Good Morning, 44

Yesterday I was in such a foul mood all day that I had mentally prepared to write this blog about my 43rd year.  I will still write the intended post but I am not in quite the same sour mood I was when contemplating it.

I kept questioning why I was so depressed yesterday.  Was 44th the hard birthday for me?  People had said 40 would be hard but was not for me.  I was looking forward to my 40’s.  Why was turning 44 so depressing?  Then the realization was that last year was a hard year for me.

Physically, I had (have) issues with my back and had some other instances that I had to go to the doctor and, in one instance, the ER.  Hormonally, this year was utter chaos.  My testosterone levels went from non-existent to way too much and the physical ramifications of that are still rearing it’s ugly head:  body acne and body hair growth.  These were two issues I have never had in the past 43 years.  I had inquired at the OB/GYN how long I should remain on hormones (read 5 years).  They pretty much told me I could remain on them forever.  When I told my internist, she adamantly said 5 years maximum.  Since we decided to stop the pellet for 6 months due to the side effects, that means I shall remain hormone-free due to my 5 year anniversary of my hysterectomy is 2018.  Mentally/emotionally the testosterone made me more edgy and still is as I have to wait for all the excess testosterone to exit my system.  Besides the Biote hormone pellet, my 43rd year was full of medications for depression/bipolar/anxiety and allergies, as well as supplements.  I, with the help of my therapist, nutritionist and internist, have decided to wean off the majority of the medications.  Currently, my roster is fluoxetine, Zyrtec, multivitamin, probiotic, and vitamin D3.  I have cut out about 10 medications/supplements.

My 43rd year had been a year that I have dealt with being my most unhealthy self.  I have made small steps to try rectifying it but not consistently so.  In addition, 43 was a year of added stress:  Roger entering public school, my mother’s surgery, a short stint of returning to grad school, the passing of Snuffles, other family issues, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been positives (mainly on the Roger front in regards to progress/growth).  However, I do not think I have allowed myself time for grief and that is why a low mood has persisted.  Is it too late to grieve?  How can one force oneself to grieve appropriately?  Does one just move past it and say hello to the new day/the new year and push through? So many thoughts as I enter year 44…

Building a routine

It may not be the ideal time to build a routine, being that schools lets out in a few weeks and that may throw a wrench in my routine.  I went to Monday’s yoga class and it was a great class.  It was mainly a stretching class which helped my back immensely.  Wednesday’s class is more advanced, but I plan on doing as much as I can.  There is always child’s pose when it gets too tough for me.  That begins my routine:  Monday and Wednesday will be yoga days.  Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, I will use my FitDesk.  Saturday will be my rest day and Sundays I may check out the Yin & Sit yoga class.  This Sunday is Mother’s Day and I signed up for Yoga Nidra which, according to the website, is the practice of conscious yogic sleep, a meditative and restorative experience that allows you to transcend physical and mental barriers so that you may place intentions – or sankalpa – at the innermost level of your being.   The yogic sleep part sounds good to me!

I’ve also been sticking to the one cup of coffee per day til the first day of my LEAP lifestyle change.  This is going to be my hardest habit to break.  I’ve realized how much coffee has suppressed my appetite in the morning.  I’m hungry at 9 instead of 11 or 12, which I am not used to.  Also, my depleted energy no longer gets a caffeine boost.  Hopefully, a few weeks into the dietary changes, I will have energy once again.  Although knowing it will be a bit overwhelming, I am very much looking forward to the change.  I will need to write a food log, as well as note any bodily reaction to the foods I am allowed.  I am used to logging on a notepad, but considering putting them on my blog.  I was reading another blog that has been following a person on a LEAP diet and she said she does not have the ability to log daily, so I will be aware of that challenge.

In the meantime, I’ve typed up my next three work schedules which lead up to summer but will need to figure out past that.  I should also start planning meals for the time leading up to summer.  Hmmm…maybe tomorrow.

