My husband and I are going to become car-less in a few months.  My car barely passed the smog test last time around (and basically needed intensive care to get it through).  There’s no chance it will pass this year, and it needs a ton of stuff fixed.

The car isn’t unsafe, exactly.  But, the car was made in 1994, and although we’ve had plenty of repair work done over the years, it’s pretty much ready to give up the ghost.  It’s been on a salvage title for years, ever since some idiot backed into my car at a gas station.  But, that’s a story for another time.

What about my husband’s car?  He doesn’t have one.  He’s legally blind.

The timing of my car reaching the end of its usefulness just so happens to coincide with my recent discovery that I’m not really able to be a safe driver anymore.  This makes the decision to become car-less an easier one than it might have been if I were healthy.

My fibromyalgia makes it hard for me to bend my legs and get back into the car after walking.  It also makes moving my foot from the gas to the break a lot slower than it should be.  My rheumatoid arthritis is slowing stealing my ability to grip the steering wheel.  Not too long ago, I nearly collided with a car when I was trying to change lanes because I couldn’t turn my body enough to see that car.  No accident happened.  I got lucky.

So, my husband and I walked to one of the nearest grocery stores yesterday.  It is one that we frequent, and I’ve walked about… I’m guessing half that distance in the past.  Made it to the store with little struggle, other than sore, swollen, arthritic feet.  Annoying.  Painful.  But, I’ve learned that if I stubbornly keep walking adrenaline will eventually dull the pain for a while.

Went shopping for groceries.  No problem.  Was a little tired by the time we were about halfway through foraging, but that was ok.  I am always exhausted after grocery shopping – sometimes to the point of needing a nap.  So far, all of this was manageable.

Then, it was decision time.  Wait an hour for the bus, or walk home.  I was tired, and experiencing some pain in my feet and hands (and some muscles), but I felt “good”.  By this, I mean that on the spectrum that starts with “I’m ok right now” and ends with “give me all the drugs and let me sleep for days”….  I was “good.”  We decided to see what walking home with groceries was like.

We worked out a way to carry the groceries home.  The town we live in requires people to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store.  I found that putting the straps of the bags on my shoulders – and wearing the groceries home – was the least problematic option.  There was no way my hands would hold the bag straps without dropping them all the way home.

The walk itself wasn’t bad.  I mean, I was tired and had aching feet and muscles, but that’s not unusual for me.  That’s my “normal”.  The pollen count was low, and other than one guy who was using a weed whacker to trim the hedges along the sidewalk we were walking on – there weren’t too many allergens to avoid.  (Oh!  Except for bees.  The trees out here have sprouted flowers.)

The problem was a medication that I stopped taking years ago.  I once was on a birth control called depo provera.  From what I’ve read, there are some women who do just fine on that form of contraception.  Not me.  It made me gain 30 pounds damned near instantly, and promptly stored itself in my fat.  I stopped taking depo years ago, switched to something else… then stopped taking all birth control for a while in the hopes of getting it out of my system.

The depo provera stayed, and made me feel sick anytime I burned fat.

On the way home, my body started rebelling.  I was doing more exercise than typical, and must have been burning fat.  As you may have guessed, my body cannot digest depo provera, but it tries anyway – and gives me horrific cramps as a side effect.  I’ve had this happen many times in the past, and discovered a way of breathing that … sort of takes the edge off the worst waves of cramps for a bit.

Made it home, and then was super sick with flu-like symptoms for the rest of the afternoon/evening.  Food wouldn’t stay in me long enough for me to get any calories from it. After giving up and laying down for a while, I had to eat something so I could take a pain reliever to help my aching, arthritic, swollen joints in my feet.

I have concerns that I’m going to lose weight in a way that definitely not a healthy way of going about it.  Once I get flu-like symptoms, it can take me about a week to…. stop having them.  I’ve just barely recovered from a bout of anemia, so this is heading into a danger zone.  How is a borderline anemic person supposed to avoid falling into anemia when her body won’t accept any food?  I dunno.

I’m frustrated that I’ve learned how to sort of manage my chronic illnesses, and the pain that goes with them – only to have a side effect from a drug stored in my fat to completely mess me up.  I’m frustrated that I tried to do a super healthy thing – walking – and that it resulted in flu-like symptoms.

This is not going to stop me from trying to walk to – and from – a grocery store in the future.  If I’ve recovered enough next week, when we need to get more groceries, I’ll do it again. Eventually, I’ll lose enough fat to force the leftover depo provera out of my body forever.

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