Fat Girl Vs. Anorectic Girl

So many people have commented on how quickly I slimmed down after having iBean. Yes, I am thinner now than I was before I got pregnant with Sashimi.  I am currently the same size I was when I graduated from high school. If i walked around with an FAQ on my back, one of the questions would be “Do you work hard at it, or do you just have good genes?”  The truth is, although in this particular instance I have not had to physically work hard (thanks to my friend thyroiditis and his sidekick breastfeeding), my relationship with food and my body has not always been so easy.

My eating is so much different now than when I was a teenager.  I used to eat compulsively and was 155 lbs at my heaviest.  Not huge, but not small either for a short girl.  I would polish off a ring of sausage as a snack, or a large bag of tostitos and salsa. I drank a lot of coke and tequila (not together). I liked adding those flavoured creamers (try 7 or 8 of them) to my hot chocolate. Then, at 17, I overheard a boy refer to me as  “cute, but chubby.”  All I heard was chubby.

I started exercising regularly.  I made a rule that I was only allowed to eat thin soups for lunch – no more sandwiches or other unnecessary bread consumption.  I would only eat a banana for breakfast. Doing this helped me lose nearly 25 lbs in 6 months.  Then my dad was killed in an accident, I dropped another 5 or 7 lbs in a matter of days.  I went shopping for my grad dress (for my American friends, grad dresses here are equivalent to prom dresses) about a month afterward and was completely thrilled when I realized that I fit a size 4.  I had never been a size 4, and the rush of seeing such a small dress on my body was something I cannot explain. By the time I actually graduated, the dress was slightly too big, and I could have easily worn a size 2.

When I moved out on my own to attend university, I remember thinking these exact words: “When I am on my own, I can lose as much weight as I want.”  That is scary to think of now, but I distinctly remember thinking it. I started keeping a food journal, documenting everything I ate, whether I had a bowel movement, how much I exercised, and how much I weighed. A typical day would read:

Breakfast: banana. Lunch: mini pita with cream cheese. Supper: salad with salsa and light ranch.  Tae-bo one hour. No BM. Weight: 103 lbs.

There were days when I ate out at a restaurant.  Those days, I usually just drew a big angry face and took ex-lax when I got home (I have no gag reflex, it seems, as I tried to purge and it never worked.  A blessing in disguise). A couple of my friends from high school saw me and commented on how they coud feel my spine when they hugged me.  I just told them it was stress, all the while masking my extreme delight in being so thin.  I should also mention that I was amenorrheic for about a year.  It did not bother me at all.

In the spring, I started seeing a psychologist (for another matter) and through therapy, realized that I had an eating disorder. Meanwhile, my physician had put me on an anti-depressant that had a side effect of causing increased appetite – I think she suspected something was wrong as well.  At first, I would put the extra food I craved in my mouth, chew it up, and then spit it in the garbage.  Gradually, I started to see how deranged this was, and  started swallowng the food.  I managed to put on 10 lbs over  the four-month summer break, followed another 10 lbs during my two-week séjour in France. I returned home no longer fitting my pants and with significantly larger breasts (much to Tony’s delight).

The guilt I felt over eating what I felt was too much (what I now realize was eating normally) took a few years to subside.  Tony was a very positive support for me, and I purged my closet of all my skinny clothes, so I would not put them on, feel them cutting into my flesh, and revert back to old ways.

Now, 10 years and three babies later, I like to think i have achieved some sort of balance, somewhat shaped by the fat girl and anorectic girl constantly dueling in my head.    My weight stays pretty constant. I eat what I want, all the while watching portion size and making sure that I am getting lots of fruit and veggies.  Sometimes the anorectic girl wins, and I order salad at a restaurant when I really wanted pasta.  Other times, the fat girl wins when I eat a big piece of pie for breakfast or eat two handfuls of cookies while watching TV.  But they play a zero-sum game.  If one girl wins, the next time she will lose.

Time had been kind to me, as I really don’t think about these things anymore.  I enjoy my life and food on my own terms, exercise when I want (or have the energy) to do it.  In becoming a mother, I have seen my body do incredible things and I have more respect for my body.   When I see myself in the mirror, I like what I see just as it is.**

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**Okay. Maybe not the acne. But I guess that’s what concealer is for.

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Thyroid. The First.

