Blood work DONE: How to make blood work as smooth as possible

You know how sometimes you finish a major project at work or perhaps there was a big chore at home that had been put off for months and is finally done? Completion of such tasks surely deserve a reward or celebration, right? In my world, getting blood work done  and not having a panic attack is an achievement on the same level as a year end report or reorganizing every closet in your house. Seriously.

Now that it is over, I will wait…wait for Monday and the results that could change my whole life.

In the interim, at least there are fun things to fill the time. Between now and then I will be at E3 (gaming convention) for work, go to a concert I have been looking forward to, make it to the weekend, and celebrate Father’s Day. I am also hoping to spend more time with you…sharing things I have learned to make for a healthier, low carb lifestyle (especially to battle PCOS and Diabetes)

Since I know everyone has to have blood work done at some point, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I found to help make the draw as smooth as possible. It would have made my Glucose Tolerance Test along with all the other blood work fun I have had much better if I read something like this…so I hope it helps you.

1f3db061265a30289ef6e73a1a2cd3d3.jpgWater is Vital: Drinking water is highly encouraged before a blood draw. Being well-hydrated means your veins are full and easier for thephlebotomist (the person who draws your blood) to find. In essence, being well-hydrated could mean a quicker, less painful draw for you! This will also help your blood pressure from dropping.

anigif_enhanced-875-1423067122-14Get your blood pumping. 
I’ve noticed that my veins seem to be easier to find and the blood flows betterwhen my blood is really moving. To help with this, I always park as far away as possible when I’m going in for a blood draw, and I jog or walk briskly into the office. (Yes, I just admitted how pathetically out of shape I am that that a short jog across the parking lot really gets my blood going.)

9535-Take-A-Deep-Breath-Girl

Take deep breaths. In through the nose, our through the mouth. Seems super intuitive, but it definitely is not for me. All I want to do is hold my breath as I stare longingly at the exit sigh. Deep breaths really did help me today. The lady taking my blood told me to think about being at yoga…a bit of a stretch, but I think her intent was obviously good. I found closing my eyes and breathing really did help quite a bit.

And now…we wait for Monday’s appointment.

Night before blood work: Time for results

It’s 9pm here is California and I am fasting. Isn’t it funny that whenever you can’t have something, you want it? Basically, this is how I feel right now:

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Since I have last posted, I have made major progress as I approach my Endocrinologist appointment on Monday. I am the lowest weight I have been in years and down 15 pounds from my last Endocrinologist appointment which gives me hope that I am winning the battle against PCOS and Pre-Diabetes. Monday is the day we will find if medication has been working.
3 months ago, my Endocrinologist was concerned that my levels were not where they should be and I needed to increase my medication. After tripling my dosage for Metformin, doubling the dosage for Spironolactone, and putting me on a weekly injection of Tanzeum…I have had a rough 3 months.

With all this medication, I have been vomiting 1-5 times a week for the last 3 months. It was bad. Just starting a new job, I was terrified my new coworkers would think I was pregnant or had an eating disorder. I was sick often at work, on planes, on the side of the road…everywhere. Nausea had taken over my week and I was exhausted. On top of that, I went from not ovulating at all to ovulating…EVERY 2 WEEKS.

Things seem to have evened out…last week was my first week I wasn’t sick! I only vomited once and I believe it was due to working a red carpet event and being in the very hot California sun for hours. Wednesdays are my injectable day and I will say I am less afraid going into the next few days with the hope the side effects really have improved.

While my fears for side effects have subsided, I find myself terrified for the blood work tomorrow for 2 reasons:

1.) I still hate needles. Injecting myself once a week hasn’t improved the fear…so starting the day with blood work is going to make it tough to sleep tonight.

2.) I am really worried about what will happen on Monday. While I see weight improvement which I know should indicate border change, I know my food intake has not been great. When you feel sick all the time, all you want is carbs. As a mostly pescetarian, I have been shocked to find that fish has disgusted me in the last few months. All my normal routines and the way I feel about myself have been off. While that has been tough, I am more afraid of what happens if I get bad news Monday.

So what does one do? One remembers…

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Even though I was scared how it would make me feel, I ate salmon today for lunch. And it was delicious.

Even though I hate mornings and don’t want blood work taken, I made an 8:15am appointment. And I will be there.

Even though I am terrified of the results I will have Monday, I will have faith.

And even though carbs and I are breaking up, I had a handful of miniature candy bars tonight. Because I gave myself a shot. Because it was before fasting time began for my blood work. Because I wanted to. Although I know I shouldn’t, I know rewards are important and no one is perfect. But then I remember this:

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I suppose we all have room for improvement.

More to come on how the blood work goes and what I learn on Monday.

Stay happy, stay healthy.

