Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Bump in the Road

"When you've got your health, you've got everything."

Those of us who are on "that" side of fifty will probably remember the television commercial that spouted that little tidbit of wisdom. Or maybe your mother said it. Well, when I first heard it, it meant very little to me. I was young and invincible and I was going to be in perfect health for the rest of my long life (longevity runs in my family) and nothing bad was ever going to happen to my health. I would just go to sleep one night at the ripe old age of 97, with all my faculties intact, and not wake up the next morning.

None of that incontinence for me. Or high blood pressure either. Forget about cholesterol, mine was always going to be perfect - low even. Diabetes would never get hold of me. I was and always would be the picture of health.

Never mind that my diet over the years has been less than optimum. Love those carbs! Give me pasta, breads, crackers, and the like and that will do me. When I'm hungry that is, which I rarely am. If you never get hungry, then you don't think about eating as much, so sometimes you skip a meal now and then. No harm, right?

Some of my favorite things to eat are fresh fruits. Strawberries, watermelon, canteloupe, pineapple, grapes, nectarines - all are ambrosial to me. But I don't eat them all that often. To buy them in the store is expensive and you never know if you're going to get good ones. I like apples, too, but even those are sometimes difficult to find that taste good.

I don't like raw vegetables, except for cucumbers. I'll eat spinach and lettuce if there's enough stuff stacked on top of it, like hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits, sunflower seeds, raisins, shredded cheddar and poppy seed dressing. I do like cooked green beans, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, corn, onions, peas, and beets (pickled only), but I only eat those a little more often than fresh fruit and I really don't know why.

I've eaten like this all my life, so why I thought I could continue with it forever and ever without any ill effects, I don't know. For a long time now, I've been anemic. I know I need to eat foods that are high in iron and take my multi-vitamin every day. I'll do really well for awhile, but after a few days, I'm back to my old habits. Pass the bread, please.

As I type, I'm sitting here with a Holter heart monitor strapped to me. I'll be wearing it for the next two days. (It was supposed to be three, but the hospital didn't have a 72-hour monitor.) For the last several weeks, I haven't felt well and at first I thought maybe if I did "this" or "that" I could help myself feel better. It's only gotten gradually worse.

Without going into details that no one cares to hear about anyway, let's just say at this point, all indicators are pointing towards hyperthyroidism combined with severe anemia. According to my doctor, all systems are in overdrive, including my metabolism, which explains the 12-pound weight loss I've experienced over the last year or so (with no change in eating habits or activity). It would explain a LOT of my symptoms, but until we get the results from the blood tests I had yesterday, I'm not going to venture a guess as to what is wearing me down.

So why am I blogging about this?

I know all too well what it's like to have perfect health taken away from you. Prior to my having bacterial meningitis in 1999, I was one of those people that was never sick, not even the flu, and rarely a cold. Yes, I've got a couple of bulging discs in my neck due to my many years of doing dental hygiene, but even that is doing pretty well now that I'm not working more than half a day a week.

Since my illness nearly nine years ago, it's been one thing or another. I know I'm lucky - blessed - to even be here and not in any worse health than I am, but I long for the days when all I had was a minor ache or pain now and then. I know there are many, many of you out there dealing with health issues that only you know about. I know there are those that appear to be in perfect health, yet they have chronic pain due to conditions not visually apparent to others. I wish we all could enjoy optimum health, but as we get older (wow, I hate saying that!) we do or will have health issues to deal with. I'm much more sympathetic than I used to be towards others who do.

No matter what the outcome is of my tests, I am really going to make a concerted effort to help myself as much as I can by at least putting good food into my body. I suggest you do the same, if your diet could be improved upon. It's one thing we can control, even if we are the victim of years of bad habits. As remarkable as the human body is, you can only abuse it so long.

I'm avoiding the topic of exercise though, because ... well ... let's just not go there. One thing at a time ...


Rosie's Whimsy said...

Oh Gee, this is a scary time. I sure hope what ever they find that is making you feel bad can be corrected quickly! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings....Rosie

Shady Gardener said...

Things like this are supposed to happen to other people. When they "hit home," it can be upsetting and perhaps frightening... Please take care. I'll pray for you as well.

Gina said...

kylee - YIKES! i hate holter monitors. I've had to wear one a couple of times and by the time you get ready to return it you'll be glad you didnt get a 3 day one. I could never figure out how to shower with that thing so I felt disgusting the entire time.

