I used to be a prisoner!

Hello and greetings from planet no baby house!

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Me as a cat. Me-OW baby!

So much has happened since you were last here.  Since Joy, AKA reader extraordinaire, wanted to know about my experience with sleeping on the floor that is where I shall begin.  I started my floor slumber trial back in April and frankly it didn’t last — but not for reasons you’d easily guess.  Most people can’t get comfortable.  I could.  I slept fine.  It was like times of the past … sleepovers as a kid.  I slept just over a week on the floor.

I embarked upon the floor sleeping before I received my weighted blanket.  Sleeping on the floor was cool and refreshing which helped my hot flashes and night sweats — I have since moved on to modern medicine for that problemo.  More on that later — one thing at a time Peeps!

Ah floor sleeping … just like the native American, the homeless, those who have passed out, much of Asia, indoor campers and the like.  It went down like this: I put my old puffy quilt down as my mattress, covered myself with a sheet and my favorite kitty suckle blanket (the one my little cat loves to make biscuits with and get drooly).  I put down 2 pillows: the normal one for my head and a little one for between my knees.

cat suckle blanket

Not my cat and not our blanket … but he sure is a cutie, isn’t he!

The problem entered when I started using the weighted blanket, and more critically when I discovered a very large black spider traipsing the floor. spider meow photo The weighted blanket became a problem because it’s 15 lbs. (not that I’m a super weakling or anything) and moving it from the bed to the floor back to the bed is a problem.  I couldn’t leave the blanket on the floor because of the spider issue and stepping on a weighted blanket is akin to walking on tiny Legos.  Ouch ouch and ouch ouch.  All I can say about spiders is thankfully those buggers don’t have wings!

The floor sleeping adventure began every night with either sleeping on the bed and then moving to the floor, or the reverse.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and switch places — usually during my first night sweat.  This required HEAVY blanket moving.  I gave this up and starting staying in bed with my weighted blanket.  (I adore you my little weighted blanket of love!) NOTHING will get you up faster out of your floor bed than said spider coming to crawl in beside you — unless you have a spider fetish or are unbearably lonely.  Yes, I do know that spiders can crawl unto mattress beds — LET’S NOT GO THERE!

I used to be a prisoner to my hormones … or lack of one in particular: Ms. Estrogen!

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Yes, it’s really me. Estrogen get me out of here!

After continued hot flashes and night sweats, I gave up ALL coffee and alcohol (wine to be exact).  I did this incredible stunt for 6 weeks  … kind of like Lent and I’m not even Catholic!  Giving up said liquids helped, but wasn’t perfect.

I met with a menopause doctor. Yes, really a menopause specialist who started me on an estradiol patch 0.01 mG I change weekly, along with nightly vaginal estrogen cream (yummy, yummy!)

 

 


While the vasomotor symptoms of menopause generally improve over time, vaginal symptoms usually worsen and do not improve without treatment. Women may attribute these changes to be a part of normal aging and may not be aware of safe and simple treatments.

Before menopause, estrogen stimulates the exfoliation of vaginal cells. As these cells exfoliate and die, they release large amounts of glycogen. This glycogen is hydrolyzed to glucose and lactobacillus converts the glucose to lactic acid, which helps maintain vaginal pH between 3.5 and 4.5. After menopause, with declining levels of estrogen, this pathway is less active, which may allow postmenopausal pH to increase to the range of 5.0–7.5.

Vaginal atrophy is a chronic condition resulting from a decline in estrogen in the urogenital tissues that affects up to 45% of postmenopausal women.

Source: Reviewing the options for local estrogen treatment of vaginal atrophy The International Journal of Women’s Health: March 2014.

I am now up to 0.05 mG estrogen transdermal patch and also using the vaginal cream 4-5 nights.  And I’m sleeping so soundly.  Sleep with estrogen is way better than Ambien, Benadryl, Sominex, any alcohol, melatonin, chamomile tea, Kava, passion flower, or anything else I’ve tried!

I need to send that menopause doc some flowers! tumblr_inline_nflqf7Wa6Z1qchwzp

As far as the hot flashes and night sweaties, nothing works better than estrogen.  I’ve tried Effexor, Gabapentin (neurontin), black cohosh, Kava, evening primose oil, living on a prayer, and wishful thinking — *NONE of these have been scientifically statistical to work for vasomotor symptoms (VMS).

*Disclaimer: if they work for you, woo hoo!  Count yourself lucky! But you may want to read more here: Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes The North American Menopause Society.

cat wishful thinking

Wishful thinking … feline style!


Vasomotor symptoms (VMS) associated with menopause can cause significant discomfort and decrease the quality of life for women in the peri-menopausal and post-menopausal stages of life. Hormone therapy (HT) is the mainstay of treatment for menopausal symptoms and is currently the only therapy proven effective for VMS. [my emphasis]

VMS are the most commonly experienced effects of the menopausal transition and include both hot flashes and night sweats. Long-term estrogen depletion can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis as well as cause vaginal and vulvar atrophy. … VMS affect an estimated 60% to 80% of post-menopausal women, but may be experienced by up to 90% of women during the peri-menopausal stage.

Source: Transdermal hormone therapy in postmenopausal women Drug Design, Development & Theory: February 2009.

I learned something else by going to the menopause specialist: estrogen replacement therapy may be a good osteoporosis treatment or preventative measure.  I had no idea!  I’m at high risk for osteoporosis.  Are YOU?

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:

  • Being over age 50 (almost there!)
  • Female sex (last I checked … husband hasn’t told me otherwise!)
  • Menopause (yep, I took the dead ovary test .. my FSH is high!)
  • Family history of osteoporosis (Thanks a lot MOM!)
  • Low body weight / being small or thin (I was thin until perimenopause and I started eating buckets of ice cream … OK pints — quality not quantity) 
  • Broken bones or height loss (I chipped a tooth when I was 9, does that count?)
  • Being white or of Asian or Latino heritage (I’m white and my first boyfriend was from Mexico!)

Controllable Risk Factors:

  • Not getting enough calcium and / or Vitamin D
  • Not eating enough fruits & veggies
  • Getting too much protein, sodium and caffeine  (But NOT coffee specifically) 
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Losing weight
  • Taking certain medications like steroids

If you’re approaching menopause, your body will likely alert you to the sudden drop in estrogen with physical signs (such as hot flashes) and psychological changes (including mood swings). The effect on your bones won’t be as obvious, but the loss of estrogen will certainly affect them [my emphasis]. If you have a high risk for osteoporosis and are approaching or have already reached menopause, estrogen replacement therapy may be a good osteoporosis treatment or preventative measure.

Source: Estrogen Replacement Therapy for Osteoporosis Endocrine Web: May 2017.

Osteoporosis Infographic Poster


 

 

 

Hot Flashes vs. Hell Flashes

hormone-hell

Here’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Really I am.

