Monday, March 25, 2013

The doctor's visit

As I discussed in yesterday's post, I had an appointment today to see a doctor.  At the time when I saw the therapist to talk about a plan of action, she discussed with me the possibility that I have a major depression going on and that my next step would be to meet with the doctor.  At the time, I was feeling good about that but also full of nervousness, too.  This is hard to describe, but when you have your life in a certain mode for a while, you get used to it.  It may not serve you well (if at all), but it's familiar and there's nothing unexpected.  It's sort of like that with weight loss, too - you want to lose the weight so badly yet staying right where you are is comfortable because you know it. 

So I started my day by sleeping in, which I desperately needed.  I shouldn't really say it was sleeping in because I didn't sleep well.  I got up and then ended up going back to bed.  I was meeting one of my friends for lunch before seeing the doctor, so I thought it would be great to keep me at ease.  This particular friend has known me for probably 15-20 years, something like that.  The last time she saw me was in September.  She was on our campus at the high school where I work and she hadn't seen me for several months before that.  In between the visits, I had lost oodles of weight, I had moved offices and straightened my hair that was always curly.  So when she came up to my office, she clearly didn't recognize me and had to look at the name plate on the outside of my door to make sure it was me.  When we were making plans for today, I felt the need to tell her I had gained weight since the last time she saw me.  We've shared a lot over the years of knowing each other through our work and eventual close friendship, yet I felt the need to explain to her about the weight gain, almost as if she would feel differently towards me.  Silly, isn't it?  People who love and care for you will still feel that way, regardless of the weight.  We ended up having a great visit and she told me that I still looked fabulous.  Friends are really the best!

I then went over to the doctor's office.  I actually had a lot of time to spare, so I checked in early and just sat in the lobby.  The nervous nellies were starting to gurgle in my tummy, so I knew having the extra time to just relax was good.  I found an article about Facebook in a magazine before they went public selling their stock (typical doctor's office - the magazine was over a year old).  It was an in-depth analysis of how Facebook became to be what it is, where it's going, etc.  So by the time the doctor called me back into her office, I was so engrossed in what I was reading that the nervousness was gone. 

We began by reviewing my visit with the therapist as well as additional questions this doctor had.  She is a really sweet person and I was glad to be assigned to her caseload.  I knew this was a very clinical visit, so I didn't suppose the questions would be entirely too emotional for me.  Part of my purpose with her was to determine if I did, in fact, have depression and what course of action would we choose for me.   However, when the questions came around to my weight loss, weight gain and how I feel about myself in relation to all of that, the tears came.  There was the analytical part of myself that go so frustrated.  I thought, Geez, are you going to cry at every freaking appointment?  Then the emotional part of me said, So what if you cry?  Obviously there are feelings there and it's really okay to express them.  I was just so overcome with emotion that it took me a little bit to compose myself enough to answer her questions.  She was very compassionate in waiting to let me gather myself and caring in how she guided me.  The weight issues with me go back a very long time, really for my entire life. 

There came a point in her interview with me that most of the talking shifted from me to her.  She explained the various types of depression that people go through, the onset and treatment options.  She told me that based on my symptoms as well as review of my medical records and the visit with me that I am indeed going through a clinical major depression.  I knew I heard her loud and clear today when she said "major".  So we talked about several treatment options, one of which included medication.  She gave me two options.  Both types of medication have the same success rate, but one has a side benefit of helping with chronic pain as well as suppressing appetite.  However, that one is harder to get off of when it comes time to do so in the future.  It will take months for a gradual weaning, otherwise my body will go through withdrawal.  Yet, given both choices, I opted for the one that has the possibility of helping with the pain in my legs.  It will also likely give me lots of energy and help me to get better sleep.  She did tell me that the success rate for these meds helping patients is increased by other factors, such as a regular exercise program but I also have to monitor my blood pressure because it may go up.  She also stressed the importance of individual therapy as well.  I am already set up with that, which will start on Friday, so I'm feeling good about moving forward. 

I begin the new medication tomorrow.  It will start in small doses as I wean off another medication and then will increase in a week.  If you are a person that prays, I just ask that you please include my pain relief in your prayers.  I have been trying to hang in there, but as most to you know, I'm in pain all the time.  I believe so strongly in the power of prayer.  Things have been tough but I'm still here and I'm grateful for that strength to continue to walk through difficulties.  And, yes, I'm still tracking my food, too!


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