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What Lead Me To The Women’s Health Clinic?
During my post-op appointment at my surgeon’s office, his nurse and I were chatting about how I was doing after my surgery. She said something like, “Listen to your body so you’ll know if you’re trying to do too much.” To which I replied, “My body lies to me. I have fibromyalgia, and that makes me feel like I’m always doing too much, even when I’m not.”
I expected the usual weird look, but she nodded and said, “There’s hope. Let me tell you my story.”
Well, okay then.
She told me she suffered with fibromyalgia for 18 years and then it just went away.
When she said that, naturally, I thought she was full of sh*t. I thought, Oh great, here we go… Fibromyalgia doesn’t just go away from what I’ve read about it. So, I asked her, “What do you mean it just went away?”
Long story short…she told me that her symptoms started right after her last pregnancy, just like mine. She suffered and suffered until she went down to the women’s health clinic at our local compounding pharmacy and got her hormones checked with the saliva testing they offer. Turned out, she needed progesterone (I’ve written a little about progesterone here, here, and here from back when all of this first started). After about five months of bio-identical hormone therapy (HRT), her symptoms started dropping off one by one. She considers herself recovered and has weaned herself off of the hormones and leads a normal life.
You know, honestly, if she had told me anything besides the progesterone, I don’t think I would have believed her at all. But I know for a fact that my progesterone levels were low at the onset of my symptoms – and I have endometrial hyperplasia to prove it. I took Provera for a very short time until my gynecologist suddenly took me off of it and refused to prescribe any more because she didn’t want me on it long term. (Taking synthetic progesterone long term can lead to certain cancers and other conditions). My gynecologist had suggested I try wild yam cream, instead. I tried it, but it was worthless. I may as well have been using regular lotion.
What Is Endometrial Hyperplasia?
Endometrial hyperplasia is the thickening of the uterine lining – it is a major risk factor for developing endometrial cancer if left untreated or if treatment fails. I haven’t found much in-depth information, but this is a good article about it.
Other than diagnosing it, none of my doctors seem to give a sh*t about it. I have not had a biopsy or a D&C, and nobody is “closely monitoring” it.
Honestly, though, I’ve had so much other stuff going on with the fibromyalgia, gallbladder, and chronic infections that I have put this aspect of my health on the back burner, so I can’t just blame my doctor – it’s my responsibility, too. My gynecologist, whom I haven’t seen in quite a while, recently moved out of state, so I guess I need to get on the ball with that and find a new gynecologist that will actually do something before my girly parts rot out and kill me.
The Women’s Health Clinic
After listening to the nurse’s story and being able to relate to it from my own experiences, I decided this path was worth the time and expense. And yes, it is expensive.
Good thing I’m rich. (<—I’m not, but I’m learning to respond to unexpected expenses with this energy healing/Law of Attraction technique that I learned from the awesome Carol Tuttle, who writes The Carol Blog. I love Carol, and I highly recommend her YouTube videos, books, blog, courses – basically anything Carol puts out is awesome, especially the “Dressing Your Truth” book and resources. I’m a Type 4 Energy with a very strong secondary Type 1, if you’re wondering, which you’re probably not, but whatever).
Did I mention that bio-identical hormones from the compounding pharmacy’s women’s health clinic is expensive? My initial consultation was $150 and my saliva test kit was $210. From there, if my hormones are jacked up (and they probably are), I’ll have to pay $30 every two weeks for my prescription. Gah!!!
All I have to say is, this sh*t better work!
I might also mention that my insurance doesn’t cover any of this. It’s all out-of-pocket. However, I am going to file the test with them, to see if they will cover at least some of the cost. It doesn’t hurt to try!
I went to my first consultation with the pharmacist on Thursday. It’s really swank-tastic in there. They took me to a cozy little room to watch a cheesy video, obviously produced in the eighties, about how hormones affect midlife women while sitting in one of those fancy-schmancy massage chairs. The chair hugged me, squeezed me, rolled me, and generally made me drool on myself while I tried my best to stay awake and pay attention to the information on the video. (I need that chair).
napping through paying close attention to the video, they put me in the waiting room until the pharmacist finished reading through the paperwork I had filled out – a full 45 minutes later. What can I say? My health history has become very complicated lately.
Beth, My Women’s Health Compounding Pharmacist
Beth was great. She spent another hour talking with me in order to get an idea of what to test. The first thing she asked me was what tests I’ve already had and what has been ruled out. I’ve had so many tests that I can’t remember them all, so I have to run by my doctor’s office and get copies. I bet my file is too thick to carry.
What I liked most about Beth is that she seemed very thorough and willing to look at the big, overall picture of my health, instead of focusing on and treating each single symptom one at a time, which is exactly what I need, I think. She said my condition was complicated, like a spiderweb that needed to be looked at from a broader perspective, and that may be the reason why I’m not having much success with the doctors I’ve seen – they’re looking at the details and missing the big picture. Don’t get me wrong – I love my doctor. She’s done everything under the sun to try to help me, but I liked this lady’s attitude quite a bit.
As we went through all my issues, I could see the amazement in her eyes over how I had gone from an extremely fit kung fu fightin’ personal trainer to the exhausted, unhealthy person that sat in front of her. I made a joke about my situation being challenging, to which she flashed a wide grin at me and said, “I like a challenge.” Judging from her energy and demeanor, I bet she does. And I got the feeling that she’d just found her new play toy (me and my health probs). She also said, “Let’s dig in and go over this with a fine-toothed comb until we find the answer.”
Hell yes, I say! That’s what I want to hear!
She’s going to ask my doctor to retest my thyroid using Free T3 and Free T4 tests, instead of just the Total T3 and Total T4 test that was done, because those give a better indication of whether anything is going on with my thyroid. Obviously, something is going on, because goiters don’t just happen without a reason, right? Also, it’s very common for FMS/CFIDS patients to suffer from thyroid dysfunction that is missed with the standard tests (the Total instead of the Free).
Another thing she’s going to test for is adrenal fatigue, another common condition with FMS/CFIDS patients, which will show up if my cortisol levels are off. She was so convinced that I have adrenal fatigue that she gave me a book on it, Adrenal Fatige: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson.
And, because I’m so completely screwed up, she is doing a “Comprehensive Hormone Profile” on me: progesterone, testosterone, estradiol, DHEA, and four diurnal cortisol saliva test. I have to do this during a certain day of my cycle, 18 days from now, and it takes another two weeks to get the results back. So, I won’t know the outcome of this test for over a month, which really sucks because I want to feel better now. Oh well. What’s one more month, right?
Overall, I left the women’s health clinic with a very favorable impression and a sense of hope that this might be just the thing that I need in order to move forward and regain my health. Was it worth the money? I don’t know yet, but I will let you know.
Have you had any experience with bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or working with a clinical pharmacist for your health issues? Have you struggled with adrenal fatigue?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks for reading!