Confessions of a Middleagedmom

surviving motherhood in the “middle ages”

I Know I’m Out of Shape! July 30, 2009

Filed under: health,middleaged,moms,women — middleagedmom @ 11:25 pm
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Caution: This is going to be a long one!

I recently went to the doctor as a follow-up visit. (See earlier post.)

I’m not sure if being middleaged has to do with my health issues but it sure seems like it might. As I mentioned in previous posts, I was getting monitored for my enlarged thyroid. As it turns out, it is not serious and it actually could be hereditary. Besides the thyroid concern, I am supposed to get my blood sugar/glucose levels checked periodically since I had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy. As of now, my glucose levels are good.

While talking to the doctor I mentioned a few other concerns that I had. For one thing, I noticed that my asthma attacks have been getting more frequent. Since I’m not considered a chronic asthma sufferer, I don’t always have medicine. It seems like my asthma is related to my allergies and the weather. The doctor prescribed me some Advair.

Another thing that I mentioned was that I had been experiencing some tightness (pain) in my chest  It was probably going on for at least a month and happening about 3-4 times a week, usually in the night. Sometimes I even feel like my heart is racing. The doctor explained that as a precaution, because of my age, I should take an EKG (electrocardiogram). Apparently, it is not uncommon for people in their 40s to suffer from heart attacks. An EKG tests the electrical activity of the heartbeat. My EKG test was performed right in the doctor’s office and the results were good. Besides the EKG, a treadmill stress test was also recommended.

To prepare for the stress test, I had to eliminate caffeine 24 hours before the test. Yikes, no coffee and no diet/regular coke for me! I also had to fast after midnight so that I wouldn’t accidentally “barf” while on the treadmill. I was asked to wear comfortable clothes and walking/running shoes. The test would take approximately 3-4 hours.

So a few weeks ago I went to the hospital to get my thallium treadmill stress test done. When I got there, I had to fill out and sign a bunch of papers. I also had to sign a paper confirming that I was not pregnant and if I was then I was choosing to take this test anyway. At the time I didn’t really realize what was involved in the test so I didn’t know why this paper was important. (BTW, I am not pregnant!)

After a few minutes, the nuclear medicine (Yes, nuclear medicine!) tech came to escort me into the exam room. He explained what would be happening throughout the test. For this thallium treadmill stress test, I received  an IV of radioactive dye so they could  take images of my heart at rest. After the initial IV, I had to wait a few minutes for the dye to get into my system. Then I reclined on an x-ray machine that goes back and forth over the chest. The x-ray takes about 20 minutes. Then I had to do more waiting until the cardiology tech escorted me to get all hooked up with electrodes. After the electrodes were placed on me, I went to the treadmill room where my blood pressure was taken and my electrodes were hooked up to a monitor. Then I did more waiting and waiting. Finally, the cardiologist came in with the cardiology tech and the nuclear medicine tech. The cardiologist was present at the test just in case my heart goes haywire during the test. Don’t worry, this is standard protocol.

The cardiologist asked me if I knew why I was taking this test. I explained about my tightness/pain in my chest. He said that it wasn’t uncommon but getting a stress test to check my heart was a good idea. The cardiology tech asked me to get on the treadmill so they could start the test. Just as she began the test, she noticed that one of my electrodes was not signaling so I had to get that adjusted and taped up. I got on the treadmill and started walking. For this type of test, the treadmill speeds up and inclines in 3 minute intervals. At first, the walking was pretty easy so I was feeling okay. Then about 30 seconds into the test, one of my electrodes was not signaling again, so the cardiology tech came alongside of me and taped me up again. This was happening while I was still walking. Not too easy! 

After about 3 minutes passed, they told me that it was going to speed up and incline. She counted down from 10 to 1.  At the beep, I had to start walking briskly and I could feel the “hill” I was climbing.  I was beginning to feel my heart pounding and my breathing getting harder. Then I could feel my legs getting weaker. The techs could tell that I was starting to tire. The doctor told me to keep going. I said I would try my best. He wanted me to get past the next level. The cardiology tech started counting down from 10 to 1. Then came the beep.

