Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How long has this been going on?

A beer "flight" - a tasting of several artisan brews.
About three weeks ago, I hit a low point, health-wise. It got so bad that I ultimately decided to quit my job so I could reduce stress, get some rest, and get well. It's a decision I'm glad I made.

Today I have an update for you.

For years now, my daily alcohol consumption has been at least one drink a day, often two. On special occasions I might have three. By my doctor's reckoning, that does not constitute a risky level of drinking and she dismissed it as a cause of my poor health.

However, at my last appointment, we both agreed that, since my liver was under-performing, it made sense to reduce the burden on it. We cut out a couple of pills, and I decided that I would stop drinking at home. I would only indulge if we went out to a restaurant for dinner, and then I would limit it to one glass. We dine out about once a week. So I've gone from 10-14 glasses/week to 1 glass/week.

That was three weeks (or 45 glasses of wine) ago.

Among the many things that were going sideways, health-wise, was a small bullet listed simply as "I've gained weight in the past four months." In fact, I'd gained 15 pounds over six months, most of it in the upper abdomen. I sometimes felt like I was going to explode, much like I had in the last months of pregnancy. This is a faster rate of weight gain than I have ever experienced.

Since cutting back on the alcohol, I've already lost seven pounds. (That equals the calories in about 200 glasses of wine or about 40 bottles, by the way, exponentially more than I have cut out.) My belly no longer feels bloated, and the mystery bruises have stopped appearing every morning.

These are bruises from my Victoza injection sites.
I don't think this is normal. None of the chat rooms
mention bruising as a side effect.

And, most miraculously of all, I've stopped sweating! I actually wore my hair down twice this week, and wore sweaters both times. This has not happened in 15 YEARS.

Same with the bruising, actually. I remember talking to my sister at least five years ago about random bruises that would appear on my belly and thighs if I drank more than two glasses of wine. Which is part of why I know I've kept my drinking below that threshold for the most part.

All of which leads me to believe that I've been sick and getting sicker for much longer than I realized.

Cutting it out has not been difficult, though I do miss my evening tipple. Mostly it's just been changing my habits. I now take a long, candle-lit bath to relax in the evening (it's good for my joint pain, too, which, by the way, has not been affected by the change in alcohol consumption).

I've tried to think of what else I've changed that might have this dramatic effect.

I've cut the cholesterol med and the Metformin (diabetes). (Surprisingly, my blood sugar has only gone up very, very slightly. No idea about the cholesterol.) I haven't changed my eating habits significantly, and I still am not sleeping very well. I wish I could say I was exercising more, but I'm not.

I've been working part-time for several weeks, however, so the extra rest may be making a difference. And I noticed my stress level plummet precipitously once I decided to quit, so that may be having a huge beneficial effect. Enough to produce weight loss and stop the hyper-sweating?

My non-expert conclusion is that, although my drinking did not appear to be problematic (from a statistical perspective), I seem to have some kind of metabolic intolerance to alcohol.

Isn't this fascinating? The human body, man. It's a puzzle.


  1. HI Wynn Anne, Just saw your post.....
    I am glad you are making some changes to help yourself get better. I agree that alcohol is very full of calories and it does also interfere with sleep for sure which is difficult at this stage of life. I just heard that for most people on the cholesterol reducing medications that the benefit is not that much ie 1%, but can have many side effects including muscle weakness etc.
    I saw that you mentioned the abdominal girth expansion so typical at this stage of life. I know you have diabetes too. However, I will get the name of a book a friend is just reading about the obesity in our times and even in third world countries due to fructose/sucrose ( likely in the formula etc we send them). This type of sugar causes fatty liver syndrome, non alcoholic hepatitis. It is prevalent in fast foods and so many things we think are healthy. Again lots of label reading which I know you are used to. You may already know this but thought I would pass it on. " Eat well, reduce stress, and keep moving" even if it is walking every day, is what our docs tell all the old folks I work with, so I am trying to do the same. The diet can be boring/plain at times but we are allowed treats too now and then. Also you likely know anything with artificial sweetner is bad and can cause muscle weakness I have heard. Not sure if that is true but it cant be good for us. Hope you feel better soon. Glad to hear you are feeling less stressed. Work can be so stressful for me too, so I need to slow down and meditate more!
    Take good care, Eve

    1. I can't handle fructose - it really upsets my stomach, so I screen for it already -- but sucrose is my weakness. Your advice is "spot on."

      My aunt also recommended meditation. It's something I've never tried but, as I've discovered with yoga, it is something I should have looked into sooner. How does one go about learning how to meditate?


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