Why liking your doctor makes a huge difference.

When I think about the past two years in terms of doctors, I have a veritable cast of characters that come to mind. Getting married, becoming unemployed, going on my husband’s insurance meant switching from Kaiser, where all of everything was neatly contained in one HMO system, to the wild west (but totally awesome) land of PPO. I didn’t need referrals to see specialists for all that ailed me; and for once, my histamine-hating body rejoiced at the fact that I could pick my allergist based on reviews, proximity, and office hours of convenience. Granted, there were some trials as I adjusted to the PPO plan, like the fact that I needed several different docs — an allergist, a primary care doc, a dermatologist, a lady doc, and an endocrinologist (apparently I’m high maintenance). I hit gold with my allergist, but didn’t so much love my primary care doc. Instead of a doctor who actually listened to my complaints about my weight, I got the old “You’re not trying hard enough. Exercise more, eat less.” Now. Surely there’s some truth to that. But had this doctor taken the time to *really* investigate my claims, they’d find that blood tests don’t lie, and neither was I. So I dumped him, and moved on to the next. I bumbled around with a few different doctors, and now, a year later, I feel that I finally have my medical dream team assembled.

Curvaceous and Stunning Vaudeville Star Lillian Russel

Yesterday I had a two month follow up with my endocrinologist. I like this guy, because not only does he have a great sense of humor (reminding me that I was born in the wrong era, because my weight back then would have been highly desired — even mentioning the curvy old film star Lillian Russel, see below!), he TAKES TIME TO EXPLAIN THINGS. As in, he actually busts out his doctor pen, and starts to draw diagrams on the paper sheet on the exam table. Yesterday, he drew a diagram of the kidney’s role in weight loss, and why a long-term low carb diet can be challenging on the kidneys. (We’re trying a 1,300 calorieĀ  day diet now, with moderate “good” carbs.) I had some very pointed questions about some of the hormone issues I’ve been having, and he gave me very direct, yet polite, responses. There’s a bedside manner that’s needed anytime you’re working with the public, especially when it’s sensitive stuff. I don’t need to be coddled, but if I ask a direct question, I want a direct answer, but delivered softly. This guy has it mastered — even making jokes about Dexter while taking blood. Schwing! I have what’s called “white coat hypertension”. I’m usually nervous at doctor’s appointments, so yesterday, my first blood pressure reading was sky high (156/92. YIKES!). I now know to ask the doctors to re-check mid-way through the appointment. I’ve known this for years, yet Kaiser wouldn’t retest me, and I ended up having to visit a hypertension clinic where, no surprise, my repeat blood pressure readings were great. The doc yesterday got me laughing, took my blood pressure a second time while cracking jokes about my Metformin induced nausea, and lo and behold, my blood pressure was a relatively healthy 126/79. That? Is a good doctor. One who listens, takes note, suggests helpful modifications, and cares.

So who cares if I like my doctor, right? I care. You have to decide to take action after leaving your doctor’s office, to try and manage the things YOU can control. Some things you can’t control, but some you can. I left my appointment feeling encouraged, positive, and motivated to keep working on my weight loss. And that’s why I realize it’s important to like the person who’s helping to take care of and treat YOU. Because YOU matter at the end of the day, and to keep yourself in tip-top shape, “liking” the person who’s giving you the orders is super important. Have you found a doctor you like?

 

 

 

 

 

I’m 28! Birthday Thoughts

Hello! Today is the first time I’m writing to you as a 28 year old. Birthdays are weird as you get older, because as you get older they become less exciting and more like, “Oh, it’s my birthday.” This morning I completely forgot it even was my birthday until I opened Facebook on my phone after I pressed the “snooze” button. My adult responsibilities got in the way of me anticipating my birthday – I worked close to 50 hours last week, finished thesis changes, had house guests and doctor appointments. What a whirlwind! Needless to say, I had an amazing day today filled with delicious food (Hubby took me to Cheesecake Factory. Mmmm. We shared a piece of peanut butter cheesecake and half of it is sitting in our fridge softly singing “Alysssaaaaa. Alyssssssaaaaaa. Birthday calories don’t count.”), wonderful people and all of the warm, fuzzy feelings I get seeing so many of you wishing me a happy day. You’re all quite lovely!

In thinking about what I want 28 to be like, I want to claim my health. I’m fortunate that my blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels are fantastic, but this year I want to shed my excess weight and reveal the slimmer, slender Lyssa. I’m not going to put a number on how much I want to lose, because that sets me up for disappointment if I don’t make it, but I need to get closer. I’m in the process of doing some fact-finding that I’ll share more about later, but it might be a little clue as to why I’ve struggled so much the past few months. (For the last time… No, I’m not pregnant. Ha!)

Here are some health related things I want to do this year:

  • Run a 5k with April. We’ve been discussing doing a Double Chin Diary Sister Run, and I’m trying to figure out which 5k will be our first to hit up. Any suggestions?
  • Keep drinking water. Did y’all know I’ve been OFF DIET COKE for over a month now??!?!?! Unbelievable. The only thing I miss is the convenience of grabbing a cold coke when I want something different than water. I feel like my skin has cleared up a lot! I’ve been guzzling unsweetened iced tea like crazy!
  • Focus on strength training in addition to cardio. Too often when I’m trying to lose weight (aka my whole life) I just focus on sweaty, messy cardio. However, this spring’s bootcamp session reminded me that great results come from mixing it up. Plus, nothing makes you feel more badass than pushing a sled filled with weights across a park.
  • Work on changing the negative self talk to a voice of compassion. This means calling out my friends and family when they diss themselves. Life is too short to hate yourself… so I want to make sure I live every day grateful for this body I have, as imperfect as it may be. It is perfect because it is mine, and it works, which is a gift some people don’t have.

That’s all I got for now. Here’s some exciting news: The Double Chin Diary has been listed in Diet To Go’s top 100 inspiring weight loss blogs!!! There are days when I’m too tired, too lazy, or too meh to write, but for the most part, I love coming back here and checking in. Writing has always been my sanctuary, and to know that there are real live people out there reading my rambling warms my heart. When I reach my goal, know that you have played a part in it. THANK YOU.

I hope you have a wonderful day. šŸ™‚