Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How I Shed 45 pounds in 21 days

This isn't a pitch for some new dieting product, a promise of tighter, sexier abs, a miracle pill. No come-ons. No promises. No fancy new exercise equipment.
This is a personal story of heart disease. I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy about three years ago after experienced mild congestive heart failure. Since that time I have had a consistent problem, due to my weakened heart condition, of retaining excess fluid in my body, particularly in my abdominal cavity and my lower extremities.

Over a four-five week period this spring my body simply slowed down the elimination of these excess fluids. Over that period of time I put on nearly forty pounds in weight, all unexpelled fluid. My abdomen swelled up to the point that I looked like I was eight and a half months pregnant, with twins. After a couple of weeks of testing - ultra sounds, X-rays, CT-scans - it was confirmed that it was all a result of fluid retention.

At that point my family doctor checked me into the hospital and referred me to my cardiologist, my gastro-enterologist, my nephrologist and to a respirologist because of a mass spotted on my right lung.

The first order of business was a paracentesis, a draining of excess fluid from the abdominal cavity. In that procedure they drained nearly seven liters of fluid representing about 16 pounds of that additional body weight. That, of course, is included in the forty-five pounds total that I managed to shed. The rest was achieved through a massive increase in my diuretic (Furosemide, a lasix product) from 20 to 120mg per day, and adding an additional high potency diuretic, metolazone, of 2.5mg per day (the latter added when the lasix proved unable to do the job on its own).

After eight days in the hospital I was released. At home I continued on the diuretic regimen and, over the next two weeks, shed another 29 pounds of excess fluid at an average rate of over 2 pounds a day, for a total weight loss in 21 days of 45 pounds, nearly one quarter of my bloated body weight.

The combination of that and several other adjustments to my medication and significant changes to my diet, most to do with restricted fluid intake, has left me feeling better and stronger than I have felt in several years. And after 29 days my total body weight has dropped by 55 pounds and leveled off.

Of course, this tale ends with a caveat. Don't try this at home.