Convalescence

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

SO TRUE. Health is everything.

Yesterday I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia. I already knew in my heart I had this based on my symptoms and the blood test I had done last week. Still, it’s devastating to deal with, while simultanesouly comforting to hear one of the doctors affirm my conclusions. I am miserable with it. I am hoping to talk to a specialist soon and see if there is anything I can do outside of the dietary modifications I am already making (which are helping, but not enough). I have always had a hypersensitive adrenaline response system so I am also hoping that treatment for anxiety will help. I also have to say I am thankful for my psychiatrist ( I met with her yesterday) who is not only the only non-robot/real COMPASSIONATE HUMAN psychiatrist that I have EVER met, but who is very savvy and helpful regarding the connection between hypoglycemia and anxiety.

I got so angry and frustrated with this condition that I just went crazy and binged this morning and now I feel AWFUL! I hope I’m okay.

I have been doing much better implementing the following changes: eating no sugar at all, reducing carbohydrates (and never eating them alone without protein), eating whole grains when I do eat carbs, making sure I have a lot of protein at every meal, not eating too much at one time (struggling with that one sometimes), eating smaller meals more frequently (making sure to include snacks which I haven’t done in years), making walnuts and almonds my go-to snack.

I’ve been eating 3 meals a day, plus an afternoon snack and usually a snack before bed, but I think I need to decrease the size of my breakfasts and add a mid-morning snack. Still, I am doing better than I have in years, during which I had been eating very erratically because I developed an aversion to food because of the horrible symptoms eating created. Now I know why. Now I wonder how I ever skipped lunch or went 6+ hours without eating. I want to aim to eat at: 8am, 10:30am, 1pm, 3-4pm, 6:30pm, and maybe 8:30pm. I think I should write down daily meal plans. That seems to be comforting. I might start documenting my food because that gets me excited about eating healthy food. It’s definitely hard to eat that frequently but I am finally getting used to it and regarding that part I am starting to feel like a normal person again, which I actually feel excited about that I can go out to lunch now, etc., without feeling like my appetite is all wacky.

It is very hard to recover from this strange & severe disordered eating when eating has had an association with “poison” for so long. 😦 But I’m getting there. I just feel like I’m hitting a wall where I improved for awhile but have now plateaued and I don’t want that to happen. Any support from anyone with non-diabetic hypoglycemia would be much appreciated.

I’m also going to be even more diligent on taking my vitamins and minerals because many of them, including magnesium, are used in blood sugar regulation.

Reactive hypoglycemia (or alimentary hypoglycemia) is low blood sugar that occurs after a meal — usually one to three hours after eating. Once your food is digested, it enters your small intestine where the nutrients get absorbed into your blood. Insulin is the hormone that pulls the sugar circulating in your blood into your cells so they can use it for energy. In reactive hypoglycemia, what happens is your body releases too much insulin in response to food (unlike diabetes where you don’t produce enough insulin). Thus the sugar is pulled out of your blood too quickly and it doesn’t get everywhere it needs to go (ie. your BRAIN which uses 20% of your energy needs – this is what causes most of the symptoms). Signs and symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia may include weakness, shakiness, sleepiness, dizziness, blurry vision, lightheadedness, anxiety and confusion. I have all of these.

In my blood test, my fasting blood sugar was actually a little high, but then after I drank a 75mg glucose solution, my blood sugar dropped way too far when they checked my blood again 2 hours later.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many medical interventions available for this condition. It may help to pay attention to the timing and composition of your meals:

  • Eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day, no more than three hours apart.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet including lean meats and non-meat sources of protein and high-fiber foods including whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
  • Avoid or limit sugary foods, especially on an empty stomach.
  • Be sure to eat food if you’re consuming alcohol and avoid using sugary soft drinks as mixers.

I am getting an abdominal ultrasound next week because of all the abdominal pain I have been having. The cause of RH is usually unknown, but it can be caused by an insulinoma (a benign tumor on your pancreas) so I want that to be evaluated. I really want to talk to the neurologist more about this because a) he is the one who ordered this test and b) my primary care doctor is an idiot so I want the neuro to counsel me and/or give me any needed referral (ie. to an endocrinologist).

I am in a convalescent period. I want it to be over. But I am being patient. I have to make good decisions day-to-day.

Yum. Meals like this are what I need.

Yum. Meals like this are what I need.

“Religion is to do right, it is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.” — also RWE

We went to church last Sunday again (sticking to my resolution!) We went to the local Episcopal church this time. Even though I am an Episcopalian, I didn’t really jive with this particular church. So maybe we’ll try another one. My husband went with me this time so that was nice.217px-Shield_of_the_US_Episcopal_Church.svg

I am just turning to God over and over for prayer in this hard time of illness and it is giving me strength to take care of myself.

I have SO many dreams and I want to get better so I can pursue them. I want to be a medical practitioner. I want to TRAVEL again. I don’t want to just lay around my house all day because I feel so weak, tired, and dizzy. I am an intelligent person and I want to use that gift to give back to this world.

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand...I.Was.Here.

Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand…I.Was.Here.

Apparently, our offer just got accepted on a townhouse. I have surrendered control of this situation to my husband because I got tired of worrying about it so much. Sometimes it’s just easier to go with the flow. He’s the one with the economics degree anyway! I have a Biology degree. It’s kind of exciting though!

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2 thoughts on “Convalescence

  1. Hi, first of all, HUGS!!!

    Second of all, could the abdominal pains possibly be linked to gluten intolerance? I have coeliac disease so always on the alert for that one. And it affects the small intestine and vitamin absorption as well.

    And lastly, Psalm 103:1-5 really encourages me a lot when I struggle with similar things to what you’re going through.

    1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

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