I left this blog laying fallow somewhere around the end of May. I was trying to bring blood sugar spiking under control, address adrenal fatigue, and other health issues. I could have posted during that time, but there are days I feel I would have had to post several times to deal with how many direction changes occurred. It was hard keeping up and I lived it.

I’ll try to sum it up: It sucked.

Ok – seriously, though. In the last several months I have tried nearly every kind of diet adjustment it’s possible to make, and none of them seemed to work – for my blood sugars nor my weight. Then, I discovered I had been testing with a bad batch of test strips, and my blood sugars were actually almost normal! Months of frustration for nothing. I even did a sugar challenge at one point and I’m happy to say that I still produce Insulin and my body still responds to it. My liver definitely was problematic, though – spitting out sugar at perceived lows, so I’ve gone away from low-carb which has helped. I’ve addressed much of the digestion issues, but I’m on a supplement hiatus to get some distance from substances that could be giving false results to tests we’re trying to iron out.

It’s hard when you feel you have to ‘name’ what you do, when it seems like what you do changes meal by meal. In fact, I no longer identify with Paleo. It was easiest to describe my lifestyle as such for a time, but over the last couple of years it’s been harder to feel that really ‘fit’ me. I believe more in Weston A Price, though I won’t be ‘labeling’ myself that either. I’m not Paleo, I’m not doing low-carb, I’m not dieting.

I did say “Fuck It!” after I found out I was severely restricting myself to achieve better blood sugars when I didn’t need to. I spent some time eating things I’d not allowed myself. I’m feeling a bit more settled now, but I’ve been following Go Kaleo and learning how to Eat the Food and just eat intuitively – find what I like to eat, what treats me well, etc. I’m beyond caring about the scale. All I want is to heal my lumbar disc and MOVE. I want to fuel a life of my making and be happy.

This feels like an extension of my journey. I’ve spent YEARS trying to have a healthy relationship with food. It’s clear to me now that allowing any outside influence to determine what I deem healthy or otherwise isn’t very healthy in and of itself. I’m taking that power back for myself.

There have been a lot of changes in my life, and there are many more slated for the next year. I have no interest in keeping this blog up and running. I’m taking a different road. My kids and I are undertaking a fun new homeschooling-life-chapter and will be blogging about that elsewhere. I will leave you who read this with a deep, abiding, and sincere wish that you find peace. Love yourself in all ways. Fuel, movement, stress relief, etc. Whatever that means to you. My prayers go with you on that journey. Only YOU can decide where that takes you.

Much love.

 


Wow. What can I say – I was worried that hitting all the different aspect of my current health issues all at one time would be troublesome for addressing the adrenal fatigue. In addition, I was having food baby and GI distress every evening (figured it was GAPS die-off). Mentioned the issues to my Mom, and she let me try some of her digestive enzymes. Had an amazing dinner last night (first time my back has allowed me to travel to her home in 6 months!), and no food baby or GI distress afterwards. Score. So, adding digestive enzymes to my efforts.

Ok – so why is my mind blown? Well, OMG on the health issues, right? Every time I’ve ever attacked my blood sugars in the past, I’ve never concurrently addressed all these other health concerns – and I’ve *never* seen my fasting #’s recover like they are. After-meals, yes, for sure. But, the fasting has always been stubborn. Fasting was 133 for the doctor-run blood tests drawn on Wednesday of last week. I’ve seen 120-137 shortly after awakening the days after that. Yesterday was 111. This morning was 103. That’s what – 2-3 days of low-carb bringing my fasting down 30 points!?

Wow. Amazing! I really hope nothing else crops up, but I feel like I’ve addressed all the problems I’m aware of.