You are so right about trying to eat better. Thanks for reminding us. It's so hard to stay on track with that kind of thing until something like this comes along. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way and I hope you'll keep us posted.

Unknown said...

I just sent you a private note, then came here and read your blog posting. Kylee, about eating better--I couldn't agree more. Now, about apples...I don't know what sort of agriculture is nearby for you, but what you need to get is apples that are grown local and put into controlled atmosphere storage; they're stored properly and they last really well for a long time.
We eat a LOT of apples. Currently, there are Cox Orange, Russet, and Gala in the back porch, plus Bosc pears--all locally grown (this IS the Annapolis Valley, the apple growing heart of Nova Scotia and world-famous for its apples). I buy them in small amounts, like a half-bushel (or is it a half-peck?) at a time, figuring I'd rather pay for the privilege of having the farmer store them properly. Avoid buying them in supermarkets except as a last resort, where they're not stored correctly, and lose quality each day--plus they're usually from somewhere else a gazillion miles away. Experiment with different cultivars if you aren't sure what you like. Some folks regard apples like they do potatos--they're all the same--when nothing could be further from the truth.

As for veggies...well, there are only about three veggies I DON't like, raw or cooked, so I don't know how to tell someone to learn to like them. Other than to try different dressings, or different recipes. I'll add that to my list of things to pray for on your behalf, okay?

Courage, Kylee; you have a terrific family, and you have a community of blogging friends who care about you too. We're pulling for you!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Kylee, I hope they get to the bottom of this quickly and that you feel better soon.

I checked my blood sugar when my mom was visiting this summer and it was high. Had I gone to the doctor I would have been diagnosed as diabetic. All that to say diet does make a difference. I changed mine and got those numbers back down and I'm working to keep them under control. Proper nutrition is very important, but takes time and discipline, which is difficult especially this time of year.
Take care dear blogger friend.

Unknown said...

Kylee, I'm so glad that you're getting this checked out and hope that the docs get you fixed up soon.. . so that you can concentrate on the healthy eating, and then the exercise. (Like you said, one thing at a time. Baby steps--I know you'll get there.)


joey said...

Dear Kylee ... my thoughs and prayers are with you. I have spent the last 4 months in hospitals beside my sister who lost her vision recovering from meningitis and 2 bouts of endocarditis plus a myriad of multiple other ailments. My Christmas present is that tonight she is finally here beside me though we have a long road ahead. Miracles do happen and I pray you will be one of them.

Kylee Baumle said...

Rosie ~ Thanks Rosie. I hope they find it quickly too. You can deal with most things pretty well if they don't last too long. I'm the impatient sort and as each day goes along, I get more anxious about not feeling well. I know that doesn't help, but there it is.

Shady Gardener ~ You're right! We don't expect that they'll happen to us, but of course, none of us are immune. Thank you for your prayers, too.

Gina ~ Yeah, I'm not supposed to shower or take a bath while wearing this. Sponge baths are fine. (My grandma has a different name for these...LOL) I was glad that I took a shower and washed my hair right before I went to the hospital today.
Thanks for the positive thoughts!

Jodi ~ I got the e-mail - thanks so much! (And answered it.)

Apples ~ there are a couple small orchards around here, but I'm not really aware of any that I could go and buy apples from them now. I do buy them in the grocery, and when I buy single apples by the pound, I can usually find good ones. I like Jonagold, Gala, and Pink Lady, which is what I bought last week. So far so good, on these. Romie doesn't like big apples, so he buys those dinky ones in the bags, which I think taste no like an apple than a pear. Ick.

As far as veggies go, I eat a few more than I used to. I've always been a picky eater, but as I get older, I force myself to try things at least once, because I know tastes change over the years. I used to never eat cucumbers, now I love them. Same thing with cooked broccoli.

Thanks for the prayers and encouragement, Jodi. I'm generally a positive person and honestly, I have a feeling once they find out what is causing this, it will be fairly simple to take care of. It does help to know that my blogging friends wish me well!

Robin ~ Thanks, Robin. You know, I've always said if I ever got a disease where I had to drastically change my eating habits, I'd probably die of whatever it was. I said this in jest, of course, because if it ever came down to that, I know I could do it. Might as well do it now, huh!

I've been checking my blood sugar since I tend to be hypoglycemic. I thought maybe that was the problem, and no doubt it's not helping matters. When they checked it in the office yesterday, it was 74. That's pretty much the same result I was getting over a period of a week at home, too. Once it was 65.

