Sunday, October 4, 2020

Wondering about weight loss and activities moving inside

There’s a fine line between being hypervigilant and hypochondriacal. For example, whenever it comes up, my friends say that being a hypochondriac helped me when I went to the doctor after that fateful slow 10K in 2003; they would have just written it off to a bad day. I say that I think that one was more in the hypervigilant category. I thought something was wrong, but in my mind it wasn’t a deadly disease, just bad diet or training. 

 As an aside, it has been interesting to see the doctor who diagnosed me, Ron Berger, out on the tennis court after his retirement. 

 Well in any case, on the hypochondriac side, I started to worry that my weight loss was a sign of something dire, even though I recently had a blood test that turned up some slightly off kidney function but nothing too serious. (Upon retest it got better and might have been due to dehydration or taking Ibuprofen, which is bad for kidneys, but I'm not supposed to take much Tylenol, either, because it's bad for liver, which leaves me with oxy, and I definitely don't want to take too much of that, but pain relief is another topic.)

I don’t as a rule get on the scale. I started to think about it when my dentist, who takes an interest in my overall health, said I was too thin, and I should go eat some steak. It’s kind of in my family to get thinner and thinner, though. For example, my father was so thin and unsteady that we were afraid he would fall over. 

 At my last appointment at Dana-Farber, I did weigh in at about 10 pounds less than the year before, but they said it was OK since it was over a year, and I’m very active. 

Well I finally got on the scale last week and was aghast at what I saw. I weighed less than when I finished cancer treatment. When a disease is in the news, that’s the one that sticks with me, so immediately thought I had pancreatic cancer. I don’t usually do this, but if I’m in a panic, I think it’s OK to text my wonderful nurse practitioner, Melissa Cochran. She gave me her number, so I think she doesn’t mind. She said she would call me.

 She did shortly after. Her response was not that I should rush right in. (Maybe I expect bad news because of all the times it happened, and this history gets layered on top of my tendency to worry.) She said I probably wasn’t getting the 2,000 calories a day that I should be getting. 

I downloaded My Fitness Pal and tracked what I ate for a day. Then I subtracted my activity, which was a lot, and saw that indeed, I was below that number. Another factor was removing most dairy, due to digestive issues. 

I bought some Ensure (chocolate flavor) and took it back. Then after some friends said I should try it, I got some more, drank a little, and said no thank you. I think maybe I’ll take a chance on the digestive issues and put some ice cream back in. Also the running I’ve been doing, although not pretty, undoubtedly burns a lot of calories. 

And then there is tennis most days… I’m enjoying it so much, I don’t want outside tennis to end. A lot of people are going to go inside, but I’m not sure what to do. It seems like it was just yesterday (actually end of May or early June) when we were worrying that it wasn’t safe to even play outside. We got through that and even attended a garden party last week at a tennis friend’s house. 

 Since I like to worry, in addition to worrying about indoor tennis (which a lot of people say I shouldn't do), I'm worried about how I'm going to see kids and grandkids when it gets too cold to be outside. They were already briefly in my house, so I'm thinking that maybe we can do it if we don't get too close to each other.

I have an appointment at Dana-Farber in a couple of weeks with my new doctor, so I think I'll get his opinion on these things instead of taking the "person on the street" approach.