Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Metformin Day 13 May 1, 2008

Happy Month of May everyone. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, the skies are blue.... but I can't seem to get off the couch. I started the 1500 mgs two days ago, and even blogging has seemed like a huge task. I have been so TIRED! I know it takes a few days to get used to each dose and that I'll probably bounce back, but I am just exhausted. The act of thinking, by itself, is hard for me lately. I guess I am just "spacey".. reminds me of my nickname as a kid: "Spacey Stacey" but it fits. I have been in mid conversations and forgotten what we are talking about. I've yelled at the dog and called my daughter's name instead of the dog's name. I've gone in the kitchen and just stood there trying to remember why I walked in, and worst of all, I have just stopped and stared off in the distance while my husband has been talking to me. He says I'm freaking him out, which I can understand. I told him that this should pass but I am so scared that it won't. I am taking 500 mgs in the am and 1000 mgs in the late evening and I have to figure something out. I feel like it is all too close together, like maybe I should take the 500 mgs later in the day since I only get a few hours of sleep at night. I'm just not motivated to do anything right now except lay on the couch and watch episodes of Big Brother on YouTube.

I have decided that I won't be driving until this brain fog dissipates. Italy is not the place to be driving if you're head isn't 100% focused. I'm really surprised I got this far in the blog, lol considering, but I haven't taken my pill yet this morning.

Let's hope this minor setback resolves itself or I may have to dye my hair bleach bottle blonde and get breast implants. I'll check in soon, if I can remember how to use the computer. :)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Metformin Day 8, April 26, 2008

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it has turned out to be a wonderful day. I still can not tell you all how amazing it is to wake up and not immediately run to the kitchen to get rid of the hunger pangs. I haven't had my stomach growl in several days which is new to me. I went to the grocery store and was able to get what I wanted, able to think clearly, and to not overspend on boxes and bags of impulse buys that I don't need. I will admit to getting the box of belgian chocolates, but I think that as long as my arm works and I can eat solid food, that I will be eating chocolate is one way, shape or form. One can't live so close to Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany without eating chocolates... that's my excuse anyway. When we get back to the States, I will have to come up with another excuse, but rest assured I will find one.

I have gained a pound but that's because my side effects are gone and I feel wonderful. I'm not overeating, but I'm not sick to my stomach either. I think diet is KEY to this medicine and that with a proper diet, and with the B-12 and WITH lots of hydration, that the sickness that many women feel while on it could be mended. I have basically cut every single refined carb out of my diet- for the most part. When I can buy wheat- I do. Anything from bread, hotdog rolls, pasta, rice, crackers.. even pancake mix. The wheat products are there, you just have to look for them. They cost more, but if the extra dollar keeps you from spending the evening in the bathroom, it's worth it right?

I still do not have a period, but my chest is sore which means some kind of hormones are working in there somewhere. I normally don't feel anything at all, but I may actually have PMS. I was always moody due to insulin levels constantly roller coastering up and down, but I am have PMS as in breast tenderness, changes in physical chemistry (you ladies know what I mean) I'm going to be brutally honest, because this is what this blog is supposed to be for. But I am starting to have a sex drive again. I'm not going to get into detail because this is not an X rated blog, but as this blog denotes, I am trying to resume womanhood- all that comes with it. One aspect that needed to return was my sex drive. Women with PCOS have high levels of testosterone and my estrogen is off the charts, but I think things might be leveling off as, like I said, things seem to be more normal. I am noticing things that I have not seen in a long time (like oddly enough, my bras fit better), and my body is toning from the walking but not bulking up like it usually does. Normally when I work out, I see muscle form right away, but this time, I am just toning. It is a nice difference.

I have had nothing but good to report so far, but being it is only day 8, I will not jump to conclusions that things will always be great... maybe I will get used to it so much that the effectivity wears off?? I don't know. This blog is for me to find that out, and to share it with you.

Can someone like me get better? Can Someone like me STAY better? Can I resume my womanhood or will I be under a surgical knife and only be female because the synthetic hormones allow me to?