I heard from my doctor the day my results came in, as expected. She’s moved up the next round of tests for 3 months out, not 6. So – I’m hunkering down for doing all of this for those 3 months and see what happens. My feeling is that if I can do all of this, address the health issues, and not lose my hair like the last time I did very low-carb (I’m now taking biotin in addition to concentrating on nutrient density of my food choices) then I can see doing this longer-term. Maybe hit under 200 pounds for the first time since high school!? *SQUEE*


My last post left us all in a world where I was going to have back surgery to repair a herniated disc. Well… that got rescheduled with a new surgeon for various reasons, which necessitated a new consult.. and the new guy and I decided it was no longer in my best interests to go under the knife. Self-recovery time from a herniated disc is like 6-12 months, and I’m now in the 6th month. When we consulted with the first guy, and told them to put us on the schedule, it was a knife’s edge whether to go for it or not – I still had some loss of muscle tone in my right leg, numbness, pain – I’d laugh or turn funny and I’d suffer, I couldn’t go on any drive more than a half hour without paying for it for a week, and I really couldn’t exercise. Today is my would-have-been surgery date. Since I’m posting from my couch, and not my hospital bed, we can all assume, the above knife’s edge stuff has resolved. Don’t get me wrong – if I find myself re-injuring that herniated disc, I’ll be first in line w/ the surgeons. 4-6 week recovery time vs. 6+ months? Yeah – no contest. My goal is to make it the 12 months from when I really felt like I could skip surgery without re-injuring. Hopefully that will give the disc time to heal.

I am also glad I’m not having surgery for some other reasons. Starting with my discovery of magnesium deficiency that had been contributing to my back pain cycles, I’ve come to discover a veritable slew of other problems I can directly link to the 13 months of abject stress and pain starting when I went to Colorado to help my Dad with his last few weeks on Earth. Overlapping stressors – Dad dying, marital issues, my son broke his thigh, then my back became a huge roadblock. I had some blood tests for the hospital scheduled to perform the surgery – typing, etc, and the bruises from that were pretty big, and did not fade as expected. So, vitamin C is now part of my supplementation. I had to more than double the RDA to start seeing progress with those bruises. (Happily, though, blood tests I had done just a couple of days ago, the site never developed a bruise!)

Somewhere along the line, I start noticing a lot more symptoms. I’m gaining weight like it’s going out of style – but I haven’t changed my food. I’m crabby. Weepy. Stressed out reactions beyond what’s fitting for the situation. I delved deeper. Consult with nutritionalists, psychologists, get blood tests done – some routine, some for nutritional stuff. Ready?

I have adrenal fatigue. Magnesium and Vitamin C deficiency – that I know of. I have low-progesterone. & the icing on the cake? The Diabetes is back – thank goodness not bad enough to warrant insulin or anything. There are some other not-so-good things, my cholesterol is headed the wrong way. But, others are improving – my BP is now in the normal range w/ normal intake of meds, vs the pain/stress-driven 160/110+ stuff. My kidneys seem to be holding their own.

My A1C is still ok – 5.5. Up from the last test of 5.4, so not horrible. However, my fasting BG went from 105 to 133. Significant. Worrisome.

As I said, I really haven’t changed my eating. I’ve been going between the Paleo Keto stuff, w/ GAPS recipes, and mixing in some maintenance level w/ birthday celebrations. Nothing there to scream that my fasting should get so high so quickly, and with the A1C not having gone up proportionally, it says my after-meal numbers are still pretty much where they were.

So, I go down that research path – Dawn Phenomenon or Somogyi? DP is related to cortisol, hey, I’ve got Adrenal Fatigue, so maybe that’s it. It’s still pretty early days, but I’ve been testing my BG at home more, and it looks like all of them are going up, it was just too soon to see that on the A1C (3 month average). This would explain, in part, the weight regain.

Basically, I’m starting all over again. I’m not as sick as I was when my health was at it’s worst – I still feel good, but I know what will happen if I don’t nip this shit in the bud. I may not feel as sick in some ways – not all my health problems have returned, nor has all the weight I’d lost, but I’m aware of new and different issues now. But, who’s to say I didn’t have these issues at the time, too? Knowledge is a powerful thing.

I’m on a ton of supplements again. Today I get to start research/menu-planning on what I’m going to eat. Gonna stay Paleo, of course. But, need to lower the carbs. Anything my body will have trouble processing right now, needs to stop for a time. I was hoping to avoid that eventuality, with the adrenal fatigue, I didn’t want to stress myself further with a strict plan, and felt GAPS offered more healing options. I’ll just have to skip the carrots and taters in my stews for a while. lol. More greens and mushrooms.

