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Update: my unexplained weight loss

Remember I lost weight back in September last year for no apparent reason? Well finally I have the chance to update you…

So there I was, 4 weeks later and 3/4 stone lighter and still the weight was coming off and my appetite wasn’t 100%. So I did return to the doctor who took another round of blood tests and added in a coeliac screen and H. pylori test. All of which came back clear of course. (Actually I did half expect the coeliac screen to be positive given Nel’s history, but it didn’t.)

Next up was an ultrasound of abdomen, right kidney (as I get pain in that region every so often) and gallbladder. I booked my appointment for a couple of weeks ahead but in the meantime popped round to the X-ray department and said that as I was working in the hospital anyway, if they had any cancellations I’d be happy to pop round and take the slot. This paid off and I had my scan done later that day since bad weather prevented a couple of patients getting in. As I kind of expected the scan was all clear.

Back at the doctor’s we decided I’d best be referred to the gastro team at the hospital to check nothing sinister was going on, though I didn’t really think there was. I arranged an appointment through the Choose & Book system, but the consultant (ironically the new locum for whom I was working) rejected the appointment as he wanted me to go straight to OGD (Camera down the throat) Oh dear – I feared this might happen and wasn’t keen. I booked this for some time ahead as the weight loss was slowing.

At the end of October we had a very nasty shock and severe stress and I immediately put myself on some high grade herbs, including St John’s Wort. My theory is that the herbs started to correct whatever it was that had initiated the loss of appetite and weight. (My best guess is a virus, probably an enveloped one, as St. John’s Wort is a potent anti-viral with particular effect against the enveloped ones.)

When the date of the OGD drew close, I chatted with the consultant and postponed it to see what my weight would do next. By now I had lost almost 2 stones (12 Kg) but it had finally settled so I was hoping not to need the test. Happily, by the time of the newly arranged test, I had put on 2 lbs so I went ahead and cancelled.

I have now regained 4 lbs and my appetite is well and truly back to normal πŸ™‚

The biggest problem in all this was that I went down a dress size – and when you’ve no money to buy new clothes but need to look smart for work, that’s not good news, believe me! I did buy one pair of inexpensive trousers because my existing ones were all so loose that the crotch was halfway to my knees – not a good look! Skirts are a bit more forgiving as when they drop lower on the hips they simply become a slightly longer length. As I also had the same problems with my casual trousers for weekends, football, darts etc I was absolutely over the moon to find an almost brand new pair of Next jeans in a charity shop which were a perfect fit and cost me the grand sum of £3.99 πŸ™‚

I have no idea if I’ll go back to my former size or not. I don’t particularly mind either way though it’d be handy to know as I am having to hang on to all my old clothes, yet have hardly any clothes that fit right now. If I knew either way I’d know whether or not to buy more in the smaller size.

The whole thing has been a bit strange, especially as I haven’t felt ill and contrary to many people’s suggestion that it was due to stress, the timing was wrong as the stress came after. I’m sticking with my mystery virus theory but whatever the cause, it appears to have disappeared now which is good news.

Back to it

I’ve been back at work for a week – and it seemed an intense week, probably because of a new routine and juggling other things.

I had a few things to sort out at work in my own role after the fortnight off; things that had been left for me to do and of course there was the usual effort of getting back in to the swing of it. We have a password system for all the computer access and we use and these passwords have to be changed every few weeks, must be to a certain format, cannot repeat previous passwords and must never be written down. I never forget my passwords but after two weeks’ break, I did and so had to get them all reset. Grr. Our department has gained some extra clinics which will eat in to my usual admin time (it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get other admin done when a clinic is running) so I now have to fit in an extra half day to accommodate this, and because Monday afternoon’s are now always going to be pretty hectic I think it may be useful to work into the evening a little to get cleared up and leave a clear run for the next day. I’ll need to experiment a bit and see what works best.

I was also back at my overtime for the secretaries this week, though with no more knowledge of how ongoing this is likely to be, which is unsettling and means I can’t really make any long term plans. So for now I am going to try and do my own overtime in addition to this as I need to do as much as I can whilst it is on offer. Ironically, another department has also asked if I might be able to help them out as they have a backlog, and though I am willing, I’m not sure that I have any time to do it – but I don’t want to say no. Argh!

