How Do You Like Them Apples?

Okay, so I’ve blogged (countless times) before about weight and health.  I hear people say things about weight being a “constant battle,” and though it sounds like hyperbole, I think it’s maybe more true that I’d like for it to be.

I remember a time, long, long ago, when I didn’t really think about weight.  I was slightly bigger than other girls my age, but I liked the way I looked and I was in the healthy range, so whatevs.  That all changed about 7 or 8 years ago when I gained about 40 pounds (after doing the Atkins diet as a kind of a personal challenge, not so much for weight loss).  Now, there’s a good bit of that (and more) that I feel so frustrated by.  The funny (not funny) thing is that ever since then, I’m way more health conscious.   In my early 20s, I literally survived on Frui.t Loops, baked potatoes, noodles with zucchinni, and cheese sandwiches for WEEKS at a time.  That was my entire diet.  I didn’t drink tea or worry about refined sugar.  I only ate beans that had been covered with cheese and cooked into a mushy paste.  Nuts?  You gotta be kidding.  Only if they were cooked into a pecan pie.  I always loved vegetables…but I used to think that the more butter that I put on them, the better they were.

Now, it’s so different.  I can’t even imagine how much I’d weigh if I still ate like that.  I walk and work out now.  I eat healthy foods 80% of the time, and feel really guilty about that other 20% most of the time.  I’ve lost a little bit of weight since Jan (15-20 pounds, depending on what time of the month it is — I bloat a lot near my period).  I’m down from a size 14 to a comfortable size 12 and a sometimes if I don’t mind it being a little tight 10.  I WANT to be a size 6-8 though.

So, the battle rages on — this month, my new weapon is WHOLE FOODS.  With every meal, I have to eat things that are not processed at all, and I have to eat big portions of them.  So, lots of fresh greens and fresh vegetables and fruits.  I also am drinking tons and tons of water and only tea and coffee (except that one Coke Zero I had yesterday).  I’m also walking or going to the gym every day.  I’m not as good as Belle and her folks on their detox (no caffeine, what!  I did that for IVF and I’m SO OVER IT!)

We’ll see how that fat on my thighs likes these apples (and cherries and cucumbers and sweet potatoes)!

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IVF #2, Cycle Day Unknown, AKA the day I ate fried chicken

So, I called this morning to schedule a follow up appointment with my RE.  On this phone call, I found out that I have to have another period, then I have to take more birth control pills, then I’ll start stimming.  Wha????  This is not at all what I thought was going to happen.  I thought I’d take this pack of pills, then that’d be it.  I’d be stimming.

My IVF girl (that’s what the office calls them.  Like they’re special stewardesses directing me through IVF, which I guess, in a way, they are) tells me that I’m to call once I have my next period, then they’ll tell me what to do.  I don’t understand why I have to do it this way.  I’ve already had my ultrasound and my bloodwork.  So, what’s the next period for?  Anywho, I’m just doing as I’m told, and I guess they don’t tell us too much in advance because then we’ll just be even more anxious.  Not that being completely confused is that calming.

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I didn’t get to all my prep work for the week this weekend, so I ended up going out to lunch. I ordered a salad with GRILLED chicken. I got a salad with FRIED** chicken.  I was so short on time that I just decided to eat it.  Now, I feel terrible (tummy aches from greasiness).  Fried chicken is bad, bad, bad.  I can’t believe I ate that.  I’m going to feel sick about it and from it for the rest of the day, I can tell.  I have lost 12 pounds since January 1.  I hope that fried chicken doesn’t ruin my good record, dammit.

**I ate bread on Saturday night.  We went out for DH’s birthday, and the restaurant had that perfect bread with crispy edges and smooth, soft inside.  I couldn’t resist.  Since then, I’ve been phasing the gluten back out again.  I should have kept it out with the fried chicken too, but, alas, I didn’t.

Drug Companies and Denial

So, I’ve blogged about trying to lose weight multiple times on here because when I’m not obsessing about how much fatter I want my middle to be (pregnant), I’m obsessed with how much fat my middle already holds.  I carry weight in my tummy.  In the front.  Like a pooch.  Like a baby belly.  So much fun for this infertile girl to be asked if I’m pregnant over and over again by strangers.  I now answer, No, I’m just fat.  I’ve done everything I can think of. Modified Atkins diets.  WeightWatchers.  Fasting.  Exercising for >45 minutes every day.  Sleeping more.  And, I can’t seem to lose weight.  It’s really maddening.

When I tell people about it, their reply seems to always be, even if they don’t say it, that I’m not exercising enough or I eat too much.  I started out the week finding out that my extreme, I thought, diet of eating ONLY fruit and vegetables with small bits of nuts, yogurt and cottage cheese had caused me to gain 3 pounds.  My DH stopped eating bread, mostly except for 3 doughnuts, a cheese biscuit and a cheeseburger.  He lost 5 pounds.  He also only went to the gym 3 days when I went 5.  Maybe I am still eating too much and not exercising enough.  But maybe, just maybe, it’s not technically my fault.  So, I did a little research and found out that it might really not be my fault.

I called Abbott today, the maker of the wonderdrug, for me at least, Humira to find out what to do, since I’m not the only one who has gained weight while on these TNF blocker things (I’ll post the titles of 5 different studies that I can find and you can too, using PubMed… which means there are way more than 5).  I was hoping they’d say that maybe my body is storing fat differently, so any kind of fat is bad, or perhaps my metabolism is slower so I need to to something about that.  Perhaps, I react poorly to sugar.  You know, I thought they’d help me fix this issue so I could stay on my medication and still not be as pudgy.

