Friday, May 24, 2013
My Premature Ovarian Failure journey
Well, here we go....
I am 33 yrs old and received this diagnosis prior to my 33rd birthday.
I spent most of my 20's trying not to get pregnant... and that is the irony of it all! Birth control pills, Depo, condoms, etc.... I knew I did not want a child to get in the way of my education and career. I had an IUD for five years and truth be told, had lots of problems with it such as crazy cramping, spotting most of the time, irregular periods, you name it! Prior to the IUD, I had very regular but short periods and very mild cramping. I trully feel that the IUD had to do with my condition; I think it overworked my system. However, there are no studies out there to prove this, so my claim would be deemed baseless.
Jan 2012-July 2012
I was going through a huge phase of life change that included getting married, changing employers to a less desirable one, and interstate relocation; this meant that everything else took a back burner. I started getting sporadic hot flushes in Jan 2012 and after the move in June, became really irritable and depressed (not clinically but I probably could have passed for that had I seen a professional). Everything in my life seemed in shambles and I was hanging on on a shoestring. I hated my new life, my job, my new area...etc etc...
Finally, in July, I decided to see an OBGYN for my annual pap as well as lab values to determine what the heck was going on. I was not ready for a baby and quite honestly, that was not in the plans. I thought I would wait another couple of years prior to baby.
After that visit, the doc called me a few days later informing me that she had bad news. My FSH was 72 which indicated that I was in early menopause. I was most likely never going to have a baby. I really do not think that sunk in for another few months. I wanted the IUD out ASAP as I felt it had something to do with it. Which she kindly obliged. I remember her looking at me with pity eyes when I went in to see her to discuss this "nonsense".
October 2012 - Dec 2012
The IUD came out within the next few weeks and a month later, my FSH was 50. I felt hopeful that is was on the decline but my doc insisted that I see a RE. At this point in time, hubs and I started using Dr. Google who informed us (through multiple blogs) that we were in deep trouble. The hot flashes and irritability raged with vengeance which really made for a terrible wife. Oh how I feel bad for him! He had to deal with a lot of irrational behavior and now that I think of it, I was on the brink of losing it.... lol. It came a time when we started questioning the meaning of our relationship as nothing was dealt with without temper tantrums or silent treatments that would last a week.
In all honesty, I think I was just mad at the world and mad at myself for being broken. For being this woman who is going to have to find another purporse in her life as being a mother might not be one. Then why the heck do I have these hips? Were they not to help me carry a child to term? My mother died when I was a little girl, and although my step-mom raised and provided for me, I never knew the true love and bond that comes from a mother. I always hoped that one day, I would be able to provide that unconditional love to my child.
We looked into accupuncture and I scheduled an appointment with a renown accupuncturist. She is so popular, that my appointment was a month and a half away. 2 weeks before my appointment, I received a letter from her clinic saying that she was retiring d/t medical reasons. This threw me off and I chose to ignore things. Basically, I did not see the RE I had been referred to and did not seek out another accupuncturist (well, I did call the ones this clinic had recommended but their schedule and locations were going to be a problem). We decided to try naturally but we were not consistent. Plus my ovulations were hit and miss. I was starting to miss my period. I had missed my period in December.
We returned home after spending a week with my family (x-mas) and I was sulky and unhappy the entire time. I am pretty sure my family noticed I was not happy and unfortunately attributed it to an unhappy relationship. They called to question this upon my return. I was dealing with a lot of shame for having this diagnosis and did not tell a soul. I know that I did not choose this diagnosis, but why am I so ashamed? Why is it still a deep dark secret that I cannot get myself to utter? This is where the self pity comes in of why me? But then again, if not me, who is it that deserves such an uncanny diagnosis? Which child-bearing female in a good marriage wants to take it from me so that I can be the happy one and they the sad one? Who wants to be the sacrificial lamb? I take no one..
