I have a need to dive deep.

I have a need to really start sharing my story with people. I have a need to really get awareness out there because of HOW LITTLE IS UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THIS CONDITION AND HOW ANGRY THAT MAKES ME. Sorry for shouting, just..when you make some calls to doctors and you consistently get replies like “I guess we will see if this works” or “there’s not really much we can do about that” or you tell people how/what you’re feeling and they look at you like they don’t believe you or appreciate the seriousness of how it’s affecting you, you tend to get a little mad.

It’s been months, I know. I’ve been wanting to write the whole time, but I think I’ve been scared to admit to some of my feelings, and I’ve wanted to give my estrogen patches time to work up in my system before I start laying blame or not laying blame on them for my emotions as of late. 

Spoiler alert – I blame them. I’m staring to think I’ll never find the right HRT. I thought it was helping at first. But I’m not sure.

Also, my job has been incredibly stressful for a while and it’s been intensifying my symptoms, esp my moods. In my support groups, a lot of topics have been covered in recent weeks, and I want to bring them to light here. Because early menopause is not just the almighty hot flashes and sweating in bed that most people immediately picture. So I’m gonna go for a nice hike today, think about some of the feelings I want to get out, and tap them out later tonight with a glass of wine.

Stay tuned!

Well, I never did go for that hike because of weather, unfortunately. So instead, I angrily cleaned all day..and I’ve had a few glasses of Reisling..so forgive me if I don’t make sense occasionally or misspell words. 

My world has been crumbling for awhile and I don’t know how to piece it back together. I thought I had a hold on all of this and I am so far gone. I pretend in front of my family, and friends, and acquaintances, that I feel like I have something to offer. When I even GET the courage to go to get togethers, I feel insignificant inside. Everyone I know has children. Everyone I know is completely and utterly adored by their husband or boyfriend, and mine barely even touches me anymore. Everyone I know seems to have their life mapped out, and I’m just floating in my semi-menopause.

I call it semi-menopause because of course my body can’t even get that 100% right. Premature Ovarian Failure isn’t a normal menopause because your body can still experience a period. Your body still has a 1-5% chance of spontaneous pregnancy. Semi-menopause because here I am, experiencing a “phantom period” I think for the second day in a row. So I get cramps and spotting and acne and bloating and a bad mood, but really it’s all brought on by my progesterone and not my brain signaling a real period.

My body has no control over itself. It’s not just the periods. The emotional toll this has taken on me is beyond words. I obviously experience hot flashes when and where they please. I sweat all the time, not just at night. I suffer from headaches constantly. With those flashes comes an obscene amount of “fight or flight” adrenaline. I don’t sleep well, even with unisom. When I sleep, I dream terrible things. I dream of infants, of pregnancy, I dream that my boyfriend has cheated on me, finds someone else who can have children, finds someone who is more attractive and sexy, and isn’t experiencing menopause at 31. Her bones aren’t weakening. She has the energy of her real age. I dream of past relationships, and the families they have now started. Some with multiple children.

I feel like I have nothing to offer, all the time. (Except at work. I am damn good at my job, I love what I do and it’s the only time of my day that I feel like I am meant to be there, doing what I do.) And then I leave and come home, and all the negative stuff I dream of comes back to me. And then at the same time, with all these hopes and dreams I have…I feel UNCOMFORTABLE around children, and moms. I feel WEIRD around married couples because I feel like I don’t belong in their world. I want to SCREAM when people tell me there’s always adoption or IVF.

No, there’s not. 

Adoption doesn’t fix my broken ovaries or inability to biologically have children. IVF doesn’t always work, and both are extremely and disgustingly expensive. Neither one of them are a bandaid for the real issue here.

I just wanted to have my own child, who looks like me, who has my beautiful red hair, and freckles, who I could name Penelope or Desmond or Oliver like I always planned, ever since I was a little girl.

I feel like I am in this weird detached state from everything. Like I don’t belong. Lately I can’t get out of this funk and I don’t know how to fix it. I take my hormone replacement therapy every night at 7:30 and I wonder if it really even makes a difference. I get to do this for the next 20 years and I don’t feel any different than I did the day I got this fucking diagnosis. I try to lie to myself about how somewhere out there, there’s some little baby or kid waiting to call me Mom. 

I hate that people don’t know or understand what I’m feeling. I hate that when I do tell people what’s going on, they minimilize it..or look at me like I’m crazy..or tell me they totally know what I’m going through with my hormones cause, “they like, totally have bad cramps” too. 

