Yesterday I went out for a walk with my son. I almost didn’t go because of my fibroids. They are rather large right now as it comes up to that time of the month. Yesterday I also had to deal with gas and bloating. It was as if someone had plugged me up to something and filled me up with air. My stomach was massive and misshapen, air pushing it out at all corners. It was a sunny and beautiful day yesterday. When my son originally suggested we go out for a walk I was fairly comfortable. My stomach was not as relaxed as it has been for most of the last 18 days; but it was nothing like it became by the time we were ready to go out for the walk.
I have eaten solids only 4 days in the last 18 days so I’ve been enjoying some relief from the usual discomfort caused by my fibroids. But for the last three or so days my stomach has been swelling. This does happen when my cycle is approaching; but the swelling caused by the fibroids alone is nothing compared to what happens when I suddenly get filled up with gas and start expanding as if to burst. By the time my son was ready for that walk I was near to floating I was so blown up. There was nothing in my wardrobe that I could possibly use to disguise my massive stomach. The oversized clothes I wear for that purpose weren’t big enough yesterday. It was very frustrating.
For me going out into public is can become a huge ordeal. I recognize my issues to be what they are–problems that I really need to work on overcoming; but until I actually overcome them, they are here and they are real. I have mentioned in another post that I have lived with agoraphobia for the better part of my adult life. It’s very difficult for me to work up the courage to go out. I have found though that it gets easier the better I feel about myself. Unfortunately I don’t tend to feel good about myself unless I look a certain way. This isn’t a good thing. I’m perfectly well aware of that; but I have learned since I was a little girl to judge myself based on my appearance; and it doesn’t seem as if that’s something you can just stop doing by telling yourself it’s ridiculous and you shouldn’t do it.
I tried to get out of going for that walk yesterday because there was no way that I would be able to look like anything other than a walking belly with a head attached to it; but my son wouldn’t let me off the hook even while acknowledging that I looked extremely uncomfortable with my stomach. He offered instead to lend me one of his jackets. I think he sees me as being past the age where it should matter one way or another what I look like. I shouldn’t care about my appearance. I shouldn’t be so conscious of my image because no one else cares. Even if I didn’t already have a husband I would have been taken off the shelf when I turned forty. He has no concept of the fact that a woman needs to feel good for herself and that her age is not relevant to anything. Of course there’s something wrong when whether or not you feel good about yourself depends on how you look. You should be able to feel good about yourself regardless of your appearance; but I’m just not there yet.
Anyway, I didn’t want to disappoint my son so I made up my mind to look like crap. I used the jacket he offered and I went for the walk. But the experience makes me more determined to find clothes I can wear at those times when my stomach is impossible to disguise. I plan to make a conscious effort to go out of the house more often this Spring and Summer and I can’t allow my stomach to get in the way of my effort to change my life. But it can’t be like yesterday where I’m totally self conscious and unable to relax and feeling embarrassed with every step I take. I know the most important part of the equation is working on my mind. I have to accept that my body is changed. I have to accept that I have tumors in my stomach that cause my stomach to protrude; and the protrusion is obvious. Yes, people will see my stomach. I have to learn to deal with that. Yes, people are either going to think I am pregnant or they are going to think I have a big belly. Whatever they think, my figure will not be attractive in their eyes. This is something I can do nothing about. This is something I must accept. I have lived my entire life afraid of being looked at as being less than attractive of face and body. This fear contributed in part to my agoraphobia. Since I was a teenager, shame over how I looked would determine whether or not I went outside. Obviously the most important thing is to deal with whatever is behind that shame and overcome that; but in the meantime, so that I can help make it easier for myself to accomplish my goal to get out of the house more this Spring and Summer, I need to learn how to dress my big fibroid belly so that I can feel good about myself when I do go out.
This is of course not a “fibroid dress”. There’s no such thing as a fibroid dress that I know of; but there are such things as maternity dresses for pregnant women and since the reality for some of us with fibroids is that we can sometimes look pregnant even though we’re not, I figure it’s okay refer to dresses I think might be helpful to wear at those times as fibroid dresses.
