A Different Polly?
March 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
Friday, I went to see my super Doc about those aforementioned blood tests results.
Polly: So what’s up with the recent weight gain, skin problems, night sweats, low blood pressure, high insulin and high blood glucose to name a few?
Lovely Super Doc: Well. Poppet, I think it’s time. Given everything we have learned over the last few years, I am willing to put down on paper that you have….… Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
Really? It’s a syndrome, a collection of symptoms that form a diagnosis (absent other things). Sounds vague? For some PCOS-learning-about homework I enjoyed both the US Govs description and the old standby Wikipedia (if it’s bold, you can click).
So, Polly, how do feel about this diagnosis? Surprised?
Not so much. I feel a bit like I have been a ‘PCOS diagnosis in waiting’ for a few years. It explains weight gain; insulin resistance; amenorrhea; etc.. It was mooted about five years ago and so I had an ultrasound to look for any obvious cysts (not that cysts are dis-positive). The specialist only had a clear view of one of the ovaries and since it appeared fine; she said no cysts, no PCOS.
A tiny bit but I have been hoping for a diagnosis. I had a feeling that once I got one and it’s friend, the post-diagnosis ‘plan,’ I would feel a little energized and hopeful. At this point the word ‘cure’ isn’t an option but ‘managing’ certainly is. I have been managing the symptoms without the diagnosis as best I could for years; I reckon I just have better, more focused info now. A game-challenge for me, if you will. And we all know I like a good challenge (if you don’t, check out my “let’s go to Law School idea“…).
So what’s “The Plan”?
THREE months without my estrogen medication; eat no-lonely-carbs diet (protein and carbs; protein and carbs; protein and carbs and healthy fats); no supplements (gotta rule out whether they are having a weird effect on my hormones); keep my normal exercise routine; and see what happens by June…
Oh. The weight gain. Wow. Since I don’t have a set of scales at home; the Doctor-visit weigh-in was something. I’m impressed with myself – a FIFTEEN pound weight gain in just TWO months. For a peanut-sized person (under the 5′ mark) I reckon that’s something. Do I get a prize?
Actually yes, an opportunity to write a mini-note to my younger, unknowing, self (ten years back-ish):
- Polly, be your own health advocate: I rue to this day the fact that I didn’t stand up for myself during that ultrasound; ask to go to the loo so my bladder would stop obscuring the other ovary; and allow the specialist to properly check if for cysts. Lesson learned: self-advocate when your instincts are screaming at you to stand up for yourself. Like I (try hard) to do now.
- Your 90% vegan, veggie, oatmeal, oatbran focused diet is great, Polly but add in some healthy fats. A few tablespoons of almond butter perhaps, or a few walnuts or some fish oil. Every day. Exercise a bit (get the heart-rate up) keep moving but only when your body is feeling OK. Injured? Take a break. Tired? Take a nap. Listen to your bodies cues; it’s pretty smart. AND… take a REST DAY once in while… It’s OK. You won’t get fat overnight.
- Weight gain is not about what other people might think – that does not matter one ounce (pun sort of intended) – it’s about your body and your health. Thanks to this unexplained weight gain – Polly is on the happy receiving end of a PCOS diagnosis. Be healthy, P. Make healthy choices for yourself on your terms (that clothes-are-tight monitoring technique is a pretty good method).
- Curb the evening snacking. Try to get into the habit of giving it three hours post inhaling a food stuff before bed. Again, thanks to this recent upswing in nasty side-effects, my night-eating-carb addiction is in recovery (well, it’s been a few weeks because Polly’s hormones made her suffer from the not-fun side effect of night sweats). Hurrah for night sweats? No. But I am chuffed to have a visceral motivation to put that spoon down if I want a decent night’s sleep.
- It’s OK to plan and its OK to be chuffed with yourself for any mini-achievement you might stumble upon. Right now, I am patting myself on the head for finally getting a clue about my body and being realistic (and fascinated) by it and not depressed and teary-eyed about having to squeeze into those work clothes …
- Relating to #5 – it’s OK to have “a moment” of forgetting you have a clue and getting teary-eyed but remember: just do what you can in all things and take care of yourself.
- Write down how you feel (especially on a good-feeling day) and be sure to re-read it sometimes. It helps. A blog is a good idea…
Am I different today than yesterday with all this info? Maybe. I feel hopeful. Today, at least. That’s neat and it’s my plan to feel hopeful tomorrow and the next day….
End note. I admit there is some fear. Over the last six months, I have come to the realization that Polly’s mental health is inextricably linked to the balancing effect of taking estrogen-from-medication. This fear is tempered by knowing I can always go back to it because I have the OPTION. I like to have OPTIONS over my own medical needs and my own body. In my case, it just so happens that these medicinal needs have a dual function: they provide health-supporting hormones (and probably help me avoid ovarian cancer, weak bones to name a few) and they are also a form of CONTRACEPTION….
Uh-oh….. Polly said the ‘C’ word…..