By now, I was running! All I could think about was I am going to fall down soon! I yelled out, ” I don’t think I’m going to make it!”  By that time another cardiology tech came in and stood behind me and put his hands on my lower back for support. The nuclear medicine tech and the doctor told me to hold on and keep going until they gave me another dose of the radioactive dye. I had to keep walking for 1 long minute after the dye was put into my IV. Then I heard the cardiology tech count down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, ….1. Finally! The treadmill slowed to a stop and I got off with the assistance of the cardiology tech who was standing behind me. I felt like I didn’t have legs. If the tech wasn’t helping me to the exam table , I would have fallen.

As soon as I got to the table, I had to lie down and get my blood pressure checked. They continued to monitor my heart for about 10-15 minutes. The cardio tech emphasized that in “real life” I wouldn’t lie down after such a brisk walk/run. The cardiologist asked me why I thought I couldn’t go any farther. I said, “My legs couldn’t do it. I know I’m out of shape.” His stern reply, “Yes, you’re out  of shape. You should have been able to get through that level. Your heart looks fine. You should start going walking for at least 15 minutes a day. Go with your child.”

Okay, let’s get real here. Obviously I know I’m out of shape! I don’t really need a cardiologist to tell me that! I know he had good intentions but geez, he sure knows how to make someone feel so inadequate!

After leaving the treadmill room I had to wait another 30 or so minutes for the radioactive dye to circulate through my body. By that time I was starving!  I was allowed to drink some juice and eat some crackers. I was also instructed to drink some water to help the dye move out of my stomach. 

Then I had to go back to the 1st room and get another x-ray scan of my heart. That took about 15 minutes. I would be done if this scan showed enough of my heart. Well, this scan was not good enough! So I had to go to another part of the hospital to get a scan lying down on my stomach. One of the nuclear medicine techs took me downstairs and explained that actually about 90% of the people have to get this secondary scan. It supposedly has to do with your diaphragm blocking the view of your heart. 

On the walk downstairs, the nuclear medicine tech asked me how I was. I explained that this test was so hard for me. He said that he could hear me breathing hard. He was in another room and he could hear me! He said that I just happened to have the ” tough” cardiologist. I said, “I thought so!”

My treadmill stress test took over 4 hours! I was so happy when it was over. The first thing on my mind was a cup of coffee.  The whole day and night my legs were aching. It was as if I had just ran a marathon!

So did I experience a “light bulb” moment? Did the test motivate me to start exercising? NO!

Actually, I just asked Mr. MaD to dust off my little stair machine. I think I’ll start off small…maybe 1 minute at a time!

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Health Watch – My Numbers July 10, 2009

Filed under: middleaged,moms,random thoughts,women — middleagedmom @ 11:41 am
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Do you know your important numbers? I recently had a blood test to check my thyroid among other things.  A while ago, my doctor informed me that I had an enlarged thyroid.  I had to get a blood test done and an ultrasound to make sure it  wasn’t a tumor (cancer).  That was about a year or so ago. Recently I had another ultrasound and there weren’t any significant changes to my thyroid. That’s a good sign. My blood test also showed that my thyroid was functioning properly.

Besides my thyroid, another important part of the blood test was my glucose levels. If you’ve had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, then you know that you should get your glucose level tested regularly because you are at higher risk of getting adult-onset diabetes. My glucose levels were 89! Hooray! My doctor said that it had to be <99.  Of course, I should still eat healthily and exercise too.  I know I need to do better with both of those areas.

As for my cholesterol, those numbers were good also. My total cholesterol was 147. My HDL (healthy cholesterol) was 57. That should be >50. I think I can boost that up by reducing the amount of unhealthy fats in my diet and exercising more. I just mentioned to Mr. MaD that we should start eating more meatless meals every week. My LDL (lousy cholesterol) was 70. That should be <130. My triglycerides were 99. That should be <150.

Having that blood test makes me feel better about my health. I know that I still need to take better care of myself but at least I have some encouragement now. My hardest challenge is cutting back on sweets and junk food.

How are your numbers?

