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Warning: Challenges ahead

This year has brought me some interesting challenges to my life.  More than likely life long challenges.  Knowing the name of these challenges though, gives me that Oh, that makes sense kind of thought.  All at the same time, giving me that, Ugh, I really have to do something about this type of feeling.

I’ve debated coming right out with it, mostly because it feels like a private matter.  But what if there is someone out there struggling with this same thing, and I could somehow help, by helping them feel included  not so alone?

Two weeks ago, today, after blood tests to eliminate other illnesses, and an ultrasound to confirm the most likely, I was diagnosed told that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  “Diagnosed” is such a loaded word.  It’s so final, like I’m terminal.  At least that is how it makes me feel.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a disease of the endocrine system.  The symptoms include cysts on the ovaries, among many other symptoms and possible issues from severe hormone imbalance to the possibility to cancer in the future (if not treated).  Most women with PCOS are over-weight to obese due to these lovely imbalanced hormones, but not only that, PCOS makes it harder for a woman to lose weight.  Some women are under weight and have a difficult time gaining to a healthy weight.  But most all of these women suffer from infertility and irregular menstrual cycles.  Like I said, it explains a lot.  For a full list of symptoms go here.  For a full list of complications if left untreated, go here.

Treatment:

Everything Most information I read about PCOS states that it cannot be cured or healed.  It is just something I’m going to have to deal with for my entire life.  However, I have scoured the intenet for information on PCOS, and while there is still so much more to learn about it, I have found at least 2 cases where the woman shows no signs or symptoms of the condition, along with being able to have children after “healing” her body naturally.  They achieved this by getting to a healthy body weight naturally through diet and exercise.  A very clean diet I might add, eliminating all animal products and processed foods from their diets.  Other than that, I have not heard of a cure.

It isn’t or wasn’t a surprise for me that the doctor immediately wanted to get me on medication.  One of those medications was much needed to help regulate my cycles.  I accepted that, and will be on that medication for a few more months.  But what didn’t sit well with me, was that the ONLY treatment option that my doctor came up for me, was to put me on another medication, one without a sign of ever getting off of it.  I’m not against medication when it is really needed, but I personally believe that a long-term prescription to any medication is really just treating the symptom and not root cause, and ultimately keeping the person sick.  So, that is a last resort for me.  When I told her that I wanted to treat my PCOS naturally, she blinked at me, fumbled around mentally and said, “Okay, cut back on starches and dairy….but eat yogurt.”  That. Was. It.  What kind of wellness plan is that?

Disappointing.

One thing going for me is the education on health that I have gained over the last handful of years about diet and exercise.  I have learned a lot about what works for my body, and I have come to the conclusion that I CAN heal this condition through a careful change in my lifestyle.  These changes won’t be easy.  I’ve found great success when I have done these changes for a few months, but it is hard to maintain, because it costs more money, and takes more effort and time.  Heh.  There is a naturopathic doctor that I plan on seeing, but our insurance doesn’t cover it, so I want to save up for it.  In the meantime, I’m coming up with my own plan.

I am arming myself with education on nutrition.  Real nutrition.  Not the idea of nutrition taught in schools, or what people generally assume to be nutrition.  I’m digging deep into what we eat today on average, compared to what was eaten 100 years ago.  I have a handful of books on my reading list to get me started with a plan.

I have a diet and progress tracking journal that I have started, and I love it.  Its and ARC notebook from Staples.
It is totally awesome.

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A picture of me on front showing when I was much healthier for positive focus. I plan on adding more pictures.

In this journal, I am planning meals, journaling about my day, week, month…about things that I try out that fail, or things that work.

My calender tracking my goals, a week long menu, and my journal of my progress.

My calender tracking my goals, a week long menu, and my journal of my progress.

I’m even writing down the things that keep me from succeeding.  There are many things I am finding that happen that have me reverting back to old habits.  These I track in order to learn how to see them coming and prevent and prepare for them.  I am also making monthly goals that I am writing down and tracking on a calender in my journal.  So far, it is working wonderfully for me.  I look forward to learning more about myself through this journey!

My attitude is as such, that I am ready to make the life changes that I need to in order to provide my body with the healing tools that it needs.

MY CURRENT READING LIST
Original Fast Foods by James and Colleen Simmons (currently reading)

See also website

Eat to Live by Joel Fhrman, M.D.

The 80/10/10 Diet by Dr. Douglas N. Graham

MY HEALTH DOCUMENTARY LIST
Hungry for Change
Food Matters
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
Food Inc.