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Friday, July 24, 2015

Committed to the Process

I haven't meant to wait so long between posts, but just haven't sat down to get anything down.  I need to take a short break from what I am doing, so I will try to make this short.


I have stayed on track pretty well with the program outlined in my last post, prescribed by the functional medicine doctor.  The worst thing I have done is one night all I had to eat that was cooked and/or not frozen was some chicken breast.  I had already had it several times and I just could not face it one more time.  So I put a little barbecue sauce on it.  That was after I had completed 2 weeks on the plan.  I have run out of the supplements the doctor gave me (but still have a lot more I am taking on an ongoing basis), but my appointment is not until next Tuesday, so I am still following the eating plan.


It has been tough, in some ways, because it is very restrictive.  The toughest thing is, you cannot just grab something at a restaurant because usually it is going to have something in it you cannot eat.  So I have had to cook every single meal I have eaten in the last 3 weeks.  So, lots of cooking, and consequently, lots of cleaning up.  One of the things I miss the most?  Peppers.  They add so much more flavor to things.


In some ways I am discouraged and in some ways I am doing very well.  I am discouraged because the diet is restrictive and I am not seeing any results.  As in I am not losing any weight.  But she said I probably would not during this phase.  That does not mean it is not doing what it is supposed to, which is heal my "leaky gut."  I do feel better in some ways.  But I am ready to get to some weight loss.  I had my blood tests done (to check my thyroid, among other things), but my doctor has been on vacation so don't know the results.  I have an appointment on Tuesday, the 28th.  Hopefully they will find the issue with the thyroid (that sounds funny, but finding an issue means they can help me), get me on some medication, and get this body working more like it should.


My daughter has been gone for pretty much a whole month and I have been spending a lot of time alone.  I don't mind that, but it is getting a little old.  I don't have a car right now and I don't feel like getting out much -- or making the effort to make some friends so I have someone to get out with.  That is one reason I feel so anxious to get things "fixed."  I want to get to living life.


One improvement I do see is I find myself up and around and doing more than I was -- not because of improvement in pain, so much, although that has been better, but because I am starting to have a little more energy.  I am staying busier at home, consistently, more than I used to, and I have been coming in to work early to work on cleaning out my file room and getting my area organized.  As far as pain, the knee injections have worn off during the last week, so the pain is building there.  The back issues are still some better, but I can tell that is returning too.  Of course we knew it would and I am so thankful to have the few weeks of respite.


I'm not sure when surgery is going to happen.  It may not be until November because I may not have anyone to help me at home in the near future and we have a trial specially set for November 9, so being out during the buildup for that is probably impossible.  So right after November 9 might be when it happens.  Then I would be out for most of the rest of the year.


I do believe that at this time next year, things will be much different for me.  It's just the getting there.  But I am committed to the process and I believe it will happen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Visit to the Functional Medicine Doctor and Eating Plan for Next 2-3 Weeks


Monday

I know I have not written in a bit.  The reason is, last week was a total zoo at work.  My co-worker is gone (last week and this week), so I’ve been carrying her load and mine.  I worked a lot of hours last week.


I wanted to share about my appointment with the functional medicine doctor, which occurred last Thursday, July 2.  I am taking a lot of this from places I have told other people about it, so if it seems disjointed, that is why.


My diet is going to be further restricted for at least the next 2-3 weeks while we are "mending fences" and detoxing. Of course I have already been eating grain free and working on sugar free (more on that in a bit), but she is also removing dairy, eggs and nuts for at least the first 2 weeks. Mostly I will be eating meats, vegetables, a little fruit and healthy fats. I asked her if I was allowed to have sweet potatoes, and she said yes, but not TOO much -- no more than one a day. Do you know how glad I was to hear I could have one a day? I probably won't, but I can. She said I should spread it through the day, though, while my insulin resistance is healing. Same thing with the fruit.  For example, make a little hash with some sweet potato and a meat, etc. for breakfast; and then have the other part of it, fixed in a different way, for dinner.