I also went back to see the doctor this week as my strange digestion and weight-loss has still not resolved. After the initial rapid weight-loss, I managed to get myself eating 3 small meals a day and the weight-loss slowed so that I only lost another 3/4 stone over a couple of months. Nevertheless that’s 1.5 stones in 3 months and for no real reason. Over Christmas I managed a gain a whole 2 lbs – but I was very uncomfortable after eating. Big meals would sit in my stomach for hours and I have developed a constant dull pain on the right behind my ribcage, with the occasional very painful acute bout. Gallbladder seems a possibility, but my symptoms are not classic, and the symptom that bothers me most (a burning tongue which gets worse over the course of the day) is not accompanied by other symptoms that give a clue as to the problem.The doctor is as baffled as I am, but like me, feels this is nothing sinister, but still something we should try and identify. She has therefore begun a round of tests including: repeat bloods (all clear last time), with the addition of a coeliac screen; urine dip; H-pylori test; and ultrasound of gallbladder and kidney (since I happen to coincidentally have one of my kidney infections at present.) All very intriguing, though if we don’t find anything going on, I can manage to live with it.

We have also started looking for a new home this week; watch this space.

New Year with good friends

In a change to our previous New Year’s Eve arrangements, this year we went to Roger and Steph’s new home to see out the year. There were about 15 or so of us altogether, including Simon and Claire who were up for a few days so it was a nicely sized gathering. There was certainly plenty to drink, and besides chatting, there was the Wii for those who wanted to play, as well as a shot-drinking roulette game and later a logo quiz board game which was played boys v girls. Raji, Steph and Dan played the roulette game enthusiastically, knocking back shots of Cactus Jack (which looked revolting – especially the Jaffa cake flavoured one!) It was nice to see Raji letting his hair down, though he didn’t actually get that drunk. The board game later was made interesting by the fact that both question masters were under the influence and had great difficulty reading the questions, one of the girls seemed determined to help the boys, another moved to sit far enough away that the girls’ conferring could be heard by the boys enabling them to steal a question or two and best of all, the rules appeared to be made up as we went along πŸ˜€ It was a lovely night with lovely people – these people are amongst our closest friends and it was just so nice to relax with them and see in the New Year together πŸ™‚

When we got home at around 2.30 am, it was to discover that Stephen’s tonsillitis/cold had been bad enough that he was sent home to bed after dragging himself in to work, and Nel had been poorly enough that she’d had to cancel her own NYE plans. πŸ™ My poor babies are both now on herbs and working through the bug, which is a nasty one.

I was unsurprised that I didn’t sleep at all, as I had missed both my deep sleep cycles (I seem to have one around 11.30pm and one about 2.30 am ) so I just relaxed in bed (listening to Billy snoring πŸ˜‰ ) and got up not much later than usual really. What WAS a surprise was that I felt absolutely fine, unlike previous years, and yet I’d probably drunk slightly more! I wasn’t complaining!

We spent the afternoon with Pat, having collected Paul and Steph on the way, and once again we had a fantastic day with them, Natalie and Grandpa. We were stuffed after the roast pork dinner with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding, profiteroles and later cheese and biscuits. Naturally the drink flowed freely too, and I had had some sneaky peeks at the MCFC Twitter commentary of the City 3 v 0 Stoke match and was delighted with the result. (MCFC’s 60-second highlights here and extended ones here.)

Between dinner and pudding we played the reindeer racing game which had come from the crackers – think some of the reindeer must have been sneaking some of Santa’s sherry!(If video clip doesn’t show, right click the blank area and click “reload“)

We also played Pat’s own variation of build-a-beetle with felt pieces assembled in to snowmen – a simple but fun game. I seemed to throw load of 6’s and Pat could only throw 1’s! We then played our Nasty Horse Racing Game which we took with us and that was fun with some devious moves and downright persecution for the most tenuous of reasons (yes, I admit it – I knocked Natalie’s horse out of a race simply because it was red! :D) We then managed a couple of quick games of Trivial Pursuit though this was pretty tame compared to usual (probably because Barbara now lives in Oz and wasn’t there.) The girls even managed to get all their pieces of pie in the first game but simply could get to the middle for the final question and then correctly answer before the boys cleaned up. (Of course if the girls would stop being preoccupied with landing on the pink questions all the time, they might do better – did I mention that I hate the pink ones? πŸ˜‰ )

Despite my lack of sleep the previous night, I did OK but was definitely very tired and ready for home by the time we got a call from Nel asking us to come home soon. Her cold had given her hearing loss in one ear and she was feeling a bit scared, so we wrapped up the game and walked home. Nel was fine once she knew we were home so we wished her goodnight (well, morning) and crashed into bed.

