Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post 102 ... Same Old Same Old

I'll keep this post short. Doctor called said they got results of ultrasound and there was nothing there. I think she meant no large cysts or endometriosis. I need to call her and get more info, but she is passing me on to a specialist. A group of gynocologists who she used to practice under at the hospital she worked for who now have a private practice. Some days I feel very frustrated. When you know something is wrong with you, but no one can tell you what. I still believe I have PCOS. I have all the symptoms except the estrogen levels. Maybe I have Casey's Disease. LMAO. Meanwhile I am in pain almost daily. But at least I am eating healthy, taking my meds, and losing weight. That is a big step in the right direction. Lost 15-16 lbs in about 2 months. Been walking every morning. Been working on me. Haven't had a drop to drink in those same two months. I am serious about getting better, I just need to find the right dr who has the right answers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post 101..... When things get scary.

I have been having extreme pain over the past couple of months. Being me, I just tried to ignore it and brush it off. But, my better half kept telling me to go to the dr. Well I went to the dr. to drop off some FMLA paperwork and I casually mentioned my pain to the receptionist and before I knew it I had an immediate appointment. So fine. Looks like I can't ignore or pretend the pain isn't real anymore. So today I had a pelvic ultrasound, focusin on my ovaries. There are too many possibilities to worry about any of them. My dr's fear is that I have endometreosis or larger cysts called "bloody cysts" on top of my normal PCOS cycts. The only good thing out of the dr. visit was I got some vicodin for the pain. I was a wreck, most of what my dr. said included the word sugury in it, and I want so badly to have natural kids if I can. (Although I am always open to adopt) So today I left work early and went to the imaging center at the hospital off Stone Oak. Big props to STRIC number 15. Brand new facility super nice building super nice staff. The ultrasound tech isn't supposed to tell me anything, but I did manage to get out of her that 1. she didn't see any large cysts (meaning over 5 cm in size) Yay! and 2. That there were many many many cysts in my ovaries. I still don't know about the endometriosis yet, I have to wait for the radiologist to read the ultrasounds, and then they tell my dr. and then my dr. tells me. It is scary. The thought of having another problem on top of the problem I already have is just crippling, but I think God waited to throw this at me until I was stronger. Had he given me this burden this fear a few months ago I don't think I could have handled it. I am going to keep a positive outlook, although my reaction so far to those who have told me to not worry about it and think if sunshine is to want to tell them to shove the sunshine where the sun don't shine, but I know they mean well. How can they empathize with something they've never had to even think about? Most women take their ability to have kids for granted. Then there are those of us who would give anything for just the chance to have one. I write this because it gives me comfort to tell my story, but I also hope that if there is anyone else out there going through the same thing they know they aren't alone and in return I am not alone. Optimistic thoughts. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. Strength is born from adversity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Estrogen Mystery

I found this article online and it talked about the high levels of androgens (testosterone) are not converted to progesterone (the hormone needed for menses and ovulation). So maybe for some reason I am also not converting androgens to estrogen. I'm not sure but here is the article I found:

(Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Approximately five to ten percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS. Most women with PCOS don’t even know that they have it. In fact, less than twenty-five percent of women with PCOS have actually been diagnosed. Most women do not get a diagnosis until they begin trying to get pregnant. Some of the symptoms of PCOS may be overlooked until a woman starts trying to conceive a baby.

What is PCOS?

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a medical condition that affects women’s menstrual cycles, fertility, hormone levels, and physical appearance. Women with PCOS produce high levels of insulin. Researchers believe that excessive insulin production causes their bodies to respond by producing high levels of male hormones or androgens.

During the first half of a normal menstrual cycle, several follicles will develop. Each follicle contains an egg. As the menstrual cycle continues, only one follicle will remain. This follicle will produce the egg during ovulation. Once the egg has matured, LH levels will surge causing the egg to burst from the follicle. This is when ovulation occurs.