I hate that I can’t even paint a picture of this condition. That I’m always exhausted and want to sleep. That I’m always self conscious about my redness and sweating, my breakouts, my quickly drying and translucent skin, my brittle and damaged hair that sometimes falls out. That my estrogen patches make me itch and I can’t get the stupid glue off for like three days after I remove it. That sometimes it actually takes every fucking ounce of energy I have left in my body to pick up a gallon of milk at work. Or if I make the silliest mistake or spill a cup of water or can’t get my hair in a bun to my liking, I actually do feel like nothing inside. And I never would have felt this way about myself before this. That for the life of me I can’t lose the weight I’ve gained from me medication, no matter what I do. There is so much MORE to this condition than hot flashes. I feel so small. I feel like I don’t know how to get people to listen or understand me. I feel like my boyfriend hates me sometimes, because I don’t always like to be touched. I feel like people don’t believe me when I tell them my situation, because I’m not 53 years old. I feel weird when people want me to hold their baby. I feel odd around other kids, because I don’t feel like I have a “mom” gene. I get angry when I hear people say you’ll never understand real love until you have a baby and become a mother. Or how moms are just super humans, because of just that, they are moms on top of everything else. How goddamn unfair is that?! 

I’m scared of this medication. I’ve been tempted to stop HRT because of the side effects I think I experience from it because without it I’m at risk for osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues. And on it? I’m at risk for breast cancer and I think uterine or endometrial cancer. I can’t even keep track. At the beginning of my diagnosis stage I also was told I had “minor” Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. So not enough for [even more] medication, but enough of a red flag to need to keep that in check. 

Also, I hateeeeee taking medication. Hate it. I hate swallowing pills.

I am just so tired right now. Tired of feeling the way I do. Tired of feeling insignificant or like I don’t measure up. And not just to everyone else but to myself. I have never felt more raw and real from this damn condition than I do right now and I have no idea how to begin fixing it. I just want people to hear me. I want doctors to hear me. I want scientists to figure this one out. I want people to stop questioning why I haven’t gotten married yet and why don’t I have kids yet.

I want to feel my age. Inside and out.

I want to write blogs about happy things.

I want you all to share this because it needs to be shared.

I am an adhesive glue covered cheetah.

So estrogen patches are going well. Save for the glue marks all over my stomach and butt. But thankfully, I have found baby oil works wonders! If I rub my spots raw that is..

My apologies for the long break since my last blog. I really want to update everyone. Work has been hectic. Life has been hectic. Okay, maybe not that hectic. POF just puts me on my ass for the most part and I am an exhausted panda. (I don’t know that I’ve mentioned before that I love saying panda) I promised myself to keep up with this to keep me more sane about things, but in all honesty I can say I have found myself to be pretty happy the past month or so….so I sort of forgot about this blog. Eep! 

I think I can attribute that happiness to switching my HRT. Also the fact that I’ve spent some time with my closest friends and I think I desperately needed that. We don’t often see each other.

I’m not sure how often I’ll have these longer stretches of time where I’m far more accepting of this, and physically feeling well at the same time, but I’ll take what I can get! I definitely think the patches are a better fit for me, especially being a migraine sufferer. My headaches have gotten a lot better. I’m not feeling super bloated everywhere. And though I do still have some emotional moments – I’m not constantly feeling like a failure, or fearing that my boyfriend will cheat on me, or looking at myself in the mirror and feeling sick to my stomach, or seeing pregnant bellies (let’s be real here, fucking everywhere I look) and silently losing my mind. Like, holy crap, oral HRT really was the worst. 

I’m starting to get back in to my smoothie habit, and keep my diet focused. I put on a bit of weight with oral HRT :/ I’m not experiencing a breakdown every time I take shower. I’m also not experiencing as many breakouts. I found a good hair care line that is improving my greasy scalp and dry hair. And I have found a lot of great support and advice from women in my Facebook groups who really get me. 1 in 1000 is not so bad once you realize there are 1000’s of us out there.

My night sweats are pretty much non existent now, and that was one of the worst symptoms for me because I wasn’t sleeping. And trust me, you never want to get served coffee by a barista with zero sleep. My hot flashes are so so. They aren’t as embarrassing to me anymore. In fact I get a kick out of strangers asking me why I’m sweating bullets or blotchy red. It’s my opportunity to educate.

