Thursday, September 1, 2011

I've just had a MEGA lightbulb moment

It seems that I have been so engrossed into my studies for Midwifery that I have totally ignored my own health needs.  It's like I've had the solution in my mind all along, but I just forgot!

I have been struggling with very heavy periods for a long time now.  I had a 3 month episode of them last year with no answers.  My bleeding was so heavy that I missed social functions and was house bound.  I've been experiencing heavy bleeding again for the last 8 weeks or so.  It's been a struggle at uni because I am too tired to study at night and I've had to learn how to deal with it out in public.  Basically, I've been wearing a super tampon and using maternity pads as back up.  I'm only getting about 1-2 hours of protection from the tampon so the pad is there so save me until the end of lectures.

A few weeks ago I went to my Dr.  Im severly anemic and basically feel like crap.  He prescribed Clyklokapron (Tranexamic Acid) and my bleeding did slow down, so much so that I didn't get around to having the ultrasound or making the OB/GYN appointment straight away.  This last week the bleeding has returned so with some nagging from my fellow Student Midwives at uni I had my Ultrasound on Tuesday.  The Ultrasound had me bleeding like a tap so I found my self in the Emergency department yesterday with an IV waiting for blood test results to see if I need a blood transfusion.  My results came back and I am on the cusp of having below normal levels of hemoglobin.   While I was sitting in the waiting room I noticed Today Tonight was on.  They were talking about some wonder drug that was preventing diabetes and helping people lose weight.  I thought to myself that it was probably Metformin and how this was not news to me, since I was on Metformin in 2007 while trying to conceive child 3.  I was irritated because the other people in the waiting room were talking too loudly so I couldn't actually hear the Today Tonight report clearly and made a mental note to look into it 'one day'.

I was in a tute at uni today and we were looking at a health resource website.  In a way the website reminded me of which was my main on-line hang out while trying to conceive.  My bleeding has been really crazy again today so I came home from Uni and tried to make an appointment with the OB/GYN.  I couldn't get in for another 4 weeks so I headed back to my GP in frustration.  

The GP phoned the OB/GYN's office and managed to get me in for Friday weeks but in the mean time he also wrote a letter to another hospitals Emergency Department and suggested that I go there and see if they can treat me (saying I will probably need a D&C).

It was at that moment that a light turned on in my mind!  I suddenly remembered information that I had used in the past!  My Ultrasound results were fairly normal except for a cervical cyst, which isn't the cause of my bleeding so essentially I have a hormone in-balance.  NOTING NEW HERE!  I've always had a hormone in-balance, only in the past I didn't bleed at all.  I suddenly remembered that back in 2007 when we were trying to conceive I was taking Metformin to regulate my cycle!  BINGO!  I told the GP and then began a very strange conversation with him.  In fact for the 1st time in my life I actually stood up to a Dr. and made it very clear what I wanted.  He objected because a) I don't have diabetes (metformin is traditionally a diabetes drug) and b) I don't have cysts on my ovaries!

He obviously knew that there was some connection to Metformin and reproductive health but was one of those Drs that didn't know the difference between polycystic ovarian syndrome and polycystic ovaries.  I proceeded to briefly educated him and in the end he gave me the script for Metformin.

I had a chat to our Chemist guru... he is smarter than our Dr and often Man and I go to him for advice before we make a Drs appointment.  Anyway Chemist Guru was able to look up my history and see that I was on 850mg twice a day.  The GP only prescribed 850mg one times a day (and that was after I told him that 500mgs was not enough!).  Chemist Guru was probably being illegal when he suggested I should take the dose I was on in 2007 and it was also at that moment that the assistant Chemist Guru asked me if if saw Today Tonight last night...Ah HA!

Suddenly I recalled on more thing from my trying to conceive days.  Vitex Agnus-Castus - a herbal supplement that is used to regulate cycles and assist with heavy periods!  I many not be trying to conceive any more but at the end of the day I still need my cycles to be more organised!

Isn't it strange how the mind works in such subtlety.  My memory of Metformin was jogged last night, but it's full impact didn't hit me until about 1 hour ago.  It is yet another reminder of why I want to be a Midwife and why I know I am going to be a great one!  I actually have a better understanding of the reproductive system than my GP and of course I use natural remedies to supplement medicine.

