I am really good about doing the whole yearly checkup thing...this last week was that week for me. I really hate it...I mean, what woman doesn't?
So on Monday I went to my regular doctor, had my blood drawn in advance of my Friday appointment. On Tuesday, I went to the obgyn..the worst of the worst. And then on Friday into my reg Dr for a physical. I have been worked over and drained of blood and told I am healthy...all is good...except I have to get a mammogram for the first time...ohhh the joy I am sure that will be :)
I go into the GYN (her fancy smancy new building) and I am greeted by the rudest nurse on the planet and asked to follow her. She precedes to take me to a triage room with 4 other women and pulls a scale out and says "I need your weight" So I step on the scale and OF COURSE it is going to show a weight gain. I am wearing boots, wool socks, corduroy pants, a sweater and a wool coat! Not to mention my purse is on my shoulder with my wallet, keys and phone in it. I could care less what her scale says, weight is irrelevant. But she says to me (and the 4 other women) "oh, we have a weight gain, I will make a note of it"....I looked at her like she was nuts...Hello? I am wearing a freaking wool coat and we are talking a 5 lb difference here! So, I sit down and she does my blood pressure while I am listening to the nurse across from me tell the woman she has protein in her urine??? wth? Why am I here...where did the privacy go? So my nurse says "well, at least you have great blood pressure" WHAT? Who are you and why are you so freaking judgemental? I should have walked out looking back. So, I go in to see the DR and I have to say her bedside manner sucks, but she did do a great job removing the tumor I had on my ovary 4 yrs ago and she is very educated about PCOS so I keep coming back to her.
My regular DR is just a family practitioner and I love him!! He gets PCOS..as he puts it "I was dealt a bad card" It is a bad card. And now I am watching my girls get dealt the same card. First Aspen and now Mara. I am hoping that catching it early in them, they will not have to suffer the way I did.
So, I was diagnosed with PCOS or polycysitc ovarian syndrome in August of 1999. I had suffered with it for years (and what I soon came to find out, since birth) and did not realize what it was. Back in 1992, I became a vegetarian..a totally health nut. (This comes into play later)
In 1993 Josh was born and I was experiencing some weird symptoms. I could not lose weight for the life of me. I wasn't obese or anything, just about 15-20 lbs overweight. I was exhausted and my hair was falling out. I just attributed it to having a 2yr old and a baby :).
Then, in 1995 Mara was born. I became sicker and sicker after her birth. During my pregnancy with her, I felt great! That was because it goes into remission during pregnancy. When Mara was 3 (I was 26) I suddenly gained 40 lbs in 1 month. No lie...I was the crazy vegetarian who worked out every day at the gym and never ate a cookie. I literally woke up 40 lbs heavier one day...now I was reaching the obese category and NOTHING I was doing worked. At the same time, my hair was falling out in clumps, I had no periods (I never saw this as an issue cause I was always nursing :) and I started growing facial hair where their should be no facial hair!! So, I went to several Dr's got different diagnosis and nothing was right. After a year of suffering and the weight still packing on, I decided to go see a friends obgyn.
I went to the appointment only to find she had been called away to a birth but I was offered the nurse practitioner. So I said, sure, I am already here. The NP walked in said hello, and asked me how long I had been suffering from PCOS? I said what is that? Well, now...10 yrs later...have they joy of knowing what that is all too well.
PCOS is classified by a serious of de-humanizing, de-feminizing conditions:
- irregular periods or none at all
- hirsutism (excess hair)
- male pattern baldness (hair loss where your bangs would be)
- uncontrolled weight gain/inability to lose weight
- high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- cystic ovaries
- pain in the lower abdomen
- thyroid abnormalities
- sleep apnea
- skin tags
- elevated testosterone
- Acanthosis Nigricans(dark skin patches)
- insulin resistance
- elevated insulin with normal blood glucose levels
- extreme fatigue
PCOS is an endocrine disorder. It wrecks havoc on your body. PCOS is hereditary. PCOS is not something brought on by lifestyle. PCOS SUCKS!!!!!!!
You don't have to have all the symptoms to have it, but I had the joy of having almost all of them. I was sent to an endocrinologist and was quickly diagnosed and put on the typical medication... Metformin and Spirinolactone. At the time, I did not realize that this medication was something I would take the rest of my life. I was also moving to Oregon that month. Big changes all around.
Once I was settled in Oregon I found a DR . I was SHOCKED to find out that in only a month I had lost over 50 lbs doing NOTHING. Well, nothing, except taking medication. Medication that was fixing two of the symptoms of the disease.
1. Insulin resistance.
IR is a condition where your cells reject the insulin in your blood stream and cause you to crave more food..in particular...carbs or sugar. You eat creating more glucose, causing your body to release more insulin..it is an ugly cycle if it is not controlled. In time you can become hyperinsulemic. You will have way too much insulin in your bloodstream and your cells won't allow it to absorb. This can lead to diabetes.
2. Elevated testosterone.
With PCOS, your ovaries secrete more testosterone and less progesterone. This is the UGLY part. These excess androgens cause male pattern baldness, facial hair, weight gain...etc Some think the IR causes the ovaries to produce more testosterone but some say it is the high testosterone that causes the IR...
Chicken and Egg? Which came first :)lol
Since I was in Oregon and surrounded by Naturopaths, Homeopaths and every natural Dr you could find, I decided to make an appointment. I went into a Naturopath and she said to me, "if you don't start eating meat, you are going to die" I was SO out of there...I thought she was crazy! So I tried a different one recommended by a friend. She said to me "if you don't start eating meat, you are going to die" I was shocked. What? There is NO WAY. Well, it took me 3 years to do it, and once I did I felt SO much better. I also found out that I was allergic to soy and all that tofu I had been eating was attributing to thyroid disease and hair loss!
All of this aside, you can be an overweight person or have diabetes and not have PCOS. You can also be a super thin person and have PCOS.
I knew Aspen had it when she called me from Portland and said. "Hey, you know how I have weighed 95 lbs for years...well, I finally gained weight! I gained 30 lbs!" I FREAKED. Get to the Dr now! Luckily, since I used to live in Portland, she just went to my old Doc and was put on the the meds right away. All of her bloodwork...normal..but her ultrasound showed cystic ovaries.
They won't even test Mara until she is 16 but they have her on the "cocktail" for now. I know some Drs will but for the most part, the tests come back normal.
I have good months and bad months. I say months because it seems to ebb and flow in that pattern. Right now, bbbbaaaaadddd months. It doesn't help that I loathe this time of year lol. Way too much stress. And well, stress is a killer for PCOS! I would so much rather be on a tropical island with no contact to the outside world. Anyway, I have been told I need to sleep...a ton more. So that is what I am doing. Sleeping tons. Hopefully it will make things turn around.
It is so interesting to me how odd people can be. I never look at people on the outside. I could never tell you what someone was wearing or what their hair looked like. I see people for who they are. I get vibes big time off of people and I can tell right away if they are someone I want to be around.
I have been amazed at my experiences being clinically obese to thin to just average. People are just mean! I don't get it? Why is it any of your business how much I weigh, or what size pants I wear? The funny thing is, when I was at my top weight, I was a workout Nazi and ate what most people would consider an extremely healthy diet! Now, I workout like a normal person...eat well and just need to sleep to make things a bit better.
According to my bloodwork, I am the healthiest person on the planet...according to how I feel, you would think I was dying a slow death. Because of my lack of sleeping over the last few months, I have developed Fibromyalgia. I am hoping to reverse it with sleep, exercise and diet...and of course my wonderful Plant Spirit Medicine treatments that I could never live without!
So, I am off to sleep :)