All in all, I am doing well. And I’m aware that my hormones will take me all sorts of directions. Unfortunately, my mood could change tomorrow. Or five minutes from now. Maybe next week. But I am going to bask in this good mood for as long as it lasts.

Xx

New year, new me…nopause treatment plan

I hadn’t really planned on writing anything to welcome 2017, but I’m currently bed ridden with a seriously gross sinus infection and found myself binge watching Catfish on MTV and was like Kim, you could maybe be more productive right now, get some coffee, prop up your pillows, go pick up your new prescription because CVS won’t stop texting you until you do….

I’m starting HRT patches this weekend (versus the oral form I’ve been on since April) in the hopes that my migraines will get better. I’m not crazy about taking pills or vitamins. Which I’ve been strict about with myself for the last 8 months and dutifully swallow my multivitamin, hair skin and nails vitamins, fish oil supplements, Calcium + Vitamin D, HRT medicine and my occasional Unisom to combat sleep problems due to sweating like a pig at night. Phew! That was exhausting to type. So to take at least one yucky tasting tablet out of my routine would be nice. I also got a lot of positive feedback from other women who battle migraines in my support groups on the patches helping to supply a more continuous dose of the hormone throughout the day, that it not only helped their menopausal symptoms, but the headaches were better.

And I was thinking, instead of reminding myself every night at 8pm when my medicine alarm goes off of what I am dealing with, I’ll only have to face that once a week when I switch patches.

So it’s going to be a new year in a little over 24 hours. I know I know. I’m doing that new year, new me post thing that everyone hates and most probably never follow through with. I am really going to give it a solid effort though. The last year has been…without a doubt the hardest year of my life. When I said that the year my dad passed, I thought I meant it. When I said that when my mom and brother left, I thought I meant it. But no. Not even those two very difficult and sad moments in my life have really come close to being diagnosed with POF. (In case your new to this blog, POF stands for Premature Ovarian Failure. My ovaries have stopped functioning properly, and because that happened by the age of 30 my body has been thrown in to early menopause, and my chances of biologically having children are 1-5%)

This time two, even three years ago I remember everyone asking me if I thought my boyfriend might propose. I remember laughing and joking all the while just smiling and thinking ha..soon..and then we can plan a family, maybe get a puppy, who we would name Bowie whether my boyfriend likes it or not. We would live our beautiful, wonderful and nerdy lives together. We’ve even discussed names. I liked Penelope. He liked Corrine. We both liked Desmond. (We’re both heavily Irish) I would teach them all about Hogwarts at an early age. We would spend weekends at his family cabin in the mountains hiking, fishing and swimming in the lake. I would finally feel included in all the visits with old friends who have little ones of their own. I could text them about crafts on Pinterest for a children’s party, or share my recipes for picky eaters. Post the first day of school pictures. Record their reactions when they see what Santa brought on Facebook. Watch my kids grow into independent, smart and funny little red headed Hufflepuffs. (Because yes – they will totally be sorted into the same house as their mother) Because that’s what life is all about. At least..it’s what I was always kinda taught. It’s certainly what I’ve always been surrounded by. Not to say that there aren’t speed bumps on the road there but from the time I was old enough to play Barbies and have life all figured out it was go to school, get a job, fall in love, get married, have children, have grandchildren, retire, move to Florida, die old and happy and content with the life you lived. Yes?

So back to 2017 coming up pretty fast….sorry I feel like this blog entry is jumpy. I think my ultimate resolution is to find my purpose. POF took some big chunks out of my “Barbie life” equation. The last 12 months of my life I have questioned everything about myself. My purpose. My self worth. My life’s path from here on out. I’ve questioned myself as a women, and as a friend. I’ve even questioned whether I was worth loving. Don’t worry, I do know I’m worth loving. My boyfriend reminds me several times a day, everyday.

I may not have the answer of who I am or what my life’s purpose now is in 2017, but I’d like to start the research on it. I’d like to focus more on taking care of myself. Maybe try yoga again..I never really did put 100% in to that. I’m not gonna stress about when my boyfriend will propose. I’m not exactly in a biological rush for anything now. And he loves and adores me and hasn’t left, even with the knowledge that it may just be me and him. I’m gonna put everything in to my job that I love and enjoy, and hopefully start setting myself up for better opportunities in the future. I am going to drink less, and walk more, and find the motivation to do more weight bearing exercises to keep my bone scans looking good. I hate exercising though, man that one will be hard. I’m going to do a better job at recognizing and writing down what foods worsen my symptoms. I’m also not gonna allow myself to feel embarrassed  if anyone were to recognize a visible symptom. I’m not gonna let myself feel ashamed of what I’m feeling, or how I look at any given moment.

