It has been a long while since I have updated regarding doctors, health issues, and fertility. Perhaps an update is in store?
First of all, I switched to a NaPro doctor back in November. I am kicking myself for not making the switch sooner. I posted before about the need to be your own advocate, and while I have attempted to do so for years, it is hard work and still can take time. Through a long series of events, I was finally able to switch.
I highly, highly recommend NaPro Technology to anybody dealing with fertility issues or any issues relating to women’s health and their cycles. NaPro stands for Natural Procreative Technology. It was founded by a Catholic man and because of their beliefs, they do not do any IVF or artificial fertility treatments. And that is why I recommend them….they work only with your body to fix your body’s symptoms, to get to the root of the issue with your body. They won’t band-aid anything with birth control or IVF.
I finally was at a place where all my symptoms were taken into consideration, where I wasn’t told “these things just happen,” etc. I was finally at a place where I didn’t have to fight tooth and nail just to be heard.
Through a series of events, I discovered that I have/had quite a few issues going on…
…Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (or LUF)
…Thyroid System Disorder (also called Wilson’s Disease or adrenal fatigue)
Endometriosis, low progesterone, and MTHFR can all cause miscarriage. My Dr told me that 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage with even small amounts of endometriosis present. And the reason it usually takes us a while to get pregnant is because of the LUF. All the pieces started falling into place!
To treat the endo, I had a surgery in March where all the endo was removed. To restore hormonal balance for the endo, PCOS, low progesterone, and the LUFs, I was instructed to give myself HCG injections post-peak (after ovulation). If I did not ovulate due to an LUF, I instead went in for progesterone injections. All hormone injections are bio-identical hormones.
To diagnose the thyroid disorder, I took my basal body temperature 4 times a day for a while. People with this disorder tend to have low body temperatures. Mine certainly were! I also had a large number of symptoms on a symptom checklist they gave me. After diagnosis, they gave me a prescription for T3, which is one of the thyroid hormones, and the part that affects the adrenals. They started me on the lowest dose and slowly worked me up two doses to the highest dose, or therapeutic dose.
Within one week of being on the low dose, I was sleeping almost completely through the night. This might not sound like a huge deal, but after over ten years of awful awful sleep issues, this was truly incredible. Not only did I sleep better, but I noticed a marked improvement in my irritability. Now, this could be because lack of sleep is tied to irritability…or it could be because irritability is another symptom of TSD. Regardless of the reason, I was over the moon happy.
I went from feeling almost constantly on edge, irritable over the slightest things, and feeling completely out of control of my frustration levels…to suddenly being able to notice triggers….to being able to feel irritation rising up in me…and in turn being able to work through it before it came out (or be able to more quickly calm down and then work through it and apologize). After years and years of feeling like an awful sinful person and doubting my salvation over my continued struggle with frustration and anger, it was so shocking and wonderful to realize that it was not just a spiritual problem. It was a physical one. My body was so over-worked and could not function the way it was supposed to. Yes, my sinful flesh still struggles with getting frustrated easily. But now that the physical part is more under control, I am now a lot happier, and more easily able to A) notice frustration levels rising (instead of feeling already almost constantly at the edge) so that B) I can work through it.
When I finally got up to the highest dose of the T3, within one week, I again just felt better. I can’t pinpoint any specific symptom that improved, I just felt better. Not sure how to explain it.
Now, for the MTHFR, I had to go to another doctor to be diagnosed. My NaPro doctor would not test me for it (not all NaPro doctors refuse, but mine did). Thankfully, I had another great recommendation for a doctor, so I went to her. She explained to me what MTHFR is, why it is underdiagnosed, and the science behind it. After being tested, I did indeed have a form of MTHFR, which is basically a genetic mutation where your body cannot process folic acid.
To treat that, I went on MethylCpG. Because it is a genetic mutation, it cannot be cured, only managed to help my body better deal with the mutation. MethylCpG is, in essence, a methylfolate supplement. After hearing several glowing reports of people feeling night and day better after only a few days on a folate supplement, I tried to not get my hopes up too high in case I didn’t have as dramatic a story. Well…I did. Within 3 days, I noticed major change and improvement.
I felt like a weight was lifted off me. I felt happy. As in…happy. It has been a very very long time since I felt with my emotions that I was happy. I noticed a big change in my depression with that. Also big changes in my anxiety. A lot of things just didn’t bother me anymore. I was less stressed and less worried. For years I had felt as if I lived in a thick fog, kind of “floating” through life. As soon as events would happen, it often felt like it was already in the distant past. I felt disconnected from my surroundings and from events. While I do still experience that, I did notice improvement in the brain fog and in the disconnected feeling.
I also noticed improvement in my energy levels and motivation to accomplish things.
Who knew that something as simple as folic acid could affect so much??
The hormone progress was much slower. For several months it seemed like nothing was happening. I kept having LUFs, and regardless of treatment, I could not get my body to ovulate. But I did notice smaller changes, such as cycle length and improvement on issues relating to my period. Even though there were several discouraging things, such as not actually ovulating, I knew that my body was responding to the hormones. It just takes time to fix things that have been out of whack for so long!
I again highly highly recommend NaPro. Especially if you are feeling like your voice is not being heard or your symptoms are being dismissed. To find a NaPro doctor near you, check this map.
One thing I appreciate about my NaPro doctor is that she was very thorough in diagnosis. She did a full blood panel and a full ultrasound series. One problem with mainstream doctors is that they will do a blood test for hormone levels on one day…but the problem is that your hormone levels change throughout your cycle. Levels on one day do not give an adequate representation of your overall hormone levels or if they are in balance. In addition, if a doctor orders an ultrasound, it is usually on one or two days of the cycle. If my Dr hadn’t followed me through with a full series (at one point I was getting daily ultrasounds), we would not have known that I have LUFS. If I had simply had one ultrasound that showed a growing dominant follicle, most Drs would have told me I was good to go and would never have realized that a week later, my follicle was still growing…and growing…and never released.
So there is a brief update. I feel so strongly that people be with doctors that will truly help their case and help heal their bodies….with no band-aids, no fights, and no immediate jumping to more extreme methods.
I am so incredibly thankful that God led us to this Dr and that I finally got answers. For the longest time when I thought about how much better I felt, I would seriously start crying. I was beginning to think that I just had to learn to live with feeling awful. I can’t even describe how much better I feel now.