Warning: This is a long story. But it’s been a long road for me, to trying to get back to feeling normal.
So, flashback to over a year ago. I had gotten a couple of infections that landed me in urgent care. I had to take a couple different antibiotics (which I hate), there was no way around it. Then, I get off the antibiotics, and immediately develop a really weird skin rash. Then I have to take a medication to help with that.
I started really feeling fatigued, to the point where I had little motivation, about six months before that… but at this time, about a month after getting the infections, and treating them, my fatigue was getting to the point to where it was affecting my day to day. I wanted to sleep all of the time, I did not want to get up in the morning, I felt like my sleep was not restoring my energy, I started pushing my snooze button as many times as possible before I was literally running late for work, I didn’t even want to go to work (and I love my job and used to be excited for work every morning), my brain felt foggy, I had a hard time remembering things I had said (which made me feel terrible for my poor husband, plus terrible about myself— as I used to be known by others for how well I remembered details and the such), I was having a hard time focusing and concentrating, I was spacing out a lot while I was driving, I was extremely exhausted after any form of exercise, which was so hard for me because I was trying to run and exercise as much as I could and didn’t want to stop. I was just off. So I finally broke, and decided to see a doctor. Before this point, I had refused to see any doctors, because I knew it was going to be an ordeal that would overtake my life, that was going to cost money that we did not have, and that most likely, nobody was going to get to the bottom of my “problems.” And I was partly right in thinking that…
At this point, I had forgot to mention that I had already been seeing a counselor. I had been feeling off for awhile, but just did not know how to address it. I was stressed about something that I did not feel like I had the right to be stressed or anxious about in that point of my life, but I was consumed by it. I was so hormonal, and it was making me believe so many lies. It made me believe that I was ruining my life, my marriage, my future. I had not felt like myself for awhile.
My counselor came to the result that I was most likely struggling a lot with some hormonal imbalances, which is something I had thought too before I had even began seeing her. Just want you all to know, HORMONES EFFECT EVERYTHING. Bleh… She recommended a women’s doctor that she had heard great things about, and I finally gave them a call. When I went in, they did a lot of blood work on me. Before then I had not had to see a doctor for anything in many, many years, so there was not much on file about my health, because lucky for me, I had been rather healthy my whole life. The results of my blood work did point to a severe hormonal imbalance, which I was not surprised to hear. But, it also pointed to me being insulin resistant, which I found pretty surprising. My Nurse Practitioner said that she would like to start me on some medications to help get my numbers back to normal —- of course she did, this is why I didn’t want to go to the doctor, they put you right on a way overpriced medication, and call it day, and bill you for it… I did not want to be on meds. But, I did want to feel like myself again. It had been awhile now that I had felt so off, and not like myself.
And bless my dear sweet husband… I just have to throw that in there. I thank God constantly for the man he blessed me with. Who has been walking this what feels like a very long road of health ridiculousness and doctors visits, and trial runs with meds, and putting up with all of my hormones, and walking by my side through all of it. There is no love like the love he has shown me through my “crazyness.” Because before they came to the conclusion of my severe hormonal imbalance, I did think that maybe I was crazy.
Thank you Lord for my husband.
Anyways, I tried to trust my doctor, and started taking the meds she had strongly suggested. She put me on metformin for insulin resistance, and put me on a natural progesterone cream, in hopes of bringing back up my extremely low progesterone level. So I started both of these at roughly the same time. She told me to give it at least four weeks to really start working and getting into my system… So I do. And that was a long month. Oh, and I should also mention that she told me to completely change my diet while doing all of this. She said to cut out gluten/wheat completely, to cut out dairy, and to cut out all sugar. I mean, what???? How is that even possible? There is wheat in a lot of things, ummm I love dairy… AND, there is sugar in literally everything, even FRUIT! But, I was willing to do what I had to do to start feeling better. To get my energy back. To get my life back. As dramatic as that sounds, with my hormones being so out of wack, I did in fact feel like my life was not what it had ever been. I felt like I was in a weird funk or dream, that I could not get out of.
