I’ve been feeling poorly for months. Not ill, really, just off. Tired, moody, grumpy. It first started getting out of hand in the fall when the time changed, and for the first time I empathized with those who suffer from seasonal affect disorder. I found the early darkness oppressive.
Then the holidays came, and with it the usual stresses that shouldn’t be stresses. It took me a while to recover, but I kept going. I made plans to make this year the year I took better care of myself. I committed myself to a healthy meal plan. I started playing tennis again. I made big plans for the blog. I promised to go to the doctor for a routine check up.
But even with all that, I still had days where I couldn’t pull it together. I could never get on board with happy, and I started to feel like I was always yelling. I pulled it together for the big birthday party, but that left me exhausted for weeks. I joked that maybe I was the one turning 40 since I was so sore and sick after a simple party. In the back of my mind, I started to worry. Am I really that old? Why do my muscles and bones hurt? Sure, not a lot, but my muscles weaken long before I get winded when I do physical activity. My hips hurt for days after I play tennis, and sometimes for no reason at all. There are nights where I can’t fall asleep from the pain, and the Mister has to rub me down to work out the knots in my muscles.
Then, one night it hit me. It’s because I’m fat.
I’ve been overweight for ten years and suddenly, it was no longer about vanity. I panicked and started obsessing about pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, and stroke. I finally made my appointment, got my slip for lab work, and prayed. Really, really prayed that I didn’t screw things up for my family.
On Monday I got my results. No pre-diabetes. In fact, my A1c came back with a reduced risk for diabetes. My cholesterol was within normal range. Could be lower, but by no more than 10 points. My blood pressure was 103/70, and my heart rate 85. The tennis is paying off. Every single thing I worried about turned out to be for naught. I’m healthy as a horse!
Except for my vitamin D levels. Those are severely, record breaking, eyebrows shooting up into the doctor’s hairline, low. Basically, I have vitamin D deficiency and I’m lucky I don’t have osteomalacia. Having said that, it’s not a big(ish) deal, there are far many people with greater and more legitimate problems and, for the love of God, do not feel sorry for me or think that I am lying in a heap in the corner gently crying into cupped hands. There are only two reasons why I am publishing this post.
1. Consider me your cautionary tale.
My levels took months, maybe even years, to get that low. It didn’t happen overnight, but if I didn’t brush off every symptom I had, I may not have trouble walking after mild exercise or wearing heels for a few hours. The problem, and this is why I am writing this, is that every symptom can be attributed to LIFE.
- Muscle pain
- Weak bones/fractures
- Low energy and fatigue (mental and physical)
- Lowered immunity
- Symptoms of depression and mood swings
- Sleep irregularities.
Okay, maybe the muscle pain is a stretch, but I’m not the most active person in the world. Looking back, it seems obvious. When we went on that hike back in December, I joked that my muscles gave out long before my lungs did. That whole post makes me cringe with hindsight.
But every other symptom was easy to brush off. I an older mom to two young boys. Of course I’m tired! We’ve had a terrible cold and flu season. Of course I keep getting sick! There is just too much on my plate. Of course I can’t seem to write anymore and keep making bizarre typos or forget important obligations! I feel down and moody. Again, two young boys! Everything was ridiculously easy to sweep under the carpet. Don’t do that. If you’re feeling off, don’t blame your life and go to the doctor. I’ll tell you why.
2. I’m going to be taking it easy and blogging less.
Because my levels are as low as they are, I am taking more than five times the amount of vitamin D that you get in your standard multi-vitamin for the next three months (at least). That, coupled with regular vitamins and fish oils means that I am nauseous. Going to the doctor sucks, but taking horse pills and having day long nausea sucks more.
Also, I’m in pain. Not a lot of pain, but I just finished playing tennis and by the time I got home I had to limp to get in the house. I wore heels yesterday (the comfy ones I am wearing in the picture in the left sidebar) and after a few hours my legs hurt–really hurt– from the balls of my feet to my hips. The Mister wanted to rub my muscles out last night but I was too embarrassed and told him it wasn’t that big a deal.
Why am I now in pain? The best way to describe it is like this: the pain has been there for months, but it’s a lot like laying in bed at 8am with the covers over your head. You don’t want it to be light out, so you ignore it. But when someone pulls the covers away, you can’t deny the sun. Once the doctor looked at my levels and then at me and said, “You mean to tell me you haven’t been feeling any muscle or bone pain lately?” I could feel every twinge and ping I’ve been so effectively ignoring for months. And each bit of pain feels like a swift kick in the butt. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
I was really stupid to let it go on for as long as I did.
But! Hey! In a way it’s good news, right? Honestly, I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled to know that this down and out personality isn’t the new me, and that soon I will have energy to do things like cook from my Doña Petrona cookbook and read from my Unread Library. I just need to lay low, relax, read some shoddy books, and take this for what it is: a blessing.
Now go make a doctor’s appointment.