Everything's Bouquet

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Cholesterol: The Rest of the Story

Back in April I wrote this post about My Shockingly Great News .  I was in the middle of my eleventh week of healthy eating and I had sporadically taken a quick cholesterol blood test at The Little Clinic.  My parents were visiting from Illinois, and I had abstained from all the gigantic amounts of food goodies they had brought with them.  I walked out of The Little Clinic ecstatic and patting my back for not eating all of those treats.  The results they gave me told me my cholesterol had dropped from 278 at the doctors last fall down to 184.  I was so happy.  I followed the advice of the nurse at the clinic to schedule an appointment with my doctor to get a more thorough blood test; one that would tell me the complete breakdown of all the numbers.

I went into the nurse at my doctors office the next week and was about the perkiest I'd ever been giving blood.  I couldn't wait to get those results and see all the fantastically lower numbers.  Imagine my shock three days later when the nurse called on the Friday before Easter and started her conversation with,"These numbers do not look good."  I wanted to stop her right there and say...."whoa...what? Do you have the right person?"  I didn't open my mouth because I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing.  My overall cholesterol was 230.  That wasn't as bad as my LDL and HDL.  My good cholesterol HDL was only 35 and it should be over 40.  My bad LDL cholesterol was 168 and it should be under 130.  My triglycerides were 135 which was, thank goodness, good.  They should be under 150.  My vitamin D level had gone up from 27 to 50; it was in the normal range.

I was so sad.  Really sad.  Now if the only results I had ever heard were those I might have been okay.  My overall cholesterol did drop from 278 down to 230.  That is 48 points lower in just 10 weeks of healthy eating.  They did not run the other numbers last fall, so I did not have a comparison for them.  However, hearing the seriousness of how bad those numbers still are in the nurse's voice combined with the fact that I thought my cholesterol was 184 really whacked me out.  More on that in a second.

I also noticed one more thing on my blood tests.  They ordered a hepatic function panel A also.  What was that all about?  Did bad cholesterol mean my liver was shot?  Did I have a liver disease they weren't telling me about?  I had to call back to find out.  Apparently, without asking me, it was routine to check my liver levels because they needed a baseline for the cholesterol medicine they were going to prescribe for me.  We agreed to disagree, and give me until this fall to see if I can knock those numbers into the healthy zone without medicine.

Back to whacked out me.  I hung up the phone , and announced we were going out to dinner.  My collage daughter was home for Easter, so we all loaded up and headed to Whole Foods.  It was fun and healthy, but the partay continued on to Sweet Cici's frozen yogurt.  Those bad numbers given to me by the nurse that flunked her bedside manners 101 class should have shaken me into reality and kept me on the straight and narrow.  I was just so sad, and we all know what emotional eaters do when they are sad.  I buried   my sorrows in a little Sweet Cici's.  The next morning the scale was up 1 pound.  Now a little sadder and in the mood to bake and celebrate I nibbled all day long preparing the Easter feast.  Sunday morning I woke up another 1.5 pounds up.  I was on a roll now for Easter and enjoyed a huge lunch and leftovers all evening long.  Monday morning I woke up 2 more pounds higher on the scale.  4.5 pounds I gained over Easter weekend.  I think it might have gone differently if that call had come after Easter.  I'm not blaming anyone else though.  No matter what the good or bad news, I have to control my emotional eating monster.    I continued that week to put on another pound and a half before I got a grip by Thursday and the pounds started to come back off SLOWLY.

I didn't really get a consistent grip and stop eating refined sugar until Thursday, May 5th.  So that little short weekend break turned into 13 days of eating sugar, trying to get a grip, failing to get a grip, wondering if I'd ever again get a grip, praying this wasn't the new trend that would make me regain all my weight as usual, and basically scaring myself to death.  Whew.  I don't want to ever do that again, but history tells me there is a strong chance I might.  I need to be prepared for dealing with it better. I need skills for dealing with my brain and emotional eating; good thing I rechecked out the brain doctors dieting book ; I hope to finish it this week.

Anywho, that is the sorry synopsis of how my cholesterol numbers are sadly not as good as I thought they were.  I hope that once I am in a healthy BMI range they will be better.  I am also trying to talk myself into a couple things: Maybe a 21 day cleanse to start the summer with a bang the beginning of June, and adding in a day or two of vegan eating every week.  I am thinking that maybe the more plant based eating I can do the better my cholesterol will be.  I would love to work up to several vegan days a week, but right now I will try starting with one.  Below is my Sunday lunch.  This would be a perfectly delicious vegan meal minus the chicken on the left.  I need more days minus the chicken (but oh chicken how I like you).