Once upon a time I had hot flashes intermittently throughout my late 30s to late 40s.  It took THREE attempts to get off the combination hormone Estrogen/Progesterone, but I did!  After the third and final attempt, I was hot flash free after just over six weeks.  This final time I stopped hormones my mindset was different.  I embraced the burning ember feeling in my face, the formation of beads of sweat with the burning up sensation at night with cold shivers to follow.  I felt the heat rise and fall, reassuring myself this was a normal process when adjusting to being not so hormone-augmented any longer, hoping this feeling was transient.  The bothersome perimenopausal symptoms slowly faded, with the hot flashes and facial flushing being the last to go.

After this reprieve I decided to have my thyroid tested.  My TSH level (thyroid stimulating hormone) was barely elevated above the normal range of high — I was (still am?) sub-clinically hypothyroid.  I had some hypothyroid symptoms so my general partitioner put me on a low dose of Levothyroxine — 25 mcG to be exact.

For better or for worse, hypothyroidism is largely not under our control, [my emphasis] says Dr. Daniel Einhorn, M.D., an endocrinologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla., who notes the disease is primarily genetic. Family history may be the greatest indicator of troubles ahead, but since so many people are undiagnosed, you could have a family history of thyroid disease and have no clue about it.

Full article

After four weeks of Levothyroxine I felt like I had more energy.  Then just about six weeks into this medication regime I started to have WEIRD hot flashes — more like HELL flashes — periods where it felt like ice was dripping down my neck covering my back and upper arms while simultaneously feeling an inner burn. Nighttime became its own hell.  I couldn’t sleep through the night because I was sweated profusely. I was hot and freezing at the same time.  How was this possible?  I thought maybe these symptoms were from drinking coffee in the daytime and wine at night.  Ha ha ha!  Cute  me and my hypotheses!  These symptoms were different than those related to coming off the hormones.

I thought these problems instead could be from the Levothyroxine. 

If your thyroid is out of control, all of your efforts to curb perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, hair loss, and achieve hormone happiness will be for naught [my emphasis]. What’s more, your symptoms might not be perimenopausal or menopausal at all. So talk to your perimenopause and menopause specialist about your symptoms and when you’re experiencing them. It’s a great first step in determining if your so-called menopausal symptoms are really symptoms of an underactive thyroid.

Ellen Dolgen


cartoon-thyroid

From The Awkward Yeti comic — Check it out!


I broke the scored thyroid tablet in half and tried taking a lower dose daily for four weeks … the chest pain and palpitations stopped with this decreased dose.  Oh, did I forget to mention I was having those too — the chest symptoms?  Oh, and the hyperacusis  … read below:

Individuals with hyperacusis have difficulty tolerating sounds which do not seem loud to others, such as the noise from running faucet water, riding in a car, walking on leaves, dishwasher, fan on the refrigerator, shuffling papers [husband’s voice, his breathing or even his heart beating … possibly the sound of any new hair growth on his beard as well]. Although all sounds may be perceived as too loud, high frequency sounds may be particularly troublesome [good thing I am not married to a canary!].

By this time I’d had enough experimenting on my body and said “F-you Levothyroxine!” and stopped it.

I am sub-clinically hypothyroid and many people aren’t even medicated at the TSH level I had!  (I don’t recommend anyone stop their medication without consulting a real life professional … just so you know!)

Subclinical hypothyroidism, also referred to as mild thyroid failure, is diagnosed when peripheral thyroid hormone levels are within the normal range, but thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is mildly elevated. It is common, occurring in 3-8% of the population, and carries a risk of progression to overt hypothyroidism of 2-5% per year. There is no absolute consensus on which patients to treat, although there are some clear recommendations.

It took another four weeks until the weird hellish symptoms went away. In the meantime I kept drinking coffee in the daytime and wine at night — you know, a healthy balance!  I’m no longer having hot flashes or night sweats.  Hallelujah!  I feel fine and am off any routine medication.  So happy.  Hormones are just plain weird and their effects REALLY linger.

I have concluded that hot flashes from Levothyroxine’s thyroid-hormone effects are much, much, much worse than any hormonal perimenopausal symptoms — a very interesting comparison and an experience I don’t wish to re-experience.  On an interesting note, the Levothyroxine lowered my cholesterol though!

How Does the Thyroid Cause Cholesterol Problems?

Your body needs thyroid hormones to make cholesterol and to get rid of the cholesterol it doesn’t need. When thyroid hormone levels are low (hypothyroidism), your body doesn’t break down and remove LDL cholesterol as efficiently as usual. LDL cholesterol can then build up in your blood.

Thyroid hormone levels don’t have to be very high to increase cholesterol. Even people with mildly low thyroid levels, called subclinical hypothyroidism, [that’s me!] can have higher than normal LDL cholesterol. A study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM) found that high TSH levels alone can directly raise cholesterol levels, even if thyroid hormone levels aren’t high.

Full article

Why The Connection?

When thyroid hormone levels drop, the liver no longer functions properly and produces excess cholesterol, fatty acids and triglycerides. The liver, which metabolizes cholesterol, also has a key role in thyroid hormone metabolism. In addition, thyroid hormone serum level is very important for normal liver function. The liver in turn metabolizes the thyroid hormones and regulates their effects in the body. What’s more, thyroid dysfunctions are frequently associated with abnormal liver tests.

Another explanation for the thyroid-cholesterol connection is that hypothyroidism slows the body’s ability to process cholesterol. This processing lag occurs thanks to reduction in the number and activity of receptors for the bad LDL cholesterol. These receptors normally help metabolize LDL cholesterol. When the number of receptors decreases, LDL builds up in the bloodstream, increasing both LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Hypothyroidism also significantly changes the metabolism of steroids and other hormones that are made from cholesterol. For example, the hormone progesterone is made from pregnenolone, which in turn is derived from cholesterol. Likewise, vitamin D is produced through the action of ultraviolet irradiation on cholesterol in the skin. Hypothyroidism reduces the conversion of cholesterol into progesterone and vitamin D, contributing to total cholesterol load.

Full article

Let’s just say that stuff quoted above EXPLAINS A LOT!

had vitamin D deficiency.  I am now in the normal range (at least my Vitamin D is) after taking 10,000 units of vitamin D3 daily for three months.  I am eating oatmeal intermittently to help improve my cholesterol.  I simply can’t tolerate the thyroid medication.  I feel OK … but my ankles still have a slightly swollen butterfly appearance on the outer aspects.

Hormones are simply weird and mysterious.  Cats are also mysterious and often weird as well.

cat-catering


Chronic pain vs. chronic pain

Hmmmmm … where do I begin?  I guess at the start.

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked.

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end, then stop.”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

My chronic pain of dysmenorrhea.(and then hysterectomy) was initially why I started this blog. Bleh … over and done with thanks to surgical intervention! The chronic pain was dysmenorrwhat … [dis – men – oh – reeeee – uh]. Yes, dysmenorrhea.  Kind of sounds like diarrhea, but it’s not. For many years I suffered with this biatch of a uterus cramper and torturer … pain so bad it traveled down my low back into my legs leaving me more fatigued than the after effects of a man having had an orgasm for the first time in a decade — and not in any good way!

