It was overly frustrating… actively tracking cycles, temperatures… and month after month, not getting pregnant.
We started trying to conceive (TTC) pretty much right after our wedding in October 2014. Let’s face it, we weren’t getting any younger. After over a year of trying [and my 35th birthday], we decided it was time to talk to a doctor. So at an appt with my new GYN in January, I asked what the next steps were.
While Mike went for analysis on his end, I was prescribed Clomid (a fertility drug) and went for 3 blood draws over the course of my next cycle, called the “Clomid Challenge”. Basically, they’re checking hormones and to make sure I could ovulate.
Waiting up to two weeks for test results is the worst. The waiting is almost more agonizing – though I keep telling myself we were doing everything we could at the moment.
Test results came back to indicate obsurdly high levels of Prolactin (3-6x the normal levels) in my blood, which could be caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland in the brain. I don’t think I have to say that hearing “tumor” and “brain” in the same sentence casued some not-to-fun emotions. Though I don’t pretend to completely understand how everything links together… Prolactin is a hormone in the blood that raises when pregnant or breast feeding. With my levels, my body pretty much already thinks I AM pregnant.
I went for an MRI in March. Luckily, I was called with results within 48 hrs. Unluckily, we were really no closer to an answer. Scans showed an enlarged pituitary gland, but not necessarily a tumor present. And though my GYN could write a prescription for clear-cut elevated prolactin levels, she opted to refer me to an Endocrinologist.
My first Endo appointment was March 25th. First, I spoke to a PA, and though they had the blood/MRI test results – they wanted to get new tests. After talking to the Doc, I had a whole new set of emotions once she mentioned that a lot of my symptoms (that I didn’t even recognize as symptoms) sounded like that of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
I had never heard of this before, but “cystic” and “ovary” in the same sentence, again, didn’t sound good. But the more she spoke about adult acne & unexplained weight gain, the more things really started to sound like me.
I left the office defeated, but with a new appointment in hand for after vacation and a Rx for a new slew of blood tests. After getting my blood taken at the end of the month I resolved to not think about it until my next appointment. Well, easier said than done, but it was true… I couldn’t do anything more at this point.
We had a lovely vacation in Punta Cana at the beginning of April. But before going back to work that Tuesday, I had a Monday Endo appointment. I asked Mike to come along for this one, since the last time I left in such a daze of information.
During THIS appointment, I was told:
1) They didn’t re-check the prolactin levels on my latest blood tests, so I’d have to go back yet AGAIN. I mean, talk about frustrating. 2) My calcium levels were high. Now, how this relates to fertility, I can’t tell you – but they are checking all hormones at this point. 3) My testosterone levels were also high. I know, enter all the jokes that I always did think more like a guy… 😉
Though I had no ultrasound yet, the high testosterone levels on top of adult acne, weight gain and slightly irregular cycles all point to PCOS. Unfortunately, there is no definitive test to diagnose PCOS, only a collection of symptoms and ultrasound.
I was prescribed, and am currently on Metformin, which is most commonly used as a Diabetes drug. This improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels. This drug may help with ovulation and lead to regular menstrual cycles.
After this appointment, I was a little less emotional – just more frustrated! But at the very least, there was a new plan of getting this Rx filled and getting a new blood test.
And that’s where we stand. I’ve been on the Metformin for a little over a week now and had my blood drawn yesterday. My next Endo appointment is May 10th to review the lab results and talk more on diagnosis, treatment and where to go from there.