Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Calorie Quandary

As much as I can try to rationalize maintaining my weight, there is still a bigger challenged posed in actually eating more. I've been managing to edge closer 1,000 calories, but 1,200, 1,500... God forbid, more? Every single day?!

I've still been sticking to my safe foods a lot, though I'm pushing a couple of rules. Things like rice and chicken or lean meats in small amounts have always been okay, but I now might also indulge in sauce. Family dinner type things. I still always endeavor to make every meal as low in calories as I can, for that given food, especially if I'm cooking dinner. Portion size would be a huge wall too, so I need to start working on eating denser foods. I generally eat about 1/4-1/2 of what my mum or brother would, at any given meal, and it's less than I know I should eat in any weight-maintaining scenario.

It's harder to eat more when I don't have the energy to cook much since I've been sick (which is my one of my main motivations for food), especially at the end of the day. I might bake something simple like banana-bran bread or wholemeal scones first thing in the morning some days to fill the freezer for snack options, but for dinner I'll usually be reheating frozen homemade soup. Mum can cook for me, but I've been eating early most nights since I've been sick this past month, so it's just easier to defrost something. Not to mention my coughing and pill-regime, but my blood pressure's been dropping to 110/51-62, though it can go as high as 140-150/*, which kinda explains my exhaustion.

I'm not coping with anything well, potentially exacerbated by my currently sickness. I don't want to think about food, I haven't left the house in 6+ weeks, I've been a long time without a time-filling distraction, let alone something meaningful filling my days. Nothing seems worth talking about, because there's nothing in my days to talk about. Deeper issues are off the cards completely. They seem too pointless to discuss when it all seems like old news.

At the moment I'm enjoying my week without appointments, which I seem to have had a lot of lately, as quiet as it is. Hopefully the next one will be the dietician on Tuesday, apparently for a birthday visit. I have plans to bake an epic birthday cake (there's only so many chances per year!), but that's about it. I'm also hoping to start working on a crafty project for kitty soon, so we'll see how that goes (*fingers crossed I stay motivated*).


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Singin' the Birthday Blues

My birthday is now less than a week away. Twenty years old on the 30th. As I mentioned before, I don't feel like I'm actually aging up, and it stresses me out a little. I don't usually do anything for my birthday, but mum and I had been planning on doing a short overnight trip down the coast, to the same place we went a few months back. At the moment, it's not looking like I'll be well enough to go. This chest infection really has its hooks in me. We'll go another weekend though, as we desperately need more cheese (did I mention we bought 4-5kg of vintage cheddar last time?...). But for my actual birthday, it's looking to be quiet as per usual.

I know a lot of people say you feel stuck at the age your ED developed. But for me, I think it's more linked to trauma, long before my Anorexia. Either way, it sucks, and it makes me dread birthdays. Part of me is glad to not be going away, to not be making a fuss about it. Though I can't say I'm glad to be spending it feeling sick, constantly falling into coughing fits and my blood pressure teetering on edge, surrounded by the same stresses as usual. Bleh.

I saw the dietician on Tuesday. My calorie intake had been fairly regular all week. I varied between 700-950 calories, except for my Friday dip to 450. In reality, my intake has been the same for a month. The dietician isn't pushing too hard for me to eat more right now because of how sick I've been. Between all forms of exhaustion, I've either been having what's convenient and safe, or joining in family meals. My weight stayed exactly the same this week, and I found myself frustrated. When I maintain my weight on a relatively low intake, it makes me cautious to eat even more. I always lose faith that my metabolism will catch up, though I know it does.

The dietician said that, even though our bodies use more energy while we're sick, starvation mode is basically exacerbated by short-term illness, because our bodies are also trying to conserve energy even harder. I'd also slugged down 750ml water over the course of the morning before being weighed, which I wouldn't normally have had, so who knows how much of that I was still holding. My cough was horrible so I didn't think twice, and accepted there could be consequences.