The diet for the next 2-3 weeks is an anti-inflammatory diet. It is designed to heal up the GI system, fix any "leaky gut" issues, etc. This is based on my personal issues, although I think they probably start there with a lot of people. My issue has been pain and I really haven't had much digestive issues; however, inflammation begins in the gut, so that is where you start.  High priority for me is to get the rest of the headaches to stop (they are much improved, but still having them a lot more than I would like). For this, she wants me taking as much magnesium (malate) as my body can handle. We are starting with 2 1,250-mg tablets, three times a day (that’s double what I was taking based on Wheat Belly recommendations). Magnesium also helps constipation, so I will build up to as much as I can take until either my headaches stop or it causes diarrhea (sorry for the TMI) and take 1 step back from that. (No doctor ever told me magnesium would help with headaches!)  She took me off dairy because sometimes the body becomes confused and looks at the protein in dairy and reads it like it is the same protein as is in wheat; after I heal up a little bit, hopefully I will be able to add dairy back. Sigh. It’s mainly cheese that I will miss. I can eat no grains at all, but that’s what I have been doing anyway. After these 2-3 weeks, I will be on a detox program. I will find out what that entails next time.much digestive issues; however, inflammation begins in the gut, so that is where you start.  High priority for me is to get the rest of the headaches to stop (they are much improved, but still having them a lot more than I would like). For this, she wants me taking as much Magnesium (malate) as my body can handle. We are starting with 2 1,250 mg tablets, three times a day (that's double what I was taking based on Wheat Belly recommendations). Magnesium also helps constipation, so I will build up to as much as I can take until it causes diarrhea (sorry for the TMI) and take 1 step back from that. (No doctor ever told me magnesium would help with headaches.)  She took me off dairy because sometimes the body becomes confused and looks at the protein in dairy and reads it like it is the same protein as is in wheat; after I heal up a little bit, hopefully I will be able to add dairy back. Sigh. It's mainly cheese that I will miss. I can eat no grains at all, but that’s what I have been doing anyway. After these 2-3 weeks, I will be on a detox program. I will find out what that entails next time.much digestive issues; however, inflammation begins in the gut, so that is where you start.  High priority for me is to get the rest of the headaches to stop (they are much improved, but still having them a lot more than I would like). For this, she wants me taking as much Magnesium (malate) as my body can handle. We are starting with 2 1,250 mg tablets, three times a day (that's double what I was taking based on Wheat Belly recommendations). Magnesium also helps constipation, so I will build up to as much as I can take until it causes diarrhea (sorry for the TMI) and take 1 step back from that. (No doctor ever told me magnesium would help with headaches.)  She took me off dairy because sometimes the body becomes confused and looks at the protein in dairy and reads it like it is the same protein as is in wheat; after I heal up a little bit, hopefully I will be able to add dairy back. Sigh. It's mainly cheese that I will miss. I can eat no grains at all, but that’s what I have been doing anyway. After these 2-3 weeks, I will be on a detox program. I will find out what that entails next time.much digestive issues; however, inflammation begins in the gut, so that is where you start.  High priority for me is to get the rest of the headaches to stop (they are much improved, but still having them a lot more than I would like). For this, she wants me taking as much Magnesium (malate) as my body can handle. We are starting with 2 1,250 mg tablets, three times a day (that's double what I was taking based on Wheat Belly recommendations). Magnesium also helps constipation, so I will build up to as much as I can take until it causes diarrhea (sorry for the TMI) and take 1 step back from that. (No doctor ever told me magnesium would help with headaches.)  She took me off dairy because sometimes the body becomes confused and looks at the protein in dairy and reads it like it is the same protein as is in wheat; after I heal up a little bit, hopefully I will be able to add dairy back. Sigh. It's mainly cheese that I will miss. I can eat no grains at all, but that’s what I have been doing anyway. After these 2-3 weeks, I will be on a detox program. I will find out what that entails next time.


They will be doing blood testing, but she said I most definitely have thyroid problems. They are also checking for adrenal problems with a saliva test. She had this little instrument and she pointed it at the inside of my arm at the elbow. (It is the kind of instrument they use when an a/c repair person checks the temperature coming out of the vent.) When she passed the joint between my lower arm and hand, she said the temperature dropped 7-8 degrees. A pretty good indication that I am having significant thyroid problems. I have had chiropractors tell me that before (from a different method), but doctors just looked at my "normal" TSH level and said it was fine. I did have to take synthroid as a child; so why did that doctor find a problem and the rest did not? It doesn't go away. I'm just looking forward to feeling better, being able to lose weight, and having a lot more energy. Incidentally, most Americans have impaired thyroid function because of all the pesticides and chemicals we come in contact with.


We talked about the issues with my knees. She certainly was not opposed to knee replacements if that is what I need. I need to be able to move and have mobility. She said she would suggest I wait 6-8 weeks and see where my pain levels are then and make that decision then. She said that at the very least, it would give my body time to do some healing so that the surgery would not be so stressful on an already extremely-stressed body. She said, based on the history I gave her -- and I was detailed -- that this body had been enduring a high degree of stress from the moment I was born. It was time for me to stop using all my energy to take care of everyone else and take care of myself (which is what I have been trying to do the last few months). (Where have I heard that before?) As I said, she said I most certainly have thyroid issues, and likely adrenal issues. They are doing saliva tests to get the scoop on the adrenal issues.