I’m trying hard not to be angry at the people and events that contributed to my stress load from last year. That’s just wasted energy, really. Energy better put to use getting all this ‘fixed’ again. I did it once, I can do it again!


One has only to google Keto diet (or ketosis, ketogenic diet, etc) with or without the Paleo addition to learn more than enough of the purported benefits of the diets/lifestyles. Please, don’t make be drop a LMGTFY.

I have exactly four weeks until I have back surgery to repair a herniated disc in my low back. What I am hoping to accomplish with a Keto Paleo plan for the next month is reduced inflammation and slightly improved body composition.. I’d like to improve my chances of doing well during and after the surgery.

… I actually sat on this post overnight. I wanted to see how I did my first day, and even after a few years of having my *ass* out there for the world to see, it’s still nerve-wracking to be open like this.

So – I did pretty darn well on day one. Definitely needed to end my day w/ more fat, as I woke up with insane hunger pangs way too freaking early for my liking. I already feel better. It’s the mental block of the expanding universe. I may not be ‘shrinking’ yet, but I feel the vacuum of additional gains. (Can you tell I watched a show on Black Holes yesterday?)

We’re actually right at the one-year mark for the major life event that knocked me off my axis – taking care of my Dad in his final days fighting lung cancer. I look back now at everything that transpired then & the fallout from that, and I’m less ashamed that I’ve had a ‘set-back’ of sorts. What’s the saying – “fall down 7 times, get up 8″? Well, yeah – definitely. Took me a while, and I’m sure I’ll still have my moments, but I’m not giving up. Not permanently. I have about 100 pounds left to lose now, if you go by that measurement. I’m not sure where I care to settle, but I really crave being physically able and eating delicious fuel.

Keto/Paleo to get me to back surgery. Hopefully to recover more than I’ve been able to these last few years & get my *ass* moving again and well on my way to ‘ideal for me’ body composition & health markers.

So, that’s the plan, man.

Fight the good food fight. :D


I guess, considering my state of ill-health and morbid obesity for nearly half my life, it could be considered no small miracle that I’ve only ever had surgery once (I am not counting when I had my wisdom teeth out, K). The kind where you get the warnings about anesthesia and you get to breathe the funny gas & count back from 100 but usually only make it to 92, then wake up confused as hell w/ cotton mouth & they start taking your vitals like every 4 hours so you can’t sleep.. ok, I digress. You get the point. I’ve had some outpatient procedures, but only one real surgery – to have my gallbladder out in 2004.

After much internal debate and dialog and conversing with everyone & their brother & flipping coins & stuff, I decided to let them schedule me when I finally got the call. I’ll be having spine surgery in late May. This is a big one, because we’re talking people literally getting on my nerves & if something goes very wrong, I could be getting some new wheels (flames, baby!) & needing to build upper body strength ASAP.

I will admit that one of the main reasons I never went for gastric bypass surgery when I was 330 pounds, was I didn’t want to be remembered for having died during that procedure. As much as I would hate to leave my kids, husband, family, friends, still – this legacy is soothing, rather than terrifying or embarrassing. I know I’m healthier now, too, than I was at 330. Odds are that I will come through with flying colors, feel better afterwards, and recover on a better path than all the not-doing-surgery back pain episodes have taken. As much as I love Paleo and CrossFit (with their emphasis on core stability which is crucial for my back) I just don’t know that I can go that route & recover to the extent I need to in order to have the quality of life I desire now. The list of what I can’t accomplish is still too long.

I think my biggest fear is voluntarily going back to painful & limited movement. Had I been able to do the surgery at the height of my latest painful episode, there would have been no question about feeling better afterwards. However, I’ve been feeling pretty good, considering how bad things got. Then, there’s that. Do I really want to put this surgery off & wait until I’m crippled by pain, muscle spasms, leg numbness & weakness again? Not so much. So, there it is. The workings of why I’m opting for surgery after all.

