Thursday, December 6, 2012

PCOS and the Holidays

A little Holiday survival guide!  

I can't believe Christmas is soon here.   Wow!   Where does the time go.  

I am pleased to say that I am finally done with prednisone!   I spent over 1/2 of 2012 on that drug!   That's insane!    Looking forward to getting fit.  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weight Loss

I am running a weight loss group for women with goals of losing BIG and a huge percentage of the ladies in my group have PCOS.    I really like this group and I hope it continues to thrive.   I have been catching up on my reading this morning considering I'm sick and have no energy for much else.     I really liked this article.   I love the incyst blog!




PCOS does impact men!

I am so blessed with supportive men in my life.    My hubby and my bff are so awesome at listening and understanding.   It's good stuff!  

Here's another incyst article.   :)
PCOS and Sleep Apnea

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Antioxidants beneficial for PCOS

Recent studies show that women with PCOS are at a much risk of experiencing oxidative stress, than women without the condition. Oxidative stress is defined as a condition of increased oxidant production in cells caused by the release of free radicals which results in cellular degeneration. These free radicals cause a NUMBER of diseases and conditions (including cancer) as well as premature aging.
Oxidative stress can be caused my many things such as poor diet, pollution, alcohol, medications, or inflammation. Women with PCOS often have chronic inflammation, usually due to being overweight thanks to insulin resistance. Most also have a poor diet, which likely led to the IR. Yet again, a vicious circle.
Other than eating right, exercising and supplemting to control insulin resistance, one should include a powerful antioxidant to her regime as well. Antioxidants protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.  PCOSInfo recommends Reservatrol.
Reservatrol is a a compound found in red grapes, peanuts, and mulberries. It is the key ingredient in red wine that makes it so “heart healthy”. Its an exceptional antioxidant however it also provides other benefits that are extremely important to PCOS’ers:
  • Cancer prevention
  • Reduction of coronary risk – increases good cholesterol and provides protection for your arteries, as well as help to prevent blood clots. This is extremely beneficial to PCOS’ers since we’re at a much higher risk of getting heart disease AND stroke !
  • Boosts immune system
  • Improves brain activity, significantly reducing the likelihood of neurodegenerative diseases
  • Radiation exposure reduction
  • Increases metabolic rate which helps increase weight loss and energy levels


Q: Isn't PCOS something to only worry about when you're trying to have a baby? Why do you still advocate for "cysters" when you have Elliot now?

A: PCOS is lifelong. It doesn't go away. It makes getting pregnant extremely difficult. For some women, pregnancy itself is exceptionally challenging. While trying for Elliot, I had people ask me why I wouldn't just quit and adopt. This question was insulting to me because regardless of fertility abilities, PCOS is still a problem in my body - no matter how I chose to become a parent. Once pregnancy is achieved, and security is assured - it is not uncommon for a PCOS woman to feel the healthiest they've ever felt. Elliot is our lucky number seven. Having him has helped some of my PCOS issues, minus the thyroid. I advocate for cysters everywhere because I've been there.... and I'll be there again. 

What labs should I have done if I suspect I have PCOS?

PCOS is a lifelong condition. It can be controlled but it can NEVER be cured. So, just like any other health issue, it needs watching.   Transvaginal ultrasounds in addition to bloodwork help determine whats what.
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS you should be getting a yearly checkup. This should include a visit to your OB/GYN for an annual exam, as well as a visit to your primary for a physical and lab tests.
The purpose of these labs are to watch your PCOS and what its doing to your body. Even if you feel your condition is being controlled, either by medications or supplements, you should still have these labs done — just to be sure. PCOS can wreck havoc on your body, causing a number of serious health issues. Take the time to get these values checked, every year.
The following is a list of labs every PCOS’er should have done yearly:
  • Fasting glucose
  • Glucose tolerance test (GTT) *remember, even if these tests come back within normal limits, you can still have insulin resistance*
  • LH (luteinizing hormone)
  • FSH (follicle stimulating hormone)
  • LH/FSH ratio
  • Testosterone – total and free
  • DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate)
  • SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin)
  • Prolactin
  • TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) *this is also an important value as many with PCOS have thyroid issues that go undetected for quite some time. Thyroid conditions tend to have many of the same symptoms as PCOS*
  • Lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides) *extremely important. These values are often high in PCOS’ers and they are what lead to our increased risk of heart disease, and stroke*
This list may seem a bit overwhelming, but many of these tests are done in groups, meaning they don’t need a vial for each individual test. Hormone levels are often grouped together when they’re sent to the lab, as are glucose tests, requiring less blood or individual vials.

