Unexpectedly Expecting

The Adventures of One Woman's Journey Into Motherhood

Ready for Battle

on February 16, 2013

As you may know, I have been on blood pressure meds since the summer of 2010. At that time, I had an echocardiogram, a stress test, and a sleep study to determine that I had hypertension and a very mild case of sleep apnea. I decided to forgo the cpap and wanted to try just taking meds for my high blood pressure. At the time, my doctor mentioned that I could come off the meds if I changed my diet and exercised. Without clear direction or desire to change anything, I just started taking pills. Then came December.

In December 2010, I found out that I was pregnant with Noah. Fast forward nine months, and I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. (Apparently, I had Class I HELLP which means that I had all three indicators for this syndrome. In doing further research, I have since found out that this is typically caused by gestational hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure.) Noah and I survived with God’s hand to live to see today and beyond.

Walk further with me as I give a synopsis of the last year or so of my life. I have never been one to cook much, let alone spend hours in the kitchen fixing meals. If it wasn’t quick and easy, I wasn’t interested. Thankfully, God brought Noah into our lives to change all of that. Once he started eating more and more solid food, I started to realize how little I knew about cooking and how much I didn’t like feeding him stuff loaded with junk that he didn’t need in his body. It was at about this time that we found out that Noah is highly allergic to dairy. That means I could not give him cheese (think grilled cheese), milk (got milk?), butter, sour cream, and yogurt. These items are essential to the form of cooking I had been doing until just recently.

As Noah grew, he learned to recognize the fact that he wanted to eat what Mommy and Daddy were eating. However, half the time he couldn’t because it had one or more of the above listed ingredients. I got to a point where I was tired of fixing two separate meals and never feeling like we were sitting down to a meal together.

Then we decided to drop our cable company. Now, sometimes you give things up merely for the benefit of saving money. Other times you do it on principle. Ours was mainly the first and not the second. Having said that, Joel found that there is a LOT of content that is free on the internet if you’re willing to look for it. In fact, we see more of the programs that we want to watch instead of the junk we don’t need to watch. (Sorry… got off on a tangent there. I promise, I’ll return back to the point immediately.) In browsing through documentaries, Joel decided to start watching some videos about food, specifically the food we eat and is processed in America.

Before Thanksgiving, we watched one documentary (Chow Down) that loosely talked about how eating a plant-based diet could dramatically alter one’s health. We talked about it but quickly walked away from it because we just weren’t that convinced. Then came Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving night found us watching the Forks over Knives documentary. Yes, we had just had our fill of mashed potatoes with gravy, roasted chicken, dressing to die for, and other food that we absolutely didn’t need to eat. Let’s just say, we were ripe for the pickin’.

The documentary basically discusses, and proves through two separate doctors, that plant-based diets can not only stop the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes, but they can REVERSE those effects on your body. I was almost speechless. That weekend, we sat down and had a serious discussion about our eating habits. And Joel agreed to “try” eating healthier with less dairy, meat, and other non-plant products. And to show his support from the start, he bought me the Forks over Knives cookbook. (On a side note, if you do decide to purchase this or any other book online, think twice. Please go to your local bookstore and have them order it for you. We need to stop giving our money to the big guys and start supporting our local economy better.)

Ok, so I got this cookbook and immediately my anxiety level went up. There are ingredients like quinoa, flax seed, millet, nutritional yeast, tofu, miso, sesame tahini, just to name a few. What???? I’d like to see the number of hands who actually know what half of these items are and how to cook them. My thoughts exactly. I really thought I had gotten in over my head. But I dove straight in and started cooking.

I started with the easy stuff, things I recognized. Lentil chili was a hit and has become part of my rotation. Then I moved to stuff like spinach béchamel. Okay, so maybe cauliflower shouldn’t be used as a crème sauce. There are other ways around this… I’ve found. 🙂

Again, I’ve navigated off-topic so I’ll right this ship to get back to the point at hand. Needless to say, my cooking skills have changed greatly since Thanksgiving. (Joel has shown his support even more so by buying me a new set of knives, a new set of wooden spoons, and a bamboo cutting board. I almost have a brand new kitchen!) Most of the food items I’ve made have been pretty good. I’m not sure I’ll try the baked ziti again anytime soon, but that’s ok. 🙂

So on Valentine’s Day, I had a follow-up appointment with my nurse practitioner to see how I was doing back on my first prescribed blood pressure meds. (I had to change while pregnant because there are issues with the meds and babies. I didn’t come off the pregnancy meds until I finished breastfeeding Noah in August.)

