Thursday, 1 June 2017

Maybe things aren't as bad as I thought

So I did a bit of reading last night because I thought my sudden lactose intolerance was more than a little unlikely. It turns out that there are certain circumstances where lactose intolerance can actually be temporary!

I read all about sudden onset lactose intolerance, its rare but not impossible but most importantly it is also likely that if your lactose intolerance came on suddenly, it will go away over time.

I then looked at causes of sudden onset lactose intolerance and it turns out that a severe GI upset can cause it because it can unbalance the enzymes and bacteria in your gut. Well guess who had food poisoning just a few days before this all started? Yup, this girl.

We had Chinese food for dinner three weeks ago and I was so ill afterwards, genuinely the most throwing up I have ever done. This went on for 48 hours. At first I didn't think it was food poisoning because having spent most of my life in the food industry before going on to become a nurse, I know that usually food poisoning takes at least 24 - 48 hours to develop after you have eaten the meal that caused it. I had become ill within a few hours. However just as I was getting better the other half started throwing up just as violently as I had been and I decided that it simply had to be food poisoning, maybe I was just more sensitive to this particular bacteria or something.

So from what I read the best thing to do is to give my system a break from lactose to let the enzymes build back up. There is no way of knowing how long I need to take this break for, its just trial and error unfortunately so I thought I would give it a week and see how it goes. If there is no improvement, I will try another week. It actually doesn't seem that hard since I don't necessarily need to cut lactose out completely, just cut it right down. I already bought lacto free milk and butter so all I really need to avoid is cheese for a week, surely I can manage that?

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Could things get any worse?

I swear sometimes I think the world is out to get me. Not only am I stuck with the diet of a toddler but then I pile on a tonne of weight in large part due to having helicobacter and no one believing me. Then because the helicobacter went untreated for so long its left me with GI issues that will likely persist for the rest of my life, the medication will no doubt also be life long. My life has been super depressing recently and now it looks like I might be lactose intolerant!

Seriously, like I need any more limitations in my diet!

A few years back when what we now know was actually helicobacter started, the GP toyed with the idea of a food intolerance. I dismissed it since my diet never changes (the one good thing about SED, you never eat a new food) and my symptoms were never associated with eating a particular food - just with eating in general. I did however try a few elimination diets, had no success and went back to my usual toddler-style eating within a few weeks.

Over the last few months however I have noticed that whenever I eat a lot of dairy my stomach plays up. It needs to be quite a bit though, I can drink a late with no issues but if I have something with a creamy sauce or maybe have breakfast cereal my stomach starts playing up. The old idea of a food intolerance has entered my head again. The GP at the time suspected lactose as being the culprit, I think purely because its the most common food intolerance going but I wonder if he was right all along.

I tested my theory, yesterday I had no dairy at all and guess what my stomach was fine. Today I had milk in my cereal and my stomach played up. Now I know that one days testing is not enough - usually medics recommend a two week elimination period to see if there is improvement so I stepped up my plan by purchasing lots of lacto free products at the supermarket tonight. I will see how it goes this week.

I don't know if I'm just clutching at straws here but something is not right, I just hope I don't have helicobacter again!

So much of what I eat is dairy. I love cheese and have recently taken to yogurt so I can have a healthy breakfast at work - sure you can get lactose free versions of these things but with SED a different brand or food having a different texture can make such a huge difference to my ability to eat the food that I am so worried. Ive only found one yogurt I can eat so far and I might need to change it already - this is pretty frightening actually, although I cant say I have noticed an issue with yogurt, how strange, maybe because I only take a tiny bit?

This really is the last thing I need.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

So it turns out there might be a medical reason for my weight gain

When I first started piling on weight back in 2012 I was seriously worried that something was medically wrong with me. I assumed I might have poly cystic ovaries since I basically had all the symptoms and it is a ridiculously common thing in women in their 20's as I was at the time. Or perhaps an underactive thyroid was to blame.

My doctor assumed I was just looking for excuses for my weight gain and dismissed me. I was also complaining of gastrointestinal issues at the time but those were also dismissed and I was told I probably had IBS and there wasn't much anyone could do. I was given tablets for the stomach cramps, even although I didn't really have any cramps and basically told to go away.

No matter how many times I went to the doctor it was always the same, 'you just need to watch what you are eating a bit better' blah blah blah. I have eaten like a toddler my whole life and yes I have always been a little overweight but it was spiralling out of control for no obvious reason.

At the time I was in the best physical health of my life, I was also training for a 5k run which is something I would never have contemplated before. I was out running every day either before or after work depending on my shift, every single day! One might expect to lose a few pounds doing all that running but my weight was creeping up and up. At first I put it down to being back at college and eating rubbish canteen food, so I started taking my own lunches and it made no difference.

I ran that 5k in an outfit two sizes bigger than I had been before all this started. I couldn't believe it when I tried it on. How  on earth had I gained weight when all I had been doing was training for the race? I ran the 5k in a little over half an hour which I didn't think was bad for someone who had never ran the length of themselves before.

The weight was bugging me though and I was insistent that something was wrong. it just didn't sit right with me that I was putting on weight when I was doing ten times the amount of exercise I used to do. We moved to the city at this time so I had to register with a new doctor and I told them of my concerns. They agreed to run bloods to check my thyroid but when they came back ok they weren't interested anymore.

