I’m doing the happy syndrome dance. But not with popcorn.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

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 -

Oh.

Right.

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.

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  1. Avitable says:

    I may have tried to kill you with loaded fries, but I also made you realize you had this Syndrome soon enough that it won’t affect your long-term health. So, in reality, I’m kind of a hero. I deserve an award.

  2. Angel Smith says:

    I *totally* understand-that’s how my PCOS diagnosis felt. I’m so glad you got it figured out!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Angel Smith, me too! It’s ironic that of all the things the Internet and I came up with as possibilities, this wasn’t one of them.

  3. Sarah Bellum says:

    Dude, Adam is right, he totally deserves an award.

    If feels weird to tell someone congratulations for having a fucking disease, but you know it’s heartfelt. Plus I’ll eat the carbs for you. I also deserve an award.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Sarah Bellum, is an award like a punch? Because I gave him one of those.

      I will, however, send you a prize. How about my popcorn stash?

  4. fidget says:

    Congrats! you have a syndrome! Having confirmation that something IS wrong other then maybe being slightly insane is always comforting. And yes, you have to treat this exactly like an allergy. On that note, if you are at all handy in the kitchen there are some kick ass bread recipes out there that use almond meal as the main ingredient thus side stepping a lot of the bread= carb coma issue.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @fidget, not only do I have recipes – I actually already HAVE almond meal. And flax seed. And almond flower. And a whole shit load of secret low carb shit.

  5. KIm says:

    YAY !!! There is an answer !! I am glad you have that after all you have been thru!

    I am excited for you! Keep being an inspiration !!

  6. pocket queen says:

    God, Britt, this is great!! I read your twitter a couple of hours ago and I wanted to know more! I’m so happy for you, and so glad you’re going to be just fine! =D Hooray for Britt!! It’s also great you have some experience with a low carb diet, so that it won’t be such a drag.
    ps. now, please, go and shove those results in your first doctor’s face!!!

  7. I am so, so, so, SO happy that you have found a diagnosis and solution. It’s great to know you’re really not crazy, and even better to actually feel better. I’ll do the happy dance with you, with broccoli instead of the popcorn.

  8. You’ll just have to treat the carbs like they’re poison to your system. And never forget how crappy they make you feel.

    How much do we love doctors that don’t treat us like we’re crazy?

  9. pocket queen says:

    Oh, and not to steal your sunshine, but I had been wanting to share some great news with you.. remember months ago I told you in a comment that I was applying for a scholarship in the Netherlands? well, I got it!!! So, now I’m happy for me, and you also! :)

  10. Ren says:

    So good to have a diagnosis you don’t doubt. After your twitter announcement, I read the Wikipedia page but couldn’t quite map it to the symptoms you’d described, so it was good to ready your description hear.

    • Finn says:

      @Ren, I ran into the same thing when I looked it up. The information out there doesn’t adequately describe what’s been going on with Britt. What I’ve read sounds more like “you’re fat and you eat like crap and don’t exercise and this is what happens so eat properly and exercise.”

      • Miss Britt says:

        @Finn, that sucks. Exercise actually has nothing to do with it.

        Not that I shouldn’t exercise – but it will have no affect on whether or not my body can tolerate the carbs better.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Ren, yeah, when he first said it I was a little like “ummm… really? That’s it?” It was good to get the full explanation.

  11. That’s great news! It’s so much better to have answers than questions, and to find out that it’s manageable is even better news. Congratulations!

  12. Question: you can’t eat carbs at all–even low glycemic stuff like vegetables–or you can’t eat high glycemic carbs, like sugar, white flour, potatoes, etc? Ah, and wine?

    I’m so glad you have an answer for all that’s been ailing you, and there is something you can do about it that doesn’t involve more drugs, more doctors, more strife!

  13. Rachel says:

    Woot WOOT girl! So thrilled for you! Heres to carb free Britt!

  14. Sharon says:

    I am so happy for you! Glad they figured it out!

  15. usedtobeme says:

    “I ate myself” – every man’s dream conversation with his wife/gf/so

    That’s Funny!

    PS – I’m glad you’re going to be better. I cut out carbs and it made me cranky. I never feel full.

  16. Kris says:

    Did you know Type 2 diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome go hand in hand? If you need a push to help your pancreas play nice and process those carbs properly, your doctor may put you on Metformin.

    And yes, 30 grams of carbs is nothing per meal. Don’t forget a low-carb snack during the day. The diet for Metabolic Syndrome is the same for Type 2 diabetes. (Did I already tell you this? I don’t want to be redundant, but I’m too lazy to go back in archives to check.)

    I’m glad they’re figuring it out. Sometimes just having an answer – any answer – is a relief.