Now I have my special new diagnosis of chronic pain from neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS).

Symptoms of Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome:

  • Numbness and tingling in hands and fingers.
  • Neck and shoulder pain.
  • Neck muscle spasm.
  • Headache on affected side or both sides — occipital headache.
  • Worsened symptoms with overhead use of that extremity.
  • Pain or weakness in the shoulder,  arm and/or hands.
  • One arm that tires quickly.
  • Atrophy — shrinking and weakness — of the pad of the thumb, the muscle of the palm that leads to the thumb; this is quite rare.
  • Symptoms may come and go, but they are often made worse when the affected arm is held up. The longer the arms stay up, the worse the symptoms can get.
  • Arm pain at night causing pain-related insomnia.  No, night pain is a symptom of rotator cuff injury that can include bursitis. 
  • Crankiness with curt answers due to a constant state of pain (that’s my own symptom I added to the list).

NEUROGENIC — Arising from or caused by nerves.

THORACIC OUTLET — Not to be confused with any outlet in your dwelling … if you live in a teepee of course there are no outlets to confuse you  — just this one. The thoracic outlet is a grouping of blood vessels (veins and arteries) and nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib (thoracic outlet).   (see pic below)

SYNDROME — Something fun and extra in your life that makes you special!  Often something that people can’t tell you have just by looking or talking to you, and will not care about because who wants to talk about you and your pain or syndrome or whatever it is.  BORING!  NEXT!  Actually, syndrome means a group of symptoms that collectively indicate or characterize a disease, a psychological disorder or another abnormal condition … or a group of physical symptoms making you feel like you’re developing a psychological disorder!

ntos

Hope YOU are paying attention because there’s a quiz later!

From the Mayo Clinic … not to be confused with the Mayonnaise Clinic — that’s a different place altogether if such a beast exists!  Mmmm … I do love mayo!

Neurogenic (neurological) thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS):

This form of thoracic outlet syndrome is characterized by compression of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that come from your spinal cord and control muscle movements and sensation in your shoulder, arm and hand [mentally f*ucking with your brain and emotions].

nTOS sounds much more exotic than that icky dysmenorrhea stuff.  People look at me like I’m from Mars (or an escapee from a psych ward) when I say I have neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome … I might as well have said , “I have gooby jooby hooka pawna wawna syndrome and it hurts!”.  Then I have to explain it in easy to understand terms … If they haven’t fallen into a coma by then.

I’ve been a desk jockey for 11 years (yes, I am a desk nurse), and all the typing with mousing has contributed to this horrible posture — the leaning forward of my head with overuse of my arms and hands … repetitive motion disorder … also, consider 8-9 hours a day at a desk sitting plus a total to and from commute to work of an hour of sitting.  Then of course, after the brain gymnasium (AKA work) I come home and sit some more spending time on the couch (the pseudo brain playground to destress from work — I sit and relax from my day of sitting).  I probably total 10-14 hours of sitting daily!  That’s probably why I have a flat @ss!  I ain’t got no glutey in the booty!

My point with this comparison is I’m not sure which is worse: Dysmenorrhea or nTOS.  With dysmenorrhea I was in acute pain for 3-5 days on average every month.  With nTOS the pain isn’t as acute but it’s with me every day, some days worse than others.  At least with dysmenorrhea I got a total reprieve for the majority of the month. nTOS is like herpes … the gift that keeps on giving while chronic like COPD!

My nTOS pain to my right arm woke me up at night (saying, “F*ck you!  I hate you!  Get up and suffer — NOW!”) sometime between 2 am and 4 am and I couldn’t go back to sleep until I got on Trazodone — a medication I didn’t associate with good thoughts because there are some people on Trazodone with severe mental disorders and I don’t want to be in that group — I have enough problems.  But now that my pride has waned, I’m able to swallow this bitter pill; I associate my low-dose Trazodone with restorative sleep that gets me all the way through the night WITHOUT PAIN!  I know longer stereotype people on Trazodone!

Here’s a duh comment for you: sleep is important.

Sleep is like ammunition for your body — you wouldn’t go into war without enough bullets would you?  First of all, I wouldn’t go into war — they wouldn’t take me anyway, and secondly, I would never abandon my cats.  Life without cats is worse than life with nTOS!

sleep infographic

“Losing four hours of sleep is comparable to drinking a six-pack of beer [or a bottle wine — I don’t often drink beer],” says Tom Rath, Author of the New York Times bestselling book, Eat Move Sleep.

“I don’t want to be in a serious meeting with a person who drank six beers or lost four hours of sleep. I don’t want my child’s teacher to be that person. I don’t want my doctor to be that person. Still, we don’t view the two scenarios (beer drinking and not sleeping) as equal. In fact, our culture views a person who needs sleep, as a person with a weakness [my emphasis]. “

Right now to combat my nTos, and yes, this is war folks … I’m doing the following:

  1. Physical Therapy with McKenzie exercises
  2. Taking Trazodone nightly
  3. Taking Lyrica (pregabalin) (I stopped — it gave me elevated scary blood pressure)
  4. Acupuncture  (I stopped — it wasn’t working)
  5. Myofascial release massage therapy 
  6. Topical analgesics (AKA strong smelling camphor & methyl salicylate based ointments)
  7. Trying to find the person who is using me as a voodoo doll!  (this search has been in vain so far)

I have yet to get back into chiropracty  … I’m already busy with all the above.

cat stretches

I’m not sure if nTOS has an end or it’s something I live with for the rest of my life or I have surgery down the line to correct it or I move to Washington or Colorado living off medical marijuana —- NOT!  At least with my severe dysmenorrhea the surgery of hysterectomy was a curative solution.  I don’t need surgery for nTOS and it’s not recommended either … not yet anyway!

nTOS is an expensive hobby to have!  I don’t recommend it in the least (for many reasons — chiefly PAIN!).  On the upside of all this, my husband built me a standing desk for home.  Nothing can be done for my work station at this point with my job.  My supervisor didn’t even believe that sitting was bad for you until just earlier this year.  I’ve know this for at least 9 years.  My supervisor came out and proclaimed how bad sitting was after reading an article … when I told my boss almost a decade ago the look I got was like I was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and simply a malingering hypochondriac … oh, and that I was a special princess now needing special treatment and office equipment. Ugh.

sitting is killing you

Sitting is the new smoking … have you heard?

During the past year, sitting has become the new smoking. “Past studies have found,” declares a 2014 article in The New York Times, “The more hours that people spend sitting, the more likely they are to develop diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, and potentially to die prematurely — even if they exercise regularly.”

What’s the science behind this alarming claim?

The animated TED-ED video (below) begins to paint the picture.

