Sunday, May 18, 2014
A Healthy Curiosity
My lab results came back late Monday night, and I have to admit, my heart was pounding as I opened up the app to see the results. Here are the results I saw, along with my reaction to them:
Helicobacter Pylori Antibody: (the test to see if I had a stomach bacterium) Result= negative. No reaction. My stomach has been feeling better since being on the Prilosec prescription she called in for my heartburn.
Tissue Translutaminase: This is the blood test for Celiac disease, to see if I should stop eating gluten. This was a strong negative. So gluten is back on the table. No big deal to me either way, I didn't suspect I had this as I never had discomfort when eating wheat and such.
Antinuclear Antibody : this is the test for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. This came back negative, but did not give me a value. It bothers me not knowing where my number was, as I have been concerned about Lupus with my sun allergy. But, negative is negative for now.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: To see if mine is over (yeah, right!) or under active. This came back normal, almost smack in the middle of the scale. My reaction: there are at least 4 tests for thyroid function, and this generalized test can often miss a thyroid issue. If I continue to have issues, I will see an endocrinologist to be certain.
Sed Rate, Erythrocyte: This is a test for inflammation. Normal is 0-20, mine was 26. My doctor's comment was that while this was elevated, it was nonspecific and we would test when I have bloodwork done again. My response was to go directly to Google to see why one might have an elevated sed rate. Of course, I found the horror that I was looking for. Depending on how elevated, it can signify cancer, Lupus, RA, and a slew of other diseases. Despite all of the other good news and negative results, I sank. She wasn't persistent enough, she thinks I'm a hypochondriac; she is missing something and it's going to be too late by the time someone discovers what is wrong with me.
When I woke up the next morning, I worked out, strength training for my lower body, which has been hurting a lot lately. And after getting ready and heading off to work, I reminded myself that I have a choice whether or not I am going to be stressed out about things I can't change. I decided to see the blessings for what they are. The lab results do not indicate that I have a horrible disease living inside me. Maybe I feel tired all the time because it takes extra effort to have to haul the extra weight around again. Maybe all this worry is what is truly making me tired. My mind is constantly scanning for the next problem to worry about and try to solve, and not surprisingly, I always find a problem to worry about. So I made the decision, that my health is not something I am going to worry about right now. I am leaving in my doctor's hands, she knows what she is doing, and my biggest health issue right now is that being overweight is making my blood pressure climb back into ranges I don't want it to be. And that is something only I can fix, unless I want to be on medicine for it again, which I do not.
So, it's up to me. It always has been, but I have been so caught up in the struggle of CAN'T and comparing things to back-when-it-was-easy; back when all the stars were aligned and I was in my element. But I've been noticing that almost all the weight loss bloggers I read have the same thing happen. They do great, their resolve iron-clad, they are inspiring and seem unstoppable. But 6 months or a year later, the wheels fall off a bit, and the all-too-familiar struggle to "get back on track" begins. Most of us end up back where we started, agonizing over why we can't just "get over it" and get back to that place where our energy and strength seemed endless. Why do 90% of people regain? Why do we get stuck? Why can't it be the other way around, that most people lose it and keep it off? I have tortured myself over these questions and more, and felt that there either wasn't an answer, or I was not looking in the right places.
Then I found a book. Now that I am done with school, I can read for enjoyment, so my library card will be getting heavy use. The book I found? "When Food is Love" by Geneen Roth. If I had heard of her before reading the book, I didn't remember. The book sort of broke my heart for her and for me, and for every person who has felt trapped in fat-prison created by things that happened when we were young. The basis behind the book is that we eat to try to comfort the child inside us who needed comfort and did not get it. The times we were ignored, lonely, verbally or physically abused, our comfort was stolen from us and we have spent most of our life trying to make up for that. This book was so relevant to me on every level, from how I respond to my relationships, to the how's, why's, when's and even the what's I use food to try and comfort myself. It isn't about willpower or the stars being aligned, it is about years of being judged and denied comfort and living partly comatose to what I was doing and why. I have issues from childhood. Even if my parents have reasons and had their own issues from their childhood; I can't help that, coming to terms with what I needed and didn't get back then is the only way I can get past all that and stop using food to try and make up for all that. This book was great in helping me answer the questions about why it seems so impossible to lose weight and keep it off. If we were well-adjusted people, we probably wouldn't have issues with food to begin with. So we have to go way way back to the beginning of where we begin to believe we were not right, not good, not lovable in order to move forward and stop using food to try to numb us to the fact that we are still broken inside. Willpower can only get me so far before the demons catch up with me. Something someone says triggers a feeling I had growing up, or someone treats me rudely and I believe I am a bad person. I believe those people who say they felt sad when their fat was gone, they felt vulnerable because they were still broken inside; still the hurt kid crouching in the corner.
The only thing the book didn't give me was the HOW. How do I uncover and accept the truths about my childhood? How do I know what my triggers are? How do I break free from this emotional fat prison? So I picked up her book Breaking Free from Emotional Eating. It is much older (1984) but it is still relevant. I am only getting into chapter 3 but I can tell it will help.
Of interesting note, when I was reading When Food is Love, she mentioned that having drama in our lives is a way we cry to have someone save us from ourselves. It made me sit straight up, laugh a little because it is so me, and then think hard about it. It was part of the reason I was able to stop stressing out about my health. I am creating my own drama because I want someone to rescue me or tell me how beside themselves with grief they would be to lose me from their life. Ha ha. It is interesting and funny to see this thing I didn't know I was doing is all part of the whole mental trip I am going through with food. The thing is this, being aware of the things we are doing, and knowing what that means, is a really good step in the right direction. I, for one, am looking forward to a summer of self-discovery and healing. I will apologize in advance for the excessive, and long, blogs that will likely follow!