He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

March 20, 2011

Project Oven Repair

I spent the better part of Friday afternoon researching natural and homeopathic remedies for PCOS. I made a shopping list of vitamins and minerals and healthy foods and things I would need to get started down this path to a healthier, PCOS-free, me, and then on Saturday I went to Akin's and the grocery store and stocked up on supplements and vegetables and sea food. The sea food's more for my ADD, since I can't really afford the 10 grams per day of purified pharma-grade fish oil I'll need to take to keep it under control.

I guess I should back up and explain why I'm so sure that PCOS is the source of all my baby woes. I've had symptoms for years, but none of my doctors--GPs, OBs, gynecologists, internal medicine specialists--have ever suggested that these symptoms might add up to PCOS.

Until my follow-up appointment at the women's clinic after my D&C, with an OB/GYN I'd never seen before, who looked at my history and my symptoms and asked me, "Have you ever been treated for PCOS?" When I said no, she went on to describe the symptoms, and it felt like a light bulb went on, shining its light on exactly what the problem is.

She wanted to do a hysteroscopy to verify the diagnosis, but we couldn't get it scheduled before my insurance ran out. We DID get my thrombophilia workup done before it ran out, though, and it ruled out any blood-clotting disorders. And since she was almost sure enough to make the diagnosis without the hysteroscopy, and since my symptoms line up with PCOS like dominoes, I'm operating under the assumption that this is what my problem is. And if I'm wrong, it can't really hurt anything, other than giving me a sense of misplaced hope.

For the curious, the skeptical, and those who just like to read TMI, these are my symptoms and co-indicators:
  • I'm overweight.
  • I have middle-age acne.
  • I have hypothyroidism.
  • I have mild hirsutism (i.e. unsightly, whisker-like chin, neck and chest hairs; I've always just tweezed them, told myself they were probably normal and then got on with my life, but now I know better).
  • My periods have only ever been regular when I'm on BC, and even then there's occasional variance, and they're always, ALWAYS painful.
  • I have classic symptoms of insulin resistance (overweight, foggy brain, chronic fatigue and sleepiness, irritability and nausea if my blood sugar gets low, etc.), which is a root cause of PCOS.
Clearly, these aren't factors that tend to make for a healthy pregnancy. Fortunately, most, if not all, of them can be remedied with a healthy lifestyle. So if I want to have a healthy pregnancy that ends in birthing a healthy baby, I'm going to have to become a health nut and completely overhaul my lifestyle.

Here's my plan of attack:

  • Stick to the Zone diet, and be strict about it. This means getting most of my carbs from low-glycemic fruits and veggies instead of, y'know, just having some protein with a yummy slice of pumpkin bread and calling that a "Zone-balanced meal."
  • Increase my sea-food intake, and take as much pharma-quality fish oil as I can afford on top of that.
  • Work out at least 4 times a week.
  • Transition from the ADD-focused multi-vitamins I've been taking (e.g. Mega Mind, Higher Mind and/or Mental Edge, all from Source Naturals) to a quality pre-natal multi with high doses of Chromium, Magnesium, Zinc, and B-vitamins.
  • Add in a Co-Q10 supplement.
  • Ween myself off of caffeine, ginseng and sugar (including all processed and high-glycemic carbs).
There are also some herbal remedies that I'll add to the mix eventually, but it's not a good idea to take those while I'm still on BC. If you're interested, I got most of the supplement and natural remedy info here and here.

Whether or not I actually have PCOS, if I can stick to this plan I'm sure it will probably fix at least 90% of what's wrong with me, including the ADD, low energy and depressive tendencies. Not to mention the insulin resistance and all of the problems that stem from that.

So basically, I just have to start treating myself like I'm diabetic, and all of my hormones and body chemicals and brain chemicals and what-not should fall in line, balance out, and start behaving properly. I guess if my acne clears up and I stop having to tweeze those weird hairs, then I'll know I'm on the right track.

At any rate, this is the one area of my life I actually have control over, and I'm ready to grasp it by the horns and show it who's boss. Hopefully, the success of Project Oven Repair will coincide with the success of Project Make Some Money, Dammit, and then we'll truly be ready for another round of TTC.

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