January 16, 2023

my diet upgrades, bad blood & my frazzled nerves

When I went to the doctor 12/17, she was alarmed by my weight. I'd lost 12 lbs. since May. I knew I'd shed a few pounds, but 12? I'd lost the weight since August not May, but she last saw me in May. I told her I'd made a few changes to my diet. She took blood before I left. 

They don't do rapid tests there for covid, but she told me to take a covid test when I got home and I was positive. *relevance forthcoming*

Back in August I was grumbling about how I eat healthy and I workout like a dog, but I still felt like I had a few pounds that I couldn't get rid of. Ed is a very healthy eater. He suggested that I eat too much sugar. Who me? I rarely eat dessert, because of celiac. Um, turns out that added sugar was in some things I was eating. Believe that, if you will.

I decided to cut out two of my favorites. My granola-like protein concoction and my protein balls. I was eating both each day because they were GF and I deemed them healthy. Well, maybe they were in the healthy family. They were super labor intensive. I miss snacking on them, but I don't miss whipping up batches to freeze.

I also cut out the frozen GF muffins from Costco - they were a smart food. Smart? As in smart to eat? More added sugar.

I weaned myself from applesauce - my fav after dinner treat, which I would still sometime enjoy, but only a tiny taste.

I added an apple every afternoon in place of my muffin. That fills me up.

*I'm forever searching for a good food formula that works with celiac, my gut issues, and my ravenous hunger. I was eating eggs daily for awhile after oatmeal. I used to consume lots of trail mix (like 6 yrs ago). I used to eat apples - always with peanut butter. I've dealt with the pain in my side/sleep disturbances for years, which I'm really starting to believe is from scar tissue resulting from years of undiagnosed celiac. A dietician told me once I was eating WAY too much fiber, so I eliminated the apple and cut my cobb salad in half. 

Then when I landed in the ER on Halloween, I decided to cut out popcorn and corn and anything with seeds, even though they didn't say I had diverticulitis. I felt like  my body was warning me of things to come. I'd just indulged in popcorn a few days prior after not eating it for weeks, months even. 

In the fall my rhuemotologist did blood work. He pointed out that my cholesterol was high. I cut out almost all red meat and cheese. 

With sugar cutbacks, seed eliminations, and cholerstrol red flags, there were layers to my diet changes. 

This technically belongs in Christmas blunders (part 2 forthcoming after the dinner story). Coach hung our Christmas lights in late Nov. This stretch was lit initially, and died the next day. He maneuvered the lights so that there wasn't a 'bald' spot. I did crop this photo so that you weren't disgusted by our disgraceful garage. 

After the ER I realized that the pain in my gut had mostly vanished (I'd been sleeping better) since I'd made the August diet adjustments. My granola-like concoction included sunflower seeds (also:  toasted quinoa, dried cherries, almond butter,  coconut, GF oatmeal, dark chocolate chips, etc.) and without seeds in my diet I was mostly pain free. Lightbulb moment, friends. LIGHTBULB. 

All this to say, I felt like my food change-up could be responsible for pounds shed. I eat a lot though and as much as I'd tried over the years, I'd never been able to lose even a few pounds. Once the doc was alarmed, I wigged out. 

When the blood work came back, I viewed the results in my patient portal, which I think shouldn't be an option since I was uninformed. Parts of it were labeled ABNORMAL. Overall (white blood count and a few other areas) the results were NOT GOOD. 

The doc office called to set up a zoom with me a few days later, claiming she wanted to check up on me. I had covid, why the check up?  

In freak-out mode, I turned to my friend, Google. Mistake. 

The doc's motive for the follow-up was BAD BLOOD. Sherlock Holmes here. 

I redid my blood work on my b-day after fasting. My blood drawing lady was in stitches as we chatted about family and how I'd just hosted and was hosting again later that afternoon. I may have mentioned how Ann texted a few days before Christmas asking if she was invited. And how my sis Marie brought a Cesar salad. 


Blood draw lady:  RIGHT? 

Our chuckle fest was a nice little diversion, as in let's joke about stuff and lighten the mood here. Supplying her with comic relief sure beats my former role as the pass out cold queen.  

My friend,  an oncology nurse, admitted that my numbers weren't great, but she also insisted that covid could throw those off. Hmm.

Why, oh why, did the doc do labs knowing I was sick? Two weeks of stress and worry could've been avoided, because . . . 

On 1/6th, I zoomed the doc, who was happy with my totally normal labs. 

I'd worked myself up into a bit of a mess, if I'm being honest. I suppose hosting both sides for Christmas was a blessing, because BUSY. In quiet moments though, I'd start to come unglued. What if this was my last Christmas? What if I would need to stop working to do chemo or something? How would the kids manage without me? How could Coach manage the kids without me? Remember, I'd just recently seen what my house looked like when I wasn't available. Not gonna lie, the house isn't kept in order even when I'm not down with covid, so imagine. 