I am praying for a recovery and the ability to be a woman as God intended me to be, but that is only if this medicine continues to make me better. So far so good. Let's hope it stays that way.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Metformin Day 6, 4/24/2008

Hello my happy readers.. I don't know who you are but my blog has had several hits, so I know you're out there. :)

It is DAY SIX! WHOOT! I am surviving this. I really am going to make it I think. I started the dreaded 1000 mgs and seem to be a-ok! I am the one who when taking medication gets every side effect allowed for that medication, but this time, it's like God has smiled down on me and for once, I am one of the lucky ones. None of us with PCOS are lucky to say the least, but I am so grateful to not suffer through the suffering, kwim?
It was a good day yesterday, beautiful and sunny and all's I wanted to do was go to the gym. Alas I couldn't because I had other errands to do, but today is nice as well so I will be going as soon as Brianna gets off the bus. (Brianna is my 7 year old daughter. I also have a three year old named Justin). I went to the gym over the weekend and it was nice to just get out and move. I can't believe just how sick I was until now, that the metformin is helping so much. I didn't think it odd that I never wanted to go outside. I didn't think it odd that all I wanted to talk to my friends and family about was food. I didn't think it wrong that I would plan dinner before getting out of bed. I didn't think it wrong that 1/3 of our paycheck went on going out to eat several times a week because of my "cravings". Now I find that all of it was pretty odd behavior. Now I am obsessing over every little change the Metformin is making, but I stress about it while walking the track. :)
So my husband and I are in the transition of going semi-vegetarian. This means that we hardly have any red meat in our diets at all, and instead of making the meat the focus of our dishes, we are making out whole meals vegetarian or seafood. We still eat chicken and turkey once in awhile, so thats why I say we are semi vegetarian. Sometimes grilling out some hotdogs or chicken breast is too appealing but we have started to grill veggie burgers. (Morning Star isn't that bad to tell the truth)
Anyway, I have only lost 4-5 pounds but I feel so-much-better!! I don't have cravings anymore and when I eat, I actually feel full and stay full for a bit. Even if I don't see weight loss right away, I know it will come off eventually just because of the changes we have made. I used to be anorexic as a teenager-not on purpose. I was just so active with after school activities like colorguard that food was not a priority. I was busy 24/7 and would fall into bed at night with an empty stomach and not even notice- I would be THAT tired. I worked full time while in school and along with my band activities, that weight was never an issue. After I got out of HS and was no longer in those activities, I started to gain weight little by little and watched as my waistline expanded and my periods got more irregular. The more weight, the less often a period. Now at age 26, I have full blown PCOS, high blood pressure and insulin problems. So far on the Met, my blood pressure went from 147/94 down to 130/70. I am starting to feel energized like my teenage self used to be!
I am on day 6 and I feel great! I love to look in the mirror in the morning and see that my face is no longer swollen. I like to take my socks off and not have the ever present water ring from swelling. I like to cook meals that I know are healthy and I especially love to not be dependant on food again. It's like I was given a second chance and I am so happy to have it.
I know other Cysters with this disease are struggling with it. I just wish they all could feel as good as me. For once I am the exception, not the rule and it's a blessing considering. But don't be discouraged if you do have the dreaded side effects. This medication is working, even if you don't see it right away. It took years for our PCOS to form, but it can take months for it to get under control and possibly better. Easy going and don't lose hope. :)

When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.--Pauline R. Kezer

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Metformin Day 5

Back again to check in and let you readers know that I am still trucking on. I upped the dose yesterday to 1000 mgs and didn't feel anything different until this morning. After I ate breakfast (crackers and cheese) that's when I started to get that "acid reflux" feeling. It settled down and I was able to eat half a bagel which is nice. Weight loss so far: 4 lbs in 5 days. That's not bad really.. more than I expected. I guess now would be a good time to let you know what I feel about IUDs. I think they are a product that although safe for some, its side effects are not worth it. They claim to be 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy "in the uterus" but what they fail to mention, is that conception still occurs and you either miscarry very early or have the egg implant in your tubes. A ruptured ectopic pregnancy can kill you in 20 minutes!! Once you have 1 ectopic, you are at higher risk for another one. Many women who use the IUD are having perforated Uterus' and have to have surgery to repair it. They are getting pelvic inflammatory disease leading to infertility. They have the IUD's fall out without their knowledge. They have their IUD's travel to other places in their body and then have to have the IUD removed surgically. In those few who end up with uterine pregnancies anyway, they either choose to a) keep their IUD and risk preterm labor and premature placental separation/infection or b) remove the IUD right away and have a high risk for miscarrying as the IUD is removed. This IUD is a nightmare! I think those without issues are lucky. I had mine placed in December and due to complications and hemorrhage, I will never have one again. Back to the Metformin... Well I have not had anything resembling a period since the bleeding last month (the 17th). The provera isn't working for me yet, nor is the metformin, but hopefully soon. I have a lot of pressure in my pelvis and I am hoping a normal period will help in that regard. I'll keep updating.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Metformin Day 3: 04/21/2008

