2 yrs ago I was drawing to the end of my PGCert in Science Communication - I had had a huge relapse of chronic fatigue, pain, my bleeding had grown heavier again (I had been bleeding since Mary's birth in 2011). I was starting to think it really was that I just couldn't take stress... my stomach was on the blink also and a new thing had started happening during the lecture clusters I attended.
So everytime I tried to go back to education or proper out of the house with people work I got sicker - a lot sicker obviously it was stress.
Plus the new thing - the new thing was migraines, I was getting headaches but not just headaches, as I stared at the various smart screens and projectors and especially if they room had flickering lights or they turned the damn things off all together I would get vertigo and weird colours arching through and around the lighted up screens.
Migraine with aurors - my blood pressure was up - not really very high but bar my labour with Jean my blood pressure has always been low. This was potentially an issue with the headaches, obv. it was because I was also fat. Well doh of course I was my arthritis was bad, my pelvis was bad, I was aneamic and worse I was eating 1600 cals on a day and still whopping on weight and I could tell that was getting worse - infact before I'd gone to the dr I had worked out my money and deciding I was really too ill to attempt the second year and wanting to take Cuddly Science further without the worry of academia I used my left over cash to by a recumbant exercise bike with padded broad seat and back and a Â£7 pedometer - the pedometer was inaccurate and infuriating and lasted about 3 days when I dropped it and it died.
Dr sent me to the diabetic-thyroid-dietician nurse and gave me pills (which do also help regulate thyroid though I think they were the second lot of tablets and they are for the headaches primarily). Due to blood clotting issues there was also the risk of strokes if things continued as they were.
This is where I discovered that my maintain calorie count is actually a depressing 1400 (thanks to being short and having a lighter "Asian" bone structure rather than the dense bones of "Europeans") and to make it worse I found that when I publically announced this people began messaging me to say it wasn't that bad - well it was it was FREAKING HELL! Because I wasn't on 1400 which to be frank I am always going to be hungry on even when it is whole foods, but I was on a strict cal count diet to attempt to shock my system into working again. 1000-1200 cals a day.
I was passing out, I was grumpy, I got bad breath and starvation headache (to go with the tension headache, sinus headaches and migraines I was already suffering from). One of the many emails I got was from a friend who had had similar issues to me with back pain and I knew she'd lost a lot of weight etc... I was skeptical, and I was very hacked off at people telling me what to do especially as they all had different advice (and yes I know you were all trying to help and you kind of did but I was still grumpy!). Anyway she said that her key had been to stop eating wheat... my sugar levels were erratic which is why I was passing out I spoke with the nurse and I decided to go back on what I term my "Mary Pregnancy" diet which is meant buy buy to bread and pasta and stuff and knowing from all the tests I had at Chelsea and Westminster back during my degree I knew I had a sensitivity to wheat which is why I wasn't supposed to have white bread - so maybe that had gotten worse.
I cut wheat out... I cut it out mainly because it was the easiest why to drop my cal count and still fill I was eating something - Mushroom as pizza base here I came... without the cheese boo (oh and soya was making the bleeding worse so that was out too plus my sensitivity to latex and chilli had gotten worse - so that was the allergies and the intollerances because you know I have to collect the whole set!).
Sugar levels were a bit more stable so I continued hobbling my way to the climbing wall with my walking stick for the girls clubs etc... which I couldn't do whilst passing out and I mean what was that from anyway? The aneamia? Sugar levels? Pick and choose - I thought I was screwed for life I thought I was on the walking stick if not crutches for ever.
Now I still walked alot with the stick, I was slow and shuffly and it wore me out and I almost cried when the Dr asked didn't I do anything more "energetic"? And my emotions got worse with the suggestion of swimming - I was bleeding heavily enough with failed attempt at coil and oral pill etc... that I was given the choice of having laser ablation or hysterectomy and I didn't want them but I was thinking about them seriously, so how could I swim? Please just believe me flow was too heavy.
I struggled my way through 50 cal burns on the exercise bike I was walking 10 k steps a day just doing like house work and kids clubs but that was it there was no energy for anything else.
