Reality Checks

Ah, weekends. I had a great one, even with big old reality checks, level sets, priority checks and a boatload of sleet. Dallas, stop it. I’m being serious.

Remember when the fat envelope was a good thing? I was finally willing to walk down to the  freezing cold mail room to catch a few days of pile-up, and I had two big old envelopes from UT Southwestern. I assume kids today get an email or tweet or some other digital bullshit when they’re accepted to college, but we always looked for the fat envelopes. Skinny was a wait list or rejection for sure.

Well, these fat envelopes aren’t cool. Here’s my first reality check – the hematologist is at the oncology clinic.  Harold C. Simmons Cancer Clinic, to be exact. God that header is big.  HUGE!   I know cancer is a slim possibility with all this mess I have going on, but it’s still there. It’s almost like this letter is telling me, “Hey girl.  You probably do have Lupus. But at least it’s not cancer! Buck up, buttercup.”

And let’s be honest – we’re all hoping I’m in the 15% that have bad labs but nothing is wrong. Not having any reason my numbers are off is scary in its own way, because then there’s no treatment and all of the risk is still there, but I’ll deal with that when I have to deal with it. Inflammation is not a nice thing to have in your body, but again, it’s not cancer.  Even just thinking the word reminds me of the person I was once close to that died a couple years ago, and my heart just skips a beat.

I’m pretty good at shoving emotions aside and just using my head and logic to work things out, but I slip sometimes. I’ve joked that I’m emotionally dead inside, and honestly, sometimes it’s the best way to deal. If it isn’t going to hurt anyone else, fake it ’til you make it.  I enjoy a winning strategy.  So I’ll whine and freak out on my little online journal, and maybe some more to my mom, and otherwise I’m going to pretend it’s not happening until I have to. Most of the time I’m totally fine.

Happy, even.  There’s so much good stuff in my life right now, and I just need to count my blessings.

The second envelope is for the “Digestive and Liver Diseases Clinic.” You’d think my liver would be the issue if you’ve spent any bar time with me (just kidding mom! I say these things for humor!) but my liver is a-okay 🙂 I’m not even sweating this one anymore, even if shoving a tube down my throat to see why I throw up so much will probably just make me throw up.  Good grief. Sorry for the overshare, but it really is ridiculous. I’ve been good the past couple weeks, but I’ve been soooo careful and haven’t had much of an appetite anyway. Guess it helps.

Speaking of no appetite, though, I’ve been taking little chances here and there with my diet while I’ve been out and about this weekend. I know my blood reacts to gluten, dairy, soy, etc., which is why I stopped eating it. But I had some cheese and a couple bites of pita Friday  night, and the world didn’t end. I had some naan with my chicken tikka tandoori and masala sauce last night, and the world didn’t end. It did knock me the hell out though, holy smokes.  I slept for over ten hours last night!

I haven’t been sleeping well from all this stress, I guess, but that did the trick. Too bad I can’t take bread instead of a Tylenol PM. Reality check number two – bread isn’t worth the belly bloat and skin breakouts. I could feel my cheeks start to flush. Definitely not something I’m going to make a habit of, so don’t worry Mom!  I’ll get back to always carrying beef jerky and almonds if I get stuck somewhere without food I can eat. Fortunately I can eat the masala sauce without naan next time I’m craving Indian 🙂

Reality check three – I can eat my average of 1600-1800 calories a day, but throwing bread in the mix will put a pound of fat back on my ass. I actually only averaged 1400 calories the last couple days, and I still feel like I’ll have gained five pounds when I weigh myself in the morning. And I know I should have eaten more, especially since I worked out, but when you’re not hungry you’re not hungry.  And having six hour quilt classes really keeps you distracted 🙂

So this is me, casually freaking out. I quilt, I have cider, I break all the rules for a couple pieces of cheese and some naan.

Did I mention this was a great weekend? So fun going out Friday night, sleeping in, taking my quilt class, catching up with an old friend over takeout and a mani pedi today. The only thing that would have made it better would have been some sun. Please come back, sun. I miss you.

Here’s the quilt top from Saturday’s class – super cute “Playful” layer cake by Cotton + Steel in a disappearing four patch quilt class taught by one of the gals in my paper piecing class. I was so excited, and this will be a great piece for me to learn how to quilt on a bigger piece! More classes to take 🙂

Laying out the nine blocks so I can evenly distribute the prints.

Finished product!

And I’m Instagram famous! Wish I had put some lips on 🙂

Cheer!