Healthy images

Lots of health images

Let's discuss!!

10 Tips to get more active

In honor of PCOS awareness month I'll be getting this blog up and running again!

1.  Plan ahead - Schedule physical activity into your daily routine and do your best to stick to it. A 
commitment to being active needs to be long-term, and should become a normal part of your 
everyday lifestyle. If time is limited, try getting up earlier or walking during your lunch break. 

2.  Equipment - You do not need expensive equipment to begin exercising. Start with a good pair of training shoes and comfortable clothes. Take a water bottle and don’t forget to wear sunscreen and a hat when exercising outside in summer. 

3.  Get support - You are more likely to succeed if you have the support and encouragement of 
family or friends. Surveys show that women prefer walking over all other activities and when they 
walk with friends they walk longer and report walking is more enjoyable.  Group activities are more social and you can encourage each other to keep going.

4.  Choose an activity that is right for you - When choosing a new activity, take time to consider what would best suit you. Think about convenience, budget, pre-existing medical conditions and whether or not you will enjoy the activity. You shouldn’t take up water-skiing if you can’t afford it, have to travel for hours and don’t like getting wet!

5.  Be creative - Try something different – let your imagination run wild. Vary the places you go 
walking or try line dancing or water aerobics - there’s bound to be something out there that’s perfect for you.

6.  Keep at it - Occasionally there may be periods of time where you lose focus and go off track. Do your best to get back to doing some physical activity when you can – try to think positive, plan ahead and always keep the benefits in mind.  

7.  Set goals - Set both short and long-term goals so you have something to work towards. Be 
realistic – you won’t be able to run a marathon in two weeks time; but you might be able to walk every day for a week. Keep track of your achievements.

8.  Reward yourself - It’s important to reward yourself when you achieve your goals. Having an 
added incentive can also help you to get going when you don’t feel motivated. A reward could be 
anything from buying your favourite magazine, getting a manicure or going away for the weekend.

9.  Listen to your body - Exercising is not about ‘no pain, no gain’. If an activity causes you pain 
either slow down or stop altogether. Pain is a sign that something might be wrong. If you are worried, see your health practitioner before continuing.

10. Have fun - Enjoyment is essential for maintaining a long-term commitment to being more 
physically active. Be selective in the activities that you choose, get in involved in group activities and stay positive – you’re worth the effort. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Missing in action... the cancer scare

First off: I apologize for not blogging as much. It's important to me that with what energy I do have ... I spend it with my husband and my son. So when I come home from work the cell phone is off and if I do go online it's brief unless Elliot is in some sort of a deep sleep.

Secondly... this is a long entry about an ovarian and thyroid cancer scare. I don't have either but below is a detailed account of trying to figure this out.

So here we go...
Elliot was born on 11-7-11 and I had my first period 12-27-11 and it wasn't bad at all. I didn't bleed much post partum because he was a c-section (AWESOME!)

I went back to work on January 23rd and my period started on the 22nd. The first two weeks of work were really hard. Whild I loved being with my students I ached (literallly) for Elliot and would count down until it was time to see him.

After about two weeks I noticed that the bleeding was not letting up and it was scaring me so I talked to my OB about it and she said it could very well be a post partum response to being away from Elliot for the first time. ((Note, everything that goes on after you have a baby is labeled post partum)). I told her the birth control pill wasn't stopping the bleeding and nothing was working and she suggested I come in and see her so I made an appointment for my 30th birthay (because seriously she is awesome so it didn't bother me). She ordered some labs for me and wanted to rule out ovarian cancer and any thyroid issues. Ironically, my bleeding stopped on the 23rd and my appointment was on the 24th. My labs were all sorts of fucked up and long story short we ruled out ovarian cancer but really started worrying about the thyroid.

My thyroid has always been a source of problem for me since being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I'm at the point where I believe I have more thyorid issues than pcos issues. My levels came back as off the charts and I was officially labeled as being in thyroid crisis and since ovarian cancer was ruled out we went on investigating the thyroid. I had an ultrasound done and set an appointment to meet with the endocrinologist. I met with him today. My new labs came back now that I'm on a new dosage of meds and I'm still in crisis but my number is now 16 point something which is lower than what it was... but still bad. A healthy number is anything under 5 but for a woman with PCOS anything under 3 is good and if you're trying to have a baby anything under 2 is where you need to be.