I had a pull up bar put in the house - I couldn't even reach it but I was damn well going to try and reach it everyday.
So it was after the 2 or 3rd visit to the nurse that cut out the wheat and six weeks or so on from that when... I started getting better. It was early autumn I'd gotten the bike in May (so year approx two years ok!). It was warm and sunny and I was walking with Jean to her climbing and I suddenly thought hmmm I'm not really leaning on my stick that much today, so a walked abit without. Now with the pelvis and chronic fatigue etc... I sometimes had good spells anyway so didn't think that much about it but was kind of hoping I was going to be in remission for a bit.
People at the climbing wall started to say how I didn't look "bloated" anymore. And it was true my hard painfull stomach was not, it was still fat and blobberly but not in the same way.
The next walk in I started off not using my stick and got to the first corner, then the a bit further the next time, the stick is a folding one so I could take it with me just incase.
(p.s. I will confess I only got the swanky pedometer to prove to the dr that I was walking as far as I said I was because I knew with weight and stick it seemed unlikely and though not said I'm pretty sure she didn't believe me but with the app I had graphs!).
Anyway armed with extra information that my aunt and mother have celiacs disease and the fact that the nurse, dr... etc where kind of amazed at the improvement. They suggested that I may or may not have it but definatly I react to wheat, to be tested I'd have to go back on it for 6 weeks - that was not going to happen, we know from my record that I have an autoimmune system reaction to wheat and from my point of view it doesn't really matter the prescription food contains other foods I'm allergic and intollerant to and would be just for me and what ever it is it makes me sick.
Looks like it was my packed lunches and economy university cafe food that was making me sick - realised that when I am at home I eat very little bread and paster - enough to still be causing some problems but not enough to cause full out body-gemmon (remembering my body loves autoimmune diseases so as far as I can tell it needs any old excuse to eat itself).
My arthritis cleared up, my pelvis stopped shifting about, gut calmed down, the hernia and seperated muscles sorted themselves out. Then the bleeding stopped, I was loosing weight!
My cal count was getting upped.
About a year in and the bleeding stopped, my bloods for everything then came back normal a little while later. I started swimming. I could stand up and reach my pull up bar I kept trying to pull myself up - it wasn't working.
By January last year I was well enough to started climbing, me climbing with new purple climbing shoes - I could only manage 15 mins the first week but that soon increased. I was doing the digging at the allotment, trying to convince Al my back was good enough to carry and lift things - I planked!!!! I increased planking time to 1 min.
It was amazing (I'm trying not to use religous words here!). My other food intollerances got less sensitive - though the allergies seem slightly worse (boo so now no strawberries or bannanes). I had a few blips, times of feeling like flu, fearing I was just in a good patch in the chronic fatigue but then it turned out that some vinegar is made from wheat, some chocolate has malt extract in, barely, spelt and a swath of other things are just wheat in disguise, oh and my favourites... someone bought "gluten" bread in the house and toasted it in my toaster and no you can't use the knife from the other cake and fish/onion rings etc and the chips all fried together. Other thing that caught me out - glazes of some ham, some fizzy drinks have malt derived stuff :/
Pretty much every flare up I had we then found I'd consumed something with probably only trace amounts of wheat in :/ It's a pain feeding me now but the difference is amazing.
I got down to about 11 stone from almost 14 (with the uncontrolled gestational diabeties during Jean's pregnancy I had gone from about 8-9 stone to 16 stone by eating hospital food and then I really struggled to loose any of it in the following years but I did loose a couple of stone with Mary's pregnancy where I knew what I was doing with the diabeties and was in charge of my own food I put on 1 stone during the pregnancy and was 14 at the end of it. It was then going up and down depending on pain etc... issue being feed back loops and loading on seperated pelvises and insulin tollerance etc... I was very worried that I was failing to maintain my weight I had lost some and then got put on hormones to try and stop bleeding and on and on but I was off of those and had been for a while and my weight had still been going up... which is why I was releived when the Dr mentioned help with weight). Then cuts came in and my nice helpful nurse had her postition axed and went off to find a job in the private sector or Australia or as she put it "somewhere I am allowed to actually help people" - well she helped me but the next appointment I had was a nurse saying "I'm not qualified to deal with you, you no longer count as over weight enough even though you are not in your target weight, if you want monitoring go back to the Dr and get referred to the hospital but they wont have anyone qualified to deal with you either."
