Health Comes First

I went to the ob/gyn. today.  I would like to state before conclusions are jumped to, that I am not, or wanting to/attempting to be pregnant at this present time.  After returning from our three month trip to the UK, I fell into a bit of a depression.  I know that the jetlag didn’t help.  It turns out that three months is a really long time to come back from.  I am in no means back to the kind of routine that I was in pre-UK.  

And actually, I am glad about that.  It turns out that not being in my usual routine was helpful.  Coming back “home” showed me how unhappy I was here before.  My days consisted of housework, working out in a desperate attempt to shed a measly three kilos that refused to budge.  They have doubled and those SIX kilos are still refusing to budge, but I am just coming to terms with the fact that I actually look ok.  I will never have a flat stomach, but the lighter weight actually made me look quite gaunt in the face.  Well our bodies won’t shift weight where we want them to, and a teeny minority of the population are lucky in that respect.  So I have to be happy with it.

However, I was crying myself to sleep and waking up in tears.  I told my husband I wanted a divorce and nothing really seemed to make sense anymore.  Grasping on to my hormones, I thought it may have something to do with PMS.  I contacted a friend who works at the hospital where I gave birth to my children.  She very kindly arranged for me to see the doctor on the morning after I contacted her.  As soon as I got to the hospital and met with her, I burst into tears…ugh, how embarrassing.  We went through the forms and the doctor recommended starting the birth control pill to regulate my hormones.  I had suffered from terrible periods in my teens, and had the same treatment prescribed.  It seemed to help then, and since having my children, pms and period pains had got bad enough that they were affecting my ability to function with day to day tasks, so I agreed.  The only problem with this however, and the reason why I was taken off the pill previously, was because I suffer from focal migraines, I go numb down one side, can’t form words, can’t move without falling over, vomit, and feel as if someone is whacking me over the head with an anvil..nice, huh?  Without the pill I still get these, but usually once a year to once every two years.  

So I started the course.  I felt more normal straight away, but I think that could have been because I had just started my period.  But I started to get headaches.  There weren’t bad headaches, but any headache that lasts for over a week is going to affect your life.  Plus I couldn’t sleep.  I had no energy.  I felt a bit like a zombie.  It was different from but just as bad as previously.  Add to that my stress at worrying if my headache would turn into a migraine.  I gave it two months before last week I decided I had had enough of it and stopped taking it.  Immediately I felt better.  My headaches are still there, although not as bad, but my energy is starting to come back, I can sleep, and I’m not worried anymore.

I went back to the hospital today.  I was worried they would try to talk me into going back on the pill, or changing to another brand.  But I was adamant that I wouldn’t take it anymore anyway.  They were surprisingly ok with it.  I’m so silly to have worried about it.  

As well as prescribing the pill those two months ago, they also did a nutrition check.  I had blood tests where they checked 75 components (who knew there were that many to check?!) and cost me an arm and a leg.  I’m thankful that my husband is kind enough to think this kind of spending is ok.  

So today I got the results of this testing.  It turns out that although I (think) I eat healthily for the most part, that I have a zinc and iron (ferretin) deficiency and low blood sugar.  Those are the “red flag” issues, among other slightly less worrying “yellow flag” concerns.  

These deficiencies cause fatigue, headaches, shoulder tension, feelings of dejection, bad skin, nails, hair, etc.  Sounds about right.  I was given a tree’s worth of papers detailing which foods I should be eating more of, and the glaring one is protein.  I thought I ate enough protein.  I always believed that one fist of protein at each meal was enough.  They told me I should be eating two palmfuls per meal, three times a day…  As I don’t really eat much in the way of sweets, I must be getting too much sugar from carbs.  No more white carbs for me.  This is no problem for me in terms of taste.  I much prefer whole grains, but my husband loves white rice.  I have to convince him that brown is better.

As for iron and zinc, the main sources are fish, beef, liver, spinach.  I rarely eat these things. I used to eat much more spinach, but with recent environmental events, I avoid it.  