I’m also going to try very, very, very, verrrry hard not to take things so personally. Not everyone in my life knows my deal, and that’s not their fault or mine if I haven’t shared it with them. They don’t know that their pregnancy announcements bother me. They don’t know that I’m sweating because I’m having a hot flash and not because I ate something spicy or the thermostat is too high. Or that I’m flushing because of the hot flashes and not having an allergic reaction. But I also need to be kind to myself and not force myself into a situation that WILL cause me a little pain, like baby showers or kids birthday parties. Excuse myself from a discussion that possibly points in the direction of my future plans for a family. And hopefully the people I have confided in will understand. I’m gonna try to avoid Facebook lurking, too. We are all guilty of that and I think we all cause ourselves unnecessary pangs of jealousy and worry that everyone is doing better than us. I have even considered deleting Facebook one day, as I have once before. But then I’d reaaaally miss my support groups. So maybe not haha. And more than anything, I’m going to search deep within myself and hopefully by December 31, 2017 find true meaning to my life.

So a Happy New Year to you all, I hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend, don’t wildly overindulge, and don’t drink and drive. And to my POF sisters out there reading this, I am sending positive vibes and lots of love your way. And I pray that you all find peace within yourselves, as much I plan to this year.

Xx

To the Childless Woman at Christmas…

Really wanted to share this post. It’s my wish and prayer that everyone in this position finds a happiness they can burst at the seams with everyday. If it’s a childlessness life. If they adopt. If a miracle happens. I wish I could hold the hand of every women who feels sad during the holidays – and every other day of the year – and tell them how much I relate more and more each day that I live this. I wish I could take their pain away. Today, a coworker came in with holiday treats for all the staff members with children..and boy did I feel out of place. It was a weird moment. Ran to the bathroom and shed a few tears and when I got out of work today, I read this post and remembered I am not alone.

Somewhere tonight there is a woman, sitting next to the twinkling lights of her Christmas tree and staring at the fireplace mantle.  Year after year, her heart tells her head, “Here’s a…

Source: To the Childless Woman at Christmas…

How I feel about the holidays this year.

Good morning fellow bloggers!

A new topic was posted in my support group online. So like the last entry, here’s my “POF homework assignment” as I like to think of it.

Even though I feel like something was stolen from me about Christmas, I deeply love and accept myself.

Christmas has always been my favorite. Well, and Halloween too. Of course, the two holidays mostly designed around the joy of children. The songs, the lights, the egg nog. My coffee bar is currently a winter wonderland of peppermint mochas and hot chocolates and that Mariah Carey song all day long. And I LOVE it! My families tradition has generally been the same, nothing weird or crazy. We do Christmas breakfast and dinner. And I was lucky to take on breakfast for the first time last year – about two weeks prior to my diagnosis. I kind of already knew by then what was going on, but pushed myself to enjoy the holiday season regardless. I have one cousin who believes in Santa still, though I am pretty sure that is coming to an end soon. 

Christmas has always been about just being with my family. Enjoying each other’s company. Remembering fond memories of past holidays, and people (my parents and brother are not with us – dad passed away and my mom remarried and moved to another country with my brother) fighting over who gets to eat the extra whipped cream off the egg beaters or whatever they are (my best friend would be appalled at my lack of kitchen equipment knowledge lol) and my uncle not sharing enough delicious homemade Christmas cookies. Ya jerk! But I digress.

I don’t think that I am necessarily affected this holiday season as much as I think by POF. Nor will I be maybe for the next few years. It doesn’t change how much I love the holiday for the reasons I’ve always loved it. Those lights and the cookies and spending it with my crazy and wonderful family. I think my grief for the loss of creating a life and carrying on the traditions will be backwards, though. What I mean is…when my dad passed, it was immediately hard to enjoy the holidays. Immediately hard to enjoy a birthday. Same when my mom and brother moved away. But over time that got a lot easier for me. I worry about how I will feel in later years. When my grandparents are no longer around. When my younger cousins grow older (and probably too cool for me) I always dreamed of continuing on my love for the holiday and being able to share that with my own children. To have some more Santa believers in my house. To come up with something clever for our little Elf on the Shelf, who I would name David Bowie. Or Dobby. I feel like that delight was stolen from me. 