I am so glad to hopefully be getting to the bottom of all this.  I think so many people are going through life with health issues and only the symptoms are being treated, not the roots of the problems. I am not willing to do that anymore; besides, IT WASN'T WORKING. And it all started with reading Wheat Belly and going from there.


I have always wondered why I have these vertical grooves on my fingernails. I've googled it, etc., but didn't really find an answer. They have improved lately, after getting really bad, but it's still there. She said, believe it or not, that is a sign that I am malnourished. Even though overweight, my body is not able to absorb the nutrients it needs. She said that the reason I cannot lose weight (and put on weight in the first place) is that is the body's way of protecting itself. It holds on to it thinking it's going to need it at some point. When we heal up some gut issues and my body is better absorbing nutrients it needs, then it will feel comfortable beginning to let go of its fat stores. Here's the thing. My whole life I have felt so much shame about carrying too much weight and the world shells out lots of ridicule if you don't look like society's perception of beauty. Many men are not interested, and you are discriminated against in so many ways. I have lost 70 pounds at a time several times in my life (how many “normal” people can say that?), but I was actually doing my body more harm than good in many ways. And I was eating what the "experts" said you should eat or else all the crap that is shoved at you through advertisements, etc. in our society. All the while, my body is "starving" and holding on to weight to protect itself. Meaning all the condemnation from experts and society is totally pointed in the wrong direction. That makes me angry, both for myself and for other people who go through the same thing. I would like to be a part of changing that in some way or another.


After Saturday (July 4), something I need to remember on the next holiday, special occasion, etc.: the concept of taking a day off from healthy eating is supremely flawed. What is the fun of eating things you normally don't eat and then feeling like crap the next day? (By that I mean physically, not just emotionally.  My body hurt all over and, of course, the ever-present headache was worse.)  Saturday was not horrible, but I could have made just 2 or 3 different choices and felt much better the next day. I did not eat wheat, but I ate corn and potatoes, and I ate some sugar. Gluten free, but I felt like a truck ran over me when I got up Sunday.
.  I want to eat to feel the best that I can so I can enjoy the other aspects of life.  I plan to start the eating program tomorrow.  I wanted to get through the holiday weekend, Finish up some food I had already cooked ahead, and I needed to get some groceries (that may not happen until tomorrow, but I have enough to get started.  She says I won't necessarily lose weight (although I definitely could), but it will definitely get me on the way to feeling better.  So mainly I will be eating meats (although I did not see pork listed), vegetables, healthy fats and some fruits.  Glad this is part is just 2-3 weeks. I can do that.

If I am hungry, I am supposed to eat.  No going hungry allowed.  I am also to spend 10 minutes of intense movement (preferably non-weight-bearing – as in being on my feet) each day (like using weights and lifting them and crossing my body while twisting at the waist, and just keep moving as fast as is intense for me, for 10 minutes).


I want to get moving on this and feel good enough to get fully back into life, get back to church consistently, start dating again, and generally doing something besides working and going home.  That may not happen until after knee replacement surgery, but we will see.  If I could find a man who doesn’t mind me being on a scooter part of the time until that gets done….  I probably won’t put forth the effort to make that happen.  I could just avoid any activity that requires much walking before then.  First I want to get through this first leg of the journey, but I have been struggling with loneliness lately.


As to my comment about “working on being sugar free,” I am realizing what an excuse that is.  I just have to do it.  So with the restrictions for this program, it will get done.  No more copping out and making excuses.

Wednesday

I didn't get that posted, so will just add a little to it and get it done.

I started on my program yesterday.  I'm not going to say it is going to be easy.  It does help that I have been off grains already.  I'm missing cheese, nuts and peppers!  Peppers add so much flavor to things and I can't have them right now.  It is taking a lot more preparation time to make sure I have what I need and, of course, it is expensive.  I am supposed to eat something "fermented" every day to help feed healthy bowel flora.  Two suggestions were unsweetened yogurt made from coconut milk and "real" pickles (not the kind we are used to that are made with vinegar.  Real pickles are fermented.  I just had some of the coconut yogurt for lunch with some cherries and I am definitely a fan!  Yum!  But it is expensive.  I probably will try to make my own.  One carton (which is supposed to have 2 servings -- I will make it 4) costs almost $7.00.  I'm just eating about 1/4 cup a day.  Avocados are my friend.  They are the one readily "eatable" fat, since I can't have a cheese stick or some nuts or nut butter.  Sometimes I am eating just because I am hungry, not because I want what I have brought with me.  But I can do this.  And if it gets me to feeling better, it is definitely worth it.