Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Taking Care of Me

*Be forewarned…long rambling post!*

Dear Friends,

How are you?  How has your January been going?

Mine has not been so great, but it is slowly getting better!  In fact, this past Fall/Holiday Season…I have felt really crummy.  Something was just not right.

I was tired all of the time.  I was irritable.  I was anxious.  I was unmotivated.  I was weepy.  I was just not myself.

Funny…when I look back at my blog archive I can definitely see when I had a 3rd baby…but I can also see when I was feeling good…full of energy and motivated to write.

But more recently, I have been back to feeling overwhelmed and lethargic…fuzzy-headed and blah.

At first it was random…the "I can't catch my breath" or "rapid heart beat" feeling that I would experience at night while laying on the couch ready for bed at 8:30 PM!  But then those same experiences were occurring while I was driving the kids in the car or escorting a student back to class.  They were also happening more frequently.  And if I was alone in the car…I would sometimes burst into tears while feeling like my heart was racing against time.

I consulted with my husband (the paramedic)…and then of course, my ICU nurse sister,…and the consensus was that I needed to see my doctor.

My doctor?

I don't have a doctor.  I have an OB.  I have a GYN.  I have a Pediatrician for my kids. But a good old-fashioned doctor….that I didn't have.

After soliciting referrals and making myself an appointment, I saw a fantastic family-friendly specialist in December.

As I described my symptoms (incorrectly!), she decided to run an EKG right then and there.

And guess what?  It wasn't in my head at all (like the hubby may or may not have suggested…)

I actually showed an "irregular heartbeat" on the EKG.  She congratulated me when she read the strip.  She said that most of the time when patients come in complaining of an irregular heartbeat the EKG shows otherwise!  This time though…it was definitely irregular.

The good news…no sign of heart attack or any heart damage.  Normal cholesterol levels…but slightly elevated blood pressure.

The bad news…I need to get myself back to a healthy weight, but even more importantly…if I want to avoid future heart damage (an irregular heart beat for a prolonged amount of time is not good) and going on beta-blockers, I need to begin exercising regularly.

This cartoon cracked me up…it is my life…spot on!

The other thing Dr. K did was run some more blood tests. This time checking both my thyroid level and my A1C.

Uh oh.

I sort of knew what was coming.

The lab results came back flagged for my A1C.  It wasn't just "high-normal"…it was actually pre-diabetic.

FYI…my A1C was 10.1

And if you've read here for any amount of time, you might know or recall the I was gestational diabetic 3X.  That puts me at significant risk for becoming a Type 2 diabetic.

And yes, it is definitely diet and exercise controlled. (I never did need insulin while pregnant..and probably ate better than ever while pregnant.., yet I still developed gestational diabetes 3X…some things we just can't control!)

But I can also tell you that I personally know lots of folks heavier and less healthy (exercise-wise) than me…that are NOT Type 2 diabetics (yet…).

So much of this does have to do with genetics. I also struggle with some other auto-immune issues like psoriasis…eczema…allergies…etc.  My sister has a medication-requiring thyroid disorder…so it is in the genes to have some of these autoimmune disorders.  But, life-style changes including whole foods, exercise, essential oils, etc. can alter the path one has to take when dealing with these disorders.

So…I'm back on my no sugar (except fruit and dairy) and no carbs (except for fruit) eating-regimen until I get my weight back down and more importantly my blood sugar back under control.

Because THAT is the reason I have been feeling so crummy.  It's not the irregular heart beat…that's just my body's way of signaling to me that the electrical current got thrown off…it's the blood sugar levels that make one feel sleepy, tired, lethargic, moody, anxious, etc.

I am on day 4 of my healthy eating regime..and I'm already perking back up!  Full of energy again.  Not needing a nap after 8 hours of sleep.  Not waking up tired after going to bed at 8:30 PM after putting kids down!  Sleeping soundly through the night.  Not waking up thirsty.  I could go on and on.

So, if you get tired of my "I'm all healthy again…I don't eat sugar/carbs, but on the rare special occasion…I'm  loving JAZZERCISE and/or my daily walk/run…please know that it is NOT to pass judgment on how YOU eat or live.

I am not here to tell you to cut out processed foods (although they are horrible for you!)  *wink*

I am not here to tell you that you can't ever eat cake or pie again (I sure as heck am…what would life be like without angel food cake or Stone Cold Creamery???!!!)

I am not here to make you feel bad that you haven't exercised this week…I hadn't exercised since my leg surgery in November of 2012 (14 months ago!)

I am just posting here to remind myself how very sick I was feeling…how unproductive I had become…how overwhelmed I was with parenting/work/marriage/holidays…all because I chose poor eating and lack of exercise over going the extra mile to take care of me!

And if one gestational…pre-diabetic…or diagnosed Type 2…stumbles upon this blog of mine and feels like they are not alone in their struggle with having to manage the high amount of sugars that are in so many of our foods (you must read labels!!!) then I have made a difference!

In less than a week, I have already begun to feel so much better!  More energetic…more patient…happier…calmer!

And I really, truly, do hope to post more regularly!  Especially now that I am no longer living in a fog!
I love blogging and it is my creative outlet…my place to write…and I hope to get into a regular routine now that I am so much more energetic.

Blessings and stay healthy!!!


  1. Good for you Valerie for going to the doctor and now getting things done! I used to do Jazzercise and LOVED it. It is so fun. I hope you continue to feel better.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! I am loving Jazzercise! This is my first time participating in any type of "group" exercise class and I really enjoy it. I was so worried about looking foolish, but decided to just go for it and I'm so glad I did!

  2. You have sent a great message, Valerie! Moms need to take care of themselves. We seem to put ourselves last, more often than not. It is so important to listen to those little signs and act on them. Your post is important and I thank you for being so encouraging to all of us. Hang in there! Go get 'em tiger!!

    1. Thanks, Patty! I am so bad (or good?) about putting myself last…but you're right…if we don't take care of ourselves how can we take care of our families???!!! Hugs.

  3. Somehow I missed this post! I am so glad all your symptoms are "fixable" by living a healthy lifestyle. Sugar does the same thing for me, although I just had that blood sugar level tested and was at 5.7, so I'm fine but only because I don't eat much of it. I would love to but I feel anxious, light-headed, dizzy and thirsty when I eat crap. You are going to rock this thing, Val!!!!


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