That’s how I feel about Christmas this year. And I feel awful that I have tossed that feeling into the mixture of the love I had for it. Every day it takes a lot of energy and strength to not be angry. And I want so badly to emerge through the holidays in one piece even though I feel like pieces are missing.

Thanksgiving

I’m sitting here enjoying my maple vanilla bourbon coffee from Saxbys and watching my local news station, and the anchors are enjoying their Thanksgiving breakfast, each announcing the things they are grateful for. I’d like to do the same. Let me start by saying, I’ve had a lot to be angry about. Angry with God, angry with doctors, angry that my ovaries broke and no amount of soy milk or chick peas or hormone treatment will put them back together. Angry that I am about to face my first holiday season with the knowledge that it is going to be a difficult uphill battle to have my own children for future holidays.

But I’m really grateful, too. Grateful and lucky that this isn’t the death sentence I felt it was in the beginning of the year. Grateful for those same doctors who sure, may have given me a lot of bad news..but I’m also happy they found out what was going on with me. And they have really been a huge part of my support system since January. Even the other day, I had one of my routine exams at the OBGYN and we talked about changing my hormone treatment and method because of my migraines and other symptoms. She had a lot of good advice to give me and took time to comfort me when I got upset. She really cares about what I’m going through. She calls me back quickly even when I feel my questions are dumb and that means the world to me. This is a bit of a learning experience for her too, because of how rare Ovarian Failure is.

I’m very grateful for the small handful of friends who I have shared this condition with, some of who are mothers. I may not have that to share with them, but that would never exclude me from their lives. 

Trust me, I’ve read a ton of horror posts where people lost friends and family over their inability to feel part of the discussion.

My best friend, most of all, has helped me remember how strong I am, and that what I’m going through doesn’t change the person I am. For 15+ years not a day goes by that I don’t constantly know how lucky I am to have her in my life. Even if we don’t see each other as much as we would probably like! And if I do get the chance to adopt in the future, or maybe by my 1-5% miracle chance get pregnant naturally – she’s the first person I will call.

I’m grateful for my boyfriend, Mike. I fell in love with him the first time he took me to his families cabin in the Poconos. He is caring, loving, supportive and funny..and just so understanding of me on my good and bad days. He always sees the good in me when I don’t. Especially now. I know this diagnosis hit us both really hard, and there’s been times we have both emotionally struggled in our own ways this past year, but it has brought us even closer. I remember how broken hearted I was when I found everything out, because he comes from such a large and wonderful Irish family with so many kids, and I really looked forward to adding on to that someday. I was so afraid he wouldn’t be able to deal with this. But the day I came home from the doctors, he told me it didn’t take a child to fall in love with me, and it wasn’t going to take not having a child to fall out. I’m truly blessed, and no matter what happens I look forward to whatever adventures we get to experience for the rest of our lives, even if it’s just the two of us.

I’m grateful for my aunt and uncle, who most people know I consider to be my parents. (I moved in with them when I was 17) Growing up, I’m not sure I ever got the proper idea of well..a lot of things. Family life, mainly. It took a few years to get used to it but I know they play a major role in who I am today. They let me be a teenager when I needed to be, and they let me learn from my big mistakes when I had to, and they have always stuck by my side when the going got really tough. They aren’t shy to share when they have made mistakes, and I value every opinion they give me, whether it’s something as simple as a dill carrot recipe – or advising me on huge life decisions.

I’m grateful that I’m alive. Things could have been worse than they are for me. Honestly. I have had a good 31 years so far and I’ve struggled through a lot of difficult times – I lost my dad when I was 15. My mom and my brother moved to another country just 2 years after that. I may not always feel like I have my life together, or make the best decisions, or have a lot of money..but I am a good person and have a lot to offer, and that’s something I’m thankful for regardless of all the adversity I have faced. I could have let facing early menopause bring me down to a dark place I couldn’t escape from. I almost did. I could have let it turn me in to a bitter human being. But I’m not going to. I’m glad I have made some great connections with other women who are going through the same thing. I’m glad I’ve been able to lend my advice and share my story and LEARN from those women, too. So tonight, while I swim in a sea of potatoes, stuffing and gravy..I will also remember how thankful I am for all of these things, and more.