So I did it, I changed my diet completely, and started the meds. At first, I felt like I was starting to see a difference. Maybe a small light that could be pulling me out of this funk, and bringing me back to where I wanted to be. But, I noticed right away that my fatigue was not better. If anything the meds were making me more tired. SERIOUSLY???? It was not long after starting the progesterone cream (which I started a couple weeks after the metformin, just to ease both into my life…), that I was at work, sitting in a late afternoon meeting… and I literally felt like I was going to pass out right then and there. My heart started racing, and felt like it was going to palpitate out of my chest… I was pretty freaked out. I called my husband and told him I needed him to pick me up, because I did not feel comfortable driving myself home from work. I told my mom how I was feeling too, and she suggested going over to urgent care. So we did. Figured I was having a weird reaction to the medication. Well, of course we get to urgent care, and there is nothing that they can do when it comes to the heart… so they send me right to the ER… which just plain sucks. I did not want to go to the emergency room; it felt a bit dramatic going to the ER as well… I just wanted urgent care to make sure I was okay. But no. So we sit in the ER, in the middle of the night. And they are all worried about my heart. So they do an EKG. And it’s abnormal, so automatically that’s a concern for them. So they do a chest x-ray. Which looks fine. They watch and monitor my vitals, and they seem okay after awhile, and my heart rate goes back down to normal eventually. So they send me home, and refer me to a cardiologist.
But I don’t go; because the last thing I need to do right now is go to a cardiologist. It was a reaction to a medication people; my heart is fine, just fix my hormones already please!!! All of that to say, my doctor cuts the dose of my medication in half, and I don’t have the side effects anymore… but I still am feeling more tired than ever before. So I decided to rebel, and stop taking my metformin. I feel as though it is only feeding into my fatigue, I mean honestly. And at this point, my goal is to get to a place where my fatigue is gone, or at least more gone… I get super strict on my diet though, and start feeling much better. I feel like some of my energy is coming back.
Also thrown into that mix, my doctor also said that I was probably way too anxious, so she wanted me on anti-anxiety medication… of course she did… because 90% of our population is anxious or depressed, right??? That’s probably a safe go to for me too… and yeah, maybe I am a bit sad… because you guys keep pricking me left and right, but aren’t exactly getting to the bottom of anything… So she put me on an extremely low dose of an anxiety medicine… and I’m on it for literally four days, which was such a sucky four days (not to mention, we had a lot of people staying with us at our house that week, and it was BUSY and was supposed to be a fantastic week of fellowship with an amazing group of people…crap…), four days where I literally don’t think I slept hardly at all. All of that to say, that crap of a medication was no longer going to be allowed into my body, and I stopped taking that junk.
Then I decide it’s obviously time to take a more natural approach. Medication is never my first choice. So I go to a natural clinic, and am introduced to acupuncture therapy. And, to be honest, this is the first time that I meet a doctor that actually genuinely cares about my well being, and me… and that is actually listening to my issues and concerns. I am super hopeful about acupuncture. And, this may sound weird to some, especially those that may not know what acupuncture is, but I immediately started feeling a difference after starting acupuncture. I felt like it was immediately helping with my energy levels. I started feeling like I was gaining enough energy again to get through my workdays without dragging. And I’m sure the diet was somewhat helping as well. I was excited and hopeful to tackle whatever it was that was holding me back from feeling well.
So they retested my blood work later at the end of this last summer, and it looked a TON BETTER! This was a huge win. BUT, they discovered some more elevated hormone levels… LONG STORY SHORT, come to find out, my DHEAS level was sky-rocket high, which was concerning, BUT, it had been that high since when my blood was first tested at the beginning of February (at this point, it’s the end of July…), the doctor has apparently completely overlooked it before???? SERIOUSLY??? Who are these doctors… This was like strike 17 with this doctors office… So I leave that doctor and decide to go to an OBGYN… because I’m prone to bladder infections, and I had wanted the prior doctor to do my annual pap, only to find out she had done an STD scan… UMMM… I ASKED FOR A PAP, and you gave me an STD scan???? First of all, I asked for my annual and you said you were going to do my annual… and you didn’t!!! Second of all, I’m not concerned about STD’s, there’s absolutely no way I have them, I definitely already know that and do not want to pay for you to check it, and you already checked for that stuff not very long ago anyways…. AHHHH! *This same doctor also performed an internal ultra-sound to check my body for endometriosis, only to tell me after the fact at my follow up, that the internal ultra sound cannot actually see endometriosis…. THEN WHY IN THE WORLD DID YOU DO AN INTERNAL ULTRA SOUND TO BEGIN WITH??? And they said they didn’t see anything on my internal ultra sound, when I got another later and they found A LOT OF STUFF… how did you guys overlook all of that stuff? But I’ll get to what was found in a moment. So anyways, this prior doctor is no good. And I go to a new OBGYN. They do my pap, and it’s normal. But I begin to share what I’ve been going through for the last year, and they want to look deeper. Especially because I’ve been having pain and discomfort. Definitely in my ovaries, definitely chronic bladder infections, definitely painful intercourse, etc…
—- Not to mention, this whole time, I’m wondering why I have never gotten pregnant. This has been a stressor and something of concern for me for a long time now. Going back awhile now, I have not been on any form of birth control since the beginning of January of 2014, and we have not been preventing pregnancy in any fashion, and it is now the end of August 2015, and I have not had any pregnancies… so, why is that???—–
So the OBGYN wants to do an internal ultrasound (HAHA another one, because the other doctors office obviously did not know how to perform one… wow…), and they want to refer me to an endocrinologist, to look deeper into my hormones and the severe imbalances. Finally feel like maybe we’re getting somewhere, people!