For now, I have a week with no appointments, hopefully. Mum is constantly wanting me to see the GP, but the clinic is super busy and booked out this week, and I only saw her Monday. I'm still searching everywhere for distractions to fill my days. I have to find one, eventually.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Itty Bitty Titty Committee

I went back to see the lovely GP again this morning, and came home with new antibiotics and prednisolone. She actually gave me the stethoscope to listen to my chest. It was kinda cool, though apparently one's lungs should not make "bubble & squeak" sounds. My cough is still very bad, worse as the day goes on. By the end of the day, I'm breathless, my chest hurts, my muscles cramp every time I cough. Ten more days on meds, and hopefully I'll be feeling better. My mood's been even lower since I've been sick. I can't deal with any of it. The lovely GP told me that some people taking prednisolone experience a "euphoria". Fingers crossed.

While we were walking out, mum mentioned that I'm on the same medication as Billy, my dog. We burst into laughter. He takes prednisolone, is currently on antibiotics... oh, and he has Valium too. Ya know, in case he has an anxiety attack (yes, the vet says he has anxiety). I don't take Valium anymore, though I used to.
Like owner, like dog, right?

Mum went shopping the other day to buy me a new bra. It's turning out to be a surprisingly difficult hunt to find one in my size, which may explain why I only have one that fits in the first place.

This is how the conversation went, at our regular lingerie shop:
Mum: "Could you help me find a bra for my daughter, in size 8A?"
Shop Assistant: "Excuse me?"
M: "Could you help me find a bra in 8A?"
SA: "...what was that size again?"
M: "EightA. An unpadded bra with no wires in size 8A."
SA: "...I don't think we normally have bras in 8A."

Yes, she really had to say it three times. It was a lingerie shop we've shopped at for years. The lady remembered mum, and me, and mum told her that I have Anorexia. Apparently the lady nearly burst into tears. She went to a few other shops, but most didn't stock 8A, and those that did only had underwired/padded ones. I shouldn't find it funny, but I do. Before I developed Anorexia, I wore a 12F bra, and I had trouble finding bras then too. My bust measurement has whittled from 38" down to 26". The bra hunt will continue online, potentially in children's sizes.

I'm off to the dietician tomorrow, and I have no idea what the scales will say. My intake's been mostly the same, around the 800 mark. Except on Friday, I was feeling too ill to stay up and bother eating, so I had a very early night without dinner or supper, and only reached 450 cals.

Thank you to everyone who's been commenting with well wishes. I hope these new meds will help soon, and then I'll have something to say that's not related to appointments/sickness.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Endless days

I saw the lovely GP again on Thursday, briefly, before I left in a flurry of tears.
She listened to my chest, and I still have a bad wheeze and cough. Honestly, I don't think it'll go away quickly; I've had it for a long time from heavy smoking. She doubled the dose for my inhalers, but is still hoping the antibiotics I'm on will work.

My blood test was much the same as last time, though my iron levels have dropped quite a bit. It looks like stopping taking supplements is finally catching up. She's asked me to start taking them again, but I'm hesitating. I struggle to take supplements, and do good things for my health, especially if I'm in a bad mindset. I feel it's hard to explain, but supplements and multi-vitamins and such have always been a tough one for me.

She also doubled my paroxetine (my secondary anti-depressant) once mum and I explained that my anxiety wasn't any better. She was under the impression it was, but I don't know why. I felt like it was impossible to explain that my anxiety is a severe issue. It frustrated me to no end, struggling to explain something that's effected me my whole life. I ended up having a panic attack and walking out, crying in the car.

I'm going back next week for either more antibiotics, or a flu shot if I'm feeling better. After that, I have fortnightly appointments for the next couple of months.

I'm still feeling as sick as I was last week. The past couple of weeks have been totally exhausting; physically, and emotionally. I've been in bed by 6-7pm lately. A combination of physical and mental pain means I just can't bear to stay up any longer, regardless of the fact I'm now lucky to sleep until 3am. Mum's sure I'll be getting more antibiotics on Monday. I've also been getting night sweats like mad, and having to change three times a night, which I've never experienced before.

My intake's been around 7-900 so far this week. Food is stressing me out beyond words right now. I don't want to have to think about what I'm going to eat. Lunch was my new regular, an apple and a muesli bar, and I have soup in the fridge to reheat for dinner. Routine is about the only thing I can deal with right now.

