A Year Of No Sugar: Post 52

I sat in my doctor’s white-box office in Rutland yesterday morning, ready to hear the diagnosis: I was anemic.

Or: I had thyroid disease.

Or: I had lyme disease.

I wasn’t entirely ready to hear a diagnosis of diabetes, another ailment which has been suggested to me, in large part because the sheer irony of that would’ve been unbearable. (Headline: “Woman Stops Eating Sugar: Instantly Becomes Diabetic!”) After more than two months, I felt it was at last time to discover the truth behind why I have been having recurring exhaustion attacks which shut me down for between one and three days at a time and render me so helpless that I lack the ability to do even the most basic, low energy activities: reading, knitting, smiling. Basically I stare vacantly into space, feeling like Oscar the Grouch on valium, and feeling annoyed at all that isn’t getting done. Wait- scratch that. I feel too crappy to care about all that isn’t getting done; I feel annoyed because sitting on the couch feeling crappy isn’t living.

But now was the moment of truth. Maybe I’d even find out the reason why virtually every time I’ve been to the doctor in the last fourteen or so years that we’ve lived here I’ve complained of “fatigue” of one sort or another, as he pointed out when I originally went in two weeks ago.

So I was prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was for him to come in and tell me how ridiculously healthy I apparently am. He went through all the results with me line by line: white blood cells, urine sample, Lyme titer, the good cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, the ugly cholesterol… all the while using words like “excellent,” “exactly what we’d like to see,” and “very terrific.” (I swear, at one point he really did say: “Very terrific.” Mrs. Boersma, my twelfth-grade English teacher, clearly has never met my doctor.) He even said I drink enough water! I mean, who drinks enough water? Nobody!

I like my doctor, incidentally: he doesn’t rush me. He answers all my questions. He doesn’t tell me I’m crazy. And, every single visit he manages to refer to me as “young” at one point or another, a fact which endears him to me increasingly with each passing year.

But I don’t honestly know whether to be happy or sad at this news. I mean, where does it leave me? The last, most recent episode was so profound that I found myself morbidly depressed, thinking “I can’t go on like this.” Lying around and sleeping much of the day away on the living room couch might sound wonderful to many in our sleep-deprived, overworked society, but it’s not. Sleeping all the time, only to wake up wanting to sleep more isn’t luxurious or relaxing… it just feels like death.

So on that cheery and completely unmelodramatic note I will mention the fact that since last weekend I have fully recovered once again. With my regained energy I’ve been back to my old tricks, baking homemade hamburger rolls, making no-sugar waffles for breakfast and homemade mayo for the kid’s school-lunch tuna fish. I ‘m probably just a little too excited about opening the Andre-the-Giant-sized container of dextrose which arrived the other day, to use the sweetening ingredient in some of David Gillespie’s no-fructose dessert recipes. Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake here we come! Ah, enthusiasm, how I missed you.

After my appointment and a few requisite Rutland-area errands I decided to celebrate my straight-A blood-work report-card by enjoying a very special treat: lunch at my favorite new restaurant, “Roots,” which specializes in local-fresh-organic food. (If you live around here, right about now you are saying “In Rutland?” Yes. You can have a lunch in Rutland that does not offer you “chips with that” or free refills.)

My beef, cabbage and rice dish arrived and was the perfect accompaniment to the blustery, brisk day outside, the kind of early June day before summer has completely made up its mind whether to come or not.

I sighed with contentment. I cracked open a new knitting magazine. I took a bite of cabbage and rice.

Oh my. That is so good.

Hmmm. So, there’s nothing “wrong” with me, I thought. Well, things could be worse.

