Well friends, here it is – the long overdue post that I’ve had sitting in Drafts for weeks.
The reason behind my hesitance to publish this post is that I’m actually still figuring things out and though I’ve discovered a lot of new things in regards to my health, I haven’t really figured out the solutions. 2017 was a really eye-opening year for me in a lot of ways and it really wasn’t until the end of the year that I started to put things together in regards to my hormones and my health. Needless to say this post is going to be a bit of a doozy as I not only process my thoughts to all of the changes but also deal with the ramifications of what I’ve been putting my body through.
From the Beginning
Though my cycles were always regular in my teenage years, they were also always quite heavy. As I got older my periods intensified in every way imaginable – in length, heaviness and of course, pain. It started to get so bad that my period would normally set me back a total of two weeks – a few days prior to the start I would start to suffer from severe lower back pain and cramps and it would last until a few days after my period was over.
It got to be unbearable when I was 18 years old. I drove home from school in tears and quite literally had to crawl into my house. The pain was so intense that my mom thought my appendix had burst until I told her I had started my period. This episode led me to an appointment with my gynecologist where she discovered I had numerous cysts in my ovaries. She put me on birth control and that was it – or so I thought.
Though the birth control pill regulated my period it did nothing for the symptoms I was battling. I still struggled with horrendous pain, heavy bleeding, lower back pain and much more. After switching birth control pills four or five times we finally settled on a pill that only gave me 4 periods a year, that way I’d only have to deal with the symptoms and pain 4 times a year instead of 12. I thought that was the only solution for me – I was 18 years old and a doctor was telling me this was what I had to do. How was I supposed to know any better?
When Ninja and I started discussing the possibility of starting a family, I decided to stop taking my birth control pills. We both knew the ramifications – that I would most likely be in some serious pain until I got pregnant, but after being on the pill for so long I knew that my body would need some time to adjust itself before I could get pregnant.
I stopped taking the Pill in November of 2016. I have only had two periods since.
I’ll be honest with you guys, I actually didn’t even realize I was missing periods until Ninja brought it up. I thought that maybe because I was on the Pill for so long that my body would need longer to adjust but as November and December of last year rolled around I realized that it was much more than that.
That was when I really stopped and looked at my body. What was different? What were the changes between when I was on the Pill and when I wasn’t? Here’s what I found:
- no periods
- weight gain [even though my diet & exercise hasn’t changed]
- issues sleeping
- mood swings
When I was finally able to sit back and examine all of my symptoms it became pretty clear that they all pointed to one thing – a hormone imbalance. All these years of being on birth control hid that truth from me – it covered up the symptoms but didn’t allow me to deal with the actual root of the problem, and now I’m left scrambling trying to figure out how to get my body to function properly without help from the Pill.
As someone who has a disordered eating past, you might imagine how that unexpected weight gain has been messing with me. It’s been….a struggle, to put it simply. I was going back and forth with what I was doing wrong – and though I’m fairly private in regards to my recovery I’ll be honest with you guys, it messed me up big time. I found myself slipping back into old ways, working out as many as four times a day to try to burn some extra calories. With Ninja gone on business a lot recently it was easy for me to do with no one to keep me accountable but myself – two hours of training at the gym in the morning and one to two hours in the evenings at home.
It wasn’t until I sat back and really took into account what I was doing to myself – that I was actually hindering myself from getting better rather than helping, that I started to get things back under control. I will confess that things still aren’t perfect – I worked out 4 times this Monday – but I’m at least able to be honest and upfront about it with myself.
I know it’s not good for my body
I know I’m harming myself
I know workouts aren’t the solution
I know that there is a bigger issue I need to address
I won’t sugar coat it – I’m pretty pissed off.
Pissed that I allowed a doctor to fool me into thinking birth control was the only solution all these years. Pissed at my body for always being so damn complicated. Pissed at my gym for getting a new scale that I forced myself to step on. Pissed at myself for slipping back into old habits.
But beneath the anger there is also shame, and that is what I’ve found I am struggling with the most.
So, Now What?
Well as I’ve mentioned a few times already, Ninja is cleaning up his diet this year and so am I. It’s nothing too drastic from what I’ve already been doing, however there are some significant changes that I’ve made in order to help me balance my hormones.
I’m still figuring it all out, obviously this is all still very new for me and it’s a bit of a learning process, but I’m hoping to be able to regain my period by myself without any help from medication.
I plan on going into more detail in regards to my diet and lifestyle changes in a post next week, so stay tuned for that as well as an update about how things are progressing.
Fingers crossed I do better next week than I’ve done this week.
Thoughts, comments, advice? Anything would help at this point.