I’ve moved on to one intermittent chronic pain condition to a new constant chronic pain condition.  In comparison, dysmenorrhea was better if I had to choose one sucky disorder over another!

This is probably the end of this blog as I’m planning on starting a new blog related to my chronic nTOS pain and subjects related to this issue.  Oh joy, hold onto your pants because I know you can’t wait!  Cats will continue to be part of the new blog … stay tuned!  MeOW!

I will let you know my new blog site once I get it started … sorry to leave all of you who have hung in for hysterectomy information (go read some old posts … like all of them) … and for those of you here for the cats — you’ll still get cat stuff in the upcoming blog!  Yay!  Cat stuff! ❤

cat stay tuned


 

 

 

Surgical Misadventures

da Vinci Robotic Surgery

The da Vinci surgical robot helps doctors perform complex, minimally invasive surgeries like hysterectomies and prostate operations. But some patients suffer serious complications that require additional procedures, some of which can be fatal.

Developed and marketed by Intuitive Surgical, the da Vinci Surgical System gained approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. California-based manufacturer Intuitive created the multi-armed robot to assist surgeons with more precise, minimally invasive surgery through small incisions that don’t require doctors to open the abdomen.

from DrugWatch.com

One of my readers commented asking if I’d ever heard about “Unplug the Robot”?  I replied I hadn’t.  She wrote about how the da Vinci robot she had for her hysterectomy ruined her life and other women’s lives as well.

Some of these stories are terribly tragic.

Flowers dark sky

The consequence is that little is known of the real disadvantages of the equipment [the da Vinci robot], and the injuries and deaths it may cause, even as robotic surgery is widely marketed to consumers.  ~ Dr. Diana Zuckerman.

from New Concerns on Robotic Surgeries (2013)

Personally, I haven’t heard a single terrible story of any patient I have known or treated regarding the da Vinci method which is not to say there aren’t tragedies happening left and right of which I’m not aware of.  The da Vinci robot can be used for many other surgeries and not simply hysterectomy.  While I don’t work directly with da Vinci or its company Intuitive Surgical, my blog is not about promoting the use of da Vinci itself, but rather to chronicle my experience with hysterectomy … I would have created this blog regardless of the method (and outcome) I had.

In the beginning, I was planning on having my hysterectomy the laparoscopically assisted vaginal method (no robot involved) believing there was less scarring and was easier for the surgeon.  My case was actually booked that way for a few days until I had an in-depth discussion with my GYN surgeon while also reading quite a bit about the da Vinci method.

The da Vinci is not, strictly speaking, a robot. It is a surgical tool and interface for that tool. Robots perform a pre-programmed sequence of steps that may or may not be conditional on input (think the IRobot vacuum). The surgery performed with it is only as good as the surgeon. A poor surgeon or poorly trained surgeon will not use it optimally. ~ random commenter

More here: Mishaps & deaths Caused by sSurgical Robots Going Underreported to FDA (2013)

I had a lot of trust in my surgeon … and still do.  He’s been a physician for a very long time … in fact, he graduated high school the year I was born!  He has received many accolades on his performance and patient satisfaction throughout his years of practice.  I can tell by many things about his personality that his “job” of being an Ob/Gyn was a career and calling.  Luckily, my hysterectomy performed with the da Vinci robot laparoscopically assisted went off without a hitch.

FEAR Eleanor Roosevelt quote

Sometimes when surgeries don’t go as expected there are numerous reasons for these problems like:

  • The baseline of the patient’s basic health.  If you start out with a patient who has lung or heart problems there are simply greater risks involved in healing and effects of anesthesia and recovery from surgery.
  • Age can also play a role in a patient’s recovery — in general, the young and the elderly are at higher risks because the young have smaller bodies (typically) and aren’t fully developed like an adult, and the elderly can often have less lung reserve capacity, decreased ability to heal as quickly, less physical mobility and flexibility to name just a few challenges with this group.
  • The patient’s psychological baseline and readiness for surgery is a huge component in successful recovery.  Sometimes surgeries are emergencies and the patient cannot take the time to adequately prepare emotionally for surgery.  Some people struggle with anxiety and depression among other mental health and chemical imbalance disorders that can sometimes place them at a disadvantage with healthy coping mechanisms in terms of recovery.
  • The experience of the surgeon really is one of the key components to successful surgeries, but not all patients are the exact same in anatomy and health status, so that the surgeon has to draw on experience making the best decision at the time when a surgery goes awry.  There is a lot to be said for training and the number of that type of surgery he/she has performed.
  • Patients bodies are many times similar in general, but can often be unique.  If a patient is a person of size (POS), there are going to be much greater challenges to performing many surgeries and the anesthesia risk increases as well (think short neck and/or sleep apnea).  When a POS has extra body tissue it is not often muscle, but rather fat and adipose tissue simply doesn’t heal as well as non-fatty tissue because it lacks the vasculature to deliver nutrients via the blood to assist in the healing process.  Special surgical (and scanning) tables are often required for patients weighing over 350 lbs. (~ 160 kG).  It is more difficult to physically reach into a patient that has a greater visceral depth while specialized equipment is needed to keep the area open for the surgeon to have an adequate working field.
  • Another factor in having a successful outcome for a surgery is the team in the operating room, the recovery room and even the area where the patient will recuperate — AKA the nursing floor.  The more experienced the team, the more outcomes they have seen and worked with.  A newer nurse may know something is amiss after surgery, but an experienced nurse may know what that problem is more quickly related to having more time-in-grade experience.  Whether the nurse is newly graduated or has dozens of years of experience is immaterial if he/she lacks care.  Care and attention should be the primary components of caring for all patients.
  • Malfunctioning or lack of the proper surgical equipment can lead to disastrous results.  However, in my experience, hospitals in the U.S. go through rigorous preparations to ensure their operating rooms are up-to-date with proper equipment working and available prior to the surgery.  There are many regulatory agencies that mandate this such as OSHA and JCAHO.  Surgeons will leave hospitals and work elsewhere if the equipment they want and need is either not available or not functioning to their standards.

I cannot speak to the individual cases of da Vinci Hysterectomies gone awry because there can be several and differing reasons why these operations ended up as either surgical misadventures and/or maladies for the female patients involved.  One has to be careful when making assumptions that a particular surgery is “all good” or “all bad”.  The cliched saying is that medicine is both an art and a science.

medicine-is-a-science-of-uncertainty-and-an-art-of-probability-403x403-nk2xbp

I recommend anyone contemplating a non-emergent surgery to get a second (or third) opinion and do as much possible research on the surgeon including his/her experience with any robotic equipment, the hospital where the surgery will be performed along with the technique of surgery recommended — and this advice is not merely for the laparoscopically assisted da Vinci hysterectomy, but ALL other major surgeries as well!  Another recommendation I’d like to make is to explore ALL other options — especially non-surgical weighing the pros and cons, risks and advantages of each.  Surgery doesn’t always have to be the answer.