 

Sugar Rush October 5, 2008

Filed under: family,food,moms — middleagedmom @ 10:27 pm
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Note: Sorry for the blurry pictures. I don’t know what’s going on with my camera.

Recently, I’ve been craving sugar. Yes, that means baking in my house. So, I’ve indulged in cookies and brownies. Not good for my health but it hits the spot.

In an effort to curb some of my cravings without eating sugar, I made chocolate mousse using a product called San Sucre Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse. It was okay. The consistency was pretty creamy but you can tell it is made with something other than sugar. I’m actually surprised that there was a little after taste. I usually like things made with Splenda since I don’t really taste the after taste too much.

I also started drinking Crystal Light again just so I wouldn’t crave soda or juice. I actually don’t like too many flavors of Crystal Light. I usually drink Lemonade and Iced Tea mixed together…Lemonade Iced Tea. My mom just gave me a box of Pomegrante Crystal Light so I decided to try it mixed with Icea Tea to make Pomegrante Iced Tea. Yummy! It turned out great. Of course I dont’ use the whole packet. In fact, I only use maybe 1/4th  of the packet of each to make a  cup of Pomegranted Iced Tea.

 

 

Gestational Diabetes Update – post pregnancy February 15, 2008

Filed under: baby,children,family,food,moms,pregnancy — middleagedmom @ 9:59 pm
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Okay, so most of you know that Baby has arrived already! Yes, I am exhausted! If you read my earlier post you know that my baby was large, over 9 pounds.  My doctor said that I seem to just have large babies. He doesn’t think that my baby’s size was due to the gestational diabetes since I kept my blood sugar under control. This pregancy I gained less than 30 pounds.

Anyway, since the birth of Baby, I have lost all the pregnancy weight and a little more (approx. 35+ pounds total).  I recently had to take another glucose test to see if I had diabetic tendencies prior to pregnancy. This glucose test was a 2 hour test. I had to drink about 75 ml of that orange drink. My blood was drawn prior to the drink and 2 hours after. My doctor called to tell me that my 2 hour reading was borderline ( I don’t know the number and I forgot to ask). He said that he is not worried, esp. if I keep my weight under control. He thinks that I will continue to loose weight since I am nursing. He also encouraged me to exercise. I still need to talk to the g.d. nurse to see what she says. Right after the birth, she encouraged me to continue with the g.d. diet, esp. since my baby was so large.

Right now, I’m not really watching my diet. In fact, my doctor told me not to diet since I’m nursing. I’m sure he doesn’t want me to go overboard and eat everything. The funny thing is that I was telling Mr. MaD prior to giving birth that I really wanted to eat doughnuts after the birth of Baby…well, I haven’t had any doughnuts yet. I guess you just want to eat stuff when you can’t have them! I’ll let you know if I ever get those doughnuts!

 

Where Am I? February 6, 2008

Just a quick post to let you know that I’m still here…just out of commission since baby has arrived. Yes, baby duty! Whew! I couldn’t have imagined how much work a 2nd baby would be in addition to a toddler in the house. Not to mention the sleepless nights and the fussy cries of a newborn. I’m still searching for the “answer” to help baby sleep better and fuss less. Most of the time she is awake she is crying, even if her diaper is changed and she is well fed and burped. Hmmm….

By the way, I did have a c-section since baby was so big! Yes, big! A little over 9lbs! That’s bigger than Princess was when she was born. My doctor was surprised too since my gestational diabetes was well controlled. He thinks that I just have big babies. My c-section was a little harder this time around. I had lots of scar tissue from the last c-section so that made it more difficult to get baby out and I had more bleeding.

That’s the latest update! I don’t know when I’ll be back to post again. It may be a while. Mr. MaD goes back to work next week. I’m sad about that. I’m still trying to figure out how I’ll manage with baby and Princess.

 Keep me in your prayers! I sure need God’s strength and grace each and every day!

 

Happy New Year! It’s 2008! January 3, 2008

Happy New Year to you and your family! I hope 2008 brings you great joy and blessings!