My appointment today with my doctor went much more smoothly than I thought.  I did not get all the answers I was looking for, but here is what we have for now:

  • My thyroid is underactive right now.  It has been a bit all over the place (it was hypo in January just before I had iBean, then hyper in April, now back to hypo).  It is not uncommon in postpartum women for the thyroid to be a little wonky, so my doctor put me on synthroid and we will be monitoring my TSH, T3 and T4 (and thyroid antibodies) to see if this is a permanent thing or if it will resolve and resume normal functioning.
  • I have protein in my urine.  Again.  After having iBean, over the course of my hospital stay the protein had pretty much gone away, but now it is back.  Weird, right?  Right.  My doctor thinks so, too.  That, along with my high blood pressure, convinced him to refer me to an endocrinologist in the city.  I am an interesting case, or so I have been told.
  • My doctor changed my blood pressure medication.  Tony is filling that prescription as I type.
  • I have to go back for more bloodword next week to test for all sorts of other things related to kidney functioning and the endocrine system.
  • I produce roughly 2.5 L of urine in a 24-hr period.  Apparently this is a-ok.
  • I weigh less now that I did before getting pregnant with iBean.  I gained 40 lbs while pregnant with her and managed to drop it ALL in 4 months.  I think the hyperthyroidism had something to do with that, but I am currently at a weight that I have not been since I was 19.  Not sure if that is good or bad.  Definitely need to invest in a belt or smaller pants.

Stay tuned for more details on my fascinating case.

Abnormal

My doctor’s office called me back.  He wants to see me on Monday regarding my labs.  There were abnormal results.

Isn’t that just the crap on my sour cream sundae.

But on a cuter note, here are my boys in the aftermath of their injuries:

Gap-toothed Keesadilla

Hop-Along Sashimi

Hypertension. Still.

As I alluded to in my previous post, I was in the ER myself yesterday.  I had been on a waiting list for an ambulatory blood pressure monitor to determine what my numbers REALLY are, and the nurse from Chronic Disease Management called me to say I could come and get hooked up.  Since I was planning on heading up there to weigh iBean (who turned 6 months), I thought it would be a two-birds-with-one-stone thing. The boys were still in Edmonton with Tony, so it was just us girls. After the hospital, I thought we could go to the swimming pool or something.

I arrived at the hospital and went to CDM. The nurse took my blood pressure before attaching the ambulatory monitor to me.  My reading: 166/112. Huh?  “Are you feeling alright?” She asked. I felt fine.  I was very relaxed, only having iBean in the house with me for 24 hours was like a free vay-cay. No reason for it to be so high.  So she took my pressure on the other arm: 158/108.  Not much better.

“I really don’t feel comfortable putting this monitor on you if your blood pressure is so high already,” the nurse said.  “I think your doctor is in the ER today.  I will let him know I am sending you down there.”

So off we went.  Down the blood pressure path again.  My doctor ordered a myriad of tests (all of which I have been previously subjected to) and put me back on the last blood pressure med I had been taking.  He then directed me to the lab, where I had some blood taken (five or six vials), a urine test AND they sent me home with two 24-hr urine collection tests.  That’s right. Two.

At this point, I am resigned to my fate. My bloodwork has been consistently good, my organ functions have always been good (even at my worst state in the hospital). I know that my preeclampsia was so bad that I was at risk of having long-term hypertension as a result, but I really wish there was something more.  When I explain my condition to people (including doctors) they are floored that my pregnancy blood pressure problems persist even when there is no baby in my belly. How can that be? There must be something else wrong with you.  You don’t feel it when your blood pressure is that high?  Do you have double vision? Headaches?

No.  I feel nothing.  If I was not so diligent about my blood pressure readings, I would honestly have had no idea I was hypertensive at all.  I am an active otherwise healthy person whose blood pressure can climb so high that it is a wonder that I have not stroked out.  And I feel nothing.

How is that possible??

Where is House when you need him…

 

Oh – and iBean weighs 13 lbs 7 oz 😉

Lemons

As my sister pointed out to me, my kids are lemons. “Didn’t you get the extended warranty on them??” she asked.

Tony says that extended warranties are for suckers.  In this case, we totally should have.  Or perhaps purchased some sort of Child Injury Insurance that pays Tony’s salary every time he has to take time off when one of our kids injures himself and ends up in the ER.

