*[Word to the wise, there will be a lot of talk about periods, ovaries and other such things - feel free to skip this if that isn't your cup of tea.]
I’ve had it on my mind to write an update on this whole PCOS thing for months now. Each time I sit down to write about where I’m at, what I’m feeling, what I know and where I’m going… I just clam up. I don’t know how to adequately put it all into words – the ups that make me feel like this is all just pretend, a flash in the pan – the downs that leave me swirling, scared and anxious.
In case you missed the first post on my diagnosis, you can read it here.
When I left off last August, my main goal was to try and work on treating the PCOS naturally. Now, when I said “treating it” I meant more specifically that I would be working to balance my hormones enough to have children in the not so distant future. There are, of course, the long-term repercussions of this illness that I should probably be working towards as well.
Side note: what do you call it? An illness, a disorder, a sickness, a problem? I don’t even know.
This past fall, I started working out (sporadically) and really tried to clean up my eating. I’d go in spurts of extreme strictness to barreling toward a gluten-filled cheesy pizza at warp speed. The bottom line is that I wasn’t consistent. For every salad I’d pile high with chopped veggies, I’d snarf through a piece of rum cake. It wasn’t pretty.
Initially, I set a deadline of Jan. 1. If things weren’t moving in the direction I wanted (re: weight loss, resumed period etc.) then I would look at going on Metformin after meeting with my doctor. As January 1 neared, I realized that the month of Christmas cookies wasn’t doing me any favors and I decided to push back my “deadline” to January 31. I hopped on the Whole 30 train and busted my butt to eat cleaner than I ever had for 30 days. I succeeded and ended up losing 12 lbs.
On the period front…
I had my first, natural period right after Thanksgiving. This was a BIG WIN and as much as it sucked, I felt lucky that things seemed to be getting back to normal. Then December came and right along with it came the absence of my period which felt like a BIG FAIL and a reminder that things weren’t really headed in the right direction.
As I rounded the end of the Whole 30 challenge, I got my second natural period in a little over a year — January 22, to be specific. But, here we are in March with nary another visit from Aunt Flo — so I’m not sure where that leaves me.
At the end of January, I scheduled an appointment with my lady doctor and went in fully intending to start Metformin the next day. They had prescribed it to me in August and I figured that they would just continue with the current plan, even though we were starting 6 months later. I can’t tell you the number of nights I laid in bed researching Metformin, the results I could expect, other people’s stories… instead of sleeping, I devoured any and all information that would give me hope that Metformin was the solution.
That’s why I was surprised to hear from my doctor that they had changed the protocols for fertility with PCOS to skip completely over Metformin. All of the build up, anticipation and hopeful certainty — gone. In it’s place Clomid and a discussion on what that means for my chance at having multiples. Say what? The odds are 7% for twins and less than 1% for triplets and more. God help us all if that happens — my Mom (or Christian’s parents) will most certainly have to move in to help me maintain my sanity.
My instructions, leaving the office, that day were this:
1.) Make an appointment with Sally Jobe for genetic counseling — due to the high occurrence of cancer in my family, there’s a slight chance that Clomid will increase my risk of cancer (in addition to the increased risk with PCOS) and I needed to discuss testing with the counselor.
2.) Buy LH ovulation test strips — her exact words were, “might as well spy on what’s happening in there”.
3.) Pick up your prescription for Clomid.
4.) Begin taking in on day 4 of your next period (day 1 being the first day with heavy bleeding) — if I didn’t have a period within the next few weeks I was supposed to call and they’d prescribe Provera to jump start things.
5.) Stay on a slightly more relaxed version of Whole 30.
As soon as February 1 hit, my Whole 30 ended and the start of “must eat all things I was deprived of for the past 30 days” commenced. There was pizza, there was mashed potatoes, there was cake. It was glorious and, also, stomach ache inducing.
I’ve spent the last 1.5 months trying to navigate a “healthier” and yet less restrictive way of eating. The good news is that I haven’t gained back all the weight I lost, but the bad news is that I did gain back a little and have eaten horribly in the interim.
So, that’s where I am. This post was actually started about a month ago (takes me forever to spill these things out) so I have more updates (Sally Jobe, Provera, Clomid and more that I’ll find time to post about in the next couple weeks). But for now, that’s at least an update!