Medical Stuff, Part I

Today’s Happy Note: My run started out terribly and then miraculously turned wonderful!  Love when that happens.

I had 11 miles of speedwork on the schedule, which I was not looking forward to.  It consisted of:

2 miles warmup @ GP (goal pace=10:00/mile)

3×2 miles @ tempo pace (9:00 miles) with four minute easy jog between each

3 miles cooldown @ GP

My body felt so swollen (more about that later in the post) during the first two miles that I thought I was going to have to call it quits.  I was tight everywhere and could literally feel water weight all over my body.  It’s a strange feeling.  I am not sure if it has to do with my period/hormones, but I think it does.  I haven’t had a period in almost two months and I can tell that my body feels weird not having cleansed itself — something is up.

But the tempo repeats ended up feeling great.  I sometimes wish I had a garmin, only for speed workouts really, though.  I am guessing they were between 8:30-9:00 per mile pace.

Yesterday we just had an orientation for the yoga class, so I did not get to do any yoga, sadly.  I did lift weights for 40 minutes though, and my arms felt dead afterwards (in a good way!)

Medical Talk

A bit of background: I was diagnosed with PCOS 3.5 years ago.  Most women with PCOS are overweight and do not have periods.  This was not the case for me, so for a long time, no one could figure out what was wrong.  When I was diagnosed, by a very clever gynecologist who works with my mother, I was put on birth control.  Over the years I have been on yaz, yasmin, and, most recently, ocella.  My PCOS seemed to be under control with the BC.  I reached a roughly stable weight and maintained within a five pound range up until this summer.

In July, I was hospitalized with multiple massive pulmonary emboli in the main arteries of each of my lungs.  I was hospitalized for three days.  Here I am in my hospital room:

Part I of the hospital stay can be found here.

Part II here.

Hormonal birth control (or any other hormonal treatment) can serve as a risk factor for clotting (pulmonary embolism means clotting that occurs in the lungs, which is very dangerous because it can cause you to stop breathing).  Once you have a blood clot of any sort, you can never take birth control or other hormones again, unless you’re on some sort of suicidal mission.  This has obvious implications for sex, but that’s not what I want to talk about.  The problem for me is that the birth control was controlling my PCOS.  Now that I have been off of it for two months, my body’s hormonal and endocrine systems (which are related) are going haywire.  Literally haywire.

I had a really long appointment with the women’s doctor yesterday.  She was extremely nice and helpful and seems like the first doctor who has ever really taken the time to figure out what might be at the root of my hormonal/endocrine problems.

For one thing, I am gaining weight uncontrollably.  I am eating only a little bit more than I was pre-hospitalization, only now I am training for a marathon.  I am running 40-50 miles a week, in addition to strength training twice a week and yoga twice a week.  I am an active, healthy young woman.  There is no logical reason for me to be gaining weight and not having a period, among other things.

Our bodies have many, many hormones, not just estrogen and progesterone and testosterone.  Two of these other hormones are known as LSH and FH.  I don’t know precisely what my levels of these homrones are (or even should be), but I do know that their ratio is 1:1.  This is very bad.  A normal woman has a 1:3 ratio and someone with PCOS has an even higher ratio (e.g, 1:5 or 1:6).  A ratio of 1:1 is typically only seen in anorexic women or over-exercisers.  I suppose marathon training could count as overexercising, but I think she was referring to thin over-exercisers who have lost so much body fat that it screws up their hormones.

Sigh.

The only conclusion at this point is that I might not have PCOS, but may have an adrenal or endocrine disorder. I will have to see a specialist in hopes of figuring out what exactly might be going on.  I know my body quite well, and it has never been more clear to me that something is awry.  It was subtle at first, but has gotten worse over the last few weeks.  I am worried, but I feel comforted by this latest doctor, who was extraordinarily thorough and compassionate.  She saw me for over an hour.

I may need to try a medication called Metformin, which would help my insulin resistance.  As far as I can tell, the only other non-hormonal treatment for PCOS is a low-carb diet.  Have you ever tried eating low-carb while running 40 plus miles per week?  Not fun.

