Update on my January doctor visit and how I’m surviving Bikram yoga

I’ve been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to update you all on my January visit with Dr. Gent!  So sorry!

So I am pretty much seeing him once a month now.  Last week was my third visit.  I see him, wait four weeks for blood work and then seen him the following week. That makes a visit every 5 weeks.

We had a great visit.  I told him that I feel like in the last few weeks, I’ve really turned a corner in my recovery.  I’m getting through the entire morning and am now feeling energetic through lunch.  I can get to about 1:30-2:30 before I “hit the wall”, depending on when I take my morning pig.  He said that he could tell I felt better and asked for any other improvements that I’ve noticed.

I told him that I just felt happier.  Not that I was depressed before, maybe it’s that I don’t feel as anxious.  No, not anxious, unsettled.  I always felt unsettled.  I’m feeling very peaceful lately, which is nice.  He seemed very pleased about that.  I also told him that I’m not having the ringing in my ears as much and the headaches.  I’ve also become considerably better with my “brain fog” or word finding.  I’m using less and less Post-It notes around my office for reminders, so that is a definite improvement.  I still have my days where I can’t seem to get the words out, but it’s a LOT better.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be in meetings with leadership and feel like a total idiot because you can’t articulate clearly.  I’m also getting better about not falling asleep at the wheel when I’m driving.

He did an examination and declared that he felt we were getting really close to my ideal dosage.  He checked my tongue, which wasn’t swollen this time.  He also noted that my eyebrows have grown back.  I told him that I’ve had some people tell me that my face doesn’t look as swollen, even though I’m STILL gaining weight.  He assured me that the weight would be the last to go and just to be patient.

We briefly discussed my swelling and he asked if I was still gluten and dairy free, which I assured him I’ve been very compliant.  He doubled my diuretic and said that I must be still pretty inflamed so we would keep an eye on it.  I haven’t been able to get my rings on for 10 days now.  I had a couple of days where I could get them on, then it’s too much and I have to really struggle to get them off in the middle of the morning.

He suggested that we increase my dose by 1/4 grain but to take the additional dose in the afternoon.  I told him I didn’t do well splitting the 3/4 grain, so he said to keep that all in the morning.  I’m on day 5 of the increase and I’m just not sure if I notice a difference yet.  It’s maddening because I have to eat lunch, set my alarm for 2 hours, take the pill, wait another hour before I can eat anything.  I’m not absolutely positive that I’ve had a boost in the afternoon with my energy yet, but I do understand that it can take a month or so for your body to assimilate the rise in medication.

I briefly mentioned my desire to increase the progesterone, which he agreed needed attention but he wanted to wait another month.  I get it, he wants to see how the increase in pig goes.  We also discussed my 100 point cholesterol drop in December, which was very good.  He wants me to continue the Red Rice Yeast extract.

I told him that I recently decided to add a probiotic to help with the poo.  I am still taking the magnesium citrate every night, but as we know, hypo patients don’t poop a lot so I need all the help I can get.  He said that was a good idea and that hopefully once my thyroid is optimized, things will improve there.  As a side note, it’s a little difficult to find probiotics that are dairy and gluten free AND soy free.

On a whim, I also started taking apple cider vinegar in the morning, as I recently discovered that many Hashi and hypo patients also have problems with absorption of medication.  Apparently, many people have had success with apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Every morning on the way to work, I usually have a coffee mug full of hot water and the juice of a lemon. Then, I also drink a 16 ounce bottle of water.  This week, I’ve added two tablespoons of ACV to the bottled water.  It doesn’t taste great but it hasn’t made me feel worse.  Some people swear by taking this dose three times a day.  Of course, there are old wive’s tales about the benefits of ACV, but I’m not really interested in any of that.  I just am doing it for the digestive/absorption help.  I discovered it is important to use the Bragg’s brand, which is organic/raw/unfiltered.  It has the “mother” in it, which is the protein molecule strand that appears like a cloudy sludge in the bottle.  Just shake it up beforehand.   Because it is acidic, it’s good for Ph balance too.  And, I didn’t know this, it is a good source of potassium so that must be why people say it helps with aches and pains.

So that is my doctor update.  Onto the yoga.

Three weeks ago, I decided to go back to the studio.  I had discussed this with Dr. Gent in December when I saw him and we agreed that I was walking a fine line of needing to get active again but also not wanting to overdo it and cause a flare.  He told me at that point he didn’t feel comfortable with me doing more than 5 minutes of cardio at a time, which of course, I practically cried over as I explained that I needed to get my weight under control.  But I got his point, I am a sick person and I can’t over do it.

I asked if I could do yoga, which he agreed was a good idea.  He told me to sit my ass down if it got to be too much.  I agreed.

So I hemmed and hawwed about it, finally deciding that I just needed to suck it up and get my mat to the studio.  I made sure to go in on a day that Becka was teaching, so I could give her the skinny on my recovery.  She was so happy to see me. It felt good to be back.

My first day back was December 23, almost 4 months since my last visit on September 4.  You better believe I was worried.

It went surprisingly well!  I couldn’t believe it.  Granted, I’m moving almost 25 pounds more skin around from July, which is an odd sensation, but I only sat down one time.  And, I discovered that week that I wasn’t doing my “cheat” modification of grounding my foot into the mat on triangle pose.  I was able to tighten my quad and keep it there on the floor.  Another benefit of the pig?  I had mentioned before that I found research showing that untreated thyroid disorders can lead to muscular issues, so I was really irritated when I realized that I could have probably avoided all of the PT if I had been treated appropriately all along.

But then I wouldn’t have met my beloved Cori, so I won’t be too irritated.  I will take my year and a half for gimpy, just for her.

I digress.

So I made a decision to go 5 times a week.  Yes, I know, it seems extreme. But, I feel great.  I’m not having the muscle spasms like I was during the fall semester.  My knee isn’t really bothering me like it was before.  I’m getting stronger and stronger.  It’s really, really weird.

The studio is doing a January challenge! I groaned when Becka announced it after Christmas, because you all know that I would have immediately signed up for a 30 day challenge.  But, I had to practice some restraint and humility.  Then, she said that the challenge was whatever you wanted it to be.  One day a week or every day.  Totally up to you.

I struggled with myself.  I’d just done 5 days during the week of Christmas.  Could I keep it up when school started back up?  I stared at the calendar she gave me for several minutes, weighing my options and having a stern talk with myself.

Finally, I took a leap of faith and wrote down 5 days on it, not knowing if I would be able to do it.

Happily, I have to report that I have done two weeks now and have kept my end of the deal I made with myself!

I’m going to class, completely at peace with where I’m at.  Sure, I can’t do half of the things I could do in July, like Standing Head to Knee.  I can’t even grab my foot.  But, I’m there and I’m making an effort to smile about it.

In fact, Becka and another instructor commented last week that I always look so happy in class.  I told them that I have a choice and I choose to be kind to myself in class.  So I smile at myself in the mirror, I smile when I go into savasana, I smile when I’m on my stomach waiting for the next pose on floor series.  Then, Becka said, you may not be where you were but your form is just impeccable.  That was the best compliment because it told me that I was still on my A game in class and even though I wasn’t getting the depth, I was doing everything right to be sure I was doing the posture correctly.  I laughed and said that was great for a Type A crazy machine like me to hear and she said, no not that.  She said, you have a beautiful practice with excellent form.  It’s a joy to watch.

(sniffle)

In short, I’m 100% back on the mat.  I may be fatter, less bendy, and overly concerned with how my yoga shorts fit, but I’m walking in and giving my best.

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