I definitely continue to lose weight.

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I was 160.5 on Friday – following a day of stomach revolt. Gained 3 pounds overnight because I was able to eat two actual meals. Have to say: I NEVER expected to reach the 150’s. Like, ever. I still can’t believe I’m within a few pounds.

I am not actively trying to lose weight, so this almost feels like cheating. I had to work SO HARD and now? I jumped through the 170’s without even really noticing.

I don’t notice much difference between 160ish and 180ish … but I guess something is happening since I’m dropping sizes.

May 2011 at 180ish:

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Today at 163:

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So! Let’s talk about health drama! It’s related to weight loss!

I saw a new GI doctor the other day who thinks my weight loss (in general) has caused a gallbladder issue. He was quite surprised that I’ve lost over 100 pounds – and continue to lose. He explained something about sludge building up as I lost the weight and insinuated that my gallbladder is likely just not functioning correctly anymore.

I think the idea is that I have a function problem vs. a gallstone problem – but this is interesting:

… factors that contribute to the formation of gallstones, particularly cholesterol stones, include

Sex. Women are twice as likely as men to develop gallstones. Excess estrogen from pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control pills appears to increase cholesterol levels in bile and decrease gallbladder movement, which can lead to gallstones.

Family history. Gallstones often run in families, pointing to a possible genetic link.

Weight. A large clinical study showed that being even moderately overweight increases the risk for developing gallstones. The most likely reason is that the amount of bile salts in bile is reduced, resulting in more cholesterol. Increased cholesterol reduces gallbladder emptying. Obesity is a major risk factor for gallstones, especially in women.

Diet. Diets high in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber increase the risk of gallstones due to increased cholesterol in the bile and reduced gallbladder emptying.

Rapid weight loss. As the body metabolizes fat during prolonged fasting and rapid weight loss—such as “crash diets”—the liver secretes extra cholesterol into bile, which can cause gallstones. In addition, the gallbladder does not empty properly.

Age. People older than age 60 are more likely to develop gallstones than younger people. As people age, the body tends to secrete more cholesterol into bile.

Ethnicity. American Indians have a genetic predisposition to secrete high levels of cholesterol in bile. In fact, they have the highest rate of gallstones in the United States. The majority of American Indian men have gallstones by age 60. Among the Pima Indians of Arizona, 70 percent of women have gallstones by age 30. Mexican American men and women of all ages also have high rates of gallstones.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs. Drugs that lower cholesterol levels in the blood actually increase the amount of cholesterol secreted into bile. In turn, the risk of gallstones increases.

Diabetes. People with diabetes generally have high levels of fatty acids called triglycerides. These fatty acids may increase the risk of gallstones.

I didn’t exactly “crash diet” this time around – but lord knows that’s how I spent most of my teens and early 20’s.

I’m having a scan soon to determine what’s going on.

CCK-HIDA scan is procedure used to check the function and the condition of the gallbladder and the ducts leading in and out of it. It can help determine if a person has form of gallbladder disease or if the gallbladder is functioning properly.

A radioactive chemical (hydroxy iminodiacetic acid or HIDA) is injected intravenously (IV) into the person. The chemical is removed from the blood by the liver and secreted into the bile which is produced by the liver. The test chemical then disperses into the bile ducts, the gallbladder, and the intestine. The radioactive substance will remain in the body temporarily until it is passed through urine or stool.

A camera (nuclear scanner) that senses radioactivity is then placed over the stomach and images of the liver, bile ducts, and gallbladder are obtained over the course of about two hours.

An injection of CCK (cholecystokinin) is administered and additional images will be taken. CCK is a medication that causes the gallbladder to contract. During the injection, a person may experience abdominal cramping or pain and nausea, however this will pass quickly. The images obtained before and after the CCK are examined and interpreted by a radiologist.

Sounds fun, right?

Honestly, I am very seriously hoping my gallbladder is the problem because I’ll have that sucker yanked out ASAP with zero regret. I miss eating without fear.

I have an upper scope scheduled a couple of weeks later just in case I get to hang on to it. I tried to talk him into doing a colonoscopy, too, while he’s at it – but he explained the risk/benefit scenario and I agreed to hold off until later. He understood my peace of mind argument, so we’ll see.

I think I mentioned before that I was previously diagnosed with rapid emptying syndrome and IBS? I don’t have the running-to-the-bathroom problem associated with either of those things (or many other symptoms, in general) – and the new GI doctor seems to think the rapid emptying thing is a non-issue. So. Who knows?

All I know is I eat a really clean diet that feels as if it’s slowly killing me.

Jon’s cancer episode taught me quite a bit, but most importantly: don’t give up. So I’m not.

Something else it taught me? Take control.

I drove around town the morning before my GI appointment picking up medical records from every facility that’s ever touched me vs. blindly having them faxed.

Guess what was noted on an Oct 2008 CT scan of my abdomen (from one of the very first stomach revolts that panicked me so much I wound up in the ER)?

Severe lumbar stenosis inferiorly, including L-4-L-5 where there is marked disc bulge.

Interesting.

Lumbar stenosis (spinal stenosis) is a condition whereby either the spinal canal (central stenosis) or one or more of the vertebral foramina (foraminal stenosis) becomes narrowed. If the narrowing is substantial, it causes compression of the nerves, which causes the painful symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, including low back pain, buttock pain, and leg pain and numbness that is made worse with walking and relieved by resting.

Not an overly big deal – but I had no idea.

My mom has had back surgery (and most of her family have back issues) – so I’m not surprised – but you’d think someone would have mentioned a degenerative back problem/bulging disc situation to a 28 year old, right? So I could maybe make some appropriate lifestyle choices and work toward mitigating the damage/risk of injury. Like maybe not blindly starting fucking CrossFit?
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There is no rhyme or reason for the stomach revolts at this point. I can’t exactly pinpoint what will bring them on – other than beef and coconut oil – so I’m just eating when I can and dealing with the damage when it happens.

This morning, we went to The French Market Crêperie for a late (for us) breakfast.

I chose spinach, egg, cheese & tomato.

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Jon chose bacon, egg & cheese.

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We also split a blueberry & lemon curd for dessert.

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So good.

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We spent our entire Saturday moving furniture and scrubbing baseboards and mopping and dusting and steam cleaning rugs and furniture and washing every piece of fabric/dish/moveable object – so it was nice to be out of our house + sitting.

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We walked afterward, of course.

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The babies are growing.

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