August 24, 2010

Birth Control Hell!

I wanted to post a quickie about my birth control, the Depo-Provera birth control shot, and how that may also be affecting my hormonal balance and causing me to gain weight. On top of a potential thyroid problem, I have also been on the Depo shot since a few months before I got married in 2008. So I've been on it for a little over 2 years now.
I started it because, after doing some research about birth control options, I saw that the Depo shot is more effective in preventing pregnancy, and it's so convenient because the shot lasts for 3 entire months, so you only need 4 shots in a year. My insurance also pays for some of it, but not all, so it is about $40 out-of-pocket for me each time. But I loved the convenience of not having to remember to take a daily pill (I'm not a good pill swallower anyway), and I loved the promise of it preventing pregnancy even better than the Pill.
So I've loved the Depo shot until I realized that, instead of slowly losing weight as I watch calories and exercise, that I've actually slowing been gaining weight. It's been happening so slow that I almost didn't notice until some of my pants and shirts are actually fitting tighter than they should! I couldn't believe it!
So only then did I go back online and do more research about the Depo shot. I found a "consumer report" website where women who had tried the shot wrote about their experiences. And most of them were not good experiences!
Most women bemoaned that the Depo shot had caused significant weight gain (like over 20 pounds), and most of them said that it messed up their hormones so badly that they were behaving like different, crazy women.
This was bad enough, but then they said that on average, it took several months to a year for their bodies to get fully back to normal, and their hormones were out of whack for that entire time.
Shocking! It takes lots of women almost a year to "come down" off of the Depo shot?!? Now I wish I had read these comments before I had decided to take Depo! I think these negatives would have outweighed the convenience factor!
I was truly shocked how most of the women had nothing good to say about the Depo shot, and they were in fact warning other women not to get on it!
Do any of you have thoughts about which birth control pills or methods are better than others? Have you had a great experience? A horrible one? Let me know!
I'd love to find a brand of the Pill that doesn't negatively effect my body or my hormones!

Thyroid Issues?

Hi all,
I'm so sorry that it's been so long since I've posted. I've been dealing with some health issues, and here's the deal: I strongly believe that I may have a thyroid issue, particularly hypothyroidism.
The thyroid is a gland in the front and sides of your neck, under your chin. It produces several different hormones, which regulate such things as blood sugar and metabolism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include (among others): fatigue, low energy, high blood pressure, inability to lose weight, inability to gain physical endurance and stamina, shallow breathing, bodily aches and pains, and feeling "low" or "down" inexplicably.

These symptoms describe me completely! I have been working out by lifting weights about 4 days a week, and running a few days a week, with absolutely no weight loss and no muscle definition at all. How utterly frustrating! That's why I finally got my rear in gear and made an appointment with an endocrinologist to get my thyroid hormones checked out.

I went to an allergist, thinking my fatigue might be a food allergy or intolerance, so he tested me for several of the most common food and seasonal allergies, which all came up negative. He told me that I never need to come back to see him again. So I don't have any allergies, which is a good thing!

After talking with the allergist, he said that in his professional opinion, my symptoms sound like a thyroid disorder, or an auto-immune problem.

So I'm going to get my thyroid tested, and if that comes back normal, then I'll go see a rhuematologist, a doctor who deals with inflammation and auto-immune disorders, who I've also already been referred to.

If the thyroid comes back normal, that could actually be a very bad thing, because then it means that I most likely have an auto-immune disorder, which include disorders like rhuematoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia. These are disorders in which your body begins attacking healthy cells & tissues, mistaking it for a foreign "enemy". Of course, our bodies are made to attack diseased cells and destroy them, but it's a big problem when your body starts attacking healthy cells!

So with all these potential issues looming, and still being completely in the dark as to what is wrong with me, I have been wrestling with feelings of disappointment, anger, and defeat.

I've been watching what I eat and working my butt off (if only!) for almost 2 whole years now, and I currently weigh 177 pounds, the heaviest I've ever been. Um, where are all those muscles from all that weight lifting? Nonexistent!

So I keep asking myself: why on earth did I wait this long to make an appointment with a doctor who might have the answers?

Well, there's 2 main reasons: First, my general doctor (who's been my doctor since before I was born) has been blowing me off, not really listening to me, and telling me that (because my basic blood work came back normal) I was completely normal and there's nothing wrong with me. He has basically closed the book on me and refused to follow up any further with any of my symptoms. So for a long time, I tried to believe him and force myself to believe that there was really nothing wrong with me. But these mind tricks did not work. I could not force myself to "feel better" simply because I wanted to.

The other reason I waited so long to get real help was because it's supposed to take a long time get into shape and transform your body! I've read about countless "success" stories of women who lost a lot of weight, and it generally takes anywhere from several months to about 2 years. So I expected it to take at least a year. Then, after a year had come and gone, I kept at it and told myself that I must not be cutting out enough calories, or must still be eating out too often.

So it was only in the last few months that I realized that I may have a legitimate, medical reason for my inability to lose weight and get in shape.

So here I am, desperately sticking with the workouts, anxiously awaiting September 28th, the date of my endocrinologist appointment. It's also my 2 year anniversary to my wonderful husband, Eric! Check back here for an update after that! Hopefully I'll have some good news to tell y'all!