Nothing is working

Well. Satsuma still hasn’t done anything, it’s day 33 of this cycle, am I pleased about this? Am I buggery.

And my PCOS symptoms are having a little rampage at the moment. My hair is falling out in clumps, my chin is all over zits, my Errol Flynn is looking a tad… obvious. I’m not putting on immense amounts of lard around the middle, thank fuckitty, but I will do if I sneeze too close to a slice of toast. My hormone levels are all doolally-tap, I know it.

So what to do about it? I’m not currently under the care of any fertility clinic at all, private or NHS. My fancy private clinic is a recurrent miscarriage clinic, not a fertility clinic. They care about keeping me pregnant, not getting me pregnant. And in any case, a consultation with that lot will no doubt set me back the cost of a three-seater sofa. The NHS clinic would, probably, based on past form, be able to see me in about four months’ time, and get me the results of whatever blood-test three weeks after that, and book me in for a scan sometime in April, just to prescribe provera and ask me if I want Clomid (err, no. See categories to your right. BEEN THERE DONE THAT).

So what can I do? Here and now? And what, for that matter, has gone wrong in there? [Pokes insides with spoon – hello? Helloooo? Satsuma? Anyone?]

In that spirit, I dug up and looked back over my menstrual cycle charts for the past few months, and it seems as if my cycles have lengthened since I lost nearly a stone and then, um, stalled for a couple of months. It makes some sense. I’m obese, according to BMI, and being obese is bad for PCOS and losing weight it good. I have stopped losing weight, my PCOS is cross and rampagey about it. On the other hand, I had several shorter, more reasonable cycles before I lost weight, and the last few times I got pregnant I was heavier than I am now. So, actually, it makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Any gynaecologist or endocrinologist you’d care to mention would say, well, I need to lose more weight, don’t I? The closer my fat content gets to ‘normal’ the more normal my cycles will be. It’s the accepted wisdom. It’s the standard treatment model for anovulatory PCOS. Lose the flab, Squidgy! No-one has anything to say at all to ‘I lost some flab, and things are more fucked up than ever’.

I have a sneaking suspicion that actually it’s not my weight, but how much exercise I’m doing, that is the issue. Last year, I exercised a lot. The news has recently been tiresomely pointing out to us that exercise doesn’t make you lose weight after all. In my case, this seems to be true. I have to eat like a lettuce-obsessed boiled-egg-fanatic to lose weight. But when I exercise, even if my hips remain resolute in their girth, my cycles shorten, my hair expands wildly, my skin clears up, my whiskers become more discreet. I think it balances my insulin levels. This makes sense, yes? And I have been doing pretty much bloody no exercise at all for the past couple of months.

Diet and exercise. That’s it. That’s all I can do.

At least if I’m thumping sweatily through the streets, I’ll be working off a little of the raging frustration before it leaps up my throat and melts my brain completely.

Of course, you all realise that my brain is currently at least half-melted with rage and frustration and I wish I very much could send Satsuma the Bone-Idle Fussbiscuit Ovary over to HFF’s for a thorough telling-off.

I feel so helpless. I feel completely helpless.


17 responses to “Nothing is working

  • Melissia

    As a women with PCOS who lost 70 pounds the easy way with glucophage, I do not envy you. I do follow a very low carb diet to keep my symptoms in check. I do know that stress causes our bodies to increase the amount of cortisol that we make which really jacks with our blood sugar and that regular exercise helps control the whole process. Perhaps this is where the exercise has been helping you.
    Cortisol and stress ard almost impossible to avoid, and be alive, anyway. My weight really does start to drop if I will exercise consistently, since I am still on the glucophage, and all my PCOS syptoms are gone.

  • wombattwo

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling so stressed/annoyed/fed up/helpless. I don’t blame you – I think any woman would. Hugs.
    I’ve tried racking my brains about PCOS – What They Taught Us In Med School, and all my brain could remember is that they seem to say “lose weight” and “take clomid”. not exceedingly helpful as I think you may have just disproved that idea… I guess exercise is the way to go, but goodness knows it’s not especially enticing.
    As for satsuma herself, the little madam, I think she definitely needs a severe telling-off by HFF… I’m going to start a “send Satsuma to HFF’s for a stern talking-to fund.” Anybody want to contribute?

  • Melissia

    I just wanted to add that my assvice is exactly worth what you paid for it, and after seeing your tweet, I was thinking that you could go for a walk with a drink in your hand, which would cancel each other out. Or you could sit on the sofa and drink and watch a travel, which would be almost the same thing. That is my suggestion.

  • May

    I think a travel fund to HFF is definitely called for here.

  • a

    Exercise is also halfway decent for wearing out some of that rage. Maybe you could take up kickboxing for added rage melting (or melting rage) bonus points?

    And…HFF is hilarious.

  • L.

    My obnoxious bucking-up/assvice first–for your peace of mind, try to ignore the weight-loss articles: there is always some new finding overturning the old ones anyway. I’d like to see how body-fat measurements progressed with the people profiled in these experiments, for instance, or what about their body part circumferences and so on? Anecdatally, in case it’s encouraging at all, this summer I found my appetite to drop like a rock when I was working the hardest: much to my frustration, as I was hoping to indulge a little. And although I was not trying to lose weight, I did.

