Tag Archives: hypothyroidism

Hello From Both Of Us

245491-fetus-ultrasoundAfter a little hiatus, I have decided to write again. I am pregnant again and have made it to the second trimester, so we are sharing our news with everyone. After the miscarriage, this pregnancy seemed tenuous and frought with anxiety. There was nothing anyone could say to put my mind at ease that this baby would stay with me on earth.

In November we discovered some medical complications that resulted in a surgery. The last 2 months have been a whirl of hospital visits: surgeons, radiologists, obstetricians, enodcirnologists, nurses, doctors and of course myriad tests: ultrasounds, x-rays, MRIs, blood tests, weight, blood pressure, heart rate…

The list goes on, but nothing measured the anguish and suffering in the mother’s heart.

Today I am recovering from surgery which went well. Baby is thriving from what we can see on ultrasounds. Through all of this, I have continued in the ED recovery program where I see a case manager, medical doctor, nutritionist, psychologist and occupational therapist. As much as I want this child more than anything in this life, I cannot describe the distress of gaining weight as someone with an eating disorder.

Since we confirmed the pregnancy, I have not once binged, purged, restricted or over exercised. The desire is there constantly, but I felt that I could not do that to my unborn child and live with the consequences. It is strange that not taking care of myself has never concerned me, but I cannot hurt my unborn child by continuing with my ED.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Catching Up With Life

It has been 2 months since the miscarriage…actually more, but I try not to count the days since my baby left.

I finally went back to the ED recovery program and saw my case manager today. She had started to call to see why I had disappeared. I filled her in on the miscarriage and she suddenly understood why I had taken a hiatus from my life. She acknowledged the severity of my loss and the depth of my grief. She actually had some powerful thoughts to share with me. It made me glad that I had gone back because I really do like her.

I was ready to shut my case file and to tell her that I am wasting her time. I wanted to tell her that right now I cannot focus on ED recovery because I cannot function. She came to that conclusion without me having to say so. She was in happy disbelief that I am not actively bingeing or purging or restricting. She told me that without a doubt, the loss of the child I wanted has refocused my mind onto what is really important for me. Blaming myself aside, she said that being able to give up ED behaviours the instant I knew I was pregnant, told her that I was ready to leave this part of me behind for a greater cause. As far as she is concerned any step forward is progress.

As I sat there and wept, she told me that she felt God had sent this baby to save me from my ED. She said that the spirit of this baby was here to make me well. She said that baby would say to me, “mum, I need you to be healed for me”. The more I thought about it, the more profound it seemed.

At the end of our session she gently reminded me to make new appointments with the team at the clinic and to continue to see the doctor, dietician and psychologist regularly even if I felt like my ED was in limbo. More importantly, she offered to help support me through this and to leave the ED out of it if all I want to talk about is my baby. She told me to allow myself the right to grieve: to be alright with being sad or tired or depressed, to be fine with not wanting to go to the gym and go shoe shopping instead, to make peace with the fact that this is a process I have to go through instead of fighting against it.

I went there today to thank her for her time and to walk away and instead she gave me an incredible gift.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labels

 

You can get away with a lot when you label things. I met my boyfriend’s family at Thanksgiving and was nervous about the food situation. When you say you are vegan or vegetarian you can hide a lot of disordered behaviour. On top of that,  I always explain about my hypothyroidism and the need to watch my calorie intake. It works like a charm. No one questions my obviously bizarre attitude to food.

On the first morning Heath’s mom suggested that we take the kids to McDonalds for breakfast. My heart started pounding and I could feel the anxiety rising. When we got there he looked at me and asked if I would eat anything. I shook my head and shot him a pleading look not call attention to it. He is so good that he just goes along with everything and doesn’t make a big deal of it.

Later in the day when I was doubled over from starvation, I told him I had to have celery.

“I love celery.” I said without even thinking about the stupidity of the statement.

He laughed, “No you do not!”

We went to the farmers’ market and were given a free muffin each to sample. Without even batting an eyelid, Heath held his hand out for the muffin he knew I did not want. I gave it to him and he pocketed it. No one even saw it happen.

At dinner he tried to help me navigate the vegetables that had been cross contaminated with meat or drowned in butter and sugar. There was nothing safe to eat. I wonder if my panic was obvious.

