Friday, December 28, 2012
It's been more than a year since my last blog. Last year, I was in the middle of searching for answers. I would try so hard to lose weight by following my own guidelines but I didn't have much success. I really struggled with that, like so many people. I was busting my butt to see results and the scale would move only a pound at a time. When I last blogged, I was almost convinced that I had PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome). For the sake of helping others, I'll share how I came to this conclusion in hopes that it will help someone else.
I started to notice a few things. The first was that I could not lose weight eating healthy. I was eating the healthy way, just how Sparks would promote. I also started to notice that I had a dark ring around my neck and in between my breasts. I also have it between my thighs around the groin area. I thought that maybe I wasn't cleaning well enough around my neck but trust me I was being very clean. As hard as I scrubbed, the dark stain didn't go anywhere. The second thing I noticed is that I started to get what seemed like side burns. This part is the most embarrassing and I hate talking about it. I also hard hair underneath my chin. I started to have to shave my face every day. I also have what is called a skin tag. I have about 5 of them around my neck. They are like little brown flaps of skin. I was also very emotional and depressed and my periods were completely crazy. Sometimes I would skip a month or two and sometimes when I did get it, it would go for months and I'd have to go get birth control to get it to stop.
At first I was alarmed at all of these changes. However, I am Hispanic and I thought that maybe these were just some characteristics my family passed down. I was so depressed and mortified and trying to handle each situation as it came.
One night in 2007, I had a dream. In my dream I was in a dark room and there was chair in the middle of the room. I heard a voice say, "check your hormones, that's the answer to your problems." Well, the next morning I got on google and put in all the symptoms and PCOS kept popping up.
I went to 3 doctors after that, in the span of 5 years. Every doctor told me I was incorrect and told me I was fat. Even though I explained that I was doing everything I could to lose weight, they simply told me to try harder. Apparently, I wasn't doing enough, I was devastated.
Last year I went to a Dr. and I walked in pretty nervous. I decided that this time I would not say a thing. He asked me what was wrong and I listed all of my symptoms. The first thing out of his mouth was, "You have PCOS."
What a relief.
He began to explain to me what it was and what problems I would encounter and how I might have to work to get healthy. I was so sad that I was finding out that I have this, but I was so happy to know that this was not my fault. I had been doing everything I could it's just that my body was wired differently. I took some blood tests with my doctors and it turned out that my testosterone levels were off the charts. He referred me to an endocrinologist.
The endocrinologist also did blood work. The results showed that I had high levels of testosterone and that I was not processing sugar well. He was the one to officially diagnose me with PCOS and with Insulin Resistance.
Now, the good thing is that I had been doing my research all these years about PCOS so when he gave me all the information, it was not a shock to me.
Basically the way I understand it is that when I eat a meal, the food I eat is converted into sugar. When my body has sugar in the blood, it releases testosterone, a hormone meant to carry the sugar to different cells. Each cell is supposed to accept different nutrients from the sugar but when my insulin knocks on the cell's doors, they will not open. They don't respond to the insulin at all. Lucky me, the only cell that will respond and open the door, are my fat cells which is why I gain weight at a faster rate and can't lose it as easy either. The other problem is that when the body can't get rid of the sugar it pumps more testosterone to try to remove the sugar and I end up with more testosterone than I should have in me. This causes my periods to go off track and in my situation, causes me to not ovulate.
PCOS is a hot mess.
Basically what started to work for me in getting healthy and to lose a little weight was to eat low glycemic index carbs, to eat veggies with my meals, and to eat a lean protein. The more research I did showed my that people with PCOS need to link their carbs with protein and veggies to slow down the flow of sugar in the body.
From August 2011 to now, December 28 2012 I did lose 20 lbs. This helped immensely.
My symptoms did not go away but I was able to get myself out of the pre-diabetic range.
It does feel like an uphill battle at times. I am at a plateau right now and I am working to continue to tweak my eating habits so that I can lose a little more weight.
My doctor has me on 500 mg of Metformin, which I take twice a day. I am forgetful with pills so I do forget but they are supposed to help with the sugar as well.
I'll keep you all posted. I don't do sparks anymore but I like to stop by every once a while. Maybe in the future, I will come back again.
I am so grateful to everyone and everything that has been placed in my path to figure this out. I am not 100% healed and their is no cure for PCOS. Once, you have it, it wont go away. You simply have to manage it.
For those of you who believe something is wrong with your body or health and your family and doctors will not believe you, follow your instincts. My whole family did not believe me. They thought I was creating problems for attention and none of the doctors that saw me believed me until that last one. Don't give up and fight for your health. Ask questions and don't be afraid to go to someone else!
I pray for good health for everyone here at Sparks. I love you all.