Saturday, March 22, 2008

An Update on My Life and Health

Thought I'd better take a moment to update everyone on what's been going on for me lately. Besides watching NCAA hockey and basketball games and running around after Nicky outside, there have been some notable developments on other fronts.

First off, I got my butt to the doctor's office last week to make sure there wasn't something more sinister behind my weight loss than too little calories consumed. I had to find a new doctor since my last one moved. I really loved my last doctor so I wasn't sure I'd be as comfortable right away with a new one. Luckily, when I told the scheduler my issues over the phone (60 unintended weight loss, back pain, more illnesses than usual this winter) she took me seriously and got me in right away with another doc in the practice whom she thought I would like and said was a really good doc. So, I had to get Nicky up early last Tuesday so I could haul him with me to the doctor's office. After waiting an eternity in the waiting area and then in the exam room, I had to give my history to the medical student which was interesting because I could tell she had little experience in doing that. The interview was quite meandering and I wondered how much of the info would make its way back to the doctor. Oh well, the student was nice, though. The doctor finally came in and she also took my concerns seriously which took a load off my mind because I didn't want to come off like as a hypochondriac. I really didn't think that I had hyperthyroidism or anything worse but I needed to make sure. The doctor also didn't think I looked like I had hyperthyroidism, but the weight loss and unresolved back pain along with my high blood pressure reading and some hyperactive reflexes I showed that day, she wanted to make sure it wasn't hyperthyroidism or multiple myeloma (an incurable blood plasma cancer). She ordered some blood tests and a back x-ray for me. It had me a bit freaked out last week while I was waiting for the test results because while I really didn't think anything major was wrong with me, the big C word was in the back of my head. I kept having "what if?" thoughts.

Good news came a few days later - no hyperthyroidism or cancer. The only thing that was off was my calcium was a little low (8.7 when 9-12 is considered normal). Man, I have to be better about taking my calcium supplement and getting my high calcium foods. When I saw the doctor again this week, she said she wanted me to have a bone scan because my x-ray showed possible bone loss. So I had a DXA bone scan that day. I am currently researching how lactation affects women's bones to educate myself on the topic. Everything I've read (which is pretty interesting stuff for medical journal articles) says that during pregnancy, the body pulls the additional calcium needs for the baby from the mom's diet (that's probably why pregnant women have cravings for dairy products). However, during lactation, the body automatically pulls the calcium for the milk production from the woman's bones and this is irrespective of the amount of calcium in her diet. The body obviously does this for a reason and it doesn't seem to hurt anything because research has also shown that after the woman stops breastfeeding the body replaces the calcium back in the bones and then some. So, lactating women actually end up with stronger bones after all is said and done. Cool!!! So, this leaves me in a position where I will consider what the DXA scan results say, but still keep in mind that since I am lactating still, they really are hard to interpret. I will have to have them done again when I am done lactating for at least 6 months to really get a good idea if my bones are in good shape. For right now, since I am still breastfeeding, it is normal for my bones to be show to some decreased density since the calcium in them is going to Nicky for now. I think my doctor is concerned since I am so tall and thin and am Caucasian so those things put me at a bit of a risk for osteoporosis when I get older. While that is a risk farther down the road, I can take measures to prevent it by doing weight bearing exercise and generally getting enough calcium as well as vitamin D and magnesium so that I can absorb that calcium. I have talked to my brother, Dusty, about designing me a weight lifting routine, but now I am that much more motivated to get that in place.

The other good things for the doctor's visit this week is that my blood pressure had went down (I was probably just anxious the first time), and my weight actually went up 1 pound!! Thank you Easter. I think the multiple servings of the strawberry lemon trifle dessert I made and ate helped with that! Also, I had had the flu a few weeks ago, so I think I lost a few pounds from that and my body is now bouncing back which is good. So, I will now be making sure I always eat like a horse instead of just sometimes. I will also make sure I have calcium in my diet as well as take my calcium and magnesium supplements (better safe than sorry). The doctor had my vitamin D levels checked too, so if those are low, I will make sure to get my 15 minutes of sunshine each day and will take a supplement for that, too.

Okay, this has gotten long enough. I have more to tell you about my dissertation and things surrounding that, but I'll leave that for another post. I hope this Easter has found you all surrounded by family and in good health!


sarahjecks said...

Hi Lesley, I'm so glad that everything came back okay at the Dr's. I've been thinking about you a lot and hoping and praying that you were healthy. I think its a mother's intuition to always think the worse...anyways, I was relieved when I read your post today.

take care,

LesleyH said...

Thanks for your concern, Sarah. I actually wasn't really worried about my health and was pretty sure I didn't have hyperthyroidism or anything like that, but other people kept bringing it up with me, so I thought I had better go make sure:) I am happy that I was right and nothing is wrong. Its also nice to officially have permission to eat like a horse!