor a year ago. He reminded me that it is my decision, my preference, my choice, whether I want to use the medication or not. We didn’t come to a conclusion then but we made a future appointment to speak over it again. Now very recently, it will be increased because of the seizure I had last month. More weight.

So why is this a blog post? When it comes down to it, it’s not about my weight. It’s not about my appearance. It’s not about my vanity. It’s not even about my running. I have to remember that regardless of all the other things I do, I still have epilepsy. I still have seizures. My brain still has neurological sparks that are outside of my control. This is a blog post about control.

I could find a way to go running more now or cross train. I could find a way to establish a healthier diet. I could go off the medication with the side-effect. Regardless of all of that, I will still be epileptic. I can’t change that. I can’t control that. There are lots of things outside of our control. Not just because of the international circumstances. At the same time, there are lots of things that are within our control. We (myself included) need to establish a way to identify the difference between the two. I may be a better runner if I don’t have to worry about seizures through a medication that regulates them, but I will gain weight if I stay on this medication due to the side effect. What I want and the consequence.

I choose to try to be a better runner and that means taking efforts to minimize my seizures. Now I have to have a higher level of self-motivation and will have to go buy some larger-sized running gear (or squeeze myself into my current wardrobe). These things are within my control and I have to be aware of it. What attitude or action is within your control? Is there a chance that something outside your control that is bringing you down and how can you choose to bring yourself up?

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