My name is Simone and I am an 18 year old Australian with some very serious health concerns. Some of them physical, some of them mental and some of them lifestyle related. This is a lot to read, and I don’t expect anyone will read it, it is more for my own personal cleansing for me to write all this down. I am running this blog as a motivation to lose weight and become healthier. I want to make a few things clear:
1. I do smoke and I will not be quitting any time soon. This contradicts my health kick, but if you had my mental health problems you’d understand. Perhaps when I am physically healthier my mental health will improve enough for me to feel I can quit.
2. I drink. Heavily. I am working through problems with an alcohol addiction, however once again I am not willing to give it up completely. In the past three months I have stopped drinking most nights and often go weeks without a drink. To give you a comparison, I was drinking every night to the point where I am missing almost six months of my memory. Not completely, I just can’t recall what I was doing.
3. Please do not tell me that I’m not fat or that I am fine the way I am. On the other hand don’t say that I am fat… I’m a girl I will take offence no matter what you say to me.
I was born very early to a type one diabetic mother, who also had many health concerns. This meant that throughout her pregnancy she was pumped full of steroids in the hope of making me grow and on some levels it worked. I was born at 3.9kg (8pound 10 ounces) which is remarkably large for any child let alone a 2 month premature one.
Unfortunately what the steroids did not do is help to develop my major organs. My lungs were underdeveloped, my heart was weak, my ear drums had not formed and my bowel was almost non-existent. I was also born with deformed hips, knees and ankles that made me bow legged as a toddler.
For the first 9 weeks of my life I apparently screamed, didn’t sleep, vomited, shat and lost severe amounts of weight. Being my mothers first child she didn’t know what to do. Eventually doctors discovered that I had an intolerance to breast milk, so I started on a formula designed to make babies retain weight.
When my mother introduced solid food to my diet, although I loved it all, it was quickly discovered that I was lactose, fructose, sucrose and gluten intolerant. This meant no dairy, no fruit and certain vegetables, no bread or cereal and no added sugar. Thus, from a very young age my diet was heavily restricted. You’d think I’d have been tiny, but my mother somehow managed to keep me a healthy and chubby child.
As her toddler my mother had another child and her health deteriorated. She had a spinal operation which lead to nerve damage in her right leg. She was reasonably athletic before then and was left bed ridden and terribly depressed. She later had another child with her new partner after leaving my father and we moved 5 hours away from her parents and friends. Everything seemed okay, mums health stayed manageable and life went on until I was about 10.
Mum relapsed with anorexia and I became obsessed with what she was/wasn’t eating. This lead to an obsession with food and controlling it and after a year of my behaviour changing and my weight dropping significantly I was diagnosed with bulimia. I was 12.
Unfortunately I was also going through some other things as well. My period was so heavy, painful and constant for the two years prior that I had been put on the pill and added progesterone tablets leading to my hormones to be…well fucked. I had E cup boobs and a stick of a body. Plus I was in the middle of a court case after a family member had sexually assaulted me for 6 years I finally had the courage to do something about it. I had just started having auditory hallucinations and my mother was having multiple affairs, which some my step-father was involved in as well. It was a very dark time for me and I am sure that a lot of my mental health problems stem from these years of my life.
I was beaten up at my first high school, not undeservedly so, but probably a little heavy handed. I called a girl fat, but it turns out her brother and boyfriend were members of a local gang and my time at that school was hell. I lost even more weight and was hospitalised. After retuning to year 8 at a different high school my life started going a lot better. I was still struggling with depression, hallucinations and family issues, but I had the bulimia under control. After falling pregnant at 14 (and miscarrying, somewhat to my relief) I started to “binge eat” as my therapist called it. I was essentially continuing my behaviour of bulimia, however did not make myself sick. I hoarded my food until dinner time and then filled my stomach so far I could not move and I went to bed like this each night.
It led to significant weight gain and it wasn’t long before I had reached a very unhealthy state. I started smoking daily at this stage as well. I continued along this path of unhealthy choices, relapsed with bulimia a few times, quit and that started smoking again several times, was diagnosed with bipolar, was in and out of rehab for drug addictions and all before I was 16. I also travelled all over the world eating very delicious foods and explored my sexuality a whole lot more. Cut my hair, tried to be a boy and then I moved to Mt Gambier.
I put a lot of weight living there, only made worse by a 3 month trip to Germany. At 17 I was my heaviest at 120kg. I carried it mostly in my thighs and for this I was kind of thankful.
I returned to Australia and I very quickly dropped 30kg. Just by walking to school and eating less potato, bread, potato-bread and pastries.
I now live away from my adulterous mother and step-father and live with my alcoholic father and his wife. They have a four year old daughter and eight month of twin boys. Dad is 135kg and is wanting to lose weight and my step-mum is trying to lose some of her post-twin weight, though is realistic in knowing she will never quite be the same as before. We started the Cohen’s together and I noticed a few changes in my body quite quickly, but found it very hard to stick to.
Then I had another health scare. I was thought to have leukaemia or a very rare blood disorder called PNH which can lead to acute myloid leukaemia. What I actually have is a platelet disorder called Bernard-Sollier syndrome. It is very rare (I’m the only known Australian case at this stage) and yes, it will shorten my life span, but then so does smoking. It will likely lead to many health problems, one of which is leukaemia, but all I can do is prepare my body for treatment.
So this is the plan: lose weight and improve fitness to help support my very suppressed immune system so that when I need marrow and or kidney transplants I will have a lower chance of rejection. And if and when I ever have to go through chemotherapy again, I will have a higher survival rate.
I want to be around to be Aunty Simone for Hannah’s kids and my siblings kids and the twins won’t have kids for at least another 20 years, so I figure I need all the time I can give myself.
Finally: It’s called “Becoming Tenae” because Tenae is a)my middle name, but b) she is the girl in my head that I truly want to be.
I will post weekly on a Monday with a short diary of the week and a progress shot. So join me if you are ready for a change, big or small.