There are horror stories about robotic surgeries gone awry found in the pages of thousands of lawsuits. But experts interviewed by Healthline lay the blame for these negative outcomes at the surgeons’ feet, not at the robot’s. Whenever a new technique enters the operating room, some doctors make mistakes with it. They are, after all, only human.

‘When [laparoscopic surgery] was introduced, there was a spike in patient complications. That was because, in general, the surgical field was getting trained; there were errors, there were mistakes. Now fast-forward, this is just kind of par for course when it comes to introducing a disruptor. You’re going to run into these issues,’ said the ECRI Institute’s Schabowsky.

The key is for patients to minimize their chances of being one of the mistakes by ensuring their surgeons have ample experience with any device they plan to use in the OR. That information can be hard to get, the experts agreed — only cardiac surgeons currently make such records available to the public.

But consumers aren’t doing their part, either. ~ Cameron Scott 

from HealthLine (Feb 2015)

There are women out there who have researched their surgery, were in good health, trusted their surgeon and still had complications from their hysterectomy … my heart goes out to all of these women!  It’s possible I could have been one of them and this blog would be written with a completely different perspective.  Fortunately most elective surgeries do turn out well with most people being greatly satisfied they chose to have the surgery to include the robotic method.  It’s an extremely unfortunate circumstance of life all surgeries cannot go 100% well without any problems … living life and having surgeries involve risk.  Merely being alive is risky … but it beats the alternative.

Nothing is perfect etc


P.S.  You can read more about da Vinci surgery on my previous post:

WHAT IS da VINCI TOTAL HYSTERECTOMY?

10 Pounds Off!

Wow!  You’re back again … no wait, I’m back again with an update on the weight loss post-hysterectomy.  I promised myself I would write my next post when ten pounds were shed.

Here goes!

May 1st marks my journey into eating healthy  — NOT going on a diet — and getting more physically fit in attempting to lose weight and get more physically fit.  I don’t believe in diets because they make no sense.  I’m never been on a diet in my life.  I’m not bragging, simply stating facts.  I’ve always wondered why people go on diets.  Does this mean they will do the diet for however long, lose the weight they want and then return to old eating habits?  This doesn’t make any sense.

I am back to eating healthy (healthily?) which has been easy as pie (nice cliche analogy, no?) … AS LONG AS I AVOID ALCOHOL!  Avoiding alcohol has been easy too.  I made a plan with my change to eating healthier I would cut out alcohol (it’s mostly wine when I’m talking about alcohol) except for one day a month where I will have one to two drinks on that designated day.

Flowers Anniversary 8

ANNIVERSARY FLOWERS

My actual anniversary was the 24th and I broke down drinking one glass of white wine … it was already opened for a shrimp dish I made so of course, someone has to drink the opened wine! My husband and I had one glass each on our actual anniversary day.  We have dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurants where I plan to have a glass of red wine.  I didn’t consider the dinner I made at home as celebrating our anniversary — I only count eating out.

So, not too bad, huh?  Two glasses of wine this month.  I’m thinking I can skip June and call it even … there are no special days in June for me.



 

Three of my girlfriends I’m going to hang out with soon don’t drink for the following reasons:

  • Andi doesn’t drink because she doesn’t like the taste and gets inebriated even after a mere 1/4 glass of wine!  Can you imagine?!
  • Maleah doesn’t drink as of late because she’s doing the Primal/Paleo diet, has digestive and skin issues while also trying to manage her weight.
  • Tunie doesn’t drink because she’s Asian whose genetics often don’t allow alcohol metabolization without ill effects as in her case turning bright red, experiencing nausea, getting severely congested and feeling like she has the flu — perhaps the wine flu to be exact!

I feel pretty lucky I won’t be tempted by these teetotalers.  There won’t be any drink-pushing on either end.  Also, I would never push a person to drink who doesn’t … not my style.  I bring up my friends who don’t drink because I think it’s important not to put yourself in tempting situations when you’re trying to make a lifestyle change, and my friends being who they are make it naturally easy to avoid alcohol!  Cheers to them!  (Oh, is that the right thing to say?)

Teetotaler cat says …

cat teetotaler


I have now developed a bit of fear with the upcoming dining-out anniversary with wine consumption.  I’ve lost ten pounds and while super satisfied about this accomplishment, feel trepidation about drinking!  I’m worried if I have a glass of wine all kinds of cravings will hit the next day and the weight will be right back on.

Teeny tiny wine

For my anniversary dinner out I’m playing with a few scenarios:

  • NO wine or alcohol at all waiting until next month, or the month after. (Ha ha ha! That one’s funny.)
  • Have 1/2 a glass of wine giving the other half to my husband … of course, me the larger half … who says they have to be equal halves?
  • Stick to one solid glass of quality wine.
  • F-ck it … go all out and have 2 glasses!  Although according to Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly women should have no more than 5 oz. (~150 mL) of wine per day and (men no more than 10 oz. or ~300 mL).  I know some of you like GHBM are laughing at the thought of only 1-2 glasses of wine per day!

Madeline Puckette  says:

If you’re trying to stay slim be sure to monitor your serving size. A proper pour of wine is just 5 oz. (not the entire 20 oz. glass!)

The following 7 tips may help you enjoy a healthy diet that includes wine:

* Know wine’s calories
* Earn your glass
* Don’t drink before you eat
* Do drink dry red wine
* Don’t drink too late
* Do spend more on wine
* Drink wine away from home

from WINE FOLLY: Drink Wine & Stay Thin


How much wine should I drink?

The good news is you can drink wine every day just not quite as much as you might be accustomed. Also, it doesn’t seem to matter too much if you prefer red, white or rosé.

Moderate Drinking

Women: 1 glass a day
Men: 2 glasses a day
* A glass of wine is 5 oz. (~150 ml)

If you find that you drink more than this in a single day, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism advises that women should have no more than 3 drinks in a single day (a 24 hour period) and men should have no more than 4 drinks per day. They also suggest that consumption all week should be no more than 7 drinks per week for women and no more than 14 for men.

from WINE FOLLY: The Surprising Benefits of Wine All Require Self-Control

cat red wine

This cat, like most cats obviously has NO self-control!   Just look at his irresponsible drinking … he’s going to spill that precious wine!

Robert Atkins (nutritionist) — ya know, the Atkins Diet guy says:

Here’s the problem with all alcoholic beverages, and the reason I recommend refraining from alcohol consumption on the diet — alcohol, whenever taken in, is the first fuel to burn. While that’s going on, your body will not burn fat. This does not stop the weight loss, it simply postpones it, since the alcohol does not store as glycogen (starch), you immediately go back into ketosis after the alcohol is used up.


While I’ve started to eat healthy I am also slowly incorporating physical exercise into my life.  I’m embarrassed I’m not very physically fit or don’t exercise on any regular basis.  While my friend Maleah and I discuss many nutrition topics and are often on the same page, we have never discussed physical fitness until just recently.

