A Little Hope
Thursday, July 02, 2009
We know when something's not right with our bodies. I've been fighting mine for a while. The struggle with weight loss isn't new. I've been trying to lose 15-25 pounds off and on since puberty. I think as women we're programmed to just fight the fight and just accept things that aren't easily identified.
But there comes a time when you just have to say "enough!" Waking off and on, waking early, poor quality sleep have been the bane of my existence for several years. I finally accepted that it's a part of perimenopause thinking that surely by this point and after all the books that have been written on the topic, surely the doctors could effectively address it.
I heard of a doctor nearby who practices medicine holistically...an actual internist, not a chiropractor pushing supplements. Unfortunately, she wasn't taking new patients, so I saw another doctor in her practice. She tested my hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, thyroid) and her nurse called to tell me it was all "normal." And still I couldn't sleep.
Fortunately, I didn't have to give up. It turns out, the doctor I'd really wanted to see WAS taking new patients, and this week, I finally got to see her. She looked at my test results, asked me whether my problem was getting to sleep or staying to sleep, and then we were off to the races.
She asked me a long list of questions, but it was only to validate her suspicions. Seems that the numbers on the test results were not absolute. Perhaps they were within normal ranges independently, but their relationships to each other are apparently important.
Apparently the numbers indicated that I have a food allergy or intolerance, which leads to inflammation that taps out my adrenal glands, leads to a lack of nutrient absorption (B12 and possibly D), weakens my thyroid and gets all the reproductive hormones out of whack....which makes my exercise ineffective (estrogen dominance = holding onto fat), causes issues with sleep, and leaves me generally feeling fatigued. If you've read Jillian Michaels' book, Master Your Metabolism, it's almost the same story her endocrinologist told her.
So, we started with a B complex shot, some thyroid and adrenal natural supplements and probiotics. I'll keep using my Arbonne progesterone cream until I see her next. She may or may not have a cream compounded for me that includes testosterone. And I have to get serious about eliminating gluten, and I can't drink milk (no problem...I didn't anyway unless I got a coffee at Starbucks and I gave those up at the beginning of the year). The only dietary restriction that causes me distress is giving up nuts. Definitely no peanuts, and I have to drop the Smuckers organic peanut butter I love with my organic apples, and any nuts that clearly cause me distress, such as my beloved cashews. But if that stops the painful belly bloat, it's a small price to pay.
The B shot made me feel fabulous, and I can't wait until the next one next week. Caffeine has nothing on B vitamins for energy! It's too early to tell how everything else is going to come together, but I'm cautiously optimistic. If this doesn't do the trick, we'll tweak the plan when I go back to see her in September. I have faith that she'll help me out until I am resting well and feeling myself again.
So, the moral of the story is, listen to your body. Don't let some cookie cutter doctor practicing revolving door medicine tell you that you're "normal" when you know something's just not right...especially if you're perimenopausal and you have a list of seemingly unrelated symptoms that all add up to a hormonal imbalance. Read as much as you can so you can be a more effective advocate for your own well being. Keep fighting for your health...no one else will care about it as much as you should.