Dr. Pinto, my defective lady bits doc, has a program that is apart of his practice called Healthy Living Dallas. About a month ago, he suggested that I take part in this program due to my want to lose weight and my desire to learn more about how a woman with PCOS should eat. I had my first initial meeting with Stephanie, Dr. Pinto's dietitian on April 1st. I immediately liked her. She's honest, extremely smart, and very friendly. There was never once an ounce of judgment in her tone, and I felt like I could open up to her about my struggles, no matter how embarrassing. We discussed what our plan of action would be, starting with lab work. At this time, Stephanie didn't put me on any specific diet until we got my very extensive lab results back (surprisingly, these labs were all covered by insurance-thank goodness). The appointment was almost like a nutrition/therapy session. We talked about what bothers me most, both physically and mentally, what I would most like to change about myself, and what my hard limits were (a hard limit being what I would absolutely not do as part of the program and/or foods I refuse to give up). She asked me to choose the top three things that were most important for me to change. I told her that my mental health and weight loss were my most important goals. At this appointment she also hooked me up to some electrode thing and got my body composition--percent fat, water, and muscle. We will monitor this every time I go to see my progress. The lab work takes a couple of weeks to get back so we set up a follow up appointment once those results were in.
That brings me to a couple of days ago, Friday, April 24th. I met with Dr. Pinto first and then both him and Stephanie to go over my blood work. There were some good and bad parts to it, which I expected. The following are all the different lab groups I had done: lipid panel, lipoprotein particles, inflammation/oxidation, myocardial structure/stress/function, lipoprotein genetics, platelet genetics, coagulation genetics, metabolic panel, renal panel, sterol absorption markers, sterol synthesis markers, celiac disease panel, glycemic control, insulin resistance, beta cell function, electolytes, cbc, liver panel, thyroid function, male and female hormones, and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acid levels. Phew, that's a lot of labs. I won't go over each individual section, but I'll update you on the good and bad. The good news is that my glycemic control and insulin resistance are pretty good. A lot of women with PCOS have horrible markers in these categories. Another good thing was that my hormone levels were all within range and normal. It has been awhile since this was the case, so that was encouraging for me. My kidney and liver function were also good. Now for the bad news. My cholesterol numbers and makeup were not great. My good cholesterol, HDL, was pretty great, but my LDL (bad cholesterol) was pretty high at 125. It should be less than 100. Stephanie said that cholesterol should be like big, fluffy clouds in your body. The make up of mine came back as grain-like and too numerous. This is the type that sticks to arteries. My sterol synthesis numbers came back pretty elevated also, which means for some reason my liver makes way too much cholesterol. To add to my cardiovascular risk factors, I tested positive for a genetic defect to the gene MTHFR. MTHFR can have two gene defects, C677T and A1298C. You can test positive for one or the other or both. Unfortunately, I have both... the worst case scenario. MTHFR is starting to become more known in the medical world, but it is still very under-researched. MTHFR gene defects can lead to miscarriages, birth defects, cancer, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, depression, other psychiatric disorders, memory loss, and fibromyalgia...just to name a few! The MTHFR gene is responsible for operating what are called “methylation pathways”. These pathways control your body’s ability to convert certain substances into their active form. This gene is defective in my body so I do not absorb folic acid, vitamin B12, or cysteine. MTHFR causes a deficiency in folic acid and vitamin B12, but with cysteine the process does not reach completion, so your body is left with the toxic amino acid homocysteine. Because of this defect, your body gets an accumulation of homocysteine which is highly inflammatory and causes damage to your arteries. My homocysteine level is very high. I was told that high homocysteine levels put me at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Stephanie said the stress to my arteries is like a 50-60 year old right now, eek! I was placed on active folic acid and vitamin B12 (the type my body needs), and another medication that will help bring my homocysteine levels down. I was also put on high dose fish oil pills due to my Omega-3 levels being very low (did you know that low Omega-3 levels have a correlation to depression? I didn't!--more on that in a later post!) Last, but not least, as if that wasn't enough, my celiac disease result came back elevated, prompting Stephanie to put me on a gluten-free diet. Writing all of this out, I feel like my body is a complete and utter disaster. That being said, I actually felt a sense of relief that there were actual numbers and science behind how cruddy I have been feeling for over a year now. It is extremely frustrating to feel down, despondent, and miserable without knowing why. Now I know between having the MTHFR defect and low Omega-3 levels, I have answers! I knew I wasn't crazy!
The plan of action that Stephanie and I decided on was to tackle my digestion and depression symptoms first and then focus hard on weight loss. We are both hoping that with diet changes and the new supplements I will be on, the weight will start to come off. I also bought a KAM (kinetic activity monitor) that will monitor my activity, movement, speed, and intensity. The information is uploaded and is sent to Stephanie for her and I to go over (I feel like this will be a motivator that she will be monitoring my activity). Stephanie also wants me to go dairy free for two months as well as gluten free so I can give my digestive system a rest. I am not going to lie, I am pretty nervous about this. It is a huge life change and I don't want to fail. Jimmy and I went to the grocery store this morning and I traded out all of my gluten and dairy ridden foods with gluten free and dairy free options. Tomorrow starts week 1 of gluten and dairy free...wish me luck!
I've got a lot going on in my body right now, but it is the only body I will get in this lifetime. I want to live long and healthy, both physically and mentally. I want to make these changes while there is still time. I know it is not going to be easy, but I've got to do it. For myself, for Jimmy, and for our loved ones. And so begins this journey towards bettering my heart, body, and soul. Let's see what happens!
Until next time,