So I finally get into the endocrinologist (because apparently they are quite the “rarity” in this area, and it TAKES FOREVER TO SEE ONE!) Months later, I see her, and she wants to run a bunch more blood work, and saliva tests, and glucose tests… my DHEAS level has been in the upper 500’s, lower 600’s, and normal is in the 100’s, so this isn’t just high, it’s like scary high. The endocrinologist wants to do a CT scan, to rule out the much more serious… tumors on my adrenal glands. So naturally, I want to freak out. One side of my brain wants to believe “OH MY GOSH, I HAVE TUMORS, THIS IS SO NOT GOOD. NO WONDER I FEEL SO TERRIBLE AND OFF ALL OF THE TIME…” and of course the other part of my brain so badly wants to keep its cool and preach “Hey, there is nothing to worry about until there is something to worry about!”
So this past November, I have my CT scan. And after what feels like the longest wait ever, like ever… seriously… IT COMES BACK NORMAL! PRAISE JESUS!!!! But then it’s like, what the frick is going on then??? Gahhhh… And I had been having a huge pain in my back like right where both of my adrenals sit on both sides, and I’m sure that it’s “because of the tumors…” (ha I know, I’m ridiculous…), so now that it’s not, I’m like, why is my back aching so much then… So then my acupuncturist introduces me to a chiropractor… and the chiropractor decides that I have a small infection in my stomach and small intestine… but he also cracks my back for the first time in my life, and my pain is fixed by putting an out of place disc in my ribs back in place (well that was easy…. Hahaha oh my goodness…), so he starts me on an intense Vitamin C cleanse for 6 weeks to help with my “infection”… and during the holiday season too…. WHYYYYY??? HAAAAA…
Although my CT scan looks normal… My internal ultrasound results do not come back as normal… I get those results in December. Funny though (Only not funny at all…), because my prior doctor told me they didn’t see anything on my internal ultrasound, guess they weren’t looking very hard… but my OBGYN says she has to refer me to a different OBGYN that can work more directly with “my case….” Okay…. So what’s that mean?
So I meet yet another doctor, is this doctor like 36???? Probably… and he gives me the break down, and bless his heart, he does not sugar coat it at all… He lets me know that both of my ovaries have multiple cysts on them, that I have a fibroid (which about 60% of women have at least one, so that’s okay), but where mine is at is not as normal. Mine is right on my endometrial lining, which could potentially be blocking any eggs from coming through… and yet one more thing, my right fallopian tube is completely blocked, and in my doctor’s words, completely toxic to any pregnancy that could potentially occur. He said that my right tube, by the looks of it, is not repairable. It is blocked to the point where it needs to be taken out. So he says, whether I decide to do it now, or decide to do it in a couple years… that surgery is what needs to happen. That that tube, and the fibroid too, need to come out. ESPECIALLY if we want to have any hopes of becoming pregnant in the future…
The way he put it though, was that if I am in fact insulin resistant (which most doctors don’t think I’m “truly” insulin resistant, that it’s just something my body is doing because everything is imbalanced right now…), and am polycystic, and my hormones are way off, and one of my tubes is toxic, and a fibroid is blocking the flow for a pregnancy to form, and my adrenals are off, and that I do in fact have endometriosis, that this all plays a role in the scary word of “infertility”…
Great, just great. I mean, yes, my husband and I have not been trying our absolute hardest to get pregnant this entire time, we knew we “had plenty of time for all of that still.” But we have not been preventing it by any means either. We have definitely had the mindset that “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen. Essentially that God will do his thing when the timing is right…” And I’ve trusted that. At least I’ve tried my hardest to. But at this point, when all of these many things are thrown at me, and said to me. When my blunt, but smart doctor tells me that “Yes, you’re still young, but in your case, I think if you desire to have a natural pregnancy, that with everything you have against you, sooner than later is your best bet of maybe lucking out with doing it naturally…” Wow, okay.
