It's been awhile since I've had any noticeable Spark activity. It's not that I've been completely away. I kept using the app to track my intermittent exercising and I would track my water, sleep, fruit and veggie intake etc. It may not seem like much but just keeping that small connection has helped me not go too far astray. That's nothing to brag about of course, it just is what it is. I took a difficult step today and that was resetting my weight close to what it was when I started SparkPeople. That is because over the past year I have pretty much gained all of it back. However, I have not given up and this time I believe will be different.
I titled this blog entry a different kind of start because while this past year has been physically the worst year of my life, there were some significant developments this past week that make me actually truly believe this "re-start" to a healthier me will be a little different from past efforts. This past year I have dealt with physical pain every single day. Up until January I had no health insurance and it just didn't seem urgent enough to go into debt for the foreseeable future trying to figure out what is going on. So I did what I could to manage the pain and learned to live with it. It affected my sleep, my social life, my ability to work and study. On top of that I have been drained of energy and dealing with depression longer than I can remember. This past year I also noticed little things signalling that I might be having memory problems. None of these things individually seemed like much and the few times I did bring it up to family or a close friend I heard how it sounded and it seemed like I was making too much of the situation. In retrospect I just think none of them could relate and so they could not imagine the consuming effect this was having on my life.
After my insurance kicked in I still did not have a primary care physician. There was a doctor assigned to me but I did not know anything about them and have always had a somewhat illogical fear of doctors so it was important to me that I choose based on some criteria other than random assignment. There was a doctor my aunt recommended and she and a friend of hers who works with insurance both tried to get me in with that doctor but unfortunately my kind of insurance wasn't a kind she accepts. Then I tried to navigate my insurance companies online system to look at options in my area and do what research I could online. The problem is there is very little information online about the doctors in our area. I found one with a few ratings that sounded promising and so I chose her through the website. Whew...the whole process stressed me out a little and I felt that was a good step but I was not ready to set up my first appointment. When I was finally ready I called the office to set up my first appointment and lo and behold the doctor did not have me listed as her patient (apparently signing up through the insurance site does not translate to the doctors office, I did not know this) and on top of that she was not accepting new patients and the office seemed frustrated that my insurance company had her listed as an option. So I went back to the drawing board and the next doctor I came across who I could find some decent ratings on I decided to call the office before choosing her through the site. Again, she was not accepting new patients. I inquired if ANY female doctors in that office were accepting new patients and I was told no. At this point I was super frustrated, tired and stressed. I felt defeated. I didn't do anything with it for awhile but knew it was important that I see a doctor to start really getting my health on track and to get my leg pain checked out. I went back to the site, I don't know how many more phone calls I made, not many before I got a yes! I finally found a female doctor accepting new patients in my area, and even more important she had good ratings on my internet search - granted only 2 people had rated her, but they gave her perfect scores! I still had my fear of actually seeing a doctor so after I got myself all squared away with signing on it took me another two weeks to call in and make an appointment. The first available date was three weeks away. I took it.
That brings me to yesterday, which was my appointment. I had a great first impression of my doctor, she made the visit very comfortable and we were able to talk through many of my health issues but mainly my leg pain and my weight. She had theories and a plan but wanted to have my blood work done before proceeding. After my appointment I went straight to the lab (luckily I had fasted by default since I didn't want to eat before my appointment in fear my weight would be up a couple of pounds!). I had a fairly comical lab visit in which it was determined I have pretty crappy arm veins (I'd had mixed results in the past, but this day no vein or blood would appear even with multiple pokes and probes) so I ended up giving the sample from a vein in my hand. It took forever even as I squeezed my hand tight to try to make the blood flow.
First thing this morning I received a call from my doctor that the results had come in. Normal liver and kidney function, normal cholesterol (good news first). Low hemoglobin, "you have an iron deficiency and are anemic" (not so good news second, but explains my tiredness). "Also, the test came back showing that your TSH level is at 8.5, a normal level is supposed to be below 4.5" (translation please?) She continues to explain that I have hypothyroidism and will need to go back to the lab to have more extensive testing and that she has called in a prescription for me to start today. Hypothyroidism is not unknown to me. I have had people suggest I might have it, I have thought myself it would be nice to be able to say I have it. A thyroid problem is always an acceptable excuse for obesity, right? Well, not really. But I am glad to know I have it because having it and NOT KNOWING is definitely a contributing factor not only to my weight problem but apparently to many other physical problems I have been experiencing.
So I don't expect this medication to be the magic pill that will help me lose weight. And I'm not going to stop trying to lose weight because I have a faulty thyroid excuse. But I do have hope that knowing a little more about how my body is (not) working will help me get to a point where the work I put in will pay off. And I am hopeful that I may have a bit more energy to put into the work. Sometimes a diagnosis is good news.