Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Cancer and Obesity”

Still Healthy!

HEALTH

The results are in for my 5th annual physical. Pretty much what I expected. Image courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net and Kromkrathog.

I got the results back from my annual physical. I’m still healthy. The news from my physical came about two weeks after my oncologist’s office let me know my test came back negative for cancer. So while I was happy with the results, my oncology report stole my physical’s thunder.

Other than my menopausal weight gain, I expected results similar to last year’s physical. Read more…

Celebrating The Good News

fireworks

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphoto.net and Praisaneng.

Every 3 months I have to go in for a check up to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. Nearly a year post surgery and I just got the latest lab work back: All clear.

My oncologist told me I’ve got another year of this “aggressive” testing. Then for the next 2 years I get checked just twice a year. Then the 5th (and final year) I’m tested just once. If all is clear after that, then I’ve officially kicked cancer’s sorry ass.

So how do I celebrate the good news?

I’m lifting weights today. And if the weather holds, a bike ride. Finally I’ll cap the day by grilling a burger to top my tasty, big-ass salad.

Adventures In Medical Indifference

holistic-medicine

When it comes to cancer causing menopause, traditional doctors are lacking in care.

Apparently deciding to see an endocrinologist to help balance my hormones is easier than actually getting an appointment with one. Turns out the two hormone doctors my physician referred me to feel I’m not worthy of their time.

 

When I called to schedule an appointment, the receptionist pretty much blew me off before I could give specifics as to why I needed to see one of the two doctors I was referred to. She didn’t need to hear that I my very high estrogen (a hormone) levels caused my cancer or that I was insulin resistant (an other hormone problem). Once I said “menopause” I was told to “just go see your gynecologist” because “it’s just menopause.”

I ended up calling 3 other endocrinologists and pretty much got the same result. However, during one of these calls I was asked, in a somewhat hopeful tone, if I was a diabetic. When that didn’t pan out as hoped, the voice on the other end of the phone told me to see a gynecologist.

So I did contact couple of gynecologist offices. They were up for pelvic exams (I already get 4 of those a year via my oncologists!) or hormone treatments – a big no-no for me.

Sigh.

Enter Functional & Integrative Medicine
This week I visit a doctor with a functional and integrated (F&I) medical group that treats menopause. I’m curious about this visit. While the idea of integrated and functional medicine is appealing, I also know marketing speak when I see it (“we don’t just treat the disease, we treat the whole patient”).

So what is functional & integrative medicine? Well the best that I can figure is that both rely on conventional western medicine (testing, labs, medications, etc.) but integrative doctors include alternative treatments like vitamins, minerals, acupuncture, or stress reduction techniques. Functional medicine tends to stress nutritional therapy.

And I’ve read lots of articles online about the traditional medical community hating on F&I community. “Quackery” is the main word I see when talking about F&I.

Certainly when it comes to nutrition, western medicine has it’s own “quackery” to own up to.

Traditional doctors still embrace the standard American diet (high carb, low-fat) despite following its introduction the obesity and diabetes epidemic began. They believe exercise makes us thin, and many pretty much reject my embrace of the ketogenic diet to drop 150 pounds. Hmmm…

There are aspects of F&I that I’m very skeptical of, like HeartMath or detoxing (the kidney & liver do that just fine!). But unlike traditional medical practitioners, I’m not skeptical about essential oils, eliminating foods from the diet, herbal medicines, supplements or mindfulness. I never considered any of these things as alternatives to treat my cancer. But my own experience tells me they have a place in helping me become a healthier person.

The bottom line is that traditional medicine is driving me to integrated & functional medicine. But hey,  “it’s just menopause.”

Final 40 Fat Challenge

March 19 weigh inThis morning I stepped on the scale for the first time since January. I expected to gain weight back from my week-long fast (usually half comes back). Turns out I kept just 2 pounds off. As a ‘glass half full’ gal, I’ll take that.