They, Abbott, the maker of Humira, said, Nuh-uh, not us.  We’re not doing it.  I said, I’ve read studies that show TNF blockers are linked to weight gain.  Their response, We haven’t read those.  I said, well, you can google and read about real, live patients who report weight gain with Humira.  Their response, No, way, not us.  We’ve never heard that.  I told the Humira lady that I was surpised a medical company was less astute at doing research than a lady with google and access to PubMed.  She said, Oh, sorry, but our data doesn’t show that.

Whatever, lady.  Denial is not a river in Africa. I know you all don’t want to report that because all those commercials on TV won’t sound as good if you say, your psoriasis may get better… but you also might get fat. 

Anywho, I’m meeting with my trainer/nutrition guru guy tomorrow to come up with a plan, as good as we can, and here are the names of the studies, all of them showing an increase in BMI for patients with psoriasis or ankylosis spondylitis, who gained the weight while on TNF blockers for an extended time period.  Maybe I should email these links to Abbott, since they’re way too busy to research their own medications.

  1. Prospective assessment of body weight and bodycomposition changes in patients with psoriasis receiving anti-TNF-α treatment.
  2. Comparison of body weight and clinical-parameter changes following the treatment of plaque psoriasis with biological therapies
  3. Effect of anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha therapies on body mass index in patients with psoriasis
  4. Anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha therapy increases body weight in patients with chronic plaque psoriasis: a retrospective cohort study.
  5. Prospective assessment of body weight, body composition, and bone density changes in patients with spondyloarthropathy receiving anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha treatment

Cycle 20, CD 7, Day 5 of Clomid

So, all-in-all Clomid has not been bad.  I got all weepy Friday night, but that happens without the medication too, so… I give this protocol a thumbs up so far.  My headaches are still occuring each morning, but nothing a little Tylenol can’t fix.

My psoriasis is doing so great. I don’t know why, other than I’ve been sleeping regular hours and exercising.  I also have been using some organic shampoo/shower gel stuff on my face and legs (the only bad places right now), so maybe that’s the secret stuff?  Either way, I’m so excited to be doing this well in March!  By summertime, I hope it’s like it doesn’t exist.  It’d be nice to have a summer off from psoriasis, like I did a few years ago (the year I met DH actually).

I quit doing that Atkins thing as low carbs as I was (I was trying for around 25).  It just goes against all reason that I have to worry about how many carrots I can have.  So, I’m just being really good — avoiding junk food and exercising and still watching carbs, especially in the bread and dessert forms!  And, still done some; yesterday I thought I had lost 7 but today it looks more like 5 or 6.  I have a crappy scale that’s hard to read — good when I’m up a few pounds I don’t want to know about and bad when I’m wishing I could see every ounce I’m losing!

Cycle 20, CD 2

Baseline ultrasound today was fine.  I’m still weirded out by people I don’t know really at all shoving things up my vagina, but I guess I will get used to it all.  Today, the lady walked in, said “Hi, put your feet up” and as I was telling her about my somewhat heavy period, she just shoved ole Wandy right up in there, covered by a blue glove (weird — at my OB/GYN, they use a condom, I think).

Anyway, apparently my ovaries looked fine.  The nurse gave me my calendar.  I start Clomid tomorrow and the rest of my meds should be in on Friday, thank goodness, since I start the Bravelle on Monday.

I hope I don’t have too many side effects with the Clomid

Oh, and on the Atkins weight loss front:  I’m down 2 pounds.  Some of the craving for chips has subsided, though the cheesecake did look awfully good today while in line for my greek salad with chicken.

Cycle 19, CD 17, 5 DPO

So, I’m spotting again, just like last time time, 9 days before my period is due.  I go see my OB/GYN this week, so while I’m there, I’m just going to have to tell him that this can’t possibly be normal and maybe someone should say something to me about PROGESTERONE.

I’m completely sure that I’m going through early menopause.  Even though I don’t have any symptoms other than the spotting.  Can you count gaining weight, while eating tons of desserts and snacks?  Is that unexplained?  I don’t know, really, what’s wrong.  Perimenopause seems one explanation, but I don’t know what they’d do different, except give me progesterone, which is what I’m going to ask for.

My weekend away with the family did not turn out as planned, but we did have a good time.  I’m just tired today, but that’s to be expected I supposed.

Speaking of weight gain, I’m going to have to do something about this weight.  I’m going low carb, not like Atkins psycho less than 20 grams a day low carb, but I’m definitely staying away from breads, pastas, chips, cookies, cakes, and even, gasp, doughnuts.  I’m also going to hold fruit to one serving a day and just eat tons of vegetables and protein.  My goal:  Lose at least 2 pounds by Friday.

Oh, and I’m exercising for 30 minutes every single day, no excuses.  Hopefully, I’ll get in 1 hour three or four days a week.  Gahd, it sucks not being naturally skinny.  Maybe this is bad timing, since all that new medicine stuff starts next week, but maybe dropping a few pounds will make all this stuff work better.  I talk like I already know I’m not pregnant this cycle– I think somewhere in side of me I’ve almost completely given up hope.  Maybe seeing some follicles on a ultrasound monitor will turn things around.