I was prescribed supplements, iron, zinc, vitamin b complex and something to deal with excess fat. This lovely lot will set me back around 20,000 yen a month for the next six months.  If I were to take all the recommended supplements, I would be paying 65,000…ever get the feeling you are being ripped off?  Well I am willing to try for half a year, and the purse strings will be choking.  Plus these are doctors supplements, so they are much more effective than the stuff you can buy over the counter.  I texted my husband to tell him how much his wife was costing him, and he said, “health comes first”, which made me a bit teary.  But you know, he’s right.  What have we got without good health?  A raging lunatic of a woman, that’s what.  And it made me think..we really are what we eat.  So I’m off to the supermarket to buy a barn full of eggs, a load of tofu, chicken, pork and lots of veggies.  So glad I bought 5 kilos of wholewheat bread flour this weekend…

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7 thoughts on “Health Comes First

  1. wow sounds like a major emotional upheaval for you…glad to hear things are slowly getting on track..
    holy cow two palmfuls of protein at every meal! that`s loads..I guess it would make you feel majorly full, more than carbs would anyways..I`d be interested to hear how it goes for you.

    Hope things stay on an upward trend for you.

  2. Thank you! Yeah, it’s a lot of protein, but you can also do it with an egg, so a palmful of meat plus an egg seems a lot more doable. I am a major carbohydrate scoffer..this is going to be tough for me to cut down and fill up more on protein.

  3. WOW! I had no idea you had been feeling so poorly lately- sorry to hear that. I think it is understandable to feel a bit depressed coming back to Japan after so long in the UK. It is culture shock all over again after that long.

    I think I need a check like this- i have recently started taking multivitamins again but my diet, frankly, is pretty crap. I only eat carbs at breakfast {toast and vegemite} and we have white rice with dinner most nights {I would prefer brown too. Not sure ANY of my boys would eat it though}.

    Also can`t believe the pill messes you around so much- I haven`t had problems like that before and have been on it since I was 15 or so {same issue, terrible period pain that used to make me sick and have to miss school 1-2 days a month}
    – only off it to conceive Noah & Shion and then back on a type I can take while breastfeeding from February this year.

    I buy frozen spinach when I can`t get any from a “good” place- would go nice in an omlette!

    Good luck and hope that with time you start to feel better.

  4. Thanks! I hadn’t thought about the frozen spinach, although where is that grown? I worry about everything food-wise these days.

    My day used to consist of lots of carbs too, cereal with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast and maybe some toast too, rice with egg and veg for lunch and then rice or pasta for dinner.

    I think if I persevered with different brands of pills, I would probably be ok, but I just actually don’t like the thought of messing around with my cycle…sounds silly I know! Plus I can NEVER remember to take the bloody thing!

  5. It’s almost scary how much a good diet can change your body and how you feel. My boyfriend wanted to lose weight and switched his diet to the 4-hour body diet, which is basically the cave man diet (protein (mainly meat, fish and beans/lentils, vegetables, no carbs, no fruit, no milk products). I thought it was stupid but he kept losing weight and felt amazing. So I switched to it as well. I feel so much better now! I could not believe it. I don’t know if it has to do with this, but I noticed that my period got shorter and I used to have really bad pain, but that is gone down so much that I don’t have to use painkillers any more.
    The amazing thing about this diet is that I get one day a week where I can eat like a pig… which is tomorrow and I am already planning what to buy at Starbucks.
    But besides that I think all the fresh vegetables and the beans really supply my body with a ton of vitamins and minerals that I might have been lacking before.

    • No carbs at all? Not sure if I could do that…but I think all the other foods you mentioned are great! Especially beans. I like that you get a cheat day too. Maybe I should do that to help me stick at it. I do feel much different though, not losing anymore weight, but as long as I’m not gaining any and staying at a good BMI, I’m ok with it.

      • Carbs only on cheat day. But I think if you are not trying to lose weight eating carbs is ok. I still want to lose some weight, but once I am on the weight I want to be I will introduce carbs back into my daily diet. But only wholegrains.

        I am trying to get to a bmi of around 22. Still need to calculate what weight that would be. I am not trying to be super skinny, just a normal healthy weight at which clothes shopping is not such a chore.

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