Editor’s note: This post is not meant as medical advice that would necessarily work for you – please see your health care professional/s and work together on a plan that works for you.
I sat in my GP’s rooms last week with my latest blood tests up on the computer screen for us to check.
“Your iron levels have dropped by half,” he said. “Have you been tired?”
Um, yes. I’d put it down to the 2015 festive season apparently aligning itself with the retail Christmas calendar and starting in October.
And then it clicked.
I’d forgotten to re-stock – and therefore take – the iron supplements I’d been prescribed earlier this year when my levels had initially dropped – but not to the extent they were now.
It was kind of relief to have this diagnosis. The tiredness wasn’t just my fault – or in my head. It was real.
I’m just so bloody used to living with tiredness that I glossed over what I was really feeling.
I wasn’t being true to myself and my health “why”.
My health “why”?
My health goals are not centred around weight loss – I couldn’t even tell you how much I weigh. My number one goal – my why – is to feel the very best I can.
It’s the only why that works for me, a Hashimotos sufferer for the past 17-plus years, who can put on 3kg in one day for no rhyme or reason.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it, Stylers, this year has had its ups and downs in the health department.
Iron levels aside – and yes, I immediately re-stocked and am hoping for improvement again soon – it’s been a year of trialling natural desiccated thyroid extract (it’s a prescribed medication that can’t be bought over the counter and is created by a limited number of compounding pharmacists) instead of my previous thyroid medication mix of thyroxine (artificial T4) and tertroxine (artificial T3).
We’re still to get all my thyroid levels in the zone my GP would like the to be but we’re close. Very close.
And most days – apart from the iron hiccup – I do feel SO much better than I did 12 months ago.
I can’t imagine going back to the old medication.
What did set me back this year was getting the mother of all flus in July in Italy, bringing it back with me on the plane (sorry fellow passengers) and letting it move in with me until September.
To say this flu was an unwelcome guest would be the understatement of the year.
I don’t get sick. I rarely need antibiotics. I never take steriods. Over the course of those few months I was on doses of both. Twice.
About six weeks in, I tried to go back to my walking and yoga exercise routines but ended up back on the drugs.
It didn’t help that this period was also one of my most busy – and exciting – professionally. I simply didn’t have the time to stop.
It’s a poor excuse but it’s how it played out. I put on my makeup, got up, did what had to be done and got on with it.
I’m not proud of this.
I was frustrated that I wasn’t operating at full capacity – even my thyroidy version full capacity.
I was frustrated that the usual things that help me to feel the best I can feel were not working.
But by September, I started getting glimpses of my pre-flu self.
I set that alarm, got up and got back on the yoga mat. I took to the hills again.
That’s the toughest thing, isn’t it? When your routine gets broken for whatever reason and you have to find something within you to get back on track?
Food and diet wise? That didn’t really stray from its usual path.
I craved healthy food choices when I was sick. I haven’t strictly been doing the 5:2 diet I’ve talked about in previous health update posts. Instead I’ve just been eating less full stop. What doing that diet helped with was levelling out of blood sugar levels. It helped give me an understanding of what hunger was – as opposed to just the habit of eating.
The final health test of the year will happen over the next couple of months, through the festive season and on to the holidays, but I’m feeling pretty confident that over the past two years, I’ve made some seemingly solid lifetime choices in that department.
They may not be always perfect choices but 80% of the time they are and that works for me to sustain a healthy way of eating – and to enjoy a social life.
That’s my ongoing health story and I’m sticking to it.
What have I learned about my health this year … that might help you?
1. Having a GP or health professional on your side – on your health team – is crucial to keeping your eye on the bigger picture – and the little findings within that regularly monitored health care can make a huge difference. (Email me if you’d like details of my GP in Brisbane)
2. That the best intentions health wise can be undone in an instant. When that happens, keep focussing on the “why”. Keep focussing on the aim to feel the best you can. It might take days – or months – but that focus was what enabled me to get back on track when the flu fog lifted.
3. That if something doesn’t feel right, seek advice. Push for tests. Don’t stop until you have answers as to why you don’t feel right.
So tell me, what would you write on your 2015 health report card?
* I’m 166cm and usually a size 14-16. These pieces were gifted to me for editorial consideration. Full disclosure policy here.