Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Fat Butt on Victoza

Well, it's been three weeks on my new meds, so I figured it's time to give you an update.

I have lost nine pounds in those three weeks. To me it's still surprising, considering how much I struggled to drop just one pound before starting the Victoza.

I haven't had a follow up with my doctor yet to see how my levels are faring, so no update on that front. Although I have pricked my finger a few times, but my sugar levels have stayed within normal limits, and I haven't felt any drops in my blood sugar, so I stopped pricking myself. Because I like to play it dangerous that way.

And sticking myself in the gut isn't as bad as I feared.

I will say my endocrinologist was not kidding about the side effects.  You have to work your way up to the full dose of 1.8 mg.

I started at 0.6 mg and by the 2nd day noticed a change in my appetite. I guess you would call it that. One of the things that Victoza does is slow your digestive tract, meaning your food stays with you longer. My doctor advised that if I started to feel even the slightest bit of that "satisfied" or "full" feeling, then stop eating immediately. "or you will throw up". And yes, that is a direct quote.

That was enough to scare me, and like I said, by the 2nd day at 0.6 I noticed that I would eat maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of what I normally would before I felt that satisfied feeling. So I stopped. Immediately.

I also experienced a bit of gas, in the form of belching. And it was gross. Tasted like... rotten garbage. Ick.

After a week I upped it to 1.2 mg. The first day I felt really sick all day. Enough to stay home from work. So I dropped it back down to 0.6 for another three days. But then Jena got sick a couple of days later, so I don't really know if I was having such severe nausea as a side effect, or there was a virus going around.

Got up to 1.2 mg and didn't notice any major change this time.

The disgusting belches persisted.

After a week at 1.2 mg, I upped it to 1.8. First two days I didn't notice a difference. But the third day (yesterday) at the full dose I was moderately nauseaus all morning, and didn't eat breakfast (because of the nausea). We went to Chipotle for lunch, and I ate about half a burrito bowl, stopping when I felt the slightest hint of the full feeling. No problem.


About half an hour after I ate, I was seriously nauseaus. I managed to stay at work, but about two hours after lunch went running for the bathroom. My entire lunch came back up. I felt a lot better after vomiting, but was still nauseaus the rest of the night, and slept off & on from around 6pm until we went to bed at 10pm. I did decide to try some Jello at some point, and although it stayed down, I definitely felt sicker after eating.

I can only imagine that I ate too much, even though I stopped when I felt the full feeling, and that was the cause of the vomiting.

I did some reading of message boards online, and found that quite a few people find that giving the injection at night eases the nausea. Still others recommend gradually increasing from 1.2 - 1.8 instead of doing it overnight as I did.

So I'm gonna do both. I had been giving myself the injection in the morning, but skipped this morning's injection so I can give it tonight. I'm also going to go back down to the 1.2 for a couple of days, and try gradually increasing to the 1.8mg.

I understand that because of the slowed digestion the loss of appetite / inability to eat is normal, and okay. And because of the way it helps regulate my sugar, hypoglycemia shouldn't be a concern from lack of eating.

Still, it's weird. Basically yesterday I ate half a burrito bowl (which exited my body relatively quickly), and a small cup of Jello.
Today so far I haven't eaten anything.
And I'm not hungry.

A few other issues besides side effects:

- my insurance isn't covering it. So far. The doctor has sent in several prior authorizations, but I ended up having to get another sample to cover until we can get it covered.

- the week I was at 1.2mg was also that time of the month. I wonder if that's why I didn't notice a difference. In fact, I probably ate more during that time than on the 0.6, and I definitely had cravings. Leaves me wondering if the hormones associated with menstruation are actually strong enough to override the side effect of appetite loss for one week out of the month. Interesting...

- Jena has noticed me not finishing my meals, and has tried to use it as an excuse not to eat.
Now, let me be clear, we have never forced this child to clean her plate. Never. I don't believe in it. But we do ask that she eat "a good amount". It varies, and is up to the parent's judgement. Reasons it might vary might be: what she's had to eat earlier in the day, how long it's going to be until we eat again, etc.

Knowing that Jena was watching me has always been a reason that I've feared any sort of diet. I want her to eat healthy. Period. And I don't want her to grow up with food issues. We strive to give her healthy meals & snacks, and for the most part let her body decide how much is enough.

Navigating how to explain my lack of appetite to her without giving her the idea that she can or should not eat as much herself is going to be difficult. She watches my every move, loves when we eat the same things ("Mommy! We match!").

So, that's my latest fat butt update. I'll keep you posted on my progress, especially once I get my updated labs done in a few weeks.

As always, thanks for checking in!

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