Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Details Are In The Journey

I am not a diabetic.  Not yet.  My Mother is.  Her Maternal Grandmother injected insulin during its prehistoric days.  Is their lot mine?  Yes.  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, migraines, and most importantly, a blood test all say that I too am on their journey.  But what if my map takes me in a different direction?  I have been bound and determined to heal myself, and rather than treating each ailment, I have found a way to marry them.

After my second child was born in 2007, I started having trouble with my hands, as well as chronic, widespread pain.  Fibromyalgia was the diagnosis, following a battery of tests that revealed me basically healthy otherwise.  My Maternal Grandmother, and Maternal Aunt both have been afflicted with Fibro.  

In High School, a blood test during my first visit to the Gynecologist revealed that I had high levels of free testosterone.  It went untreated until I was 31.  I had brought up the various conditions with my doctors in the past but given my scary-easy ability to get pregnant, PCOS was not something to be considered.  But by thirty one, my cycle was erratic, hair was growing in places I didn't want it despite electrolysis and laser treatments, and I wanted to answer.  I brought up the notion of PCOS with a fertility specialist at the University of Iowa.  Keep in mind I had no intention of conceiving, but they treat PCOS on a regular basis.  I received the diagnosis, and was given three prescriptions.  The first was for birth control.  The second was for Spironolactone.  The third was for Metformin.  

Why would this work for a patient with PCOS?  I was told in the office that day, that the doctor did not know why it worked for PCOS patients, but that it did and so it was prescribed on a routine basis.  At the time, this was good enough for me.  If I could fix the PCOS, great.  Even Wikipedia has more knowledge that I was given that day: "Where insulin resistance may be an important factor."  If only the doctor had taken a moment to look at the broader picture instead of treating the symptom.  But I was not able to tolerate the Metformin.  I was unable to reach therapeutic levels, and therefore discontinued it.  I did, however, manage fine with the Birth Control Pill, and Spironolactone.  

I have friends, acquaintances, family, and the like who have similar diseases as I have.  And almost everyone with one ailment as at least a handful of others, if not a dozen.  I was certain that this was the bottom of a family tree, or an umbrella.  I didn't know what was at the top, but was determined that one day, this larger disease or condition would show itself, be discovered, or some other grand revelation.  

The irony of my find is that it came from only a few sentences within an entire book I read at my husband's urging.  Sugar Nation, by Jeff O'Connell.  Among other relationships with sugar, he discusses the connection between PCOS and Diabetes.  Sugar has been on my plate with every meal for the last thirty three years.  Within the span of a paragraph, I came to the simplified conclusion that sugar= excess yeast= hormonal changes= pain level changes or too much sugar creates systemically high levels of yeast, which in turn alter hormone levels, that then makes the bodies ability to recognize and respond to pain nearly impossible.  Either way, it is a simple explanation.  Sugar.