Sunday, May 22, 2011

Questioning My Body

Ever since I was preliminarily diagnosed with PCOS, I have had a million questions running through my head.  There are too many to address in one post, so I will have to spread them out over the week.  Right now, I feel as if I am finally registering that I am going through the stages of grief with my own body.  I feel as though I am literally mourning my fertility.  At times, I feel like I am also mourning the hope of a fertile woman, though I know that hope returns when you need it to, though quite possibly in a much altered state.  I assume it becomes a mature sort of hope that accepts the fact that limitations exist.  This hope is a realist.

The steps of grief:
image via google images
1) Denial & Isolation
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression
5) Acceptance

Now I will say that throughout this journey, I have experienced each one of these.  For just as soon as you think everything is clear and you can accept your truth, something else seems to pop up to change that truth and the whole process begins again.

For months and months of trying to conceive naturally, I was absolutely in denial.  As we got further and further into our journey, the all-consuming thoughts had me very isolated.  Extreme bouts of anger have been sprinkled in because, honestly, I just don't want to do any of this extra shit!  I know it is the path I have to take, but I cannot say that I have enjoyed gaining weight to increase my odds of conception, shelling out more and more money every other week, being poked and prodded more times than I can count.  It is not exactly what I pictured when I naively imagined the incredible pregnancy that would bring me my little bean.

Anger also took over my body last week, when I was preliminarily diagnosed with PCOS and my cycle was canceled due to a steep decrease in my E2 level and minimal follicle growth.  For the first time in my entire life I hated my body.  I absolutely hated it.  I was disgusted.  I wanted to rip out my insides and replace them with something that actually functioned even close to normally.  As I write this, I realize how graphic and horrific this sounds, but they are the exact thoughts that ran through my mind.  

At this point, I feel like I am doing some sort of bargaining as I try to wrap my head around what this PCOS really means for me.  As I try to make sense of the PCOS and this insulin resistance piece, I think through my general health and gynecological history.  I have always had irregular periods, but I have always, at least, had periods and clear, though late ovulations.  I have always had acne, which may be a sign of the higher testosterone level that comes with PCOS.  I have always craved any carb you set in front of me, which I believe, may be a symptom of the insulin resistance?  

And here's where I start getting upset and irrational.  I have always been skinny and had trouble gaining weight, though I made it an absolute priority after receiving this recommendation to aid in our baby making efforts.  I quit cardio and turned more to short bouts of yoga and light walking.  I kept my head calm with meditation and my body full with foods with higher fat content.  Due in part to my efforts and in part to my metabolism slowing down with age, I gained weight.  So here is my irrational, albeit, serious question that continues to nag me no matter how ridiculous I tell my mind it is:  Did I do this to myself?  Though I am sure there must be some sort of genetic predisposition, have my eating habits and recent resistance to exercise caused this, or at very least exacerbated the problem?

I generally have fairly good eating habits, but now every time I put something with sugar in my mouth or crave bread I feel guilty, as if those choices and cravings are exactly why I have found myself in this situation.  So, with that, I am bargaining--thinking, OK, if I don't eat this plate of pancakes with syrup, will that make you happy, body?  If I go and run on the treadmill tonight rather than walk on it, will you bring on my period naturally so I can avoid pumping even more drugs into my body?  If I buy this PCOS diet cookbook, will you go away and leave me alone, or at least calm down enough to let me get pregnant and carry my baby to full term?

If only my body would respond clearly.  Better yet, if only my body would do what I told it to do!  Sigh

8 comments:

Diana said...

first let me say.. Happy ICLW..

-- and I totally understand your frustration. I think we all go through these step of grief. I know I have many times. :( It's so unfair and hard. Sometimes I just want to ball up in a corner and just stay there. I hope to become good blog buddies and follow eachother on this journey. We gotta stay positive and think "we will have a baby!" we gotta keep telling ourselves that.

*big hugs to you!

New Year Mum said...

Such a beautiful post... I've gone through a similar grief about my fertility which seemed really odd after having had 3 pregnancies then nothing. But working through grief helps so much in the longer term. With you every step of the way xoxo

bean dreams said...

Thanks, ladies! Yes, I am working on bringing the positivity up a notch. Diana, I'll have to check out your blog soon. Definitely look forward to following your journey as well!

Cyndi said...

Thank you for posting the five steps of grieving. I hadn't given it much thought until I read your post. I believe I'm at acceptance right now but I totally agree with you on that with one change you start the process all over again.

ICLW# 58

Kymberli said...

Returning your comment from ICLW~

Wow. This post resonated within me SO MUCH. This is EXACTLY how I felt when I was first diagnosed with PCOS in 2004. Goodness - it feels so much longer ago than just seven years.

