I’d like some Christmas cookies, please.
One thing about unexplained weight loss is the sense of disappearing, being less tangible, of existing less fully than I did a year ago.
I’m still here, but there’s less of me. But only physically. The things that make me a person are still here. Right? I desperately want to cling to things that remind me I am real.
Undernutrition typically results from not getting enough nutrients in your diet.
A byproduct of malnutrition is poor concentration. To be precise, I am experiencing undernutrition. I don’t eat much. Unexplained weight loss of 5% of your body weight between six and 12 months is the standard demarcation something is amiss.. I’ve lost 16% of my body weight since the spring.
So I’m losing weight too rapidly and I’m struggling with being undernourished. And undiagnosed.
This can cause:
- Weight loss
- Loss of fat and muscle mass
- Hollow cheeks and sunken eyes
- A swollen stomach
- Dry hair and skin
- Delayed wound healing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depression and anxiety
People with undernutrition may have one or several of these symptoms. Some types of undernutrition have signature effects.
Kwashiorkor, a severe protein deficiency, causes fluid retention and a protruding abdomen. On the other hand, the condition marasmus, which results from severe calorie deficiency, leads to wasting and significant fat and muscle loss (5).
So I have physical and mental health symptoms as a result of the weight loss/malnourishment. And then there’s the still unidentified reason for those conditions. But I have worked diligently with my mh treatment team to clarify that my mental health is not causing these problems. It’s important to remember that. My mental health is suffering along with my physical health.
We don’t know why. I’ve had a million tests in a World Class Health City and no answers. I’ve had two million opinions from people who are not my doctors.
After this last disastrous experience with the Allegheny Health Network Esophageal Institute, I’m at a loss as how to proceed. Do I switch to UPMC and hope for a different outcome? Should I try a smaller health group? It’s a difficult set of decisions and I am not at my best. So for now, I’m punting. Not too far, just until January 7 when my PCP, Psychiatrist, and Therapist agreed to meet as a team. Allegheny Health Network Esophageal Institute and Dr. Blair Jobe could learn a thing or two from them.
But my appetite plunged this week. I inched below a milestone weight. My clothes are all uncomfortable and awkward. I’m always cold, especially my feet. My abdomen is really swollen. I have other GI issues. I’m tired and achy and weak without much stamina.
I find myself not wanting to worry others so I play with my food to imply better eating than is actually happening. If we order out, I request generous quantities to project optimism. Today, I couldn’t finish eating a banana.
My big fear is that I will pass out in public while alone, leading to a 911 call, and a trip to a COVID-19 ridden emergency room for no real resolution. So I only go places where I can quickly sit down if I feel weak.
I yell at people, but I also help them back their cars out of tight spaces. I double up on food at my cat colony in case I’m unable to get there one day. I have a mean streak, but I’m quietly terrified something very bad is happening.
Sometimes I’ll eat a cookie, then a slice of cheese, followed by a partial container of yogurt. It’s like the joke about your grandpa eating dessert first.
I’m too tired to finish this post with any semblance of a flourish, but I will make one last plea for Christmas cookies. Just drop them off.
I’ll love the merry of it all … and the holly jolly, too.
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