After posting about my pretty, pretty new party dress and twirling, it may surprise you (well, if you don't know me personally at least) that I grew up quite the Tom-Boy. I started playing baseball/tee ball when I was still too young to play on the girls softball team. I went horseback riding, played tennis, basketball, soccer when forced by a school, and sailed every summer until I was 18. In grade school I played Tag at recess. But not the "I'm flirting with the boys" kind of Tag where they chase you and you giggle. I did the "I will run you to the ground and win" kind of Tag. My pediatrician called me "rotten-banana legs" on visits because of the plethora of bruises I would compile while engaging in all of these activities. (Amazingly that did not give me any kind of self-image issues. It more predicted my ongoing life of "where did that come from" discovery of bruises.) I was also usually underweight from growing quickly while constantly in a state of motion. (Tho my brother takes the cake for growing the fastest and farthest. I can remember hearing the pediatrician in the next exam room dragging a chair over to the scales to measure my brother's height, which eventually made it to roughly 6'4" when he's feeling especially proud.) My 4th grade math teacher used to call me Twiggy, which you know wasn't actually a compliment. So imagine my surprise when I was about 12 or so, and my doctor checked my cholesterol and found it to be 236!
If you do not know, the ideal cholesterol measure should come in around 180. At 200 you are bordering on high. At 230 you are entering "dangerously high" levels.
Now, considering that I was so active, it was clear that this was not a dietary issue. I was not hoarding pints of Häagen-Dazs to devour at night. In fact, it turns out that my mother's side of the family has genetically high cholesterol. This may have been the first time, but it would certainly not be the last time that after a number of tests to find the cause of some health issue I was suffering, my mother would chime in with, "Oh I have that too."
At that young age tho, the doctor just said, "We'll keep an eye on it and watch your diet." So I did. Frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Low-fat everything. Eggs are bad, eggs are good, eggs are bad over the years. Then I didn't have it tested again until college, because I guess when applying to college they do that, "You must have had a physical by a GP before attending" kind of spiel. Again, my cholesterol was quite high, but also because I was young and active, the doc simply said, "Keep an eye on it and watch your diet."
Being an image-conscious female I have always watched my diet, although I believe in all things in moderation. But that means I will have the steak, but fastidiously carve away all the fat before eating it. Yes I would love some bacon, but just the one slice please. Since I cook most of my own meals I can watch what goes in and choose evoo instead of butter, and sauté instead of fry, etc..
So last week I finally had an appointment with a real GP in NYC, to become my real doctor, instead of calling the family doc in NJ and saying, "I have a sinus infection, please call in a Z-pack." The slight irony here is that it takes the same hour+ for me to get to the hospital on York Ave that it would take me to get to NJ via train. But this way I don't need someone to pick me up on the other end. But I figured, the big 3-0 is looming, I should give myself a once-over and see how I'm doing.
The doc was very nice, took a lot of time out to meet me and learn my history and concerns. One of my concerns was that the nurse that took my blood for all the tests had a left eye that looked at me and what she was doing, and a right eye that was checking out whatever was behind her to her right. That lead to this:
Is this validation of Doctor Rotten-Banana-Legs? Or just a freaky nurse who may or may not have jabbed me an extra time when trying to remove the needle and pressed excessively hard with the gauze?
Anyway, I got my results back today, and the excellent news is that my liver, kidneys, thyroid (also a genetic Watch card), hormone levels, etc. are all in perfect working order. (I know you were all terribly worried.) The bad news. The LAUGHABLE news. The HOW ARE YOU WALKING AROUND ALIVE news is that yes, my cholesterol is still high. In fact, it weighed in at 400.
Freak of Nature? Yes, thank you.
I think maybe my doctor didn't believe me when I said it was a genetic issue and had always been high. I walked in there healthy, came in at 5'8+" and 124 lbs (I explained the sudden emotional weight-loss) so why would she really believe that my arteries are hardening from the mere thought of cheese?
The only good part is that my HDL (your "good" cholesterol) was also high and functioning properly. It's just that the "bad" LDL is off the charts bad.
So I'm going to end this post because I need to hie myself to the Duane Reade up the street and pick up my shiny new prescription for the highest dosage of Simvastatin they can give a person.
Who's up for fondue?