I take back every bad thing I ever said about antidepressants. OK, maybe not everything. Abilify did make my hair fall out. Viibryd gave me sleestak dreams. Wellbutrin plugged me up until I began looking like a snake who’d swallowed a rat. But this new one, Brintellix, has had no side effects. Zero. And, I feel better. I’m fairly astonished it’s working as well as it is.
I began the Brintellix in November, slowly increasing to the current dose of 20 mg per day. Several weeks ago, Dr. McEnroe added Deplin to the mix. I noticed a difference, a brightening, within days of adding the Deplin. I feel so much better that I’ve actually begun walking at lunch every day. I haven’t done that since my lovely boutique law firm merged with BigLaw five years ago. For the past couple of years I’ve had it in my head that I could catch up on my health and fitness when I retire. But emerging from the depression has made it clear how far I’ve fallen since the death trifecta, not only so far as my mental health goes, but my physical health as well. (And, of course, the two are inextricably intertwined.) Waiting to get serious until I retire is no longer an option.
I started with the easiest task first. I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned. Building on that momentum, I made an appointment with my doctor for a physical, something I haven’t done for three years. That’s right folks: I had not been to a doctor since early 2013. My blood pressure was fine, but she confirmed, as I already was well aware, I’ve packed on the pounds. The doctor ordered blood work, a mammogram, and a colonoscopy. I’ve already suffered the indignities of the mammogram, which was negative. I have a pre-colonoscopy appointment on Tuesday, following which I’ll schedule the test. It will be my first. I’m trying to put a positive spin on it, and so am looking at it like an insurance-paid colonic. Gwyneth Paltrow swears by them, so I expect I’ll be feeling super fresh afterward.
I am, however, burying the lead.
The blood work was not so good. My fasting blood glucose was high. Not diabetes high, but not normal, either. The doctor said: “Cut back on the carbs and get some exercise.” My mother is a Type 2 diabetic. I do not want to follow in her footsteps. My genetics, once again, are stacked against me. This is, therefore, a health emergency. “Cut back on the carbs and get some exercise” isn’t quite a complete enough recommendation. Naturally, I have spent the past seventeen days totally flipping out. Flipping out and researching the disease as if I’m writing my dissertation on it. I have totally immersed myself in learning everything there is to know, and doing everything I can possibly do to stop this thing before it gets started. Here’s what I’m doing, so far:
- Daily walks, minimum 30 minutes
- No sugar or starches (including potatoes, pasta!, flour, bread!, beans, corn, lentils, peas, and beets)
- No alcohol (luckily, I already quit that)
- No fruit, except berries, for now
Since I saw the doctor on February 4, I’ve lost 16.6 pounds. (I weigh in the buff at home, and was fully clothed at the doctor’s office, so we could subtract 2-4 pounds from that number to account for it.) My energy is steadily improving. I have been able to get out of bed in the morning without hours of self-negotiation. And, according to the glucose monitor I bought, my fasting blood glucose (as well my as my blood glucose throughout the day) has been normal for the past seven days. Normal! The doctor will re-do my blood work in early August. I’m looking forward to it.
Meanwhile, Sadie, my favorite cat, has had her blood work done twice more since last I posted her numbers. Each time, her numbers improve. Currently her BUN is high normal. Normal! Her creatinine, is still high at 3.1, but considering we started at 4.9, she’s come a long way. She’s also turned out to be the poster-cat for fluids. She gets excited, following me around meowing, when she sees me preparing to heat the fluid bag. She bounds up the stairs ahead of me when I go to hang the heated bag on her IV pole. She jumps up to our spot by the window, waiting for her Greenies and her 100 millilitres. Sadie seems to know when we’re nearing 100, as she starts to get a little antsy toward the end. Since we started fluids just before Christmas, she’s generally been pretty darn frisky.
But, like me, once a little piggy, Sadie has turned into a terribly particular eater. Currently, sardines in water are a hit. Since they’re good for me, too, I sometimes share a can with her. Alas, I cannot share her Greenies. Too carby.