80% of your body composition will be determined by your diet. [my emphasis] Exercise is also important to health and to speed up fat-burning and muscle-building, but most of your results will come from how you eat. ~ Mark Sisson

Maleah introduced me to Mark’s Daily Apple where Mark Sisson not only discusses nutrition, but also writes about ways to incorporate physical fitness into every day life without running!  I knew I could possibly take on Mark’s advice on fitness because he said running  (daily, distance or marathon type) wasn’t necessary, there’s no need to join a gym and you use your own body!  These are things I can do.

Humans did not evolve to be long distance runners. Our bodies didn’t evolve to run marathons. Instead we evolved to walk long distances, lift heavy things and sprint once in a while. ~ Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson's mission motto

While the eating healthy part has been simple for the most part except for the one day I dug into a bag of melted chocolate truffles and ended up with a stomach ache later that night … the physical part has been more difficult because when I start things I tend to overdo them.

One day I spent 30 minutes going up and down uneven stone steps at a local natural reserve, walked on a trail for 30 minutes, had an intensive one-on-one hour and fifteen minute session with a yoga instructor, and then swam for 30 minutes that evening.

THIS WAS A MISTAKE!

While I felt good the entire time doing all of these things, I was hit with complete fatigue and screaming upper abdominal pain from the yoga core exercises the next day!  All this over doing it has put me out of doing anything physical for three days as I recover.  I’m telling you I’m really out of shape and it happened after my hysterectomy where I just let myself go.

I don’t think my plight of physical deconditioning is necessarily due to having had a hysterectomy because I believe it could be any surgery … mine so happened to be a hysterectomy.  Getting into shape isn’t easy — at least not for me.

This is the FIRST time in my life where I’ve incorporated both eating healthy along with physical fitness.

Health mismanaged genes Mark Sisson


My future goals include:

  • Flat stomach — not necessarily a “six-pack” but at least getting rid of the abdominal roll.
  • Be able to walk up 4 flights of stairs without feeling an ache in my thighs.  As it is now, I’m able to walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing but my legs feel like lead … and then hypochondriasis kicks in as I begin to think I have peripheral artery disease (PAD).  I don’t even have risk factors for PAD!
  • Lose 18 more pounds with a goal date of late November — 6 months from now.  This works out to losing 3 pounds per month which I think is quite doable.  Although, I’m concerned if I gain muscle weight I may actually not lose weight and will have to rely on how my body looks and feels instead.

Rather than strive to lose weight, most people would be better off striving to lose only fat and to build or maintain muscle. ~ Mark Sisson

  • Not have my thighs touch.  No, no, no I’m not trying to have that “thigh gap” — I simply don’t like the feeling of my thighs touching.  I often put baby powder on my inner thighs to create less friction.  I used to have this gap (I have the a body type for this gappiness — click on hyperlink above for a great read on “thigh gap”), but as I got into my 40s and stopped being as physical my thighs started to droop (think muscle atrophy) and touch each other. AND no, no, no I don’t think the thigh gap is particularly sexy on women … I simply feel creeped out when mine touch — it’s as though a stranger’s hands are upon me. IF my thighs touched and it was due to muscular mass I would probably be OK with that … but no my thighs are currently droopy, saggy and baggy. That’s it on the soap box for the gap!
  • Get back into Ashtanga yoga. I have begun one-on-one sessions with a yoga trainer and to my surprise she’s been a lifelong athlete! Cat yoga yoga my way She’s adept at running and other forms of physical fitness, not only yoga. When most people hear yoga they probably think the Hatha type yoga.

Ashtanga is a challenging lineage of Hatha Yoga focused on building strength and endurance that naturally leads to a relaxed mental state. This dynamic sequence of postures, known as the Primary Series, combines focus with continuous movement. Ashtanga is practiced in a warm room (78-84 degrees).

Ashtanga, which means ‘eight limbs’ in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of poses is performed, always in the same order. This practice is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next and the emphasis on daily practice.

Types of Yoga


Currently the exercise I’m doing is:

  • Swimming!  I joined a gym for the pool and lucky me I got a discount through my work!  I’ve used it twice.  So happy.
  • Signed up for one-on-one yoga instruction.  Only had one session so far and she kicked my @ss … I mean my abs!  I feel like I’ve had a hysterectomy again with the abdominal pain I’m experiencing.  My husband, so cliche that he is says, “No pain, no gain.”  I cry B.S. on that … sometimes pain is just pain!  Frickin’ masochistic husband!  Last time he went to yoga with me he was sore for days!
  • Using the bike trainer.  When my husband told me about a bike trainer I thought it was a person who helped you train on your bike.  Wrong!  (see photo below)

    Bike trainer ME

    ME on the bike trainer!

  • Hula hooping!  I dusted off the hula hoop and have used it a couple times so far.
  • WALKING! I have started walking 30 minutes for my lunch break away from my desk-death job and also around some local trails on my off days.

The reasons I started to make lifestyle changes:

  1. I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my life April 2016 and saw it only going up from there if I didn’t do something differently soon.  The weight steadily came on after my hysterectomy (June 2014) and I’ll be damned if I blame that surgery for my weight gain rather than taking personal responsibility for my own health (or lack thereof)!
  2. I looked like a meatball in my photos from my vacation to Turks & Caicos.  I like to eat meatballs but I don’t want to be one.  I’m not trying to be vain because this change is more about health than looks. This added unnecessary weight is not from muscle nor is it good for my health longterm.

Turks & Caicos beach May 2016

This is the beach at Turks & Caicos.  Notice my meatball self is NOT in the photo — I didn’t want to mess up the beautiful beach picture.  The trip was INCREDIFABAMAZIAWESOME!  If you ever get the chance to go to Turks & Caicos go … go without hesitation … go, go, go, go.  In fact go now!  Book your hotel and plane fare this minute.  Definitely bring sunscreen though! Of all the places I’ve traveled in the world the people of Turks & Caicos were the friendliest by far … they also have the best frozen pina coladas I’ve ever had too which I responded with the worst brain freezes of my life.  I rode a REAL bike for the first time in 35 years (THIRTY-FIVE YEARS!) — Did you read that?!  It has been 35 years since I rode a REAL BONA FIDE bike!!!!  (A stationary bike at a gym does not count.)   I snorkeled for the first time ever.  We ate conch ceviche after the boat divers retrieved live conch from the ocean.  I would definitely return without a second thought. AND as far as the Zika virus is concerned, there isn’t much to be worried about … my husband and I got only one bite each and aren’t even sure they were from mosquitos.


I’m on my journey to get heathy … please cheer me on!  I need it because sometimes eating Cheetos and sitting on the couch still seem like the norm!

cat using a hula hoop

This is a cat doing the hula hoop!  See how effortlessly the cat does this?

Hormonal sadness

bdc213b448d464758c645f1e2c226f33

Going off hormones can be a bad idea.

Of course, if you have a breast cancer that’s estrogen receptive or positive, then of course you need to stop those hormones.  Duh.

