September 12, 2008

The Moment of Truth

There are rare moments in life when something happens, when something you've known all along but have chosen to shove aside and ignore in hopes that it will go away, can no longer be ignored. Instead, in that moment - the moment of truth - the whole ugly reality is suddenly so in-your-face that it's impossible to not change.

My moment came at about 11:30 a.m. this morning.

I was in my family physician's office, because I've been suffering from a cold all week. I figured there's not much they can give me since it seemed like a cold, but today I was miserable enough to make an appointment anyway.

The nurse's assistant weighed me, took my blood pressure and clipped a device to my finger to check my blood oxygen level. Then she escorted me to an exam room, where I sat clutching the Kleenex box and coughing loudly.

It wasn't long before the physician assistant who I was scheduled to see walked in. She shut the door very deliberately, stood in front of it with her feet braced apart as if I was likely to rush the door in a tackle, looked at me as directly as any person ever has in my entire life and said, "YOU have high blood pressure."

I'm sure it sounds like I'm overdramatizing this, but it is a seismic moment for me.

I know I've gained weight (55 pounds since we started infertility stuff 5 1/2 years ago), I know my blood pressure isn't great. But I kept telling myself that it was just temporary, that eventually I would bring it back under control.

But the reality is that I'm 5'7" tall and I weigh 220 pounds. I'm 15 pounds heavier than my husband, who is 4 inches taller than me. Until this year, I've never been heavier than him. Yes, a lot of that is due to infertility and a lot of that is due to an anti-depressant I take that has weight gain as a side effect. And it's also due to genes - both of my parents are obese, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. And I have metabolic syndrome, which includes all of those things. But the truth is that it has much, much more to do with the fact that I don't exercise, we rarely cook, and I eat a ton of junk.

As a result, I'm 34 and at significant risk for a stroke. And, it's rather difficult to carry a pregnancy to term if your blood pressure is through the roof. My blood pressure has been on the high side for a couple of years now, but I've just chosen to pretend it wasn't an issue. But I'm new to this doctor, and she (and apparently her physician assistant) isn't the kind of person to take any crap.

I kept telling myself that "tomorrow" I would stop drinking soda, stop eating so much ice cream, start sticking to a diet. But of course "tomorrow" never comes.

That moment when the physician assistant looked at me and uttered those words was a turning point. I have a long way to go to get to where I need to be, but I have to do it. Reality is now too much in my face for me to be able to ignore it. Plus, I have to go back in two weeks to get it checked again.

I don't yet know what this will mean for our upcoming IVF cycle. But around here it means a major lifestyle change not only for R and I, but also for my mom, since she lives with us. She grew up immediately after the Great Depression, and that has profoundly impacted her life. She is a food hoarder - we have two refrigerators in our house and a large walk-in pantry, and one entire refrigerator is hers, and she also takes up half of the other one. The pantry is about 90 percent her food.

She buys three half gallons of ice cream at a time. There are four or five pie crusts in the refrigerator, a dozen boxes of cake mix and eight boxes of lemon bar mix in the pantry. There is an entire drawer of chocolate in one of the refrigerators - chocolate bars, chocolate bark, chocolate chips, a chocolate Easter bunny, Reese's peanut butter cups, etc.

I sat down and talked with her today. She is willing to stop buying the ice cream, but she's not willing to toss out or stop buying the cake mixes and other stuff. She says she will relocate them to a place where I won't have to see them. (I'm guessing that will mean in her closet.) I'm not sure what she plans to do with the stuff when she makes it, but I will need it to be out of sight.

Right now I don't feel well from the cold, which has turned into a sinus infection, and from a migraine that was triggered by some of the medications I got today. So it was pretty easy to eat healthy - or really, not eat much at all - today. But once I start feeling better, I know this is going to get a whole lot harder.


MrsSpock said...

I gained a ton of weight with IF depression. When I was pregnant, I gained 60 pounds (50% of that edema and baby). I started off 65 pounds overweight, and have only lost 8 in the past 16 weeks. I joined Weight Watchers and found it helpful. If I don't have someone staring at that number every week, I know I won't be motivated. I put a weight-loss ticker on my blog as well, so I know everyone who reads it is watching and knowing.

JewishMama said...

I have chronic blood pressure and I eat an ok diet. Genetics play a major part, as well as diet. During my last IVF cycle, my BP was high, despite treatment. Now I'm pregnant, it still isn't great. Try to loose a few pounds, but also find a way to relax, as I've found that stressful situations (like an IVF cycle) send my BP through the roof.

DAVs said...

Sorry for all of this. I work in heart attack prevention and I am always working with people on how to do lifestyle changes for their health.
Did anyone mention salt to you? Sodium/salt and blood pressure go hand in definitely cut back on sodium (most of it is in the processed foods). I also find that keeping a food journal is the best way to stay honest.
You can do it, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I came across your blog and I'm glad I did! I've been (who am I kidding...)- I AM in the same boat as you. My blood pressure is high, I have PCOS, I've gained 90 or so pounds in 6 years, I am 30lbs heavier than my husband & I hate every bit of it!!
So I started going to a fitness bootcamp (lost nearly 10lbs and 6 inches in 2 weeks) and realized that I do have enough willpower to do it on my own, so my bff and I just started going to the gym. Every morning 5 days a week for an hour.
I just wanted to say that you can do this- I know I don't know you, but if you're anything like me... I'll be the first to admit that I LOVE FOOD. LOVE EATING OUT. LOVE LAYING DOWN AFTER I EAT. LOVE BEING LAZY.... but gosh darnit... I want a baby more than anything and I know I'll fight like heck to get there!
If you need any help with excersize plans/eating plans... don't hesitate to ask!
good luck!!