Excess male hormones produced with PCOS affect the production of female hormones necessary for ovulation. A woman with PCOS does not produce enough hormones to cause any of the follicles to mature. They may grow and collect fluid but none become large enough for ovulation. Some of these follicles may develop into cysts. Because ovulation does not occur, progesterone is not produced. Progesterone is what causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. A woman’s cycle will be irregular or absent without progesterone.

Symptoms of PCOS

•Irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles


•Increased hair growth on face, back or chest

•Multiple cysts on the ovaries

•Thinning hair


•Elevated insulin levels or Type II Diabetes


•PMS or pelvic pain

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good News .... Weird News

I'll start with the good news. I went to my main doctor today; (I had 3 Dr. appointments today it was very exhausting) and I lost another lb. I am down to 222 that means I have lost 15 lbs in about 7 weeks. I talked to my Dr. about this and my lack of appetite and she feels it is safe. It is mostly attributed to 3 factors Wellbutrin, Metformin, and not drinking. I am really pumped. I didn't ask to lose weight this fast, but I'll take it. Every lb. I lose is one step closer to my goals of being happy, healthy, feeling confident again and someday having children.

Now the weird news. I had always known from what I read that women with PCOS are supposed to have super highly elevated levels of estrogen. Say upwards of 600-800. Normal is 300-500. Mine is 9. I finally found out that when I saw the specialist he had noted that I no doubt have PCOS, however I have something else that is causing my estrogen to be so low. My Dr. thinks it is the environment, such as the food we eat and the toxins in the air, etc. At this point, all I can do is take hormones. I take a super high dose of estrogen and progesterone. I am hoping that if I lose weight, don't drink, and take all my meds as prescribed I can get my
PCOS under control and then maybe the estrogen will level out or maybe then I will go back to the specialist to find out more as to why my estrogen is so low.

In the mean time I choose to focus on the positive. 15 lbs. is AWESOME and AMAZING. And, for the first time in a long time I really feel like I can do this. I can do this.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting A Little Excited...

I weighed myself this morning and I am down to 224 from 237. That 13 lbs lost in 46 days. And here is the kicker: I haven't really been trying. Now I am not going to pretend my life didn't change dramatically. I learned where I went wrong last go round : I had to let the inside change before I could let the outside change.
Note, when I say that, I say let. Another thing I did was surrender. I gave up control. My way wasn't working. I'm not a very religious person, but I have become a much more spiritual one. When I surrendered, I gave my pain, my control, my baggage, my whatever to the universe. To my higher power. And I have found that although it doesn't make sense, life starts to get a whole lot better when you do.

I have started walking every day. I don't tell myself it is for "weight loss", I tell myself it is to reduce my stress levels. I find that makes exercise seem more like a reward than a punishment. I also am simply not as hungry since i stopped drinking. Yes, it's been 46 days since I have touched a drop of alcohol. I've sold my kegarator. I'm about to sell my wine hutch. And, I've packed up all my glass ware to be given away. If I could have just that one healthy glass of wine each night, that would be one story, but I can't. I don't miss it. And, I don't miss the 13 lbs that i have lost in just under 7 weeks. I am so very proud of myself, in a good way. I am happy and excited about the future. I can't wait to go to the Dr. and get my next round of blood work done to see where all my hormone levels are. If they are good then great, if they aren't then I will keep trying. If I am meant to have children I will, if i am not I won't, and will look into adoption. And that even goes for this weight loss. If I never get back down to 140 lbs again, then se la vie, but all I can to is try. And keep trying. I know there is no such thing as perfection, but there is such a thing as doing our best.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Creating a Low Stress Environment

Stress. Baby you know I got it. I love these tips so much I have them tacked up on the wall in my kitchen.