I decided to take the accupuncture seriously and sought out a practitioner through my good ol friend google... oh my, it made me feel really calm and collected. My accupunctirist is Chinese; he advised that I stay away from bananas, ice cold drinks and citrus fruits. Did I say I love bananas? I used to eat one every morning... oh well, I can handle that sacrifice. He also recommended I start taking pre-natals and fish oil. He did not think I needed herbs - this I was disappointed about because the other practitioner was famous for combining acc and herbs. But he seemed hopeful with accupunture alone and sure enough, my period came back.
February 2013 - I was still getting periods, and ovulating. My FSH went down to a 5... yes, a freaking 5 from 50. Are you kidding me? Accupuncture, where have you been all my life? No hot flashes either! I was esctatic and hopeful! I started feeling like I can beat this thing. "I am calm, I love my marriage, I love the hubs, we get along so well, life is going much better and smoother"! However, I was not pregnant! I have to say, we were not actively trying, we thought that since I was not on contraceptives, things would just happen. lol. Yeah, I know. Very funny when you are in denial land!
March 2013 - I am still getting accupuncture. I am a calmer human being. I have achieved my zen and balance. I feel like I am a better partner and human being. I don't sweat small stuff. I have since started temping. No ovulation and just when I am expecting that O to happen, I get my period after 14 days.... what is going on?
I mention this to the accupunturist who brushes this off as one of those things. Something clicks in my head... others would call it reality striking: well lady, you need to go to the RE ASAP! I schedule a meeting with the RE center that I had been referred to last year. Part of me wants to hear that things are honky dory and I will get preggers, just need to keep trying coz we are not trying hard enough...lol.. yes, we can have sex even more often that we already are. At this time, hubs is feeling the pressure... I want him to perform all the time because we can't possibly miss any opportunity! no way! not on my watchful hawk eyes!
Finally, my appointment date is here. I can see the RE. She is an angel. She is patient and kind. She does not show how dire this situation is despite the fact that we both know it is. She vows to try what she knows. But we need to test first... I don't have anything else wrong with me, no fragile x, thyroid issues, blood sugar issues, nothing that would be causing this. I am happy about this. But that does not take away from the fact that I have POF... She chooses to call it POI coz it is more politically correct. I have always prided myself with the ability to deal with it when it comes, but I realize this is bigger than me and it is frustrating. The best I can do is try. I go home dispirited and discuss things with hubs; we vow to try till we cannot try anymore. I do have to say, I think God sent this angel I call hubs because He wanted me to have someone who is level headed in times like this. He is ever hopeful and rational. Sometimes to a fault but in this case, it is a major plus to have him by my side.
Everything else depends on the elusive period. My period comes after 48 days... yuck..Since my last FSH was a 5 in Feb, I am thinking it will be just as low. Nope, not at all. My stats look dismal. FSH is back to 50 and AMH is undetectable. I do have a couple of follicles on one side and one on the other. They are tiny follicles. My uterine linig is very thin at 3mm. My ovaries seem atrophied too, though not too bad. (How bad is not too bad I ask?). A dark cloud envelopes me; why have I been tolerating the weekly needles then? What am I doing wrong? Is this the beginning of a long, sad debacle? It is sinking in... and taking me down with it! I cannot let it! Someone save me!
The visit to the RE hits me harder than a gong! Oh my good Lord! I am in for it! I start thinking that this is my fate. My life was too good to be true anyways! I have a wonderful hubs, great job that I love, settled in, no stress, and life had to dole a cruel shocker to shake things up.
Yes, missy, people have it bad, and it is not fair for you to have it good... no way! You cannot be all happy and giggly inside when the rest of the world is in pain, dealing with new chronic diagnoses, parents losing children, children losing parents, people dealing with domestic violence, children dealing with abuse, failing marriages, people losing jobs and homes, people sleeping hungry..... the list goes on.... No! You don't get to be happy! It doesn't work like that.... Life is not a bed of roses, and if it is, you sure have the thorns now!