#LowCarb Chicken Meatball Recipe

Monday means fresh starts for the week…especially Mondays after holiday weekends! I don’t know about you, but I am feeling extra motivated for a great week.To kick the week off right, here is a great low carb chicken recipe to consider this week!

buffalo chicken

Yield: Makes about 16 meatballs

Serving Size: 1 meatball

Ingredients

    • 1lb ground chicken or turkey
    • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 Tbl chopped celery
    • 3 Tbl crumbled blue cheese
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
For the Sauce
  • 1/2 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot

Instructions

  • Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl. DO NOT ADD SALT!!! The Frank’s is super salty as is the blue cheese so trust me you don’t need to add more. The mix will be sticky and gooey but that’s normal. Form into about 1 inch balls – remember these are cocktail/bite sized so don’t make them too big. Place them on a greased cookie sheet (with sides) and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 10 minutes.
  • To make the sauce, combine the Frank’s and butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, or place in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes on high.
  • After 10 minutes, remove balls from oven and dunk carefully (they are tender from the cream cheese and could fall apart if you are too rough) in the buffalo sauce. Put back onto the cookie sheet and bake for another 12 minutes. If you have leftover sauce you could pour it over the meatballs and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes if you want them really saucy. These have a subtle blue cheese flavor but I love the dressing so I added more and it was awesome! And of course, you must serve with celery sticks to be authentic!

You can check out the whole recipe here: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Enjoy!

Health update: Scared, but resilient

jour·ney
noun
an act of traveling from one place to another.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have developed false faith that I was better. I convinced myself that December’s visit to the Endocrinologist was so good, that I could get back together with carbs on a regular basis. I have been evolving my diet the way I have in the past…after months of being good, I believed I was on the right track and could afford eating the way so many people around me do indulging in carbs on a regular basis.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This morning’s appointment was eye opening. When I started this journey back in November, my testosterone level was at 90. The healthy rating for a woman is 30. If I did not get treated, I was on a path to have heart failure. In the next decade. After starting this blog and staying very disciplined in my carb breakup, I got my testosterone level down to 53. This gave me false comfort to allow carbs to creep back into my life…first, when I was stressed. Then, on the weekends. And ultimately, whenever I felt like it. My testosterone level was at 56.

My Endocrinologist is one of the kindest, most talented people I have ever met. Today’s appointment would have been terrifying if it wasn’t for his sense of humor, open dialog, and genuine concern he has for me and all of his patients. Even with his skill and kindness, today was still a very scary wake up call.

I shared with Dr. Marcus that I have been exhausted. I was exhausted from staying on the diet and feeling so limited. Exhausted from taking so many pills every night. I admitted that I have not stuck to 110g of carbs today, had not been regularly exercising 20 minutes a day, and even have been skipping medication on days I am over taking pills. Admitting all of this to him was obviously imperative for him to help course correct, but more importantly, it caused me to be honest with myself.

In addition to staying on track with my carb breakup, Dr. Marcus made the following adjustments to treat my Insulin Resistance and PCOS. Every case is different, but here is how we are approaching my journey to health:

Increased Metformin from 500mg to 2000mg. I am not happy to take 4 times as many pills. (larger pills are available, I am just not a strong pill taker). I have read various posts from many of you about Metformin side effects which had not really been bad for me before. I will be interested to see how side effects progress with this higher dosage.

strong>Exercising 20 minutes a day is imperative. Time to look back at my tips to wakeup in the morning and exercise. The epic battle with the snooze button will continue.

Now for the newest and for me, the scariest change. Once a week, I will now need to give myself an injection. For those of you that have been following my journey, you know that I am terrified with needles which is why the Glucose Tolerance Test was so difficult for me. Each week I will be injecting myself with Tanzeum. My doctor was very open to discussing this medication and we decided it would be the best thing for expediting a cure for my PCOS and Insulin Resistance. I will admit that when he mentioned this, I hit the cap on holding in my emotions. It was hard enough to hear that if I did not get my diet and health in order, I would likely not make it to my 50th birthday in 20 years. Then learning that my results needed pushing and it was time to introduce injections…I lost it in his office. He kindly listened and coached me through how to use this prescription. I was shaking in fear to give myself my first shot…but I did it. I really did. I feel braver and stronger for being able to do this. As much as I hate needles, I will do whatever it takes to be healthy again. For those of you interested in learning more about this prescription, check out this

Thursday Progress: No change on the scale, but changing my attitude.

Starting this blog has been one of the best decisions I have made in a while.

I have felt so supported by so many of you. Thank you for your words of encouragement, hope, and care. This community has really reminded me how wonderful it is to connect with people all over the world that are sharing in your experiences. Even though the last few weeks have been harder than usual, sharing and connecting with all of you has made me feel more motivated than ever.

This morning’s weigh in was steady with last week. It is definitely not the number I want to be at although I am pleased that I have not gained more weight since last week, especially considering carbs and I were on again/off again this week.

I have my check-in appointment with my Endocrinologist next week, so I know I need to get back to taking control of my life. If you have been following my blog, you know I am TERRIBLE with needles, so whenever I need to go to my Endo and have bloodwork done, I am less than pleased. All that being said, I think being back in the lab and having to go through a blood withdraw may be the wake up call that I need that I do not have the luxury of choosing when I feel like following my diet. If I don’t make improvements, I will only get heavier and sicker.