  17. Selma says:

    What a relief. So as many as 30% of people have it? They probably don’t know they do.

    I am so glad you found out and while it will be tricky to stay low-carb for good, it will be wonderful to know you won’t have to experience any of the negative symptoms anymore. FAB!

  18. Lynda says:

    assuaged. Miss Fancy Dictionary Pants. :)

    I am glad you found out what the problem is and hopefully you feel better. Just tell people you are allergic to carbs!

  19. Chris says:

    Somehow I’m not surprised that this is all Adam’s fault, but I’m so glad to hear that you found out wtf is wrong!

  20. Lisa says:

    Britt, I am SO glad that you’ve figured out what’s wrong.

    Even happier that it can be treated so simply.

  21. Sarah says:

    I am thrilled that you know what is going on now, Britt.I’m happy you aren’t fighting this nameless thing anymore.

    Big hugs, babe! *hugs*

  22. MariaV says:

    I’m very happy for you, Britt.

    Perhaps, you can positive spin on it by calling it a way of life instead of a “diet.”

  23. praise the sweet baby jesus! not only is is manageable, but it is CHEAPLY manageable.

    this is exciting news, britt. it makes me so happy to know that you will no longer wonder if you are ‘crazy’ and that you know the official medical textbook has a name for what you experienced…because you are not alone.

    i’m curious if the doc thinks the nightly meds you are on can be removed once the diet is in check. i have no clue how this all works.

  24. Poppy says:

    I have the opposite of this, for real. If I try to NOT eat carbs I get altered and feel my body start to shut down.

    GLAD they finally figured it out!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Poppy, I said this to someone else – but I’ve heard of that. I know a lot of people who get head aches and stuff if they don’t get ENOUGH carbs. Craziness.

  25. MB says:

    I’m doing the happy dance for you. My body can’t handle simple carbs very well but they are like crack to me. I need a carb detox program. I’m glad you have the answers and know how to fix what has been going on. Oh, happy day! Hold the fries.

  26. Dawn says:

    “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.”

    Exactly! I’ve never met a carb I didn’t love, but you’re exactly right. If something you like is harming you, it’s a no-brainer. It’s out.

    This is GREAT news!

  27. Amy@UWM says:

    Eat protein and prosper. Congrats on a diagnosis.

  28. OMG!!! So glad to know you’re gonna be OK. I have been on pins and needles since reading your Facebook update yesterday. At least you know you can do without carbs. We do a lot of that here because of the diabetes thing and the Celiac thing….. it can be done!

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Blondefabulous, yeah, I’m SO fortunate to already have as much experience as I do with this lifestyle. Otherwise, I can imagine it would be pretty overwhelming.

  29. Robin says:

    i think that is what i have, i think that is similar to Insulin Resistance. i’m working on getting in lots of proteins right now and it’s already helping, just after a few days.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Robin, I think it’s very similar. I know the treatment is.

      If you need any tips or just someone to talk to about it, I’m an email away.

  30. Faiqa says:

    You know how to tell if someone is a hypochondriac? If every time you mention a disease, they say, “I think I have that!!”

    But…
    OMG! I think I have that!!

  31. Turnbaby says:

    I think it’s wonderful that you have an answer.

  32. The Tutugirl says:

    I’m so glad you figured out what was going on! Thank goodness the cure is cheap, and doesn’t require a lot of doctor visits. I’m so glad you’re on the way to feeling 100% better!

  33. Hilly says:

    Yay for a diagnosis! I am so happy that everything has an explanation and someone was willing to dig further than telling you that it was all in your head!

  34. First I have to sell my BK stock because of Adam, now I have to sell my stock in Barilla. You people are really starting to tick me off.

  35. Melizzard says:

    There is nothing like the joy of knowing what is wrong with you. I remember feeling this way when the specialist confirmed my own self-diagnosis for Auto-Immune Hep. Congrats on moving forward towards getting better!

  36. Britt's Mom says:

    Thank God for doctors who treat us like the intelligent consumers we are. And you and he are right – this DOES affect a ton of people and the consequences are lifelong and devastating. I am so freaking glad, SO freaking excited. And yes, yes. I’m following suit. You didn’t get those genes from Walmart.

  37. Finn says:

    I’m glad you have an answer and simple (even if it’s not easy) solution.

    I have the same question as Becky: Does this mean you can quit the antidepressants?

  38. Summer says:

    I’m very happy you’ve found the reason for your symptoms. I guess if you have to have a syndrome this one isn’t so bad. There are times when you actually wish you had something wrong so you can do something about it and feel better. Try following a diabetic diet, I’m limited to 45 carbs per meal.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Summer, I’ve never been exactly sure what the difference is between a diabetic diet and a “low carb” diet. I do know 45 would be too much for me.