Yes, my husband and I have had to have a lot of conversations about this. More than we assumed we’d have at his point… And for a long time now we’ve been having conversations here and there. Conversations of meeting in the middle. Because maybe this isn’t the time we had envisioned of talking about this. But at the same time, are we running out of time? There is nothing that I want more, and have wanted more, in like forever, then to have a family. To have babies. And to obviously have them naturally. God’s will is what I want, an ultimately I want to trust that he will take care of us and grant us the desires of our hearts, even if it doesn’t look the same way that we may have envisioned it… All I know, though, if I’m being completely honest, is that I have a hard time trusting sometimes. Maybe even more than just sometimes. I have a hard time not getting angry at God. I have a hard time having any understanding for why bad things happen to incredible people, as to why I’ve been going through all of these various and random things these last two years. It’s just been hard. It’s been hard on my marriage. It’s been so hard on me individually. It’s tried to rob me of every ounce of my joy. I constantly try so hard to remind myself that circumstances could be SO MUCH WORSE. I know this. And I am so thankful that they are not worse. But it has still been hard for me to endure, and with grace, and with consistent trust and love for God. I have been angry many times. I have cried my eyes out to my husband way too many times to count. I have yelled to him, I have said I have wanted to give up, I have asked so many times when I will wake up and feel like me again… there’s always that next landmark I feel like I will hit and then everything will be “back to normal.” At first I said, “I will make it to the summer and life will be great again…” “Once Christmas hits, I will be me again…” “Okay, the new year is almost here, and this next year will be the year I have my body back…” GAHHHH…. Still waiting for that moment. God is good, and I know that to be true. But I still struggle pretty darn regularly.
So, now we’re in January of the new year, and we don’t know what we’re going to do about the surgery, and about trying to do whatever we can to get pregnant, even if the timing is not ideal (taking into consideration that we are both working full time, we just bought a house, we are both full time students in graduate school, just to name a few…), just to make sure we can do it naturally still before that may not be an option anymore… because I forgot to mention that my doctor/surgeon also told me that he knows for a fact that he would remove my right tube when he gets in there, but he said that he wouldn’t know for a fact if he could save my left tube or not, until he gets in there. So basically, I won’t know until I wake up after my surgery is over, whether or not I still have one of my tubes, and still have the hope of conceiving naturally. Without my tubes, the only means of getting pregnant is through IVF treatment (at least 10 grand per cycle, yikessssss, not ideal, but worth it if that were our only option obviously…)… this is all still super surreal for me.
So my menstrual cycle hits in January of this year, which I also just have to be honest… every month when my menstrual cycle hits, a little part of me kind of dies… Basically since September of 2014 when Jacob and I really stopped preventing pregnancy and more so playfully started seeing about getting pregnant if the timing was right, and then a month would go by and I would start to think “maybe I’m actually pregnant, that’s why I feel this way, that’s why my hormones are going haywire, that’s why I feel nauseous, that’s why I’m so tired, that’s why this, that or the other…” and then reality would hit, my cycle would come yet again, and I’d be pretty sad, but try to just hide it, because it obviously just was not the time yet… but then the next month, I’d let my emotions take over again… and this would go on for literally over a year… where a new month and a new cycle would start, and I would have totally let myself believe that I was probably pregnant this time around, and then over and over and over again, I just was not. This has been stressing me out for awhile… and yet I get so hard on myself, and say that if I would “just fully give it to God, then maybe something amazing would happen.” But I felt like I had given it to him completely already, but then, maybe I hadn’t? I just didn’t know anymore. All I knew was that I obviously was looking forward to that pregnancy more so than maybe I had originally thought. But who was I kidding? I’ve been thinking about that moment for like ever, for like even way before I married my amazing guy. Darn it. I couldn’t help the way I felt.
