I realize it’s been a little bit since my last post and some things have happened, so I’m due for an update!
First off, thank you so much to everyone that has supported me since sharing my initial story. The love has been awesome, and the support has helped me stay positive on the journey forward. Everyone who bought things from my shops, sent emails and DMs of encouragement, who joined my Patreon, and sent thoughtful gifts have been a bright spot through all of this for sure!
Back in mid-August, I had my follow up appointment after having my bloodwork done. This was the first step in trying to find out what was going on. I got the test results a week before my appointment. That means my dumbass spent a whole week freaking out and Googling late into the night about all the things that came back as red flags.
When I was doing the WebMD thing, which we all know you should never fucking do, I worried that my liver was failing, and my heart was going to explode. Naturally, I felt the worst I have in months during that week because I was unintentionally convincing myself that I was dying.
Of course, I wasn’t.
When I went to my doctor’s appointment, I was really stressed out. I didn’t want to make the half-hour drive because I was so exhausted. I just sucked it up and left early so I wouldn’t have to rush. I sat in the waiting room for 45 minutes because it was super busy.
When I finally got in, the doctor was very quick with me. It felt like a total whirlwind and the fact that I wasn’t feeling great and was out of it…and alone…didn’t help.
He looked over my bloodwork and noted some of the things that came back as problematic. The big things were my bad cholesterol was high (which isn’t usual for me), but my good cholesterol was also on the upper end, which was a good thing. My glucose was high too, but he didn’t seem concerned about that, but other matters related to liver and kidney function were off.
The biggest issue was that my Vitamin D levels were in the “Severely Deficient” range.
I’ll explain why this is such an essential issue in a minute.
I asked the doctor about changing up some of my existing medications, specifically wanting to get off Gabapentin for my RLS because I fucking hate this stuff. I also wanted to increase my Wellbutrin, which I don’t feel has been working for a long time. He kind of smiled and kept typing notes on the computer, and I didn’t realize he made no changes until I was already on the way home.
The doctor’s treatment was this:
Take Omega3 for the cholesterol, take Vitamin D for that issue, and lose weight.
Now, this is where things get really dicey.
When I had the first appointment, he was convinced just based on the office exam and my symptoms that the problem was adrenal and hormonal. As it turned out, both of these things in the bloodwork came back fine, but he still thinks there is a hormone issue. He said that he can’t treat a hormone issue without treating my weight, but he can’t do anything about my weight without addressing my hormones. So, what then?
This is when he starts pitching to me a weight loss program that he has in his office. And it is FUCKING INSANE.
First off, not covered by insurance, naturally, and it costs $200 a week, and that’s not including the cost of required medications. You would go into the office once a week for injections of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and receive nutritional coaching and behavior modification therapy.
HCG as a diet supplement was apparently all the rage a few years ago when (fucking surprise) Dr. Oz started talking about it and promoting it.
HCG is a hormone that women with infertility issues are sometimes given; it’s a human growth hormone that is naturally produced by the placenta during pregnancy. The weight loss theory came from a British doctor in the 50’s who believed that since this hormone allowed a pregnant woman access to fat reserves in the body to help feed a fetus that a woman not pregnant and being given this hormone would be able to access this same fat so they could burn it for fuel and lose weight.
Apparently, if you’re taking this hormone, the theory is that you can live on 500 calories a day while your existing body fat sustains you allowing you will lose up to 2lbs a DAY.
Does this sound healthy at ALL to you?
The FDA does not approve HCG for weight loss and says long term effects have yet to be determined, however, the link to certain cancers, like breast and ovarian cancer, have been definitely linked to hormone imbalances. So why do you want to risk creating MORE imbalance in someone by injecting them with a foreign hormone?
The other issue with this diet is that once off the HCG (which eventually transition from injections to a lower dose pill form) most people start to regain the weight. You can’t maintain the 500-800 calorie a day diet and the body’s metabolism and other essential functions will adjust back to where they were pre-hormones once eliminated.
Plus, the extreme calorie deficient diet can lead to all other kinds of health problems if they aren’t being supported by additional supplements and a very meticulously planned diet, which most people can’t realistically maintain. Add to this the fact that you’re actually told NOT to exercise on this diet, presumably because of how little energy you’ll have and how vulnerable your body will be to damage. After the six to eight week initial time frame of the diet, you’re going to feel like utter shit.
