Monday, November 12, 2007

December 2004

What an adventure our first fertility appointment ended up being. We had an early appointment with Dr. Blackwell and found out that in 20 years he's only called in sick twice and today happened to be that second time! The nurse asked if we would like to see Dr. Lucas instead. We said sure and sat in the exam room for the next several hours waiting to see him. As each hour passed we kept saying to ourselves, "well we've stuck it out this long we might as well wait it out for him." He was in the middle of doing a surgery so we sat and waited some more.

Knock knock! He's arrived! Dr. Lucas took one look at me and my chart and said that I was a poster child for PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.) Huh?

WebMd says this about PCOS:

Polycystic ovary syndrome (say “pah-lee-SIS-tik OH-vuh-ree SIN-drohm”) is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause upsetting changes in the way you look and problems with your periods. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS) affects up to 1 in 10 women, and often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.

How is it treated?
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and weight control are key treatments for PCOS. Medicines to balance hormones may also be used. Getting treatment can reduce unpleasant symptoms. But more important, it can help prevent possible long-term health problems.

The first step in managing PCOS is to get regular exercise and eat a heart-healthy diet. This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Try to get 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Walking is a great exercise that most people can do.

Eat a heart-healthy diet. In general, this diet has lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains. It also limits foods that are high in saturated fat, such as meats, cheeses, and fried foods. If you have blood sugar problems, try to eat about the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. A registered dietitian can help you make a meal plan.

Most women with PCOS can benefit from losing weight. Even losing 10 lb may help get your hormones in balance and regulate your menstrual cycle. PCOS can make it hard to lose weight, so work with your doctor to make a plan that can help you succeed.

A doctor may also prescribe medicines, such as:

Birth control pills. They can help your periods be regular and can reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne. An androgen-lowering medicine, spironolactone, may be used with birth control pills to help reduce symptoms even more. These medicines are not used if you are trying to get pregnant.

A diabetes medicine called metformin. It can help control insulin and blood sugar levels and reduce androgen levels. This lowers your risk for diabetes and heart disease and can help restore regular menstrual cycles and fertility.

Fertility medicines, if you are trying to get pregnant.

It is important to see your doctor for follow-up to make sure treatment is working and adjust it if needed. You may also need regular tests to check for diabetes, high blood pressure, and other possible problems.

It may take a while for treatments to help with symptoms such as facial hair or acne. In the meantime:

Over-the-counter or prescription acne medicines may help with skin problems.

Waxing, tweezing, and shaving are easy ways to get rid of unwanted hair. Electrolysis or laser treatments can permanently remove the hair but are more expensive. Your doctor can also prescribe a skin cream that slows hair growth for as long as you use it regularly.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS. If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to other women who have PCOS. Ask your doctor about local support groups, or look for an online group. It can make a big difference to know that you are not alone.

As far as managing PCOS I have lived in the gym pretty regularly these days.

Our diet... that has some improving to do. I am a fairly new married girl and my list of things I know how to make and the things that I can make that are edible is pretty small.

Losing weight. Ok, here's the kicker for me. Since I was a young girl I was always on the super thin side. So thin my Grandparents would always worry about me not eating enough. My choices in food were not the greatest and that one day it would all catch up to me. When I went away to college I started gaining weight and have continued ever since. Throughout my different sizes I've never been regular.

Taking birth control pills is the only way I will have a period every month. At some point though you get sick of taking pills all the time. But knowing that you will have a period every month by taking the pill gives you a piece of mind and helps you to feel somewhat normal. Not being on the pill and not having a period only reinforces every month that you are not normal. You just don't feel right even though it's really nice not having to worry about "that time of the month" and everything else that comes with it.

Other medicines such as Metformin and fertility medicines will come into the picture further down the road and I will talk about those when we get there.

After explaining what PCOS is and what it means to me he looks at me and says, "we'll have you pregnant in 3 months." Three months! Woo hoo! Holy cow that's not long from now! It's all starting to sink in. Dr. Lucas wants to start by running some blood work to measure all of my hormone levels and then we will meet again.

We left feeling so confident and truely believed that God had placed Dr. Lucas in our lives. We were so excited to see where this journey was going to take us.