Busy, busy week

Besides my job, this week has been a busy and exhausting week.  As a recap, I went to yoga for the first time in a bajillion years on Monday.  It was so hard — I am so out of shape.  I also had to deal with insurance (re:  my son’s ABA therapy), gather garbage, do some wash, change the kitty litter, and wait for the roof to get replaced.  It was just stressful trying to do a lot in a little time.  Boy, was I in a pissy mood.  Tuesday, I felt utterly crappy and I had my allergist appointment that led to 4 new medications that have not aided in making me feel better but just cruddier.  Wednesday was my son’s ARD for 1st grade.  Already nervous about what services could potentially be cut, I was still feeling utterly horrible physically.  Thankfully, not much was cut.  We were, overall, in agreement.  The shortness of the ARD (the last one took 2 days) gave me time to rest, which I NEVER get to do.  Thursday, a friend drove me to our sons’ first Field Trip in kindergarten.  They went to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and Nature.  Can I tell you how exhausting a field trip can be?  My mother noted it may exhaust me more since I am older than a lot of the moms — thanks!  Today, I got to have a nice “normal” workday at home.  Unfortunately, the roof work started today, which means I got to hear hammering since 8:30 this morning.

I did make a few decisions today despite the noisiness.  I decided to end my chiropractic care.  I went through the suggested 15 session schedule and have seen no improvement.  I am definitely going to have to take a different course of action when it comes to my back.  The only time chiropractic care helped was in NYC when I went to an integrative practice.  They would not even adjust me for the first few weeks — just do stem and hot/cold therapy.  After adding adjustments, physical therapy was slowly started.  Finally, 30 minute back massages were added.  It worked like a charm and was a fantastic approach.  I may try to find a similar practice here.

My other decision was to stop taking 3 of the 4 medications the allergist prescribed.  I’ve decided to finish the course of antibiotics but stop the rest.  Nothing has changed in my overall being and definitely not the areas they were targeting — cough, labored breathing.  I emailed the office and they said to follow-up Monday if there was no change with being on the antibiotic.

Next week, I am hoping to conquer yoga 2 days.  I know, crazy.  I will definitely go Monday and let you know if I survive.

Blargh

My days have been blargh to horrible.  This is due entirely to my damn allergies.  I go to bed feeling meh, wake up in the middle of the night to an allergy attack, wake in the morning to my nose still running, and the day continues that way.  Last night, I finally took a Benadryl thinking that would end the post-midnight allergy attack.  NOPE.  I felt the same as each previous night.

I was not going to let that interfere with my day, however.  After I walked Roger to school with the doggies, I started work while riding the bike on my FitDesk.  I could only do 15 minutes before feeling completely ill.  My breathing has been compromised, my tummy feels totally terrible, my head hurts, and my back aches so badly.  Poor me.  I hate to complain so much because I know it could always be worse. (Case in point, yesterday, I looked up the boy in the bubble because I want to hermetically seal myself off from the world, but then felt terrible about making the comparison).

So today, as everyday, I am doing the most I can — working, doing a few household chores, and counting the hours til bedtime!

Not maintaining under maintenance

Today, I had two doctor’s appointments:  the nutritionist followed by the chiropractor.  I will start with the easier of the two — the chiropractor.  When I began going to this practitioner, he set up a 15-visit schedule that would culminate with a maintenance schedule.  Today would begin the talk of maintenance.  However, Monday my back was in really bad shape.  I hurt going through my normal daily routine.  Today my back was still quite stiff.  Clearly, I do not want to “maintain” this level!

The nutritionist appointment was very thorough and a lot to wrap my head around.  We talked about my LEAP results, my current medication, and my feelings about the process.  Due to weaning off of gabapentin, she thinks I should start once that is clear from my system.  My last day of taking gabapentin will be next Wednesday night.  I have a field trip to attend with my son on Thursday, so I will delve into it next Friday or the following Monday (at the latest).  This also gives me time to wean off of coffee/caffeine.  That shall be the most difficult part:  reactive to caffeine, coffee and tea.

During the appointment, we discussed allergy shots.  Her son has been on shots about a year longer than I.  We are both on a maintenance schedule.  I have been having almost nightly (very early morning) allergy attacks and I, overall, feel flu-like.  I am considering discontinuing the shots.  They have to add epinephrine to each shot so my reaction isn’t as extreme as it was in the past.  I still swell and itch, though.  I guess a visit to my allergy doctor to discuss should be in my near future.

Am I doomed not to maintain under maintenance?

The results are in.

