One Month on Keto so far

I started Keto on September 7th for my brain health for MS. (healthy high fat diets have proven to be good to neurological diseases) I have been asked several if it is helping, that’s not an easy question to answer.

I have not noticed a difference in my functioning since starting keto, my energy level is still low, my pain is still there (depends on what I have done during each day), my words still don’t work.

What I have noticed is that my hormones (due to PCOS) have leveled out (fingers crossed it helps my alopecia). I have lost 13.61 pounds and 13 total inches.

When I nerd out at my next doctor appointment I will have a bunch of blood work done to see if it has changed anything on that level. It’s hard, especially because I love sugar, but it’s manageable and since it’s a lifestyle change for me and not a diet I am allowing myself the occasional treat so that I can sustain this change long term.

Am I Strong Enough?

I have been told by many people that I am strong. Strong in how I keep moving forward in spite of all the bullshit that is thrown at me. Strong because in the face of everything I try to have a sense of humor. Strong because most people couldn’t handle all the shit that I deal with daily.

You know what the secret is? I am not, I am not strong, I do not want to keep having to deal with everything that keeps coming at me. If I could chose, I would say “No THANK YOU!” or “Fuck Off!” but no one is listening. No one is giving me the choice to not be strong.

I get that most people don’t think they could handle it, but you don’t know until it is the only option you have. I think of this frequently when I say something stupid to a mom with twins like “good for you, I couldn’t do that”. They didn’t have a choice either, they have to figure out how to handle multiples.

This last week I am fairly certain I tore my right biceps tendon, but I can’t get into the doctor for 2 weeks. You might think that is a weird thing to be certain about, except I tore my left biceps tendon last year so I know exactly what that dull, throbbing pain feels like. The constant weighted feeling in my shoulder if I use my arm.

Yesterday we took our boys to the mall, my body’s internal temperature regulator does not work, thanks MS. I am walking around the mall with my husband, son and service dog trying to have a good time for the kids. Meanwhile my face is turning red, my husband tells me my face is beading with sweat like I was working out , I start to lose all feeling in my legs (causing a weird limp) and all of my pain was intensified and my brain felt like it was melting. None of this was by choice. I am not a toddler, if I throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum or start crying not only would that embarrass my entire family but someone may call 911.

There have been times when people tell me “God only gives you what you can handle” and to that I say “Bullshit” and this is why I am not strongly religious. What kind of asshole gives a person MS, Meneire’s Disease, PCOS, torn hip cartilage, torn tendons, anxiety, alopecia an all the small things wrong with me and all the worse symptoms of the main issues too.

I am three months late getting my infusion for my MS, first the hospital messed up twice and then we had to wait for insurance. I finally got it approved and today my insurance approval letter says the medication that is given twice in two weeks at 300 mg doses was approved for one time of ONE mg. I am done! I am tired of fighting but I have two children and a husband that need me so I don’t have another choice I have to keep trying to move forward. It’s like climbing a escalator going the opposite direction, it’s hard and exhausting but the only other options aren’t great.

So, sorry for the long ranting of this post, but the message to take from this is you don’t actually have to be strong to look strong to people who don’t know. Mental health is important and this is why I talk to a therapist every two weeks, more frequently if needed. It’s a place where I get to not be strong to the outside world, I feel safe being vulnerable and I don’t have to worry about anyone else during those hours. I don’t have to worry about making my children or husband worried for me. You don’t have to be weak alone, you can find someone to talk to that can help you work through all the unfairness that comes your way. Work through anger, fear, sadness and resentment, oh how my therapist would be proud of me with acknowledging feelings other than anger.

It’s hard, life can be difficult and frustrating. There may be days you cry in the shower so no one knows it’s happening (shhh not me, ok don’t judge me). I do my best to try and give my boys good memories of their childhood, I work through the pain on the days I can and watch movies with them on the days I can’t.

Infertility and Miscarriages – My Story

This is my second post on the taboo of infertility and miscarriages. I am a firm believer in sharing information to bring awareness to issues that many people face. I have already touched on my Multiple Sclerosis and Meniere’s Disease and now I will tell you a bit more personal story.

My story starts not long after my wedding, we decided to start trying to get pregnant in late August, early September. By October I was craving red meat that I had not eaten since I was 17 due to my heart issues and immediately took a pregnancy test. It was positive and we were elated. With the exception of being HUGE (everyone was convinced I was having twins) and having a hard time breathing due to the giant baby kicking my diaphragm in the third trimester it went textbook. An emergency c-section was required due to decreasing dilation (I didn’t know that was possible) and his head was in the 98th percentile, sent my husband off with the baby and that’s when the medication given to me wore off. I could feel every – single – stitch and begged for them to stop and give me more medication as I ensured them it was not pressure. I should have been prepared for that since Novocaine has to be administered multiple times during a filling.

