Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Journey Back To Health: A Rocky Start

We left off with me waiting on results from the RE, which I expected to get on Saturday, but did not.

I patiently waited until Monday morning, when I called the office again. The doctor was in with a patient. I left a message and waited. When I still hadn't heard anything by 4:30, I called again and asked what time I should be hearing back from the doctor. I was informed that she had patients until 5 and to expect a call shortly after. Well, I got busy with the kids. That's a hard time of day.

I looked at the clock. It was almost 7 and I still hadn't received a call. So I called back and got the answering service. I explained the situation. I was told, quite abruptly that the doctor had gone home for the day and I would be getting a call back first thing in the morning. At this point, I was close to tears. I'm in quite a bit of discomfort from this cyst and I thought I'd be starting Provera on Saturday. Now it is Monday night. I calmly told the girl that I was in a lot of discomfort and I really needed to talk to my doctor. That was met by silence. And then she hung up on me. I was so mad. I decided it wasn't worth my effort to call back right then. I was fuming and I didn't want to say something I would regret.  I had to put the kids to bed, anyway.

So, "first thing this morning" came and went. The office opens at 7.  Shortly after 9, I called the office and explained my situation. Of course, today is my doctor's day off. So the nurse put the doctor who was there today on the phone. I explained everything to him. He put me on hold while he looked over my chart and the notes my doctor had made. He said he felt comfortable telling me to stop the birth control pills. He is calling in a prescription for Provera and I am to call back on cycle day 1 to check the size of the cyst.

While I was writing this, my doctor called me. She was in her car on her way to run errands, since it is her day off. We spoke for nearly half an hour about our game plan. It is pretty much what the other doctor had suggested. I am very happy that both doctors are on the same page. I also like that the other doctor stepped up and took the time to review my chart to make sure I got some answers. And the fact that my doctor called me on her day off is very comforting. She was stuck in an emergency surgery until pretty late last night. She apologized profusely, and I could tell she was genuinely concerned about not being able to reach me.

I am still waiting for the results from my gastroenterologist too. He said I should have the results in about a week, so I'll call tomorrow if I don't hear anything today.

Through all of this, I am trying to manage my thoughts. I know God is in control of all of this. I just need to remind myself of that. Often.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Journey Back To Health: Be Your Own Advocate

I shared this on my Facebook page,  but I thought this might be a better forum. I can share my progress and  keep everyone updated who is interested without subjecting those who are not to the nitty gritty details.

As many of you know,  I have been struggling with my health for quite some time. It is only recently that I have started down the road that will give me the answers I am seeking. The doctors I had been seeing were providing me no answers, so I decided it was time to get some second opinions. The incompetence, ignorance and general apathy about my concerns from my doctors is absolutely astounding.

My mother has celiac disease. Since it is hereditary and I am recently exhibiting some symptoms, I decided to pursue it further. Her gastroenterologist recommended my sister and I get tested, since it is hereditary and sometimes can be "invisible." So right after her diagnosis (this is going back a few years now), I went to my primary doctor and saw one of his partners to inquire about the blood test to determine if I had or was at risk for Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. After much coaxing and arguing, I finally convinced her to run the test- which she told me came back negative.

Fast forward to Wednesday, October 30,  when I met with a gastroenterologist.  He requested my medical records before my visit, and lo and behold there is no record of any testing related to celiac disease or gluten intolerance in my history.  So for the past few years, I have been living under the assumption that I do not have a problem with gluten when in reality, we just don't know. It appears as if she never ran the test. I say "it appears" as if that because there are no records of it. I have no proof that she said she was going to test me, other than my word. So there isn't much I can do about it now. My new doctor ordered a series of tests, the results of which should be in sometime this week.

I also decided it was time to go back to the reproductive endocrinologist (RE). My PCOS symptoms are completely out of control. My regular OBGYN seems to think there is no problem with me having 57-69 day cycles, even when I am on birth control pills, despite my pleas to run some tests because I feel something isn't right. So on top of the plethora of tests she is running (thyroid, prolactin, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, as well as tests for possible insulin resistance), she did an ultrasound where it was discovered I have a cyst on my right ovary about the size of a small clementine. I am working closely with the RE to prevent it from growing any further and hopefully get it to go away completely.

