Monday, January 11, 2010

The Year of Desperate Measures

So. I was going to start a whole 'nother blog to chronicle my health progress this year. But geez, I already have a Tumblr, Facebook, this blog...and a caringbridge health site. I thought about doing it on the caringbridge site, but I've decided to do it here. All in one place is good for me, and this blog doesn't get enough posts anyway.

Here's the story:

On Dec 29, my pain doctor informed me that he was dumping most of his patients, including me. He didn't say it like that, of course, he said he was 'changing the focus of his practice'. He's only going to be seeing new clients for diagnostic purposes only, and keep his current clients only if they are on certain medications. I was on one of these, but since it wasn't helping that much, and increasing the dosage would result in the bad side effects I had last year, he decided not to give it to me anymore. He then told me I was "stuck" and my only options were 'natural therapies'. As if I can afford those.

Needless to say, I was unhappy. I felt betrayed and like he'd given up on me. He sent me away with a 3 month prescription for oxycocet and a letter for my GP saying he might want to try clonazepam to help me sleep (since I've tried everything else and it doesn't work). I have used it in the past, and didn't really like it, but I'm pretty desperate. Yes, desperate is how I felt the few days after my appointment. What was I to do?

Gradually I stopped focusing on my anger and started to come up with solutions. I can't afford massages, acupuncture, chiropractic or any other treatment like that. But I might be able to change my diet, and take a few more supplements - if I stopped seeing my psychotherapist. She's in Toronto like my pain doctor, but the medical transportation costs were only covered to see him, not her. So I can't go see her. She's been on vacation, so I haven't told her the news yet, but I talk to her on Wednesday. I can't say this is a great thing, she has helped me so much, and she's pretty much the only person I talk to about my problems (aside from my online friends). But on the other hand, it will free up some money so I can afford a couple more supplements and healthier groceries.

In that department, I've decided to go on the Paleolithic diet. It's based on what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, what humans have evolved to survive on. We aren't genetically capable of digesting grains very well. So this diet will be grain free and dairy free. I have yet to get a copy of the Paleo Diet book, but I'm currently reading Going Against the Grain, which describes why grains are so bad for us, and how they contribute to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in our culture. It's a pretty radical diet from the standard person's point of view, but it's a low-carb diet, which I already know is helpful for me for losing weight.

I told myself on New Years I was going to make this huge switch - the Paleo diet, daily yoga & meditation, quitting smoking...but I failed to do those things because it was giving up too much. I felt like I was asking myself to give up my best friends - being so poor and isolated, some of my greatest pleasures have been food and drink (like coffee, not alcohol). I was miserable at the thought, and I failed to quit smoking.

Since then, I have slowly started shifting my diet. I made a big pot of chili (without the beans - they have the same issues as grains), and have been eating eggs with spinach and some bacon for breakfast. I've had trouble giving up coffee, and I'm still smoking, but at least I feel like this is manageable. It's too much to ask for me to become a different person overnight.

So I'm starting by focusing on what I eat. I think it will make a big difference on its own. I'll soon be taking some measurements and posting them so I can track any body changes that happen as a result.

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Disclaimer

I sometimes write things that I don't really mean or believe. These are not to be taken literally, nor as definitive statements about me or my beliefs. Thoughts and emotions are transient, and I reserve the right to change my mind, generalize, exaggerate, give strong opinions, or write other possibly offensive statements. I don't lie, but I may say something that's not true to check whether I believe it or not, or to make a point. Call it creative license. This is my blog, and do have the right to say what I want. I'm using it in creatively therapeutic ways. Whatever the reader may think of me and my words, please believe that my core intentions are always good and I never willingly hurt anyone.