Finally There Is Hope

I am a 47 year-old woman. In my thirties and early forties, I complained to my doctor(s) that I did not eat enough to be so heavy. After my pregnancies, I was at around 220 and was only 5,3. I was told to try weight watchers, to exercise more, and to watch stress eating. Thirteen years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition that significantly changed my life. Exercise became near impossible as I battled with daily moderate to severe all-over pain and depression from dealing with the pain. Still, I continued to gain weight, which did not help my condition. I began to wonder if I would ever be able to feel good about my body again.

A little over a year ago, I moved to a different cities and changed doctors. My new doctor ordered a thyroid test. Several had been done over the years and they were always normal. This one was not, so I was put on thyroid medicine. I was having problems with numbness in my hands and feet, so he referred me to a neurologist. This neurologist is brilliant. He had me to a fasting blood-sugar test and ran some other tests and discovered that I am pre-diabetic and have significant small-fiber neuropathy. I had been getting regular A1C tests over the years and had been told a couple of times that I was borderline, but no one ever explained what that meant or the seriousness of it.

From there I was referred to an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist took my hand and said, "Your weight is not your fault." This is what I had been trying to tell doctors over the years and dieting with no results. I had felt like such a failure. He told me that I had Polycystic Ovarian Disease, which combined with the thyroid problem led to resistance of a very important hormone called Leptin. Leptin is responsible for fat storage. I had an ovary removed due to a cyst and had a cancer scare and a hysterectomy due to another cyst on the remaining ovary. I'd had four miscarriages, but five healthy children. No one ever told me that I had polycystic ovaries. Maybe because I would only present with one cyst that would usually burst at some point causing me horrible pain, but that would subside and I would be fine--until when the cyst just kept growing the last time. He also told me that I was profoundly low on estrogen, due to the menopause. I had been taking Premarin, but went off it when the worst of the hot flashes left due to breast cancer concern (a possible side effect of continuous use).

So, the doctor began me on monthly Estradiol shots and after a couple of months and retesting, he started me on 1000mg of Metformin to be taken at bedtime. I had already lost 20 pounds, being at 238 after having sky-rocketed to 258. He assured me that the Metformin would have the weight falling off in no time. So, now I have hope of some day shopping outside of the plus-size section of the clothing stores.

It is frustrating to go so many years without a proper diagnosis. The lack thereof has put my cardiac and neurological health at very serious and very real risk. Once I have lost the weight, I plan to send a letter with a picture to every doctor I've ever seen to explain what had happened and how I hope to save other women from having to go through these issues. For too many woman is too late.
Agivera Agivera
1 Response Sep 5, 2012

I want to commend you for your perseverance! I have not had to go through anything near what you have been through, but I have always battled my weight, and I have known that having a not so slender midsection was putting me at risk for heart disease and diabetes, but I didn't truly recognize the severity of it until I dug in and have learned more about the risks over the past 6 months.

This spring, I switched doctors, moving from the MD (medical doctor) I'd seen for more than 15 years to a DO (doctor of osteopathy). I liked the thought of switching over to a DO because they look at the body and how it functions as a whole rather than looking at and treating one problem. They look at the condition and/or overall health picture. Anyhow, I just went in for my annual exam, and they recommended a full blood work-up and cholesterol panel, which I thought was a great idea, and I'd gone in fasting anyway, so they went ahead and drew blood and sent it off to the lab.

I went back in a couple of weeks later when the results came back so that we could go over the report in person, and I was surprised and a little bit alarmed when it came back with some pre-diabetic and metabolic syndrome risk factors. She suggested that I increase my activity levels and told me that she'd like to see me increase my fiber intake in addition to incorporating high quality supplements into my regimen. I was so thankful for their approach and for the extensive conversation she had with me to review the results and what they meant. My other doctor had done blood panels in the past, but I never got a print-out of the results and was always told that there were no concerns and that they'd see me next year.

I left my doctor's office that afternoon feeling a little bit overwhelmed with information, upset that no one in the past had ever looked at my health like this, but determined to turn my health around. I took all of her suggestions and began making some changes in my life. I'd already been moving towards cleaner eating (eliminating all processed foods) and incorporating a lot more fruits and veggies in my diet, but I now needed to focus on supplementation and exercise in addition to dietary changes.

Luckily, I found a company that has high quality supplements that help fight free radicals and promote overall health; they have an amazing natural heart health line that includes supplements and a fiber drink mix (the fiber supplement has 6 x's the amount of fiber than Metamucil); and a natural blood sugar support supplement that was specifically designed for people with metabolic syndrome and prediabetes. While I am simply amazed with the entire line, I am in awe over the blood sugar support supplement because I am noticing such a difference in the way I feel! It has a low glycemic index, is high in protein and high in fiber. I have more energy, less fatigue at the end of the day, and I am finding that I want to eat healthier when I take it. I feel like all of these products have changed my life.

My doctor recommended that I return in 6 months for another blood panel, which means I will be going back in towards the end of this month, and I am SO anxious to see the results and compare them to the baseline results from this spring! I'll post them here when I get them back.

If you (or anyone else reading this) wants to know more about these products that have helped me over the past 6 months, please let me know. They have seriously changed my life!