wait … is he actually listening to me? OR the dangling carrot

For at least 10 years now I’ve been losing energy, losing hair, growing whiskers and chest hair, sprouting skin tags, noticing skin discolorations, and inflating a spare tire around my mid-section.

Mmmmm, sexy.

I’ve also had border-line high blood pressure, border-line high LDL cholesterol, and low HDL cholesterol numbers. And I struggle with depression and fatigue. Fun!

Making this all MORE fun is that for the past 10 years the doctor’s I’ve seen have rarely been bothered by these things and attributed it to me needing to lose weight. Thank you Captain Obvious! Or maybe I should call you Captain Lazy. Or Captain Clueless? Or perhaps more accurately, Captain I Need to Brush up on my Medical Degree.

Five years ago I started having menstrual irregularities and my ob-gyn suggested the possibility of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but ruled it out when I didn’t have cysts on my ovaries. Birth control solved those irregularities.

Anyway . . .

Yesterday, after wrestling with myself over whether or not to go, I went to a doctor of internal medicine. For 2 years I’ve been meaning to go see him. About 5 months ago I called for an appointment but couldn’t get in because of a freeze on new patients. About 2 months ago the internists nurse called me and said they were ready to take new patients, “was I still interested?” I said yes and scheduled yesterday’s appointment.

In between I went to a thyroid specialist and ruled out thyroid problems as the root of my symptoms. While there, I mentioned that PCOS had been tossed around as a diagnosis before but the specialist said that even if I did have it, there wasn’t a treatment for it. Hopes were dashed during that appointment.

Fast forward to yesterday and the internist. I was weighed (omg, 10lbs up from my last visit? Must be that time of month, please be that time of month, oh yeah, it is, whew!), blood pressure was taken (150/90 yikes!), and the nurse interviewed me. By the end of the questions she commented “yeah, this sounds an awful lot like PCOS.”

At that moment, I think I stopped breathing. An inkling of hope sprouted, I was actually being taken seriously. The nurse left and I waited for the doctor in an ill-fitting paper gown. I wrestled with the hope, taking great strides to keep it in check. I was near tears with relief, or maybe fear (that I’d be met with the same indifference as before).

The doc entered and started a similar interview process as done with the nurse. He examined me, checking out skin tags and noting the discoloration in my arm pits (hugely mortified, haven’t shaved them in a couple months!).

The doc didn’t want to rush into a diagnosis but he looked at all my complaints and said it could be PCOS or it could be Metabolic Syndrome (which is really similar to PCOS). I have to get a few labs done, have my blood pressure rechecked, and then I meet with him again in 2 weeks.

Finally, my symptoms are given some credibility. I almost don’t know how to react. And I don’t know what to think right now. I’m definitely relieved, I’m a little hopeful, but mostly I’m feeling tentative. It’s like this is almost too good to be true and I’m waiting for reality to step in and knock me on my ass. And the fact that I’m even feeling this way says something is seriously effed up with the medical community.

For 4 years, this carrot has dangled in front of me. A doctor hung it out there, magazine articles reminded me it was there, and 3 different doctors have said it’s in my head. Now there’s a doctor who believes it may be there and he’s going to give me definitive answers. I think he’s actually on my side. And even if it’s not what I’ve suspected, this doctor is going to give me a diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatments.

And if his best prescription is for me to go on a diet I’ll accept that and do what he recommends because he has taken time with me and is sincere about helping me.

 

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One response to “wait … is he actually listening to me? OR the dangling carrot

  • spellingwitch

    Hi, I was directed to this post because I have a Google alert for PCOS. I was diagnosed a year or so ago. May I direct you to a couple of excellent resources:

    http://www.soulcysters.com

    and the book by Dr. Elizabeth Vliet, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to PCOS and What You Can Do About It

    Both have sections about questions to ask the doctor, and tests that should be run. It certainly sounds like you have it, and everyone’s case is a little different so not everyone has all the symptoms.

    Very commonly you can have insulin resistance along with the PCOS which is a form of pre-diabetes, and the main cause of the tire around the middle. The most important steps are to change your diet to something with fewer carbs, like South Beach. The book and web site will go into that in much more detail. Hope this all helps!

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