  39. Connie says:

    Yay! I am so happy for you!

  40. Becca says:

    I am so glad someone finally figured it out! I am glad you are feeling so much better! :)

  41. I feel so bad about that damned popcorn now. Dammit dammit dammit.

    I’m so very happy that you finally have answers! Congratulations!

    xoxo

  42. That’s awesome that the doc figured out what it was. I’ve been eating your carbs for you though. Could you give them to someone else? lol!

  43. NYCWD says:

    While I think it’s great that you have a diagnosis you can believe in that explains what has happened, I have to ask what seems to be glaringly absent to me… when are you seeing the cardiologist???

    • Miss Britt says:

      @NYCWD, *SIGH*

      You know, I asked my doctor SPECIFICALLY about the side effects associated with restricting my carbs because I ALWAYS hear this stuff from someone or another.

      My heart will be fine.

      I’m not going to an all red meat and cheese diet.

      • NYCWD says:

        @Miss Britt, Actually that’s not the reason I’m asking at all.

        Metabolic Syndrome, in my experience, goes hand in hand with heart disease. I always thought it was a genetic thing… and am hard pressed to think of a Metabolic Syndrome patient who did not have CAD.

        So… I just want to make sure he’s delved deep enough…

        • Sarah says:

          @NYCWD, I’m not a healthcare professional like you are, but a lot of my work is for cardiologists, and what you’re saying sounds like all the stuff I read. It’s not that the treatment would cause heart disease, Britt – it’s that a lot of people with this have it already. We’s just worried about you!

  44. ali says:

    you are going to be fine!

    that’s the best news. really.

  45. Fogspinner says:

    You may also want to check out a book called “Eat right for your Blood type” My DR recommends it to everyone and we really like it. My husband (a redblooded meat eating MAN)found out he wasn’t supposed to eat 90% of meats, in fact he really is only supposed to eat turkey and game hen, and even those are only acceptable not good.
    After threatening to kill him, or worse nag him to death, he agreed to try it for a while.
    Let me say. O.M.G the difference. Not only did he lose weight but the attitude change! He stopped feeling tired and depressed after meals.
    He is type A. I am type O. I can and should eat all forms of meat, the redder the better. You have no idea how hard it is to cook in my house. :-)

  46. Mrs Soup says:

    Hurray!!!! That is so wonderful. And with the rage of the Atkins diet and everything, there are plenty of recipes and ideas for food to eat to stay healthy. Huzzah!

  47. Sybil Law says:

    I love to hear good news!!!
    Awesome!

  48. Jenn says:

    Yeah celebrating with you!!!! Great now you are going to be smaller and cuter than you have ever been. Bitch.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Jenn, hahahhahahahha – well I don’t know about cuter.

      Unless I can get a prescription for a cheek implant or something.

      Which would be awesome.

  49. Foo says:

    Yay to finally getting a diagnosis. A really good friend suffers from the same thing. She is also allergic to dairy. It really limits her diet, but the changes with her depression and fatigue have all but gone away. No more days of her not being able to take care of her kids. She springs out of bed and no longer feels like hiding under the covers. She is enjoying her new medication of protein, veggies and nuts. She brings her own food everywhere and it’s just become her life. She’s also now a skinny beyotch :o )

  50. whall says:

    It’s weird that it affects 30% of people. Is that like a leg? Both arms? The upper 30%? Which 30% of my body is affected, I wonder?

  51. mare says:

    as a Celiac, I totally get this – right down to a best friend (in my case my mom) trying to kill me with food

  52. Wow, hon. Wow. This insulin-resistance/metabolic issues problem is just soooo prevalent with our society. And it’s our eating habits! It’s crazy. I could write a month of posts about this and I won’t hijack your comments, but we may have to have a night-long bitchfest about this at BlogHer.

    I’m so very, very, very glad you got the answer you need and so very, very, very glad that it’s manageable without medication! YIPEE!!!

  53. Rachael says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes.

  54. Janelle says:

    Yay!!!! I’m so glad you didn’t listen to your doctor before who clearly is stupid and kept at this and now you have answers.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Janelle, me too!! As much as part of me feels stupid because it isn’t anything “big”, I’m glad to know WHAT caused all that craziness, and how to avoid it in the future.

  55. Toe says:

    Yay you found out finally! : )

    Boo No Mega Loaded Nachos. : (

  56. Kimberly says:

    Whew!!! So glad you have the answer! And you’ll be thinner than me. BITCH.

    xo

  57. SO glad you found out what was wrong…! Finally!

  58. A Free Man says:

    It is my first visit and I’m not scared off because I’m in the midst of a health thing as well. Would be happy with just knowing what was going on as well. Glad to know that you’ve got yours sorted.