Back again for my check-in! Things are going so well for me; I am so excited. The day was a very good one. I can't believe how much energy I have! I cleaned the whole downstairs today, floors too! It usually makes me exhausted to clean a room but today I just had all of this energy.
For my fellow PCOS ladies, have you heard about cinnamon? Apparently, taking about 1/2-1 tsp a day will actually HELP your insulin problems. I did more research today and found out that cinnamon has some natural properties that when taken daily will open your cells up allowing better metabolic process of insulin. Imagine that- Cinnamon! I would never have guessed. So girls, break out the applesauce (organic of course) and dump some cinnamon into it and enjoy!
I had another great day with the metformin. Not even a stomach ache today. I enjoyed cheese crackers and fruit this morning (I'm not really a cereal girl) and I had a half sandwich made with salami and mustard and a slice of pizza for dinner. I'm making roasted chicken for the family but not really hungry myself so it might be more fruit tonight. Tomorrow I take the two doses of metformin so I expect more side effects tomorrow, but so far so good. I am having some cramping on the left side of my pelvis so maybe I will actually ovulate soon? Hopefully at 1000 mgs, I'll show more signs of ovulation and at 1500 mgs, I might even have a period!! I can't wait! Sounds stupid to normal people, but for us pcos patients, periods are good things to have.

There is one side effect that I am having though and that is bloating. I feel huge!! My stomach is hard and my whole stomach feels full all of the time, but I am hopeful that soon it will subside. I'll post again on this tomorrow and hopefully it won't be so bad. It's more of an annoyance than anything, but still a side effect to make note of.

Have a great day and enjoy your cinnamon!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Metformin Day 2: April 20th, 2008

Hello everyone! Today is a wonderful day!
I have never had so much energy before. So, concerning the medicine, let's see...

I had some problems last night after I took my medication. I started to get stomach cramps and then I had a long meditative experience in the lavatory. No details, but I'm sure you can imagine, that this side effect probably isn't my favorite. I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night, and this part is funny, but my hand was moving on it's own. It was like the nerve has malfunctioned and my fingers were moving on their own. I pushed my hand into the bed and pressed down and let it sit like that for a bit, and then lifted it and the hand stopped moving on it's own. I was too tired to worry about it, but remember clearly thinking "Wow, this is kind of cool".

I woke up this morning, and was kind of tired, but I took some vitamin B12 and started to feel better. I packed up the kids and grabbed Bill (my husband) and we went to the gym and walked for a mile and a half. I then had taco bell for lunch- Chicken tacos with tortilla chips and refried beans, but I wasn't brave enough to eat the rice. For dinner I just had cheese, whole wheat crackers and some fresh fruit. It's 9:10 now and I took my pills (metformin and provera) about 30 minutes ago, and I'm hoping to not have another experience like last night.

I just can't believe how much better I am feeling lately. I have energy again! I cleaned two of our bathrooms and my bedroom today from top to bottom along with the hallway and stairs AND changed the litter box AFTER walking a mile and a half. This wouldn't be possible if my insulin was out of whack. I always felt too tired to do anything and just constantly hungry! It's nice to have my life back. 2 more days and then my dose increases. I hope the side effects don't get worse or my energy levels, but I will keep this blog updated.

ps. Still no period. She will show up with suitcases in hand soon, ready to stay for awhile, but so far no sign of her.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Metformin: Day 1

So it is the 19th of April, 2008 and I took my first Metformin 500 mg last night.
I had an egg and steak omelet in a tortilla wrap and must say that it probably wasn't the best choice to start a new medication with, but it wasn't too bad. I ended up light headed a little after I took my first dose and subsequently developed a bad case of acid reflux, hertburn and gas (belching).