We do love spending New Year with our friends. Happy New Year.

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Estranged tummy.

My tummy and I have become estranged.

Anyone that knows me knows that I absolutely cannot bear to be hungry; I wake up hungry and have to have my breakfast straight away, I am starving by 11.30 and have to have my lunch, and then I start getting hungry again around 4pm so that by the time I get in from work I have to eat as soon as I’m in the house. I don’t eat between meals, but I do like my three square meals and I do like them to fill me up.

About four weeks ago, I wasn’t feeling as desperate for food, though of course I did still eat my usual meals at my usual times. However, my tummy gave a vague ache and I felt uncomfortably full – this continued through the week. So when it got to the weekend and I felt the same after Saturday’s breakfast, I decided to wait until I was hungry before eating again – this would surely not be long, because even when I am very ill (flu/glandular fever etc) I still WANT to eat, and the second I am starting to recover, I am back on my food. What happened next was unprecedented; I can’t emphasise enough how out of character it was for me. I didn’t get hungry. At all. The thought of food was just a big fat NO! I didn’t eat all weekend! On Monday morning, I made myself eat breakfast as I didn’t want to keel over at work, and again at lunchtime I made myself eat, though it was half my usual lunch.

This carried on for another 2 weeks! Food just seemed to sit in my stomach, or even felt like it was a lump in my throat. No pain. No nausea. No other symptoms – apart from my tongue felt like it had been scalded, like when you drink too-hot tea. Nothing else. Normal energy levels, I felt fine in myself.

After 3 weeks, and over half a stone’s weight loss, I thought maybe I should see the doctor, so duly made an appointment. She was as baffled as I was and, as I’d expected, felt my tummy, and took some blood. When I got the results a few days later, they were all normal – and she checked everything! (I got a print-out)

It’s now four weeks and although I no longer have the feeling of food sitting in my gullet, I still don’t have much appetite and in fact, any hunger feelings and tummy gurglings are from lower down in my gut than my tummy. It’s like my tummy has just stopped working. The sit-up-and-beg dog is now fast asleep by the fire. I look at food, no matter how yummy-looking, and it’s like looking at a nice picture or a pretty bunch of flowers – very nice but not something that one eats. I don’t feel like there’s any blockage and I have no difficulty swallowing food or drink – it’s just that it seems to sit in my stomach limiting the amount I can eat and drink.

I am still full of energy and feeling well, still have no pain, no nausea and no other symptoms – the tongue has even calmed down a bit now. I’ve lost 3/4 stone now, though fortunately can afford to have done so (arguably, needed to) though I am making sure I do eat three meals a day, albeit that two of the meals are a smaller than usual (probably half what I used to eat.) In a way, it’s quite liberating as I can just go out without having to make provision for the next meal – but on the other hand I can’t do justice to nice food.

If things still haven’t changed in another week or so, I’ll go back to the doctor but not sure where we go next since we’re both so puzzled – maybe a camera down the throat to have a look, but I can’t say that I fancy that! Hope she can come up with a better idea, or that my tummy sorts itself out in the meantime….

Healthy :)

At work we were offered the chance to have a health check and given that I go to the gym regularly and like to increase my workout from time to time, and that am the wrong side of 40 ( a time for predisposing factors for various chronic conditions to start appearing) I booked myself in.

It covered only height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol but it was worth finding out about these and this week I had my follow up to get the verdict.

My height and weight are fine – I’m not divulging the figures here but I wear the same size clothing as I have for the last 20+ years so obviously I’m relatively stable πŸ˜›

My pulse was 67 beats per minute, BP 128/73 and my total cholesterol was 5 mmol/l (not bad given that we now eat a full fat diet since our shopping budget has gone down!) I asked if there was a maximum heart rate I should allow when doing my cardio workouts but was told that my current high of 157 was fine as long as I was comfortable, which I am.

