“Yes, you have multiple follicles within each ovary which is indicative of PCOS. Interesting given your normal androgens.” The opening line to my most recent email from my Endocrinologist. Back to PCOS. Going to doctors to look for answers is so much larger for me than wanting to become pregnant. I desire a healthy body that functions as it is supposed to. The chronic fatigue, acne, facial hair, low hormone levels (sex drive). Are they all linked? All the research points to it, yes. Does this give me hope that I can actually be ‘normal’? What does that even mean? Could I actually make it through a day without taking a nap? (Although I really do love my naps :-).)
To what lengths am I being asked to go on this journey for a healthy, working body? Maybe I am as healthy as my body can be; maybe it just looks different on me than it does other women? I can’t help but think these symptoms I spoke of, could possible go away with the right mix of treatment.
Her first option was for me to decide between another round of progesterone or to try either Metformin or Clomid. Both which I have tried, but again, I stay open to all ideas as I know our bodies change and mine certainly has since getting married. I find it fascinating. She also noted my endometrial layer lining being very thin. With this information she wants to put me on the Estrogen patch for the next 2 months and then progesterone for 10 days to see if I get a period. My first thought was, ‘great! Let’s do it!’ And then I began quoting Troop Beverly Hills “Patches, we don’t need no stinking patches!” (I digress). And then the flashbacks began accompanied by nervous thoughts.
My fears crept up from my stomach and overtook my heart as it began pounding more rapidly and I had a momentary shortness of breath.
The last time I saw these was on my mother. The relationship I had growing up with my mom was pretty typical as she taught me how to grow into womanhood and run a household. There were times when we butt heads as she ran the coop and I wanted to, overall I respected her and desired a closer ‘adult’ relationship. She had a hysterectomy in 2006 and began her hormone supplement treatments. All was fine and well until doctors diagnosed her with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2008 and added the necessary medication to her daily routine. The side effects were less than desirable and doctors changed the type of estrogen patch. One year later, when I was living back at home (age 26), she found a lump and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
Our eyes flowed with tears as she met with doctors and surgeons, getting options and hearing options. My dad was the rock we needed as we prepared for her double-mastectomy. My relationship with my mother changed. She needed me the way I had known to need her. She taught me how to love her well as I took care of her and nursed her back to health.
Some of the sweetest moments with her came out of those months of recovery. She allowed herself to be vulnerable with me and I learned how to be next to her through the discomfort and pain. I made meals, drove her to appointments, helped her bath and dressed her. Our relationship shifted and I began to love her in a new way, as a friend. Those patches created an opportunity for our relationship to be ‘patched’.
As she healed from the wounds and her strength increased, I was confident in her recovery. She began taking the prescribed Tamoxifen to be taken for the following five years. I’m happy to say, today she is cancer free, but the link between the estrogen medication change and her breast cancer is hard for me to overlook.
The questions rattle around in my head. Am I susceptible to it if my mom was? Is another option aside from the patches?
After checking with my doctor with my history, she is confident the Estrogen patches will be giving me the dose my body would normally create, so as to not create an imbalance. And so I place the first patch on my skin with a prayer for Gods protection. My heart is calm, I feel at peace with what each day seems to bring as I walk along this season and continue to pray for guidance, encouragement and assurance that I am right where I am supposed to be. If I’m not, God please move me.
The Estrogen patch can be one of hope and rejuvenation as I thumb through the thoughts of that summer with my mom. Our refreshed mother-daughter relationship is intertwined with a unique level of love, compassion, vulnerability and respect which only came through the summer season of surgery and scars.
What I know to be true through this reflection is that God works together all things for good and he makes all things new. He is a God of mercy, compassion, transformation and restoration. May this be a season of rebirth interlaced with faith and trust.