When last we left the riveting story of my ongoing adventures in functional medicine, it was August, and I'd just been to my first appointment...Read More
Sorta Update & Things I’m Loving
It’s been about three weeks since we all got “Here I Go Again” stuck in our heads. I don’t have definitive news on what’s happening with my body yet. But I’ve been getting questions about how I’m doing, so I thought I’d give you a sorta update. I have follow-up appointments on October 10 and October 23 where the results of all of my blood, urine, and stool tests will be revealed. Until then, I am clinging to those dates like a spy dangling out the window of swanky hotel.
The Elimination Diet
We’re on Day 24 of our nutritional adventures. We’re doing a sort of Whole30 with additional stuff removed, based on the advice of Dr. Amy Myers at Austin UltraHealth. She took out anything that can be inflammatory and anything that feeds Candida because she suspects we might have Candida overgrowth (ew). Right now, we’re not eating the following:
- nightshades: bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cayenne, paprika, potatoes
- vinegar (except cider vinegar)
- citrus (except lemon)
In addition, our fruit is limited to one cup per day and sweet potatoes are limited to one cup per day.
What this means is that we haven’t eaten in a restaurant in 24 days. Dave usually makes his own breakfast, but I’ve made every other meal and snack. It almost doesn’t even feel like a burden any more; it just is.
Tomorrow, we’re being bold and eating eggs and sweet potato fries at a Kerbey Lane. We re-introduced eggs last week – ate them three times per day for three days in a row and had no reaction… yay! I confirmed that Kerbey Lane’s sweet potato fries are gluten free. (Many restaurants serve sweet potato fries rolled in flour, so they’re gluten bombs). If we get our eggs fried or poached, they won’t include any forbidden ingredients. I might even go crazy and get a side of fruit. Look out!
It’s not just about the food; I’m also taking a boatload of supplements. They’re mostly targeted at supporting adrenal function, managing stress, and improving digestion. I’m always hesitant to share what I’m taking because it’s so personal. If you’re curious about supplements, please don’t buy everything on this list and start taking them. I think it’s really important to talk to a pro so they can help you determine which ones are right for you and how much to take. Here’s what I’m taking, in case you want ammo to talk to your doctor:
- iron-free multi-vitamin
- digestive enzymes
- fish oil
- Adreset (adrenal support)
- Corti-B Plex (adrenal support)
- Caprylic acid (Candida killer)
- Natural Calm (to sleep)
- Melatonin (to sleep)
Most need to be taken multiple times per day. Some need to be taken with food. Some need to be taken specifically without food. And I still need to take my thyroid hormones – twice a day, on an empty stomach, and I can’t eat for at least an hour after taking them. My day is scheduled like a member of the British royal family, without the glamour and photo opps.
That Pesky Thyroid
So, back in February, my thyroid numbers were looking pretty good. I was feeling better, if not totally great. We wrapped up the photography for Well Fed 2 and headed to Europe for six weeks… during which I ate cake and drank beer and indulged in all kinds of things I don’t usually do. I came home happy, but puffy. And then started the slow slide to not feeling so great and high blood pressure and headaches and continued puffiness that sent me to Dr. Myers. I’m trying desperately to avoid blaming myself and my behavior in Europe for my current predicament. Is it my fault? Is it black magic? Is it just what it is? Who can say? For reference, here are my previous and current thyroid numbers, for those of you playing along with the Thyroids ‘R’ Fun™ game.
February 2013 (last blood work)
TSH – 0.71 mIU/L
Free T3 – 3.5 pg/mL
Reverse T3 – 25 ng/dL
Ratio of Free T3 to Reverse T3 – 14 (which isn’t awesome. 20 would be good.)
TSH – 1.2 mIU/L
Free T3 – 2.4 pg/mL
Reverse T3 – 24.1 ng/dL
Ratio of Free T3 to Reverse T3 – 10 (boo.)
If you’re not familiar with all these measurements, this post explains them and what “good” values would look like. In response to this not-so-great showing, Dr. Myers increased my thyroid hormones. I’m now taking 90mg of Armour thyroid in the morning and 15mg in the afternoon.
How I’m Feeling
I’d love to be able to tell you that I have an awesome attitude and that looking at this as a science experiment is making it a really interesting and rewarding experience.
It’s so not.