Looks like I am relatively healthy for the moment and can continue to increase my workout provided I feel fine πŸ™‚

Still loving the gym

In case you wondered, I still enjoy going to the gym and am still going three mornings a week πŸ™‚

The rest of this post is really for my own reference so you’ll find it dull πŸ˜›

My workout has increased a bit again and now consists of:

Ò€’ Bike: Level 2 warm-up for 1 min; Level 3 for 5 mins varying the speed between 65-90 rpm (I like the bike least!)
Ò€’ Rower: Resistance 10, for 10 mins at 32 strokes/min (I enjoy this, and could keep going longer if I didn’t have to get to work!)
Ò€’ Treadmill: Incline 9.5 (out of 14) at speed 6 (fast walk) for 10 minutes, work level 8 (out of 10) followed by a 3 minute gradual cool down to get my heart rate down to 110 (I enjoy this.)

Comparing that to what I was doing a few months ago, I’ve actually picked it up a bit – more than I realised πŸ™‚

I’m still trying to find what works best on the weight machines and as with the cardio equipment it seems to be mainly my legs that get the workout but then I don’t want to have big arm muscles anyway (Ha! chance’d be a fine thing as I have no upper body strength at all πŸ˜‰ ) I am currently doing:

Ò€’ Hip Abductor / hip adductor – 47.5 Kg 2x 20 reps (increased from 35Kg, my favourite as it stretches the leg muscles that give me trouble at night)
Ò€’ Abdominal crunch – 27.5 Kg 2 x 20 reps (increased from 20 Kg)
Ò€’ Pull down (biceps/dorsal muscles) – 20Kg 2 x 20 reps (not increased, I find this hard)
Ò€’ Row/rear deltoids – 15Kg 2 x 10 (this one is new but works out the neck/shoulder muscles that get stiff when I’m working at a desk all day)
Ò€’ I’ve given up on the arm/chest machines as even 5Kg kills me! πŸ˜€

I’m needing to use half the herb I was taking for exercise induced asthma now and hoping to not need it at all soon, and my leg and bottom muscles are definitely firmer – I’ll never have a small backside but at least it’s not flabby now πŸ˜‰ I don’t think I’ve lost any weight (as muscle weighs heavier than fat) but I think my body is leaner and my clothes fit nicely so that’s good enough for me.

The important thing is that I am enjoying my workouts, both mentally and physically and they are part of my routine now so hopefully the benefits will be ongoing.

Recharging batteries, updating technology and blitzing mould.

Since being poorly (that man-flu bug must’ve mutated to cross the gender barrier I reckon πŸ˜‰ ) I have slowly recovered with the light headedness and low energy persisting for another week. However I managed to work and to do my overtime – the thought of a fortnight off kept me going but I am really pleased to have a two-week break from work now and hope to recharge my batteries πŸ™‚

I have a long list of jobs through which I’m working during my time off – things which have needed doing for ages but I haven’t had the time, and things which will make me feel good knowing they are finally done. These include cleaning, painting (walls/ceilings), and business accounting amongst other things. Already, on day 2, I have done quite a lot even though I’ve felt as though I’ve just been pottering at my own pace.

I’ve finally transferred all the files I want from my old desktop PC to my laptop and then cleaned up and updated the desktop so that it will serve as a family spare in case of dire, ‘cos it’s slower than a slug with a limp need. I’ve backed up my phones and updated the software on my personal mobile – I LOVE this about Nokias – and the update has fixed a bug I had (viewing details of my contacts) and given me lots of new smilies to play with, so look out if you’re someone with whom I exchange texts, ‘cos I have new toys and intend to use them! πŸ˜›

One of the jobs on my list is to deal with the mould starting to grow on the bathroom ceiling and then repaint it, and I happened to see a mould remover spray in Aldi at the weekend, which I didn’t think would do much but at £1.59 was worth a dabble. To my amazement, it worked a treat and I ended up hunting down any other mould I could find and zapping it! πŸ˜€ The back door had the worst infestation and one panel was solid black – not any longer. This stuff is brilliant and gets 10/10 – but sadly I’ve run out of black stuff to kill and remove πŸ˜‰

None of my jobs are exciting, I know, but actually I am quite a little home-bird and love nothing more than nesting. I hate that I’ve been working so much and neglecting the home so although my holiday plans may seem like hard work, I’m actually enjoying myself. The beautiful spring weather helps too πŸ™‚

Yet ANOTHER blasted cold!