You DID NOT do this to yourself. We can't control that our bodies have tendencies to be insulin resistant and that that, in turn, knocks everything else out of whack. PCOS w/IR is not a condition that is created; it just IS. For me the inexplicable weight gain and wonky periods started when I was in high school. It was easy to overlook as just typical puberty issues.

Once we started TTC, I denied for a long time that there was any actual issue. Surely whatever was wonky with me wasn't so far off that it would keep me from getting pregnant eventually, right? Though I've gone on to build and complete my family, I still struggle with the issues of PCOS, that seem to be worsening the older that I get.

While the diet issue is annoying, it IS very helpful at providing some of the balance back where fertility-related things are concerned. I won't ever say that it's a cure-all, but it DOES help. When I stick to a mostly-low carb diet, my weight levels get healthier, I feel better, my cycles return and are semi-regular, and my energy levels return. As much as I LOATHE the fact that my general health and well-being is so very dictated by what I eat, I (begrudgingly) have to admit that it does make a difference. Of course, I'm also the type that eats emotions, and because I've had an emotional past year I've pretty much said to hell with all the low-carb hoopla, much to the dismay of my scale. I've made a commitment to get myself back together over the summer and get back on track. I just can't deal with the impact of all the PCOS side effects anymore.

Anyway, I said all that mostly to say this - if you need any help or guidance from someone who's been there and done that (again and again), I'm here. I'll be reading along now that I've found you! (((Hugs)))

zygotta said...

stopping for ICLW
This is all very hard, but there is hope! My friend who also has this insulin/gestational diabetes thing, finally conceived and gave birth to her perfect baby earlier this year. And she IS overweight.
So - don't lose hope!
XOXO

Residency Widow said...

Found your blog through ICLW as a fellow PCOS girl. I understand a lot of this post. There definitely is a grieving process to this and I don't know if it's always a clear progression through the steps, as I've gone back and forth on a couple of them. I still have to remind myself that I didn't do this to myself. You didn't do this to yourself. Good luck and I look forward to following you.

bean dreams said...

Thanks you so much to all for the support! It truly means the world to me to hear from others suffering not only with fertility, but many with the exact issues I am. It eases my pain and fears a great deal and I can say I don't feel so isolated now. Yay for ICLW! Can't wait to start following your journeys!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Questioning My Body

Ever since I was preliminarily diagnosed with PCOS, I have had a million questions running through my head.  There are too many to address in one post, so I will have to spread them out over the week.  Right now, I feel as if I am finally registering that I am going through the stages of grief with my own body.  I feel as though I am literally mourning my fertility.  At times, I feel like I am also mourning the hope of a fertile woman, though I know that hope returns when you need it to, though quite possibly in a much altered state.  I assume it becomes a mature sort of hope that accepts the fact that limitations exist.  This hope is a realist.

The steps of grief:
image via google images
1) Denial & Isolation
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression
5) Acceptance

Now I will say that throughout this journey, I have experienced each one of these.  For just as soon as you think everything is clear and you can accept your truth, something else seems to pop up to change that truth and the whole process begins again.

For months and months of trying to conceive naturally, I was absolutely in denial.  As we got further and further into our journey, the all-consuming thoughts had me very isolated.  Extreme bouts of anger have been sprinkled in because, honestly, I just don't want to do any of this extra shit!  I know it is the path I have to take, but I cannot say that I have enjoyed gaining weight to increase my odds of conception, shelling out more and more money every other week, being poked and prodded more times than I can count.  It is not exactly what I pictured when I naively imagined the incredible pregnancy that would bring me my little bean.

Anger also took over my body last week, when I was preliminarily diagnosed with PCOS and my cycle was canceled due to a steep decrease in my E2 level and minimal follicle growth.  For the first time in my entire life I hated my body.  I absolutely hated it.  I was disgusted.  I wanted to rip out my insides and replace them with something that actually functioned even close to normally.  As I write this, I realize how graphic and horrific this sounds, but they are the exact thoughts that ran through my mind.  

At this point, I feel like I am doing some sort of bargaining as I try to wrap my head around what this PCOS really means for me.  As I try to make sense of the PCOS and this insulin resistance piece, I think through my general health and gynecological history.  I have always had irregular periods, but I have always, at least, had periods and clear, though late ovulations.  I have always had acne, which may be a sign of the higher testosterone level that comes with PCOS.  I have always craved any carb you set in front of me, which I believe, may be a symptom of the insulin resistance?  