So I’m officially stepping on the scale once a week. I’m tracking my food consistently once again. The wine is officially out of the house. For the foreseeable future, eating out is over with.

Funny how exercising regularly improves your mental focus. I know exercise doesn’t help with weight loss. It’s all about building strength, improving cardio and balancing hormones.

Most importantly it clarifies choices.

Battle Of The Final 40 Begins
Stepping on the scale I start my new journey – getting to a healthy level of body fat.   I know focusing on weight is dumb and doesn’t do any good. I need to focus on reducing my body fat while maintaining/building muscle. It was those fat cells that went wonky on me and caused the cancer after all.

I’m using the same calculations I made back in August when I figured out my ideal body weight.   For the sake of sanity I’m calling this challenge “The Final 40” since the balance of lean body mass and fat pegs my ideal weight at 165.

That doesn’t mean 165 pounds is my maintenance weight. Before cancer came a knockin’ I was dealing with a nasty infection due too excess skin (sigh…those were the days).

I’m looking forward to those days once again.

New Challenges, New Goals, Better Attitude

new life

My life has changed and I’ve set me sights on some new health goals to work towards.   FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.

Over the last 5 years I’ve learned to focused on health and not weight loss. The results have been awesome. My doctor pronounced me healthy. After achieving my goal  I did the expected.

I coasted.

For 18 months I maintained my weight of 185 pounds. Sure I still wanted to drop about 25-30 “vanity” pounds because I knew the extra weight would eventually cause havoc as I got older. Knowing that didn’t propel me to take action. Oh, I came up with some new goals…and promptly started coasting again.

Why? No fire in the belly.

Five years ago I was staring at a bleak, unhealthy future of diabetes and heart disease. Fear drove me to act. But once I reclaimed my health, I thought the fight was over.

Boy was I wrong. Read more…

Time To See An Endocrinologist

bloodtest

Making an appointment with the needle! Actually an endocrinologist to find out which hormones are going wacky since my surgery. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and watiporn.

I’m waving the white flag. I keep reading so many conflicting things about my metabolism, weight gain/loss, and my menopause symptoms that it’s time to call in the big guns.

About 3 months ago my radiation oncologist suggested I meet with an endocrinologist to help with my raging hormones. Well I’m taking this advice to heart as I’ve come to the conclusion that most LCHF/Keto research is pretty much skimpy when it comes to menopausal women.   We’re just not as sexy as athletes.

Anyway, an endocrinologist focuses on hormone health and can recommend natural remedies – dietary, exercise, supplements, and acupuncture – to rebalance your hormone levels.

Whack-A-Mole Symptoms
I make one change to my diet to end the hot flashes, only to have insomnia rear it’s ugly head. Adjust for insomnia, here come the night sweats. It just goes on.

I’m trying to tackle this without knowing what it is I need to tackle. Do I have a thyroid problem? I’ve gained weight since surgery so are my fat cells producing too much of the bad estrogen? Is my cortisol level too high or too low? What about progesterone or testosterone? My resistance to insulin must be even more weakened now, right?

I just don’t know. It’s time to find out.

 

Combating Bloat By Working The Abs, Avoiding Veggies

veggies

Some of my favorite veggies are awesome on the health scale, but are not helping my abdominal bloat.

One of the side effects of surgical menopause is my body has absolutely no time to adjust to the drop in estrogen. This means dealing painful stomach bloating. How bad is the bloat? Some times my belly swells so large I look pregnant. Yikes!

It gets especially painful around my belly button – that’s where the camera was inserted for my surgery. It’s the one incision area that is the slowest to heal as it takes the brunt of the bloating.

There are a few things I can do with my diet and exercise to minimize the bloating while my body finds its footing.

