Ladies and gentleman, we have a diagnosis.
If you haven’t been following the seemingly never ending saga of what the fuck is up with Miss Britt’s health, this post will make no sense and be of no interest to you.
But for the rest of you – who have listened to me whine, bitch, moan and cry and waited with me, prayed for me, and emailed me constant encouragement – I cannot even tell you how over the moon with excitement I am to tell you what happened at the doctor’s office on Tuesday.
I’m going to be fine.
My second round of post carb coma blood tests came back… normal.
Now, I have to admit, when I first heard the words “you’re healthy. You’re tests look great.” – I kind of wanted to blow something up or running screaming from the office in an attempt to show that I was not, in fact, fine or healthy.
But I didn’t. Because, well, I’ve been feeling a whole lot of fine lately. And even I was starting to forget why in the hell I had taken on this arduous and expensive journey of figuring out what was wrong with me in the first place. Had I ever really been sick? Had I ever been -
There was the whole issue of the emotional breakdown in which I did not get out of my bed for four days.
But why was I feeling so fine now? Why were the blood tests that had been “high across the board” just a few short weeks ago, touting my health and good fortune now?
Because I haven’t eaten carbs for about two weeks.
And I, ladies and gentleman, have Metabolic Syndrome.
It affects as many as 30% of people and it means that my body has no fucking clue what to do with a carbohydrate. Not only does it not know what to do with it, but it freaks the fuck out – that’s a medical term – when faced with having to decide what to do with carbohydrates.
Someone with Metabolic Syndrome can suffer from all kinds of crazy hormone imbalance induced symptoms. Including extreme fatigue and depression.
Now, after my daughter was born, I went on a low carb diet to lose weight. I stayed on that diet for about 3 years. And then I moved to Florida, and Adam tried to kill me with loaded fries. And I thought – you know, I’ve been doing pretty good on this diet, what’s one plate of fries going to hurt?
The problem is that when someone with Metabolic Syndrome who hasn’t forced carbs on their body in three years suddenly has carbs, their body whacks out. It led to a crazy snowball effect – depression, fatigue, using carbs to feed that depression and fatigue (I’m sorry, but show me a person who hasn’t assuaged a breakdown with Ruffle’s Potato Chips and I will show you a god damn liar) – and before I knew it, my body had completely fallen apart.
I ate myself into a breakdown, people. Tell me that’s not funny.
This is a genetic issue. It’s nothing I did to myself – and nothing that can be cured.
The good news, as my doctor pointed out, is that the treatment is cheap.
Don’t eat carbs.
I can have 20-30 grams of carbs at a meal. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what‘s going on with my weight – I cannot indulge in carb fests. The consequences of gorging myself on carbohydrates are far more severe than gaining a few pounds, as I’ve learned over the last several months.
It’s a very good think that I happen to have already tried a low carb diet previously – it made figuring out the problem much easier. It’s also fortunate that I discovered this issue as early in life as I did. In 10 or 20 years, this could have led to diabetes and some other more serious shit. Apparently.
I can’t even tell you how much lighter I felt leaving that office.
It was such a relief to have a diagnosis that made sense with all of my symptoms. The more my doctor and I talked, the more we were able to piece together the timeline and the emergence of symptoms and verify that – yep, this is the problem.
I’m going to be fine.
The prospect of spending the rest of my life on a strict low-carb diet is a little daunting, but I’ve been eating this way more or less for over four years now, so I have a pretty good handle on how to do it. And the temptation to “cheat” on a “diet” pales in comparison to the realization that avoiding carbs means a lot more than maintaining an ideal weight.
If I was allergic to peanuts, I wouldn’t eat peanuts. Even if I had been “really good”. Or had a “really bad day”.
It feels so good to have a diagnosis that fits. I could feel immediately how perfectly it fit, like the first time you try on a pair of designer jeans. My symptoms weren’t imagined, and my body’s responses aren’t some ambiguous thing that I can’t quite put my finger on.
I have answers.
And, more importantly, I know exactly what to do to keep myself happy, healthy and sane in the future.
I couldn’t be more excited.