Saturday, November 1, 2008

Provigil - Day 5

This morning I logged in at 195 lbs. Last week wasn't so hot; the Cymbalta mucked with my system in several unpleasant ways: the zombie-headedness I mentioned previously, but also water retention, irregularity, and an increase in appetite. I jumped back to 200 lbs. inside of a week, but thankfully, it took less than three days to return to my current weight.

Today marks my fifth day on Provigil and I'm unsure how to detail the difference this medication is making. I've had opportunity now to step back and make observations about my condition which went wholly unrecognized before. Although it hasn't eradicated any one symptom, so far, it's one of the most useful medications I've tried. It pushes back the fibrofog and helps to clear my head ... so much so that I can complete simple tasks in under four steps where, historically, it could take as many as seven trips to remember that I've gone upstairs to retrieve a load of dirty laundry.

Provigil has also had an impact on the deep fatigue I've been combating since last April. As it is with pain, though, there are also layers to fatigue. While the Provigil seems decent at battling fatigue mentally (i.e. it's definitely mood enhancing) it's only moderately effective at the physical level. Still good. Still a turn for the positive, no doubt. But, thankfully I've grown more cautious over the last eight or so years, and (mostly) avoid taking advantage of feeling better — I am still quite susceptible to Crash & Burn, and hitting the wall at full speed sucks.

Yesterday, I was out and about for 4+ hours and whenever I parked, I did so in the farthest corner of the parking lot and then walked briskly on my way into the store. I did this a total of four times and felt it when I got home (both, an increase in pain and a decrease in energy). Today, also, I feel worn out despite taking the Provigil. I'm grateful I didn't jump head-long back into jogging or kick-boxing just yet regardless of the giddy notion that maybe ... possibly I can.

As a teenager, after damaging my knee, I discovered if I (specifically) didn't exercise regularly, I couldn't maintain my weight. To lose extra pounds, I had to burn as many calories in a day as I consumed. Which, under ideal circumstances, wasn't difficult; with only one's feet or a horse to travel upon, the desert is a mighty big place to traverse. As my knee problems worsened progressively, weight management became increasingly harder. Then came knee surgery and that blessed period between December of 1993 and December 1995 — two wonderful, pain free (the occasional headache not withstanding) years. I ran (not jogged) 2.5 miles or walked 5 (at 4 mph) six days a week, did 300 sit-ups and 100 push-ups a day, lifted weights for a half hour to an hour and ate anything under the sun. My favorite treat (once or twice a month) was a PJ's patty melt on sourdough with a side of French fries and honey mustard, which ONLY Dave G. could make with any type of precision.

It ended so abruptly, that short span of time.

Although I've managed to sheer off 35 lbs. since September of 2003, it has been a never ending struggle. Aside from the limitations on my ability to exercise with any regularity, I haven't been able to figure out why it's so difficult to manage my weight. Truthfully, I don't always make the healthiest choices when I eat; we did frequent ColdStone Creamery regularly (at least once a week!) the summer of 2006. But, I don't binge and I'm only prone to comfort eating when hit with a particularly difficult bout of PMS. Most days I do eat well-rounded meals, although I'm sure I must consume more calories than I can burn in a day. Which in turn means if I eat more than 1,600 calories, I gain.

I started gaining weight again in June, going from 189 back up to bounce between 196 and 197. Why?

Granted, with both Jon's and my birthday in May, it can be a hard month to moderate eating. Especially if you load into the equation the understanding that I married a man who can bake like the world could end tomorrow and knows my weakness for chocolate. Even so, I'd managed the prior two years with minimal or no weight gain, thus this year shouldn't be any different. It is, though, and significantly so.

Wikipedia's article on Provigil (Modafinil) cites five studies showing that it decreases the appetite. While not a scientist or a doctor, I have discovered its secret. Want to know it, too? Come closer then. A little closer. There. It works because FATIGUE INCREASES THE APPETITE.

