Thursday, May 16, 2013

PCOS




The good news is that the new treatment is working.  Thank you all, so much, (again), for your wonderful support.  The bad news is, well, there isn't really any bad news.  The fact that the new treatment is working does mean that I do appear to have an underlying condition causing so many of my problems, including my depression.  But even that isn't really terrible news because it is all common enough.  I have never experienced any of the more serious physical effects of this condition.  For the most part, it is all good news.  Really good news.

I need to be honest - for reasons I can't explain at all (because I don't understand them myself), I am finding it terribly embarrassing to write about this.  Yes, me, the one who writes about depression on her public blog.  But I do think this is important, particularly if there is anyone else suffering from the same condition but doesn't realize it, so, here goes:  I am being treated - with medication - for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.

From what I understand, most women who have PCOS discover it when they have difficulty getting pregnant, or because they have enough trouble with their cycles that they land in a doctor's office.  I have been lucky enough not to have those problems.  But, again, from what I understand, there are also plenty of women like me:  women with low energy, sugar cravings, real difficulty losing weight, and chronic depression, who end up flying under the PCOS radar.  It is true that all of those issues seem to go together - that if you could just solve one problem, the others would go away - and that's what I have been telling myself since I was a teenager.  Part of PCOS, though, is insulin resistance, and that is mainly what I am being treated for, and wow.  Just wow.  Thank you again, modern medicine.

This is my experience so far:  after working through the first few weeks of side effects from my new medication, I am feeling pretty darn good.  My energy is up, my sugar cravings are down, and I no longer sleep like an appliance which has been switched off, unplugged, and locked in the back of a broom closet.  As much as I still enjoy sleeping late in the morning, I can get out of bed, and I don't feel obliterated for those first two waking hours.  Honestly, I was beginning to feel really terrible lately.  There were days when I thought I would fall asleep in the car just driving to get the girls from school.  I could get nine hours of sleep at night and still wake up feeling like I needed nine more.  My vision was getting weird, like I couldn't focus properly on anything even though I could technically see just fine.  I couldn't concentrate.  And my need for sweets was out of control.  There were afternoons when the only thing that stopped me from eating the entire contents of the sugar bowl was sheer embarrassment.  And I'm certain the increased sugar intake explains the heap of minor inflammatory issues I've been dealing with for the past couple of years:  itchy skin, night swelling, night sweats, minor bouts of psoriasis, and minor - but chronic - asthma.

I haven't entirely ruled out food allergies.  It would also make sense to discover that I have a wheat or dairy allergy.  But it has been crazy hard to attempt exclusionary diets in order to find out, and at least now I have a reason for that aside from just having to hate myself for being completely lazy and entirely lacking self-control.

Things are on the right track.  I am feeling better every day.  I'm still adjusting to the new medication, but for the most part, you guys, I feel great.  GREAT.  Okay, to be perfectly honest, a nap does sound sort of nice right now.  So does a cookie, always.  But, well, I don't feel like my life depends on having both of those, anymore.  A month ago I felt differently.  Embarrassing?  Absolutely.  Worth sharing with you?

I really hope so.











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