Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What else?

I have been having a lot of health problems as an adult. Sometimes those health problems have led to weight gain and sometimes they're a result of weight gain. As you may or may not know, I have difficulty dealing with stress without turning to food (especially sugary, chocolaty, delicious comfort food). And I also have a problem (more recent in nature) with depression (I have never been on anti-depressants). And I started having really irregular periods (skipping one every so often) starting the same year I started my internship for my master's program. I always informed my doctors, who always attributed it to stress and/or brushed it off as no big deal, even though it was very abnormal for me.

So I figured that if I could figure out how to get my stress levels down or just wait until things that were stressful (like my internship, moving, getting married, house-hunting, etc) calmed down a bit, things would resolve themselves. But so far they haven't. My new doctor (it's great to have health insurance and a doctor who doesn't appear to be more or less a quack like my last one) ran a lot of blood work. Most of it came out fine, but what didn't come out fine (plus my telling him I want to have kids one day in the hopefully near future), led him to refer me to an OBGYN. I have an appointment today, to rule out PCOS.

I just did some research on that and really hope that's not what I have. But as it talks about the possible symptoms (some of which I know I do have and others I know I don't), I'm really starting to wonder. If it is, I hope that it doesn't lead to infertility, as I do want to have kids one of these days. I don't know if I could emotionally or physically go through some of the helps for PCOS/infertility/irregular periods due to my health history, so that has also been weighing on my mind.

I still have the cough, so GERD has been ruled out as a culprit for that (taking the Prilosec did not help my cough at all). So I have also been referred to a ENT and an allergist for follow up there.

As part of the GERD recommendations, I was told not to sleep on my right side. I had been trying to avoid that as much as possible. And now I'm finding myself wishing I could feel more comfortable sleeping on my right side (or my back or stomach) than I do on my left side. I have been experiencing fairly frequent pain in my left shoulder. Unlike my knee injury or broken foot, I didn't feel or hear a pop. I didn't notice during any particular event when it started hurting. It just did. In fact, I was laying in the floor in my family room reading a book when I first felt it. The pain wasn't too terrible but instead felt like I needed to pop it (kind of like how it feels when you think you need to pop your knuckles or something). Massaging and the like have not really been helpful with getting it to go away completely. It's not a 24-7 thing, but it has been more noticeable on some days, almost the entire day starting with pain while sleeping (probably from sleeping on it). Shoulder injuries run in my family to an extent, and I'm hoping this is just something small that can be fixed fairly easily.

So, what I have been doing is working out and working on losing weight to see if that helps with any of the aforementioned issues. Now with the shoulder hurting, working out is tough to talk myself into doing for fear of hurting myself worse. I saw my PCP last week, have an appointment today with another doctor, have an appointment next week with a third doctor, and have 2 more appointments to schedule now (one with an allergist and one with my PCP about my shoulder). This is very disheartening and frustrating!

Anyway, if you have any knowledge to share, any words of comfort, or are willing to keep me in your thoughts & prayers, I would very greatly appreciate it. This has been a very tough time in my life and sometimes I wonder how I can get past these obstacles.


Anonymous said...

Hi Debra,

I am very sorry to hear about your health problems. Of all the problems we experience health-related ones suck the most. They effect every waking moment and can suck the life out of even the most interesting and exciting periods of life. Perhaps your Mothers talk of Obama's Muslim religion and sleeper cell inclinations will cheer you up. They sure did for me. Of course we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers and perhaps your Dad and Joe can give you a blessing when they are in town. We think about you guys often and hope your health improves.

Love, Rob

BeatlesDiva said...

My dear Debra,
I know how you feel. I myself have been diagnosed with PCOS. Not fun at all. If by chance you do have this, all I can advise you is to take your medications religiously, they'll make a world of difference. Unfortunately, I don't have good insurance that pays for mine and I could no longer afford them. I have noticed a tremendous digression on how I feel and of course my weigh escalated again.

I've been told of some herbal and holistic remedies, but have yet to try them out. In the meantime, good luck with this and let me know if there is any questions I can answer for you.


McKnights said...

Ditto to what Rob said about health problems sucking. I believe that it is the ability to rely on family and friends and preisthood blessings that help get us through any challenge we face. While I would never ask for any challenge nor do I appreciate them at the time, in the end there have been great lessons learned and great blessings gained. Don't give up hope. We love you and will keep you in our prayers.

Crystalbell said...


I am right there with you on not dealing with stress too well. For me I am unable to actually eat. I try to swallow food and literally throw it up or gag.

I've also had some Blue Periods in my life. I tried medication once for a month, I wasn't a fan. I think talk therapy and biofeedback probably do a lot more for people in a lot of [even most] situations.

As far as PCOS and GERD. I don't have any first-hand experience. But as I was reading your entry and then reading up on PCOS I found it interesting that missed or irregular menses was a big symptom. I wouldn't let it stress you out that you are irregular. I have always been irregular (ALWAYS), maybe 3-4 menses a year, and I have four (yes, 4!!!) children! In fact, I think I ovulate more than once a month, which is another phenomenon the medical community is recognizing.

A lot of things can contribute to this, like you mentioned, grad school, moving, life changes, getting married! All huge deals that could, and do, toy with your body.

Is there a definitive test for PCOS? From what I've read there doesn't seem to be.

When it comes to GERD I would see a Naturopathic Doctor, in my experience they have the best approach to this.

It seems like watching your stress, insulin levels and weight would all be pivotal with each of these separate health problems. Easier said than done, I know.

I will think good thoughts for you, as well as say prayers, especially on the PCOS front. I'm sure you'll have your darling babies soon enough. On another note, being pregnant will make you wish for the GERD you have now as opposed to the GERD you're liable to get then! It's wretched!

Debra said...

GERD was suggested as a possiblity (I never thought I actually had it, but figured I wouldn't rule it out). If I did have it, what I was taking should've helped it, so it appears as though I don't have that. Well, that's one less thing to worry about.

And there is not a definitive test for PCOS. It's more of a conclusion they come to based on a list of symptoms.

And thank you everyone!

Travis and Jenny Holloway said...

When I had mono, I went through an array of symptoms--vomitting, strep-like throat, dehydration--that ended in a constantly itchy, whole body rash. It itched so much that it woke me/kept me up at nights, and caused lots of moaning and crying. At one point I asked Travis "Can't I just scrape my skin off?" I thought I was going to die (irrational, but true). Also, I struggled through somewhat severe OCD for 10+ years. Several times I was destraugt, thinking I would never get over it. But, after finally stumbling upon an effective medication, my OCD is now practically non-existent. So, my words of comfort are--YOU CAN MAKE IT THROUGH THIS! You WILL Survive! I know its hard, and painful, and incredibly disheartening and frustrating, and the end doesn't appear to be in sight, but the end will come. Our hearts are with you and we will definitely keep you in our prayers. Love, Jenny