Estrogen Sucks, Part 3

Estrogen still sucks.  It sucked a couple times in December and it still sucks.

I have decided to stop listening to random people on the interwebs.  I get myself in trouble when I see that someone on some facebook group tried something and it worked really really well and hey! maybe I better try that too!  Not good!  Here’s the latest trouble I got myself into:

Someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to take DIM twice a day along with B6 to get rid of excess estrogen.  For several weeks I’ve been taking DIM once a day, and no B6.  Yesterday was day 3 of this DIM/B6 experiment, and last night I woke up about 53 times.  Then today I was crying and depressed all day.  I was crazy estrogen lady.  I mean, it was so bad I had to tell perfect strangers that I was “hormonal” so they would stop trying to help me.  I was a Mess.  With a capital M.

Also this morning I noticed there were cherry angiomas on my torso that weren’t there last I looked.  Last time I saw those I was experimenting with cold thermogenesis, known for stirring up estrogen.  They went away when I stopped that silliness.

New Rule: Only do supplements that Ray Peat says to do.  No more doing what Jane Schmoe on the internet thinks is awesome.

No more DIM, no more Calcium-D Glucarate.  I’m just going to use progesterone to counter estrogen.

I haven’t had that super duper awesome happy feeling in a while – like over a week and a half.  I blame the unauthorized supplements.

Going to bed.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

T3 – Day 10

I don’t feel good taking T3.  I’m debating whether or not to continue.

I haven’t been sleeping well – last night I was up from 2AM – 5:30AM.  I feel depressed and irritable…and not just because I’m tired.  I’ve been tired before and I don’t always feel like this.  I feel like nothing can make me smile.  I feel bad for the people living with me.

My motivation for everything is absent.  I don’t have the energy to care.

I know it takes time to adjust, but I can’t feel like this for weeks or months.

I’m considering a REALLY big-picture change.  But before I get into that, let’s look at the evidence.  A month into starting this blog, I wrote down the physical ailments that I was interested in fixing.  They are as follows, with current updates in Bold.

  1. High fasting and post-prandial blood sugar (the post-prandial is only high when I eat carbs.  On my current diet only the fasting is high). Still a problem.  Back then, my FBG was in the range of 115-120.  Now?  Same.
  2. Allergies (seasonal and pets)I don’t have so many problems with allergies but I think that’s because I no longer have cats.  They didn’t make the trip back from California.  I tolerated those allergies for 15 years.
  3. Plantar fasciitis (pain in the soles of my feet when I first get out of bed or first stand after sitting for a while) – This is much better but I think it’s the lack of exercise and the switch to high-quality shoes over the last year.
  4. Excess body fat.  My current BMI is 31.9.  That puts me in the “obese” category.  I have always thought the BMI scale was full of shit, but it’s certainly true that I’m overweight.  My BMI is now around 34.8.  Worse, obviously.
  5. PMS, including some pretty severe mood swings. – My period has gotten VERY inconsistent.  My last cycle was over 10 weeks long, meaning I missed a period or two.  I suppose there are various reasons for this, but my hormones were all very low before starting BHRT last summer.  Now that I’ve quit the BHRT I guess they’ve returned to their low, peri-menopausal level.  My moods have been ok in spite of this.  I’m not sure why.  At some point I’ll test again.
  6. Low sex drive. – Still.  Worse, actually.
  7. High total cholesterol Not better.  A bit worse.
  8. Fatigue My fatigue is largely gone.  I think my adrenals healed since I’ve been able to go to part time work over the last 6 months.  I don’t attribute this improvement to diet.  The improvement correlated with rest and reduction of emotional stress.  And maybe the reduction of exposure to allergens.
  9. AcneStill, but less frequently.  Correlates with my less-frequent periods.

So…almost 2 years on a moderate-high protein, high fat, animal-based diet has not helped much.  Lifestyle changes (specifically stress removal) have helped.

New ailments to target:

  1. High Blood Pressure – This started about 9 months ago, and correlates with my 10% weight gain last year.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen or what I’m going to do.  I’ll keep you apprised.