To say I am frustrated by the incompetence of both my primary doctor and my OB is an understatement, but I can't be dwelling on that right now.  I need to focus on working with these two specialists (and probably a nutritionist) to get my health back in order.

I share this with you to encourage you to be your own advocate for your health. Doctors are not perfect. Follow your intuition. Know your body, and don't stop looking for answers until you find out what you need to know. I've known for months something wasn't right, but I couldn't find a doctor to listen to me. Now I have 2 wonderful doctors who are working with me to find the answers I need. Words cannot express how much I needed to hear "You absolutely have every right to be concerned, and we will get to the bottom of this." after hearing "You're fine." "It's normal." "Don't worry so much." and so on and so forth.

Thank you for all the prayers and support. I will update as I find more things out! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

From the beginning of the journey...

I can’t put my finger on exactly when I started my journey to lose weight, but I can tell you I was concerned about my weight from a very young age. 12 or 13 maybe. I was “husky”. I felt overweight. When I entered high school, I started exercising and eating better. I lost 15-20 lbs in my freshman year. During my sophomore year of high school, I weighed 126 lbs, at 5’1 and looked (and felt) fantastic.
My friends Terra, Diana, and me the summer in between my sophomore and junior year in high school.

Back then, I walked everywhere. I walked to and from school. My friends and I walked to and from each other’s houses, sometimes miles apart. We were all in pretty good shape. . I was able to keep my weight in control, but I was very aware of my propensity to overeat and how easy it would be for me to put the weight I lost back on.  

Then I got my license. And a car. And suddenly, the walks we used to take became less frequent until they all but disappeared. And slowly, the weight crept on. By the time I graduated high school, I was about 150 lbs. And I felt it. I felt heavy and gross. I attempted to lose weight, but it never stuck. Friends and I attempted to join a gym, but we never went. I wasted so much money on that stupid gym.  I kind of gave up after that. I stopped paying attention to my weight, but I always felt fat.

When I got engaged in 2006, I decided I wanted to do something to lose weight for the wedding. A friend of mine (one of my bridesmaids) and I started trying to eat better and tried to get to the gym on campus a few times a week. But that didn’t last long. We were on a college campus and it was next to impossible to lose the weight with all the temptations of the campus dining hall and the lack of free time.

When I got married in 2007, I was disappointed I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to. I felt angry at myself, but it was what it was. I found a beautiful dress that flattered my plus-sized figure and I felt like a princess, despite my size. 
My wedding day. June 12, 2007

In 2009, my husband and I decided we wanted to start trying for a baby. I also was diagnosed with PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, which “is a common hormonal disorder in women that with interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries, or ovulation. It is the most common cause of infertility among women. PCOS occurs when a woman's body overproduces sex hormones, called androgens. The hormone imbalance prevents fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries from breaking open and releasing mature eggs. The fluid-filled sacs bunch together, causing many tiny cysts. Symptoms of PCOS include missed periods, abnormal facial and body hair growth, acne, and weight gain. PCOS may run in families.” (WebMD)

Aha! That was part of the reason why it was so hard for me to lose weight! I’m not blaming all my weight gain or inability to lose weight on the PCOS, but suddenly I had some clarity. It wasn’t all my fault. Of course, my behavior had a lot to do with it- my frustration about not being able to lose weight fueled my emotional desire to eat, which compounded my weight problem. It was a vicious cycle.

It was at that time that another friend of mine joined Weight Watchers and asked me if I wanted to join. I had done Weight Watchers online a few times in college, without much success, so I was hesitant. But I desperately wanted to lose weight because I knew it would be easier for me to conceive if I wasn’t so heavy. So in September 2009, I joined Weight Watchers and found Val, my leader. 
Doing a reading at the wedding of my friends Amanda & Will July 2009

From September 2009 until I got pregnant in February 2010, I faithfully attended my meeting. I had some success, but I also had to swallow the hard pill that fertility treatments and hormone imbalances can make it hard to lose weight. But I didn’t give up. I was frustrated, but I kept on going. I may not have lost a lot, I may have gained some, but I didn’t give up. I wish I had the records from that time, but my weight watchers tracker reset once I restarted after my return following the birth of my children.