    Anyway, as you noted, the health effects of exercise are what really counts here–so maybe the dramatic weight loss won’t be necessary if you’re in shape. Finally, exercise does seem to really improve mood, so maybe you’ll feel better regardless.

    Still, it is miserable to contemplate getting in shape AND being hungry all the time. Not to mention it might feel one more struggle you must undertake against your body. … I am in the same boat, trying to start a regular routine after dropping out after a couple months, and even a few short workouts have done wonders for my mood and energy, so at the least I hope you reap similar benefits. Or, at the least, that you find something you don’t mind doing too much.

  • twangy

    What a headwrecker – a particularly frustrating and shite cul-de-sac. Exercise it is then. Sounds like a plan.

    (Can’t help but think the BMI system is barmy. Obese? You are not. Not. Just, not).

    (Chucking a few quid in the visiting fund).

  • Womb For Improvement

    I feel you regarding the weight loss. 4 times a week for five weeks and I have lost two pounds. I blame the pcos. (Why do I always turn comments back to being all about me not you?)

    I don’t know if you have thought of this – or if this is firmly in the interfering ‘stop telling me how to live my life’ category – but I used a Boris bike from your big central train station to very near your place of work the other day. It took about as long as a bus would but felt like very good excercise – could that be a two birds with one stone option?

    • May

      I’d totally do the Boris Bike to work, if I weren’t so abysmally clumsy and unable-to-see-out-of-the-corners-of-my-eyes that H blanches every time I mention it. I gave him PTSD the only time we went cycling together and I wobbled right into the path of an oncoming car like a front bumper lemming.

      What I DO do, is walk the same route. It takes me about 30 minutes (35 if I stop for coffee), and when I’m being good I do it at least once a day, preferably twice. So, your two-birds-one-stone idea is both good and one I’ve thought of, sort of!

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    *rolls up sleeves*
    *cuts oranges into quarters*
    *rakes the sand*
    *is ready for satsuma*

    • wombattwo

      Are you intending on cutting Satsuma into quarters too, or is that just to scare her?!?

      • May

        Isn’t a ‘wedge resection’ a last-resorty surgery for recalcitrant ovaries? I threaten Satsuma with it all the time: ‘I WILL have you hung, drawn and QUARTERED, so help me, if you don’t put out!’

  • Betty M

    Ready to be in the crew marching satsuma round to HFF’s house for a talking to. No assvice on the PCOS other than you obviously know your own symptoms and what makes them better way more than assorted medical types who you can’t get into see before 2011.

  • Amber

    I am having similar PCOS issues at the moment so can offer anecdotal advice (assvice?).

    A couple of months ago, I was JUST within the upper limit for a healthy BMI (for whatever that is worth) but having lots of other lovely PCOS symptoms. I started cutting out carbs (we have the same book!) and I lost about ten pounds quicker than I have ever managed to lost weight before. That in itself was great but what was even better was that my spots cleared up almost entirely and the hairiness was decidely lessened. “Wonderful! It must have been those extra pounds causing all the trouble!”, I thought.

    I didn’t need to lose much more weight so I started having a little bit of carb here and there but only in relatively small quantities (a bit of fruit, some whole grain cereals…the odd…erm…Snickers). I have stayed the same weight but sadly the spots and hairs are coming back with a vengeance 😦

    It has taken me a few weeks to realise that I probably need to eat a very low carb diet permanently in order to sort the hormones out. It doesn’t seem to be how much I weigh or how much exercise I do (I already did a moderate amount and that hasn’t changed) it seems to be all about those bothersome carbs.

    So, when I read your last couple of posts, I did wonder if perhaps the same thing had happened to you if you’re not counting carbs so much at the moment…although this doesn’t really explain why things were working last year if you weren’t cutting out carbs then.

    Anyway, this book is basically a low carb diet book but is quite nice to read and has actually worked very well for a couple of people I know:

    OK, I’m sorry, this really should have been in an email :-/

    • May

      I’m becoming very much aware that you’re right. I’ll have to low-carb until I am 97.

      I shall definitely investigate the book – India Knight is very amusing.

  • katie

    SMALL amounts of exercise don’t make you lose MUCH weight. There, not so dramatic, is it? And exercising makes you feel better about eating less, and exercising also makes a whole slew of other illnesses much better (have not looked it up but am willing to bet PCOS symptoms improve +exercise -weight loss…)

    Also, bloke who publicised his own (rather elderly as it happens) research on the topic? Obsessed and irritating. Went to press conference, reason for not bothering to cover on BBC explained by seasoned BBC hack, done that.

    So I’m keeping on with the exercise, and cutting down the sugar and portion sizes and eating in front of the screen, though I know it isn’t as crucial for me or as hard, frankly.

  • Korechronicles

    Perhaps I could come back and drag you across the Dales with me this time. My vocabulary is not as extensive or imaginative as HFF’s but I am happy to give Satsuma an Australian themed bollocking while we walk if it will help get her off her cushion.

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