Heart of the matter

As a part of the process to get to the route cause of my recent high blood pressure, I’ve been having different tests and scans.

Blood tests are always a challenge, especially if I’ve had to fast first. My veins just disappear into my body and I end up looking like a bruised pincushion! Of course I bruise easily just to add insult to injury.

My high blood pressure was first apparent in April, my GP regularly monitors my blood pressure as I take the oral contraceptive pill. I put it down to stress caused by work. It didn’t improve and my readings over the course of 24 hours were sky high and so I started taking medication. My GP also referred me on to a consultant for further investigations.

So far, I’ve had blood tests done. This showed that my levels of renin and aldosterone were high. To investigate further, I had a CT scan with contrast dye of my kidneys. Thankfully, my veins behaved that day and although it took two radiographers to insert the canula, it was successful. Its an odd sensation having the dye injected. First there’s the metallic taste, then, much more bizarrely is the warm sensation and feeling that you have wet yourself. I’ve had a few CT scans in my time but that is still the weirdest feeling!

Today’s test was an ECG. This was to see how my heart is functioning and to check if the high blood pressure has caused the muscle of my heart to thicken. Thankfully my heart is normal size and there is no thickening of the muscle. Its quite something to see and hear your heart beating on the screen. I really realised how much I take it for granted. There it is, beating away countless times over my forty years keeping me alive.

It really does make e appreciate the work it does. I really do need to kickstart my weight loss, I haven’t quite got back on track after my birthday. Time to get back on the low carb lifestyle and exercise – my heart and I deserve it and I want to be as healthy as I can to start a family. No more excuses. ❤️

You are what you eat

I haven’t eaten great recently, there’s been far too many takeaways, bars of chocolate, baked treats and big portions. I’m aware that I’m not eating right and putting pressure on myself to lose weight as my big birthday approaches. This just makes things worse as I go into full on sabotage mode.

I’m also back at my consultant for my high blood pressure in the next few weeks too. I agreed to exercise much more regularly and keep up my healthy lifestyle at my last appointment. Last time I weighed myself I’d gained back all the weight I’d lost. My jeans are too tight and I feel very bloated and uncomfortable. It hasn’t stopped me eating though.

I’m risking my health. I’m already on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. My excess weight is doing nothing to help my asthma either. I’m quite an intelligent person, so what is going on with my food choices?!?

I was never overweight growing up, as a family we ate healthily and had sweets/ chocolate as a treat. All my bad food choices have been made as an adult. My weight gain started when I moved into my own flat after I finished at university. I ate well at university (we’ll ignore the terrible food in the catered halls of residence that led to the Tuesday chinese takeaway, Super noodles or the contents of the vending machine.)

I LOVE food. I think about food a lot. After breakfast I think about my lunch and after lunch I think about my dinner. I love trying new things and eating out. I can cook. I love cooking and love baking too. I get pleasure from food. I think my problem is that I don’t listen to my body. I get excited and I eat quickly. I don’t give my stomach time to signal to my brain that I’m full. I also eat mindlessly, I can easily eat biscuits/ chocolate/ cake whilst waiting for the kettle to boil and then have more biscuits/ chocolate/ cake with my cup of tea. I’m also very bad for nibbling while I’m cooking.

I have lost weight before, I lost 3 stones nearly 10 years ago doing WeightWatchers. Then I had 2 car accidents and would cheer myself up eating treats. I gained back all the weight that I lost. My weight has been pretty steady since then. I don’t see treat foods as treat foods, they’re part of my regular diet. I still turn to food to cheer me up. I have a very sweet tooth too. I know what all my pitfalls are and what I need to do. I just can’t seem to get my head into the right mindset to make the necessary changes.

I don’t want to die young. I don’t want to have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. What am I waiting for? I have to act. Tomorrow is another day. It will be the day that I start to lose weight for good. I have to. I want to live a healthy life. Time to put my money where my mouth is. If you are what you eat, starting tomorrow I’m going to be wholesome and healthy.

Self sabotage and me

I’ve noticed that this can be something I have a tendency to do. Let me explain what I mean. For the past few months I’ve been trying to lose weight, exercise more and get healthy. For the last few weeks, while I’ve been battling my anxiety, I’ve ordered a couple of takeaways and am in real danger of falling back into my old and bad habits. I’m well on the way. Not only am I sabotaging my weight loss (I’ve gained 2 pounds) I’m also sabotaging myself financially. Not great considering I’m now on half pay.