I could tell in the middle of his spiel that this was not for me. I’ve been through enough of these kinds of diets in the past to know I wouldn’t be able to afford it, and it wasn’t wouldn’t be healthy or give long term results for me.
When I left and went up front to make the next appointment, I asked for some info to take home just so I could really look it over. Instead of giving me a pamphlet or something, a woman comes out from a back room to start giving me this hardcore sales pitch and trying to pressure me into signing up. I must have said “no thanks, do you have any info I can take home” about five times before she stopped talking and shoved some literature at me with an annoyed look on her face.
Then, just as I thought I was able to get the fuck out of there, another woman comes out with a little bag and tells me I owe $60. What the fuck for?! For the supplements he wants me to take. Oy fucking vey.
Since I’m now totally worn down, I just pay for them and head home. When I get back, I call my Mom who urges me to call a friend of mine who’s a nurse practitioner and ask for her advice.
Next, it would be “second opinion” time.
I make the call and get my “second opinion,” and I feel like I’m finally being TOLD something and getting some ANSWERS. She tells me that the Omega3 is fine, but I don’t ever need to buy it from them again because it’s not anything different from what I can get at GNC (I found something IDENTICAL, but is also that’s burpless, for the same price; but instead of only a 30 day supply it gave a three month supply). She also thought it was strange that he wasn’t concerned about my glucose since the levels were pre-diabetic.
Then came the Vitamin D. She was a little curious about why he just gave me a 5000mg over the counter supplement instead of a prescription strength one given the severity of my deficiency. She told me that one of the reasons my antidepressants aren’t working is because of this. Low Vitamin D can influence neuroreceptors in the brain, which can make the absorption and uptake from antidepressants less effective.
She agreed that weight loss was going to be essential, but she was horrified when I shared the info on the diet he suggested. Clearly, it was just a money making opportunity for his office and was nothing that a doctor…like a real, legit doctor…should be recommending. He’s an actual doctor, just for the record, but between that diet, the OTC supplements, and the other “not covered by insurance” stuff in his office, I’m starting to have a lot of reservations about his treatments.
We talked about diet options, and we both landed on me getting back on keto. I don’t need a “diet” but an “eating lifestyle” that will last for me long term. Keto works for me, this I know for a fact. And once I have lost enough weight, and my body adjusts (about 1-2 years) then I can switch to more of a low-carb lifestyle that’s a little less strict.
So where am I today?
As of today, I’m now two weeks into doing keto again and trying to get off the Gabapentin on my own (it also causes weight gain, which I don’t need). I’m almost totally off that and plan to press my doctor on my next visit to put me on Lyrica, which treats RLS.
I’ve lost about 6lbs, so that’s good news. I’ll admit I was hoping for it to just fall off like the first time I did it, but I’ll take what I can get right now. I know my body is still struggling in some regards, so any loss is a win.
Emotionally and energetically, I am feeling a bit better. I’m still tired if I actually do anything physical. I went shopping over the weekend for a few hours and spent the next day just staring at my computer screen watching movies because everything hurt.
But when it comes to things I WANT to be doing, I don’t think I could have a bigger list. Lists of stuff to teach, write, offer, create, and just do keep growing as ideas keep flowing. I’m slowing trying to get more done every day, even if it’s just completing two tasks on a list of a hundred things to do. I slowly find I’m ending more days feeling productive than I have in recent months.
One thing all of this has done is caused me to reevaluate some stuff. Things like what do I want to really spend my time doing, how do I want to impact others, and how will I allow others to affect me going forward. But most importantly, what brings me real happiness and how can I have more of that.
A sad thing I have learned over the last month is that the belief that you’ll really find out who your friends are when you’re sick is 1000% true. I have received more support and messages of concern from strangers and acquaintances on the internet than I have from my actual friends. I’m grateful for each one of those, but the silence from others has been really telling.
As I go through this time of self-reflection and prepare to move upward and onward from here, I plan to make some changes to my online presence and my work. I’m rolling into that whole “fully embrace who you really are” kind of mode. So, I’ll be working on those things and sharing them along the way.
If you’d like to be part of that process and follow my journey, even getting to share some input on what I’m doing, check out my Patreon. It’s only $8 a month, and you get all kinds of exclusive content…and with me slowly having more energy to get shit done I’m adding new things as the days and weeks go on. Check that out and come hang with us!
In the meantime, stay witchy!