I'm waiting for the day to be over, from the moment I wake up.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Running from Reality

At the moment I'm having a hard time coping with things. Nothing serious; just life, reality, the world as a whole. Part of me is frustrated by my non-life state, but a bigger part of me is scared to engage in the world. I haven't even been to the supermarket in about a month.

I saw the dietician yesterday. Every appointment starts with the calorie chat. Three days have been around 700, and the other three days in the range of 900-1,000. My Tuesday treat day (when I bake something, have a family dinner, and maybe drink wine) last week came to 1,300 calories, after a distinct lack of alcohol graced my intake book. The dietician wants me to aim for a minimum of 900 calories, each and every day, which I have to admit makes me anxious. I haven't worked to a minimum calorie intake for months, and it brings me closer to having to raise my portion sizes.

My weight dropped a little bit this week, though nothing drastic. As always, I was surprised, and relieved, that I hadn't gained.

I've been kinda down recently. My anxiety is sky-high, and I'm constantly bursting into tears. The past few months, I've been crying to mum that I have nothing in my days. It's true, she agrees, and it hurts. She says I'm too sick to have anything in my days. But it's hard to want to improve things when there seems nothing to fight for. I don't watch TV, I don't leave the house, I don't contact friends outside of Blogger. I live in a bubble of mental illness. I do nothing, except sometimes help cook dinner when I have the energy. I stare at the wall and wait for the days to pass, and it kills me. No distractions seem to work, no hobbies seem to stick. But at the same time, I'm utterly clueless as to what to do with myself. I feel overwhelmed, though there's nothing to be overwhelmed about. I'm going to every extent to not have to deal with anything. I'm turning 20 in two weeks, but I feel like my life is at such a standstill, I'm not ready to get older.

This afternoon, I finally had my blood test. Thankfully it was quiet, and I was the only one there. I'm seeing the lovely GP again tomorrow morning, and mum seems to have prioritized some concerns that she wants me to raise. At the moment, I just want to hide under a pile of blankets and never go out again.

Soup for dinner, as I had sourdough toast with vintage cheese for lunch. Too much. Far too much.
No fruit today, which makes me uncomfortable, so best have lots of veggies with dinner. And I want to stay under 900. And I'm just too tired to bother preparing anything.
Soup for dinner.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Polished nails and pills galore

It's been getting colder recently, and when it comes time for dinner, I just want anything warm, and easy to get.
Today, mum helped me make a big ol' batch of soup. It's lamb, barley, lentils, peas, carrot, onion and potato. And it is delicious. Shock horror, I'm actually leaving the meat in it (about 33g per cup). For the past few years, my soups have been confined to veggie-based, and whenever I made this soup I'd make the broth, take out all the meat, and cool and skim the broth to continue with the soup. Mum's made it since I was young, and it weighed up to 178 calories per cup/250g/serve, with meat. For me, it's pretty heavy for a soup. But all in all, it's a healthy, easy and light-ish dinner.

I chickened out of the Kiev on Thursday night. I felt so ill, I was in tears. I feel worse as the day gets on. I didn't get around to making my pilaf. Not wanting to risk vomiting, but needing food with my meds, I ended up eating about 2/3 cup of plain rice with a drizzle of soy sauce. Another day under 800. However, my Kiev is cut into portions in the freezer, awaiting to be reheated for the next encounter. The past two days, I've made it closer to 900. Days filled with guilt and calorie-dense foods like vintage cheddar, muesli bars, and homemade curry; intended to keep portion sizes down. I'm actually bloated today. Ugh.

In health news; the infections are really knocking me down. I'm on a 10 day course of antibiotics, so hopefully they'll start helping soon. My fever and headache are under control, thanks to ibuprofen and paracetamol, though my cough is still horrible. By the end of the day, my cough has gotten the better of me, and I'm exhausted and ache from head to toe. My lungs and heart feel tired from working far too hard. I'm on so many different medications at the moment, it's crazy. I'm taking 16 pills a day, between painkillers and antibiotics and regular meds. Using inhalers 6-8 times a day, and ointment for my skin twice a day. My brother's suggested I add up the total milligrams I'm having between them all, and I'm nearly tempted to.