Last week, I posted about Keesadilla’s tooth.  Well, the tooth ended up dying, turning grey, and wiggling in his mouth.  If we could have just gotten the darn thing out ourselves, but that was not the case. The root was too long. So we managed to get an emergency appointment at the dental surgery clinic for Wednesday morning (6 days after the original break). Those 6 days and nights were unpleasant.  Advil around the clock, alternating with Tylenol when the pain started kicking back in well before we could give him another dose. Not to mention night time, when the drugs would wear off while he slept, causing him to wake up sceaming in pain and it was all we could do to coax him into putting more medication in his mouth.  One night, in fact, this process took two hours, during which iBean also woke up and thought it was morning what with all the noise, and Sashimi thought it would be great to start having full-on conversations with us while tending to his little brother’s screams.

Tony left work early on Tuesday, drove the boys to the city, 500 km away, went to sleep, woke up the next morning, brought Keesadilla to his appointment for 8:30 am, Kees was put under general anaesthetic at 9:15 am (by Tony’s cousin, who happened to be the anaesthesiologist at the clinic…small world), was awake again by 10:15 am, and the boys made the obligatory pit-stop at Toys’r’Us before leaving the city and being back home by supper.

Both boys slept like rocks last night.

Today, 19-toothed Keesadilla was back to his 3-year-old antics, and it was a hot day.  We were invited to a friend’s house for the boys to play on their enormous inflatable water-spray-slide thing.  It was seriously cool. Until Sashimi jumped from the top into the water, landed on his foot funny, and crawled out crying.

He would not put any weight on his foot. There was a distinct spot that was inflammed, and his foot was all red.  The mom, who is a nurse practitioner, looked at it and when Sashimi was still complaining about it 15 minutes later, she told us we should go to the ER and have it looked at.

All I could think was: You have GOT to be FUCKING KIDDING ME.

After making arrangements for iBean and trying to get Keesadilla to stay with a sitter (he refused), the boys and I treked to the hospital.  Again.  Wasn’t I just there yesterday?  Oh yeah, I have not told that story yet (that’s another post for another day).

I picke Sashimi up like a man carrying his bride over the threshold and put him in the car.  I had a stroller in the trunk, so I figured that could be my make-shift wheelchair. After two hours in the ER, we had a verdict: a cracked growth plate in his foot. The crack did not go all the way through the bone, so it was not very visible on the x-ray (there were three people looking at it). Since we do not live anywhere near a pediatric hospital, the doctor told us that they did not have the right size of walking cast for Sashimi.  They would have to make him one out of what they had.

He is casted from toes to half-way up his calf, although the cast only runs on the back of his leg.  A tensor bandage wrapped around his leg holds the whole thing in place. They said that once it feels better, he can put weight on it and use crutches for extra support.  Have you ever seen a 4-year-old on crutches?  Let’s just say that their coordination skills are not developed enough to really use them properly.  He tried and tried, but it was so much work he just collapsed into my arms and asked me to carry him back to his chair.

So for now, this means no more going for walks during the day, no park, no splash park, no pool, no running around outside.  In July. It’s like that Simpsons’ episode where Bart breaks his leg and thinks Flanders murdered his wife.  Only with not so much attitude.

Or maybe that will come.

And that’s why you listen to Mommy

Sashimi & Keesadilla have a habit of  ignoring me.  They love to listen to me when I say things like “Who wants a freezie?” or “Anyone want to have a bubble bath?”  When I say things like “Don’t do that!” or “Someone is going to get hurt!” or “Stop smelling each other’s bums!” no one listens.  It’s all fun and games until someone farts.

Or breaks a tooth in Bouncy World.

Bouncy World is a place where the boys take all of the couch cushions off and place them all around the living room.  They then bounce from cushion to cushion.  It is the closest approximation they get to having their very own jumpy castle.

Normally, Bouncy World is risky, but only risky in the “have your parents sign these waivers” risky.  Not “please leave your Alberta Health Care Number with the cashier for when she inevitably calls 911,” risky. This time, Sashimi decided to create “Bouncy World Table Jumping.”  It sounds dangerous already, doesn’t it?  No amount of motherly warnings could deter these boys from this amazingly fun game.

The boys jumped from the coffee table onto the cushions, and then on cushions all around the coffee table, the same table that gave Sashimi two stitches on the back of his head this spring.  Keesadilla decided to bounce on one cushion while facing the table. He had a bad bounce.  He smacked his chin on the table, pounding his bottom teeth into his top teeth.  Instant tears.  At first, I could not see any damage.  No gushing red stuff, no pieces of tongue hanging off. Slowly, I started to see a bit of red on his bottom tooth. Then I noticed a tiny chip was missing and blood was filling a hairline crack in the tooth.  Oh crap.  Broken tooth.