Update on Lock & Lock bento sets – for those who are interested, I’m sad to say that I’m officially all out of my Lock & Lock bento sets. My last orange bento set will be mailed out sometime this weekend.  If I happen upon any more Lock & Lock bento sets, I will be sure to post about it.  I know how hard it is to get them!

Update on pregnancy – well, the time is soon approaching for my 2nd child. We’ve been feverishly preparing the house for the arrival of baby. I guess you could say it’s “nesting” but I was so busy with the holidays that baby’s arrival seems to have just snuck up on us. We’ve been trying to prepare Princess by talking about baby and letting her feel my belly but she is not interested. We even read her a book about being a big sister. I think she enjoys being the center of attention…I guess who wouldn’t! It looks like I may end up having another c-section since the estimated weight of baby is a little over 8 lbs…whew!

Update on gestational diabetes – my blood sugar numbers have been pretty good since I started on this meal plan. I’ve had a few high numbers but most of the time I’m within the safe range. If I didn’t mention it before, my fasting blood sugar range is 70-90 (that’s the first one in the morning), then after every meal my range should be 90-120. I think the highest after meal reading I had was something like 135. Surprisingly, I had pretty good readings after my holiday meals. Yes, I did have a sugary treat like dessert but I only had a very small portion. I also only had small portions of starch with my meals. I still crave sweets…today I was telling Mr. MaD that I felt like eating a glazed doughnut and not just 1, more like 2. Of course, I didn’t but I still crave sweets. I think once baby is born I’ll have a little more leeway to eat some sweets on a limited basis. I know that I have to take another 1 hour fasting glucose test about 6 weeks after baby is born. I hope those numbers are good.  After baby is born I know they also test baby to check the blood sugar levels of baby so I hope all is well with that.

Well, I hope to post a few more times before baby’s arrival but who knows if I’ll have time. I’m still working on baby announcements and baby’s scrapbook. I hope to post my 2007 Christmas card very soon.

Happy New Year! By the way, I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions…I think I have too much to think about and worry about already. If you do, I wish you all the best!

 

Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan Progress December 4, 2007

Filed under: baby,children,food,moms,pregnancy — middleagedmom @ 4:14 pm
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Okay, so I’ve been on this meal plan for about 4 days now. It hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I am actually getting enough to eat. I try to eat more vegetables and proteins at my meals. I stay within my carb limit for each snack and meal. 

I’ll be honest, I am craving some sweets. I thought it would be okay to eat some sugar-free foods (those with added artificial sweetners) but since there are only a few “safe/approved” artificial sweetners on this meal plan, I haven’t eaten those things.  I wanted to eat some “chocolate” covered almonds from See’s candies that are sugar-free but they have one of those “unapproved” artificial sweetners. (See my earlier post on my GD class.)

Last night I submitted my numbers for the past few days. The nurse said that my results were good so I could actually test my blood sugar only 2 times a day on Monday thru Thursdays. I would still need to test 4 times a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Although testing less sounds really good, I think I’ll continue with 4 times a day. It’s much easier for me to monitor myself if I check that often. Plus, I think I’m so goal-oriented that I need to see my number within the acceptable range just to know I’m doing okay.

I think the most difficult part so far (besides the sugar cravings) is that you have to be so regimented in terms of time. For example, I have to always be aware of what time I start my meal so that I can test 2 hours after that time. Then if I’m going to be out of the house, I have to remember to carry my “little black case” with me and a little ziploc bag to put my used lancet in to dispose of later. Also, I have to remember to eat my snack in between my meals. I try not to eat it too close to my meals too. Sometimes it’s difficult if you’re out and doing something. And of course, counting carbs and watching your portion sizes.

The encouraging thing is that gestational diabetes can usually be controlled with diet and exercise. I notice that if I do a little bit of walking after my meals it does make a difference in my numbers. I always remind myself that I’m eating healthy meals for myself and my baby. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to be a “slave” to food…esp. sugar.  I keep asking for God’s grace in this endeavor and His strength to get me through those cravings.

I really want to say THANK YOU to all those who have been so encouraging! I really appreciate it! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. If you have gestational diabetes or think you may have it, YOU are not alone. I’m here and there are great people out there in the blogosphere who are so encouraging!