Monday, December 13, 2010

Bad Behavior Equals Consequences

Remember the vocabulary lesson from last week? Let me explain what that was all about.

Those who have read my blog for a long time know that I don't mince words and I don't gloss over the hard parts. I tell it like it is. My behavior - both good and bad - are laid out open for all to see. It's a decision I made a long time ago and one I am glad I've stuck with all these years. So today I'm going to tell you about my bad behavior and the price I'm paying because of it.

For the past several months I have not been faithfully taking my vitamins like I should be.

I'd estimate that I would get about 40-50% of my daily doses most days. I've gotten lax and letting a bit of rebellion and laziness take over even though I know better. There are times when I'm 100% faithful to my vitamins but then there are times when I just "don't wanna play" and don't. (Those who are further out might understand that mentality about being tired of "playing house in the WLS world" - newbies have a hard time comprehending it.) So I'm here to confess my bad behavior and openly commit to doing better. I'm not here to make excuses. There are plenty of reasons but I won't bother wasting your (or my) time listing them. I signed up for this, I need to play by the rules whether I feel like it or not.

So what's my punishment?

I got my lab results back from my 3-year follow up appointments and there are several readings that I'm very disappointed in and worried about. So far nothing is out of range or officially deficient... but I'm so close they might as well be. Here are some major concerns:

Vitamin D -- 34
Ideally we want our lab results to be 80-100 to see optimal health benefits (reduced risk of certain cancers, etc.) Anything that's 30 or lower is a deficiency. A year ago my reading was 58, I increased my dose to raise that number and had a re-test and was able to get my results up to 82 and wanted to maintain that excellent reading. So in 6 months I've dropped nearly 50 points on my lab results because I haven't faithfully taken my vitamin doses.

PTH (parathyroid) - 49

This is one I'm worried about. A high reading is very bad because it means my body is pulling calcium from my bones to provide the calcium my body needs to maintain blood calcium levels. Last year, at the time of my diagnosis with osteopenia, my PTH was 24 - an excellent number. Now it's 49 and my Vitamin D has tanked at the same time.... so bad news for my bones! DEXA scan is scheduled.

Vitamin B12 -- 680
Ideally we want our lab results to be 1000-1500 and anything below 500 and we could start to see signs of deficiency such as fatigue or nerve damage (below 400 and things get very serious). Even though the lab result range says 211-900, these ranges are currently in question and being re-reviewed. A year ago my lab results were 1087.

Vitamin B1 - 11
My levels have dropped from 21 (top of the range) to 11 (low end of the range). Gee, ya think maybe I should be taking my B-complex a bit more often, huh?

Ferritin - 11
My levels have steadily dropped from the first round of labs but none of my doctors seem to be worried about it. I'm worried though. The level of deficiency is a result of 10 and I'm only 1 point above deficient. Being more faithful with iron doses is key.

Everything else came back alright. I've requested a re-draw of lab tests in 6 months. I've confessed all to my doctor and I've beaten myself up about it until my butt is black and blue. I could have just kept this information to myself and fixed my behavior. I'm sure I'll have some readers who will think poorly of me for preaching one thing and doing something else. I'm sorry for that.

I'm telling you this because I want to reiterate the fact that this journey is hard. It's freaking hard! Some days it's harder than others. If you had asked me months ago if I'd be writing a post like this I would have laughed in your face -- I know why vitamins are so essential, why would I ever jeopardize my own health? But bad behavior seems to find a way to justify itself, doesn't it?

Accountability is essential too, so this is my way of being accountable to myself, to you and to anyone who might come after. Today I'm on track with my vitamins even through I'm running about 2 hours behind schedule I'll be able to finish on track. Yesterday was a bit tougher and ended up missing one dose of calcium. Tomorrow is a new day and I'll do my best.

Thanks for listening.


  1. Pam, I only have interest in following honest journeys. Thank you for being real. It only encourages others (myself included) to do the same. It's not easy work, but it's necessary work.


  2. I'm sure your endocrinologist has told you that your hyperparathyroid could be due to vitamin D3 deficiency. I know I have to take MASSIVE dosages of D3 to keep my parathyroid stable. But as long as your Ca is ok, your bones should be ok as well.

  3. @Michelle - Thank you for your support!

  4. @Kate - If I were taking massive doses of Vitamin D3 my lab results wouldn't have tanked. LOL! Everytime my D levels are in a good place, my PTH is low and perfect but when my D tanks, my PTH spikes.

    Also, remember the incident with the endocrinologist? He fired me as his patient and I didn't bother getting a replacement:

  5. Pam.

    Guess who just took her second dose of vitamins after reading this?


    I love your blog, love all your posts. Thank you for being honest.

    I struggle to get vitamins in, and water (instead of coffee...if we count that, I'm WELL over where I need to be.) I'm working on it though. I know how important it is.

    I need labs done...*sigh*

    Keep em coming!


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