Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Weigh-in and Blood Work Results
I am completely overwhelmed with emotion right now, so bear with me.
First of all, my weigh-in was 326.0. I'm down exactly 30 pounds from where I started. Yay!
My doctor reviewed my blood work with me today. As he suspected, I have insulin resistance. It is a genetic disorder and cannot be cured. (It can be treated, though, which I'll get to in a minute.)
Basically, when you eat, your pancreas goes, "Oh, hey. Glucose. I'll send out some insulin to bond with it." Then the glucose gets turned into energy, and your pancreas waits for the next meal.
When you have insulin resistance, your pancreas goes, "Oh, hey. Glucose. I'll send out some insulin to bond with it." The glucose, however, goes, "Um, no. I don't think so. Go hit on someone else." So the insulin hangs out, not knowing what to do. Meanwhile, your pancreas is all, "WTF? Why is the glucose still around?" and sends out MORE insulin. This cycle continues until the glucose finally says, "Oooohhhh... pretty liver. I'll go hang out there." The glucose goes into the liver and turns into fat instead of getting used up as energy.
This is why, for my entire life, no matter how healthy I've eaten, my weight has gone up and up and up, sometimes at an alarming rate.
So all of that insulin that didn't get used? It just keeps hanging out and ends up causing constant hunger. This explains why I'd be starving an hour after eating a huge meal and felt a need to snack all the time. That was clue #1 that something was Very Wrong with my body.
Anyway, when I had my blood tests two weeks ago, I was supposed to fast for 12 hours. I ended up fasting for about 16 by the time they did the tests. Despite having no food in my body for 16 hours, my insulin was higher than the normal range for post-meal readings. Once I did eat, I went back two hours later, and it was 63, nearly three times the high end of normal.
My doctor put me on glucophage (a.k.a. Metformin) to control my insulin and make it do what it's supposed to do. I've been watching my carbs - not low-carb like Atkins, just smart amounts - and it's obviously helping quite a bit. I try to keep my carbs under 100 per day, and when I do eat carbs, I aim for whole grains and try to stay away from starches. (I do love me some potatoes, though.) I've never cared for sweets, so staying away from sugar hasn't been an issue at all.
He's had me on phentermine for the past four weeks to try to get everything under control while we waited for the blood work. I've lost 15 pounds in the past few weeks, even though my calories/exercise didn't change. Before that, it took me nine months to lose the first 15 pounds, and that involved lots of yo-yo-ing and plateaus. Now that we know what's up, he can take me off the phentermine and switch me over to glucophage. The phentermine was just a temporary fix until we could figure out what the real fix needed to be, sort of like that brace the EMTs use to stabilize a broken arm until the hospital can put the real cast on.
The reason I'm so emotional right now is because I mentioned all of these symptoms to my doctor when I was 19. He diagnosed me with PCOS, put me on birth control, and sent me on my way. He didn't explain it. He didn't do blood work. He just told me to take the Pill and go on a diet. Obviously, that didn't work. My doctor was pretty upset. He said putting me on the Pill was the worst thing that doctor could have done and that not doing bloodwork was completely irresponsible.
I just sat there crying because the past 16 years could have been avoided: all of the shame, the lectures, the judgmental looks from strangers, not being able to take a vacation because I can't afford two seats on a plane, not being able to go to Cedar Point with my friends every summer, not being able to go to sporting events and concerts because the seats are too small, watching my friends get hit on while those same guys ignored me, not being able to go on a zip-line and other adventurous things.
I spent all of my twenties and half of my thirties being miserable, even suicidal at points, because nobody took me seriously or thought to run a blood test until four weeks ago. My doctor looked at me, held my hands, and said, "It's not your fault. You KNOW what you're doing and how to eat. It's your BODY that doesn't know what to do. This isn't your fault." Every other doctor shamed me and made me feel like crap about my weight. This doctor has faith in me and saw past the weight and into the person inside. Instead of seeing me as the symptom, he saw my weight as the symptom.
Part of me is relieved, and part of me is mourning all of those wasted days spent watching life pass me by because I was too fat to participate. So, I sit here and cry tears of grief for my past and tears of happiness and hope for the future.