For a little background, I am a 34 year old female, 5'7", currently 185 lbs. Only diagnosed health issues are gastroparesis (very well managed, I usually can eat completely normally if I avoid a few known trigger foods and trust my body when it tells me not to eat something) and IBS-C.
Several years ago I lost almost 40 pounds(from upper 180's to 150). I was able to keep most of it off for the first year or two, but then it started to creep back on. My doctor recommended a low carb diet that she sells products for. I did the diet last summer (2014) and lost about 13 pounds in three months and was very happy. As soon as I went back to eating normally, I started to gain weight. So I started to train for a 5k for some additional exercise. A few weeks before the race, I noticed one of my knees was slightly swollen but not sore. I wore a support brace and carried on. I was fine after the race, but about 36 hours after I noticed that knee was VERY swollen. I went to my orthopedist, he gave me some anti-inflammatories which took care of the problem. This was November, so it got cold out and I got busy with the holidays and stopped running.
Being the holidays, I gained a little weight. In January I decided to get back to it and was very strict with my diet. I wasn't losing any weight, so I bought a fitbit and some exercise videos and started working out pretty heavily every day.Within two weeks I had gained five pounds which was obviously water weight, given the swelling in my knees, ankles and feet. I tried to push through it but it just kept getting worse unless I took diuretics. So I went to the doctor, where I got a lecture on how I'd gained weight (duh - that's why I was there!) It was time for my physical anyhow so she did blood work, all of which came back normal. The problem persisted until I stopped working out so hard, and got a puppy who I walk briskly twice a day most days. This is now my main form of exercise, with some light weight lifting added in. Despite trying very hard to eat healthy, the weight has continued to pile on.
Then this past summer I got very depressed and had a lot of anxiety.This is not something I have struggled with much in the past, save for two years ago when I quit smoking. A low dose of Wellbutrin helped immensely then and I was still taking it when I got so depressed. Started seeing a therapist who suggested a thyroid panel (came back normal) and taking Contrave, which is a higher dose of Wellbutrin, along with another drug, and together they are used a weight loss drug. This helped my mood a lot, although I would not say completely. I am rarely hungry, eat less but haven't lost any weight (haven't gained either). I'd step up the exercise but even with the vigorous walks I can feel tightness in my knees, although they don't really look swollen.
A few weeks ago I had a cut that got infected so I went to an urgent care center. They were concerned at how high my blood pressure was (I don't know the exact number but 150s / something. I told them this was very out of the ordinary as I have always had excellent blood pressure - even 5 years ago when I was overweight. I had my annual exam with my gyn the next week and it was the same thing - 157/111. She thought it might be my birth control (Quasense) and suggested I stop taking it for a while and check my blood pressure after a few days.
I noticed today that my fitbit has been recording a much higher average resting heart rate for the past two months than it did previously. Up until October 18, I was always around 83-85 bpm. Now most days I average 95-101 bpm and haven't had a day under 90 bpm since 10/18.
I'm getting concerned. My doctor just blames everything on the fact that I've gained weight. I feel like the fact that I'm TRYING to lose weight and am unable to is probably a symptom rather than a cause. I researched the Quasense and all of these issues I'm having are known side effects but I've been on this medication for about 7 years now with no problems. I only stopped taking it a couple days ago so I haven't checked my blood pressure yet, but could it really be the cause of all my problems? And if not, any ideas what it could be? I feel like I'm falling apart and my doctor just wants me to buy her diet products as the solution to everything.
FWIW, I did see another doctor for a second opinion and she said she couldn't think of anything she would be doing differently. Any other opinions would be welcome.