An update on my health, past and current thyroid and PCOS-related symptoms, and answers to some frequently asked questions. Want to know more? Drop it in the comments! I’m happy to share what I can.
October was a MONTH. I had a hard time focusing and felt like I was split in 20 different directions, but it’s done and I managed to make it through with minimal strain.
Some November updates:
- I am not doing NaNoWriMo. Not even for inspiration. I have a goal for in 2018, and I’m going to focus on that without the distraction of a NaNo goal.
- I have a few videos planned, but if November looks like October, my posts are going to be sporadic at best.
- If you’re a Mary Poppins fan, we just recorded a whole episode on Mary at The Bluestocking Circle. Give us a listen 🙂
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know my history. If you’re new, I have hypothyroidism and was semi-diagnosed with PCOS in 2017 (I say semi because the tests were not comprehensive, and I’m not convinced by the diagnosis… but that’s a long story). Last spring, I did a lot of research on supplements and decided to try DIM to aid with estrogen imbalance. In the video, I share my experience after 6-ish months of consistent use.
I also discuss bbt tracking and how this revealed issues related to my hormones, and empowered me to fight back when my thyroid levels were deemed “normal” despite the return of some of the worst symptoms I’ve experienced since starting treatment more than 15 years ago.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I did all the research myself and can only share what I know through experience.
Mentioned in this video:
(not affiliate links)
Femmehead on YouTube – the queen of all things menstrual health
Supplements (I order from Vitacost)
Fertility and period trackers
What I used up in May. Body care and supplements.
- Me! bath tini ME! Lavendar Lullaby bath bombs: These were part of a Target sample both and proved to be a pleasant surprise. It brought three little bombs and they were perfect and nicely scented.
- Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Baby Unscented Pure Castille Soap: This is the workhorse: hand soap, brush cleaner, body wash, I may not have 18 uses, but it’s a fave.
- Oral B floss: True confession: I hate flossing. My teeth are crazy tight and I’ve yet to find a floss that doesn’t get stuck. This one was ok.
- Weleda Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash: Another sample bag trial. Smelled like orange peels and felt like the L’occitane Almond Shower Oil.
- wowe wooden toohbrush: Not really an empty so much as a new addition… I went through all the plastic toothbrushes I had and made the switch to bamboo. So far, I’m impressed by the quality and like that they come in a 4-pack that will get me through the year. They’re no more expensive than plastic brushes. win-win.
- NOW Foods Super Enzymes: The best and always a repurchase. I started using these after my gallbladder surgery, when I started to have issues with food intolerance. They make my tummy happy and I can double up when I choose to indulge in something problematic, like ice cream.
- PB8 probiotics: Another frequent product. I alternate brands, but this is a trust fallback. As with the enzymes, probiotics keep my gut working.
Just another monthly update: life, health, birthdays(!), and more. With technical difficulties for that extra touch *wink*
- Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora probiotics – these are easy to find when I need something extra
- Gaia Herbs – Back Elderberry Syrup – takes delicious and really helps boost my immune system when I’m surrounded by sick students
- Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – this is a super dose of elderberry and echinacea (among other hers) that makes a huge difference when I feel a cold coming on (I’ve used it in the past when fighting a really nasty cold and last year’s flu)
Toiletries & Skincare
- Andalou Naturals Un-tinted Benefit Balm – I use this for the SPF 30. It leaves a mild white cast but it almost acts as a primer for my makeup. It’s not my favorite, but it works for every day sun protection.
- Acure Facial Cleansing Creme – I prefer the regular cleanser, but my skin was feeling a little dry and sensitive, so I decided to give this one a try. It feels like a balm cleanser and works best as a second cleanse after removing makeup.
- NOW Hyauluronic Acid Firming Serum – I love this and started a new bottle as soon as I ran out. It’s very light and acts as a moisturizing serum beneath my oil and sunscreen steps.
- Botanical Beauty Organic Japanese Camellia Seed Oil – there is some debate as to whether the purity of this oil (amazon comments controversy, as per usual), but I credit this with helping my hair grow and become more smooth and manageable. It is my only form of conditioner and I use it on my ends and the lower half of my scalp where I tend to have some mild psoriasis. I love it and I already opened a larger bottle.
- Johnson’s Head-to-toe extra moisturizing bath – I needed some moisture and I like baths.
- The Beauty Shelf green tea Konjac sponge – I really like Konjac sponges and this one comes in a three heart set 🙂
Scents & Candles
- Nature’s Alchemy orange essential oil
- AuraCacia Lemon essential oil
- I like citrus scents. These are from my office oil collection.
- Frostbeard Book Lovers’ Soy Candle sample in Pumpkin Juice – this was milder than I expected. It has a nice spicy scent and does not linger.
- Wilfred Wax Steamed & Frothed – one of my favorites. It’s soooo sweet though, a little goes a long way. I will replace this when I run out of my other candles.
The meds are working and I’m starting to feel better. Even I can’t believe the difference a week made 🙂
An update on my new treatment and more.
Despite getting a less than satisfactory PCOS diagnosis, I was convinced the origin behind my recent cascade of symptoms lay elsewhere, and I was right! When in doubt, always trust your gut, I say. Too often, I’ve had to fight for the correct diagnosis and too often I’ve come away with less than satisfying results because the process is long, appointments are hard to come by, and co-pays start to add up. I have a yearly check-up with my endocrinologist (who was the only doctor willing to treat me when I fell into the gap between child and adult at age 15), and I was revved up for a fight despite a relatively good history. Luckily, no fight was needed. I told him how I was feeling (exhausted and ready to nap from the moment I wake up, unable to concentrate, unable to lose weight, bloated all the time, and more); he took one look at my numbers and confirmed what I long suspected: my TSH levels fell off the wagon. My symptoms all point to an underactive thyroid. My PCOS symptoms likely stem from this, rather than a hormonal or insulin imbalance (yeah, TSH is a hormone but you know what I mean).
Am I happy? No, but it is nice to have my suspicions confirmed and my feelings justified. I’m currently on a slightly higher dose of Synthroid, and will be running additional tests to gain more insight. It’s not a process I look forward to, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. My efforts won’t be entirely wasted if my thyroid actually gets the hormones it needs to function properly.
This also means I’m going to document my “journey” (gah, I hate that word). If there’s one thing I can talk about it’s being hypo. It affects every aspect of my life, from my physical to my mental health, daily actions and relationships. If your thyroid isn’t working, nothing works.
I’m working with a new camera. Please excuse learning pains.
Just making it official.
If you want to see my Whole30 in action, follow my IG stories @emperatrixx
I filmed this video two months ago (wow! my hair has grown), but I was reluctant to post it at first. When all the other life drama hit, I decided to shelve it for a few weeks. Now that I’m embarking on a whole new health journey/experiment, I think the time is ripe to share my story.
I’ve written about my issues with weight, but I’ve never truly shared my story. This video barely covers the surface, but I like to think that this is my form of advocacy. If in doubt, keep searching for a second/third/fourth opinion. Health above all.