Apathy

The apathy has been creeping in.  It may be a hormonal flux…if I didn’t ovulate this cycle I would have no progesterone in my system (because ovulation actually releases the progesterone into the body).  No ovulation = no progesterone.  No progesterone = estrogen goes unchecked.  Estrogen goes unchecked = weeping, moodiness, bloating.  When estrogen also gets low (toward the end of the cycle…like now…), that’s when I get things like hot flashes, poor sleep, and the mood goes from weepy to angry.

This all used to be a lot more predictable.  Now I have mood swings all through the month.  It’s great.

The PA didn’t call or write.  I sent her another email yesterday.  She’s not awesome.  If she doesn’t get in touch with me on Monday I’ll call her on Tuesday.   I’m being a pest, I know…but I don’t really care.  I’m her customer and she needs to do what she said she would do.

Got our Paleo Bread yesterday.  It took the company 3 weeks to get it to us, despite charging us for 2nd day air shipping.  I get that they’re a new company and and probably working the bugs out of their production and shipping line.  But still…3 weeks?  Anyway, it’s not bad.  It tastes like bread.  Like the kind of thin, slightly too firm kind of bread they serve appetizers on at a fancy restaurant.  But still like bread!   No preservatives – only like 8 ingredients, all of which are real food.  My daughter thinks it’s great with peanut butter and jelly.   So despite the expense and the wait, it’s a good product.  I recommend it.

My husband received his email consult results from Dr. K.  Basically he recommended every lab that he would have gotten anyway, and some reading material from his blog.  It was fine…basically told me that nothing really stood out to him as obviously wrong.  So at some point in the near future he’ll follow up with labs and the follow-up consult.

I’ve been sneaking cheese back into my diet again.  A couple ounces yesterday and an ounce or so the day before.  I think that’s the part of this plan that I have the most trouble with – the no cheese.

Oh well… guess I’ll go play with baby for now before she starts doing back flips off the couch to get my attention.

Looking forward to caring about things again.

More Steps

Got my labs drawn yesterday.  I don’t know if they’ll be covered by insurance.  It doesn’t matter.  I don’t understand insurance.  If labs are drawn by the clinic I go to for my primary care but are ordered by a doctor who may or may not be covered, then are the labs covered?  I don’t know.  I figure I’ll be notified if I owe some dough.

Sorry for my extremely whiny post yesterday.  I have been feeling sick and run down this week.  I was diagnosed with Asthma 10 years ago and have had very few issues with it over the last 3 years or so…but this week I’m having a hard time breathing.  I thought I was getting sick but all it is is trouble breathing.  I brushed the dust off of my Albuterol inhaler yesterday and using it seemed to help, so I’m wondering if I’m having an allergic reaction to something.  I do live in farm country and we haven’t had much rain.  Could be lots of dust in the air.  All I know is if I can’t breathe nothing feels right.  I’ve arranged to take a day off work this week to get caught up on other things and to rest.

It occurs to me that if I start hormone therapy I won’t be able to do CT for quite a while.  The PA will be monitoring my hormone levels for 2-3 months at least, and it’s going to cloud the picture if I’m releasing extra estrogen into my system via CT.  Well, that’s ok I guess.  I miss doing it but also I suspect my cold tolerance will be better when my hormones are optimal.

In the interest of adrenal recovery, I borrowed an emWave from a friend so I can try out biofeedback.  I’ve experimented with it just a little in past years, but never with any real intention or motivation behind it.  Now that I know what my health issues are I feel very motivated to fix them.  Stress and cortisol management are clearly among them.