I’ve also been hamster-wheeling my food choices lately. There is a whiff of dissatisfaction with Paleo & ‘restrictive’ eating to be found on the Interwebs these days, & like a sore tooth, I’ve been poking it. Am I unhappy with my Paleo? No. I’m at peace with my food choices & what they’ve brought my health to. Am I unhappy with my circumstances preventing me from being CrossFit-level active – YES. My body composition has changed for the worse. My home has fallen to a level of dirty and disorganized that makes me sad and anxious.

As much as I would like to have all the good things back, my spine stands in my way. No puns intended.

I do not know what the future holds for my spine, for me, for all the relationships around me, for my home, for me staying Paleo through all this, getting back to cooking & keeping us Paleo, for activity or exercise or CrossFit-level stuff, or for the distant future w/ the natural spine fusion that’s in progress & could take decades more. I just don’t have the power to see how it will all turn out. I can only hope that this one choice will set us off on a good tangent. I’m hoping/praying that there is enough good to come out of this surgery to warrant the cost financially & in time lost recovering.

I’ve had a motto since my youth: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and enjoy the ride. Still applicable.

I promise to blog as soon as I’m able after the surgery so you know how I’m doing.

HUGS!!


Day by day, as I sit waiting for a call to schedule my back surgery, I get better, stronger, in less pain, etc. The other day I felt stable enough to attempt some ‘moves’ and I was successful in a full squat – plus standing up unassisted, w/ both legs powering, and no scaling. Huge. Also did about 30 second plank hold. Now – when I did my first EVER plank, I couldn’t hold it for 30 seconds, so this, also – HUGE. So far, there have been no repercussions from those two moves. I did have to take a few stairs the last couple of days & was super mindful – noticed that I definitely have reduced strength/stability on my right side, but how much of that is because of the pinched nerves/permanent damage, and how much is just because I had almost no muscle firing in that leg for over a month? We’ll see. I have decided to – in a controlled environment – use a step stool for my right leg only to ‘even up the sides’ and see if the strength is regain-able. I will also increase my squats and planks on a daily basis. No burpees, just yet. lol

What to do about surgery?? Well, if I continue to subsist at this level, or even improve, I see no need to go under the knife. The surgeon said your body reabsorbs disc material, so if you can ‘fix’ the mis-alignment of the spine causing the herniation, then, with time – you should repair. Of course, optimal nutrition plays a role in repairing and lowering the inflammation to keep things bendy and pain-free. Use bone broths and trusted-source gelatins, offal – especially liver, sweet potatoes, greens, cod liver oil, magnesium (flakes/oil, epsom salt baths, supplements), etc. Rest. Stretching/foam rolling. Massage. etc. I’m really hoping to get to a point where I can do some yoga. Maybe Tai Chi. *ZEN*

I’m also interested in learning more about the physiology behind my recurring back problems. I learned this last time so much with regards to how to incorporate core stability in my daily life – not just CrossFit/exercise. I also learned that my left side was not engaging. My left glute was not attending the party & I’m often to be seen now w/ my hands on my tush as I walk to make sure I’m using both sides. lol. 

I feel like maybe, just maybe, I can close the door on this last, extremely painful episode & move on without surgery and with even more ammo in my fight for optimal life. As I look back on the last 13+ years of ‘weight loss journey’ I see all the different pieces that have come to me in order to make my success to date happen. All told, it’s too much to absorb in a short time frame, so I’m grateful that I had time to learn it all. 

Creating an optimal body composition, health profile, scale weight (if there is such a thing), and mind/body partnership is the journey – and it’s epically vast what all of that truly encompasses. We each battle our inner demons and external pressures. Some fight with hormonal imbalances or lifelong nutritional deficiencies or food allergies/intolerances. Food and food-like substances have become a huge battleground in our day. We fight for the bee, the cow, the carnivorous chicken, and the fish. We fight for us and our children and our grandchildren. 

We the people want to be optimal, even if we don’t know it – because our judgement is clouded by Cheetos dust. 