The dress shown here is a Bohemian style shift dress with a so-called “regal gold foil print”. Of course style is a personal thing so I’m not suggesting it as something you should wear. I wouldn’t mind having it or a similarly styled dress in my closet though. It looks like this particular dress is for women who wear between a size 16 to a size 34 so I wouldn’t be able to get exactly this dress unless they sell it in other sizes; but I definitely like the style and think it would help hide my fibroids on their more active days.
Like I said in another post, one of the hardest aspects of living with fibroids is not having the freedom I once did to wear whatever I want. I mean, sure I can still wear anything I want and just not care what anyone thinks about the way I look; but I’ve never had that kind of confident personality. I definitely admire women who don’t let the rest of the world dictate to them what they should wear based on their body type. These women love themselves and love their figures even while they don’t have society’s definition of the ideal figure, and that is something to be applauded. I am coming from a place where I spent my whole life obsessed with trying to achieve the ideal. I don’t look for people to blame but certainly in my most impressionable years I learned lessons that were very psychologically damaging. I learned to judge myself based on how it seemed others perceived me and I learned to measure my worth based on how I looked and how my appearance, face and figure, measured up to the ideal standards. While things are not as bad as they used to be, it would be untrue to say that I no longer have a problem with the way I see myself and how I feel about myself based on how I think I look or how I think people perceive me, not just my personality but my appearance.
I could never go out dressed in a way that draws attention to the parts of me with which I am not comfortable. Even before my stomach became impossible to hide, when the fibroids were just beginning to grow and were still small enough that I only had slight evidence of a protrusion, I would dress to conceal the fact that my stomach wasn’t flat. If I wore something that didn’t totally hide my less than perfectly flat stomach I would be self conscious and consequently in a bad mood due to shame and embarrassment for the entire time I was out.
Now that the weather is starting to warm up I am concerned about how I’m going to find clothes that I can wear out and still feel physically and mentally comfortable. The mental part is very important because I tend to make everybody around me uncomfortable when I’m uncomfortable and when they start to react to my bad vibes then I start to get upset with them and my mood gets more foul. In turn their mood gets more foul and everything becomes a big mess all because I’m self conscious and embarrassed about the way I look.
So I need to find clothes that I can wear now that I can’t wear jackets and other outer wear to cover up my fibroid problem. I need clothes that I feel good in and that I look good in to my own eyes. I think I would feel good in the above outfit and I think it would look good on me as well, but of course, I have no money so I can’t exactly buy it; but who knows? I don’t know how much the dress costs. The shoes are $70. The bag $275. The bracelet is $30.
One of the most frustrating realities of living with fibroids is that I always have to dress to try to hide my stomach. It’s easier to do some times than others. It depends on whether I’m in a stage where the fibroids are controlling me or in a stage where I am controlling them. They are always in control at that time of the month. There appears to be absolutely nothing I can do then to control the size of my stomach. My stomach gets extremely big and painfully uncomfortable when my cycle comes around and there’s no hiding my stomach at this time, unless I wear a tent. I have to avoid going out or make up my mind that people are going to think I’m pregnant.
I figure if you have to look pregnant at least look fashionable at it so I plan to buy this allen allen Women’s Sleeveless Cowl Neck Dressat some point when I get the funds.
It’s very frustrating to have this problem with my stomach, especially at this point when I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been. To look at my stomach and see all the evidence of the hard work I’ve been doing to get back to a high level of fitness destroyed by having this big protruding lump is annoying and at times depressing; but I try not to let it get me down.
Most of what I have in my closet are things I bought before this problem developed so there are times when I can’t go anywhere because everything I own will just emphasize my ridiculous stomach.
I do have to say that there are times when it’s not that bad. Like I’ve said in some of my other posts the fibroids do go down quite a bit when I’m not consuming much in the way of solid food; so if you’re trying to shrink your fibroids and you’ve heard people suggest a juice fast I’d say try it. I haven’t really done a dedicated fast the way it’s been suggested, as in going 30 days on a juice fast. I might try that starting in September when I should be able to afford it. A 30 day juice fast is not possible on my current budget.