For the actual Thanksgiving meal, they decided on Raclette and not turkey which was not good for me. I am dangerous around melted cheese on anything. I ate with abandon. I knew after two bites that I would be purging the meal immediately. I drank most of a bottle of wine to help the process. I made an excuse to my boyfriend and went downstairs to throw up. The house was so busy and loud that I am sure no one even noticed.

At one point Heath’s dad talked about my “healthy” eating of fruits and veggies and I went into a detailed explanation of my vegetarianism and hypothyroidism. He marveled at my ability to eat so little then said that all I was waiting for is to get married and then I would eat everything I can see and weigh 400lbs. It has become the running family joke. It is funny because it will never happen and they don’t know why.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Emergency Again

Friday started like any other day and ended with me being rushed to emergency.

I woke up and groaned, clutching my head and stomach. I was in agonizing pain. Another post-purge hangover. Another pizza box on the floor; a visible reminder of my poor decisions the night before. I had starved so much and then snapped and binged in the middle of the night. I got up eventually, revived myself and went about the day as usual  – work, coffee, restriction.

That evening my boyfriend and I went to a dinner party at his friends’ house. I drank nearly a whole bottle of wine with dinner which is not unusual for me. Somewhere towards the end of the meal, I started to feel unwell. The rest of the night is a blur and what I know of it in detail, has been relayed to me by my boyfriend. The friends started a fire outside for us to sit around and that is when he says I began to panic and be agitated. I went upstairs to purge dinner and quickly realized that I was in agony. My stomach hurt and even after purging, I felt like I couldn’t stop vomiting. I felt like I had been drugged. I lost track of time. I went upstairs and threw up twice more which I only told him about when he put me in the car after he realized that something was wrong with me.

He drove me to the hospital in the middle of the night. I cried hysterically and kept asking him to pull over so I could vomit. I crouched by the side of the truck sobbing, shaking, hyperventilating. He kept putting me back in the truck and eventually I started throwing up uncontrollably in a vehicle moving at 120 kms/hr. There was vomit everywhere: all over his truck, all over him, in my hair and smeared across my face and clothes. I was too far gone to care.

He tells me that when we got to emergency, I opened the door, stepped out and immediately collapsed face down on the ground. He checked my pulse which was faint and ran inside to get a nurse and a wheelchair. I came too when he picked me up and put me in the wheelchair. I don’t remember passing out. I continued crying hysterically as they wheeled me in. I was confused not knowing where I was or how I got there. I had lost track of time. He told me 4 hours had elapsed since the end of dinner and that was the last thing that I could remember clearly. Everything after dinner remained blurry and even now, I can only remember snippets of the evening.

They admitted me right away.  The nurse took my medical history and I asked my boyfriend to leave the room so that I could tell her honestly about my eating disorder.  I was too embarrassed to have him hear the disgusting details of my life. She reprimanded me and told me I was most likely severely dehydrated with an electrolyte imbalance. She made note of the starving, bingeing, purging (including vomiting blood) and laxative abuse. She sent the doctor in a while later and my boyfriend left the room as the doctor questioned me. He instinctively knew that if he stayed, I wouldn’t tell the doctor the truth when he asked about my medical history that they nurse had just taken.

The nurse began a barrage of vital checks (blood pressure too low; heart rate too high), urine samples (not pregnant), blood work (elevated liver enzymes consistent with drinking alcohol) and stomach x-rays (inconclusive ? gallbladder). They hooked me up to an IV and pumped me full of anti-nausea medication, re-hydration solution and an anti-anxiety drug. The entire time, my boyfriend didn’t leave my side through the small hours of the morning. He held my hand while I cried as they put needles in, covered me with warm blankets to stop the shaking and told me that I had to let him take care of me because he was not going anywhere. I was so distraught and was conscious of the fact that I didn’t want him to see me in this state.

After almost five hours, they discharged me from hospital and let him take me home, but not before another long lecture from the nurse about my ED. She told me I needed help and warned me of the danger I was in. She said that tonight could have been a close call if my boyfriend hadn’t had the presence of mind to rush me to the hospital. She reminded me that heart attacks from electrolyte imbalances are common in bulimics and many of the symptoms that they couldn’t diagnose they believed were complications from ED.