Fingers crossed my 'plan' works!  I guess I have until the 9th of September to decide if I still need to see the OB/GYN or not!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

12 Months later...

I can't believe that it's been almost 12 months to the date since I last logged on.  I've been basically running away from myself for 12 months and just living as fat girl!  When I sit here and have a think about it, it really is a scary thing that 12 months can go past so quickly.  Looking back, a lot has happened.  My photography is plodding along but more interestingly, I was accepted into the Bachelor of Midwifery degree that I was too terrified to apply for!  My plan was to continue to study via and complete their on-line Bachelor of Nursing and then cross over into Midwifery.  This was my plan to avoid actually seeing anybody.  With 2 days to go before the cut-off date for applications I had a sudden change of mind and found myself applying for Midwifery, essentially facing my demons!

I found myself counting my blessings, grateful that Victoria University, or any other university in Melbourne didn't do interviews like they seem to do in the UK. I was sure that a face-to-face interview would mean I would have less of a chance to get in (because of my size). In November I got an early round offer for my first preference.  I remember logging onto the VTAC website and reading my offer letter about 5 times and crying.  I tried to call Man but it went to voice-mail so I tried to call a friend and she didn't answer.  It was about an hour before I finally got hold of Man to tell him and I spent that hour just staring at the computer in utter disbelief, silence and occasional crying.   I can recall my feelings of dread as the day to enroll came closer and closer. I honestly believed that I would be refused enrollment. I felt like I was unworthy of being admitted into the degree because of my weight. My insecurities lead me to go home that night and chance my VTAC preference, so that ACU was now my first preference. When the regular round of offers came out I also received an ACU offer. I now had to choose between VU and ACU. I knew that on paper this must mean I was a strong applicant, but it gave me no comfort.
The 1st semester started in late February.  Up until this point I had only gained back about 3kgs of the total I had lost.  This first semester was been hard, and I found myself totally addicted to full sugar Coke.  Yes, that's right, somehow I started drinking Coke again.  Fat girl thought it was needed to help me have energy for lectures.  As a result I am now the same weight I was back in April 2010, I have nothing to show for those 3 months of hard work, nothing except for a regular direct debit from the gym of $59 per month that I only canceled in May.

So far I seem to be accepted by my peers and lecturers.  Even through my follow-though clinics to date I have seen that Midwives do come in all shapes and sizes, however this has been little comfort. I have come to the realisation that I have prejudices, and that I am prejudice against myself.  

I have now finished my two week clinical placement and attended many follow-though clinic appointments. I have found that I can physically perform the job and that some of the women actually warm to me because of my weight (because they are also of a large BMI). I felt like I had to work extra hard and walk extra fast to prove myself and as I have already realised, I probably wasn't really proving myself to anyone, but only myself. I had a couple of moments when I was very self conscious of my weight, one was during the first c-section I went to. I felt like I was just taking up too much room and that the scrubs were a bit too tight. Another moment was during hand-over. A pre-natal woman who's BMI was over 60 was given day leave. Some jokes were made about her rushing straight to McDonald's during her day leave. Through all of this I have realised that I am going to be a capable midwife, and that I do deserve this opportunity however, despite proving that I can work 40 hours a week and keep up with the pace of a busy maternity or birthing ward hasn't helped me with my comfort with myself. I now see these feelings are not there to prevent me from continuing my studies but are rather there to help me move forward and slowly lose weight, not for my future employer, not for my fellow students, but entirely for me.

I see now that I had no reason to be afraid of applying to the course, but my weight still is an issue, if not for others around me, but for me. It is on my mind probably 80% of the time.

Oh, Man and I also got married in December! I really should post some pics of the wedding at some point.

Anyway, I am probably at the stage I was in about March 2010 now. I've been off coke and all sugar soft-drinks for about 3 weeks now. I had an appointment with my GP last week to have some blood work done (to make sure I don't have diabetes or something). I need to get back on track. Although I performed well on my placement, I went to 3 c-sections and you can imagine how ashamed I was that the normal scrubs didn't fit me. I had to wear 2 hospital gowns into theatre and scrub pants. My next clinical placement is in November and I want to be able to wear normal scrubs!
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