The skin around my fingernails has been looking a lot better this past week or two, even before I saw the GP, though they were still infected. Several of them are no longer raw/open wounds, but still swollen and inflamed. Anyway, this means I've been able to put nail polish on a some of them for the first time in nearly a year. Both thumbs are butchered, and some on my right hand aren't so great, but the ones that are painted look good! I'm hoping it'll encourage me a little to stop picking at them so much. Sorry they aren't sparkly; I didn't have the patience to use a proper polish so I used a quick-dry.

(That's my late grandmother's ruby & diamond ring. After I inherited it, I had it reset in white gold instead of the original yellow gold. It never leaves my finger. On a good day, my hair and nails match the rubies.)


Thursday, 11 April 2013

Pilafs, appointments, and pets (oh my!)

This morning, I finally agreed with my mother that I should see a doctor, so she called our clinic. Amazingly enough, I got the first appointment of the day with my lovely GP. She listened to my breathing, and immediately said that I have a serious chest infection. My fingers are visibly infected too. The mystery illness is solved - I'm apparently swarming with infections. I still haven't had my blood test done yet, but I'm on antibiotics again, once a day, which will hopefully get rid of all infections. She also gave me two inhalers. One to use twice a day, and another one for when I really struggle to breathe.

She also asked how things were going with the dietician (as if she doesn't know), and I kinda mumbled and said things were okay.
"What do you think about bringing in a third team member, someone to talk to? Not now, if you're not ready, but maybe in a few months."
I love that she doesn't pressure me. Neither does my dietician - they know I wouldn't come back if there was pressure. She said she knows someone who would be appropriate for me, and they'd even be able to come to my clinic to see me.

I still see her next Thursday, and then I can start tackling The List. The GP also said she'll give me a flu shot next week, as catching it would probably land me in hospital, though I'm too sick to have had the shot today.

I'm still struggling with the thought of eating closer to 1,000 calories, but I'm doing what I can when I feel able, and I'm trying to get closer today than I did yesterday (750). I haven't been cooking much, which zaps my motivation for food. I've been too tired the past week. Physically exhausted, emotionally exhausted. I'm a bundle of tears and anxiety. Family dinners are daunting, so I tend to avoid them a lot. Tonight we're having Chicken Kiev. Cringe. I haven't eaten it in years, but it's a family favorite that graces our dinner table nearly as much as bolognese. So I'm going to have maybe 1/4 of a breast (I'll see how it weighs up), and I'm making a garlic & pea pilaf to go alongside.

I've also been having some pretty serious pet therapy this week. It's been cold and rainy, and I've had my electric blanket on so I can sit on the porch. Now, my kitty absolutely loves electric blankets. She's been on my lap all the time, and today she's barely left. She's just so adorable, I had to share.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Kickin' it up a notch

I've been seeing the dietician for 10 months now. Every Tuesday, first appointment, 8:10am. I'm thinking of getting her an 'anniversary' gift. It's the most appointments I've ever had with the same medical professional. It's a miracle that she still puts up with me, but I'd be lost without her support.

My weight stayed the same today, and I sighed in relief that I hadn't gained. My calorie intake's been anywhere between 6-800 each day. I'm cooking family dinners again sometimes, when I have the energy. One night I made Beef Wellington for my mum, and a little veggie & beef stew for me. Another night we defrosted some extra-light lasagna I made a few months back. Then mum helped me prepare chicken in white wine sauce with garlic mashed potatoes. It's a way of justifying the calories, to spend time preparing it. A 'proper' dinner gets my calories to 7-800 a day. Mum also tries to persuade me into, what I'd consider, indulgent snacks, at least once a day at the moment. Sometimes it works, and I succumb to an extra hundred calories or so.

Honestly, I feel frantic when my calories start to reach 800, and I've been desperately trying to keep them under. My breakfast (wholemeal toast, nonfat yoghurt) and lunch (two apples) haven't changed a single day. Both come to around 100 calories each, and I don't really want to change then right now. The dietician has asked me to make at least one snack, ideally both, a bit larger, which will boost my daily calories closer to 900-1,000. Too much. Far too much. I doubt I'll eat that much every day. I don't want to.

