Friday, July 29, 2011

These are not the kind of highs I want to deal with...

Back in April before I had my laparoscopy done (exploratory surgery to see what's going on with my lady parts), I went to two pre-op appointments: one at my OB/GYN's office and the second at the hospital where I was having the procedure done.

At both appointments my general health was assessed. I was poked, prodded, weighed (ugh), and had my blood pressure taken. At both appointments my BP was high. Very, very high.

I got nervous about it and as I sat on the exam table at both appointments, I thought maybe someone would say they couldn't do the surgery, but that never happened. And I thought someone might tell me that I should follow up with my general physician on my BP, but no one did.

I asked about it at my first appointment and the nurse said, "Yes, it's high, but you're probably just nervous about surgery." At the second appointment when it was still high, I told the nurse 2 what nurse 1 had said about being nervous and she said that it was probably true.

My blood pressure was 165/115.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time I had experienced high BP, but it had never been THAT high. And the previous incident was a bit of a fluke; by the time I saw my general physician my BP was back to normal.

I had surgery. All went well. I stayed in the hospital overnight to recover and various nurses checked on me throughout the day and night. Every time someone took my BP I could hear an audible "hmmm" from them. A couple of times I asked what the number was, and it was in the range of my pre-op number. And with the pain killers they had me on post-surgery I was relaaaaaaaxed I tell you.

So when I got home from the hospital I told my husband that I needed to make a change. Diabetes and infertility are enough to deal with, I didn't want to add heart disease to that list.

As soon as I was well enough after surgery - which was actually only about 4 or 5 days later - I dusted off my treadmill and started walking.

I began paying attention to sodium content in food. I was shocked to find how much sodium is in most of the foods I was eating. I began to change my diet completely to I guess what you would call a "whole food" diet that you hear a lot of people talking about.

At the beginning of June, almost 2 months after my surgery and the high BP reading, I had an appointment with my endo.

My A1C was a little higher than I would have liked at 7.3%, especially with TTC. But he said he could live with that number and that the risk associated with getting pregnant at an A1C of 7.3% was lower than working to get my A1C under 7.0% and essentially getting older in the process (I am 36).

He took my BP and despite the work I'd been doing, it was still high. 140/100. He recommended that I follow up with my general physician and look into medications that are safe for pregnancy, especially with the risk of preeclampsia.

He had also had my cholesterol checked. My HDL (the "good" stuff) was fine, my triglycerides were fine, but my LDL (the "bad" stuff) was high.

"You're kidding me right?" I exclaimed about the high LDL number.

I told my doc about my new diet and exercise. He said that sometimes you can do all the right stuff but our bodies don't always co-operate. He said that he wasn't too worried about my LDL right now, that my BP is currently of more concern.

So I have an appointment with my general doc next week. I bought my own BP monitor and have been checking every 2 to 3 days. My BP ranges anywhere from 120/75 to 130/85.

And I've continued to exercise and eat right. It doesn't even feel like much of a chore to me anymore.

In the past I've tried various diets and exercise to lose weight (as I've been chronically overweight for almost all of my adult life). But I lose motivation somewhere along the way and fall back into old habits. If I'm being honest with myself, I think I've always been one of those people who comforts themselves with food. A food addict, if you will.

But this time it feels different somehow. I am very concious of what I put into my body, but not because I'm trying to lose weight. Because I'm trying to stay healthy and get my BP under control.

As a result however, I HAVE lost weight that I've struggled to lose for so long. I'm down 28 pounds since April. I have gone from squeezing into size 16 pants, sometimes even size 18, to comfortably fitting into size 12. I have more to go, but I am no doubt on my way.

My blood sugar has reflected the change as well. My basal rates have dropped by almost 20% if I'm doing my math right. And the 14-day average on my glucometer is currently reading 6.7 (121).

Originally my goal was to get my blood pressure down on my own so that I wouldn't need medication. I've always thought that having to go on BP medication would be a failure somehow. That it would mean I didn't take good enough care of myself (which admittedly, I didn't in the past).

But now that I've been doing all this work and see that my BP is still hovering a little on the high side, my goal is to just do the best that I can do. If my doctor prescribes BP medication next Friday, at least I'll know that I did my best to get myself back in order.

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