Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ready, Get Set, GO!

Today I am planning out my work out routine and some menu items. I am sick and tired of feeling like I do... tired, weak, unhealthy.... that I just have to find a way to finally commit and stick with an exercise program and eating right. So, here I am starting a new blog to keep track of my progress. I plan it to be a place to journal the ups and downs of weight loss, getting healthy, and keep track of how my ability increases and the foods I eat.

I've had Body For Life for about 7 years. Yes, 7 years! I know a couple of people who run in marathons that recommended it to me. I love the philosophy behind it, except for all the expensive supplements. I have recently started picking up Oxygen and Eating Clean magazines after seeing Tosca's book on Eating Clean. I am totally on board with eating whole foods, cutting out the sugar and simple carbs... just don't know if I can cut out cheese and some of the meats, but I will start with sugar and those items can come later.

I had major stomach issues for over a year. In that time I had 5 CT scans, 2 ultrasounds, 2 colonoscopys, endoscopic ultrasound, blood drawn and tested every few months, and multiple other tests. My first CT scan showed a large mass on my pancreas. For a month we thought I had pancreatic cancer, but it was just a cyst. I was having really bad stomach aches that got worse after eating. I also had severe diarrhea about 6 or more times a day. It was so bad I could not leave the house hardly at all. The gastro doctor could not find the cause. I found I could not eat beef at all. I couldn't eat anything fatty or really spicy. What helped, but did not stop my problems, was eating chicken, rice, potatoes, and very bland vegetables- meaning no sauce or not cooked in bacon grease. I would have really sharp pain in my upper stomach often to where I pretty much had to pace or sit and just manage the pain.

I finally asked the doctor to do a gall bladder test on me. I had the test done at 5 PM and was sent home at 7 PM. About an hour after getting home my stomach was hurting so bad I thought I was going to have to go to the ER. Of coarse it was a weekend and my husband was out of town. I have an extremely high tolerance for pain and it was BAD. I took a Lortab and just tried to wait for it to get worse before going to the ER. It continued until about 2 AM and then I fell asleep so never had to go. On Saturday I called my gastro doctor and let them know I had severe pain after the test. On Monday they called to say that the test came back normal, my ejection fraction was in the 90's, but that because of the severe pain I had they were sending me to a surgeon for a consult. My husband googled the ejection fraction being in the 90's and called to tell me that it wasn't normal, that it was considered over functioning and just as bad as an under functioning gall bladder. So, what was happening was when I ate any fat the rate at which the bile left my gall bladder was like water coming out of a fire hose... very fast and with a lot of pressure. It was at such a rate that it was what had caused my diarrhea and pain and cramping I had had for over a year. The gastro doctor had told me a gall bladder wouldn't cause diarrhea so had continued to do more tests all that time. The surgeon took one look at the results and said that with a person with low functioning gall bladder he gave a 74% chance of removal making all problems go away, but with my high functioning he gave me a 92% chance of taking care of it. I had it out and was instantly able to eat, no more sharp pain, diarrhea went away, and I felt so much better.

I did continue to have what felt like menstrual cramps in my lower abdomen. I have ovarian cysts so knew that it would cause some of it. I had had the pain for years. It wasn't severe, more annoying. As I started eating more foods after gall bladder removal that lower pain seemed to increase at times. I got to noticing that during the year I had eaten a naturally gluten free diet and my cramping was worse after eating breads and pastas and gluten filled items. So, I decided to go two weeks naturally gluten free to see if it helped. I had been seeing an ENT for an ear ache for four months for an ear ache. He snaked a scope in my nose twice and said my Eustachian tube was blocked because I had so much swelling, which he thought was an allergic reaction. I had been taking two allergy medicines a day for four months with no relief from the swelling. It was the end of the year and I was to go back to put tubes in my ear to help the pain the beginning of the next year. Well, I started the gluten free diet the beginning of the year and by the second day my ear quit hurting! At the end of the two weeks I ate something with gluten and immediately felt congestion and felt my tongue swell and then stomach cramping. I have had about four times where I tried it to check and immediately feel swelling like an allergy, then my stomach will start cramping. So, since then I've been gluten free. It has been 11 1/2 months now.

The other medical issue I have is Sarcoidosis. It has caused all the lymph nodes in my chest to enlarge. I was diagnosed when I had a cough that wouldn't go away. I had it six weeks with no upper respiratory problems, no drainage, it didn't produce anything so I finally went and had a chest x-ray. It has also caused the pleura in my lung to thicken in one area. I did steroids and got it under control and now use an inhaler twice a day. It mimics asthma so it flares up in cold damp air, or when I exercise.

I've never had any medical issues until the last two years so it is kind of embarrassing to come up with so many issues. Thank God none are severe and I can manage them and have no excuse to keep me from exercising and getting healthier. They are only things to keep under control.

So... what I have realized is how much my life has passed me by as I observe instead of participate in it. We have a boat and I can't get up on the knee board or skis. I avoid cameras so all our photos are of everyone but me. I am too young to be on the sidelines, I want to be in on the action. I didn't go to my high school reunion last year because I wasn't letting anyone see me fat. Sad. I have no reason not to love myself and take care of myself. I am worth it. So... here I go!