Fight the good fight. 


So, I had my surgery consult Tuesday. Spent the rest of that day sort of processing the emotions and thoughts it all stirred up. Wednesday, we’ll call “Fun with Migraines”.

I’m not an organized thinker, so bear w/ me.

1. My surgeon knows his shit. I learned so much – about my own situation as well as just general spine stuff. I wonder if you get college credits for that?

2. I am going to have a microdiscectomy sometime in the coming months – it’s all on the scheduler dude & finding me an opening.

3. The fact that I was bedridden a couple of days, and in such considerable pain for months (if not most of the last 3+ years) is much more understandable to me now.

4. I am in for an interesting time for the foreseeable future.

5. I have considerable power to determine how that future proceeds & how much suffering I experience.

So – my back is fucked up. That’s the technical term. Seriously. Basically, I have three discs in my lower back – L3-L4 through L5-S1 that are deteriorating. They are already desiccated. One of them is escaping it’s pen – a LOT. The other two are bulging. I have arthritis in those joints as well. The herniated disc, according to the surgeon is nearly 2 centimeters down the front of the vertebrae. A full on 80% of the material has escaped into my spinal canal and that’s what’s been pushing on the nerves in there, making my right leg numb and weak.

They can fix me – to some extent. We’re going to do a microdiscectomy, and remove all that wayward disc material. And, yes, my chiro is adamant that this is a good idea after reviewing my MRI and xrays.

According to my surgeon, the discs will continue to desiccate and deteriorate until those involved vertebrae perform their own natural fusion. Again – something my doctors and I agree on is that process is better off happening naturally, versus surgically.

So – I get over this hurdle with the herniated disc. Heal up. Keep Paleo for the rest of my life to keep inflammation in line and continue to lose weight to be kind to my spine. Exercise, especially core stability and leg strength, and I should be able to weather the rest of my back’s fusion process with limited intervention aside from maybe pain management, chiro, etc.

I’m ‘on the list’ for this surgery, but also on the standby list. The scheduling dude says it could be May before I get an opening, but it could be next week. Won’t know until I get the call. So, in order to be as ready as possible, I’m taking the pre-surgery recommendations and abstaining from alcohol, advil, aspirin, excedrine, etc. I could have tylenol, but my allergic reaction to the carnauba wax is pretty strong & it would have to be pretty bad for me to consider going there. Yesterday, the day of the migraine, I tried just Tramadol alone, but it really doesn’t seem to do much for the inflammation. Thankfully, I am seeing someone in the spine department to discuss pain management today. I was offered a steroid injection, but that doesn’t appear to be a good idea for my blood sugar or blood pressure control.

I’ve already spent hours researching what I can do to give myself the best chances & ways I can make it easier for my family to ‘cook’ and keep us all eating Paleo while I am unable to get up & cook for everyone. I’m giving myself an early birthday present and getting a pressure cooker this next week, so I can make tons of bone broth for during recovery. I’ve also asked my Mom to pick me up a ton of bacon and brats because my husband rocks at making brats, and bacon is the magic meat. I’ve also got an order pending for a few pounds of grass-fed beef liver. Between that and the gelatin in the bone broth and the magic meat, I’m predicting a speedy recovery. :)


So, at what point in your journey will you make the shift? Will you always be the person you were the second you decided to be that person no more? Is that your ‘normal’? So, if life intervenes you are just returning to that ‘norm’? Or, will you eventually *BE* a new person? Will you sit at a lower weight long enough for that to be your new ‘norm’ and then you see gaining some weight as *gaining* and not regaining the old fat?

Might take a few years, but if you are making this a lifestyle and resetting all you are to a new ‘normal’, then you will find your perspective changing. You gain confidence to sit in chairs that you’d normally eye & move on.

Shallow Hal

 

You don’t think of Lane Bryant when you need to go clothes shopping. You don’t see Fatty staring back at you in the mirror anymore.

Life happens, though – and some handle that better than others. It is interesting when it happens. The clothes start to get tight. Your joints hurt a bit more. But, it’s not tinged with the same angst that is regaining all the weight. It’s got an angst all it’s own.