I’m resentful and scared and so f*cking tired of thinking so hard about what I eat and meditating to stop thinking about all of it. Also, I need to take a nap every afternoon because my energy just tanks around 4:00 p.m. (And yes, I’m f*cking grateful my work life allows me to take a nap in the afternoon, but honestly, I’m kinda sick of being grateful for that, too. Not very yoga-like of me, is it?!)
But there is some good news!
1. The bloating is gone. I was getting some serious beachball-in-the-belly action toward the end of the day, and that is gone. My eyes are not quite so puffy when I wake up in the morning, and my wedding ring is back to fitting appropriately on my finger. This is all a huge relief.
2. My skin is looking really good. I hope this doesn’t seem like bragging, but (1) my skin is remarkably clear, smooth, and soft; (2) I am grasping for any little spot of sunshine right now, and clear skin is what I’ve got. Celebrate with me, friends! This is not the greatest photo of me ever, but it’s completely without makeup, in natural light, with no filter and no editing.
3. My workouts mostly feel great. I’m loving the programming that my trainer Mark sends me, and most of the time, I feel strong and energetic at the gym. Morning is my high energy time, so it’s a pretty excellent way to start the day. My arms can most definitely not be described as “ripped,” but I’m starting to see muscle definition in my shoulders that’s encouraging. My legs look solid — although they are still quite short; if only strength training made them longer, too!
4. The Artist’s Way is annoying. And now I’m remembering this from the last time I worked my way through the book. I think there are lot of good ideas in that book, but I really don’t enjoy the author’s tone. In fact, I want to punch her in the face most of the time. And sometimes, when I’m doing the writing and thinking exercises, I feel quite silly and self-conscious. But there’s no denying that it does bring about mental shifts that can be helpful. I’m just so weary at this point of doing things that I don’t quite enjoy but I think will be good for me. At the same time, I don’t want to abandon the project: Even though I’m not completely enjoying it, I think it’s valuable. Damn it. (The meditations we’re doing to supplement the work in the book are awesome, and Robin continues to be a delight as an instructor.
Things I’m Loving
That right there is about 1200 words of complaining, so I thought I’d share some stuff that I’m totally loving right now. Maybe you’ll like some of these things, too.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes
I’ve been eating about 1/2 a sweet potato every day to get some dense carbs because going too low-carb is no good for me. One day, I got curious about the Japanese sweet potatoes at the store, and I will never go back. The texture is more like white potatoes – starchy, dense, comforting – and the flavor is intense. Not so much sweeter as richer than jewel sweet potatoes. I roast them in the oven at 400F for about 30-40 minutes, until they’re tender, then I usually dice them and sauté in coconut oil with salt, pepper, and minced scallions.
I had a pair of shoes very similar to these in high school. I remember the shopping trip to acquire them very well: My dad hates shopping like no one else in the world hates shopping. I think the mall can literally give him hives. Anyway, I don’t know why, but he took me shopping to buy clothes for my senior class trip to Paris, and he bought me a pair of pointy pumps with an ankle strap. I wore them every night in Paris and felt quite sophisticated. I’m sure 17-year-old me was not at all sophisticated, but I loved the hell out of those shoes. And now I have these Calvin Klein Nasia Pumps:
In addition to
slogging working through The Artist’s Way and the reading for my world history course, I’ve been losing myself in fun mystery thrillers. Steven King’s Joyland was like an amusement park ride, Lee Child’s lastest Never Go Back was quintessential Jack Reacher (loved it!), and right now, I’m reading a new-to-me series about a detective called Chief Inspector Gamache. Written by Louise Penny, the books are set in Montreal, Quebec, and remind me a lot of Elizabeth George’s British mystery novels. There’s lots of psychological stuff going on and deep secrets and quirky characters who turn out to have unexpected depths. Gamache is a really interesting, likeable, complex detective. I’m reading the first in the series: Still Life.
The Patriots, The Ravens & the ESPN ScoreCenter app
A few years ago, I kinda fell for pro football, and this year, I’m firmly in the Patriots’ and Ravens’ camps. I didn’t think I had favorite teams, and then suddenly, I did. I also am a big fan of RGIII, the Manning brothers, and Victor Cruz. My affection for them is matched only by my utter disdain for Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. If you’ve also got football fever, I recommend the ESPN ScoreCenterapp for staying on top of headlines. You can also watch a “gamecast” of games through the app that you can’t get on TV. Not that I would ever do that. While a passenger in the car. On a Sunday afternoon.