On Tuesday afternoon, I started sniffling and knew I was coming down with yet another cold. I don’t recall having so many since the kids were little and generous enough to share every little germ they picked up. I know I am very run down after months of working overtime and running the house and supporting the family’s emotional needs so I suppose it’s not too surprising – just downright annoying! The only silver lining to this cloud is that I have a couple of weeks off work coming up (to catch up on all the outstanding jobs at home!) and at least I should hopefully be over this bug by then so that it doesn’t spoil my leave. Billy had cooked us a nice dinner for Valentine’s Day and we then watched some TV together, but sadly I was feeling a bit too rough to enjoy it as much as I’d have liked.

The next morning I felt dreadful. Normally I don’t work on Wednesdays but this week my colleague was off so I was covering her days in my office – which meant I had to work on Wednesday when I was really very poorly and should have been in bed. For all that this is a cold bug, it is a really nasty one. Along with the usual streaming nose and cough, I was shivery, had a bad headache and was very dizzy. Somehow I got through and I am lucky enough to work with some lovely people and the orthotist, in particular, helped me out. I really don’t know how I got through the day and I left my keys with someone just in case I was too ill to make it in next day – though I needed to if I could as the office would need manning when the clinic was on in the afternoon. Somehow I managed to walk home – though had to collapse on the stairs to get my breath back before taking my coat off and getting in to bed (with Billy’s assistance.)

On Thursday I stayed in bed until 10.30 and then slowly got myself ready and went in to work for 11.45. I just about managed to do the work needed and cover the clinic before returning to bed. My nose was slightly less runny, but I was still feverish and light-headed and had a dreadful headache. I was even too poorly to watch City play Porto in the Europa League! πŸ™ I did read the report and watch the highlights next day though and am very proud of what sounded like a great performance by the boys who came from 1-0 down to win 1-2.)

Friday came round at last – but Friday’s clinics are in the morning, meaning I needed to be at work by 8.30am. Again, though, I had very helpful colleagues and they helped me through. I managed to get the work done and get back home by 2pm – and back to bed it was. I dozed off and on for the afternoon and was hoping that Paul could find someone to play darts in my stead that evening – but I didn’t really expect him to be able to as with Claire and Simon being away, the rest of us were needed. Sure enough, I was needed, though at least the game was at home, just across the road, so I asked if there was any chance both Captains might agree to me playing at the top of the order so that I could play my games then come home to bed, and thankfully the opposition team was Bar Havana, friends of ours, so that was no problem. Armed with an orange juice and a pint of water, I was pointed in the direction of the board for my games and managed to throw my darts. It was like some crazy fairground game with a whirling dart board and me trying to pick my time to release the dart so that the board’s spin put the treble 20 in line with my arrow πŸ˜‰ Amazingly I did manage to score fairly well, but in all my games I couldn’t finish – unsurprisingly. I soon lost all my games (the last having made me really dizzy so I was thankful when I could collapse into a chair after it) and Billy escorted me back home to bed, my team’s get well wishes (and comments about looking like death and seeing me at my funeral πŸ˜‰ ) ringing in my ears. And then back to bed, where I could stay as long as I needed at last – BLISS! (The team pulled things around after I left so that we won in the end. Well done team – and sorry.)

I did sleep well and on Saturday the nose had pretty much stopped running, the cough was manageable, the headache gone – but the dizziness really bad. I also had a bit of a funny tummy – I hadn’t been eating much all week (which in itself is rare for me as I don’t usually go off my food and my coffee!) and I still had little appetite, but when I did eat, my tummy wasn’t too happy about it and took a while to settle. I spent the day in bed, dozing a little, but mostly awake and Sunday is going the same way. I’ve got out of bed for short periods, to do essential things like putting the washing to dry, washing up, having a bath etc, but then it’s been back to bed to let my head settle again.

Hope this passes soon! Hopefully it will as Nel’s a few days, and Mum a week or so, ahead of me and they are both getting there now. Roll on my leave…..

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