Friday, May 16, 2014

I guess an apple a day really does keep the doctor away

Well, I don't really eat an apple every single day, but I do eat a good amount of them. Anyway, so I had a physical with my doctor this week. This was significant and something I was actually looking forward to like a dork because my doctor has not seen me since I was over 300 lbs. So yeah, I was kind of excited for him to see the change (though a small, idiotic part of me wondered if he would notice the change).

I used to see way too much of my doctor for someone in their 20's. My asthma used to be so out of control that I would invariably either wind up at his office (when I wasn't in danger of actually dying) or the emergency department (when my asthma attacks got so bad they would put a crash cart outside my room because they thought I was about to go into respiratory arrest) pretty much every month and sometimes multiple times in a month. And then when I was at my heaviest, I started getting kidney stones due to my diet and obesity. I got 3 stones in 6 months! So yeah, not much fun.

So even though I used to see my doctor quite regularly, my weight did not come up as a topic of conversation even though I had gained 80 lbs in a year. I can see why, because naturally an in-depth discussion about my alarmingly increasing weight wasn't really on the priority list when my lips were blue from an asthma attack or I was writhing in pain from a kidney stone. I never seemed to make the time for a physical then either because I knew my weight would undoubtedly come up as a major topic of conversation during that visit, and I was kind of subconsciously avoiding it. Every now and then though, I would see one of my medical records and see those words I dreaded staring back at me: morbidly obese. It was humiliating and I did my best not to think about it.

Like many other typical parts of life, going to the doctor presents numerous potentially embarrassing moments for an obese person that an average-sized person does not even think about. It all starts with the scale. I always tried to step on it nonchalantly, like I wasn't about to see a number that was 200 pounds more than it should be. I tried to pretend I didn't see how the nurse either 1) tried to act like the number wasn't shocking or 2) only thinly veiled their disgust. And then there's the blood pressure cuff. Always, always the large cuff, even though in my denial I hoped one time that maybe the nurse would think I only needed a regular sized cuff. Gowns that don't close are always fun too. The exams were a blast, if you call letting another human being see and touch all your fat fun. I once had a doctor (not my regular one) ask me why I had so many stretch marks and also comment on the fact that I was "just so bulky." Yes, he used those exact words. He was a real winner.

But going to the doctor for my physical this week was nothing but a positive experience. I didn't have to be ashamed of the number on the scale. In fact, when I weighed in, it was even fun because because the nurse looked back in my chart to see my previous weight (I guess since it was a physical) and I got to see her be shocked in a good way. She said, "You would never know you used to be that overweight!" That couldn't have made me any happier. I finally got to use a regular sized blood pressure cuff, and then see that my blood pressure was an awesome 103/62. And far from not fitting around me, the gown was huge on me. When my doctor walked in, he literally did a double take, and then was like, "How much weight have you lost?!?" To be able to tell him that I had lost 163 lbs, only one pound away from being literally half the person I used to be, made me prouder than I can say. He just kept shaking his head and saying he couldn't believe it. He told me that he would bet that only 1 out of 1000 of his patients would do what I had done. That actually kind of made me a little sad, because I truly believe that anyone can do what I have done; it's just a matter of will they. He was genuinely interested in how I had made the change. It made me so proud to see how impressed he was by my diet and activity level. He said at physicals he usually discusses what lifestyle changes should be made, but he couldn't see any changes that needed to be made in my case. My lungs were in great shape, and he said that it seemed losing the weight had made all the difference in making my asthma infinitely more manageable. I still have asthma attacks from time to time (especially in the winter), but they have been mild enough that I can manage them at home without going to the doctor for steroids (truly the devil!), much less have to go to the emergency department. As far as kidney stones go, I've been stone-free after the trio of stones I had a couple of years ago. During my exam, he asked if I had a goal weight, and I told him probably around 140 lbs without skin removal surgery. He said, "Yeah, you don't need to lose that much more." Seriously, it still blows my mind that someone would think I couldn't stand to lose more than 25 lbs or so. He told me we would go ahead and check my cholesterol, kidney function, blood sugar etc, but that he expected my numbers would be excellent.

I got my lab results back yesterday, and all my numbers were excellent. My kidney function and blood sugar were well within normal limits, and my cholesterol numbers were as follows:

Total cholesterol: 132 (optimal is less than 200)
Triglycerides: 76 (optimal is less than 150)
HDL (good cholesterol): 62 (optimal is greater than 50)
LDL (bad cholesterol): 59 (optimal is less than 100)

Pretty awesome! I would like to get my HDL up even higher, just because I'm an overachiever like that, but otherwise I couldn't be happier. Here's to hoping next year's physical is even better!

1 comment:

  1. I can't begin to express how happy and proud this makes me, Baby Girl! You are truly inspirational. Of course, I loved you at over 300 lbs and I love you at this new weight, but it thrills me to see you so happy and healthy. Now see what you can do for the rest of us in your family!