I am scared and confused.  I want this to be over with.  I have a million other things to deal with right now.  I wish my body just worked the way it was supposed to.

In addition to all of that, I just found out that my INR (measure of the effectiveness of the anti-clotting medication) is only 1.5.  This is bad.  Very bad.  This means that I will have to gt my blood drawn every three days until we figure out what the correct dosage of the Coumadin should be.

So basically my life is really fun right now!  Okay, so that was a little bit sarcastic.  I do have many things that bring me joy though, and I am going to list them for two reasons.  First, because this post has been a total downer and second, because I need to cheer myself up a little bit.  Happy Caronae=Healthy Caronae!

Things that bring me joy right now:

Fresh fall apples

Baking on the weekends

Studying (aka not studying) with friends on weeknights, chatting, playing

USB (he is amazingly soothing and gentle)

My crazy professor (today I spent 75 minutes learning about how minute differences in wheat/barley vs. millett/sorghum/rice/teff cultivation changed the course of history — it literally is both fascinating and hilarious)

Blended grain “soups” (just had some for dessert with nut butter and dark chocolate, of course)

Crossword puzzles in the newspaper

Yoga

Fall breezes/temperature drops (it’s my favorite season!)

Cuddling with USB

Bubble Tea

Massages

Books of all sorts

See, I’m not all negativity right now.  Just mostly. 🙂  This post was actually originally intended to go in a completely different direction.  Therefore, I am deeming it Part I of a two part series.  The other part will happen tomorrow, and hopefully it will make a bit more sense where I’m coming from at that point.

Goodnight friends!

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I Like Hitting Things.

Today’s Happy Note: Not hating my body at the gym! For some reason I felt strong and confident and I appreciated my height and my small waist.  There was no body-hating going on at all.  Score!

I took the afternoon off from the office job.  I had a boatload of important errands to do (such as going on a quest in search of the new Larabar flavors), computer work to do for the other job, a conference call, and a kick boxing class to get  to!  You can read about how the first  class basically changed my life here.  I missed last week since I had just gotten out of the hospital, but I was determined to make it today (although I was quite close to taking a nap instead).  So glad I did.

Apparently I just really love punching things?  It’s a good mix of cardio and strength and plyometrics and abs and just all kinds of different moves.  I did about a half an hour of weights beforehand.  I’m starting to feel like myself again!

Bad news though: my stupid stupid INR is still nowhere near high enough.  Sad face.  This means I have to keep doing the Lovenox injections.  Fun.  And increasing the Coumadin very very slowly (so that I don’t bleed to death).  This probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to most of you, but that’s okay.  My point here is not intellectual clarity.  It’s more that I’m rambling-venting.  To myself.  On my public blog.

I make so much sense.

Food I ate today:

Breakfast: TJ’s flax oatmeal made with half vanilla soymilk and half water, a precious farmer’s market peach, and a tablespoon of Justin’s (amazing) maple almond butter.

Birds’ eye view of lunch.

Giant salad with mixed lettuces, yellow squash with EVOO, avocado, and coconut maple tofu.  With a side of pear.

Afternoon snack involved a new protein powder find!  Designer whey chocolate carmel peanut.  I know there are artificial flavors involved, but it’s so good I don’t care.  I blended it with chocolate milk and ice and topped it with chocolate almond butter.  Mmmmmmmmm.

This kept me full for like five hours, which never happens!

Dinner was pretty swell.

A giant pile of baked plain eggplant, microwave steamed zucchini, meatballs, topped with smooth marinara, cheese, and dried basil.  All heated up so it was nice and hot and the cheese was melty, just how I like it.

Followed that up with avocado chocolate pudding!  Topped with coconut snow and two squares of Godiva raspberry dark chocolate.  This dessert was heaven.  On a baby spoon.

Perfect.

I have three doctors appointments tomorrow morning.  I have to leave at 8:30 or so and probably won’t get back until 9:00 PM.  Yikes!  Time to pack everything and prep lunch and snacks. 🙂

Goodnight my friends, sleep tight.