A few weeks ago I basically asked a physician to test my cholesterol level. The physician responded by telling me that my blood pressure and pulse were low and that I sure didn't fit the profile of someone with high cholesterol. This same physician had just informed me that in obstetrics speak I'm entering the "advanced maternal age" range, so I informed him that in my advanced age it seemed prudent to just check, because none of my relatives with off-the-charts cholesterol fit the profile either. He agreed and threw in a thyroid screen so something could be his idea.
I got the lab request from him and then promptly waited two weeks before going in for the blood draw. That was a Friday. I spent that whole weekend eating like an idiot because I figured it could be my proverbial last supper. French fries? Yes, please. Donuts? Yes, please. Queso with those chips? Yes, please. And a side of shrimp.
The following Monday afternoon I received a message from the Dr.'s nurse telling me that he "had some concerns about my lipid panel." He had asked her to fax the lab results to my primary care physician and instructed me to make an appointment with them. Apparently baby deliverers don't do cholesterol.
That was 10 days ago. For 10 days I resisted the urge to call and demand that my lab results be faxed to me as well and I just began assuming that all the fun of eating had been stripped from me by my burning desire to be honest about my family history and engage in a little preventative care. For 10 days I've fretted a little over every gram of saturated fat I've eaten and I've spent too much time surfing the American Heart Association's websites on cholesterol. I've purchased oatmeal and walnuts and switched to skim lattes. Cold turkey. The folks at the local coffee shop have tried to help me through it.
Today I went to meet with my primary care physician, who isn't much interested in delivering babies but appears to know a bit about blood. The bottom line is that it's not so bad. My cholesterol is a few (ok, maybe a dozen) points above where it should be and my LDL is not ideal, but not really alarming and my HDL is good. The ratios - who knew there were so many - are good as well. As I sat and listened I became a little unclear about why I was even there. Dr. Primary Care said that Dr. Baby probably just looked at the total number and said, "pass her off."
So, the plan is this: I'm going back to 2% in my lattes but promised to back away from the saturated fats from time to time. I'm really going to miss cleaning up the kids' McDonald's fries but I'm going to moderate. And, I need to get recommitted to more exercise. I'll also be working on adding a few extra hours of daylight to each 24-hour cycle in order to make that happen, I guess.
If you see me in real life eating a fry, let's not totally obsess, but you might just gently keep me honest. "206, Susan. 206."