I’m going to start today’s post by back-tracking a bit to December of 2017. In my last post, I mentioned an appointment I made over Christmas to see an alternative doctor in my hometown; this time, an osteopath.
Osteopathy provides the benefits of modern medicine including drugs and surgery when necessary, but it focuses first on holistic healing and offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. While that may sound like a load of quack, for lack of a better phrase, the particular doctor I visited came well-recommended by a woman from my church whose daughter also has PCOS. If you plan to seek out any sort of alternative doctor, you must do your research because it is a lesser-known branch of medicine and there will be bad doctors mixed in with the good.
Over the course of the fall semester, I missed an increasing amount of classes due to fatigue, light-headedness and brain fog (confusion, forgetfulness, and lack of focus and mental clarity). I missed time with friends because I was usually too exhausted by late afternoon and evening to do anything. The more tired I felt, the more hand tremors increased and the less I could focus on even the smallest things. I distinctly remember the week before Thanksgiving break because it was the worst I felt aside from the week following September’s race. I had three exams and performed very poorly on two of them (this is unusual for me), and I had to skip the one class I didn’t have an exam in just so I could keep it together. I scraped through work in the morning, trudged home and truly struggled to put together enough words to send my professor an email that I would not be attending class.
You can probably tell why I was desperate to get a second opinion. To be honest, it didn’t seem like much had improved in the two and half months since I had received the email consult, and I also wanted the ability to converse with a doctor face-to-face. (Now, it should be noted that the naturopathic told me it would probably take three months to see significant improvements, but I was impatient…you’ll see soon why that makes it difficult to tell which doctor helped most, but I’m going to go with a combination.)
This new doctor is a little eccentric and he still manages to surprise me three appointments later, but he is smart and gave me more hope during that first meeting than I had experienced in months. He added several new supplements to the ever-growing list, which I’ll name below:
- Intramax (an all-in-one dietary supplement and the only supplement that actually tastes good)
- Thyroven (thyroid support)
- NAC (to help with hair loss)
There were a couple other recommended supplements as well, but I decided to wait on those due to the fact that medical bills were already adding up (thank you, parents, for your money and support). Plus, this made 13 supplements to keep track of…that was enough for me! Otherwise, the osteopath repeated the other doctor’s recommendation to hold off on exercise for the time being.
Lo and behold, just two and a half weeks later, I got my period! You can read more about that in my last post, but this was and still is a HUGE deal! And as if that wasn’t enough, I received it again exactly one month later! This is where I’m unsure how much of this was due to direction from the naturopathic versus the osteopath, but I believe they both helped me reach the point where I am today.
Where is that, exactly?
It’s a complicated answer. Fatigue remains a part of my daily life and something I’m having to accustom myself to, and it’s far from easy. One day I might be in a great mood, and the next day I might feel so hopeless I want to cry out “it’s not fair!” I consider myself a positive person, but the hormonal imbalances I experience truly affect my mood enough that I often don’t understand why I feel the way I do. I am learning that the best way to go through life right now is to focus on the positives – and the truth is, I have so much to be grateful for:
- My headaches are less frequent than last semester
- If necessary, I can function on only six hours of sleep as long as I take a nap or go to bed early the following night (not possible last semester)
- Insomnia is less frequent
- I have my period!!
- I have built some incredible relationships this semester
- I’m going to the Dominican Republic on a missions trip in a week (and I’m fully funded, woohoo!)
- I’m only taking two classes this semester, which has been integral in allowing me to navigate these new lifestyle changes
I want to touch again on the week before Thanksgiving break; the one where I felt terrible. I skipped small group on Tuesday because I was too exhausted to go, but do you know what my small group did? They showed up at my house and brought me a card, fuzzy socks and a candle. On Wednesday, I skipped the meeting I was supposed to help facilitate for Triathlon Club because I had a breakdown and called my mom crying, terrified that I was never going to feel healthy again. Guess what happened after the phone call? A dear friend of mine (who is the president of Triathlon Club and also the person I texted about missing the meeting) showed up at my house out of the blue with flowers and a note, the latter of which still sits on my bedside table.
It just goes to show that God turns up in miraculous ways, and often when you’re least expecting it. I recognize and respect the fact that not everyone reading this believes in a higher power, but those two unexpected visits were extra confirmation that I am being cared for, and that to me is a great comfort.
Until next time – when I will bring my story completely up to date 🙂 Thanks for keeping up with me and feel free to ask any questions!