Food Hiding, Doctor Visits and Labwork

So it occurs to me as I sit in my truck and sip on my contraband iced Americano, I’ve mentally come a long way. I mean, instead of parking in a fast food lot of shoveling down a milkshake or crunch wrap supreme before someone can catch me, I’m sneaking a ten calorie coffee.

Btw, I had to google my usual thing for Taco Bell. And by usual, what I used to get pre-Seattle for the boozy fourth meal.  I couldn’t remember what it was called!  I’ve been there twice in the last four years, once on a drive to Boise Memorial Day weekend and another in Seattle when it just sounded good. I still love tacos, but I’ll likely never go to Taco Bell again because they have ZERO things I can eat. Even their plain tacos and “al fresca” items all have either gluten or soy. Insane.  Soy does NOT need to be in every little thing, America.

I digress, though. I’ve always been a food sneaker, a food hider. Calories don’t count if no one sees you, right? If you’ve ever seen me pig out, know that you’re probably one of my favorite people on the planet, because it’s taken me years to be comfortable eating around other people. YEARS.  And to be frank, I can’t remember the last time I binge-ate, other than a chip basket at a Mexican restaurant.  I do remember the last time I binge drank, though.  Don’t tell my mom.  Or my doctor.  Damn you, patio days.  Just kidding, I totally told my doctor and her nurse a real answer.  “Christina, how many alcohol beverages do you have a week?”  Me:  “Well, what’s the weather?  Was I sitting on a patio most of the day?”

So when I say I’ve come a long way, I mean it.  The only candy in my presence sits right on top of my desk at work – and I barely touch it.  It’s full of Jelly Bellys, and my co-workers grab them by the handful.  I don’t miss it, really.  The only thing I really seem to miss is cheese, and cheese isn’t something I ever stashed away.  Well, and the coffee, but I don’t think a cup of coffee, usually decaf, will get me if I do it 3-4 times a month.  Can I justify the occasional dairy splurge by saying I need the probiotics?  Guess not.

I mentioned last blog that I was excited to get labs done to test my progress, and I was able to get that completed this morning.  I established care with the fabulous Dr. Barreto, gave her the rundown of my intolerances, inflammation, low platelets, vomiting, etc.  I swear, when I’m giving my life story I feel like the biggest hypochondriac, but I guess labs don’t lie.  I AM anemic, I DO have cardiac risk thanks to my inflammation, I DO have a low platelet count and I DO throw up more than any human I know.

What does that net me?  Nine vials of blood.  Even the sweet lady taking it was like, whoa.  The labels just kept uncurling.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture!  Glad I wore a super cute sunny yellow jacket to keep me cheerful.  I got several compliments on both that jacket and my navy and silver polka dot overcoat this morning – yay!  That always puts a little spring in your step, right?

Anyway, here’s what I had done:

  • Comprehensive Metalobic Panel – I had this done in October with Seattle’s fabulous Dr. Brown, but I think she wants to see it all again.
  • Hemogram
  • H Pylori
  • C Reative Protein (Inflammation Marker)
  • ESR (For SLE Monitoring)
  • ANA (Antinuclear) abs
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folate (Folic Acid) Serum – looks like the prenatals I take aren’t enough.  God bless any poor guy I date that looks in my medicine cabinet and thinks I’m trying to trick him into having a baby.  It’s for my  hair and the iron, buddy!  I swear!
  • Lipase Serum

Last but not least, a referral to a gastroenterologist.  Awesome.  Hey Mom?  Maybe we’ll finally get me a doctor who can figure it out and/or does more than shrug their shoulders and tells us to deal with it.  That’s an awesome thing to hear when you’re a child, btw.  It’s only taken 37 years 🙂  Looks like there’s a throat scope in my future.  That should be fun.

I’m also weening off the Wellbutrin and switching over to Paxil.  Dr. Baretta thinks it’s a better match for me since it also deals with anxiety and is gaining popularity for patients with IBS.  I don’t have that as far as I know (maybe these labs will show otherwise) but since my gut, intestines, etc. is so damn sensitive it really can’t hurt.  And my anxiety has been pretty bad lately.  Not panic attack bad, thankfully, but I could certainly be more chill.

She also tells me that losing around a pound a week on a 1600-1800 calorie a day diet is fine, and if I cut calories more I would have to do it under a doctor’s supervision and that I would want no part of it.  So I guess if I want to drop pounds faster, I’m just going to have to do that much more at the gym and also make sure the content of my calories is as healthy as can be.  No booze, less processed crap and more fruits and veggies.  Sigh.  Good thing I just gave up alcohol for Lent.