What is POF?

Courtesy of the Resolve website (a national infertility association) here is some information I would like to share about Premature Ovarian Failure, for anyone who may be interested in some facts about this condition.

By Linda R. Nelson, MD, PhDPublished in Resolve for the journey and beyond, Summer 2012

Many women younger than 40 experience irregular menses (oligomenorrhea), and some women may even skip periods (amenorrhea) for months at a time. There can be many reasons for irregular or skipped menses in young women, but Premature Ovarian Failure (sometimes called primary ovarian insufficiency) is one of the less common causes.

Recommended Reading

About Spontaneous Premature Ovarian Failure, RESOLVE’s Questions to Ask Series
How one woman chose to become a voice for people with infertility, By Tonya Neufeld
Using Donor Egg
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) affects 1 in 100 women younger than 40 years of age. This condition needs to be completely evaluated since there are often associated medical conditions that need to be treated. In addition, options for fertility may exist if a woman desires pregnancy.
Ovarian failure usually occurs at menopause when there are very few eggs and follicles left in the ovary. Estrogen levels decline due to the loss of the ovarian follicles that provide high levels of estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle. The average age of menopause is 51 years of age and it is very common for women to have symptoms of estrogen loss and irregular cycles in their mid to late 40’s.
However, women with POF have symptoms of early menopause including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse along with a lack of regular menstrual cycles in their teens, 20’s or 30’s.
Making the Diagnosis

The first step in making the diagnosis is a blood test to check whether or not the ovary is producing estrogen and the whether the pituitary gland is producing the hormones FSH and LH that stimulate the ovarian follicles. If the pituitary hormones are elevated and the ovary is not producing estrogen, then the diagnosis of POF is made. A transvaginal ultrasound may also be done to evaluate the ovaries. In POF patients, the ovaries are usually small and there are few follicles seen.
Finding the Cause

In many cases, a cause for POF cannot be found. A history of chemotherapy or radiation treatment for a childhood illness is the most common cause of POF. There are autoimmune causes of POF. In these cases, the immune system attacks endocrine organs including the ovaries, thyroid and adrenal glands. Lab tests can detect some of the antibodies directed at these glands, but it is not possible to detect all the immune factors that may be important. Women thought to have an autoimmune factor will need to have their thyroid and adrenal gland checked regularly because failure of these glands can lead to serious or life-threatening medical conditions.
There are also genetic causes of POF. Evaluation of chromosomes is often the initial step. In rare cases, women may have Y chromosome material present, which can lead to tumors in the ovaries if they are not removed. More commonly, there is only one normal X chromosome instead of 2 and this is called Turner syndrome or monosomy X. Women with Turner Syndrome may also have heart, vascular or kidney problems that need to be investigated. Fragile X syndrome is an abnormal expression of a gene on the X chromosome that leads to mental retardation in boys when the defect is “fully expanded.” This genetic defect can also be present as a “premutation” in women with POF. There are other rare genetic defects that may also be diagnosed within families or as new mutations.
Lastly, there can be defects in the production or activity of pituitary and ovarian hormones. In these cases, follicles are present in the ovary but they cannot be stimulated to achieve a pregnancy.
POF Treatment Options

Loss of estrogen can lead to many symptoms (see above) that can be treated with estrogen therapy. There are also several medical conditions that may be prevented by restoring estrogen in young women. These include bone loss (osteopenia) and vaginal atrophy. The relationship of estrogen to heart disease in young women is still controversial, but a lack of estrogen leads to abnormal cholesterol and lipid levels that can be reversed by estrogen therapy. In women without any contraindications, estrogen treatment would be recommended for these symptoms and disorders until the age of natural menopause (around 50 years of age). The risks of hormone use are generally age-related, and your physician will evaluate whether there are any contraindications to taking estrogen and progesterone. If there are, other non-hormonal treatments can be tried, and a healthy diet and exercise are always recommended to prevent heart disease, osteoporosis and obesity.
Infertility results from the loss of healthy eggs and follicles. For young women with POF menstrual cycles can still occur even years after the diagnosis and 10% of women with POF will conceive on their own. This is likely due to ovulation of a healthy egg even after months of skipped menses. There have been attempts to treat women with ovulation induction agents or other medications to improve fertility, but there is a lack of clear evidence that these treatments work. Most women with POF will not get pregnant with their own eggs. However, it is possible to become pregnant and carry a baby using eggs from another woman with a donor egg in-vitro fertilization cycle.
Depression and anxiety are very common in women with POF. A therapist or mental health professional may be able to help with these problems. RESOLVE also provides in-person and on-line support groups that can be very helpful as well.
Linda R. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix and an OB/GYN at the Fertility Centers of Arizona. Dr. Nelson is Board Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Nelson specializes in all aspects of patient care including IVF, IUI, minimally invasive surgery and medical management of reproductive endocrine disorders. She has been recognized as a “Super Doctor” by Arizona magazine, and U.S. News and World Report named her one of the Nation’s Top Reproductive Endocrinologists in 2011.