Anyways, sorry for all of the rabbit trails, but I haven’t “just been straight up honest with myself, or many others, about all of this”, I’ve tried to just keep my cool and perhaps pretend like “everything was just fine.” Yeah, marriage is amazing, I’m thankful for marriage, for my husband, for his love and support, for everything that marriage brings, everyday. But, I would be lying if I said that some days I just don’t even know… because marriage is hard. I mean marriage is hard by itself. Then you throw in a hormonal and completely off kilter woman, and marriage is hard on a different level. And I feel like I just have to be such a burden to my husband. I mean, just look at how many doctors I’ve had to see, how many visits I’ve made, how many bills that have racked up (okay, seriously, THANK GOD, THANK YOU GOD SO MUCH, for double coverage…), how many times I’ve been a crying mess because nobody can get to the bottom of what is going on with me, etc. Some days I have wondered why God let me get married, especially before all of this took off and my health went in a weird direction. I feel like I am not worthy, because I have to be such a burden… Some days I wonder why I’m married because my hormones will be off the charts and I just don’t feel like I even know how to be married. It’s so tough to admit these things. To be completely honest. It’s so tough to be honest that my mind has not always been Johnny on the spot, that I have not always had joyful and hopeful thoughts… But then on the other hand, God knows. And he knew how much of a rock my husband would be for me during all of this too…
Okay really this time, back to where I was going like two or three paragraphs ago… so my menstrual cycle hits this month at the beginning of the month, and I’m at work. And it hits me with no warning. None whatsoever. That never happens. And I’m literally suddenly in excruciating pain like never before, like fall on the floor about to black out pain. Literally, the most embarrassing thing, pretty much passing out while I’m at work. It was ridiculous, and I had to go home. But that was my breaking point. Aside from the fact that I wanted to do everything that I could to help us get pregnant naturally, and sooner than later (especially when you have all of these people that ask you why you don’t get pregnant already, and you smile and chuckle it off, when in reality, you want to just yell “Well, because my body actually cannot get freaking pregnant right now peeps…” Why would I say that though, that just sounds dramatic and “woe is me,” which I HATE TO BE THAT PERSON. Like hate it. I don’t want to be overdramatic. But the doctor was pretty clear when he said that my chances are not improving, if anything, they are decreasing the longer that we wait…)…. And aside from the fact that I just wanted to get out of my “funk” and feel normal again, not fatigued, but full of energy and joy and personality again! But on top of all of that was also the major pain factor.
So I scheduled my surgery. And it will take place in less than a week, on February 4th. I was not going to share. I feel silly sharing about something that is pretty “personal” on the Internet. I really try not to do that… but at the same time, I feel as though we’ve been doing this somewhat alone for a long while now, and I mean it’s been a long road so far. I feel like whoever wants to read this and pray with us, will read it. And those that do not, will not.
I’m not nervous yet. I’m totally sure I will be the day of. I’m very hopeful about this procedure though. I’m hopeful that my doctor/surgeon will not have to remove both of my tubes, just the one. I’m hopeful that by the grace of God, we will be able to conceive naturally, despite what any other opinions might say. I’m hopeful that this procedure will help me start feeling good again all around, not just by taking away the consistent lower abdominal pain, but by clearing out my inflamed intestinal and GI issues, my overall digestive health, my heart palpitations (which I have since been to a cardiologist, yes, yet another specialist, bahahaha, and they have cleared me saying that my palpitations are non-harmful and that my heart is otherwise healthy and normal…), my brain fog and lack of focus and motivation, my fatigue, etc. I am hopeful that overall, my health in general will improve after taking out the bad.
I am asking that my friends, family, loved ones, friends from afar, friends that pray, everyone that may read this and my/our story over the last couple of years, that you pray with us, pray that this surgery will be the beginning of a new chapter for us. I still completely believe that the best is yet to come for us. Pray with us for health. Pray with us that everything will go great, and that someday we will be able to naturally have healthy pregnancies and babies, but most importantly— pray with us that God’s will and timing will take place.
There are still unanswered questions. I still have no idea why my DHEAS hormone level is so, so elevated. It is still something my endocrinologist is trying to get to the bottom of with me. I have no idea what route we will take after my surgery. We can either try very hard to get pregnant immediately, we can try birth control again to “perhaps normalize some of my hormones and to maintain my body from the re-growth of endometriosis,” or we can try a medication that in a sense will “induce menopause within my body” for six miserable months (after the two years I’ve just had, do you honestly think I want to sign up for a miserable six months? Are you insane???), that will get rid of any of the remaining endometriosis that my surgeon cannot see when he is inside my body getting rid of the endometriosis he can see… which will increase fertility perhaps in the long run, but I am opposed to any medications at this point, and menopausal symptoms? No thank you… so… those are our options. Pray we make the right decision please! And pray with me that my adrenals start kicking back in and controlling my hormones better already, so I can learn how to handle stress again, by golly… and perhaps even feel human again!!! That would be a bonus.
I love you all, who have taken the time to read this novel, and pray with me, and walk alongside us as we have some big things coming our way, and want to make the right decisions, and the decisions that are going to help me feel better long-term, and make babies naturally. Amen.