I took the pill after eating dinner and with a glass of skim milk. It stayed down thankfully, but it was a rough ride. I felt kind of sea sick, but it wasn't unbearable. I have 4 more days of this dose 500 mg, 1 time a day, and then I move onto 500 mg 2x a day for a total of 1000 mg a day. Eventually it will be 1500 mg a day, but that's not for about two weeks.

What is this medicine supposed to do?

Well, one of the main problems with pcos, is that many women with it have something called insulin resistance. My gyn explained it as: I have a high level of estrogen as my ovaries are pumping it out like crazy, and my body, trying to break down the estrogen stores it in fat cells. Either the estrogen or the fat cells (they aren't 100% sure) leads to a higher level of insulin in the blood. This higher amount of insulin causes the polycystic woman to get hungry- a lot! It causes headaches from unstable sugar levels and peaks and lows and the increased hunger adds increased weight -and, you guessed it, more spaces to hold estrogen in the body. Once these fat cells get the estrogen in them, they don't want to let go!! With all of the fatty cells, estrogen and insulin levels, the woman usually stops ovulating on schedule and many times, stop ovulating altoghter. This leads to infertility.
Metformin is supposed to moderate the levels of insulin in the body and counteract the fact that the body has a ton of estrogen and not enough progesterone. It is not 100% conclusive, but they are finding that miraculously, women who take Metformin are starting to Ovulate again! They start to lose weight, their insulen levels normalize and amazingly enough, with the weight loss, the body's natural ability to combat PCOS takes over. Some women can get off of the Metformin and go on to live happy and healthy lives as long as they monitor their weight. Some women never will be able to combat the disease, but the good news is that Metformin will help them until menopause when the ovaries shut down, but at the same time, it keeps these Insulin resistant women from developing Diabetes.

Amazing stuff right? But.... as I stated, it tends to cause gastro-intestinal problems when adjusting to the medicine. I myself am not doing horribly with it, and I am anxious to see how I feel in a few days. Will the nausea get better? Will I have problems with certain foods? Will I start to see weight loss? And will I soon have a period- normally. Will I actually ovulate? We shall see, but so far so good.

The road to PCOS Recovery: Episode 1 "Diagnosis and Symptoms"

I created this blog because I wanted to have a spot where I can keep track of my progress from diagnosis to recovery with Poly Cystic Ovaries (PCOS) and to also keep a record for other women who may be in different stages of their PCOS journey.

What is Poly Cystic Ovaries: (info taken from
Polycystic (pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. With PCOS, women typically have:
high levels of androgens (AN-druh-junz). These are sometimes called male hormones, although females also make them.
missed or irregular periods
many small cysts (sists) in their ovaries. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs.

What are the symptoms? Personally I have several listed below which I put an X next to.

(x)infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
(x)infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating
(x)increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes—a condition called hirsutism (HER-suh-tiz-um)
(x)ovarian cysts
x)acne, oily skin, or dandruff
(x)weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
(x)insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
high cholesterol
(x)high blood pressure
male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
(x)patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
(x)skin tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
(x)pelvic pain
(x)anxiety or depression due to appearance and/or infertility
sleep apnea—excessive snoring and times when breathing stops while asleep

As you can see, I have many of the symptoms, which upon talking to my gyn, I was diagnosed (Oct 2006). It was a long journey to get diagnosed, with trips to the ER for cyst ruptures, trips to the Urologyst to see if it was bladder related, and several U/S's to monitor the cysts. I have finally reached a diagnosis, but getting the proper medication has taken some time.

I will post later about the medication journey, but I more wanted to focus on the new medication I have just started taking: Metformin, also known as Glucophage. I am hopeful for a recovery and want to use this post to share my journey with you, through pictures to show my weight loss, and up to date blogs concerning medicinal side effects and results. I hope to keep track of this entire journey so if anyone else is just starting out, they will be motivated to continue.

I hope you get some knowledge out of this blog to help your own situations and for motivation.