betterment personal


CW: Definitely going to be some food and weight talk here.

After I switched over to my new insurance plan (which in itself is just an update to last year’s plan), my insurance said, “Hey, if you go get a blood test, we’ll give you $50.” Didn’t have to tell me twice. The next day I was watching a new hire at Quest Diagnostics stab a needle into my arm. This is what older is: getting stabbed with needles all the time.

A couple years ago, while still living at my old apartment, I got a lipid test at the behest of my PCP at the time, a woman whose first name was Honey, which meant that I had to call her Dr. Marques because saying “Hi Honey” to a complete stranger felt bad. She isn’t even a doctor, really, she’s a physician’s assistant, but even knowing that I still called her Doctor, because what else do I call her? Ms. Marques?

Anyway, that first test, in May of 2021, was bad. Mainly in the triglycerides, but it was all pretty bad. A good triglycerides level is below 150 mg/dL.1Tangent: Is a blood test the only place where people use a deciliter as a unit of measurement? Mine was over 600. I remember shortly before my grandma, a stubborn-as-hell woman who continued to eat sweets and processed foods long after the diabetes had cost her both of her feet, died, had a reading of around 600, and I don’t remember if that was triglycerides or glucose. Both options are bad.

This was a year after covid hit and my second year into what I can only describe as Pandemic Panic, where I had exorbitant amounts of DoorDash delivered to my apartment on a regular basis. Here is a picture I took of my feet in June of 2021:

I took this photo because I thought, “Are my feet super swollen or what?”

They were. At this point in my life I betrayed myself by doing something I swore I would never do: weigh over 300lbs. See, the problem with being 6’5″ and someone who used to do a lot of weightlifting is that 300lbs kind of sneaks up on you, visually speaking. Nobody really mentions weight anymore, which is good!–a very few people in your life should be allowed to tell you you’re fat, and even then they should be nice about it–but it also meant that I didn’t really see the difference in myself at the time, except in my feet. Or maybe I did notice and just didn’t care. I’ve spoken at length about the constant battles between Lizard Brain and Rational Brain, and I think the pandemic lockdown really threw my entire consciousness off balance, to the point where Lizard Brain felt the need to declare martial law.

Doctor Honey was a stern woman, the type of PA you find at urgent care–quick with info, quick to get you out of the door. But she was also kind behind that need for speed, and she offered me a statin medication or lifestyle changes, and I opted for the latter. Three months, she said. Come back in three months.

I went home that day and got my ass in gear. But it was an uphill battle due to my apartment neighbor being a meth-addled psychopath who was maybe one terrible trip away from beating my head in with a crowbar. Gone were my daily walks because I feared running into him. I eventually moved; that was good. I ate better, I walked a bit more around my new apartment neighborhood, I took fish oil supplements.

In August I went in and got another lipid test. It was good, in the sense that my triglycerides went down by half. Still to high, but not so high that I should fear for my life. I don’t think I talked to Dr. Marques about these results, or maybe I did. I had moved at that point and so had she, from that clinic to who knows where.

Since then, my weight ballooned back up to over 300 and has gradually come down by then. As we all know because I won’t shut up about it, I run now and I’m getting more exercises these days than I’ve had since covid started.

So, of course: these results. These new lipid results are essentially the same as from August of 2021. They appear to be slightly better (my cholesterol-to-HDL ratio was 7.6 in May 2021, 6.6 in August 2021, and now 6.0), but it’s all still the same to me. It’s clear that I still have work to do. I may end up getting on a statin if these don’t drop over the summer. Statin or not, I need to watch what I eat and lay off the saturated fats. Most of which I consume as part of breakfast…

I don’t have a moral or anything to end this post on. My cholesterol is too high; welcome to the United States of America. I was hoping it would be lower because of my exercising but I should’ve remembered that it’s your diet which really influences these numbers. I’m going to give myself another three months of running and exercise and eating better to see where I end up. Hopefully with better results.

  • 1
    Tangent: Is a blood test the only place where people use a deciliter as a unit of measurement?