Self Compassion

So, I recently found this wonderful support group on Facebook (The Dovecote Community) based out of the U.K. with so many women who face infertility for many different reasons. It’s been such a saving grace, even for the short time I’ve been a part of it, and what I love most is the topic questions the admin posts every now and then. The topic posted yesterday was to ask us how we would show ourselves self compassion this week. So I thought, well damn..I could turn these questions and my answer into a blog entry, duh.
Because of course after my strong introduction over a week ago…..I’ve been at a loss for words on what direction to take this blog next.

When I first got this diagnosis I was initially pretty devastated, obviously. But I don’t think I ever started to really go through my grief stages. I kind of decided a week later to just dust myself off and take the reigns and treat it like it was the common cold. Sure, I had days here and there that I forced myself through with some Kleenex, but then I had my pretend days where I was still having a bad day but if I didn’t have my Kleenex in hand I didn’t have to admit it was another bad day, right? Wrong.

I started having these days too often. And kept pretending to crack a smile too often, until they meshed into one big box of Kleenex and hiding in my apartment from everyone. I wasn’t, and still a little sometimes, am not facing this for what it is –  a lot bigger than the common cold. So the biggest way I can show myself compassion is to allow myself to feel every emotion that comes to me, whether it’s good or bad. I can’t LIVE in that emotion, but I need to feel it when it happens and recognize it for its purpose and then move on to the next. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own research and support groups, this isn’t going to get better or easier overnight. It’s going to take time and work, and patience, with myself, more than anything.

It’s perfectly acceptable to feel a little twinge in my heart when I see a commercial or movies with babies. Or pregnant bellies. It’s unavoidable. And Facebook…oh Facebook. News Feed was great until the day I left that damn doctors appointment. But sometimes I truly can’t handle all the ultrasound or school picture posts. I need to be okay with that decision and those moments that I RSVP “no” and not feel like I’m weak. I always pray that my friends and family would understand that too, if they knew. Who knows..one of these days I might make this blog public to them so that they do understand and don’t hate me for it.

It’s perfectly acceptable to have a night here and there where I need to just let out some tears, because I’ve turned down yet another baby shower invite to spare myself the heartache because I’m jealous of the people in my life who get to be called Mommy. Or cry because I’m having a mood swing and couldn’t stop it if I tried cause hormone therapy side effects are just effing fantastic.


It’s perfectly acceptable to be angry about this. But that is an emotion I’d like to spend as little time with as possible.


It’s perfectly acceptable to laugh about this. Who knew I’d be experiencing hot flashes and mood swings 25 years earlier than I’m supposed to? At least I’ll be able to help my friends and family navigate through “the change” when it’s their turn. I’ll have a book written and ready on tips and tricks by then. I’m also pretty effing hilarious, if I do say so myself, when I have to run in to the dairy cooler at work to hug the gallons of milk because I feel like my bones are on fire. Or when I text my boss from CVS picking up my HRT and I’m watching a kid throw an epic temper tantrum and say “damn..maybe this infertility thing ain’t so bad?” I can laugh about this sometimes. Or today actually when I realized I am either spotting or getting my first half ass period in a year and a half and I text my best friend to tell her fumbling for a tampon in the bathroom was like an elderly person trying to work a smart phone because I haven’t needed one in so long. Tampon? How do you work this thing??

It’s also perfectly acceptable to eventually come to terms with and accept this diagnosis, whether other people understand that or not. Even if that means I have a childless future. If it also means my story helps someone else, then accepting this is a big and important thing.


I will work to show myself more love and compassion. Face what I have to instead of avoid it internally. Remind myself I am not a failure as a woman for this and try to remember that God always has a reason and plan.  

XO.

