Thursday, July 11, 2013

And Now For Maintenance

With the RA stabilized, it's time to handle all the other things that fit into this. I've had almost as many tests as I remember having during finals week in college. These are the kind I can't study for. I checked in with my general practitioner and everything was ordered.

Blood tests. One of the side effects of RA is an increased risk of heart disease. The best I'm given to understand, doctors don't know why RA sufferers have this increased risk but my cholesterol has to be monitored yearly, every 6 months if there is a concern.

Now, I have genetically low cholesterol. Heart disease does not run in my family. For that, I am eternally grateful. But the results showed a high triglyceride level. Sustained high triglycerides can be precursors of heart disease.

The other, perhaps more bothersome, result was high glucose levels. Sustained high glucose number are one of the markers for diabetes. Again, this does not run in my family, but diabetes doesn't seem to be a genetic thing unless your mother had gestational diabetes.

Still, I'm worried, to be honest. I think this is a diet thing. I have to admit that my diet is crap, not to put too fine a point on it. When I come home from work, I have an agenda, tasks I want to accomplish. Many times, those tasks don't include cooking something for myself. Hence, I'll grab the quickest, easiest thing to eat or, believe it or not, skip supper altogether. I always, always eat breakfast. I cannot imagine a day starting without some form of breakfast. Cereal. Waffles. Pancakes. Fruit and yogurt. Peanut butter toast and milk. Oatmeal with raisins and walnuts. I don't eat those all in one sitting, but those are my preferred items for breakfast. The day always goes well when I have breakfast.

After that, it's a crap shoot. I've been known to skip lunch or skip dinner. Then I get really hungry about 9 p.m. and I'll grab a bowl of cereal or crackers or half a bag of M&Ms. This greatly influences what shows up in the grocery cart. I look around the kitchen and have nothing to grab and eat. So, while shopping, I add 3 boxes of granola bars to the cartand then eat half a box at 8:30 p.m. some night because I was too tired to cook at 6.

I love fresh fruit and vegetables. But buying them and then preparing them to be eaten during the week are two different things. What looks so inviting in the grocery on a Saturday morning looks quite a bit different after I've dragged it home and shoved it in the fridge.

Moving on to other health items. I have nodules on my thyroid. These were seen last year in a CT Scan. I had an ultrasound of the thyroid and they are still there. One of them is large enough to have the potential for a biopsy. Now, so as to not frighten me more than I already am about this, I was told that if you pull 10 people off the street and ultrasound their thyroid, 8 of them will have nodules. It's part of the aging process. I'm told that I shouldn't worry.

Unfortunately, these nodules have to be checked and I have the name and number of an ear, nose and throat specialist to call. I just don't like the idea of having to take off work time to do things. I feel as if I'm inconveniencing the office when I can't get an appointment except at 1:30 p.m. I'm awaiting the results of the mammogram which should be normal and not require any further follow-up.

The next steps are to call the ENT and check into an appointment. Wait for word on the mammogram.  I have a follow-up appointment with my regular doctor to discuss the high glucose and triglyceride levels. The more I read into these, the more I realize that my diet is probably wholly responsible for the skewed numbers. I've done a lot of things just because I've had to, but this diet thing...I just don't know. Convenience and familiarity seem to win out, more often than not, over what I should be eating. If I were cooking for more than just me, I can guarantee that my numbers wouldn't be as askew as they are.

This doesn't feel like a set back. I have felt so much better than in the last two years. There are bad days, to be sure. I kind of overdid it over the holiday weekend and am paying the price in stiffness and soreness for that overindulgence. I'm looking at all of these things as shoring up my ship which has become leaky over the last few years. We fix these leaks and I'll be as close to good as new as I can be. At the very worst, I'll get to know some people at the hospital by name.

Beverage:  Blackberry tea


No comments:

Post a Comment