I go to the clinic, roll up my sleeve, and let them draw blood for the typical tests. I then went to the doctor’s office and did what I always am asked to do first… stand on the dreaded scale. The scale. I’ve hated it my whole life. We don’t own one and haven’t since we were first married. But on this day, I had a wake-up call. I got on the scale and instead of continuing to the number where I’ve hovered for far too long now, it stopped early… try 16 pounds early. I thought something was wrong with it. Seriously. The thing beeped, the nurse said, “Ok. Right this way.” I would love to have a picture of my face at that moment. Because my goal has not been to lose weight. This is a life-style change. I will eat this way for the rest of my life, as long as I can. I didn’t feel like I had lost that much weight. Honestly. Even now, I’m sitting here shaking my head because I have no words to describe how surprised I was at that scale.

So as I’m trying to text Joel about the weight loss, the nurse practitioner comes in. She says something about me wanting to get off my meds. In thinking ahead about this appointment, I had determined that I was going to stand my ground and talk them into letting me get off the meds. I was ready. I was so ready for battle, you would have been proud! I tend to get nervous when those who know way more than I do tell me something I need to do but I’m not interested. (Make sense?)

Anyway, I was armed and ready. I had already planned out how I was going to present my case. I’ve been eating healthier. I’ve (obviously) lost weight. I’m not exercising yet, but I feel like that will come soon. I am determined NOT to take this stupid medication for the rest of my life. (Well, I didn’t say stupid to her, but that’s how I felt.)

Here’s where there was more surprise… and tears.

She agreed.

She said that my numbers reflect that I’ve made a significant change in my life. She said that my glucose alone was 96. I hadn’t tested that low in the two years I’ve been going there. She said that not only was I not pre-diabetic any longer, but I’m not even in the range to be diabetic at all. (At my August visit, she wanted to prescribe me pre-diabetic pills because my glucose was still higher than they like it.)

She was just as surprised as I was at the conversation we were having. She even showed it to the main doctor’s nurse and was telling her how I had done it.

Here’s the best part. She wrote out instructions for how I am to remove the blood pressure meds from my life. Did I just type that??? Again, sitting here just trying to find words to express my feelings. I could have soared through the roof! I felt like I danced out of the clinic!!

In my hand, I had a piece of paper that said I would be medicine free in three weeks. THREE WEEKS! (She did, of course, tell me that if my blood pressure started going back up that I would have to get back on them. In fact, she stated that several times. I didn’t bother to argue.) 🙂

So the next morning, I started the process of removing the pills from my system.

Never did I imagine that I would be sitting here relaying this information. And never would I have thought that in less than 3 months, my life would take this incredible turn.

Without sounding cliché or Christiany, I’d like to give all praise to God for His healing hand in my life. Seriously. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed over my heart. Joel’s prayed over my heart. We’ve prayed together for healing. And He is truly healing me. I don’t understand why, but I’m thankful that He is.

Have I taken steps to make life healthier for my family? Yes. But God is the One who holds my life in His hands. He desires for me to be healed! Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. This time, it did. And I can’t thank Him enough. I can’t thank Him enough for giving me the courage to take this on. I can’t thank Him enough for unveiling my eyes so I could see. I just can’t thank Him enough. And even though it’s not a good thing, I can’t thank Him enough for Noah’s allergies. Because without them, I’m not sure I would have ever even thought about it.

So there you have it. I just wanted to express my joy at what God is doing and has done in our lives. Once more, He has proven His faithfulness in our lives. And more praise needs to be poured on Him as He deserves every ounce of us and more. I’m in love!! Blessings and thanks for reading. 🙂

4 responses to “Ready for Battle

  1. rave.n says:

    That’s great news.
    Praise God.
    I’ve been on a similar journey to fight fatigue and the weight/pain on my knees.
    My check up last week proved things are getting better except for a hereditary cholesterol thing. I meet with a dietician soon.

    But yes Forks over knives is awesome and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead was my introduction to healthy documentaries that actually spoke to me.

    Funny we’re both cooking more right now 🙂

    Congrats again

    • hrt4desh says:

      Thanks Raven for the encouragement! You’ll be amazed at what they say about cholesterol. All of it’s tied together. I’m believing God for healing of your body as well! We don’t have to be walking clones of our parents or what doctors’ say is “just the way it is.” When we talk next, I’ll tell you how I’m redefining how I’m not going to be tied down to my genetics. 🙂

      I wish we were closer to each other so we could take this journey together. It’s difficult to find others in this area who are even remotely vegetarian… much less vegan.

      Proud of you for taking steps at your age! If only I had started at your age, I may have never had the issues I’ve had over the past three years.

      Mad love!!

  2. Harriet says:

    ❤ ❤ ❤ you made me cry!! My heart rejoices with you Kristin!

    • hrt4desh says:

      Thanks Harriet! I’ve been rejoicing since Thursday! Honestly, until going to the doctor, I really had no idea if all of this was actually paying off. Now I know and I have to say that it’s a pretty incredible feeling!

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