While meeting with the "new guy" I told him everything that was going on with me and how I don't feel it is post partum depression and how I knew things were going wrong when my milk supply went dry, etc... we talked about my pregnancy and he kept telling me I had to be wrong when I told him that I actually had my thyroid meds bumped DOWN instead of up. I explained to him how while pregnant I lost weight and never technically "gained" any weight during the pregnancy. I told him I'd sign my life away for him to see all of my records and I insisted that I was 100000000% sure of what happened during my pregnancy. I explained that I felt the healthiest ever in my life when I was pregnant. I explained that I'm frustrated with my weight gain and knowing my thyroid is off.

He asked how I know it is off besides the labs and I explained that I have the classic symptoms of ice cold hands and feet, dry skin, dandruff, weight issues, fatigue, etc...but the reason I was there to see him is because of the month long bleed. I explained that in the past when my thyroid was acting up I had the opposite issue where I didn't bleed and could go months on end without a cycle. At that point I saw him write down the numbers "278" which is the code for obesity and I told him flat out he can't do this to me that he has to listen to me and trust that I know my body and not chalk it up to me being obese considering I'm not, nor do I aspire to be, the 130lbs some random asshat in the world decided I should be. I told him that I feel weight charts are complete shit because if you are 20lbs over weight you are automatically obese and if you are 30lbs over weight it's morbid. I asked him about possibilities for what could have caused this to happen because we really suspected cancer and according to my ultrasound it is not cancer.

Apparently, my thyroid is not anatomically correct, like it is the right shape but not the right dimensions - its hard to explain. And it's lower in my throat and if they were to remove it it would be an incredibly risky surgery because wrong snip and I could be dead so removal isn't an option. It is a bit enlarged right now but no nodules and its not as large this week as it was last week on the ultrasound which means that the new meds are working but I don't feel it working.

I do feel a bit more energy but no where like where I need it to be and the problem is getting an accurate lab read so what we are doing is waiting 4-5 more weeks and I'm going to go in and have fresh blood drawn. He wants the blood immed...iately tested then and there in front of his face to get a true reading of where I am and he is going to run some other thyroid function tests. In the meantime he mentioned some unconventional methods I could try to help my thyroid such as "starving" it one day a week to boost it's function and a few other things. One thing I did learn is I need to watch myself with my almond milk and calcium. I shouldn't have any milk/almond milk within 4 hours of taking my medication.

We had a lot of good discussion and he was looking to get a team to investigate my case but at the time of the appointment nothing was confirmed. Later today I got a call saying my RE (Dr. P) is on board on the "panel" which will be later on this month to discuss my issues. I explained that I know it looks like I'm just an overweight new mother trying to keep up with work and family but it's not.... I know my body and something is just not right. I'm tired, the weight issues, my nails are brittle, my feet are cold, etc.... We're trying to figure out if my thyroid is attacking my parathyroid or if my body is building an immunity to the "therapy" ((highly unlikely)) or if my body is simply just being whacky post baby.

I'm thrilled to know it's not cancer, I am. But I can't believe this is so hard to figure out. We know it's the thyroid, we know that... but we're not sure what specifically is happening. I'm not vitamin deficient, I'm not anemic, I'm not having a cyst rupture, I don't have mono, I don't have HIV, etc... it's just BIZARRE. So right now the plan is to stay on this dosage and to try to "starve" it one day a week and possibly do a "fast" to trick it. I just hope we can figure things out. In the meantime I'm going to be re-reading my "Living well with hypothyroidism" book and any other information I can get my hands on. He said I'm definitely an interesting case, hence the panel. When the nurse called me this afternoon about the panel being confirmed she said, "Your doctor in WR speaks very highly of you and your medical self awareness" I said, "Yes..." She said, "I know you probably have doubts with Dr. M but I assure you he is a good doctor and he will figure this out."

I think besides all of this going on with the thyroid I also know that come April I will be given a timeline as to when I would like to have baby number two and that's an overwhelming thought right now. I know for a fact it is to be discussed at my July appointment with Dr. P. I LOVE being Elliot's mommy and I would love for him to have a brother or sister but when I think about that... when I think about TTC... I get scared because while the fight was totally worth it... I don't think I could ever handle that kind of pain again and I don't want it to take from my time of being Elliot's mommy. It's hard to explain. I want to enjoy my son and not focus on making another baby but I also know the timeline is coming. I'm no fool. My body is doing exactly what I knew it would do "post partum" thanks to the thyroid AND the PCOS. I feel like I'm racing against the clock. And I also know that if you've never had pcos or thyroid issues you're never going to relate to this.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

God listens

by Max Lucado

You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God—and he listens. He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home. He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate. When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.

Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God.” Incredible. Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

Then, the angel “filled the incense pan with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth” (Rev. 8:5). One call and Heaven’s fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven, and “God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”

You are the someone of God’s kingdom. You have access to God’s furnace. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!

When you speak, Jesus hears.
And when Jesus hears, thunder falls.
And when thunder falls, the world is changed.
All because someone prayed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I must say I am loving my kindle that my husband bought me for Christmas.

I've been reading while Elliot naps and I love doing "clippings" for quotes I see.

I loved this in one of the inspirational books called Faith Notes: "Don't ask God to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet." :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I love all of our photos from today with Dr. P but this one really makes me chuckle because Dr. P is looking at Elliot and just admiring him, talking with him, playing with him, etc... and then Elliot in the next shot ends up taking over Dr. P's desk. Who knows - maybe our miracle boy will want to go into medicine? :)

Pictures with Dr. P =^_^=

Post Partum PCOS Appointment

Below is a cut and paste of what I posted in the PCOS boards I belong to on FB. What a wonderful appointment!!!

I just got back from my appointment with Dr. P and let me tell you... I'm just in a state of complete WOW right now. We met for quite a while at this appointment and pretty much discussed anything and everything PCOS. The last 15 minutes I texted Mark and Mark brought Elliot in for photos which I'll be uploading shortly.

As of this time, all of my labs are indicating that I do not need to start any PCOS regimen be it provera, metformin, anything. Here is what I wrote in the TTC community:

"I just had my post partum appointment with my RE. My son is 9 weeks old. It looks like after having a remarkable pregnancy (took me 5 years to get pregnant, only 8 months with working with my RE though) it looks like I have provided no evidence of PCOS in my uterus, ovaries, or full lab array. My RE was FLOORED and in complete shock of my lab results. He said he was expecting to put me back on glumetza. He said you don't ever really "cure" pcos but you can improve it and the only issue he sees me having is my thyroid as of this time. He's curious to research my case further because I said to him this, "I don't know if it is pregnancy that 'fixed' me or if it is the dairy/hormones issue." He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "The entire pregnancy and even now if I have milk or ice cream I will throw up. I haven't had milk since April 2011." It's just interesting that my numbers he ran back in July 2010 are 2-3x higher than my numbers ran in December 2011. Furthermore, the photos of my body are completely different as well. So maybe saying bye-bye to dairy and hello to almond milk with NO soy isoflaves is the way to go...."

Dr. P loved hearing about my pregnancy and was shocked to find out that I was not gestational diabetic given my numbers back in July of 2010. He flat out said, "Leigh I was expecting to be writing a pile of scripts for you and opening my day planner but you look remarkable inside and out."

I did tell him that I am now on the birth control pill but was NOT on the pill when I had the labs done. He wants me to finish this month on the pill but then go off of it to see how we can get me to cycle regularly. My testosterone, liver panel, kidneys, sugars, lipids, pretty much everything came back normal. The only "bad" result was my thyroid which we already knew about. He didn't even know where to go with the results, LOL. He was expecting to get in there and see a mess. NOTHING.

Now with that said, it does not mean my PCOS is "gone" - he said in his experience he never takes the diagnosis away because PCOS is like a silent pest rearing it's ugly head whenever it sees fit.

I go back Thursday for more data collection and the research study.

He's going to be looking into the almond milk/hormone connection but he thinks it all makes sense.

And then I'll go back to him in 6 months ((July)) to take another looksie and to have a full PCOS panel done again.

When he met Elliot, it was amazing. Elliot woke right up and cooed and played with Dr. P. It's funny because Dr. P is such a serious man and here he was playing with my son, hugging him, giving him smooches and then he said, "Hey! Wait! Let's take a picture of him with me behind my desk." LOL I'm going to make a little album up for Dr. P and take it in to him. But Elliot's picture is officially going up on the wall and in the albums.

Feel free to ask questions because I know I'm leaving a ton out.

The walk down this hallway used to be an ETERNITY.... and now... now it is SO different. What I found incredibly ironic/symbolic/fitting is as we left the music playing on the radio loudspeaker was "Baby baby" by Amy Grant. First of all, I love Amy Grant. Secondly, she wrote that song for her first born, her son.

Thank you, Fitbit!

My Fitbit Charge HR broke.   I took it off and it just ... broke.    I got in contact with FitBit customer service and even though my...