I wish I hadn’t tried going off my Lo Loestrin for 8 weeks.  While I have restarted the hormone regimen again, my body is taking a while to catch up, especially emotionally lately.  Hormones aren’t like instantaneous pain pills — like take a pain pill and feel better in about an hour.  It doesn’t work that way and I’m sure you know that.

I simply didn’t realize how hard the emotional aspect would hit me after stopping the Lo Loestrin.  I can’t wait until things are back on track emotionally-speaking. I’m not sure how long that part of this hormonal process takes to stabilize.  I really have no idea.

let-shit-go

Easier said than done.

I don’t like feeling sad or crying easily — it reminds me of my teenage years and through the times when my hormones weren’t very balanced.  I hate being a sensitive person and having petty things upset me to a greater degree than they “should”.  I very much envy stoic people … not that I like to be around these unfeeling people much, but I do envy their lack of emotional responses and seemingly controlled cool-as-a cucumber outer appearance (perhaps facade).  And no, no, no I wouldn’t want to be an unfeeling psychopath by any means.

Why isn’t my skin thicker?  It’s a stupid unrewarding question only asked to torture oneself with no real logical conclusion that can only serve to spiral into more self-deprecating thought.  I can only think hormones, genes and past experiences combined play a part in this emotional downspin.

And I don’t want to become a man pumped full of testosterone with a sex change either simply to avoid female emotions.  I suppose the hormone balancing act is one that takes patience … and perhaps the tension of the Christmas season with all it’s various stressors don’t help either.

Where’s my cyber friend Wanda when I need her to tell me that depression is a lying asshole?  Wanda, Wanda, come out of the woodwork wherever you are. ❤ 

Anyway, physically my hormonal symptoms are greatly improving but this lack of estrogen and progesterone (whether synthetic or not) has me reeling into depths of being oversensitive and almost drowning in self-doubt.  It’s to the point that if you tell me I’m shit, I believe you without fight or question.

Sorry for the sad post folks … it’s usually not my style.

Then I feel guilty about being sad … like my sadness is stupid, selfish, a waste of time … I don’t have cancer, I’m not like the woman I saw in the grocery store today with only half an arm, my dad didn’t die, I didn’t lose a baby, I didn’t get fired … I feel like my sadness is all bullshit and trivial.  However, on the other hand I genuinely feel it … it’s not fake … the tears come, the lower lip and chin quiver, the thoughts grow, merge and a take on a life of their own.

No worries please, I know and hope too as the eternal optimist that I am that this too will pass.  It’s just so amazing how it feels like it won’t.  I’m nowhere needing the “suidcidal hotline”.  It’s simply sadness with undertones or rather overtones of unworthiness.

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_6a3mfz5021ogk0c8wwg4cc4sw_640

I also know I need to get myself to yoga tomorrow … yoga does something very special to me … more than words can explain.

healing yoga

Disenfranchised Grief … and HYSTERECTOMY

grief quote moliere

❤ Revisiting DISENFRANCHISED GRIEF

da Vinci Total Hysterectomy

Disenfranchised grief … I remember first finding this term during a time of loss … a loss that I couldn’t express to most everyone and definitely not publicly.  It was unacceptable.  It still is.  I found a niche where I could fully express the pain and grief of this loss … it has made all the difference in the world.  However, there is still an occasional urge to open up and talk about this period of disenfranchised grief … this heartbreaking loss.

But I don’t.

I hold back.

I keep it in.

Locked away.

Only a few people have access to this part of my ❤

 Disenfranchised grief …

cant speak

Disenfranchised grief occurs when an individual’s grief experience is not recognized or acknowledged by others. Disenfranchised grievers are frequently overlooked or ignored, lack opportunities to express their emotions, receive diminished social support and sympathy from others, and may be deprived of opportunities…

View original post 656 more words

PART I: Weight loss after hysterectomy … Is such a thing possible?

dreaming skinnyI’ve been waiting quite some time to write this post because I wanted to be sure I could be committed to working on my issue of weight loss post-hysterectomy.  I have gained almost 20 lbs. (9 kG or 1.4 stones) since last year or roughly 15 months after my hysterectomy.

Wow, stones don’t sound so bad … I can see why people in the UK and Ireland might be reluctant to change to kG.  On a daily basis I have to ask my patients what their weight is.  Many of the women groan or make a comment like, “too much.”  Sometimes I give them their converted weight in kG and tell them they could use that number if it makes them feel better … the usual response is a laugh.

Just to make things fun and confusing, let’s just say my weight last year at this time was 7.64 stones and recently it has been 9 stones.  See what I mean?!  A weight gain of seven to nine stones doesn’t seem like any big deal.  Those of you UKers & Irelanders are probably thinking, What’s the big deal, you skinny bird?!

Well … it IS a big deal because it’s my body and it’s the most I have weighed in my life!  EVER!  This has never been my normal weight.  Granted, I’m not in line for bariatric surgery and I don’t want to get there for sure.  I am uber supportive of weight-loss surgery for anyone who wants it for health reasons.

Weight is just one clue doctors look to for an indicator of poor health. But to see what’s really going on, they have to peek under the hood. The scale is not a proxy for your health, says Dr. Church, director of the Laboratory of Preventive Medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.

scale-help

Weight has been an issue my whole life … most likely not in the way you are imagining.  No, I wasn’t the fat girl … I was the skinny girl.  If you don’t think there’s problems with being thin and I’m not referencing health problems … I’m talking about subtle bullying and discrimination.  Yep, thin Lizzies are discriminated against and subtle comments are thrown our way endlessly and needlessly.  It’s the whole skinny shaming.  And if you are doing it STOP IT!  Trust me people, my becoming fat won’t make you happier, and no, no you will not look thinner because I gain weight.

I have experienced this delightful (sarcasm) treatment from friends, co-workers, my boss and strangers.  Although, oddly, I’ve never received anything passive-aggressive, judgy or negative from any males throughout my life in regard to being TOO thin. On the flip side, there have been times when I was thin and was then accused of being overweight by men in two different relationships.  Both of these twig & berries people are history.  twigandberries

For instance I have been told, “You’re too thin,” “You don’t need to go to the gym, you’re so skinny,” “You probably don’t eat,” “You have anorexia,” “You’re anemic,” “You’re so thin and I’m so fat” and many more mean things that I refuse to relive by posting them here … and countless other little verbal jabs and stabs — you know, those backhanded compliments.  I have been excluded from hot tub & pool parties and not because I had some smokin’ hot body … I was just skinny.  But in truth, I’ve always been skinny-fat.

What Is Skinny FAT?

There is a medical term floating around for this syndrome now known as “MONW” or metabolically obese normal weight, which means being a “skinny fat” person. This means you are under lean and over fat or not enough muscle and too much fat (specifically belly fat.) Shockingly, it is better to be fat and fit, than thin and out of shape [my emphasis].

