Thursday, July 28, 2005

Back from the doctor's

There are two ways to interact with a doctor. One is to sit back and see what they tell you. The other is to research more about your situation, symptoms and options and then ask a lot of questions. I prefer the latter as the former doesn't get you very far with today's managed care and insurance limitations. Doctors seem to get a little less engaged (if they ever were otherwise I don't know) and just give you the standard answer. I don't want the standard answer, which I anticipate was that our second loss was just bad luck. I want real answers.

So, I'm waiting in a consult room and my RE comes in and asks me how I'm doing. I said I was there to see about what next in light of my recent loss since even she thought there was possibly something more. I then told her, "I'm going to throw a lot of information and observations at you and I want to hear what you think" to which she agreed.

I mentioned the diagnosis of adrenal exhaustion from my naturopathic doctor a couple years ago, about my consistently low progesterone levels at each testing (not rock bottom low but always kind of a non-performer) and about how my recent acupuncture pattern has evidenced a consistent kidney yang deficiency which translates into weak adrenal functioning.

I mentioned my night sweats during my luteal phase and she said some women are really sensitive to drops in their estrogen level. Then I told her about the night sweats during my pregnancy which she said was common. I said that while I know it is a symptom of pregnancy that the stories that I've read online don't have this symptom until further along and that the ones I've seen with it starting early have also been losses. Obviously just circumstantial but when I said I had the sweats really early on I think she understood the difference.

I mentioned my charting and about how a nurse and an acupuncturist worked together to look at charting symptoms and that I have a characteristic slumping mid-luteal phase consistent with a type of luteal phase defect -- in spite of my consistent and regular ovulations and periods.

I then brought up about my sensitivity to stress and about excess cortisol and how that might impact my T3 levels and that I'd never had a full thyroid panel done. She agreed and said lets take a look and put down for the anti-thyroid antibodies which was brought up in one of the loss forums I was on. I told her that thryoid problems had surfaced for other women in my family around childbirth and that while I had always tested normal for TSH and T4 that I wanted to make sure there wasn't anything we were missing.

I talked about my pregnancy symptoms which she said could have been my body reacting to a poorly performing pregnancy as much as anything else. I mentioned the cycle I got pregnant and all my hormonal ups and downs over the past 6 months. About vitex, which she knew nothing about and I really want to send her some printouts about it, and rhodiola rosea. I mentioned the book Coming to Term and about how it said that up to four losses in a row didn't increase your risk. She hadn't heard of the book and wrote it down in her notes to check it out. We agreed that we would hold off testing for anti-phospholipid antibodies and some of the other standard repeat loss tests for now.

She said that because I'm thin she didn't think diabetes was an issue but I told that I didn't think that I had a disease or anything, but I've noticed I'm more sensitive and want to know if there's possibly a little something there as I've definately been feeling weird about eating sugar and simple carbs. She said that one a few occasions she has come across thin women with blood sugar issues that she didn't expect and thought it was worth ruling out. I asked about testing for adrenal functioning with a glucose test and mentioned the 24-hour test my partner had done. She said okay but instead we would do a fasting glucose and insulin test which since I had breakfast will be tomorrow morning.

She said when she was in medical school she thought she had 3 out of 4 diseases that she read about. I told her that really I don't think I'm diseased but I want to rule out a few things that have shown up as a part of my acupuncture treatment and since these hormones are part of the supporting cast the affect my fertility I want to make sure that we don't ignore it. I'm not a hypochondriac really. I told her about how for years I had poor eating habits and high levels of stress and anemia -- that I really ran my system ragged.

I asked if we could test my ferritin to check my iron stores and she thought we should to the full blood count again as well. She also wanted one more beta HCG to make sure it had all gone down. Yeah well, for some reason that test always makes me sad since I've had like a dozen draws to watch me get unpregnant and only 4 to watch it rise.

When I told her about feeling like needing a little break due to all that my body has been through over the past year she agreed, it was a lot for one person to go through physically. She said when we were ready to start trying again give it a few months and if nothing happened then we coudl talk about ways that she might be able to help out, which I took to mean Clomid or another fertility drug, Rx progesterone perhaps in a different format, etc. Ugh. I don't want to think about it.

I won't get test result for many of the things until Tuesday next week. I wonder if anything will show up.

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