In 2014, I started feeling different. Stress levels were high during my senior year of college and I attributed my exhaustion to all-night editing, working long shifts at a restaurant, and studying for final exams. In December, I graduated from Utah State, quit my restaurant job, and finally felt like I could breath a little.
2015 came quickly and started off with one of the happiest moments -- my engagement to John! It was amazing and wonderful and, with only a two-month engagement, wedding planning was in full swing from the beginning. At the same time, I started to take a birth control pill. The pill brought morning sickness and rapid weight gain, which is not what you want right before you get married. I was going to the gym every day and eating really well, but no weight was coming off. I know muscle weighs more than fat, but my body fat percentage was also increasing instead of decreasing. After about four weeks, I stopped taking the pill.
We were married in February, moved to Mississippi in March, and I started my first big girl job in April. Another whirlwind and continued exhaustion, low libido, weight gain, stomach troubles, and a handful of other symptoms.
Fast-forward two (and a bit) years and almost 25 pounds later to November 2017. I had enough. Visits to my primary care doctor and gynecologist were not much use. I repeatedly listed off my symptoms and received responses like:
"You must be depressed. Here's some medication."
"Your BMI is fine. You don't need to worry about anything."
"You're definitely depressed. Here's another prescription."
"Your thyroid is fine. There's nothing wrong with you."
I even asked my gynecologist to test my hormones and she told me that they normally don't test hormones at my age. I insisted that I would like to have them tested because I knew something was wrong and she continually told me no. Even though she has the ability to do so. I knew I wouldn't win that argument, so I gave up.
UGH. Frustration x100000000000000000000.
So, I took matters into my own hands and got in touch with Candace Burch, a hormone specialist with over 30 years of experience. I found her by listening to a few podcasts where she was a guest, checking out her website, and doing some of my own hormone research. I knew Candace was the right person to help me. You can learn more about her here.
Candace quickly responded and sent me my hormone test kit which included a saliva test to measure progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol 'stress hormone' levels. On the 20th day of my cycle, I collected my samples and sent off my saliva the next day. Easy peasy.
Four weeks later (last Friday), the results came in! It was a bit of an emotional morning for me when I saw that they were in my inbox. On one hand, I knew there was something off in my body and I was excited to see exactly what that was so that I could begin to fix it. On the other hand, what if everything came back normal and I was back to square one? I had been through the latter scenario so many times with doctors that I did not want it to happen again.
As I read through my results, I felt relief. There was something wrong with my body and it wasn't just all in my head! I learned that I had/have estrogen dominance/low progesterone, my adrenals are severely fatigued, and my cortisol levels are almost zero. Answers! The symptoms listed were exactly what I was going through: lack of energy, tired all the time, exhausted, burned out, hard to get out of bed, mid-morning or afternoon crash, excessive worry/anxiety, foggy thinking, difficulty focusing, sugar cravings, belly fat, getting sick often and taking longer to bounce back.
So, here we are. January 1st and I'm ready to get MY BODY back. It's been far too long since I've felt like myself. I'm so excited to begin this journey with Candace and her daughter, Jess, who is a health coach. I know it will be a process, but it will be worth it.
I'll be updating my blog as I go so that hopefully more people can be aware of what might be going on with their bodies. Hormones are so important and can affect so many parts of your life. If you're feeling like something is off and you aren't getting clear answers, look into hormone testing and hormone therapy. It could change your life.
Check back for more updates on my hormone journey.