So that was that - and we bought a pair of scales for the house which Al guards so I can't check my weight all the time and he gives me rewards - I got down to 10 stone earning myself nail vanish and things...
We found Free From sections in supermarkets are huge now and calories still count.
The idea being 1400-1600 cals a day and the remaining weight lose through exercise. I got myself medals to attempt marathon type walks and planned to take up and kind of did take up running.
My skin conditions cleared up!!!!
I could raise my feet off the ground, not once but several times but only from one way round and I wanted to be able to do both types of pull up. I managed 150 cal burns easily on the bike.
Of course at the beginning of the summer (2015) I got a little carried away with this new found movement of body and was dancing my little cotton socks off with my 10 yr old at one of the festivals I work at. I was having a fab time, so was she we were waiting for a band I hadn't seen since I was like 17 doing Summer on the South Bank as part of the "youth" component. I felt weird and dizzy and couldn't regain my balance and fell over backwards off the grass onto the concrete.
And that was the headbang whilst headbanging and the not acting my age or knowing my limits. Scans and stuff showed sinus polyp growths from my food allergies and an ancient compacted vertibrea or something (they told me whilst concused but it's been like it so long it wont be causing problems - I assume it is from my bike accident as a teen or something). Sadly there is still on going stuff from that but functioning wise for kids and things I am still so much better than I was 2 yrs ago - more on that when I know more.
During the two months of main recovery I was eating when ever and numbers and memory where shot and I was asleep most of the time so calorie counting didn't happen. And even though I was eating ALOT when we did remember to weigh me I had lost weight taking me down to the 9 and a half stone - I vaguely started trying to do some exercise in the autumn but was restricted with what still hurt the head including the damn impact site.
There were more head issues around Christmas but I managed to start exercise again properly in the new year - mainly after the weigh in showed I'd put on 1/4 of a stone! Eeking me periously near that 10 stone mark once more.
This is actually an upbeat post honest!
So anyway I lost the 1/4 of a stone but am still stuck at 9 and 1/2, giving me a stone and a half to loose for target but weight was never really the focus - health was.
And I can now do 200-300 cal burns a sitting and try for 500 on the exercise bike, my body shape has changed itself around to adjust to the weight lose - belly is still a huge flap and as promised by the Dr is even flappier! But my bum is skinnier so I had to take the chocks off of my exercise bike as my legs are now apparently longer! I can manage 5 almost full pull ups one way and one the other, I can do a minute planks (still only 1 minute it was one of things I couldn't due after head bang as it made everything thud!) I don't wee myself as much when attempting to run (TMI?), I haven't made it back climbing but have been swimming - co-ordination simply was not good enough and part of the problem with the concussion is it's cumalative and this wasn't my first headbang by far so now I am trying to work out how to prevent future ones without stopping doing the stuff I love.
I kind of want a six pack - I've always wanted one but was actively disuaded from various exercises at school as they could apparently dislodge womb and overies - since been told by exercise experts that that is a load of bull and you know I may not have ended up with those seperated muscels in the first place if I'd done what I wanted! But anyway did I mention I was doing my weights again - I've had to go back to the very smallest and it is really the first time since having Mary and she's 5 now!
Oh year my RSI is a lot better too - I assume due to my body not being inflammed all the time.
Anyway I basically wanted to do a before and after pic but I never really wanted/want photos taken of me so I got Al to take the current photo of me in the star dress - kind of hoping I can trim those arms up a bit more and vanity does have me - I started the weights again as with the weight loss I did kind of have bingo wings!
The before pic is one Jean sneakily too of me on our way to or from the climbing wall - I am hunched over the stick attempting to put my bag back on my shoulder - I didn't know she'd taken it or it on my phone or I probably would have deleted it at the time.
So yeah - I thought the two photos highlighted more than the weight change!