I’ve been reading lately that hormonal problems can lead to fatigue, as can adrenal/cortisol issues.  My energy picked up quite a bit just by doing the Leptin Reset.  Before I could barely scrape myself off the couch after work, and always needed a nap.  If I couldn’t take a nap for whatever reason I would just cry with frustration.  Now it’s better but I still wish I could just lie around a lot more than I do.  My husband thinks it’s normal to feel that way when you have  2-year old and a job.  I think it might be typical, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal.  Previous generations were busy all day long finding food, cooking, cleaning, and teaching and raising their kids instead of plopping them in front of the TV.  There’s a certain level of energy that human beings should have but don’t, and we don’t even question it.  I want to have energy all day long and feel lit up about life. I don’t want to need caffeine to function.

The PA emailed me yesterday to let me know she’ll contact me after she receives my labs.  I appreciated that, and I’m very glad she’s open to communicating via email.  I was so busy complaining yesterday that I forgot to mention, I did really like the PA.  She seems to be confident she can help me, and in fact was in the same situation when she was my age, about 5 years ago.  I’m looking forward to working with her.

“There’s a lot wrong with you.”

Well, I have to tell you…Having a consult with Dr. Kruse was the best thing I could have done right now.  I feel overwhelmed by the whole thing…mostly because of the things I learned about myself and my family, and the implications this has for going forward.  I keep trying to remember this is about putting one foot in front of the other, and that regrets are pointless.  But it doesn’t matter.  I feel how I feel and I guess I just have to let that be ok.  Stupid emotions.  Whatever.  Probably hormones.

So here’s what happened.

Dr. K. called at the appointed time (a few minutes early actually) and launched right into it.  Let me tell you, he pulls no punches.  He is very blunt and I’m sure also aware of the time constraints of the call – no time for subtleties or small talk.  One of my favorite quotes from the conversation:  “There’s a lot wrong with you.”  The man barely stopped for a breath the entire half hour.  It was exactly as I had hoped.  I took notes the whole time, unable to get my Skype recording software to work.

In a nutshell, my biggest problem appears to be my hormones…specifically my progesterone/estrogen (Pg/E2) ratio, which is, and I quote, “horrible.”

“You want to know what your problem is?  Why you can’t lose weight? That’s it. Done.”

He reviewed my family history – specifically the health problems my mother and grandmother have had – and my labs, and said that there’s a link between all three of us – we all have low progesterone.  That accounts for my grandmother’s cancer, my mothers current health problems, and my current health problems.  He said that everything in my labs and family history adds up to that, and nothing contradicts it.  If I don’t change something he says I’m setting myself up for breast cancer or ovarian cancer (which my grandmother died from).

Cancer?  But I was worried about heart disease!  Cancer never really crossed my mind.  Isn’t that funny?  You know…in the ironic sense?

Hahahaha….ah yes…we laugh to keep from crying…

I think the best way to relay the rest of what I learned from this call is a list.  I’m not feeling creative enough to make it narrative.  So here we go:

  • My increasingly severe PMS and irregular periods indicate I’m probably closer to menopause than I think.
  • My infertility and labs indicate I may have PCOS, and he was surprised I hadn’t been diagnosed with it while trying to get pregnant.  (I know absolutely nothing about PCOS, so I can’t even comment on this right now.)
  • My family pattern is low progesterone – my grandmother, mother, and I all share it, and almost certainly my daughter will too.  The fact that I had her late in life increases that probability, as older eggs are lower in progesterone.  I have the opportunity to fix this in her and stop the family pattern by getting her off dairy and off grains.  He said if she’s low in Vitamin D that would be an indicator that her body isn’t making enough progesterone.  Dietary changes implemented before age 6 could help or even fix this epigenetic problem in her – the earlier the better.  (I’m not sure exactly why age 6 is the threshold – I assume it has to do with a certain degree of brain development being completed by then.)
  • I need to find an anti-aging doctor or a functional medicine practitioner who will be willing to prescribe Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) even though I’m not yet menopausal.
  • My having had gestational diabetes while pregnant increases my child’s risk of becoming diabetic 60%.
  • I’m probably hypothyroid.
  • I probably have stage 3 or 4 adrenal fatigue.  But – thankfully – “Your adrenal isn’t completely dead.”  All right!!
  • The order of awfulness in my health is as follows:
    • 1.  my Pg/E2 ratio
    • 2.  My adrenal fatigue / “cortisol issue”
    • 3.  My thyroid function
  • I shouldn’t drink alcohol at all.  It will cause a problem with my brain that increases my risk of breast cancer.  Maybe someday I could have some alcohol, “But not right now.”
  • I should use supplements for liver support: NAC, Milk thistle, Reseveratrol, Coconut Oil, Tumeric, CoQ10 Ubiquinol.  He liked that I’m taking Calcium D-Glucarate for the management of my estrogen (which is high).
  • I should be taking more Vitamin C.
  • I have too much artificial light in my life – he knew this by my high AM cortisol level, compared with the other cortisol levels throughout the day, which are all low-normal.
  • I should stop drinking so much water and drink green tea instead, which will help with the hormonal imbalance.
  • My daughter and I should both have genetic testing done.  (I’m not sure exactly what information this would yield…there was just not a lot of time for questions and this is one of them I didn’t ask).
  • I should watch his webinar on hormone replacement therapy (recorded just last weekend.  I wanted to see it but I was traveling while it was taking place).
  • My prognosis is good if I keep my diet clean (no grains, no dairy, no alcohol) and get BHRT.  My daughter’s prognosis is also good if I change her diet.  “You control her epigenetics.”