Well, it was a rocky few weeks. I prayed a lot and kept reminding myself that I felt good. The fact that I have gut issues at times scared me. Related? 

Anyway, the doc was very reassuring. She ordered a calcium test to be sure I don't have a blockage, since my cholerstol high - weirdly, so I did the CT the other day. I have to go back to see her mid Feb, so she can weigh me. I've assured her that I've probably gained some of that 12 back since I was large and in charge of Christmas - and I created some GF desserts. Plus, ice cream has been my stress-relieving buddy. 

This post will help me explain my feelings about the scheduled family dinner. Are you familiar with the saying, when someone shows you who they are, believe them? I'd like to adjust that to:  

When someone tells you where they want to go for dinner, believe them. Dinner drama to follow. 


Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh, I'm sorry you went through all that. I have weird white blood cell counts too and have for years. Google it: cancer. But I don't have cancer, I just have weird white blood cells. It's alarming but I feel fine so...I guess it's okay? Anyway, I am so glad you're okay. It's scary when things all start to sound like they are adding up to bad things.

Nance said...

I've decided to never, never, ever use Dr. Google after getting lab results for me or for Rick. Always a mistake. I've prediagnosed each of us with a slew of scary stuff before we see the doctor, and it isn't ever remotely accurate.

(I also never tell the doctors that I've googled anything. I don't want to be That Patient, you know?)

ccr in MA said...

As you were naming the food restrictions, I started to think, what's left? But I'm so glad you've found a better place in terms of how what you eat makes you feel. I hope it all continues well!

Kari said...

What ARE you eating? 😂

I'm relieved that everything worked out. In November, I had a scary test. I only found out last week that everything is fine. So I understand your anxiety.

Ernie said...

Nicole - There you have it. Weird white blood cells. I forgot to mention in my comment on your post today, but my blood pressure is freaky low too. I flipped from reading into EVERYTHING to reassuring myself that this it was a fluke.

Ernie said...

Nance - I have a SIL who I believe spends most of her waking hours searching online for what medical issues they all have. I don't usually go that route, but I did this time. Mistake. I don't tell the doc that I've been trying to self-diagnosis with Google either. No reason to let her believe I think I've got it all figured out. Because, NOPE.

Ernie said...

ccr - My options have become narrowed for sure. I am a robot when I eat - oatmeal, protein bar, protein shake, cobb salad, greek yogurt, apple, meat and potatoes. Sometimes ice cream. ;) Weidly I had two -TWO - NIGHTS with sleep issues last wake related to my gut. Not sure why, but one theory is TOO much brussel sprouts. Too much fiber? I feel like there is a fine line for me.

Ernie said...

Kari - See comment above for what I eat daily. Even that sometimes throws me off. It's a big mystery. Tired of trying to figure it out.

Sorry you had a scary test result too. Glad it sorted it self out.

Cindy said...

Oh my goodness, such crazy medical issues! I'm very impressed with all the diet changes you've made! I'm trying to cut back on sugar and carbs... but it's been hard! Those things seem to be in everything! I'm glad things are getting back to normal for you.

joymariecooks said...

Sorry you had so much medical stress and really glad to hear you have good blood!

Ernie said...

Cindy - When I stop and think of all of the things I've eliminated or changed in my diet, it does pile up. Dang it that sugar - it is in everything. Why must it be so good? Thanks.

Ernie said...

joymarie - It was stressful at times, but I did manage to talk myself off the ledge most of the time. Blood grosses me out, but it is good to have it rank in the good deparment.

Colleen said...

Wow, what a ride! I want your weight loss without having to eat your restricted diet - ha! I'm glad your labs came back better, being sick can mess up so many numbers. Does high cholesterol run in your family? I have it too, it's genetic so I don't worry about changing my diet too much in regards to cholesterol, we just test it every year and it's holding steady.

Busy Bee Suz said...

First, I'm SO FREAKING relieved that your numbers are better after getting through The Covid. I know you were nervous and honestly, I was too. You had prayers coming from The Sunshine State.

Second, what the hell are you eating? Ok. I looked at your previous comment answers as I'm a day late. So, it sounds like the seed thing might really be an issue. I can't tell you how many have told Coach that this is an old wives' tale. Weird, huh?

I never would have guessed that you had 7lbs to lose, much less 12lbs. SKINNY MINNY!

Laughing at Christmas light situation!!

Jenny in WV said...

Ugh!! That really stinks that you had all that extra stress on top of Christmas dinner party related stress! Really glad to hear everything is alright!

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

That sounds so scary, Ernie. I'm sorry you went through that and I'm glad you repeated the labs in order to get the all clear.

It definitely sounds like you cut out a LOT of foods -- no wonder you had the weight loss. I hope your forthcoming doctor's appointment is informative and non-scary.