The Couch

So here it is. This is my first post, and the best idea I had for an introduction was the same thing I typed up for my “about me” section. Which I’m not even sure where to locate, because I’m not sure how to properly blog. Or navigate sites. Or my app. Forgive me for the self training! Also forgive me because I’ll probably keep editing this post until I ultimately am content with the whole “Hello! This is me!”

Right! So. A little about me..I’m a lead barista at a coffee shop. I’m a huge Harry Potter/Criminal Minds/David Bowie/Jaws/Walking Dead nerd. I’m a people pleaser and a highly anxious introvert. I’ve had some dreamy long term goals that pushed me back to school a few times, but mostly for fear that everyone would think I could always be doing better than I am. I have recently decided, I’m okay with exactly who I am and what I do. I serve coffee to thousands of pharmaceutical lab techs and scientists everyday, and I take that responsibility pretty seriously. I’m good at what I do, and enjoy what I do. And I have a loving family, small circle of friends and a wonderful boyfriend who accept everything that make me..me.


Now for the need to blog part.

In January 2016, at the age of 30, I found out I was going through early menopause. Premature Ovarian Failure. For months I have had it in my mind to maybe blog about my experience with this, but I have never blogged before. Until I realized it was essentially a diary – just, an open to the public one. And I was always pretty close with my Lisa Frank and Disney diaries as a kid, and writing things down always worked for me. To unleash. To share happy memories. To doodle. To make someone out there aware, even if it was just my mother snooping.

The journey to this diagnosis was grueling, discouraging and long. It took several specialists and doctors visits, 4 different diagnoses, and probably $50,000 or more worth of tests and scans (praise Jesus for great medical benefits) to go from labyrinthitis, to 3 months of physical therapy for the weird vertigo, to maybe you have multiple sclerosis, to yes, we swear it’s migraine associated vertigo…to finally, my body had officially grown older about 20 years too soon. The irony was the first thing my primary care doctor assumed was I could be pregnant.

It’s okay, you can chuckle at this.

My final stop was a reproductive endocrinologist after it was shown in blood work that my hormone levels had me in the menopause range, which for a 30 year old woman and her 456 year old gynecologist was pretty remarkable..and not normal. So I sat in the REs office with my aunt (who is like my mom – not the diary snooper mom, but I’ll save that story for another day maybe) and she sat with me through one of the scariest appointments I’ll probably ever experience in my life. 

Your only options are donor eggs or traditional adoption.” And annually, I will have to go through routine blood work, keep a close watch on my thyroid, keep up with bone scans, and take hormone replacement therapy for the next 20 years of my life. That first sentence was the only thing I heard though, understandably enough. Because to be told you can’t do the one thing that you were born to physically do, that separates you from men..it’s enough to make you drink all the wine I have drank in the past 11 months.

But that stops now. Well I mean, I’m still going to enjoy wine, but not to mask my pain. I just don’t want to go down that road, I truly don’t. 

This has been a really hard year. And it’s something I’ll struggle with for the rest of my life. And I may not be okay some days…but other days I AM. I have a lot of other things to be thankful for. And I realized the other day that aside from taking care of myself right now, both physically and emotionally, and not with the help of wine, that the most important thing to me is getting awareness out there, and connecting with others going through the same things I am. How scary it has all been. How emotionally and physically draining it has been. How to better handle hot flashes. Night sweats. Brain fog. Migraines. Insomnia. An overwhelming fatigue sometimes. Weight gain. Emotional outbursts. Acne, AGAIN. Oily skin. Brittle hair. Hair falling out. Greasy scalp. Vertigo. Loss of feeling..desireable. And Lord, don’t even get me started on the hormone replacement therapy side effects like sore boobs and legs that feel like I’m made of concrete.

Emptiness. Bitterness. Sadness. Jealousy.

Infertility.

But above all, hope. That there still is some.

And you know, maybe I’ll throw in a couple positive entries about Harry Potter, or Jaws..or my abilities to make a layered caramel macchiato and genuinely feel that I accomplished something great that day. I just want this blog to be not only my first attempt to blog, but to be there for others even if it’s in a small way. Even if it’s just to show someone that I am here! I get you! I understand it! And I really want to focus on posting information about this condition, because in the past year I’ve realized how rare and misunderstood it is. Obviously it must be if I went from inner ear infections to menopause in a matter of 8 months of medical professionals.

Just knowing that someone else is out there and feels what you are feeling is therapy enough.