1. Have a predictable schedule.
2. Maintain a calm atmosphere in the home.
3. Avoid excessive stimulation in the home (frequent visitors, loud music, etc.)
4. Practice calming activities ( quiet music, lit candles, etc)
5. Ignore the annoying but unimportant things (pick your battles, don't sweat the small stuff)
6. Define clear expectations for every family member.
7. Share family rituals (exercise together, church, meals)
8. Schedule and participate in regular family meetings to discuss issues as they arise.
9. Use your support networks and take breaks from each other.

Warning Signs of Increasing Stress

1. Significant changes in your sleep patterns.
2. Significant changes in your eating habits.
3. Skipping your medications.
4. Increased levels of agitation.
5. Increased depression and/or mood swings.
6. Social withdrawal from the family.
7. Increase in arguments or fighting.
8. Change in interest in intimate relationships.

Thank You

To the woman who I feel saved my life: what I wrote her in my thank you card :(for Tara) "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow". You gave me the courage to see the truth and make the choice to get better. You showed me I was strong and that I have the power to shape my life into something beautiful - one day at a time, sometimes, one breath at a time. ♥ Tara, I want to say thank you for all that you have done for me, but I feel like the words don't do you justice. I hope you go to bed each night knowing what a wonderful, amazing, beautiful human being you are. You work so hard, and your work truly saves lives. I feel like you saved mine. You deserve more good than could ever be given. I will never forget you. I am forever grateful to you. - Casey

More Progress...

I have now lost 10 lbs. Down to 227 from 237 in a month. That's my biggest, quickest weight loss in years. Last year when I went from 232 to 214 it was real slow, about a lb a week. I am attributing this to the following factors.

1. Not drinking. I am saving hundreds of empty calories a day, and my liver. ;)
2. Taking my medication. My doctor suggested I break the Metformin in half and just take it more through out the day, to help prevent side effects, and it has worked. Less side effects, means I don't skip my medication and in turn the medication actually has a chance to work.
3. Loss of appetite. Now this one I am not sure of. It is either from depression or the medication, or a combination of both. I am still eating 3 meals a day, but I'm just not as hungry. I find often I don't finish a whole meal.

Now there are going to be a few changes.

1. My doctor has changed the Metformin I take to the ER version, which is the Extended Release kind, this should also help with side effects. Hopefully I can get to a point that I can take a whole pill at once and not get sick. They do say you build up a tolerance for Metformin over time for the side effects, but most people I have ever spoken to who are on or have been on Metformin simply hated the drug, but loved the results of weight loss and restored fertility.
2. My doctor has increased my spironolactone from 50 mg to 100 mg. This is the drug that lowers my testosterone levels. Last time I saw her she raised my estrogen and progesterone to a .5 mg and 1 mg pill, which is a very high dose. It took a while to get used to, imagine going from have an estrogen count of 9 when the normal is 300-500. My doctors goal is just to get my estrogen to 100.

So we are back to the balancing act. I had to stop and take care of myself. I had to admit my demons and take care of me. Next week I go back to work. I am armed with lists and lists of coping skills. I know there will be hard moments, but I have to just keep on trucking. I have 5 things that are my top 5 things: Sean, Sobriety, Health, Work, and Gardening. These are the things that come first in my life, and need to be carefully balanced in order to keep me healthy - mentally and physically.  Health is very important, and definitely belongs in the top 5. PCOS would fall under that health category. So there are things I must do to keep healthy. Eating right. Exercising. Taking my medications. Stress management. Using healthy coping skills. Relaxation. Meditation. Journaling. Etc. As much as the superficial part of me is so ashamed of how I look, and how let myself get to out of control, more importantly, I want to be healthy. I want to prevent diabetes, heart disease, infertility, hair loss, obesity, depression, etc. I try not to even think about the fact that I may not be able to have children. I figure what is the point in future tripping. But, the fear is there, in the back of my mind. I hope this year - 28 - is better than 27. I hope I keep to my resolve to make these changes, to do the daily things I need to do to make them happen. I've got on all my gear, and I am ready to climb this mountain. The right mountain.