Once I got pregnant, I had to stop officially working the Weight Watchers program, but the things I learned about healthy eating and exercise stayed with me. I followed the healthy guidelines and watched what I ate. I developed gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, which isn’t surprising given the fact I was carrying triplets. I am convinced that the knowledge I gained during my time at Weight Watchers before I got pregnant helped me control my diabetes. I was blessed to be able to control it through diet and monitoring of my blood sugar.  I gained only 17 lbs during my pregnancy (although I gained almost 20 with the fertility treatments). When I delivered, I was below my pre-pregnancy weight.  

 In September of 2010, I was cleared by my doctor to start Weight Watchers again, although with serious restrictions on my activity. My official Weight Watchers start weight this go around was 158, but my “real” start weight is 180. I was able to lose 22 lbs between giving birth to my babies and getting clearance to start the program. 
Holding my son in the NICU. September 22, 2010

The last 2 1/2 years have been a struggle to lose weight, even with the program. I have lost another 11.4 lbs in the past 2 1/2years, for a total of 33.4 lbs. It sounds so little when I write it like that, but that is the truth of it. I could choose to get frustrated at my lack of progress or I can accept it and aim to do better.

While I may have only lost 11.4 lbs, my body is completely different now than before. I am almost the exact weight (give or take 5 lbs) as I was when I got married in 2007. I wore a size 14 pants then. Now I wear a 6 or an 8. I am physically stronger. 
My son and me again, July 10, 2013

I had to wait a long 18 months after having my babies before being cleared to start exercising again. I need to remember that when looking at my progress (or lack thereof). Once I was able to start exercising, I noticed changes. Not in my weight loss, but in my body- this, in my opinion, is more important.
More than my body changing, my mind has changed. My brain is different than it was when I started.  Surprisingly, I am not upset about my lack of progress. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I am a little disappointed in it, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wouldn’t trade my journey to be at goal right now. 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

My journey is one of those trials. I have learned so much over the last 2 ½ years. I can’t even begin to describe it. I am not the same person anymore. I have found my voice.

I don’t know how much longer it will take me to get to goal, but I’m not in a rush. It will happen in God’s time. When I have learned enough, I will get there. I know even once I am there, I will continue to learn. We never stop learning. About our bodies, about our journeys, about life. 

I am currently working with my doctors to get my PCOS symptoms under better control. I am working with my Weight Watcher leader and my meeting room to keep my head under control, to have realistic expectations and to be kind to myself during this transitional time. 
I hope you join me on the rest of this journey of mine. And I hope this helps you in your journey too, wherever that journey is taking you.

God bless. 

Heading in a new direction...

Something clicked with me yesterday at my Weight Watcher’s meeting and I felt called to share part of my weight loss journey with you, as well as a few other stories that are still floating around in my head and will likely make their ways to your computer screens soon. Since I started this blog with my Journey to Motherhood, I think it is fitting for me to start this series of posts with my Weight Loss journey- where it started, how I got where I am now, and some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Some of those lessons I will delve into more deeply in posts to follow. If there is something you want to know about my journey, send me an e-mail or a comment and I will be happy to respond. I hope you are blessed by my thoughts.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

So, when are you going to have more kids?

I know it has been a long time since I've posted. I guess I just didn't feel the need to share anything during that time. But lately, something has been on my heart and mind and I have to share it.

My triplets are almost 3. It boggles my mind how fast and slowly those 3 years have gone by (okay, 2 years 9 months, but still). I am constantly bombarded with questions about my plans for future children. And I know people don't mean anything by it... but please, take a minute and read this and maybe you'll see why it bothers me.

I know most of you don't think twice before asking a newlywed "So, when are you going to start a family?" (Which I hate because it implies that you and your husband are not a family, but that is another post). And when people ask a mom "When are you going to have another?" 