You can imagine how confused I was when it took us longer the second time we tried to get pregnant. It took many more months for our second pregnancy and I was very excited when we got a positive test. I remember it was October again, because I miscarried the week of Thanksgiving. Most people wouldn’t even notice unless they had been trying I was told. Though we had seen a heartbeat on the ultrasound a week before. I was far enough along that I noticed it wasn’t like a normal menses so even if I hadn’t done the test I would have noticed the difference, I will not describe it because nobody needs that but I finally knew how traumatic a miscarriage could be. I was so emotional and upset that even though I watched Marley and Me quite some time after it came out when Jennifer Aniston’s character miscarried I bawled.

It took me a while to want to try again, I was terrified of another loss. After a while though, we started trying… a lot. It went on for months, I started buying ovulation tests and taking them. I was so confused, my ovulation tests were positive but I would start my period 2-3 days later. After a few months of that craziness I contacted my OB-GYN and they had me come in to check hormone levels in my blood after a positive ovulation test. Blood came back not ovulating so that meant time for a fertility specialist. At this point in my life I had NO health issues known to me (other than high cholesterol and resolved heart condition – or at least that’s what I had been told)  so this was pre-MS diagnosis and vertigo and hearing loss.

Before the fertility doctor met with me they pulled blood and ran about of different labs and did an ultrasound to check my ovaries and uterus. Walked into the office where the doctor was sitting and before he even said hello I was told there was a 98 percent chance I had Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome.  I was taken aback by the abruptness and not very friendly demeanor of the doctor. I sat down at his desk for more information, turns out my ovaries were over achievers in the amount of egg producing follicles but no longer in the ability to ovulate. I was told the “normal” amount is 5 follicles on each side; I had 32 on one side and 36 on the other, a whopping 68 opportunities for eggs and none of them worked.

The next step was a hysterosalpingogram, this imaging is laying on a x-ray table while a technician injects dye into your Fallopian tubes to make sure they are not blocked. Apparently BOTH of mine were, how so much could go wrong with a body in a couple of years from a normal pregnancy is insane to me. Luckily she seemed to unblock one tube with the injection of the dye but no luck on the other side. With all the blood work they were doing on me to check hormones they were able to determine the most likely cause of my miscarriage was the lack of progesterone in my body. The mother produces this for the first trimester until the baby/placenta takes over, low or no progesterone means it cannot grow.

The next step was discussing IUI, Intrauterine insemination, they would give me something to encourage ovulation and then basically turkey baste semen into the uterus when the eggs are ready to drop. The tricky part was not making too many eggs since the side the tube was not blocked could potentially make 36 eggs. If that happened they would not proceed, three or less eggs in order to do IUI. This also meant that Clomid, the standard drug for ovulation, could not be used. I tried something call Femara, this is a drug used for breast cancer but oddly has the side effect of ovulation. The nurse practitioner I was seeing at the fertility clinic advised me they typically get 3 good tries from this medication. 

Month one, I ovulated yay, nope it was on the wrong side, eggs can’t come out of a blocked Fallopian tube. OK, no problem, 2 more tries, it should work on the correct side the next month. Nope, Femara did not work the second time. What does that mean for our very wanted second child? My only other option I was told was IVF, and kudos to those women who can do that but I had one child and insurance wasn’t covering any of my tests or medications and I cannot put a needle into myself, so we decided we were done. The nurse did tell me that I may have a shot if somehow my periods became regular for a year or more, which wasn’t encouraging to me at all.

I got rid of all of our baby stuff and decided to focus on my weight because PCOS comes with insulin resistance which could lead to diabetes, which would have meant giving myself shots. I got a trainer and worked out early mornings to try and lose some body fat. By June/July I had lost 10 pounds and 5% body fat. I felt ok but I did miss food, counting calories and balancing fruit with protein has always been challenging to me.

Imagine my surprise when only two months of regular cycles I started craving bacon, which I never really liked previously. Panicked, I bought a pregnancy test and when it came back positive I immediately called the fertility clinic worried about my progesterone levels. Luckily, I was seen for blood work the same day. My levels were low so my husband got the job of giving me a shot in the ass every few days with progesterone for the entire first trimester. In between all of that there was more labs, hormone checks, ultrasounds and so many doctors.

This pregnancy was harder, but it was hard to get started, my thyroid levels were wonky so I had to take medications for that. I looked like I was carrying triplets but only gained 15 pounds. My muscles were getting weaker, I was having a lot of pain in my abdomen and what I assumed were braxton hicks but scared they were real. I joked that the baby was eating my muscles and had new managers at work who I kept assuring they’d be amazed at how smart I was once the “baby brain” cleared up. I ended up on bed rest for a while towards the end of my pregnancy but my work was amazing about it. In the end, we had a very healthy second baby boy. Things continued to not be quite right and medical things just kept happening. It would be 2 years before I finally got diagnosed with MS and the “baby brain” never went away because it was brain fog. After diagnosis I thought that was why the pregnancy was so hard, but most studies and people say their symptoms get better during pregnancy so just another weird thing about my body.

Believe it or not, that is actually long story short :/ next post will focus on miscarriages.