My boyfriend drove me home and it was almost 5am by the time we got there. He put me in the shower and washed vomit out of my hair, all the while holding me up because I could barely stand. Somehow, I knew without him saying, that he loved me. The next day I was weak and disoriented. He lay next to me and asked about my ED. My heart pounded as we had the conversation I hoped we never had to have. He asked about how much I was purging and what he could do to help me. I lay there feeling numb and overwhelmed. He told me he wanted me to be well because he was falling in love with me and wanted to grow old with me. The things about me that I thought would make him run didn’t. The man wrapped his arms around me instead and kissed me.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Day In The (Dysfunctional) Life Of

 

8am

Coffee, thyroid medication.

9am

More coffee, an hour at the gym with my foot in a cast.

11am

Celery and hummus.

1:30pm

More celery, more hummus, more coffee.

My coworker sits in my office and lectures me on eating (while he eats). He informs me that I will never have to wear a tutu and pink tights on stage again and therefore I should enjoy food. He mentions that I should get over my issues and I disagree telling him my demons keep me company.

“What do you want me to eat?” I ask as I shove celery down my throat and try not to gag.

“Bread,” he gestures with all of his Russian passion in the direction of my collar bones which seem to upset him. “It is so light; there is nothing in it.”

“I love bread so much. I dream about toast,” I confess like my soul depends upon it. It seems wrong to admit this; like I am betraying the wilting celery that is trying to nourish me.

“You need to eat some bread,” he is pleading with me now. “Good, grainy, dense bread.”

He is the devil. I shake my head as if to remove the picture of bread from my mind. He is always trying to get me to eat.

4pm

Dinner at a friend’s house: 4 plates of food, wine, cake. I sit at the table and start to sweat. Panic.

I will die of this feeling. I am out of control after restricting all day.

While they make coffee and dessert in the kitchen, I purge. The relief is instantaneous.

7pm

Fast food drive through on the way home from dinner:

2 veggie burgers, onion rings, 2 family size fries (to fill the hole in my heart where there should be a family). I sit in a parking lot as the rain pours down and I shake. I have found love on a Wednesday night. There is ketchup and comfort at the bottom of the brown, paper bag.

7:30

Purge, purge, purge.

8:30

Bubble bath and a conversation with my boyfriend on the phone: “I’m taking you out for your favourite Italian on Sunday night. Do you want to go on a picnic on Saturday? Maybe we could go to the mountains…I have some wine for Friday.”

I can hear the calories we are going to consume. I just want to lie in his arms and close my eyes and never eat again.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nutritionist Referral

 

After the break down I had at my doctor’s office about my 15lb weight gain, she promised to refer me to a specialist. I explained to her about my vegan/vegetarian diet, exercise, hypothyroidism and eating disordered history. She was adamant that my weight gain and inability to lose weight are not related to hypothyroidism because I am medicated. According to her, that means I am “cured”. When she said that it had to be something that I am eating, I nearly lost my mind and the little sanity I have left. I explained to her about the calories I track every day, all the time I spend in the gym and I told her that given 21 years of having an eating disorder, that I know about nutrition and weight loss. In the end she said she would refer me to a specialist to make sure that there wasn’t another medical reason that I was gaining weight and couldn’t lose it.

Today I got a referral in the mail to a nutrition program. Thanks to my doctor, they have enrolled me in a group course called “Secrets To Weight Loss Success”. To say I am mad doesn’t even begin to cover it. Her referral just goes to show how little she cares about me or my health – mental or physical. I could write her a book on nutrition and exercise and I guarantee there is not one thing they could teach me about “balanced meals”, “snacks that cause weight gain” and “keeping weight off successfully with exercise”, that I don’t already know. When I was in her office she told me that I don’t need to lose weight and that my BMI is normal. Now I have a referral to go and sit with a bunch of fatties and discuss how not to eat McDonalds for dinner. Needless to say, she is no longer my doctor. Who gives someone with an eating disorder a referral to a weight loss course?

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Emergency

I got rushed to hospital last night about 36 hours after surgery. I had an allergic reaction to the pain killers I was given as they were contraindicated with thyroid drugs and the surgeon didn’t pick up on it.

By the time I got to triage, I was shaking uncontrollably and felt like I was having a heart attack. I was nauseous and dizzy and having trouble breathing. The nurse got me a bed right away because my heart rate had spiked. She asked me if I had been eating when I took my pills. I had been in so much pain because I couldn’t metabolize the medication and it made me so sick that I hadn’t eaten in almost 24 hours. “You have to eat,” she admonished me as I lay on a bed. It is hard to explain to a nurse that I just hadn’t felt like it. I have actually lost my appetite since the surgery. I don’t even think it was my eating disorder despite wanting to restrict because I am incapacitated.