I mean this with all due respect. IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. No ones.  I do not mean to be rude, but I can't stand when people feel it is their right to know about another person's plans for children. I get "You're done right, I mean- 3 and done."  And I get "When do you plan to have more? You don't want them too far apart in age!" ( For the record, there is no perfect age difference, and whatever God plans is perfect.)

I hear "You won't have any trouble conceiving again. Once your body has been pregnant, it knows what to do. Don't worry about it." While I do know several women who have been told they would never be able to conceive in their own that have had that miracle happen (some of whom have never had a pregnancy previously either- so the body memory wouldn't apply) , I also know several who have one child and are trying desperately for another. It's not that easy. And it is very presumptuous as well as thoughtless to say this to someone who has struggled with fertility issues.

Think before you speak. You do not know what another person is going through and to ask anyone other than a very close friend such an intimate detail is invasive. For many women (myself included) it is not just "Oh, lets try for another." And after a few months of trying, here comes the bundle of joy. Even just the question can bring about unpleasant feelings. I have no immediate plans of expanding my family. Yet, when I get a question like that- it stings. It reminds me of everything I went through to get pregnant, to carry my pregnancy somewhat close to term, and the world of the NICU. You don't know what you will be stirring up by asking a seemingly innocent question. All I ask is that you think before you speak.

If the answer to any of the questions is "no", maybe you shouldn't say it. Or ask it.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Not Just Another Hat


The list could go on and on. What else would you add to this list of all the things we do? As women, we wear many hats. Most of us are unusually adept at multitasking, meaning we juggle many hats at once.

Unfortunately, we tend to think of "child of God" as just another hat we wear. But that, my dear friend, is a grave mistake. You see, "child of God" is not just another hat, but it is what we are supposed to hang all our other hats on. It is the foundation of our very identity.

Our identity is not found in how wonderful of a homemaker we may be (or may not be). It isn't in how well behaved our children are (or aren't.) It isn't in how well we juggle every responsibility we have. It is in how much our Heavenly Father loves us- and what He was willing to sacrifice in order to reconcile us to Him.

When we recognize who we were before He saved us, when we recognize what price He paid to give us the gift of Grace- it is easier to remember what our foundation really should be.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Not my will, but yours...

I was thinking tonight about all the things I have missed out on because of having triplets. Don't get me wrong- I love my kids, and I wouldn't trade them for the world. But there are times when I find myself longing and grieving for the things I missed out on. Like a full-term pregnancy, being able to bring your baby home with you from the hospital, etc. Things most expectant moms take for granted.

I also realized tonight that I may never be pregnant again. I may never have a new baby in house. I may never get to do that again. And part of me is glad about some of what that means. I mean, who really looks forward to those sleepless nights? And the vain part of me is really proud of being so close to my weight loss goal. But there is another part of me that mourns that. 

I think it is the loss of expectation that bothers me the most. We expect things to go a certain way, and when they don't go as planned, we need to come up with another plan. But that doesn't mean we are happy about it. 

All this got me thinking about the verse in Luke, chapter 22.  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 

Jesus really does understand everything we go through. Alright, He never specifically had triplets and mourned the possibility of never having more children. If you think He doesn't understand the feelings behind that- you are wrong.

He didn't want to go through what He endured on the cross, and the journey to Calvary. Nobody would desire to go through that. But He put His will aside, and was obedient to God. 

This made me see Christ in a whole new light. It never had occurred to me that He didn't want to do it, but He did anyway. I wonder what the human side of Him desired. Marriage? Children, perhaps? A "normal" life? Yet, He sacrificed all of that because He loved us so much and was obedient to His father. 

It makes me want to obey Him more. It makes me wonder why I'm not living the way I should. It puts the lost expectations into perspective. It still hurts, but if the purpose of this life is to become more like Jesus- than maybe a little hurting is necessary. He hurt an awful lot for us; it seems wrong that we refuse to be even just a little uncomfortable for Him. 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into trials of many kinds, because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it's work, so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

God allows uncomfortable situations to come into our lives, not to hurt us Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" but to give us the opportunity for our faith to grow. 

And I have to accept that. I may not like what He has planned. I may want something different for myself and for my family. But I also know that He knows best. In short- I am trying to live out that verse in Luke. "Not my will, but yours, be done."