Ernie said...

Colleen - I feel like I am currently at the size that I've thought that I should be at considering what I eat and how much I work out. It surprises me that the few things I was enjoying were contributing to my weight being totally fine, but being a smidge over where I THOUGHT they should be. If that makes sense. I still eat a decent amount. I do sometimes miss the things I cut out.

Once the friend pointed out that covid could be throwing off my numbers, I settled down - mostly.

I honestly don't know if high cholerstrol runs in the family. My mom never went to the doctor. No one else has mentioned it. I think my dad had high blood pressure, but doesn't that just come with having 5 kids?

Ernie said...

Suz - I accept prayers from all over, but the ones from the Sunshine State felt especially warm. Thank you. It was nerve wracking. I went from moments of EVERYTHING'S FINE to the quiet moments where my mind WANDERED into territory it shouldn't go to.

I feel like my current intake is a fairly decent recipe for me to feel good, but that doesn't explain why I was up half the night twice last week. TWICE in one week? Well, that wears me out. I don't think seeds is an old wives' tale. A mom I sit for said her mom had a diverticulitis issue after eating popcorn.

Oh the Christmas lights. Aside from that one outage, overall - the kids whispered to me this year: WHY BOTHER? They aren't wrong. Coach did a 'don't-care' kind of job. Maybe one of the boys can handle it next year.

Ernie said...

Jenny - I was trying to pace myself and not overdo the getting ready for Christmas and for the parties, but I was also trying to talk myself out of losing my mind. It wasn't fun. I even took my contact lenses out before the zoom with the doc, so that I didn't ruin them with tears when I got the bad news. Fortunately that was unnecessary.

Ernie said...

Suzanne - It wasn't until I started listing off all the things I'd been avoiding that I realized I'd really eliminated quite a bit from my diet. I'd wanted to lose 5-7 lbs for years, and it ended up not being too challenging.

I'm much more relaxed and I believe that she'll find that I have no build up in my arteries and that I don't need to be medicated. Yet.

Ally Bean said...

I'm sorry to read this but it sounds like you're on the right track to finding out the source of your problem, if there really is one. I take all things about bloodwork with a grain of salt [no pun intended]. It's often just a snapshot in time and everything settles back to your own personal normal. You'll let us know with a follow-up, right?

Pat Birnie said...

Wow Ernie that must have been so scary. We all need to learn to avoid Dr Google !! The high cholesterol may definitely be genetic. I eat really healthy and exercise daily yet I have slightly high cholesterol- I was so annoyed!!! But- my very healthy active mother died suddenly of heart disease at 88, so maybe if she’d been diagnosed she may not have developed the heart disease? My naturopath told me to chill and take the low dose statins haha. I hope this comment works. My Mexican phone hasn’t worked with comments on your blog - I know you live for comments; just know I’m reading.

Charlie said...

Poor you :( Health worries are the worst. So happy all is well. I’m also totally in awe if your disciplined healthy eating habits

Bijoux said...

I can relate to both bad blood test results and diet challenges. I’m trying to balance high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, kidney stone and osteoporosis. The crazy part is, my BMI is borderline underweight, so it’s not like I wasn’t eating healthy to begin with. I hope you are feeling good, because that’s the most important thing.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Ernie said...

Ally - I like you pun. Ha. You make a good point - about blood work being a snippet in time. I do trust this doctor and I think all is well. I will share if any new info crops up.

Ernie said...

Pat - You are so sweet to assure me that you're reading while vacationing in Mexico - that's great. Both the vacationing and the reading. Thank you. I've honestly had a rough few days here - nothing earth shattering, just a little bent out of shape over a rejection of something I submitted to an online magazine. Appreciate the critique they supplied, but making me question WHAT AM I DOING? To that end, comments are little pick-me-ups, so I appreciate the effort.

I believe this is hereditary, but no one in my fam has mentioned high cholesterol. Better to be safe than sorry and I will see the doc in a month to see if she wants me on meds.

Ernie said...

Charlie - It wasn't a fun break. Add to that that the high school kids have very little time off and that I was hosting at every turn. Hey, I'm heading to Ireland to see Tank, so I get a break in a few months time. As much as traveling is a break - traveling in the sun is more of a break, but I'm excited to see Ireland friends and to see where it is that Tank is in school.

I would do anything LITERALLY anything to avoid another trip to the ER, so if it means no more popcorn or seeds, so be it. I will also abide by any kind of diet if it means I can sleep consistently. I LOVE to sleep, damn it.

Ernie said...

Bijoux - Thanks for reading - not that this was a very exciting topic. Sorry that you are dealing with diet restrictions for health issues as well. I sometimes stand in my kitchen, hungry, and run through the list of things I've not yet eaten. It isn't usually a very long list of available items. I eat really healthy too, so the high cholesterol has been surprising.