Successes this week: 

  • While I had a couple meals of weakness, overall I was better about making low carb choices. My husband and I found a new spot that does amazing chicken wings in 3 different sauces for Happy Hour…I will keep trying to find new treats like that to indulge in
  • There was a nice success at work this week that helped me feel motivated to get back on track. If I want to be my best self in all facets, it really starts with a healthy body and taking better care of myself.

Opportunities for next week:

  • Get back to treating my conditions more seriously and sticking to more disciplined low carb diets. It really is such a rabbit hole if you let yourself go and eat with no care or concern. I need to remember this is a lifestyle I must accept and treat it as so.
  • Exercise. But seriously. I know this is something my Endo will bring up next week…at minimum I should try to start the week right so I can let him know I am trying to get workouts in.
  • Take better care of everything around me and not give in to feeling tired. If I take better care of me, I know it will help me be a better wife, friend, and worker.
  • Stay positive. So many of the things I worry about never even happen. I need to have faith and stay thankful for all the blessings I do have. Dwelling in negativity is helping me or anyone around me.

Definitely a week with more opportunities than successes…but I do feel focused and ready to take back control of my health and life.

Dear Carbs – you are great, but seriously back off. I am walking away as much as I love you so I can be happier and healthier. It would be great if you could keep your distance and let me get stronger. xo Me

PCOS and IR: Not an easy lifestyle

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains the whole truth and nothing but the truth on how the last week and a half have gone.

Having PCOS and Insulin Resistance is hard. As in VERY hard. The last couple of months I have tried to be positive. I have followed the rules the best I could. I try to look on the bright side and take each day with a new level of faith. But it is hard and I have not been doing well.

Sticking to 110g of carbs a day is pretty hard. Especially when you work in an office where there are free carbs around you everywhere and cafeteria options that are hard to ignore in all their carb filled glory. It is hard to ignore the free bread or tortilla chips on a table when you go out to eat and your friends are enjoying the carby deliciousness. It is hard to not take the easy route with food…so many carb filled options are typically the easiest to get when you are in a rush.

And the ovulation. Every 10-14 days. I mean…come on. The cramps, nausea, and exhaustion have been out of control causing me to crave even more of what I shouldn’t eat.

If all this isn’t enough, I am in a new role at work that is BRAND new to me. While it is exciting to learn something new every day, it is also exhausting. I find myself more insecure than I have been in a long time wondering if what I am doing is right. I am working so hard to please everyone and exceed expectations. All while fighting Insulin Resistance and PCOS.

I wish it would all just go away and I can do what I have done in the past…if one diet doesn’t work, choose another one. But that is no longer an option. Insulin Resistance and PCOS are real which no way around them.

So if I can’t go around these challenges…I need to keep fighting and find a way to go THROUGH the challenges. While the last couple weeks have been so hard, I know I am a fighter and I know I will get healthier. Now time to go meet a friend for dinner and ignore the free bread…

Thursday progress: Staying steady

While Thursday morning weigh-ins are typically most joyful when I am down from the last week, I must say I am almost equally pleased that I did not gain any weight from last week’s weigh-in. Valentine’s weekend was filled with a crazy about of carbs and cocktails which ended up snowballing into over carb indulgence for a majority of the week. Last night was also a very late work night, so I ended up not having dinner until almost 9pm. In the past late dinners typically mean a heavier weigh-in.

All that being said, the more I read and hear from many of your stories about PCOS and IR it is clear to me that I need to be patient with myself. The cravings, exhaustion, and pain are all very real things that I believe I (and many of you) are very strong to battle. While I really just want to stay in bed all day with my dogs while cradling a baguette topped with pasta and french fries, I know that I am strong enough to get up each day and fight. Will all battles be won? No. But I am I fighting? Heck yeah.

SUCCESSES THIS WEEK:

  • While I gave into carbs more than I should this week, I also was really strong and turning down incredibly accessible carbs. I don’t know about you, but my office has free carbs. Like all the time. Yesterday I went to get more tea and what did I find? Catering size platters of chow mein. And rice. I mean… Also, while my husband enjoyed a turkey club with waffle fries last night, although I was exhausted and wanted the same, I indulged in grape leaves (a little rice) and had a curry chicken salad for dinner. I call that a win.
  • As a person who struggles with mornings and is typically late if anything is earlier than noon, I was proud of myself that I was EARLY for an 8:30am meeting this morning. I got up with enough time to get myself together and rock my presentation. If I can do it for my company, I should be able to do it for myself with morning workouts. While I truly hate waking up, it does make me feel more prepared for the day when I get an early start. This morning definitely motivated me to get up tomorrow morning (especially since it is a later start) and get my 20 minutes of exercise in.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEXT WEEK:

  • Carbs and I are not going to be involved next week. We just aren’t. I really want to commit to the next week between my food, medicine, and exercise to really see the great results I get when I do those things. If my weight stays the same, I am going to need a moderate restraining mechanism to keep me from all the carbs I missed and want to eat out of frustration of no progress…but we will cross that bridge when we get there.
  • Since my weeks for progress start on Fridays, I will plan to wake up tomorrow morning and get those 20 minutes of exercise in. I CAN DO IT.

How did you do this week?