Thanks for reading through my overshare, friends.  Hopefully I’ll be posting positive lab results in the next few days!

Even Though It’s Not About the Loss…

I’ve been really frustrated lately because my weight has hit a wall. Nothing since Christmas, really, and I’ve picked up my exercise and been just as good with the food. At least I think I have – time for some journal review to see where I can make some changes.  I know I’m still getting way too much sodium and it looks like I need to pick up my protein.  But look at that gorgeous calorie burn from today!  Have I mentioned I love this app?  My Net Diary, y’all.  It’s free, so try it out 🙂

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Two big reckonings while I’m here on the treadmill cooling down:  (FYI, I perfected walking and typing when walking to work every day in Seattle.  NO EYE CONTACT!)

  1. I have lost ten pounds in the last month. Sure, it was all in December, but ten pounds in a month is legit. I’ll try not to think about the two weeks prior, because I’ve probably lost ten pounds in six weeks.  I would like to see it come off faster, but the end game is my health.  The best gauge of my progress will be in February, when I retest my hs CRP levels.  For those of you just tuning in, that’s the test that looks at cardiac risk and inflammation, and I was at a 20.55.  3.0 is the max for normal.
  2. I got an email from the casting agents for Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition this morning, inviting me to reapply. I’m happy to say I no longer qualify, as I don’t need to lose half my body weight. YEAH!  They would probably still consider me, as I need to lose more than 100 pounds, but still. This time last year? I needed to lose half my body weight.  Maybe I could have gotten on the cover of People magazine when they feature “Half My Size!”  Sure, the scale isn’t moving, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve lost 45 pounds from this point last year. I can beat myself up about not dropping 1-2 pounds a week, but I won’t. It’s one of the reasons I left Weight Watchers when it’s worked so well for me before. I just couldn’t take the discouragement.

I’ve talked a little bit about how I wasn’t in a good place last year, and seeing that sad yet politely encouraging face at a weekly weigh in might have tipped me over the edge. This time I’m going at my own pace, in my own time, and rewarding myself with little things like a jeans shopping spree and opening a tote of old clothes in a smaller size.  I still see the appeal of a weight loss show – free trainers, nutrition help, and surgery to put everything back where it belongs.

I already know a plastic surgeon is in my future – for the perky boobs I’ve always wanted and never had – but also for skin removal. It’s coming my way. I know I need to get out of my own head when it comes to the skin thing, because it’s a bigger issue for me than my actual weight when it comes to dating. When you feel gross, you don’t want anyone to touch you.  I think if I was already in a relationship I would feel better about it, but it’s hard to get excited about starting from scratch.  Dating is the WORST.  Plus, it’s just really f’ing annoying to work hard to get in shape, yet there’s some weird loose skin on your belly.  I’m just not snapping back like I used to when I’ve lost weight in the past.   I’ve heard some of my slim mom friends bitch about it too, but at least they have a little one to show for it 🙂  Stretch marks happen to the best of us.

At any rate, I know what I see in the mirror isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be, but we’re always hardest on ourselves, right?  I’m sure the right guy would love me even without perky boobs, and they do look pretty fantastic in some great lingerie.  Not that I would ever take a Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose style selfie.  No thanks!  Have I mentioned those will be the first thing I have done?  I already have a couple surgeon referrals to check out when it’s time.

On a lighter note, I picked the worst outfit in the world to put on straight from the gym.  I am obsessed with this sweater and skirt set my parents got me for Christmas, but it is toasty warm.  Just what you want when you actually spent an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill because you were typing out a blog!  At least the locker room has plenty of make-up stations and Kiehl’s in the shower.  I definitely put on my air conditioner for the drive to work, even though it’s 38 degrees.  At least I had the courtesy to make sure no one was around me, unlike the 18 year old blonde girl that no doubt has me in my bathrobe blow drying my hair in the background of hers.  Rude.  Also, it’s too bad I love ivory sweaters, because I’m definitely the same size I was in the pic I posted wearing a grey cardigan, but it’s not nearly as flattering 🙂  The double layer of shirts probably doesn’t help either.

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Headed to Chicago on Friday so I need to find all my snow gear, and I will definitely bring this outfit!  Why do I always find myself up there during the winter?

Cheers!

Christina