Tuesday 18 February 2014

Hypothalamic Amenorrhoea - these things take time

Image by MONICA Reyes via Pinterest
To say I am impatient is a bit of an understatement. When I want to do something, I want to do it yesterday. My dad used to say to me:

“Lou Lou*, there’s no doubt about it – you’re a doer!”

*My middle name is Louise. Although, he often now calls me Luci. Pretty sure it has nothing to do with my middle name. Should I be offended that Luci is the name of our dog?

My amazing husband is also very cognizant of my “need-to-do-this-right-now-or-else” attitude. Although he often takes the approach of:

“Patience, my love. Patience”

Whatever. I’m a doer! My daddy told me so! And so when it came to baby-making, I applied the same amount of “OK, let’s do this” attitude, thinking if we start trying now (June 2013), then the baby will arrive around March next year, so I will be well and truly clear of university responsibilities. I apologized to my best friend – there was a high chance that I would either be pregnant or with child on her 30th birthday (9th March 2014). How lovely it is to dream….

Now, as you may know (if you have read my previous posts on the matter HERE, HERE and HERE), there was one minor glitch in this lady’s plan – a menstrual cycle that had been M.I.A for quite some time.

“That’s OK”, my friends would say, “I know a girl who had a cousin who dated a girl whose mother conceived when she didn’t have a period”**. Sweet. Back on track.

**May or may not be an accurate recollection of the conversation. Admittedly, quite a few friends mentioned that you could indeed ovulate without menstruating. I have since done the research and they were correct! Yay!

However, I knew it wasn’t ideal. I knew the best plan of attack would be to get my menstrual cycle regular – then I would truly back on fertile grounds.

Image by Erin Karolchyk via Pinterest
As I mentioned in my previous post on the matter, my first period in 2 years returned in September last year while I was in Broome. Then I returned home to Sydney apparently leaving my monthlies back in Western Australia. It was a little disappointing, but part of me expected it, for some reason.

We moved to New Zealand on Christmas Eve. Over the new year period, I partied like it was 1999 (only this time I was legally old enough to drink) – I was fed up with being “good” all the time, getting no evident results on the lady-time front. Early January this year it returned – I was pretty excited! So was my husband. And my family. Yep – everyone heard about it! It probably sounds odd to hear someone say they are excited about getting their monthlies –a time when your skin breaks out, you become a bit of an irrational, short-tempered bitch, your tummy cramps and bloats and you can’t don’t want to have sex. Sounds pretty shit, right? Any guys reading this are probably squirming up their face right now. Have you ever noticed that most males freak out when you say “period”. Try it – it’s fun! Anyway, the whole thing is exciting if you’re in my boat – it signals that things are starting to work again. And when you want a baby, there is nothing more important than the baby-maker. That’s not rocket science.

Image by Joanna Rodarte via Pinterest
OK let’s back-track a little.combination of factors: low carb diet, high intensity exercise, high stress life….. It’s really not surprising that my thyroid shut up shop! When you have low thyroid, you can experience a number of symptoms:
  • Low energy (tick – always loved my coffee to get me going)
  • Cold hands and feet (my husband can vouch for this one)
  • Dry skin (like a crocodile. Sexy, right?)
  • Weight gain (well, I had been trying to gain weight, but it did seem to happen at a pretty rapid rate)
  • Low basal body temperature (mine was frequently dipping into "hypothermia")
  • Menstrual cycle problems – BOOM!

 There are others, but I’m sure you know how to use Dr Google.

So I had a thyroid problem. The solution? Medication. I don’t like pharmaceutical drugs. I think they mess with our system and are too often handed out like lollies. However, if I wanted my body to start functioning properly, something had to be done. Luckily, I could be put on thyroid extract – dessicated pig thyroid! Yummy! Thyroid extract has the advantage of providing everything your thyroid requires, rather than just T4 (thyroxine), the inactive form of thyroid hormone which needs to be converted to the active form, T3 (triiodothyronine – try saying that 10 times fast!).

Anywho, a few weeks ago I had to go to a local NZ doctor to get a new script for my pig pills. She sent me for some blood tests to get a baseline of where my thyroid hormones are at. For shits and giggles, I thought:

 “While you’re getting some blood, let’s find out if I’m ovulating”….

The results came back –

Dr: “Your progesterone is very low, which means you aren’t ovulating, which I guess you already knew….”

Me: “Mmm hmmm. Yes, I guessed that was the case” – I lied, smiling on the outside, but dying a little on the inside. (For some reason, if you work as a health practitioner and you know about biochemistry, you somehow don't require the usual bedside manner) 

I’m not great with emotions, so I didn’t cry then and there. Or on the 40 minute drive home. It wasn’t until my mother-in-law’s dog chewed my sports bra that everything came unstuck and I threw a massive tanty. Why, when I have done everything right, was this happening to me? For more than 2 years I have tried pretty much everything to make myself fertile. What have I tried, you ask?

  • Acupuncture
  • Acuenergetics
  • Ayurvedic massage
  • Chiropractic
  • Kinesiology
  • Reflexology
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Raw food
  • Cooked food
  • More carbs
  • More fat
  • More protein
  • More food in general
  • Weight gain
  • Less exercise
  • Different exercise
  • Herbal teas
  • Naturopathy
  • Herbal medicine
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Desiccated adrenal gland
  • Desiccated testicle – yep, you read right – bull’s balls. Check them out below
  • Abstaining from caffeine
  • Abstaining from alcohol
  • Sleeping in a pitch black room – I card-boarded up my windows to block out the light
  • Crystal healing
  • Ayahuasca
  • Shamanism

 That’s just what I can remember off the top of my head. I am sure there’s more. Long list, right? Sometimes it is tempting to just give up and go down the medical route. But that’s not what I am about. I am determined to fix this the natural way – not just for me, but for all of the other females in my position. If I can fix myself, then I am in a much better position to be able to help others, right? I am slowly working through a truck-load of scientific literature. I say slowly because the studies I am reading are pretty technical and full of “science-ese” (as Denise Minger would call the language of science). But I will get there. And when I do, I will be sure to share what I have learnt. I've got your back, ladies! 

As we speak, I have my period. That’s two in two months! The last was a 38 day cycle – verging on regularity (ideally they should be 28-35 days long). It has taken me this long to get my period back. I’m guessing it will just take a little longer for ovulation to kick back in.

Image by Tina B via Pinterest
So stay tuned, friends – these things take time, but we are making progress! Thank you all for your continued support – it means a lot! xx

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