I talked all this over with my husband and he’s on board with doing everything necessary to fix this problem.  We were in the car while discussing it and made a stop to buy additional supplements (Vitamin C, Resveratrol, CoQ10 Ubiquinol, Milk Thistle, and Tumeric) and green tea.  I joined as a paying member of Kruse’s site so I can watch a recording of the webinar on BHRT (haven’t been able to access it yet…a technical glitch that I hope is resolved soon.)  After I watch the webinar, which he says contains info for finding a doctor, I’ll get busy finding a doctor.  I live 2 hours from Chicago so I hope there’s someone within that radius that can help me.

David and I talked about getting our little one off dairy.  We’re going to do it gradually, and be sure we have plenty of preferred food that is nutritionally equivalent to milk/cheese.  I need to research this.  All I know for sure is that our last experiment with getting her off dairy went so poorly…I need to be mindful about this and be sure she’s eating enough high-quality food as we taper off the milk.

As I mentioned, I didn’t ask many questions during the consult.  I didn’t go into it prepared with a list of questions as I should have, plus the experience was overwhelming and I kind of lost my head.  The one question I most regret not asking was about CT.  Is there any point in continuing these cold baths as long as my hormones are all messed up?  I know I haven’t been enjoying them as much lately, and they’re taking up a significant chunk of my free time every day – time I could be using to get my consulting work done or to do yoga or otherwise relax.  I’m thinking about putting CT on hold for a while and getting the rest of my life in order.  If I’m going to be getting testing done soon with a new doctor I’d like my body to settle down and stop detoxing (I still get weirdly-timed emotional flares, which suggest there’s still excess estrogen in my system related to doing the CT).

During the call, it seemed pointless to ask about exercise and leaky gut stuff.  Those are details I’ll get to later after tackling the massive problem of preventing cancer.

So here’s my plan:

  • Add the new supplements to my regimen. (<–done)
  • Drink loads of green tea (this one is easy!)
  • Tighten up diet (no more dairy, no alcohol, otherwise do what I’ve been doing)
  • Stop CT for now.
  • Watch webinar on BHRT.
  • Find a doctor, make appointment, go see him/her.
  • Fix hormones.

I sense a long road ahead.

But really…what else am I doing that’s more important than this?

Hormones, Parenting, and No CT

I skipped CT last night.  I felt tired all day yesterday and after a long day of driving, socializing, and toddler-care, didn’t want to do anything resembling being responsible.  So I watched a not-bad movie about food addiction, and then went to bed.  I barely had the energy to get under the covers.   Serious fatigue.  The hormonal madness wasn’t over yet either…had a fight with my husband (94% my fault).  At least it was short.  Unfortunately I think I inadvertently taught my daughter to curse.  It really sucks, losing it like that.  I’m trying to get my health in order as much for her as for me.  More, actually.

