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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Accountability is Everything

After a two and a half year hiatus, I am resurrecting my blog. I have concluded that by avoiding posting about my progress, I was no longer holding myself accountable to the goals I had set out for myself. Yes, I had successfully hit my weight loss goal but I did not hold myself accountable for maintaining it.

My son walking me down the "aisle".
Much has happened since my last update. I relocated from California to Texas for my job the summer of 2013. My then fiancĂ© (now husband) and I had set our wedding date for the following spring so I was in full-blown planning mode. I purchased my dress a year before the wedding to keep myself motivated and that plan worked well as the only alterations required were to shorten the dress. Despite the rain, it was a beautiful ceremony. We held both ceremony and reception in my parent’s backyard and my ever so handsome son walked me down the aisle.

My setbacks began six months before the wedding with an emergency trip to the ER when my Appendix decided it no longer wanted to be a part of my life and I had to have it removed. Because the number on the scale wasn’t going up, I allowed myself to use my recovery as excuse to be lazy with my exercise but since I was still in “Operation Wedding Dress” mode at that time, my diet was on point.

It wasn’t until after the wedding that I started having a difficult time with my weight. The first 20 pounds was because in addition to no longer working out 4 times a week, I stopped tracking my calories. I was still eating many of the same foods I ate during my losing period but I was adding way to many carbs. That occasional cookie or treat was turning into almost a daily habit.

In January of this year, I knew I had to face the reality of my choices so I cut out the carbs and started exercising again. After a month of working on getting my butt back into shape, I had a major medical setback. I had just finished running and hour on my elliptical and was soaking in the bathtub. I felt like I was overheating so I got out and jumped in the shower to wash my hair. I couldn’t lift my arms and I blacked out. I yelled for my husband after my vision returned and he took my blood pressure. It was 80/40 and my heart rate was near 160. He got me dressed and took me to the ER. After 7 hours, they released me with a referral to a cardiologist and neurologist.

After two months of tests and a visit to an Electrophysiologist, I was diagnosed with Left Ventricular Hypotrophy (LVH) and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). What does that mean? LVH is where the wall of your heart muscle thickens and becomes tight. POTS causes your blood pressure to suddenly drop and your heart rate to double or triple upon standing. When I was soaking in a hot bath, my blood pressure was already lowered by the heat of the water and when I stood up to get in the shower it dropped enough to make me black out. The LVH is likely an unwanted side effect from my kidney disease (IgA Nephropathy) because it causes high blood pressure. Technically, the IgA is an autoimmune disorder that affects the kidney. POTS is an autonomic disorder and my Electrophysiologist said that it isn’t uncommon for people with autoimmune disorders to get autonomic disorders. For two months, I could not be upright for longer than 20 minutes at a time because I would get dizzy and blackout. This meant I couldn’t do a whole lot of anything including driving - because dizziness while driving is not a good thing. Luckily, I have an awesome job and I was able to work from home for nearly two months.

Now, because I have a kidney disease, I have to take high blood pressure pill to keep blood flowing to the kidneys. The medication they would normally give someone with POTS is one that keeps your blood pressure up. The two essentially cancel each other out. The only thing left was to put me on sodium hydrotherapy. The FDA recommends that you should take in no more than 2,400 mg  of sodium per day and recent reports suggest they want to lower that to 1,200. My doctor put me on 5,000 mg per day! FIVE THOUSAND. The purpose is to keep my blood volume up so when I stand my blood pressure doesn’t drop as much. I was also put on compression therapy so my blood doesn’t pool in my legs when sitting. I had no idea how I was going to eat that much sodium in a single day. After a week of eating crap and feeling horrible, my doctor said I could take sodium chloride tablets.

After a few weeks of this, I was puffy, bloated, and I felt like I was sucking on a salt lick all day. I was getting depressed. My jeans did not fit, my ring was getting tight, and I could feel the water retention in my legs and feet.

I made an appointment with my doctor after I saw that I had gained 20 pounds. I had assumed that my thyroid had been checked because I had like a million lab tests done when they were trying to figure out what was wrong with me but she assured me that it hadn’t been checked. She ordered a complete thyroid panel and it turns out that in addition to all the other crap I have going on, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism…another awesome autoimmune disorder…and I am now on Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone.
I have been on this medication for three months now but my metabolism didn’t seem to be improving. My doctor ran another panel to confirm the medication is doing its job so after a hard reality check; I had to chalk up my lack of weight loss on my lack of accountability. I had been using my disorders as a crutch and was not looking for alternative ways to exercise and I used my POTS as an excuse to over indulge in crappy, high-sodium foods.

I need to rid myself of the weight I put on so this past week, I joined a local gym and have been going every day since I joined. Turns out, I actually missed working myself into a sweaty mess and I missed the awesome feeling you get after you get in a really good workout. One of the owners of this gym has been giving me great tips and is committed to helping whip me back into shape. I've been rowing a minimum of 3,600 meters on my beloved rowing machine (seriously, I love to row)and climbing 50 flights of stairs in the Stairmaster (seriously, not loving the Stairmaster but it works). He even made me do those darn battling ropes the other day. Only in 30 second intervals but DANNNG...those are no joke!

Anyway - now that I’ve put all this out there, I’ll be blogging again to keep myself in check. So...from this moment forward, I am holding myself accountable for every action I take and I am not going to let any of my medical issues set me back again. Of course, I have monitor my heart rate and be mindful of how I am feeling while working out but I will have no more excuses. Failure is NOT an option. I will get back into my favorite leather pants one day but if I don’t get back to my goal weight, it won’t be because I didn’t try.


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