After 5 hours they had stabilized my vitals, given me a different narcotic pain-killer and re-bandaged my incision after checking for infection. Today I felt weak and exhausted. I slept for hours and didn’t eat until dinner time. I think I am feeling depressed now about being unable to do anything or go anywhere. I am still worried about how unfit and out of shape I will be after 6 weeks of no physical activity. Tomorrow I will weigh myself, standing on one foot of course.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fat B**ch

Fat B**ch

My doctor accidentally told me how much I weighed at my physical today.

I immediately burst into tears and started sobbing uncontrollably. I sat there in a hospital gown, my gargantuan thighs peeking out, unable to stop the tears. I think she was shocked by my sudden outburst, but I have never told her the depths of my eating disorder struggles so she doesn’t have much context.

Why was I so shocked by the actual number? I knew I had packed on the pounds since this time last year when she lowered my thyroid medication and I attempted recovery. I had guessed it was 15lbs and I was right.: 15.4lbs exactly. I have refused to weigh myself in a year and a half in order to stop the spiral of restriction from starting again. Now that I know the horrible, hideous, heavy number, I plan to weigh myself every day and restrict more and purge more and exercise more. This is unacceptable. I refuse to be this weight.

She agrees that this amount of weight in one year is not normal although she refuses to credit it to my hypothyroidism because I am medicated. I disagree with her, but she is the “expert”. My LDL cholesterol has gone from being abnormally low to being high enough for me to be at risk from it.
“It must be your diet and lifestyle,” she assures me. “Maybe you should be on a medically supervised weight loss plan?”
I think of my vegetarian diet and of all the days that I eat rice cakes, cottage cheese, hummus and celery and count calories. I think of the hours I spend in the gym and teaching ballet. I think of the only bad food that I eat when I’m on a binge and which I purge immediately after.
“Perhaps you should exercise more to make sure you are burning fat,” she keeps her lecture going and I want to punch her. I have been so sick for three weeks and the guilt at not working out has consumed me. Today I arrive in her office in my exercise clothes and runners, straight from the gym still sweating from my workout.

“Your weight is not bad,” she tells me in an attempt to stop the crying that goes on for an uncomfortably long time. “You are not overweight, you have a healthy BMI so it just depends on how happy you are with your weight.”
“I’m not happy at all. I can’t be this heavy. It distresses me. I am sure I will have a full-blown relapse,” I sob as mascara and snot run down my fat, red face.

She finishes my physical which is now awkward, gives me a vitamin B12 shot and smiles sympathetically at me. “Have a nice day…and take care of yourself.”
Of course I won’t.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Birth Control Debate

The Birth Control Debate

I have decided to go off the birth control pill for several reasons:

1. I don’t need to take it to prevent getting pregnant, but I have been on it for years and never really questioned what it is doing to my body. (I am that dumb sometimes.)
2. I have been researching the effects of birth control on thyroid/adrenal and other hormone imbalances. I have hypothyroid and all the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Most of the articles I have read say that it is impossible to restore hormone balance while pumping your body full of synthetic hormones. This makes sense even when I am being dumb.
3a. There is a direct link between birth control and increased cellulite/weight gain which can be due to water retention. A lot of women report increased appetite and fat accumulation from taking the pill. In the last few years, cellulite has taken over my body. It is on my arms and calves instead of just at the top of my thighs where it always stayed.
3b. There are some studies that show that taking birth control is linked to a lack of muscle tone. Considering that I have very poor muscle tone with all that working out is disheartening.
4. Synthetic hormones in my body are not necessary. I do my best to eat clean even with ED. Why am I putting these pills into my body?

And my favourite reason…#5. Decrease migraines.

At the moment I see no benefit to continuing it and potentially many benefits if I stop taking it. I am willing to give it a try and see what happens.

There are side effects to experience when you stop taking the pill. I am most worried about acne and hair loss, but I hope after a few months this will normalize. I have never suffered from heavy periods or the other symptoms that go with them. I am perpetually moody, so I do not anticipate mood swings being a problem! I will try and report back in a few months if there is a noticeable difference in any of the areas I referenced above.

Let me know your thoughts about birth control. I am interested to hear others’ experiences with this.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,