Thursday, October 11, 2012

Turns out there is an explanation after all

The other day I was wondering if I was being a hypochondriac.  Turns out I had every reason to be concerned.  I received a call from the medical office at my Optifast clinic telling me they had the results in from labwork I had completed earlier in the day.  I finally addressed with my clinic, when I was there on Monday, that there is something seriously wrong with me, particularly with my legs.  I can't do normal things, like squat down on them, lunge or even sit down without extreme pain in my thighs and lower legs.  If I dropped a pencil at my feet right now, I couldn't bend down on my knees to pick it up.  Before sending me to a specialist, the clinic wanted to do a few more tests.

I heard back and it looks like I've got anemia.  The clinic now wants me to go back to the lab to do a few more in-depth tests to determine what type of anemia it is so that they can map out a treatment plan for me.  I started looking up some of the symptoms.  Here is a handful of what I have:
  • Fatigue/tiredness - I am tired all the freaking time, but I always equated it with working full time, going to school and doing Optifast, let alone the hustle and bustle of life.  When I can't sleep at night more than 3-4 hours, I think it's just because I'm stressed out.  This is also where the leg and muscle issues come into play - my legs feel completely fatigued when I need to climb hills or stairs.  Really, they are fatigued all of the time if I'm being completely honest with myself, they really are in pain every waking moment. 
  • Chest pain - don't worry, it's not as if my heart feels like it's going to conk out or something.  There are just times when I feel a stretching around the area where my heart is.
  • Shortness of breathe - this usually occurs when I am dealing with the fatigue of my legs.  It's not the same shortness of breathe associated with being overweight.
  • Dizziness - all that lightheadedness I have been feeling ever since I started Optifast?  Yes, this is probably the culprit.
  • Cold hands and feet - I am always freezing.  I am constantly complaining about how cold my office is at work ... I wonder if it's because of the anemia after all.  Right now, my house is 71 degrees inside, yet I'm wearing long sleeves, socks and my fingers are blue.  
I could go on  and on, but I'll spare you!  I think you get a fair and accurate portrayal of what I'm dealing with.   I'm waiting to hear back from the clinic on the latest test results from today.  In the meantime, something I have been thinking about is wondering where I go from here with Optifast.  I absolutely love the program, adore it really.  It has given me my life back and I'm incredibly grateful for that.  My weight loss journey is not finished yet, but, honestly, I've been suffering some difficult-to-deal-with side effects.  In addition to the anemia, my skin is so dry that I have cuts on my hands and lips from cracking, the veins in my hands/arms are bulging like that of a weight-lifter, my blood pressure is low and so is my blood sugar (although adding in that meal has really helped).  I'm not basing on Optifast by any means.  Anyone who has been reading this blog knows I love the program.  I heart it.  However, just like any program, sometimes there are side effects that come along that causes the need for adjustment.  This is precisely why I am such a big advocate of doing this program under medical supervision, as the program dictates in the U.S.  It's not because I want to line the pockets of any organization, but because the medical experts provide the appropriate guidance that those of us without the medical backgrounds need while doing such an intense program.

The prospect I am dealing with is transitioning to a full-food program sooner, even though I have 70 pounds left to lose, then stay in that zone until I'm ready to go into maintenance. Part of taking care of yourself is doing things that are difficult.  The easy thing for me would be to just keep the status quo, keep pushing through pain and discomfort.  Yet, is that really what I want to be doing?  Hardly!  I haven't made any decisions yet, though.  I'm sort of waiting to hear back from the clinic before I make any moves.  I think really I just need to "talk" it out here so that I'm doing what's best for me and my health.  I'm ready not to feel tired any longer. 


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