Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sometimes, no matter what...

Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you just can't succeed?

I have been feeling that way lately, and not with weight loss. I just assumed that because I am living a healthier lifestyle that I am healthier. That is what this is all about for me, after all. I don't care about being skinny--I care about living a long, happy, healthy, and fit life.

I'm struggling with some of that right now.

I had a physical in November, at which they performed a lipid panel. I had elevated triglycerides before, but I was so excited to get tested again and prove to them that a vegan diet could beat anything. Well, it didn't. The results came back and my levels were quite high. The doctor told me to start taking fish oil immediately and try to lose some weight.

What on Earth does she think I have been doing here for the past 3 months?

I told her that I would NOT be taking fish oil (as I am vegan and studying fish conservation, oh my goodness) and that I AM losing weight. She seemed frustrated with me, which I reciprocated. I asked her to let me try the vegan diet a little longer, since I'd only been on it for two and a half months at the time and had already seen so many improvements. She gave me three months. I have until mid-February to lower my triglyceride levels, "or else".

So I've been trying not to eat high glycemic index foods or foods with more than 3g of fat per serving. I've been cooking everything from scratch or eating out at Chipotle, since I know they use only fresh, unprocessed ingredients. What else can I do on top of what I am already doing?

Apparently it hasn't been enough.

I had been "sick" for the past six weeks. My throat was sore and my tonsils looked like they were molding, but strangely I otherwise felt fine. I went to two different doctors and both of them prescribed antibiotics. They didn't work. Also, my blood pressure had been high both visits, which can happen when your body is fighting infection.

I started getting headaches lately, and my vision was a little off, which I contributed to the raised blood pressure. Because of that, I decided it was time to go in a third time and finally nip this cold in the butt.

The doctor took one look at my tonsils, and let out a cry of triumph. As she suspected, no bacterial infection at all--it wasn't a cold. It was allergy related inflammation, and the white stuff was dead white blood cells. She proceeded to pop out a tonsil stone and said, "See, there you have it!"

I was amazed. I constantly struggle with dust mite allergies and have had issues with tonsil stones in the past, but I didn't know that it could possibly affect me so severely. Even this morning after taking some advil and gargling with salt water and listerine, my throat feels so much better.

Which left the matter of my high blood pressure. I realized then that I had only assumed that my blood pressure had been elevated for the past six weeks during the time of my "cold", but I actually hadn't been for an entire year before these visits. I had no way of knowing that my blood pressure had been high any time before--I had never suspected.

The doctor talked to me about type 1 hypertension and gave me some educational packets about it. She said that it sounds like I am eating right, so I need to add 1 mile of power walking on top of my daily 1 mile of meanderings between classes. I then told her about my triglyceride issues, and she gravely informed me that if my primary care physician hadn't put me on heart medication already, then she surely would at my February check-in--unless a miracle happens and I can reign everything in basically overnight.

I am feeling frustrated and a little betrayed right now.

I feel like I am doing everything that I can, but that nothing I do makes any difference. Whether I have the body I want or not, what does it matter if there is a high likelihood that I'll have at least one heart attack before 50? The doctor warned me that I should do everything in my power (as though I am not already) to avoid the heart medications because it is a slippery slope downhill from there.

I am going to add in that extra mile, I am going to watch my sodium, and I am going to continue to restrict myself to low-fat and low-GI rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables. I am going to work my hardest to try and make that February check-in a celebratory one. But in the back of my head I can still hear what my primary care physician said to me back in November: "I just want you to be prepared that no matter what you do, it may not help. Because it runs in the family, sometimes you just can't do it by yourself."

Please, please, please don't let that be me...

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