Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Plan

I am ensconced upon my (uncomfortable) couch with two kitties who clearly haven't slept in a week.  (They started the night with me, but the Man shut them out of the bedroom.  Poor kitties.)  

The ultimate good news: I am totally cleared in every way with no restrictions on my activity.  If I feel good, I can go for the four hour bike ride again!  Yay!  The only thing holding me back will be me, myself, and I.  (As I regain my fitness and rebuild my stamina!)  No more time limits or 'keep your heart rate under this level' or don't-workout-two-days-in-a-row.

We have a busy Saturday set up.  Both our phones decided to enter the active-dying stage this week.  (We have three-generation-old, four-year-old iPhones.  I don't understand what the problem could possibly be!) So we have to go to the phone store and buy new phones.  I've agreed to try a non-iPhone- I really dislike iOS7- it's SO UGLY- so I'm going to try… something… different.  

I don't even know if I'm Episcopalian anymore. 

In other news, I also had my latest doctor appointment and we have some answers.  Finally, after more than a year and several rounds of treatment, all my tests are finally clear of e.Coli, and there's no other evidence of any things else wrong.  And my iron, B, D, and a bunch of other important vitamins are finally within normal ranges, after a year of being so low that I had to do special supplementation.  

As of yesterday, I have to continue with my probiotics (which I should just plan on for the foreseeable future), and my megamultivitamins.  We are rebuilding my regular system. 

Dietary changes?

I was really glad to hear that I won't have to do any major dietary changes.  She thinks my diet is pretty spot on, and changing it to anything like "low carb" or "paleo" or "low fat" or "low salt" or reducing any of the grains would be harmful.  As a slackertarian, I need to eat those grains to get my calories, and since I rarely eat much processed stuff, I need to continue to be careful to add in fat and salt to be able to absorb my vitamins and minerals.  

I told her about my friend's blog, Fueled and Focused, and she likes it!

I am going to do an elimination diet of certain heartburn-causing foods.  There are no food allergies (beyond the dairy problems), but my stomach, after a year of e.Coli and troubles, is just still really irritated.  So the elimination diet is just to give my tummy time to really heal.  She thinks this will help resolve the heartburn issue.  (Then, several months down the line, we might start talking about trying to increase my lactose tolerance! But that is several months off.)  

Why Thyroid (Probably) Isn't My Problem

The remaining weird "stuff" was my thyroid results, which were off.  The internets go bananas about T4 and TSH, and the Great Oracle insists that without thyroid treatment you are destined to be fat, slow, and miserable.  I came prepared with a journal of symptoms I'd been experiencing and when. However, she didn't think treating the thyroid was the right thing to do.  She doesn't think it's the root cause of my issues, so she dug a little deeper, and she has a theory: 

Knowing some of my past medical history, she thinks that the extreme stress of the extended recurring e.Coli activated something called PCOS.  It's female issues.  Among other things, hallmarks include slightly out-of-whack thyroid results, insulin resistance (which makes for very slow weight loss, very fast weight gain, and extreme water retention), and super-low exercise tolerance.  It can sometimes be treated with simple diet and exercise, but since I don't need to make any further changes there, it was time for a little help from the pharmacy.  

At the end of the day, I have a medication that we are going to try out for a month.  She had me do one more round of bloodwork, but she's pretty certain it will confirm her suspicion.  

What I Like, As an Athletic-Type of Person

The thing that most impressed me was how attentive she was to my (admittedly lousy this year) athletic endeavors.  She feels that I don't need to change my diet and exercise plans, and she wants me to be able to get back to my usual routine- even two-a-days as I get into the season.  She wants to let my body heal itself as much as it can.   

But when I pulled out my heart rate monitor log and showed her my before e.Coli running heart rate versus my after e.Coli running heart rate, she accepted that as evidence that stuff was wrong.  She listened to how I used to be able to run an 8:30/mile (blazing fast for me!) and now could barely hold onto a 12.  She validated my body's reaction, and she treated me like I was a legitimate athlete.  

This makes me feel confident that I have the right plan, going forward.  

What Should I Expect

If this medication is the right one- if I do have the issue she's theorizes- then pretty soon, I should start seeing rapidly stabilizing energy levels, better metabolism, much reduced water retention, and probably will experience healing of the muscle and joint pain that's been dogging me since the last few rounds of e.Coli treatment.  I should also experience a stabilizing metabolism, which should help me start feeling warmer (and not cold all the time).  

If it is the right medication, then I should start seeing my heart rate stabilize during workouts (instead of spiking to a high level and staying there).  This will mean I should be able to hold down a normal run again, instead of a painful shuffle.  It'll also mean I'll have better blood flow and metabolism, so I'll be able to eat a snack and feel energy from it.  I might even be able to ride my bike like a normal person again, instead of having to walk all the hills or granny-gear a 2% incline!  

I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes.  

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