In other news, I've been feeling awful for a few days now. The past two mornings I've woken up in a sweat, and have thrown up my morning coffees within 5 minutes of finishing them. What a great way to start the morning. I'm running a fever, chilly all the time, to the point of having goosebumps while sweating. Little-to-no sleep. Headache from hell. Mum's been asking me to consider seeing a doctor, and I am, but I keep saying "I'll see how it goes". I have an appointment in a week, and I still need to get a blood test. I'll be fine until then.

That said, I'm going to ask the lovely GP for fortnightly appointments. The dietician has been pushing me to see her more often, and has several things she wants me to get checked out as soon as possible. Not to mention that I literally have a list of health concerns to get through, and I'm not making a dint seeing her monthly.

Tonight I'm making wholemeal pizzas with low-fat toppings as a treat for my family and I. Apparently they're a new favorite with all of us. Skipping the wine this week, as I feel too ill. Just Coke Zero and plenty of water for me.


Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Downward Trend

The past days have been filled with a quiet sense of celebration, with brief periods of concern for my self.
I was honestly surprised the other day when my dietician told me how much I'd lost. I was expecting less, as always. She keeps saying that I "need to reverse the downward trend", but at the moment I just can't bear the thought of gaining weight. I've been floating between wanting to lose more and wanting to maintain, and actually knowing what my weight is helps in my choice. I mean, a 3kg loss seems like a lot to me. It's the most I've lost in the past year, and I know I really can't afford to lose much more at this point, so maybe it's time to give my body a break.

Lately, my dietician keeps reminding me that I can come in to see her on Thursdays, no charge, any time I need. She really is a sweetheart. The plan is basically to see how I go with my intake this week, and work from there. I'm sticking with my motto of "one meal at a time". Yesterday was 800 calories, due to the lingering presence of fresh banana-bran bread, and the irresistible temptation of homemade bolognese.

I'm still stuck in my ways with apples for lunch though, and my toast-and-yoghurt 100-calorie breakfast combo. Higher calorie foods later in the day are, and have been, more incidental than anything. I still have soup and safe foods on hand, but some nights I'll join with a small serve of a family dinner (meaning I cook it and weigh everything, so I have an accurate nutritional count for my serve), or things like cheese and crackers. Tonight's dinner for mum and I happens to be frozen homemade soup. Too easy.

I did my measurements this morning. It's the first time I've done them properly since October. I've lost a few inches - one from my waist, one from my bust, little bits from my limbs. As a fun comparison, let's take a look at my pre-ED measurements. When I used to sew for myself a lot, my bust/waist/hips were: 38-32-36. That's a lot of inches, except for my cursed hips.

Neck 11.5"
Bust 26.5" (-1")
Waist 20.5" (-1")
Hips 30.5"
Thigh (top) 15" (-0.5")
Thigh (bottom) 11" (-0.5")
Calf (top) 10.5"
Calf (ankle) 7.5"
Upper arm (top) 9"
Upper arm (bottom) 7.5" (-0.5")
Forearm (top) 8"
Forearm (wrist) 5"


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Better the Devil you know

Weight: 44.4 kg (97.7 lb)
BMI: 13.0

I couldn't gussy up the strength to get on the scales myself, but it's been driving me crazy. I asked my dietician to tell me how much I've lost.

Recently, I've been putting off weighing myself. It's been pushing me to want to lose 'more' first - even when I've been trying to rationalize maintaining my weight again.
I've lost 3kg (6.6lb) in the last few months. Before that, I'd been maintaining.
The last time I weighed myself was the morning of my first appointment with her, so I already had an accurate starting weight (47.4kg - BMI 13.8). And I think I've mentioned before, I weigh my clothes on my kitchen scales, and construct weigh-day outfits accordingly.

I can't seem to explain why, but for now at least, I think I can work towards maintaining again. Maybe because its a nice number, maybe because its safely under 100lbs.

Either way, my dietician was pleased with my reaction. It hasn't triggered me further down the rabbit hole, and hopefully it can actually help with my journey towards 'maintenance'.

The last week has been totally emotionally draining, and I haven't really had much to say. I'm hoping the next week will be better, and I'll be able to gather my thoughts about all this.