I have mentioned it to different doctors at my practice since, the weight gain and the gastro stuff. no one is interested they all keep telling me to join a slimming group. I go to the gym all the time, ok I take the occasional week off but I go to the gym a lot. I don't eat well, I never have and I never will, but I eat better than I ever did before when I was thin.

Then I ended up in the emergency GP one night with suspected gallstones, and finally the GP was interested in something I had to say. They booked a scan for me, which was negative for gallstones but now they at least admitted something might in fact be wrong.

At this time I pointed out that my partner had helicobacter pylori a couple of years ago and had very similar symptoms to what I had been having for years. I was told 'oh we don't routinely test family members of people who have that' I pointed out that I have had symptoms for years and probably have it but was again dismissed. I was started on omeprazole because I was still having what we thought was gallbladder pain before the scan.

When I went back to tell them that the omeprazole did in fact seem to be making a difference I mentioned the helicobacter again and finally my doctor agreed to test me. I really don't know what the fuss is about, if you have never had it before the test is just a simple blood test its hardly difficult. I had the test done that day and a few days later the phone rings.

Its the receptionist from the surgery asking me if I would be available the following day for a phone appointment with the doctor. I knew then that I had been right all along, the test was positive.

As it turns out, unexplained weight gain is a symptom of untreated helicobacter! I have been going on about this for four years and no on has listened! Unfortunately, getting rid of the helicobacter is no guarantee that the weight will drop off but it certainly wont hurt and it should hopefully stop the nasty GI symptoms I have been having.

The treatment is dual antibiotic therapy and working in an admissions unit in the biggest hospital in the country, being on lots of antibiotics is not a great idea when I am at work. Antibiotic use is a risk factor for some nasty infections and I don't want another infection on top of what I already have so I will wait till my annual leave next week before starting it. Hopefully the antibiotics don't make me feel too yukky.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Well the shakes worked!!!

Ok from my last post you can tell that I was really worried how I would handle my shake challenge and really sceptical about it working.

I am very proud to say that I have lost five and a half lbs! in seven days!

I wasn't brave enough to try them out while I was working in case I felt really hungry so I waited till I was on annual leave and started them last week. The first day wasn't easy I will be honest but within the first three days I had realised that I could have a very small lunch by splitting my calorie allowance and the weight started dropping off, by day three I had lost three lbs.

I can honestly say that after the first two days I was not feeling hungry at all after my shakes and they actually tasted really nice. I had loads of energy which is not like me, I attribute that to the extra vitamins in the shakes since my regular diet is so rubbish.

in fact I loved my shakes so much I have decided to join my friend in becoming a distributor for forever living. I have now had the chance to try many of their products and there are none I don't love. I am using the heat gel on my sore back and shoulder, and the moisturiser on my dry skin. I feel great and I am noticing a massive difference in my skin.

I will always be a picky eater, and I think I will always struggle with food but maybe I have finally found something that can at least help with the weight.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

I have to lose this weight - drastic measures

I know I need to lose this weight, it has very much been at the forefront of my mind recently. I feel awful, I am tired all the time and I have been sicker this year than I ever have been in my life.

This is almost certainly related to my diet, but more so I think to my weight. My diet is bad, I am fully aware of that but I am making the effort as much as possible and things are definitely better than they were. So why do I feel worse?

The obvious answer is my weight. Although my diet has improved somewhat, my weight has never recovered. I remain heavier than I used to be, and only three kilos lighter than I was when I started this journey. Something drastic needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon.

I started taking these tablets that reduce your body's absorption of carbs and fat from the foods you eat. I don't eat that much fat, but I sure do love my carbs. The problem is I take medication that can't be taken at the same time as the tablets, you need a clear two hour window between them. Since I do not have two hours to wait around in the mornings I can't take the tablets at breakfast. Not a huge deal I figure, better to take them twice a day than never. Only problem is that I have been forgetting to lift them to take them to work with me so they are really not doing anything for me. I am also a little worried about the effect they might have on my medication so although I was really into the idea when I bought them, I am now not so sure.

A good friend of mine has recently started working with one of those companies that sell all sorts of supplements, shakes and skincare stuff and was looking for some people to try their shakes for a week. I signed straight up! What the heck am I thinking? The plan is to have a shake for breakfast and lunch then eat a 600 calorie meal at night, you can have as much fruit and veg as you like as well.

It honestly sounds great, only breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, and the only one I eat reasonably consistently (not every day, but most days), I have no idea what a 600 calorie meal looks like and I don't eat a single fruit. I do eat four vegetables, but not on their own so that is no use either. What the heck? I am never going to be able to do this!

And this is without thinking about the taste/texture of the actual shakes, I have no idea what they are going to be like or if I will manage to even drink them in the first place. I have a feeling I may have bitten off more than I can chew here.

On the plus side, I guess it shows how serious I am about getting rid of this weight. I need to do something and it is only a week. If it doesn't work I guess I haven't lost much. I just hope that missing breakfast before work doesn't leave me hungry all day and affect my concentration because as a nurse, people's lives depend on my ability to concentrate and do my job safely and well.

I guess I have nothing to lose by giving it a try; except some unwanted weight that is!