I called my mom, who is a dental assistant and was working that day.  They managed to squeeze us in for a quick look at the tooth. By then, Keesadilla had stopped crying and the bleeding had stopped.  When they got him in the chair under the light, he barely opened his mouth (he is 3, after all) and from what the dentist could see, she thought it was fine, and that the sensitivity would settle down within a few days. No biggie. Keesadilla got his prize from the prize dispenser and we went home.

Well, this morning, he was inconsolable.  “It hurts me! Ma dent! It hurts! Bo-bo in my bouche!” I managed to convince him to let me look inside his mouth at the tooth.

OH FUCK.

The back half of his tooth was missing and I could see right into the middle of the tooth.  Was I supposed to see that pink and purply colour there? Pretty sure THAT wasn’t good.  And did I mention it was Canada Day, and a Friday, so half the freaking town was gone for the long weekend?

Through my mom’s contacts, I got in touch with one dentist who agreed to meet us and have a look, and one look was all it took: he said there was no fixing it, the tooth has to come out. The nerve is exposed and the tooth is split right down the middle to the gums. And since Keesadilla is 3, the chances of him sitting for freezing and a tooth-yanking are pretty much nil.  We could man-handle him into some sort of full-body sleeper hold and do it, but that just doesn’t seem like a very good time.

Now we are waiting to hear back from a dental surgery clinic (500 km) away that does dentistry for kids under general anaesthetic.  If they cannot get us in quickly enough, we will have to go the old-school traumatic way and hold my little man down to git’er done. REALLY hoping it does not come to that.  If only he would have listened to his Mommy…

Beautiful baby teeth! Last photo I will have of them in their beautiful entirety.

Hypertension – the sequel, or rather, the continuing story

iBean will be 6 months next week and my blood pressure has still not returned to normal.  At its peak in the hospital is was 182/133.  Every medical professional I tell that to is simply amazed that neither iBean or I stroked out.  It was a pure miracle that she came out as well as she did and that despite my high blood pressure, no lasting physical damage to my body or organs.

But I am still living with the hypertension. I slowly weaned down from my 17 (!!) daily blood pressure pills to the last one, and went off that last medication 15 days ago.  My blood pressure has not spiked back up, but it is slightly higher than it was on the meds. My diastolic pressure is borderline hypertensive, depending on the time (and day) I take it.  I was originally told in the hospital by the myriad of specialists that if my blood pressure had not resolved within 12 weeks postpartum, that I would most likely have chronic hypertension for the rest of my life.  I guess that is what I have to now face.  I was really hoping that once I was off all of the meds (and when you are on 17 pills a day, it takes a LONG time to titrate down!) my bp would normalize.

I was also told that I was at a substantial risk for this whole preeclampsia thing to recur should I decide to get pregnant again.  The specialists kept using the words conception planning appointments, high risk, specialist appointments, bedrest, hospitalization, premature delivery, possible organ damage, fetal death, maternal death should I decide to get pregnant again, particularly if my blood pressure did not resolve itself.

Or maybe not. I could get pregnant and everything would be peachy, just like my pregnancy with K-Man.

But 3 of my 4 pregnancies have had blood pressure issues.  Not full-on wars like this last one, but chances are, the next one would just make that number 4 out of 5.

Giving me the benefit of the doubt, my doctor (the man is a saint) is putting a requisition for another halter blood pressure monitor and giving me some more time to see if my body will bring itself back to normal.  There are things I can do: exercise (WTF is that?!), eat less salt (moment of silence as I say goodbye to soya sauce) and eat more beets (there are only so many beets I can consume in a day without wanting to yarf).

Tonight, I went for a walk.  I was farking tired, but while Ivy napped and Tony was home, K-Man hopped in the jogging stroller and we went for a brisk walk, about 3 km. The first real exercise I have done in almost a year. The goal to bring my diastolic blood pressure down is to do 20-30 minutes of “exercise” 4 times a week.  Not just running around after kids and up and down the stairs doing laundry.  I’m talking above and beyond that.  It would be WAY easier if I had an iPod that could actually hold all my dance/trance/upbeat music. Right now it is mostly consumed by stuff to listen to in the car while chauffeuring the kids around (Glee features prominantly).

High blood pressure is supposed to be for old people.  Not 29-year old size-4-wearing mothers.

It’s a good thing iBean was worth it.

iBean at her maximum level of medical intervention, shortly after birth

The Bean, 5 months old, trying on her bathing suit to see if it fits. It totally does! We're hitting the pool!