Back again – an update

Wow, it’s been nearly one year since I last came here. One year since my world shattered a little, with the possible PD diagnosis

I have had my moments of complete despair. But to be honest, I got over it.

So instead of making this blog about a possible PD diagnosis and my feelings towards it, I am going to carry on with my fitness/weight loss team, because I am still pursuing  these things. Of course it does not mean that I don’t struggle with my physical limitations (sometimes). I do. But it kinda gives me more drive to do something I struggle with.

With that said… an update!

Well what happened since June last year? A lot.

I think the two main things are: I have stopped running and I am eating a paleo diet now.

The stopped running part happened quite casually, my running buddy hurt her knee and we stopped. We never started again. Sad, but true.

The paleo diet started with a sugar detox. After a lot of soul searching, I decided to do a sugar detox – because let’s face it, sugar is my downfall. I love sugar. Cakes, chocolate, pastries, biscuits, you name it. My biggest struggle (and I think it will be a life time struggle) is moderation when it comes to sweets. I cannot do ‘one bite’. It’s almost like that one bite triggers a monster that lives inside my brain and I CANNOT STOP after I start. I got tired of feeling like a failure, after a whole week of ‘being good’, the weekend would come. The kids have Friday treats, so I would obviously get a treat for myself too, but I would not stop there, it would carry on all weekend.

So I decided that something drastic needed to be done, and I know I am a sugar addict. So I thought it would be ‘fun’ to cut sugar out of my diet.

The first thing we did as a family was to clear out the pantry. That meant everything that was processed or had ‘sugar’ as one of the ingredients. We got rid of 98% of our food, that was so shocking to me. After examining a few labels, I came across one of those muesli bars that are lunchbox friendly (I was feeding it to my kids every day). I kid you not, it had 33 ingredients listed in the ingredient list, I did not know what most of them even were. I could not believe that was what we call ‘food’ It made me realise how far we are from what we are from what we are meant to eat. I don’t know how things started to get so bad. If you think about it, you could barely find overweight people 100 years ago.  Now, you don’t have to look far. You would think that with all ‘low fat’ foods available these days, people would lose weight?

That’s mainly what struck me and convince me to go paleo. When I cut all the sugar from my diet, I had to eat clean. I had no choice. So things like bread and pasta also went out of the window.

People that are the other side of the fence (non-paleo eaters) cannot imagine a life without pasta, and think it’s so hard to follow this way of eating, but let me tell you a secret, it’s not that hard. Sure, the first week is hard, a mental shift is happening. What is hard? Feeling so tired all the time, having no energy, or even worse, feeling sick all the time! For so long we were told that fat is bad for you, grains are good for you, blahblah, when you start to challenge those beliefs, people (yourself included) are automatically sceptical and defensive and some people don’t get it. No one wants to hear that their ‘healthy’ diet is actually not that healthy. You spend so long trying all these things, eating all your grains, the low fat products. In your head, you think you are doing everything right, but think about it: Why are people so overweight these days? The low-fat eaters. Some people run and run and are still overweight. Some people cannot lose weight at all, no matter what they do. It hyas got to make you think!! I could go on and on and on. If you are not convinced and need to do is a little bit of reading, I recommend www.marksdailyapple.com and www.whole30.com

Cutting sugar was not easy, because we are surrounded by it. It is so hard to go grocery shopping, read labels and find out that you cannot buy curry paste, it has added sugar in it. Bummer. You start to get creative (thank you to Pinterest) Having no sugar gets easier as time goes by. It’s tough at the beginning, not going to lie, but if I can do it, anyone can, and I mean it. It takes a little bit of planning and a little bit of purpose and stubbornness but it’s possible, believe me. If you want more info, you can write to me. I am happy to share info and tips.

So after the sugar detox, I noticed a huge difference in myself. No heart burn. I didn’t get tired in the middle of the afternoon. I slept really well and woke up feeling refreshed. And I lost 4kgs in 3 weeks. My husband’s dandruff disappeared, my daughter’s acne improved noticeably. It is hard to ignore the benefits. And it’s even harder to go back to old ways when you learn so much about what you are actually feeding your body.

So that’s how I started. While sugar detoxing, you are eating a paleo diet already (minus the fruit and you are also allowed some dairy products), so the transition to paleo is not a difficult one.

It’s been nearly one year, I have lost 10kgs since starting. I haven’t counted one calorie, I haven’t felt deprived and I do not feel like I am in a diet. The sugar detox gave me freedom from food slavery, the paleo diet keeps me in check. I am not gonna sit here and pretend I am perfect the whole time, because I am not, far from it. Sometimes, when I allow myself a treat, it triggers my ‘monster’ side, and it takes me a while to get back to the wagon. I am not talking about months, it usually just takes a couple of days. But that’s just me, I found that I need to be strict with myself, but some people follow a 80/20 rule when going paleo. Which is great, because life happens.

On the fitness side of things, I have started weight lifting, doing some strength training instead of concentrating in cardio exercises. I have notices that my body shape has changed a lot since I started to lift. And I love the feeling of empowerment lifting gives me! I also engaged a person al trainer (that only happened 3 weeks ago) since my husband is working evenings and I cannot get to the gym after work like I used to. I am having 5.30am sessions with the PT. Which is good and bad. Good, because I cannot get out of it. I know she is waiting for me at the gym and I cannot stand her up. Bad because getting up at 5am is not fun. Especially now that it is winter here.

