Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Weightloss and Wintery Cold

This winter has been hell for me.  Yes, I know I don't live where it snows - that would just be torture now - but our area has had some unusual moments of "freezing cold" this winter.  It doesn't help that my little apartment just isn't build for those sorts of temps. 

That's where my weight loss comes in.  Having lost 55+ lbs, I no longer have that "insulation" to keep me warm.  I guess my internal thermostat hasn't had enough time to reset to the change, so I've spent most of this winter freezing my tootsies off.  Worst of all, it's that "internal cold" that no amount of sweaters or coats can quell.  Thankfully, taking a "hottest shower known to man" warms me back up.  (Thank god I don't have to pay THAT water bill.)

But the strangest development of all is the sudden development of Raynaud's Disease in my left index finger, my right pinky finger, and a couple toes.  For those of you who don't want to follow that link, here's a quick explanation from the Mayo Clinic:
"Raynaud's Disease is a condition that causes some areas of your body — such as your fingers, toes, tip of your nose and your ears — to feel numb and cool in response to cold temperatures or stress. In Raynaud's disease, smaller arteries that supply blood to your skin narrow, limiting blood circulation to affected areas."
I first noticed this during our first big winter storm.  It was rainy and icy cold and I had left my gloves in the house.  I was standing in line at the grocery store, holding one of those handbaskets full of food when I felt this "tight / numb" feeling in my finger.   I looked down and was shocked to see it had turned a pale white.  I thought maybe I had pinched a nerve or something while holding the basket and I didn't worry, since it went away after some rubbing.

The attacks became more and more persistent as our cold winter progressed - always when I was out and about and away from my computer so I never remembered to look it up.  It was more of an annoyance than anything else - something strange my body has decided to do.

It wasn't until mid Feb or so that I had an attack while sitting at my desk.  Having had enough of these "strange" attacks, I finally consulted Dr. Google.  The answer was quick and painless - Raynaud's Disease.  It's not life threatening, just annoying. 

I now know, after some experimenting, that my attacks are from sudden change in temp - like touching a freezing cold steering wheel or stepping into the cold from a nice warm house or car.  Any sort of wind or rain exasperates it. 

Thankfully, some warm water (to warm up whatever is spasming) and rubbing (to get the blood flowing again) will quickly end an attack.  To prevent them, I finally invested in some new gloves - a pair of "wind resistant" / "water resistant" ones for outside and some wool fingerless gloves for when I'm in the house.  (My hands seem to be cold all the time now - I guess I'm more conscious of my hand temp now.)

Of course, now that I've got this mystery solved, winter is slowly coming to an end.  It'll be warm again soon and I won't need those $25 gloves for another 9 months or so.  I can only pray that my body's internal thermostat will finally reset this summer - I don't know if I can take another winter of freezing my butt off!

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