  59. Fantastagirl says:

    Yay for answers! I’m glad you stuck with it, kept after them and found something. (Not that I wanted you to have this, but at least you know what you need to do to feel better!)

    You’ll figure out your 20 to 30 grams of carbs per meal fast and realize when you’ve had too much – you’ll do awesome!

  60. DaDuck says:

    wow! I didn’t know that existed! I wish my body didn’t know what to do with Carbs. Instead it just adds them to my ass.

    Glad you got answers. It had to be the biggest relief in the world to find that out.

  61. MariaV says:

    Britt: I would be curious to hear about your average daily menu. If you feel it is too boring to write about, I will understand.

    P.S. Again, I am very happy for you.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @MariaV, it’s not super exciting usually. Sometimes I get creative – but my average daily menu is eggs for breakfast, some kind of salad for lunch (cobb, chef, taco, etc.), and a meat and vegetable for dinner (steak, hamburger, chicken, fish – and broccoli usually)

  62. Allyson says:

    I am very glad to hear you have a diagnosis. I know I haven’t been commenting much of late, but I have been lurking, and worrying about you. Are there carbs in margaritas? Can we celebrate this diagnosis properly?

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Allyson, in a margarita from a restaurant? Typically, yes.

      BUT – I happen to have a recipe for a kick ass low carb margarita using mainly tequila, lime juice and splenda. :-)

  63. Jenny Ryan says:

    Oh, I’m SO happy for you that you finally got an accurate diagnosis. I just went through that same, awful process of sickness, tests, and not knowing, and I know what a HUGE relief it is to finally have a name for what’s been going on with you.

  64. Rachael says:

    I am SO HAPPY for you! That is amazing news, and it’s not always ‘easy’ to go on a strict diet like that, but it is much better than having something harder to treat! I’m so glad you’re getting back to being yourself again.

  65. Jerri Ann says:

    Hey, I suspect that this an issue for me as well. My husband laughed not to long ago because I suggested we go eat sushi so we could take a good nap that afternoon.

    I’m sure the sushi wasn’t packed with carbs like a Big Mac or Whopper would have been but….we had all kinds of other stuff too..like rice and yummy chicken with a sweet sauce and yummmmm alcholic drinks…..and indeed, we both ended up in a stupor that afternon.

    I do have diabetes and it was diagnosed shortly after I turned 39. That along with a thyroid condition and yes, I was not only feeding my depression, I was feeding my disease….I am no where near as good about keeping they carbs to a minimum but it’s not for lack of thinking about it…just not taking action.

  66. SciFi Dad says:

    somewhere, Dr. Atkins feels vindicated by this

  67. So glad you finally have a diagnosis! Staying away from carbs…that’s a tough one for me. Carboholic here. I hope you have an easy time of it and get back to feeling great!

  68. Very glad to hear this…I’ll keep it in mind next time I’m in Orlando if we go eat.

  69. Anne says:

    Yayyyy! Wonderful news that you are going to be ok! Sooo happy to hear that! Great to know the info about Metabolic Syndrome, I had never heard of that!

  70. Donna says:

    I think you’ve been given the wrong definition of metabolic syndrome. It is characterised by insulin resistance, high cholesterol and blood pressure and is almost always associated with obesity especially belly fat.

    It has nothing to do with carbs and doesn’t have a thing to do with tiredness (unless obesity causes it) or general hormonal wackiness unless it’s insulin related.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Donna, I’ve heard a lot of conflicting stuff from people who have looked up information on line. The doctor DID, actually, mention the belly fat – and, well, no pictures – but. Heh.

      From what the doctor explained to me, it’s not a cut and dry thing and the problem is the chain reaction that it causes, which isn’t necessarily identical in every body.

      • Miss Britt says:

        @Miss Britt, online even. *sigh*

        • Donna says:

          @Miss Britt, I have a family member who has Metabolic Disease and I know a bit about it. I looked it up online just now and pretty much everything I already knew and have now read are the same.

          I don’t think Metabolic Disease is the correct term your doctor is trying for.

          And belly fat isn’t “a little tummy.” Belly fat is “can’t see your crotch” fat.

  71. Jen says:

    Hey Britt,
    I have been quietly reading about this for awhile not having much to say because really how much does “I’m sorry, I know it sucks when people look at your like you’re an attention seeking nutbag” really help…

    Anyway I am so happy for you that you have answers to your questions and you know what you need to do to keep your train on the tracks so to speak.

    Love and hugs
    Jen

  72. Lizzle says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but just catching up on the feeds. I’m so glad to hear that you have a manageable diagnosis!! Keep us updated and how the journey is going.

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