My sleep is another example. I’m not a great sleeper at the best of times but recently I’m finding myself staying up later, its like I’m trying to extend the day or delay going to bed to prevent the next day happening. This is particularly true as the week progresses and Monday approaches again. My anxiety definitely increases from Wednesday.

My work situation is another. I know I need to deal with the difficulty and make a decision which way I’d like HR to proceed. I’ve been delaying this decision. I’m a procrastinator at the best of times but I know I’m avoiding this. I also know I’m very anxious about the process but more so about the consequences of taking this action. Its a catch 22, I want something to happen before I feel ready to go back to work but by not doing anything, nothing will change and I won’t feel ready to go back.

Similarly, I’ve started to update my CV and think about what other jobs I could do but haven’t as yet had the confidence to apply for other jobs. My confidence has definitely been knocked by this. I hadn’t realised how much. I’m also really annoyed at myself that I didn’t take action about the work thing months ago. Instead, the harder I tried, the worse it got. I couldn’t do right for doing wrong and it didn’t matter what I did, nothing changed.

It took me months before I could tell anyone. I felt like I’d failed and that it was my fault. My mental health was such that I thought those close to me would be disappointed in me and judge me. I felt that I’d be stigmatised. Writing this know, makes me feel so angry. My family and friends would NEVER do this. My parents have always said no matter what, I can tell them anything and go home if I need to. My friends that I’ve spoken to have both supported me and identified that it sounds like bullying. Not only that, I know it is something that my friends have experienced, dealt with and successfully moved on to bigger and better things. I know I need to be proactive and take action.

So, tomorrow is the day. I’m scared and stressed and worried and anxious but I have to start to take back my control.

If there’s an easy way or an awkward way…

I don’t set out to be awkward or contrary, it just seems to happen that way.

If I’m in the supermarket doing my shopping, I always somehow manage to choose the item with the barcode that doesn’t scan….my ‘best’ example of this is the day I picked up the jar of pickled beetroot without any label at all!! How I managed this, I have no idea but I did.

I’ve had a number of blood tests over the years and especially this year. My veins seem to know when a needle is near and either disappear or blow leaving me bruised. I don’t set out with the intention of this happening and sometimes I’m absolutely fine and the blood flows. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, it just happens that way.

Today is another prime example of things being awkward. My consultant has requested bloods, I’m not sure whether my veins will behave or not…we haven’t got that far yet. I’ve seen the nurse who will take the bloods and have advised her of my ‘shy’ veins but before there was even a needle produced, there was a complication…the label on my envelope read “lying and standing” with no guidelines as to how long I needed to be lying down for. It could only happen to me!

It is a very busy hospital, serving a large geographical area, with lots of outpatient clinics running so now the challenge is finding me somewhere to lie down having clarified with the lab that I need to be lying down for an hour!!

My veins were fairly well behaved for the standing bloods….my left hand came good. Now I’m lying down in a side room waiting for round two…thankfully this time there’s only 2 vials that are needed!!! I’m hopeful the blood will flow….I’m keeping my hand warm as a nurse once to me that heat and hydration are the key. Unfortunately I’m fasting so I’ll have to hope I’m hydrated enough!! Fingers crossed.

After my lie down, the nurse took the second lot of bloods and despite being incredibly thirsty….my left arm provided enough blood and using a butterfly needle definitely helped too. Now all I have to do is wait for the results and hope I don’t bruise too badly!!

Healthy body…healthy mind

My battle with anxiety is ongoing, I’m taking it one day at a time. Today I’m feeling slightly more anxious as my focus turns to my physical health. I have an appointment with a consultant in relation to my high blood pressure.

My GP has been checking it regularly since I started taking medication. I’ve completely cut out salt….as much as possible. I only ever added it to chips and to water when cooking rice or pasta. Thanks to my IBS chips are no longer on the menu and I now walk passed a fish and chip shop inhaling like one of the Bisto twins….only those of a certain age will remember those adverts on TV! My pasta or rice is now cooked in boiling water.

My healthy lifestyle is ongoing, though I’ve not been as focused as I could have been thanks to anxiety, so I’m getting back on track with that too. No more excuses and I need to get out walking. It helps my mental health too so its a win-win.

I’m not quite sure what to expect at this appointment, another thing that causes me to feel anxious. I’ve received my letter which gives some details so all that’s left for me to do is attend and see what happens…