Sunday, November 25, 2012

PCOS

This weekend I went to visit my inlaws for thanksgiving, and my father in law mentioned that he knows I must be pretty busy because when I'm really busy at work I hardly ever update my blog. Well that's true, but there's another reason I haven't been updating much lately, and that is because the thing that has been preoccupying most of my thoughts (and a lot of my time) was not something I was sure I wanted to share here.  So instead I've been blogging about it at my other private blog.  But now I've decided I am ready to talk about that stuff here.  So what I've decided I'm going to do is take my other blog posts that I've been writing for the past few months in my other blog and re-post them here, and slowly release them over the next few weeks until we catch up with the present day.

The thing I haven't wanted to talk about is that B and I have been trying to get pregnant, and that in July I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and had to make an enormous amount of lifestyle changes in order to improve my chances of getting pregnant.

For some brief history: When B and I first got married in 2009 I went off birth control right away with the intent of starting to try getting pregnant, so that we could try to aim to have the child while I was finishing up my dissertation.  I stopped using birth control in May and had a period then. Then I didn't have another one until July. Then I didn't have another one until October. At around October I took a pregnancy test and felt very relieved when it showed up negative, since it was getting to the point where I would be graduating in June, giving birth in July and starting a new job in August the next year.  After that we had to stop trying for a while, becasue I would be starting a new job and you don't get maternity leave your first year on a new job. I figured the irregular periods were due to withdrawel from birth control, and besides my periods had never been very regular as a teenager- I used to get them every 5-7 weeks, and I took many a pregnancy test in college (before I was on birth control) as a result. Then I went on birth control when I was around 20 and have been on it with the exception of a few months here or there ever since.  

So we stopped trying in October 2009, and I moved to my new job in July 2010. At my job I go up for review and reappointment in my third year (this year) and then I get a guaranteed paid research leave for one semester in my fourth year (next year).  That seemed like a perfect time to plan a pregnancy around- I will have a paid semester off where I can work from home and have no teaching or service responsibilities and then could theoretically go on "Maternity leave" the next semester which in my school means I would teach 1 class instead of 3 and not do service (we get 3 months paid leave vs. the 4 month semester). And I would use the research leave as actual maternity leave and the maternity leave to make up for that research time. And I can take the research leave either Fall 2013 or Spring 2014 so that gave/gives us a nice long window of time.

So in December of last year I went off birth control again to give my body a nice long time to get rid of all those hormones and figure itself out before we started trying over the summer. And I got a period in December, and then in February, and then in April, and then not again...and then it was July and I still hadn't gotten my period and I wasn't pregnant. And that's where these blog posts pick up.  So here are a couple from the day before and the day I found out I had PCOS. Stay tuned for more.

Originally posted July 19th 2012:

I also haven't gotten my period in 103 days, wtf! And I'm not pregnant! Clearly something is fucked. Anyway I made an appointment with the lady parts doctor for tomorrow, but I'm trying not to freak out too bad- my coworker had the same thing happen to her like 20 years ago and they gave her some pills to regulate her hormones and she got pregnant like 2 months later, so I'm not too worried. I wanted to wait until I got my period again to make an appointment (So I wouldn't be getting my period at the appointment) but this is fucking ridiculous, so I just went and made the appointment.

Originally posted July 20th 2012:

Welp, the doctor is pretty sure I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is what I thought I might have. She also is testing a bunch of other things like my thyroid which I'll get the result of next week. In the meanwhile she gave me some pills to start up my period again, and Clomid for once it starts to keep it running. Kinda scared about the clomid part cause it can double your chance of getting twins but I guess I'd rather have twins than no babies! Then if I don't get pregnant after 2 months on clomid I'm going to go back for another appointment. At that point B would probably have to get tested too.

Also gave me a long lecture on being fat that made me feel like a loser. :( She was basically like "the pills arn't guaranteed to work and the best way to increase your chance of getting pregnant is losing weight" and then told me I have to exercise for half an hour of intense exercise every day, and can't eat any carbohydrates anymore and made all these snarky comments about putting the bread down. What am I going to eat? I'm already lactose intolerant and have high cholesterol, I seriously can't win. :( I'm guessing lots of chicken and salads.

