Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I Have PCOS

Those of you who saw my Facebook status today know that I had two doctor's appointments today. The first was with my endocrinologist, Dr. Maturlo, and the second was with my new OB/GYN (not so much OB, since I'm not preggers), Dr. Young. If you need an endocrinologist or an OB/GYN, I highly recommend these doctors. Today they figured out more than my last five doctors combined have over the past two years.

In the morning, Dr. Maturlo addressed my hormone issues head-on by prescribing Metformin. She also noticed the subclinical hypothyroidism evidenced on the labs another doctor had called normal! She also noticed a teeny bit of swelling in my thyroid, so in two months, I'll have a thyroid ultrasound.

I was at Dr. Young's office for about two hours this afternoon. That may seem like a long appointment, but he was so efficient and smart that by the time I left, I really felt like we'd taken five steps forward. He looked at my charts and decided to do an ultrasound—right there and then! I told him that I'd had one done in the summer, and they said it had come back normal. His response: "I bet this one won't!"

Here's what he saw:



Okay, okay, I know it's blurry! But you probably wouldn't be able to identify anything anyway. I'll take you on a little tour through my insides.

The top left is a picture of . . . drum roll please . . . a 4 cm cyst on my right ovary! (And the crowd goes wild!) I know that's not something to be happy about, but hey, it explains the ovary pain!

The other pictures are different angles of my uterus, the lining of which is massively thick! So ta-dah! That explains the two-month-long, non-stop bleeding marathon.

He ascertained from the his real-time view of my internal organs that (a) I do indeed have PCOS, and (b) my uterus tilts backward. The whole tilting thing actually makes no medical difference, and isn't even an abnormality—it's just a fun fact about my body that most women can't claim.

Okay, rewind—I have PCOS! Now, that's not something to cheer about either. At all. But it's a diagnosis. I had time this summer to come to grips with the possibility of PCOS, so when Dr. Young decided to make it official, the words came with a flood of relief instead of worry and dread. This is treatable. I have options. I have a community. What is wrong with me has a name. I am filled with gratitude for these things, and for the friends, family, and Father in Heaven who have offered constant support to help me get here. If it weren't for you guys, I probably would have assumed I was suffering from some psychosomatic garbage and given up. So many of you awesome people have pushed me to find better doctors and get better care. I can't thank you enough.

I still have more tests to take, more appointments to make, (and more rhymes to fake), but at least for the moment I have somewhere to go! Dr. Young had a good solution for me to regulate my bleeding that involves neither birth control nor fertility pills. He also prescribed pills for my other symptoms. The metformin my endocrinologist prescribed will help to treat the PCOS, and I have more appointments in February and March to figure everything out. I have lab results on the way, and Dr. Young has promised another round of tests once he sees Dr. Maturlo's lab results.

In the meantime, I have a fun little tour for you of my own personal pharmacy. My doctors sent me home with a total of five new prescriptions. On top of the three I already take and my vitamins, I have a total of TEN current Rx bottles sitting on the shelf. Now, one of those pills is an "as needed" that's expensive, so I don't always have it every day. Two of the others are the same drug in different doses that I'll switch between and occasionally forgo altogether. Once I do all the math, on any given day I will take between thirteen and fifteen pills.

Here's my weekly regimen:



Colorful, huh? All these pills make me feel like an AIDS patient. I'll average 98 pills each week. If I get the side effects of all of them, I think it'll add up to one huge popping sound as my body turns into an overripe mango.

7 comments:

AprilA said...

Oh, boy! You've had an eventful day! Your pill box looks like mine but with a couple more times of day. I've got it down to twice a day.

I was diagnosed officially about 10 years ago but have had cysts and such since I was 12. I have been on and off Met because I hate the GI issues.

Unsolicited advice: make sure you start the met slowly! Like half a pill a day if your stomach can't handle it. And take it in the middle of a meal. And stay close to a restroom. Seriously. They don't tell you that when they prescribe it. Ken and I have a nickname for those pills...won't say it here but you may give it the same name in a couple days. :)

More unsolicited advice...soulcysters.com (or.net)is a great community. And if and when you decide to try to grow your family, ovusoft.com is THE best place for advice, charting software and the like.

Glad you finally got a diagnosis! Now you can read and read and read and know it actually applies!

Andee said...

Oh, Amy, I'm so glad that you've finally been properly diagnosed! I know it's still dreadful, as I have it to, but it is so nice to finally know what's wrong with your own body. :)

Btw, your doctor did tell you that the Metformin will probably upset your stomach for a few weeks, yes? Still, it's a small price to pay for competent medical care. If you have any questions or want to talk about it, let me know. I was diagnosed 2 years ago...

AprilA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

Oh, I am SO GLAD that they gave you a diagnosis finally. A few women in John's family have PCOS--it is a hard thing to have, but a lot more understood now than it was a few years ago. I'm glad you feel better, and hopefully all of those pills help!

Brooke said...

I can relate a little. I found out I had a six inch cyst pretty recently, and though I wasn't thrilled about it, it sure explained a lot of things in my life that didn't make sense.

Eileen said...

I am so glad they've finally diagnosed you! At least you can start moving forward now. I'm sorry it's not the best news but I'm glad you can help treat the symptoms. I love you! Please let me know if you need anything!

Sarah McMullin said...

Yay for the diagnosis. I agree, PCOS isn't exactly FUN, but it's treatable and not some bizarre, nameless problem.

And you have an old lady pill organizer.