For about the past year, I haven't felt well. Finally, in March, I just had to do something about it.
- I had spells of complete and utter exhaustion - I couldn't keep my eyes open. I would lay down on the couch and be asleep in seconds and stay asleep for hours. Prior to this, the only time I ever napped was when I was really sick.
- Sometimes, my arms would feel like they weighed a ton, and I just didn't have the energy to lift them.
- I was eating 1200 calories/day and walking on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes/day at 3.5mph 5-6 days/wk - but I was gaining weight. My doctor kept saying "well, calories in..." until I wanted to smack her. She was implying that I was really taking in more calories than I thought I was - or taking in more than I was telling her. I've kept a food diary for years - so I knew that wasn't the case.
- I felt like I was in a brain fog. I couldn't write a blog post. I couldn't remember anything. Again - very much unlike me.
I just kept thinking - this is NOT me. Something isn't right. I think Gus was concerned, but he tended to laugh it off and say things like "Must be menopause, kooky woman." The doctor did check my thyroid levels and they were fine. She also checked to see if I was in menopause - I wasn't. She just kept trying to tell me that obviously I was eating too much. I was so frustrated. With myself - and everyone else - but mostly with how I felt.
A month later, I asked my doctor if it would be appropriate for me to have a referral to see an endocrinologist. She agreed, saying that given my symptoms it wasn't an unreasonable request.
Because my doctor is chief of staff, she was able to get me an appointment with the best endocrinologist in the area (maybe even the state). Within 10 minutes of meeting him, he said to me, "Before coming in here, I had read your chart, and I was ready to say it was probably your thyroid - but I'm almost certain that you have insulin resistance or prediabetes."
I wanted to cry.
Not because of the diagnosis - although I wasn't thrilled about that - but because someone was finally validating my symptoms. Thank you! I'm not crazy! I'm not overeating! The dietician had been telling me "carbs aren't your problem" (I have high cholesterol & triglycerides, so I'm on a low fat, low sugar diet), well, carbs were indeed part of my problem!
Everyone has heard of diabetes. But not everyone has heard of insulin resistance or prediabetes - although it's being talked about more and more. Basically, they are the precursors to diabetes. In insulin resistance, the body produces insulin but isn't able to use it effectively. In prediabetes, blood glucose (or A1C) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. So you start with insulin resistance, and left untreated, it can lead to prediabetes. Studies have shown that most people with prediabetes, unless they change their lifestyle, will develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
I'm really not surprised by the diagnosis. The risk factors were there:
- I had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies.
- My youngest sister was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in her mid-20s.
- My middle sister has Type 2 diabetes, but it is uncontrolled, and she has to take insulin shots.
- I had gained 23 lbs. in 1 year.
- I had taken steroid shots for several months for back pain.
I figure the predisposition for the condition was always there. When I started taking the steroid shots for the chronic back pain was when I started noticing the weight gain - but none of the doctors listened to me when I told them. I think that was the precipitating event that "pushed" my body into the "crisis".
- Within 2 weeks of changing my diet - not reducing my calories, just changing the carbs - I was no longer having sleepy spells or feeling fatigued. The brain fog was lifting, too.
- Within 3 months, I had lost 10 lbs., and that was without exercise.
- It's been 5 months now, and I've lost a total of 15 lbs., without exercise (because I have a bum ankle and can't walk)
So in just 5 months, I've lost 15 lbs. (and a lot of inches), without any exercise, and without eating any less calories. I find that absolutely amazing. It's all in what I'm eating and when I'm eating it. Imagine what will happen once I'm able to exercise again!
Thank goodness I asked for a endocrinology referral. I don't even like to think about what would've happened to me without it. I may eventually become diabetic anyway, but at least now, I have a fighting chance against it!
So read, read, read. Know your own body. Don't accept an answer that you know isn't right. Keep searching until you find a doctor who will listen. No one - no one - knows you better than you!
Have you ever been your own advocate and been proven right?
(Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended as medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should seek a professional opinion from a medical doctor.)
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