Tuesday, November 27, 2018

I Will Not Stress Eat. I Will Not Stress Eat.

If you have been a faithful reader on this blog, then you will understand when I say that sometimes my life is stressful. I try not to let stress get the best of me, but it's a demon I fight when Jaycee is sick or in the midst of a health challenge.

Stress has taken its toll on my body over the years in a number of ways. (See the post: How My Body Responds to My Daughter's Illnesses.) Weight gain has certainly made its way into life as a result. I tend to eat when I am stressed, and there's many opportunities for that in the course of a year when parenting a child with many chronic health conditions. I also tend to use caffeine, mainly soda and sweet tea, as a way to give me energy and keep me alert through hard times. If I am doing treatments every four hours around-the-clock, I have used caffeine to get me through it.

Back in August, my husband and I joined the Keto bandwagon. I needed a diet with rules and specifics, and Keto has that. It was a big change for us, but it has made a difference in our lives already. My husband has lost over 60 pounds since August, and I have lost 35. On Keto, you increase your fats and significantly decrease your carbohydrates as you teach your body to burn fat and not carbs. Keto means no soda. Well, I suppose you could have soda with no sugar, but that doesn't appeal to me. Obviously, sweet tea is out the question. Pastas, breads, potatoes-no, no, and no. What does that leave? Meat, broccoli, green beans, and cheese have become my best friends. The diet has been going well overall considering how I was eating prior to Keto, but I recently had my first experience with a real health challenge on this diet.

Jaycee's breathing had an asthmatic wheeze to it near the beginning of the month. At first, it was intermittent, so I started extra treatments as needed. Then, her breathing got a little worse more consistently, so I made a run to the doctor with her. He thought she should start steroids and do set treatments every 4 hours during the day for a few days. I started the plan and wasn't overly concerned with things.

The following day, her breathing suddenly took a turn for the worse. With my husband at work and my son at school, I did a random spot check with Jaycee's oxygen saturation monitor. These spot checks are essential to keeping Jaycee healthy because she does not ever communicate anything about her breathing, fever, or symptoms. I have to catch a problem with her breathing before it gets out of hand. Jaycee's 8:45 am spot check showed her oxygen saturations were 89. 89! I had just checked her an hour earlier and she was 95. The days prior she had been 98 every time. I got out the second monitor to verify the number, and I sprang into action when it read the same.

In these times, I have a set emergency plan for Jaycee from her pulmonary team. I spent the next hour implementing that plan and watching her numbers slowly improve. I was thankful for the improvement but also worried. I never know if the emergency plan will improve the numbers only temporarily or long-term. I decided to pack for the hospital, because if her number got low again, that's where we were headed next. I started to panic because I had a long list of things I needed to do at home. If she did go to the hospital, we'd probably be there several days.

I rushed to complete some tasks just in case we had to leave.
Electric bill-paid.
Soiled sheets from the morning mess-in the dryer.
Clothes I may need in the hospital-thrown in the washing machine.
Work stuff-faxed.
I kept a close watch on Jaycee whose numbers were staying in the safe range. As my essential to-do list was mostly completed an hour later, I felt drained. I also felt hungry. I started craving a delicious non-Keto dish from our local Mexican restaurant. Later, I thought often about pizza and pasta. Some part of me was clearly crying out to stress eat.

I didn't succumb to it though. I had my normal Keto friendly lunch and afternoon snack. There were times when I had the thought: Forget it, eat what you want! But, I resisted. I have to teach my mind and body to react differently to the stress I feel when Jaycee is sick.

Jaycee kept me busy the next few days with medications and monitoring, but I unpacked my hospital bag that thankfully never left my bedroom. I made it through a little health scare at home with Jaycee without stress eating or consuming caffeine. It's sort of a big deal!

I fought the food demon this time and won. Next time, I hope I can be that strong again!

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