Saturday, July 5, 2008

I just wanted to update a quick little bit of health related stuff because I've gotten a few emails from curious readers (y'all are way too sweet) and I realized that I've forgotten to share some news, mostly good, for a change.

First, the best piece of news I've gotten recently, the boob is healed. Mostly. The incision has a small hole in it that isn't likely to close on its own, but which has sealed itself from the inside of my body. The doctor also did a quick ultrasound of the area under the scar and there are no more pockets of fluid, so the profuse leaking (both of fluid and of snot) seems to be gone forever. Hallelujah.

So basically I'll be cleaning the weird incision out carefully and often to prevent infection and in a year the doctor will do an in-office scar revision to close the wound. Since I seem to be slow to heal it can't be done for a full year, but that's a-okay with me because I'm not really all that keen on any of this stuff. I don't have to go back to the boob specialist until November which is my first semi-annual boob check up, where we'll have to actually face this ugly reality of carefully monitoring my boobs for bad things for the rest of my life.

The headaches have also left. I had a HUGE one on Tuesday, but since then it's been pretty much, well, awesome. I'm guessing the headaches were tied to stress, but they also stopped just about the time my anxiety meds finally got refilled, so it's difficult to tell. Either way I get to skip a neurologist appointment and stop popping tylenol like candy, which are both always good.

The only thing that's really not going well now is a sort of sensitive issue because most of you are not going to give a crap, but nevertheless, it's still something I'm grappling with and this is my blog, so deal. I've struggled most of my life with my weight. For the first 18 years it was trying to lose weight, from 18-19 it was trying to kill myself by losing weight (100 pounds on a 5'4" frame is not enough, just in case you wondered), then 19-21 it was back to trying to lose weight, 21-22 was spent back in the no-eating arena (though much less due to an eating disorder and much more due to very uncontrolled anxiety) and since then I've just been maintaining a healthy weight, for pretty much the first time in my life.

Except that after the surgery in November I dropped 5 pounds and never regained them (despite returning to my diet o' crap). And after the boob surgery in April, I dropped another 5 pounds, and despite spending a week eating in Hawaii, 3 days eating nothing but fastfood and other snacks in the car and then returning home where I've already downed like 1 1/2 giant bags of M&Ms, I cannot maintain my weight.

After that initial period of time (age 18-19) wherein I stopped eating, a nutritionalist set a base weight for me. It was created using my height, frame and several other factors, but basically, below that weight, my hormones get all funked up and I start getting into a not so healthy place (having been in that not so healthy place before I can tell you that some of the ramifications include absolutely destroying all hope of normal bone density and likely screwing the hell out of my ability to reproduce). And for the first time since I was 19 years old, I'm below that weight.

Again, I know this is a sensitive subject and that I'm not likely to find all too many people who are going to fall over in sympathy for me, but it's just one of those frustrating things because I should be able to maintain weight. I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing, I'm eating meals, I'm snacking, I'm drinking a lot of fluids and yet, I'm not just not gaining weight, I'm losing it. My gynecologist noted it because I'm down 10 pounds from last year and since then, and since seeing the latest number on the scale, it's (almost) all I can think about (come on, you know the job thing is still occupying about 49% of my mind, I'm just compartmentalizing).

I don't know if anyone else has ever been in this position, but this is one of those times where I'm totally open to suggestions (besides the cliff walk, I know I know). I'm completely out of ideas and I'm not making any forward progress on my own. I've tried every trick I know, everything I was taught many years ago about healthily gaining weight and I'm getting no where except farther away from where I want to be. I really never thought I'd be in this place again, and last time I resented having to gain weight, and this time, I just wish I could figure out how. It's amazing how things change over time and yet at the same time, how much they tend to repeat themselves.


Anonymous said...

Hey Katie...

I don't know what you've trid so far, so sorry if my suggestions aren't much of a help. I work with physically disabed kids, and many of them do have weight gain problems so these are some of the things we try...

Have you tried those nutrient supplement drinks such as Boost or Ensure? I know you can get them in different flavours, and some even come as jellos and puddings now. I've even seen some nutrient drinks that are juices instead of milkshakes. (I've been told they taste better cold...)

Also if you make your own milkshakes or smoothies at home, add nutrient powders into them. Not sure what kind (if any) of milk you drink, but in shakes you can always up the milk fat(try 2% if you don't already use it) a little, and usually not notice a difference. (If you use 2% you can always substitute a littl bit of half and half for some of the 2% - not too much though as 10% isn't very sweet)

Both of these ideas also give you tons of calcium - good for bone density :)

Also, it can help if you are a little more generous with condiments and sauces (Butter, salad dressings, etc...) Chips (or veggies) and dip, or crackers and cheese have lots of calories for snacks - and are not bad for you.

Do you take multivitamins? They can help to make sure you're getting all the proper nutrients.

Anyways, sorry if I'm just repeating what you already know. These are the most common tips we use, and honestly it depends on the person as to whether they work or not... trial and error. I guess everyone has different metabolisms.

I do know that I tend to lose weight when I'm stressed or sick... and I'm pretty sure the leaky boob, planning a wedding and dealing with the MIL, and the theft probably fit quite nicely into both those categories. Also the headaches probably didn't help the situation too much, and possibly even having to stop your anxiety meds. Maybe now that you're home and getting back into a routine, your weight will go up a little. And no teaching or students to stress over for another few months! (Try not to stress too much about getting your job back and your classes - PS if you ever need help with science, I might be able to give you a hand)

Anyways, I hope things start to pick up for you... Glad to hear things with the B&B (boob and brain) have gotten better :)

The wedding pictures are AWESOME and gorgeous... can't wait to see more!!!!!!

Flea said...

I sure hope Ashley's advice is helpful, and that others can help. I've never needed to gain weight, but am now working at the hospital on the eating disorders floor. It's so nice to hear someone who wants to gain and is trying to.

The doc just told my 14 year old son he needed to gain weight. Told him to up his protein and fiber intake.

Anonymous said...

My thought is that you need to make two appointments.

1) an appt (with your gyn or GP) to get your thyroid checked
2) a metabolic specialist (hopefully Slappy knows the fancy word for that so you can find one)
3) a nutritionist

A thyroid problem can be treated pretty easily. If it's normal, then I hear that there are doctors who can specialize in wonky metabolisms. And once you have answers from those two, a nutritionist can help you find healthy ways to maintain a good weight.

Anna in IL

Anonymous said...

I thought you looked a little thinner (though glowing :) ). Have you tried those Smoothies that are chuck full of calories but go down superfast? I know athletes use them to gain weight quickly.

Glad you are otherwise doing well in the health department.

the queen said...

I can only identify with my one recent weight-loss experience: the highly successful Hospice Diet. If you are under massive stress, you can eat anything you want and still lose weight.

So, I recommend you stay married, employed, and relatively healthy for a few months. That will put the pounds back on you.

Flea said...

Oh. And YAY for the healing boob!

Anonymous said...

If it were so easy, I would give you some of mine!! :) But it doesn't work. Maybe the smoothie/ensure drinks will help!

YAY for the health being better as well!! :) It was nice to meet you the other night!

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