And here's where I start getting upset and irrational.  I have always been skinny and had trouble gaining weight, though I made it an absolute priority after receiving this recommendation to aid in our baby making efforts.  I quit cardio and turned more to short bouts of yoga and light walking.  I kept my head calm with meditation and my body full with foods with higher fat content.  Due in part to my efforts and in part to my metabolism slowing down with age, I gained weight.  So here is my irrational, albeit, serious question that continues to nag me no matter how ridiculous I tell my mind it is:  Did I do this to myself?  Though I am sure there must be some sort of genetic predisposition, have my eating habits and recent resistance to exercise caused this, or at very least exacerbated the problem?

I generally have fairly good eating habits, but now every time I put something with sugar in my mouth or crave bread I feel guilty, as if those choices and cravings are exactly why I have found myself in this situation.  So, with that, I am bargaining--thinking, OK, if I don't eat this plate of pancakes with syrup, will that make you happy, body?  If I go and run on the treadmill tonight rather than walk on it, will you bring on my period naturally so I can avoid pumping even more drugs into my body?  If I buy this PCOS diet cookbook, will you go away and leave me alone, or at least calm down enough to let me get pregnant and carry my baby to full term?

If only my body would respond clearly.  Better yet, if only my body would do what I told it to do!  Sigh

8 comments:

Diana said...

first let me say.. Happy ICLW..

-- and I totally understand your frustration. I think we all go through these step of grief. I know I have many times. :( It's so unfair and hard. Sometimes I just want to ball up in a corner and just stay there. I hope to become good blog buddies and follow eachother on this journey. We gotta stay positive and think "we will have a baby!" we gotta keep telling ourselves that.

*big hugs to you!

New Year Mum said...

Such a beautiful post... I've gone through a similar grief about my fertility which seemed really odd after having had 3 pregnancies then nothing. But working through grief helps so much in the longer term. With you every step of the way xoxo

bean dreams said...

Thanks, ladies! Yes, I am working on bringing the positivity up a notch. Diana, I'll have to check out your blog soon. Definitely look forward to following your journey as well!

Cyndi said...

Thank you for posting the five steps of grieving. I hadn't given it much thought until I read your post. I believe I'm at acceptance right now but I totally agree with you on that with one change you start the process all over again.

ICLW# 58

Kymberli said...

Returning your comment from ICLW~

Wow. This post resonated within me SO MUCH. This is EXACTLY how I felt when I was first diagnosed with PCOS in 2004. Goodness - it feels so much longer ago than just seven years.

You DID NOT do this to yourself. We can't control that our bodies have tendencies to be insulin resistant and that that, in turn, knocks everything else out of whack. PCOS w/IR is not a condition that is created; it just IS. For me the inexplicable weight gain and wonky periods started when I was in high school. It was easy to overlook as just typical puberty issues.

Once we started TTC, I denied for a long time that there was any actual issue. Surely whatever was wonky with me wasn't so far off that it would keep me from getting pregnant eventually, right? Though I've gone on to build and complete my family, I still struggle with the issues of PCOS, that seem to be worsening the older that I get.

While the diet issue is annoying, it IS very helpful at providing some of the balance back where fertility-related things are concerned. I won't ever say that it's a cure-all, but it DOES help. When I stick to a mostly-low carb diet, my weight levels get healthier, I feel better, my cycles return and are semi-regular, and my energy levels return. As much as I LOATHE the fact that my general health and well-being is so very dictated by what I eat, I (begrudgingly) have to admit that it does make a difference. Of course, I'm also the type that eats emotions, and because I've had an emotional past year I've pretty much said to hell with all the low-carb hoopla, much to the dismay of my scale. I've made a commitment to get myself back together over the summer and get back on track. I just can't deal with the impact of all the PCOS side effects anymore.

Anyway, I said all that mostly to say this - if you need any help or guidance from someone who's been there and done that (again and again), I'm here. I'll be reading along now that I've found you! (((Hugs)))

zygotta said...

stopping for ICLW
This is all very hard, but there is hope! My friend who also has this insulin/gestational diabetes thing, finally conceived and gave birth to her perfect baby earlier this year. And she IS overweight.
So - don't lose hope!
XOXO

Residency Widow said...

Found your blog through ICLW as a fellow PCOS girl. I understand a lot of this post. There definitely is a grieving process to this and I don't know if it's always a clear progression through the steps, as I've gone back and forth on a couple of them. I still have to remind myself that I didn't do this to myself. You didn't do this to yourself. Good luck and I look forward to following you.

bean dreams said...

Thanks you so much to all for the support! It truly means the world to me to hear from others suffering not only with fertility, but many with the exact issues I am. It eases my pain and fears a great deal and I can say I don't feel so isolated now. Yay for ICLW! Can't wait to start following your journeys!