…and the Doctor says ‘holy crap these bloodwork numbers are bad, and what’s this new thing your liver is doing. What’s going on with your body?’ The guy says ‘way to make me freak out, doc, off the cuff, I dunno?’ They chat, and conclude that the fact the guy had a kid and hadn’t been able to exercise as regularly as he had been for the past 10 years, coupled with maybe a little complacency about his health, are the likeliest contributing factors. The doc tells him he has to go on 101 different pills, and the guy says let me try to fix this before we go there. The doc gives him 3 months.
The guy is me. That happened 4 months ago. As of a couple of weeks ago I’m officially back on track, with bloodwork that’s almost back to the levels I had been seeing for the past 10 years. As of last night, I’ve also officially lost 20 pounds. I had let myself get up to 190 this winter, which is 15 pounds over what I had settled on as my acceptable body weight, and 25 pounds over my ideal of 165. I’ve only been at my ideal twice in my adult life – I was there for most of college, and I got there a few months after I was diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago. I’m going to get there again within the next month or so. We’ll see if I can keep it there this time. I’ve changed my approach. Broadly assessed, this is still low carb to take care of the blood sugar issues, but I’ve been counting calories this time. It takes a bit more work in terms of data entry, and it’s a less satisfying eating experience (I used to eat until I was full so long as there were not too many carbs – now I’m eating controlled portions), but in other ways it’s kind of easier – some months into this, I have a fair handle on what portions work. I also have some new tools which I’ll touch on in another post, but a teaser: the Fitbit is a pretty awesome little device and associated web service.
A related aside – 10 years ago when initially diagnosed, I went on a collection of medications that made me feel unwell. This helped motivate me to find other solutions. One of those solutions was Niacin instead of other cholesterol control agents. I pushed for that approach in part because of concern for my liver – I was 35 when diagnosed and couldn’t imagine a healthy liver still in me 10 or 20 years down the line with the regimen of medications they were proposing to put me on for the rest of my life. Now it looks like maybe it was the Niacin fucking with my liver, and more recent research suggest a connection between Niacin, alcohol, and permanent liver damage.
3 months ago I was completely freaked out by this, and metaphorically shaking my fist at a universe that would put me in this position (ok, so it was me, not the universe, but me acting on the best information I could find, so let me blame it on the universe). Now I’m somewhat less worried since the liver numbers came back down, but I’m also taking half as much Niacin and 1/3 less alcohol (2 drink maximum for me. Before this, weekends I was commonly hitting 3 and it wasn’t unusual for me to have a 4th). Oh, and the Doctor is still pushing for me to go on a Statin, so in another way, I’ve come completely full circle. Where I go next I haven’t sorted out yet.
2 thoughts on “So a guy walks into the Doctor’s office….”
I totally knew it was you before I even read the second paragraph. What do I win?
You should chat up Michelle about dietary cholesterol control. She’s just recently discovered that she’s genetically predisposed to hold onto the bad cholesterol if she eats carbs. (say what?) I’m paraphrasing something I don’t understand here, so get it from her if you want to know more. It’s something called the apo-a gene. Her cholesterol was way high 3 months ago and through diet and, uh, statins, it’s dropped hugely and is back in normal range. Why are you against statins? Are they bad for your liver too?
You win a kewpie doll. Please send a self addressed stamped box the size of a fridge. Your prize will arrive within a decade of receipt of said box.
I’ve been on statins twice. The first time, they caused insane pain, wake me up in the middle of the night shouting pain. It was really bad – imagine if I whacked you in the arm with a baseball bat as hard as I could, it was that kind of pain. The second time ~5-6 years later, they caused only mild pain, but they literally did nothing to my cholesterol levels. After that I swore never again with the statins.