Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Self-Care, New and Alt.

So here's what's happening in my ongoing campaign to get well-er with the help of a sympathetic holistic DO:

After running me through some labwork, Doc says that I have some issues with my adrenal glands -- specifically, my fight-or-flight hormones are going full-tilt boogie from the moment I get up in the morning until late at night, wreaking havoc with everything from my blood pressure to my insulin production to my lady issues. "The saber-toothed tiger is after you all day," she said. She told me that if I don't do something to change this state of affairs, I run a very good risk of developing diabetes.

First she changed my blood pressure medicine from a calcium-channel blocker that was making me lightheaded to the point of almost passing out in the mornings to a diuretic and a magnesium supplement. She prescribed me fish oil for blood pressure as well as cholesterol control. She directed me to an herbal supplement for evening out my blood sugar during the day, and another for adrenal health. And because my Vitamin D level was so alarmingly low, she told me to take that as well as maximize my intake through prudent sun exposure and dietary sources.

All of which sounds like a whole lot o' pills. But Doc wants to eventually get me to the point of not needing this stuff. Which brings us to the lifestyle-change section of this program.

Doc is not a fan of high-protein, low-carb diets because they tend to be hard on the kidneys. She is steering me toward the Mediterranean diet model -- big on fresh vegetables, fruits and legume; a moderate amount of whole, preferably minimally processed grains; healthy fats; a glass of wine on occasion; and quite modest helpings of meat, mostly fish or chicken.

She also, while happy that I'm doing a lot of gardening and other weight-bearing kinds of daily tasks, wants me to spend 30 minutes a day on aerobic activities like walking; and she wants me to do the aerobics in the early evening because of the way my metabolism works. This to me is counterintuitive; I prefer walking in the morning; and it's bumping our dinnertime ahead to the old farmer's suppertimes I grew up with. But I'm compromising by doing some easygoing handweight resistance exercise in the morning, between getting the coffee going and feeding Mollie. Doc also told me to schedule relaxation, in any way that works for me, into my day the way I'd schedule any other daily to-do.

I'm only maybe three weeks into this routine. But so far I've noticed that I'm sleeping better, while having more energy during the day. I'm no longer experiencing near-fainting spells. The walking is,among other things, improving my posture -- and giving me some quality quiet time in the pleasant subdivision behind our house. And both FT and I think my moods are on a more even keel.

Now, I know much of this advice is simple common sense. But it's helpful to have a doctor -- and a partner -- who are willing to be my accountability partners in this process.

1 comment:

Gilly said...

That last sentence is the real means of success! We all know about diet and exercise, but it is more valuable than I can say to have a helpful (and non-judgemental) partner and Doctor to be by your side.

Good luck!