Brilliant, no? Really, I feel so clever right now — oh, I think I must have turned rocket scientist overnight!

Okay, so sarcasm aside, it's a legitimate observation and one that leads me to a better understanding of what's happening inside my skin. Two years ago, when I took Topamax, it all but eradicated my appetite and I lost 10 lbs. because of it. Sadly, I switched to Lyrica and within 2 weeks had gained it all back, plus another 5 — sigh. Lyrica drove me to eat — an uncontrollable compulsion that had NOTHING to do with appetite. Ever seen how and what goats will eat? Yeah, that was me. Nothing was sacred.

Provigil isn't at all the same experience as Topamax. Like I said, the latter really did kill my appetite. Provigil hasn't; I still get hungry. The difference I've noticed now since Thursday is that I'm not desperately trying to eat to compensate for the constant lack of energy. It's such an elementary concept ... why the heck didn't I see it before? I mean, after all, where does the body get its energy? From food. DUH!

In two days, the ravenous cravings I had for carbohydrates dropped significantly. I've blamed these hyper cravings on Jon's lifestyle because his diet is so centered on carbohydrates, and prior to moving to Virginia, mine focused more on protein. Since I've been here, I've adopted more of his eating lifestyle, giving the excuse that trying to cook to satisfy both of our needs is just too much effort. Well, I'm thinking of ways I can incorporate more protein into my diet without having to change his at all. The only meal we really share during the day is dinner, and there are simple ways to augment what I eat by reducing carb-heavier foods (rice, bread, and pasta) and adding cottage cheese, nuts, cheese, or even eggs. I will be working protein into my diet three times a day now and reducing carbohydrates to see if it will make a difference, both in my weight and my energy. We'll see.


msteeleart said...

I can feel your pain with the weight gain. I started to gain weight when I was 24. Back then it was only 10 to 15 pounds. Now it is 50 that I need to lose. I don't have pms anymore, I switched my birth control to seasonique. I only have 4 periods a year and they only last 2 days. I don't know why I don't have bloating or pms on this pill but I love it and the lack of periods is wonderful. I never really cared for having a period. When I used to have pms I would eat like a pig the few days before my period which wasn't helping me at all. I'm ashamed of my appearance and really want to lose the weight so I can buy some new clothes and not feel bad about myself. I just don't want to have to give up my favorite foods and eat almost nothing like I did when I lost weight before. Losing weight really sucks in my opinion. I wish it was like when I was younger, all I had to do is skip a meal and I would lose 5 pounds. :(

Everwild said...

Hey! Thanks for sharing. :) I might have to try the seasonique. It sounds great! I used depo in the 90s, but I'd breakout horribly with blackheads and after a year decided to quit using it.

I didn't want to give up the greasy-fat-fried, or tasty-but-oh-so-bad foods either. I imagine it cant help much (a`la easier said than done), but DON'T BE ASHAMED! I find when I start feeling bad about myself, I also start hiding (you know, like behind baggier clothing) and then those feelings start fueling themselves. It also makes me feel powerless, like I *can't* change.

I know getting fit-n-healthy sucks, but I know you can do it, too. Making little changes is working for me maybe they'll work for you. I negotiate and make compromises: Today I want butter on my toast, so I'll skip other heavier oily things (dressings, pnut butter, etc.) I haven't excluded anything (except fast food restaurants), and just reduced how often I indulge in them.

Grazing is my weakest point; it's how I eat and has been difficult to alter. I eat too many of the same things: toast here, then later crackers, and then more bread at dinner. I've been teaching (well, trying to anyhow) myself to substitute: one day cukes instead of crackers or just whole roma tomatoes, a handful of carrots, etc.

It's a slow process, but focusing on little goals and succeeding at them (like consciously choosing a veggie sammich over cheesecake for lunch) has fueled my confidence. I want to be more aggressive and be fit-n-skinny NOW, but I'ma sissy-lala and don't like setting myself up for failure. :(