  1. Bidding Adieu to My Favorite Veggies – For the time being certain vegetables no longer welcomed in my kitchen. While I don’t use a lot of garlic and onions, they are a staple when it comes to adding flavor. Unfortunately they contain fructans, soluble fibers that cause bloating. I’m also giving up all cruciferous vegetablesbroccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, all cabbage, collard greens… Oh the list seems to go on! At least spinach, avocados and tomatoes are safe.
  1. Kicking Out Carbonated Water – The carbon dioxide in carbonated water can get trapped in the digestive system, causing bloat. I started drinking carbonated water as a way to drink more water. Now I drink about 80-90 ounces of tap water a day, so kicking fizzy water to the curb shouldn’t be difficult.
  1. Building Up My Core – On days where I do yoga or walk the bloat is pretty much non-existent. Not so much when I do weight training.  Thankfully there are some other exercises that can safely incorporate into my strength training: crunches, sit ups, seated twist and energy push. The first three are perfect for strength training as they use body weight. The energy push can be used as part of my warm up routine.

These three steps are my starting point. Now there is a chance that I may have to give up my beloved dairy. I certainly don’t have any signs of lactose intolerance.  Nonetheless I started cutting back on dairy (creams and cheese) to get my total daily carbs under 20g.

I plan to see how well these 3 steps help with the bloat. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll see if dairy needs to get added to the list.

Pelvic Floor Strength Thru The Roof!

Pelvic floor muscle

With my hysterectomy, I have too much room down there and organs can start shifting, causing major problems. And my radiation treatment left me with a bit of incontinence. Good news there is an exercise to fix me.

After a three of months of doing pelvic floor exercises 6 times a day everyday, I’ve officially graduated from physical therapy. No cap n’ gown were involved, but I made great progress and no longer need therapy. My pelvic floor strength was off the chart. Awesome considering how bad I was before I started.

I figured I was making progress about a month ago. After one sneezing frenzy nothing leaked out of my bladder.

Yes…it’s the simple things that make me happy these days.

Nonetheless, my therapist suggested I do my pelvic exercises 3 times a day to build endurance and maintain strength. Important now that my uterus is gone. Also she wants me to work on building hip strength.

Between my yoga, squats and Fitness Blender routines, my hips should feel the burn in no time.

Now it’s time to work on the rest of me.

January Reading: The Case Against Sugar

sugar

My first read of the new year, The Case Against Sugar by the man whose done more to influenced the nutrition debate over the last 10+ years than anyone else, Gary Taubes.

I try avoiding sugar as much as possible. It jacks up my blood sugar and insulin levels too much. It’s why I don’t eat fruit (with the exception of the occasional berry).

The only way to really avoid it is to not eat any processed foods — it’s loaded with sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup or the more than 50+ names sugar goes by.  But is sugar really the new tobacco?

Today I start Gary Taubes’ new book, The Case Against Sugar. As readers know, I’m a huge fan of Taubes. His Why We Get Fat is the book that saved my life and set me down my ketogenic path.

Taubes did a great job taking down the bad science behind the idea that dietary fat (saturated fat in particular) was causing heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and recent growth of cancers. Looks like he’s putting the spotlight on the real culprit.

My Fasting Challenge: Days 4-7

no-food-or-wine

During days 4-7 of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge I experience some subtle changes in my mental and menopausal symptoms. Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net, KENO64 and Simon Howden.

Sorry for the delay in posting on the final days of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge, but I had a sick doggie and husband that needed some attention. Plus while going through the last 4 days of my fast, I thought they were uneventful. The intense hunger I felt on Day 3 was gone. Once in a great while my stomach might grumble a bit, but a sip of water took care of it (Day 3 I was obsessed with food thoughts).

I even stopped opening up the fridge.

But my little notes to myself indicate there was a lot more going on than I realized at the time. Physically, my menopause symptoms were gone. I could easily get 8 hours of sleep each night. The hot flashes and chills disappeared. My anxiety dropped through the floor. Mentally I was crisp.

Worrying that my fast would cause more stress on my body (thus raising cortisol levels and stress me out further) was unfounded. Yes, I lost weight not eating for 7 days, but that really was side benefit.

Below is the highlights of days 4-7 of my fast. Read more…

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