Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Real Reason I've Lost More Weight

I have been feeling pretty proud of myself for losing 51 pounds and keeping it off for more than two years. As many of you know, what finally led to success after so much failure was that I I used the BodyBugg like the contestants on The Biggest Loser do. It worked!

Recently, despite no attempts on my part to do so at all, I lost five pounds in a week, taking me suddenly down to 157. Oh-oh, I thought, because in addition to the weight loss, I was feeling increasingly lousy. But would I go to the doctor, despite my sister's urging? And she's an RN, so she knows whereof she speaks. Oh, heck no. Dr. Fat Cat was in, and busily misdiagnosing herself, but mostly just busy ignoring the obvious.

Then on New Year's Day, a bit of divine intervention. I was carrying a tray of food up the stairs at the entrance to a friend's house when I just fell backwards down the stairs. I fractured my collarbone, the first fracture of my life and essentially a minor one. Here I am a month later, and I am fine.

But here's where the miracle comes in. They had to call 9-1-1 because I was obviously injured, and had hit my head, but not hard enough to knock any sense into me. When the EMT shone a penlight into my eyes as part of my neurological assessment, he looked very concerned and gave the penlight to his partner, who looked into my eyes and also looked very concerned. But neither said anything as they were trying to deal with my immediate problem, the fracture.

In the ambulance, I asked the EMT riding with me what they had seen in my eyes, and she just told me something was wrong and to get to an eye doctor right away. Right away didn't turn out to be possible as I was confined to my house for two weeks, but I went on January 17th. After a very extensive two hour exam, the doctor told me the structures in my eyes were fine, but he suspected I had something he called TED, or thyroid eye disease. He wrote down the names of three tests, and sent me to my primary care doctor.

Sure enough, the tests proved I have Graves' Disease, an autoimmune disorder that makes your body make way too much thyroid. Left unchecked, Graves can eventually cause blindness, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, permanent hand tremors, all sorts of nasty things. I had the tremors; I had the racing heart; I had increasingly severe eye problems, and I was blithely ignoring it all until, and believe me, this is how I feel and will always feel about my accident, God told my guardian angel to gently toss me down the stairs, only allowing me to suffer just enough of an injury to require an ambulance. Why do I feel this way? Because the doctor told me that anyone falling backwards down seven stairs should be dead, or at the very least, seriously and perhaps permanently injured. I am not only not dead, but I have been given a new lease on life. Everyday, as the medications work a little better to bring down my thyroid levels, I feel a little better.

My challenge now is that I understand I was maintaining my weight not through any great discipline on my part, because I have very little left of the determination that carried me through the original weight loss. I was taking my weight stability as a given even though I had started stuffing junk back in my face.

Now, without the help of those way too high and wildly dangerous thyroid levels, I am truly going to have to watch my weight, like a real, dedicated, knowledgeable person, not like someone who just thought she got lucky with the weight loss wheel of fortune. Now comes the real trial of my nature and I welcome it, because ever since God cared enough about me to throw me down those stairs to get me to pay attention to my health, I am feeling more blessed than ever, and along with that comes a touch of invincibility. Yeah, I know. I've got to work on that invincibility thing.

Now orbiting more slowly,

Planet Fat Cat