I went to a gynecologist this week for the first time since I had my daughter 8 1/2 years ago. Yes, you read that correctly: I have not had the lady parts dusted off and properly looked at in nearly a decade. Don’t judge me. Health care is incredibly expensive and the last time I saw a doctor of any kind, it was to evaluate my sleeping issues and diagnose myself with Narcolepsy about 5 years ago.
I have my issues with the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare) but I won’t deny that it was really nice to be able to afford to go to the doctor, get my yearly exam and talk with an actual doctor about my health concerns. More importantly, it’s now set me on a path to try to correct some issues and get me in better health.
Everyone who doesn’t want to read about my menstrual cycle should probably turn away now. Here’s a cute post about my cats instead. But if you are suffering from some lady issues yourself, are morbidly curious, or are just bored and want to know… keep reading.
I got my period kind of early – like, at the age of 9. Yes, I know. Yikes. It’s crazy to think that I have had my period for 20 years. At 15, I lost my virginity and in a strange bout of coincidence, I started having serious problems with late periods. I thought I was pregnant, had to confess as such to my Mother and she took me to see a gynecologist for the first time. I was diagnosed with PCOS at that appointment based on the severity of my periods, the amount of time that often lapsed between them and the excruciating pain that would keep me out of school for days.
I was told that I may have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a child to term because by the time I would reach what was considered appropriate child-bearing age, I may encounter more issues with the PCOS – especially if left untreated. Then I very easily got pregnant with my daughter at the age of 20 without any fertility drugs. By then, my cycle was relatively normal – some hiccups along the way, but mostly normal.
After I had my daughter, the military doctors were all suggesting that I go on birth control right away! I mean, they really pushed it pretty hard. I remember consenting to Depo Provera (aka “the shot”) during a moment of weakness and exhaustion just to get them to leave me alone so I could enjoy my family. Big mistake. I’ve been a mess since and after doing a lot of research, I suspect that I had negative reactions to it like many other women have.
The Here and Now
Fast forward to now. I haven’t had my period in just shy of a year. The last time that I did, it was very heavy and I could barely keep control of it during my times at work. That’s not even the worst of it. I went to the hospital twice last year because I had a sudden onset of pain so terrible that I’d have rather been in labor with a 10 pound baby. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t think straight and I can only remember telling Jeremy that I needed to go to the hospital… NOW.
The most recent time I was told that it sounded like I may have been experiencing a rupturing cyst which was then confirmed via ultrasound. Both ovaries had some cysts on them, but the left one in particular was in pretty bad shape. The pain was so bad because it had larger cysts on it and they suspect a large one must have ruptured. I was still in severe pain and so I was put in a room and given morphine to help with the pain (horrible stuff by the way).
I went to see a gynecologist after discovering that just because I receive so much aid for my health insurance, didn’t mean that I would be forced to go somewhere dingy and skeezy. It was time. I have the health insurance and I can finally afford it, plus the co-pays required in order to go.
I brought up all of my concerns with my doctor: The ruptured cysts, the length of time between my periods, and my excessive weight gain. He seemed a little skeptical of most of it. He didn’t seem to believe that I have gain 80+ pounds in 2 years. I assured him that I had. I wish I’d thought to show him pictures, but there’s always next time.
He told me “Usually patients with PCOS do not encounter rupturing cysts…” and I told him “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor so I can only relay to you what I was told by other doctors.” I suggested that we get our hands on my medical records from the hospital I went to if at all possible.
He’s concerned about my weight. Yeah, so am I. It’s really bad. I have never been this heavy. The problem is that everything that could be wrong with me, is tied to something else. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance, which may be causing weight gain. Weight gain makes PCOS worse. My thyroid may be out of whack, which can cause weight gain and a hormonal imbalance. The trick will be to just fix all of them.
I was immediately prescribed Medroxyprogesterone Acetate. It’s basically a generic form of a female hormone pill. I’m to take it for 10 days and it should jump start my body and force me into having a period. I have been forewarned that it’ll probably be really bad. Fabulous.
I was sent home with an appointment to return in the morning for a blood test. It’s for testing my thyroid and to see how progressed my PCOS has become. Again, I’m obviously not a doctor, but I didn’t know PCOS was something you could blood test for. But good old WebMD says…
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to check for an overactive or underactive thyroid. Adrenal gland hormones, such as DHEA-S or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. An adrenal problem can cause symptoms much like PCOS. Glucose tolerance and insulin levels, which can show insulin resistance.
Now… We Wait.
I have taken 2 out of 10 days of the medication. I feel a little weepy already. I was already a big cry baby over ridiculous things. Campbell’s Soup commercials anyone? So I’m worried about what 10 days of female hormones are going to do to me emotionally.
I go back in 3 weeks to get the results of my tests. The theory is that 3 weeks will give me enough time to take the medication, start and finish a period before returning. My body hates me so I’m not holding my breath on that one.
I’m really glad that I finally went. The co-pay was all of $15 and my medication was a laughable $2.41 so I’m totally not complaining. Hopefully anything else I need stays within range of what I can afford.
When was the last time you got your checkups ladies!?