My LEAP blood results as well as the battery of blood tests my PCP/Internist gave me are in.  I will start with my regular bloodwork.  Basically, there were two areas that I have high scores in (YAY!).  One was EOS which I googled and found means the following: Eosinophilia (e-o-sin-o-FILL-e-uh) is a higher than normal level of eosinophils. Eosinophils are a type of disease-fighting white blood cell. This condition most often indicates a parasitic infection, an allergic reaction or cancer.  I will gather that it has to do with my allergic reactions to life, in general.  The nurse did not discuss, but I gather my marks weren’t high enough to investigate further.  The second is my testosterone level from hormone replacement therapy.  Normal range is 8-48 and my level is 217.  Well, that explains a lot — the body acne, the hair, the wonderful, quick-to-anger mood, the constant hunger and weight gain, the overall GROSSNESS.  Unfortunately, all I can do is wait for the testosterone to leave my body which can take 3-6 months.  I will be doing follow-up bloodwork in 2 months.

The LEAP results are a little more complex and I formally get to discuss with my nutritionist tomorrow.  I am reactive to almost all foods and, GASP, caffeine!  It shall be a big lifestyle change, but I need it.  My allergies will be the death of me, otherwise.  I am least reactive to: peach, cranberry, mushroom, spinach, white potato, millet, cocoa, vanilla, mint, carob, pecan, peanut, pinto beans, and potassium nitrate.  That should make for an interesting meal plan.  I am most reactive to: barley, caffeine, cashew, celery, codfish, corn, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, grape, green pea, msg, paprika, parsley, rice, saccharine, sesame, sodium sulfite, sorbic acid, strawberry, tapioca, tea, tilapia, tomato, walnut, and yellow squash.  We have to slowly add members of the above family of food to see if I am reactive to them as well.  The test, obviously, does not cover every food in existence.  I am most sad about caffeine and tea.  I don’t think I can totally drop coffee all together, but definitely need to wean the amount I currently intake.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion and will keep you posted.

 

Baby Steps

Such big plans I had with my “45 for 45”.  I do still plan to work on health improvement but taking a slightly different approach.  The past month I have been reassessing my health and allergies.  I am allergic to most everything environmental (barring some strains of mold, horse dander, and roaches).  If I am allergic to trees, grass, etc., I must have food sensitivity.  I have met twice with a nutritionist.  The first time was to set simple goals for stress relief, adding vegetables/fiber to current diet, replacing afternoon coffee with tea, and taking Epsom salt baths.  The second meeting was to discuss my horrific allergies.  I take two types of allergy medicine and have been on 3 maintenance allergy shots for about 2 years now.  They are not making a dent.  I figure I must be adding to my misery by eating certain foods.  Although reading pro and con articles on the subject, I decided to have LEAP bloodwork.  My allergist’s office also gives the test, which is not covered by insurance, for double the cost and ONE follow-up appointment.  The nutritionist says it takes much more than one follow-up since, in addition to the bloodwork, we will be testing other foods by adding them slowly back into my diet.  I hope to have my results back by the beginning of May.  I can just picture EVERYTHING in the red category (meaning highly reactive).

Yesterday, I made an appointment with my primary care physician/internist to discuss my medication list and the side effects I am having.  In other words, I made the appointment because I feel gross.  I am on hormones due to my oophorectomy/hysterectomy.  The testosterone has given me terrible body acne and body hair growth.  Neither of which I have ever had to deal with in my 43 years.  I am also very inpatient and quick to anger.  Well, those I have had to deal with in my 43 years.  My other medications all tend to have the side effect of fatigue and insomnia.  I get roughly 4-5 hours of sleep per night and am dragging all day.  That does not give me much motivation, focus, or acuity.  We have decided to reduce my supplements to only a handful (Multi-vitamin, Calcium, D3, B12 shots, and probiotic), replace Zyrtec with Xyzal, and taper off Gabapentin.  I may also decide to taper off  Singulair, Fluoxetine and Simvastatin.

Lastly, I bought a FitDesk for downstairs.  With the new puppies, I can no longer ride the bike upstairs without doggies under my feet.  In the living room, they will stay on the couch while I ride and work.  I received the bike on Tuesday, built it with the help of my husband Tuesday night, and have ridden it Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for 45-50 minutes each day.  I have hopes to, eventually, add other exercise to my routine, but baby steps!