Like I mentioned before, I am not running anymore but I want to get back into it. I forgot how hard it is to self-motivate. I know it’s something I need to do to get things moving again. Running gives me the feeling that I can accomplish anything! It reminds me that my body responds so well to it, I am curious about how efficient my running body will become now that I am feeding it properly

Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions

I guess one of the side effects of the news I have received is that I am eating non-stop and I don’t care

I am literally riding a very unstable roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s up and down all the time, and it’s like riding in the dark, I never know when I am going up or down.

It’s been a rough week. I still don’t know how to process it. I am avoiding to think about the big picture of how my life will change, because if I do, I get really overwhelmed. So at the moment I am concentrating in taking one day at a time. I guess I am also paying more attention to my body and hoping I am not having ‘bad days’, but just paying more attention to symptoms. But I don’t know for sure what is going on. Is it all in my head? Or am I really shaking from the inside out? Was that a hand twitch? Or am I imagining it?

Blah

Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease

It all started three and a half years ago

I noticed that my balance changed when I walked and I became really clumsy, even more so than normal

But it was just one of those things you think to yourself ‘it’s nothing’ and I honestly thought it was just that – nothing.

Then I started to notice that my handwriting, that always been something I was so proud of, started to change. I really had trouble writing, like I really have to concentrate to write a sentence. In denial that anything could be wrong, I put it to the fact that in this technology days, we actually don’t do a lot of handwriting, well, I didn’t anyway. Working in an office, typing instead of using a pen, texting, instead of writing letters. ‘I must start using my pen again’ – I thought to myself.

Then I notice that the right side of my body was slower, felt heavier than my left side.  Like I can tap my foot really fast with my left foot, but my right foot does not respond to my brain screaming ‘MOVE FASTER’ but it just doesn’t. I started having trouble with gripping things, like pegs when putting the washing on the line. My little finger and ring finger would start shaking non stop and then I would have to concentrate really hard to make them stop.

Then I could not deny it anymore – something was not right.

You know, it takes courage to get to that point, because ignorance sometimes is a bliss. But being so young (I was 29 back then), I thought that maybe it was all in my head.

So I went to see a neurologist, that was two years ago.

It was bad timing. I was moving states, the neurologist was going on holiday. We had our first appointment, he ordered an MRI – off he went to his holiday somewhere sunny, and me, I went to get my brain photographed.

Because the neurologist was on holiday, I never got to see him before I moved states. Instead I went to my doctor, who read the MRI report and told me that the neurology was looking for MS or a brain tumour (I had thyroid cancer before). But the MRI was clear for both. So the mystery continued, but I was too busy to do anything about it.

During the two years after my MRI, my symptoms did not go away. I always describe it like this: These issues I have, difficulties, are always with me. I am always reminded that my body is somehow broken, when I have to write something fast (which I can’t) or go up a flight of stairs quickly, which is impossible.Then I have worse days, which I feel shakey

People around me don’t really understand when I say I can’t do something. Like my personal trainer who wanted me to jump on top of a wood box. I kept telling him: I CAN’T! but he would not listen to me. He probably thought I was being too much of a girly girl and not even giving it a try. Little did he know that my right leg was not responding to my brain command.

So, lately I have been feeling a bit strange. I am more clumsy, I cannot go through a Body Balance class. And I have periods of time when I feel that the right side of body is shaking from the inside out. I can’t see any tremors on the outside, but I feel my body shaking. It is so frustrating. And I am craving sugar more than ever. Like I NEED to have biscuits and lately I am ashamed to admit that I have turned into the Cookie Monster. And I don’t really like cookies!

So Fast forward to a month ago. It all got to the point that I decided I needed to get this investigated properly. So off I went to my doctor, who referred me to a neurologist.So last Friday, finally, I went to see a neurologist again.

He was good. He went through my history, asked me to describe my symptoms. Now, I have a really hard time doing that. I can’t explain how I feel properly apart from the ‘my right side is not working properly, I struggle with writing and balance’ kind of thing. So when he got me up to examine me, the motor exercises he made me try and do were targeted specifically to what he was looking for, and in a way I was relieved that he got to see what I mean. Because I really struggled with some of them, REALLY struggled.

After we were done with the tests, we sat down. He looked at me and said: ‘Well, you are displaying symptoms of Parkinson’s. But  you are young (well, after I read 1000 stories of people being diagnosed early, I guess I am not sure how to take that?).

He went on to tell me he wants me to go to another appointment where he is going to see me with a group of another 8 neurologists, so they can discuss my case

Meanwhile I am left to despair of the limbo stage, until they tell me for sure

But the stories I have read, they are my own. I feel helpless to think that that is in fact my fate and I can’t do anything about it

Today, I sit here, jittery, shaking from the inside out (literally) wondering, researching, hoping, focusing on crossing one bridge at a time and wondering how my life will be in ten years time

I would love to hear from anyone with any experience with PD. Because I need to admit it to myself: I am so scared