It’s November 2015. I’m on a island resort off the coast of Phuket, Thailand. I’m getting a thai massage and experiencing an epiphany of sorts. In that moment I knew I wanted to start a blog and share all that I had learned. I hurt for the others that were/are going through similar experiences. To go un-diagnosed for years. To be told that the “disease” is in the mind and made up. I had a very real problem, one that went undetected for years until I found THE doctor that I credit with saving me and my quality of life.
In December of 2014 I was back in my hometown for Christmas. After complaining about my periods and constant fatigue (which were becoming more and more severe) to my mom she scheduled an appointment with the doctor that diagnosed me with mono. Overall, my symptoms had worsened and my menstrual cycle was out of control. I was missing work from the pain, the heavy flow and extreme vertigo. At this point, I was feeling hopeless. I remember telling my mom that it didn’t matter if I went, no one could help me or find anything wrong. This appointment was the best thing I could have done! For the first time out of all the doctor appointments over the years, this doctor suggested I see an endocrinologist. I asked a coworker who had experienced similar menstrual issues and she suggested her reproductive endocrinologist who was one of the best in the Midwest! Very long story short (because I want to write an entire post on this topic alone), I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and pre diabetes. Oh. My. Gosh. At first, most people would be upset, sad, angry… right? For me, I felt relief. I felt as if a huge burden was taken off my shoulders. Everyone approached me with caution for fear that I would break down. But it was quite the opposite in those early months. I had known for 12 years. 12 YEARS that something was seriously wrong with my menstrual cycle. To finally have a name to what I was battling… it was an out of this world feeling. I could now put together a game plan to help myself live with this disease. Wow, what a feeling! So what did I do first? Well I listened to the doctor and did the following:
- I started taking birth control because you know, I didn’t much like the searing jolts of pain in my lower gut every few weeks
- I also started taking metformin to help stabilize my blood sugar
I was told I would live with this forever and that it couldn’t be cured. That I should continue to take my meds to help alleviate the symptoms. That I would be on them for the rest of my life. But I’ve never been one to settle. So I decided to look at how I could totally transform my lifestyle to see if I could cure myself. Little did I know I was starting the battle of all battles. I read every article I could get my hands on. I asked my coworker (who led me to this wonderful reproductive endocrinologist and also had PCOS) about a billion questions and I started to really sit back and analyze the environment I had created for myself. Looking back at the last 2.5 years I’ve changed almost every aspect of my lifestyle and I CAN’T WAIT to share every little detail with those of you that also suffer from PCOS. There are some great nuggets of knowledge that have helped me reduce and nearly eliminate the majority of my symptoms. Anyway back to 2015…
By the fall of 2015, I had started a new role with the same company and well… it was stressful and the hours were long. Despite taking metformin, my blood sugar was totally out of control most days and I was developing new symptoms.
- Night sweats (and not the mild kind… the waking up a couple times a night to actually change my night shirt because I was totally drenched… like not a single dry part of my shirt and had to sleep on a towel because my sheets would often times be soaked as well)
- Blurry vision
- Getting up multiple times a night to go to the bathroom (in addition to changing my shirt)
- Heart palpitations
I was so confused at what was happening but I was totally distracted by my new job (that I loved) and I was zeroed in on my trip to India/Thailand later in the fall. I dismissed these symptoms and carried on like nothing was wrong.
To prepare for my trip, I received multiple vaccinations in October. On the first trip, I received 4 shots total, 2 in each arm. A month later I returned to get the second round. I also took an oral vaccination for Typhoid and the beloved Malarone to ward off Malaria. Why am I telling you this? Well later on a couple of my healthcare providers shared with me that all of those vaccines likely helped to weaken my immune system, putting me even further into a hole. I know everyone is on one side or the other of this debate and I’m not here to argue. Just sharing MY personal experiences.
Spice and Tea Plantations in Munnar, Kerala, India
Elephant Nature Park outside Chiang Mai, Thailand
In November, I spent 2.5 weeks traveling all over India and Thailand (see pictures above) and had the time. of. my. life! I had a spiritual awakening of sorts as we rode around on tuk tuks in the ancient Western Ghats, visited the beautifully designed temples in Chiang Mai and loved on the rescued elephants at a sanctuary. It was a great experience until the morning after Thanksgiving (day 16 of 19). I woke up feeling like I had run a marathon and been hit by a bus. Despite the fact that we had only hiked through the jungle for a few hours the day before. I thought I was dehydrated but as the day progressed I declined rapidly! Like sooo many other things, I want to dedicate an entire post to this topic including my first and so far only experience in a foreign hospital, the kindness of strangers and how just one bite from a pesky mosquito can cause quite the mess. I returned home after several flights that I have little memory of and was nestled up in my bed that I dearly missed. I woke up 18 hours later… missed my early morning doctor appointment, work and multiple calls/texts from my manager, my mom and my coworkers. I was delirious and didn’t have a care in the world. VERY long story short, 1 month later I was diagnosed with Dengue Fever. If you know anything about the virus, you know that it has a lovely nickname of “breakbone fever” and has 4 strains. While it couldn’t be confirmed which strain I had been infected with, the symptoms I experienced it was likely the 3rd strain. Very nasty little guy. This started the ultimate overhaul of my lifestyle. This led me down the “holy crap, am I ever going to recover” road. Come back soon for Act 4 which will cover multiple new discoveries, new diagnoses, new treatments, road trips and an ARMY of healthcare providers that helped me partly recover in 2016! I wish you health and peace!
Disclaimer: The content of this site is purely my opinion and personal experience. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. Nothing in this post and/or site is mean to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent disease. You should consult with your medical doctor or qualified licensed healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime.