TC(MF)B

TC(MF)B  – I can’t decide if this means “taking care of  my fat business” or “taking care of my fat butt” – probably both.

 Lately I have been feeling really tired.  By lately, I mean the last year or so.  Also, in the last few months, I gained about 40 pounds for no reason that I can pinpoint.  Okay, like many fatties I tend to ignore possible health issues, hoping they’ll resolve themselves.  I’m not afraid of my doctor (well, nurse practitioner – I find an RNP is more open to dealing with weight/size issues); but sometimes, you just don’t want to deal with it, you know?

Anyhow.  Step one.  I went to see my psychiatrist and got my meds adjusted.  I tend to have bouts of severe depression in the fall and the spring.  The change in the amount of sunlight seems to affect me more than a lack or abundance of sunshine. 

Step two.  I got back to doing a little bit of regular exercise.  That helped a lot with the depression.  Much as I hate to admit it, I started “Sweating to the Oldies” with good ol’RichardSimmons.  I like that he has people of all sizes in his videos, and I just do as much as I can, building up some stamina.

Step three.  I got retested for sleep apnea.  About 5 years ago I was tested and was fine, but now I have severe sleep apnea.  The testing has gotten a lot better during that 5 year period.  And I have to tell you, I was very happy with the class our HMO (Kaiser Permanente) had us attend – the doctor made a point at the top of the class that sleep apnea is not necessarily a fat issue (okay, she didn’t say “fat” she used “overweight”, which I don’t like – over what weight?).  She pointed out that the people in the room are all different sizes and that there are all kinds of reasons people have sleep apnea.  She also said some people lose weight and the sleep apnea stops and some people lose weight and they still have sleep apnea and some very fat people never develop sleep apnea.  She made it very clear, it’s not about the weight.

I got fitted for a CPAP and have been using it for a month or so now.  I have had a day or two where I wake up feeling so refreshed, but those days are few and far between.  That was disappointing.  I had hoped that this would take care of the fatigue.  Not so.  There are still days where my ass is definitely at half mast all day.

Step four.  I decided it’s time to recheck on my HgA1c and fasting glucose.  Diabetes runs on both sides of my family.  I also asked my RNP to set me up with a glucosometer so I can start tracking my blood sugar levels.  My fasting glucose is 119 – it has been going down steadily since 2009; but my HgA1c is 6.2 – it’s been creeping up.  That’s good to know, because I have been living in the “shadow” of the threat of diabetes for so long, now I can track for myself my blood sugar levels and see how my body responds to exercise, meals, fatigue, stress, etc.

And next week, I go for my annual boob-squash.  I get annual mammograms because my sister is a breast cancer survivor. 

The thing is, I’m 56 (going to be 57 next month) and I decided it’s time to see what is going on with my body.  Is it old age?  Is it my chronic depression?  Is there something else going on?  I want some answers.  So I am gathering the information I feel I need, so I can assess my own health and do what I feel is necessary and/or appropriate. 

I realize that I have the luxury of really good health insurance, and the good luck of having some size-neutral healthcare professionals to deal with.  But I think knowledge is empowering, and if I know more about what is actually happening with my body, I am able to correct any assumptions made by others based on my size. 

I believe everyone’s health is their own business and no one else’s.  I am not advocating for or against a particular approach to one’s own health.  For me (and me alone), I feel better when I know more.

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4 thoughts on “TC(MF)B

  1. Have you had your cortisol levels checked? And other adrenal hormones? Gaining that much scale weight in such a short time in the absence of other explanatory factors sounds to me like a symptom of something changing in one’s endocrine system, not an ordinary fluctuation in body size.

    My mum’s Cushing’s Disease came on very suddenly with a rapid 30-pound weight gain and sleep disruption–I know random comments from strangers on the Internets are not a particularly useful source of health information, but I just wanted to share that concern, which I hope is unfounded. Best wishes to you, and my hope for good care and feeling better.

  2. Another thing to get checked is your thyroid levels. Don’t just accept “normal” because there are many different diagnostic cutoffs out there for what constitutes “normal” and it all depends on which doctor and which lab you use. So get your EXACT TSH level and also what cutoff levels they used. I personally find that I am very sensitive to even small increases in TSH, even when they are still “normal” by many measures. You may have to search to find a provider to take “borderline” levels seriously but a lot of people find it makes a tremendous difference.

    Anemia is another one to check. Not just your hemoglobin and hematocrit; also ask for your ferritin levels (a measure of iron stores). Last year I had extremely low ferritin levels, even with borderline-to-normal hemoglobin and ‘crit, and that anemia just totally made me drag around. But if they’d only tested for the usual tests, they’d have missed it.

    And for some people, adrenal levels might be important. And vit D levels too. If none of these turn up anything, you can also consider the possibility of low B12. And of course, those blood sugar levels are right on the edge of diabetic, which can take a toll also. Improving those via exercise or metformin might help too. Just a few ideas of things that might cause such fatigue levels…..talk them over with your NP.

    Good for you for being proactive and not letting fear keep you away from medical help. Keep us posted. Hope you figure it out and feel better soon!

  3. My cpap helps me some days, but other days I don’t get a good seal on my full face mask, etc… A few nights of good sleep make me realize what a zombie I was for a really long time… Good luck with things!

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