8 thoughts on “A Year Of No Sugar: Post 52

  1. Well if nothing else, it must be reassuring to know that you are healthy and that your diet of no sugar is not affecting you in any bad way, and is apparently making you even healthier than ever! 🙂
    I do understand that there is frustration there, though — it’s so annoying when *something* is wrong, you don’t know what, and you just want to know what, and the doctor tells you how healthy you are. (Been there, done that!) You just want them to say “yes, you have this, and doing this will fix it” because you want to be fixed!
    I’ve been having bouts of exhaustion lately myself — and I know how bad they feel. I’ve missed days of work and I *hate* missing work, because I love what I do. It’s horrible when you just lie there, not caring about all the things you can’t get done. But I’ve had it suggested to me to try and get myself tested for food allergies — that there might be some food I’m eating that’s knocking me around and I don’t know it. Apparently severe exhaustion can also be a symptom instead of the usual more obvious things like rashes and the like. I’m going to give it a try, because I figure, what do I have to lose?
    Maybe you’d like to consider it as well. Your diet has changed a great deal since you cut the sugar, and it’s possible you’ve added something you didn’t used to eat much of, and the result is causing you more exhaustion episodes than before? It’s worth considering!
    I’m really glad that you’re feeling better though! Make the most of that energy! 😀

    1. Thanks Cassiel! So far so good… and against the odds I’m hoping that was it for whatever-it-was. Knock wood!

  2. Great. I mean, bummer.
    But being the devil’s advocate, I have to ask: Did you get the “right” Lyme test? Meaning, is your doc “Lyme literate,” as they say in Lyme support group circles. There are two tests, one more common but less accurate, and another, according to the Lyme literate types, the only one worth taking. It’s called the Western Blot, I think. Sorry you are struggling with this.

    1. Betsy- Good question. I am not up on the lyme specifics, so I appreciate the tip- I will investigate.

  3. so glad you are okay. Given my own experience, I feared it might be your thyroid, as under-active thyroid (Hashimodo’s Disease) is very common among women of (gulp) our age. It also runs in families! Stay well. 🙂 Cousin G.

    1. Gretchen- Funny you should mention Hashimodo’s disease, a woman nearby who has that diagnosis suggested it to me as well. I didn’t know you had a thyroid issue! Yikes.

      Thank you for the well wishes… I will keep on truckin’. As a local friend of ours likes to say: “I gotta keep moving, so they can’t throw dirt on me!”

  4. I tried to reply earlier, but my 13-year-old son who was sitting next to me started reading your blog. He took over the computer and read your stories for over an hour. You have a following among the middle school set!

    I am glad you did the necessary medical tests. Because your bouts of fatigue come and go, I suspect something in your environment or diet is pulling the trigger on you. Although fatigue could result from infection (bacterial, viral, fungal, yeast), such flare ups can be set off by your environment or diet. Finding the culprit or culprits can be difficult, especially when the source of your troubles is something as obscure as a skin ointment worn by a visitor to your home. I suggest you act like a detective and investigate or eliminate the usual suspects first – food, cosmetics, environmental chemicals, weather, sunshine, monthly hormonal, psychological factors, etc.

    Did you eat any foods you don’t usually eat, or perhaps eat more than usual of certain foods? The obvious ones to examine are hidden sugars, carbohydrates, gluten, dairy, food dyes, salicylates, preservatives, MSG, etc. Were you using any skin creams or cosmetics or applying ointments to a member of the family? Can you connect your episodes of fatigue to visits to certain places or people? Keeping a notebook where you write the foods you eat, where you go, whom you see, how you feel, etc., can give you vital clues. If you suspect one thing is at fault, you can try avoiding it – or, the opposite – cautiously expose yourself to it and see what happens.

    I avoid sweets – a morning doughnut or cake slice will floor me for the rest of the day and even make me forget how to operate the car’s windshield wipers!

    1. The story about your son makes my day!! Thank you SO much for telling me…

      I’m delighted to report that so far I haven’t had any further episodes of “crazy fatigue” as I like to call it, but I really appreciate your thoughtful and thorough suggestions for factors to observe and consider, some of which never would’ve occurred to me as possibilities.

      As far as I can tell I haven’t been doing anything drastically different or encountering anything weird- but you never know. I’m crossing my fingers, but if I do have another attack at least I’ll have been way more conscious of such factors and have a good idea where to start. Thanks again.

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