I baked up a couple pounds of cod yesterday and ate it for dinner and also breakfast today.  I has about 1/3 as much omega 3 oil as salmon, so I may not be buying it much in the future, but I had it already thawed and ready to go.  Anything to boost my cold tolerance.  I suspect the problem I had a couple days ago is less about omega 3s and more about hormones, though – specifically, low progesterone.  That’s what causes all the mood symptoms associated with PMS, right?  I really need to fix this hormone issue.  It’s affecting my relationships, and my ability to enjoy my life and my job. That’s how much these few days a month sucks.

I’m also feeling very deprived of alone-time and time for things I think are fun and relaxing.  It seems very much like I have too much to do – all work and no play makes Lanie a dull girl. Not sure what to do about that.

Baby’s tugging at arm to go do a puzzle with her.

Gotta go.

Any parents reading this?  At what point in a child’s development does a parent get their life back a little?

Weird CT and Ice Cream

My CT experience was weird and not good yesterday.  Water was 49 – 50 deg F (as usual), but it felt so cold and uncomfortable I couldn’t even get in all the way.  I could only get in and submerged up to my ribcage and I could only stay in for 10 minutes.  It was just too uncomfortable.  When I got out the skin that had been underwater was bright pink.  It’s usually pink but not THAT pink.  What does it mean?  It was pretty disappointing.

I may have a clue, actually.  I was reading on Kruse’s forum that some women find as they get late into the luteal (post-ovulation) phase of their menstrual cycle they become less cold tolerant. I suppose considering my current luteal phase is never-ending (16 days late today!), that might have something to do with the fact that I have relatively fewer good CT experiences lately.  I’m thinking about taking a pregnancy test.  I’m pretty sure the lateness is due to messed up hormones though.

I’ll probably give the bath another try today.  If it sucks, I may take a break till Aunt Flo shows up.  I also haven’t had seafood yet this week…usually I have salmon 4-5 times a week.  Can my O6/O3 ratio get messed up that badly in one week that it would affect my ability to tolerate cold?  Don’t know…but going to cook up the fish currently in my freezer and rule that out.

Yesterday my hormonally-driven mood swings were way bad.  It’s a pretty crappy experience when that happens.  It seriously feels like my life is awful and that the people in it are to blame.  Even when I have the awareness that I’m PMS-ing and that every month I go through this, it still really feels like that.  I was so irritable and I was crying at work.  I told so many people off in my head that later in the day when I was feeling better I felt like I had a lot of apologizing to do…even though I didn’t because it was all in my head.  It’s impossible to hide it when I feel this way.  My mouth has a motor all its own that I can barely control…spewing venom all over anyone who dates to tread near me.  Even my husband (who usually gets the brunt of this, poor guy) was getting annoyed with me…he knows exactly what’s driving it and he’s usually quite tolerant of my moods.  Oh well…for some reason I started feeling better around 3PM yesterday (yes, after 10 hours of this moody nonsense…) and I felt fine the rest of the day.

In the midst of my hormonal mayhem, I had a serious craving for vanilla soft-serve ice cream.  My husband and baby had met me at work for lunch, so we went over to DQ and I got one to share with my little one.  I wanted it so much that I didn’t even feel guilty about it.  At least I didn’t eat the cone…just the ice cream.  Sharing an ice cream cone with her was the best part of my day.  She loved it so much, and rarely gets sugary stuff…It was delightful.  It was my first ice cream of 2012.  It’s one of the few things I miss about my old unhealthy lifestyle.

Action plan for today:

1. Go back through my blog archives and see if there’s evidence to support the late-luteal-phase-cold-intolerant theory.

2.  Finish reading my book about slow-motion once-a-week weight training.  I’m actually really excited to try it.  It’s just been lower on my priority list than work, sleep, CT, and baby.  And that’s pretty much 24 hours.  Just have to force it in there!

3.  Make fish.  Eat it.