The Skinny Fat Body Type:

  • Thin in clothes, but bare skin shows some flabby areas
  • Cheerio-sized wrists
  • Weak, non-muscled arms with dilapidated deltoids
  • Love handles, abdomen & lower chest are main areas of fat accumulation
  • Wide waist

Sadly this is me to a T.  Not only have I been ridiculed and chastised for being thin, I’m actually not very healthy body wise.  Who knew?

When you’re eating a diet high in sugar and processed foods, it causes visceral fat storage, and that can lead to all sorts of risk factors of being overweight, says Dr. Mark Hyman.

Some things that only skinny-fat people will understand from Thought Catalog:

  1. Medium-size clothes are your nemesis. They’re too tight, exposing every roll, wrinkle, and crevice. Large-size clothes are too loose. The fit resembles that of a child who raided their parent’s closet.
  2. All it takes is one hefty meal to get you big time bloated. Your food baby causes your belly to resemble a 2-months-into-pregnancy tummy.
  3. When you go into healthy mode, it’s difficult to deny who you really are. You can eat chicken breast and brown rice for lunch, but if you come across cookies, cakes, pies and brownies, your resistance is futile. God forbid the junk food be free, then it’s just blasphemous to pass on. Even when you’re being healthy, you’ll find ways to make not particularly healthy choices. Like, a full steak and asparagus meal at 3 am.
  4. Your fat loves assembling in the same inconvenient spot that you don’t want it. Belly, thighs, face – one of those is likely to seem like it’s taking the brunt of any weight gains. You’re not immune to a double, triple or even quadruple chin. We’ve all seen ourselves on front cam, with the phone staring up at us and it’s basically the world’s least flattering mirror.
  5. Immediately after a workout you’ll look in the mirror feeling hopeful that there’ll be a fresh set of abs or bulging biceps happening on your body. There won’t be — but you definitely feel like it’s feasible enough that it’s worth checking for a six-pack.
  6. AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE … Nobody has any tolerance for you complaining about your body because you’re not blatantly overweight, and it comes off as an obnoxious person fishing for compliments to stroke their ego.

Now that I’ve figured out I’m skinny-fat and am accepting of this changeable situation, the real work has begun.  Since my last real post three weeks ago How to gain weight AFTER a hysterectomy I have lost four pounds by simply stopping sweet eating and not drinking alcohol.  I haven’t done anything more special than this.  However, losing weight while being skinny-fat isn’t the real solution to this so-called fat or weight gain problem.

Hint: The solution is not running or exercising more … at least not for us skinny-fats!  Which comes as quite a relief since I loathe aerobic activity.  The only running I do is  … away … or to … depending upon what food awaits me!

I’ll explore this topic more in PART II: Weight loss after hysterectomy …

In the meantime, while you check the fridge for yummies, pass out candy to unsuspecting sugar victims this halloween waiting for my next great writing masterpiece, read this: Crash Diets and Too Much Cardio: The Road to Getting Skinny-Fat.  This is the best article I’ve come across in my new me post-hysterectomy health conscious journey.  Enjoy! 🙂

______________________________________________

PS: For all you cat junkies out there … here’s something for you.  This made me chuckle today.

halloween kittiescontinued

 

Got my book!

I received The Estrogen Errors: Why Progesterone is Better for Women’s Health (2009) two days ago.  I’m still reading the introduction and overview section.

book cat nerd

In this revealing work, a medical writer and an internationally-known physician team up to explain the controversy over medicine prescribing estrogen for perimenopausal women in North America, and to detail why progesterone is actually a far more effective, and a far less risk-ridden, approach. Citing long-standing and emerging research, patient vignettes, and personal experience, endocrinologist Jerilynn Prior and writer Susan Baxter tell us how false beliefs on estrogen became entrenched in North American medicine and culture, and why business and politics have played a role in this erroneous thinking.

Like most women in Europe, Prior’s patients find progesterone the key to dealing with a life cycle transition that, contrary to Western medicine, these authors do not see as a disease. Challenging medical orthodoxy, this work presents arguments and evidence both women and doctors will find compelling and useful.

In my internet searching, it’s been difficult to find information about progesterone. Estrogen seems to be ubiquitous, but progesterone seems to be largely ignored.  This has baffled me.  Apparently, one of the authors of the aforementioned book felt the same way.

All of these women were going through something similar, and none of them knew what to do, particularly because being told that low estrogen was the problem simply felt wrong.  Women know what high estrogen feels like — with birth control pills, for instance.  It’s sore breast and headaches, anxiety and bloating.  It made intuitive and physiologic sense to all of us that during perimenopause estrogen was high and we needed progesterone.  Various women asked me what to tell their doctors because most of them had gone to medical school at a time when it was all about estrogen, and it became patently clear that women needed a book on perimenopause and progesterone.  It took me a few years, but here it is.  ~ Susan Baxter, Ph.D.

This reminds me of when I went to see my gynecologist and there was a sub due to his illness.  The sub GYN wanted me to go off my Lo LoEstrin and only use either a low-dose topical hormone or nothing!  I was only 45, still had my ovaries and having the slew of perimenopausal symptoms.  There was no way I was going back to simply topical estrogen.  It has always seemed odd to me when women are taking only estrogen.

You can read more about that situation here: THE SUB GYN THAT ALMOST GOT RID OF MY PROGESTERONE!

hormones

I was hoping that my current gynecologist who has returned to practice would be able to provide more in depth answers to my questions about perimenopause and medication management.  I don’t feel like badgering him because, well, frankly, he is frail and has returned to his practice recently after dealing with serious recurrent head and neck cancer.  By no means do I doubt his intelligence, but in the same token I know he’s a man who will never personally go through menopause and his academic training occurred during a time period when estrogen was hot, hot, hot!

What do midlife women expect from their gynecologists?  Too much.  The average midlife woman believes that her gynecologist is familiar with the whole gamut of complaints associated with natural menopause and that he or she could (if only they would) explain exactly what is going on in that woman’s body right now, as well as what she might expect in the future.  Since it is impossible to predict the course of a natural menopause, this would call for unusual prescience on the part of her physician.  And it is no big secret that the training of gynecologists allots very little time to natural menopause.  ~ Janine O. Cobb

As the above excerpt suggests, I too expect too much.

chicken eggs menopause

Jerilynn Prior goes on to say:

Gynecologists, however, are trained in surgery, not hormone physiology, and too many of them respond to symptoms with a prescription for ‘HRT’ or a recommendation to have a hysterectomy — since, from the perspective of obstetrics and gynecology, the womb is no longer useful — as ridiculous as that might seem.

After starting this book I’m beginning to think I need a higher dose of progesterone, not the synthetic form and no more estrogen.  These are my early thoughts as I read this book.  We’ll see what conclusion I come to by they end.  Currently, my hot flashes are fairly well-controlled now that I’m back on the Lo LoEstrin regularly.  Some say, why fix it if it’s not broken?

Stay posted.

continued