Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One thing after the other...

I've contemplated blogging about this for some time, but always felt it was best kept private. But so many friends and acquaintances have told their stories, and I felt like it was time I shared mine...especially since the "you don't have kids yet?" question has come up more lately than ever.

I consider myself pretty healthy. I exercise regularly, eat healthy for the most part, and do what I can to keep stress levels down. Running helps tremendously with that, as does Buster the Boston Terrier. :)

However, I’ve always had issues with acid reflux (severe when I was a baby and came back my senior year of college) and low blood sugar (I've passed out more times than I can remember and was diagnosed as being borderline hypoglycemic). Other than that, I haven’t had many issues.

In May of 2010, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Since then, it's been one thing after another. I got off birth control in the fall of 2009; for one because I was getting cysts and you shouldn’t being on the pill, and two because I had been on it for over 11 years and I knew we eventually wanted to start a family.

Brent and I briefly "tried" to have kids early last year, but obviously nothing happened. I promise you, I could buy stock in home pregnancy tests. My cycle was either late or nonexistent every month, complete with what I thought were pregnancy symptoms. One of the last tests I took messed with me big time, as the second (or "You're pregnant!") line showed up, but quickly went away a minute later. I finally had enough and made an appointment with my OB-GYN. I explained to her about some irregularities and minor pain I was experiencing, so she scheduled an ultrasound. Bad news...not only was I not pregnant, but I had a severe case of PCOS.

One of my ovaries from the ultrasound...the other looked just like it.
All the black circles are cysts.

Basically, I wasn't ovulating, making it impossible to get pregnant. I was devastated. Spending so much time and money wondering if (wishing) I was pregnant, only to find out that might not be in the cards for me. I was put on Metformin, one of the top drugs to treat PCOS and get me to start ovulating. It took quite a while for my body to get used to, as Metformin is also a diabetic drug which lowers your blood sugar (just what I needed since mine is already low). Dealing with painful cysts, night sweats, and at times what felt like mild depression has been very trying on me and just about every relationship from my marriage to friends. But I've done my best to recognize the symptoms and to not let them affect me.

Then, just before Christmas last year, I started having terrible pains and discomfort in my lower back on the right side. After experiencing numerous symptoms and becoming an expert Google searcher, I realized it was kidney-related. Blood in urine, extreme pressure when I had to use the bathroom, etc. After a few very expensive trips to the urologist and the most excruciating kidney-stone-trying-to-pass experience (imagine what's in the image below going through something the size of a straw), I thought that mess was behind me. Ha!

This is what my lovely 4mm stone looked like...

Just this weekend, I started feeling that awful, all-to-familiar pressure in the lower right side of my back. Every day it got a little worse, and then came blood in the urine again. I finally got in to see my urologist yesterday morning. Just as I suspected...two kidney stones. Thankfully, these are smaller and I have been assured they will pass without pain. I was so upset, as I've been following a low oxalate diet since February. That obviously didn't matter...I'm just one of the "lucky few who's prone to them." Super. So far, no severe pain, but there's still a good bit of pressure. I have pain meds to take when needed, as well as a Flomax-type medication to speed up the passing process (I just love feeling like a 70-year-old man). Fingers crossed that it works soon. This morning was not pleasant...and while I enjoy being able to work from home in my pjs, I'd much rather be at the office.

All that said, it's safe to say Brent and I decided it was best to wait on the baby talk. We're both crazy busy with work, and we're having a blast traveling when we can. Every time I feel like we might be ready to start trying again, my body goes through something else, and then I want to give it time to get back to normal. Not that I believe "the right time" will be on our schedule anyway...it's ultimately not up to us.

Through all this, I still have to thank God for my health and so many other blessings. Things could be so much worse, and I know that. There's still hope that Metformin will work as it should when we are "ready." It's already done its job getting my cyst count down tremendously, as well as helping to regulate my cycle for the most part. SO thankful for that! Should it not work, I'll switch to Clomid for 3-4 months, fertility drugs after that, and if nothing happens by that point, we'll reevaluate what we want to do. Oh yeah...and every doctor I've been to says that all the running I do is excellent for me. So again, things could be a lot worse...I can't imagine not running!

Growing up, I always thought I'd simply decide when I wanted to get pregnant, and it would happen just like that. Having talked to so many friends and other women and read about how common this and problems like it are, I've remained hopeful. I also never thought kidney stones would be something I'd have to worry about either. Life is all about dealing with what you're given and making the best of it. So that's what I'm trying to do. :)

As usual, sorry for the long post.


  1. Beth,

    I am so glad you shared your story! YOU ARE A TROOPER! And a persistant little thing!! Running and training for a full marathon all the while having all of these internal problems that make you feel horrible! I am so proud of you for being so positive and upbeat! A very close friend of mine has PCOS. I watched her struggle with treatments, doctor appointments, heart ache of negative pregnancy tests for two years. She took two rounds of Clomid and became pregnant with her first little angel! Healthy and beautiful baby girl arrived and then the next question set in...will I be able to have another. Suprisingly she only had to do one round of Clomid and viola...a beautiful baby boy was conceived!!! I think you and Brent have the right and amazingly positive perspective!!! You two will be blessed at the right time and all will fall into place! I am so sorry for the heart ache you have endured and the pain and discomfort your body has suffered. Take care and keep smiling!! God is going to bless you and Brent beyond what your mind can conceive!
    ~ Whitney Young

  2. I love you so much, Sis! So sorry for your pain. Your always optimistic attitude, the love in your heart and your belief in God will carry you through this. I'll be there every step of the way. Love you!

    P.S. I parallel parked like a pro today and remembered another movie quote for you..."likkke a glooveee!". Ha! I actually said it out loud to myself! ;)

  3. Sorry to see you're having this experience!! I realize my health issues aren't related to this but believe me, I get asked all the time why I haven't "settled down" & started having kids. I'm too nice to tell someone what I'm really thinking when they ask me that. Each time I get asked it's like a slap in the face b/c the reality is, I CAN'T have kids! I have to take steroids to stay alive & there's no way I can ever possibly get off of them. Plus, w/ all the things my body has been put through, my doctors just don't think it's possible for me to carry a baby to full term. You & Brent are both such great people so I know that God has something wondeful in the cards for you 2! I realize many women want the experience of actually being pregnant at some point in life... I'm one of them. I've finally realized that adopting would be a wondeful experience too. (aside from the cost) I'm sure you will eventually get pregnant but if it's not in the cards, (BIG "IF") realize that there are so many precious children who would love to be adopted by a loving couple like you & Brent! Keep your chin up, sweet girl! =)

  4. sorry, sweetie!! Im' praying for you, God has a plan bigger than we can even imagine!!