All in all a bummer of a day. At least I have some pills to try to help now, but I was afraid I had PCOS and hearing that it probably is what I have really really sucked.

13 comments:

  1. this bugs me so so so so much.
    why the f is she prescribing you stuff?
    to me, PCOS means do not pass go, do not go back to joker/clown ob gyns, but go straight to a really good RE.
    It really upsets me to see obgyns taking on roles when there are actually specialists who ya know, specialize in this stuff.
    sorry to vomit all over your blog!!!
    and of course, just really sorry that you have to go through this at all.
    liza

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  2. A friend of mine had incredible success with dietary changes. She cut out sugar and carbs and got pregnant shortly thereafter.

    Good luck with the rest of your journey.

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  3. Liza- she prescribed my two 50 mg rounds of clomid (the lowest dose), with the idea being that if it did not work the first two cycles I would go see an RE for additional testing/etc. Yes there are specialists but my health insurance doesn't cover infertility (and it turned out they wouldn't cover my second round of clomid either), while they do cover ob/gyns, so hence trying a couple of cycles before moving on to an RE. Plus I've learned a whole lot more about PCOS after this post, and the first thing the specialists try for PCOS is clomid...so why does it matter who it comes from?

    Shira- I cut out sugar and carbs for the past 4-5 months and lost around 35 pounds. And thanks! :)

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  4. It sucks that your doctor was fat-shaming. It seems pretty obvious that the PCOS was leading to the weight, and not vice versa. She could have simply explained how PCOS affects your body and why your body doesn't deal with with carbs as a result.

    I had a pediatrician try to do with same thing with my daughter - he dismissed the idea that she could have precocious puberty, and suggested that it was her weight that was causing the things that I was seeing. Eventually, I had enough and went to see a pediatric endocrinologist instead. As I suspected, it WAS precocious puberty, and the weight issue was directly related to a genetic issue with the adrenal gland. Needless to say, she now has a different doctor.

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  5. You will have a higher chance of success with clomid if you see an RE because they monitor it more intensely. They will do bloodwork and sonograms to know precisely if/when you ovulate. And many feel that one can only try so many rounds of clomid before moving on to a more invasive procedure, so it may be sill to waster the cycles by an ob. I have PCOS, have been through all this. It is very tough but clomid is really not bad at all. (I ended up needing IVF because we found out that it was Male IF that was causing me to conceive.)

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  6. JRK- yeah it did really suck, and once I cut out the carbs I ended up losing around 35 pounds in 4 months...i have been starving myself/going on fad diets/ trying to eat super healthily and exercise all the time my entire life (being overweight due to PCOS inspires that) and I have never had a diet work with as little effort. So clearly being overweight was due to PCOS/insulin resistance and not the other way around. In fact the previous year, another doctor at the same exact practice put me on a low fat diet because I had high cholesterol (also a sign of PCOS) and a low fat diet is higher carb by definition. . .i was avoiding eating meat as much as possible which meant i was eating things like rice and pasta etc, much more than I should have been. Very frustrating, but at least now I have a diagnosis know how to eat for my body type.

    Sara- that's all nice and good but as I said my health insurance doesn't cover this, so I'd rather try the cheaper way first before dropping hundreds if not thousands of dollars on an RE.

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  7. You do need to be cautious about hyper-stimulated follicles while on Clomid. It's part of the reason that Jon & Kate had 8......

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  8. You do need to be cautious about hyper-stimulated follicles while on Clomid. It's part of the reason that Jon & Kate had 8......

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  9. Your doctor sounds kind of ignorant. You get diagnosed with an illness that is characterized by weight gain then shamed for the weight gain. I've changed doctors for less.

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    1. "Put the bread down" isn't bad advice, in this situation, but there are a lot less condescending and constructive ways to explain to someone how to eat according to what their body needs.

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  10. I would look for a qualified MD/Homeopath - Homeopathy can be very helpful...

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