Thursday, October 01, 2009

Overshare warning - proceed at your own risk

so, I've always tried to keep a modicum of modesty around here, not discussing bodily functions too much, just because, well, ewww. It's bad enough I live with three boys and have to deal with all that comes with that. And there are some reproductive functions, that while perfectly human and normal, hit pretty close to very personal decisions that I never particularly wanted to share with the interwebs.

But lately, those functions have interfered mightily with what I do write about on here, which is my running and my fitness, and my attempt to become something more than what I am, not just athletically but emotionally and in my day to day life. So I had to take matters into my own hands because, well, we just can't have that. I've suffered from fibroids for a really long time, probably as long as I've had a monthly cycle, now that I think about it. What I knew as a normal cycle isn't really normal, and thanks to people who are less uptight about sharing their information on the internet, I know that now. For a long time, I controlled them with birth control pills, but when I hit 35 a few years ago, I knew that I didn't really want to be on them much longer, especially not with the history of stroke and heart disease in my family. But I also knew that I was done having kids - I have the most perfect kids imaginable and had also been advised that my body just couldn't handle another pregnancy, not when my blood pressure zoomed to 220/150 in my last few weeks with both boys. So we had to do something else.

That something else was an IUD, which despite many reports of people having horrendous issues with them, I actually tolerated really well and rather enjoyed because it made my cycles non-existent. That meant I didnt' have to deal with the annoyances and issues related to all that, which was great for my training as well as for my general moods and disposition, as well as those around me. It was a double-bonus in that it did its primary job of keeping me from popping out three more kids and managed the fibroid issues. So it seemed like it was all working out fabulously, but still, nothing that I really discussed with a lot of folks besides a couple of my closest friends.

But then, I noticed the weight. And I've mentioned it a time or two. Or three. or four... and how it keeps creeping up, despite logging every calorie in and keeping meticulous records. And how, even after running 100 miles in a month, like in June of this year, I don't lose any weight, no I gain weight. And how when my friend and I were getting ready for AvonWalk last year, and we walked the same amount in training, but then I would run in addition to that, and she lost 10 pounds and I gained five.

In the past five years, I've had the metabolism tested, I've had the thyroid tested, I've had consults with nutritionists (none of which understood the demands of marathon running, sadly), and I've even consulted weight loss doctors through UT Southwestern. And nobody had any answers, except for my primary care doctor, who suggested that I might actually be waking up in the middle of the night and eating without realizing it, unwittingly sabotaging my efforts. This was after he suggested that I start walking 20 minutes a day, three times a week (he did not have an answer when I asked whether I should do that before or after my 10-mile mid-week run). And with all the stuff going on in my life, with job changes, the house, the kids, etc., etc., I just haven't addressed it lately except for keeping up the mileage and making sure that I eat somewhat reasonably. But now, it's time to get it fixed.

The more I read about the particular IUD I had, the more I realized that having hormones directly released into my body like that was probably not a good thing. And there was enough anecdotal evidence to connect it to not only my weight gain but my ongoing acne issues, too. So we made the decision to pull it out and go with something else so that I could be free of any artificial hormones. But that decision alone wouldn't resolve the fibroid issues, or the fact that my body paid me back for all those years without a cycle by foisting one monster never-ending one on me once i had the device yanked. That was NOT fun, let me tell you. So I called my doctor and discussed the alternatives with him, and decided that while I really wanted all the troublesome girl parts yanked out nine years ago, 40 is probably still too young for a full hysterectomy. So we went with the uterine ablation coupled with a tubal ligation, figuring that the ablation was a less-invasive option. I had that done this week, which means I can't run for a week, although I can start walking tomorrow. The surgery itself was pretty uneventful - it was done outpatient, with general anesthesia, and laparoscopically, so the incision is tiny and barely noticable. My most troublesome side effect was the shoulder pain from the gas they used to inflate my abdomen for the ligation, but that has pretty much abated as of yesterday afternoon.

It might be a couple of months before I find out for sure how effective it was at treating the fibroids, but hopefully I'll see some movement on the scales and with the acne once the hormones are all out of my system. And that means that I can get back to the business of running without feeling like I'm carrying an extra toddler around, and of actually looking somewhat like an athlete. We shall see.

So, there. apologies if it's an overshare, but I'm amazed at how often i look back at these entries to remind myself of what I've been through, so I kind of needed to write it all down, for posterity's sake. Plus, if I actually see some kind of benefits to going hormone-free, then you can be sure I'll be shouting that from the rooftops.

Training notes, ORNs and progress toward the goal of the White Rock Half will resume as soon as I'm given clearance to run again. I should only miss one long run, so if all goes well I will be back on track lickety-split.

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