Our stories make us.
The one’s others create for us.
The one’s we tell ourselves.
This story is one I’ve been living for months, but tripping back and forth on the should I share it wagon.
Did I really want to open this emotional door again? Finally, I decided just as I did the first time around that being an open book not only helped me (something about writing is super cathartic when my runs are in the tank), but because I heard from hundreds of you that it pointed you in the right direction or helped you not feel so alone.
With that in mind, today I’m just Thinking Out Loud about the past few months and finally providing some details that help to explain all the “bad runs” that I’ve noted on social media where I share my runs.
LIFE CHANGING WORDS
“It’s not cancer.”
After months of confusion, a painful uterine biopsy and then the days of waiting, the call came that the initial labs were clean. Unfortunately, we still weren’t sure what to make of things and so it was off for more testing and head scratching.
“I admit, I’ve never really seen this before. I talked to a number of other specialists and they agree it’s extremely rare.”
Words everyone loves to hear from their doctor and yet this time around, it might not be a bad thing.
Wait, let’s back up for those newer to the blog a little history!
PREMATURE OVARIAN FAILURE
We’ll go for the bullet point version to keep make this long story a little more speedy:
- Early 2011: Noticed I wasn’t feeling like myself, fatigued a lot more than normal and basically every run stunk.
- Late 2011: Hair began to fall out, fatigue was debilitating, extreme bloating.
- Doctor told me I was just stressed, but I knew more was happening. I was afraid. I was frustrated. I was stuck.
- Jan 2012: Oddly a podcast by Jillian Michaels alerted me to the idea that I should have my hormones tested (you’d think not having a period for a few years would have done that)
- March 2012: An endocrinologist found I was producing 0 estrogen, 0 progesterone…yes even menopausal women still produce these hormones and 0’s are nearly unheard of
- A brain scan confirmed nothing scary on my pituitary
- A ultrasound confirmed my ovaries were half the size they should be (now we know it’s premature ovarian failure)
- The endocrinologist was then stumped and I knew I wasn’t crazy, but didn’t know what to do
- Aug 2012: I quit my full time job hoping that maybe the reduction in stress was all I could do (no this didn’t work because being an entrepreneur is also stressful!)
- Oct 2012: I stumbled upon Dr Lorenzo Gonzalez for a running VO2 Max test and learned all about this world of functional medicine and holistic health
- Finally things started to turn around! With his help I found a parasite in my gut, recognized my dairy intolerance and slowly we started to get things on track with acupuncture and herbs and….yes rest.
- Unfortunately for me he moved to Dallas and then I was off to Orlando, so we didn’t get to work together as long as I’d have liked!
For the last few years, it seemed as though my body and I had come to an agreement.
My energy levels were generally good unless I really pushed things hard between running and travel, I rarely had stomach pain or bloating and well I was perfectly content with how things were!
THEN I MOVED TO ALTITUDE
Seriously I have no idea if this is the connection, but the timing is rather bizarre!!
In February, to my utter surprise I found myself menstruating for the first time in 5 years. Gentlemen sorry for this portion of the discussion, but we’re talking about female hormones here and this is part of it! Ladies…imagine with me if you can the utter confusion of finding blood when you shouldn’t because according to all science it’s not possible.
Then I made the worst possible decision and turned to Google. We all know that the results of any Google search is sudden death.
But I didn’t want to overreact.
I didn’t want to cry wolf.
I really didn’t want to deal with all of this again.
I called a new OBGYN, I didn’t mention “hey I haven’t menstruated in 5 years, I’m not supposed to and I’m totally freaked out“, just sure I need a check up. Oye of course that left me completely preoccupied for the 2 weeks until my apt with pondering what it could all mean?!
Her initial concern was indeed uterine cancer.
So I gritted my teeth as she did a biopsy (yeah that shit hurt) and then drew lots of blood to start getting some baseline information.
Results: Shocking…no signs of cancer and higher hormone levels than I’ve seen since 2011.
Next steps: Internal ultrasound
Results: Shocking… I am making enough estrogen to build up a consistent monthly lining in my uterus. Consistent with a normal 34 year old, not someone with premature ovarian failure.
NOW WHAT’S MY STORY?
I’m sure some of you are thinking, big deal you got a period again. Honestly, I wish it were that simple.
Instead, I feel like I did 5 years ago.
- Every run is hard
- I’m nauseous half the time
- I’m bloated most of the time
- I alternate between wanting to sleep the whole day and insomnia
- It’s frustrating
- It’s confusing
- And of course then there are days where it’s all fine and I think hey maybe this is in my head.
My hope at this point is my body is simply readjusting to the return of hormones! It certainly makes a difference in all kinds of things!
We have no idea if it will stay this way or stop again.
We have no idea what caused the original hormone stop or the return.
“We” feels very lonely because no one really understands how it feels and can’t really do anything.
Now…now we give it time. If things don’t improve, we work with an endocrinologist.
Either way I keep running because even all these bad runs strung together are still mentally needed. I may be spending more time walking or running at a pace that looks like walking, but I’ve been here before and I know I’ll get through.
Good luck to all of you dealing with your own health issues. Just know there are others who can relate and this too shall pass!
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