doctor, doctor, give me the news

When we got home this evening, the phone’s voicemail indicator was flashing; Jeff looked at the call log, and I recognized the name he read off as my doctor’s practice. I didn’t expect the results of the lab work to be done so quickly, but also I had a brief moment of alarm, as she had said that she would only call me if there were something that concerned her; if I didn’t hear from her, she had said, I was to assume everything was fine.

So I listened to the message. The results of the PSA, to check for the possibility of prostate cancer, were negative, and my testosterone levels checked out fine. My blood work overall was fine as well, but here was the “but” that was reason for the call: my cholesterol and triglycerides were slightly high, and the doctor wants me to work on lowering it on my own over the next three months, at which time I’m to come back to be tested again. On the one hand, I know I don’t get enough–ok, that’s an understatement–exercise and that certain parts of my diet could be healthier, specifically, I should eat more fiber and more fresh fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, I’m pretty careful–as I have been for years–about my fat and cholesterol intake. I rarely eat fast food, I certainly don’t eat out anywhere near as often as the national average, and I buy low-fat and low-cholesterol foods.

In fact, sometimes it really bewilders me that the times in my life I’ve eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I was thin and my cholesterol levels were amazingly low. Once I started watching my caloric and fat intake, however, my weight shot up, my belly began to grow, and so my cholesterol levels apparently don’t want to be left behind.

As far as the seemingly good news about the other test results, I have mixed feelings. I guess it should be reassuring to hear that there’s no indication that anything is wrong, but there are times when a physician’s “I can’t find anything wrong” is, in fact, the least reassuring response. If the symptoms that brought you there in the first place haven’t changed or vanished, if you still feel sick, it’s a little disheartening to hear that there’s no obvious etiology.