And, hopefully you snap the *F* out of it before you regain everything & then some. That’s some serious depression and apathy over time. You can’t regain 100 pounds overnight, either. You have to work at that.

I am lucky in that I just can’t go back to how bad I was eating before. For one – the price of junk food has gone up a lot. ;)

Because of my experience when I joined CrossFit – not changing my food, just adding the exercise and seeing just how much ‘weight’ I lost from activity alone, I know that the reciprocal ‘regain’ is due to the inactivity of losing CrossFit and being bedridden. The rest, well, that’s up to eating less-than-clean Paleo. Right now, that’s all I can change, though.

So, I did. I’m just over 24 hours into a reset. The odd thing is it felt ‘natural’ for me to do so, in that some of the non-Paleo stuff I was eating started tasting like sawdust. I am not expecting miracles, because I can’t be active right now, but I can stop digging myself towards Fatty. Just not interested in being there again.

I am a new me and I want to maintain that. & I’m doing it before I break any chairs w/ my ass.


I have decided that if it’s offered to me as a viable option, I will be having surgery to treat the herniated disc. Then, I will do what I know how to do to keep the other discs I found out are ‘bulging’ from getting as bad as the herniated one.

Today I went to Kaiser to put in some paperwork to get a CD of both the MRI results and xrays to give to my chiropractor. I was able to walk out with a printout of the doctor-speak reports for both the MRI and the X-ray, too.

Highlights:

L3-4: Right paracentral disc extrusion measuring 7mm anterior to posterior. The extrusion extends 1.6 cm caudal to the disc space. L4-5: Loss of disc height with disc desiccation. 3mm annular disc bulge with posterior high intensity zone/annular fissure. L5-S1: Same as L4-5.

*goes to google some of that*

There’s something to be said for layman’s terms. lol

Basically – Multilevel degenerative disc disease and facet anthropathy contributes to mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing, most pronounced on the right at L3-4 level.

*head asplodes*

I’ll probably go in to the surgeons’ office on the 26th and ask him to explain it to me like I’m a 4 year old.

According to the MRI and xray results, I have several discs off kilter – not just one. In order to get myself back to a point where I can walk and do exercises to strengthen/stabilize my core (and therefore my spine) I need this herniated disc fixed & as much regeneration of the nerves as possible. I would really love to have all the feeling return in my leg, but I will try to be grateful for whatever I get.

It’s my hope that I can avoid surgery in the future with what I’m learning now in physical therapy and with paleo and core stability workouts. I feel better about surgery to fix the major current issue than taking on surgery to try to remedy everything. I’ll update again after my consult w/ the surgeon.

HUGS!!


So, I had my MRI yesterday, and I already got the call from my neurologist w/ the results: verdict – herniated disc. He’s giving me a referral to a surgeon to discuss options. Hubby and I have talked. I will talk to my Chiro, too. Already talked to my Physical Therapist (who says I’m ready for the spinal conditioning class, btw).

It is my opinion that this boils down to a two-sided issue – one, being the physical/structural defect – i.e., the herniated disc; two, the lifestyle factors like diet (inflammation) and soft-tissue strength – i.e.. core stability. It is my experience these last three years that the ‘exercise’ and ‘diet’ portions of the program will only get my recovery so far. We look at what caused this – the original injury 15 years ago. At the time, I did a year of chiropractor visits and physical therapy, being told at the end of it that I was ‘permanent and stationary’, i.e. “Disabled” and would not experience any further improvement in my condition.

So – my options are some form of surgery and/or further chiropractic visits. I need to know how much I could expect to improve with just Chiro & the diet & exercise vs what surgery could potentially do for me & then do some benefit/risk analysis.

In a perfect world, I could get a bionic disc & support that new status with Paleo and CrossFit. Somewhere between there and where I live in reality, is a status we’ll have to work hard to determine & realize. lol

If you’ve had experience with a herniated disc, I would love to hear from you about your experience with your chosen treatment path. Thanks!




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