Thursday, January 14, 2010

Success and Failure

In spite of the awful time I've had dealing with my surgical clinic and the fact that I ate a lot of garbage to spite them (yeah, that's smart on my part!) over the holidays, my health continues to improve overall.

It's been 10 months since my surgery and I still do not have restriction.  I will get stuck if I don't chew well, but other than that, I cannot really tell I'm banded.  The clinic has now determined that since I'm further out from surgery, my fills should be farther apart.  Even though the band is not doing it's job yet.  Yeah.  Protocol says so, therefore it must be true.

So now I sit, frustrated, with two months between appointments, banging my head against the wall at my ravenous hunger.  Yeah, if follow up care for band patients is of this caliber across the board, no wonder why band failure rates are so high.

Despite my lack of success of weight loss at this point, I have turned a corner.  My last few months of feeling like crap is resolving with the treatment of my sinus infection.  I have a little bit of energy.  I've got some great events coming up in the next few months, like my Texas trip with Debra, and Carolyn and Anne's wedding in April, and all the great friends I'll get to meet at both events.  So emotionally, I am energized.

Anyway, my head is feeling better mucosally, and my mental health is feeling better as a result.  The two of those are dragging my body along for the ride and now I actually care about refocusing my fallen efforts at weight loss.

Yesterday, I had a follow up visit with my endocrinologist (ooh, I'm actually getting to the point!).  It went surprisingly well and my test results were a pleasant surprise because I really felt crappy and frustrated in December and was completely non-compliant as a patient.  I just didn't care.  Because I felt so bad, I was incapable of caring.

But the numbers were encouraging and now I am inspired to care.  Two helpful doctor's appointments in a week--this is a record!  HA!  Here are my numbers:

  • Old HbA1c 8.0, new 7.2, down 0.8!!!!  
  • Old total cholesterol 210, new 201
  • Old HDL cholesterol 76, new 102 (happy cholesterol, higher = better)
  • Old LDL cholesterol 117, new 76 (lousy cholesterol, lower = better)
  • Old triglycerides 84, new 114
I am most pleased about my HbA1c dropping and how my HDL and LDL have changed for the better.  One significant thing is that I don't do fast food any more.  It's just nasty tasting now.  So I attribute that to playing a role in the improvement of my cholesterol.

Now it's time to focus.  Patients generally say that with the band and weight loss, it's 80% you and 20% band.  In my case, it appears to be 99% me and 1% band.  So until I can persuade my clinic to listen to me and have my band do something, it's all on my shoulders.   At least I finally feel human enough to have the desire to start taking care of myself again.

Oh, have I said today how much I adore Tina, the allergy nurse practitioner??? : )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to the Land of the Living

The past several months I have felt miserable.  Exhausted.  Unable to think or concentrate.  Couldn't breathe (but thought that was just a result of my chronic allergies).

I have to thank one of the nurses at the allergy clinic for taking care of me and actually believing there was a problem and addressing it.  My shot nurse Lisa suggested I go upstairs and talk to someone when I complained to her about my stuffy nose and ridiculous fatigue.  I had talked to my primary care's office in December (exercise more and maybe we should sign you up for a sleep study!) and my weight loss clinic (we'll do blood work on your iron when the Protocol says we can...that'd be February!), to no avail.

Tina at the allergy clinic is MY HERO!

I sat in the chair next to her last Wednesday morning, mouth breathing defeatedly.  She took one look and said, "Oh!  Something here is not right."

Huh?  You mean I'm not crazy?  What?

After taking a thorough history, she looked up in my snoot and the next thing I know, I'm heading to the CT scanner.  Thank GOD!  Turns out I had a raging sinus infection and that was the beast behind my exhaustion.  Who knew?  I was under the assumption that because my drainage was clear, it wasn't an infection.

But it was.  My maxillary sinuses were so blocked that nothing could get in or out.  Just sealed off festering pockets of goo.  Lovely!  No wonder I felt like crap!

She made a To Do list of aggressive therapy:  steroids, Afrin, antibiotics.  Within hours I was feeling better and after a full night's sleep, I was feeling significantly better.  I started to realize just how crummy I was feeling, once I began to improve.

I just wanted to say thanks to Tina and her expertise. It was so nice having someone who listened to me and helped me.  Unfortunately, half the time my docs just up my antidepressants when I go in with complaints.  It was refreshing to have someone validate that it wasn't in my head (even though technically it was), and that there indeed was a reason that I felt bad and yes, I really did feel bad. Not faking it.

When it feels like so many doctors just push you through assembly style, don't listen and don't even seem to care, it is so exciting to have someone step up to the plate and do what they were trained to do.

Who knows, now I might actually have the energy to exercise!  Dear Diary!