I'm blessed to have low blood pressure, so that's not an issue for me either. Yesterday it was 90/60, which is very normal for me.

I've got a lot of positives in my life, so I try to remember those. But darn it, I want to feel GOOD! There are holidays to celebrate!

Kim ~ Oh boy, you just had to repeat the "e" word, didn't you? I know, I know...
Thanks for the hugs!

Joey ~ Oh my, my heart goes out to your sister. Bacterial meningitis is such an ugly disease, as you and your sister know. It just attacks your brain, which affects every other part of your body. I know that I'm a walking miracle the way it is, but it does get discouraging when you just get done dealing with one thing and then there's something else. But like I said, I know I'm fortunate, as so many that even survive the meningitis have life-long residual effects, many of them severe and debilitating. I'm trying not to blame every little thing on that, but it's only been since then that I've had 99% of my health issues. Coincidence? The doctor doesn't think so and neither do I.

Please give your sister a hug from me and let her know that she has a fellow survivor here in Ohio praying for her and that she will make great strides in her recovery. I too believe in miracles, as I have firsthand knowledge of them.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Getting older is not for sissies. Hang in there Kylee. If you can beat meningitis you can beat this ailment.

Thank you so much for this reminder that we should take better care of ourselves. Especially this time of year when opportunities for excesses abound.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Barbara said...

All my best wishes to you! I cross my fingers for you and hope the test will finally be ok. (BTW our youngest, a premature baby got this bacterial meningitis when he was 4 weeks and in hospital).
Take care of you!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Well Kylee, you already got lots of excellent advice and good wishes but I'd like to add mine as well. I hope you get well soon and yes keeping a healthy diet (and getting enough exercise) is really something we all need to do.

Is it perhaps possible for you to buy organically grown veggies and fruit? Here we have a system where you buy a bag of organic veggies and fruit once a week for a fixed price (a reasonable one too). This works for both the organic farmers and the consumers very well. What you get is locally produced food grown organically and it's seasonal of course so no strawberries in winter. When I first started to buy my veggies and fruit like that I found that there were a lot of veggies about that I'd never heard of before (let alone tasted them) and the good news is that I like most of them. It's fun discovering new veggies and how to prepare them.

My favorite apples are Pink Lady (very expensive though) and Braeburn. Like you I love apples and you know that old hoary chestnut, don't you ;-): an apple a day keeps the doctor away. ;-) So keep munching those apples Kylee!!!

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

You're going to get through this, Kylee. I know you are. It's a hard thing to change the way you look at food from "what do I want" to "what do I need". I've been doing it for a year and half now. It's a hard journey but well worth it. It's so much easier just to forget to eat and then when you're finally ravenous shove some quick carbs in you mouth (been there, done that). But like you said, as we get older we can't get away with it anymore. I don't get my Holter monitor until next Friday (they didn't have any week long ones until then)--so we aren't going to be "twinsies" afterall. ;) Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

kate said...


I am so behind on blog reading that I hadn't realised this had happened. We really do take our health for granted until something happens ... and then, we realise how precious it truly is.

Making changes to your diet and lifestyle one step at a time makes good sense.

Thankfully hypothyroidism is treatable ...

I will be thinking of you and sending lots of good and healing thoughts your way!

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ I know they'll find out what is causing me to not feel right. Thanks for your prayers!

Barbara ~ Thank you for your good thoughts! I can't even imagine what it must be like to have such a young baby go through bacterial meningitis. It's such a dangerous disease. As you undoubtedly know, many people don't realize that bacterial meningitis is not the same as viral meningitis. Neither are good, but bacterial many times ends up fatal and even more often leaves its victims with permanent damage of some sort. I feel blessed that I have no more problems than I do.

Yolanda Elizabet ~ I'm sure there is an organic produce department in one of the Fort Wayne stores, but I generally don't do my shopping there. I buy more locally. I figure I'll be making a major improvement just by eating them PERIOD! And I have been trying to eat both an apple and a banana every day as well as drinking a large glass of orange juice.

Thank you for all your suggestions and your nice e-mail. You're a dear. :-)

Cindy ~ Oh darn! If we both had to go through this junk, I was hoping we'd be wired together! LOL. Please keep me posted as to how you're doing and you take care of yourself, too! We'll bolster each other's spirits! :-)

Kate ~ Thanks so much for your care and concern. Actually, it's hyperthyroidism that they suspect (along with the anemia), and it's also treatable, although I don't like the treatment options as well as if it were hypo...

This too shall pass!

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