Hormone Therapy: Part 1

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Today I want to break ground and talk about something that is near and dear to me, and often a bit controversial in opinions, depending on which side you are on. I am speaking from personal experience and education, which I think is key to any argument, as I think it is ignorant to talk of those things you have little to no experience or information about. All I know is that my quality of life has been improved drastically thanks to bio-identical hormones. Let me share my personal health journey, for we all have a pivotal moment in our life that catapults us on the path to wellness. Mine was when I had my hysterectomy at age 35. That one life altering decision would prove to be a blessing and curse all rolled in one. It forced me to listen to my body, pay attention to what it is telling me it needs, and become CEO of my health. My body literally went through a tailspin after that surgery…my thyroid went haywire, immense crying episodes, and I began experiencing symptoms gradually of peri menopause.  I felt like a shell of myself.  The doctor who did my surgery had no answers to the changes that were going on, after all, he left my ovaries in, they should be working fine, right? Wrong! It was not until I went on my own quest for help, doing research on the internet, and finding another physician that the pieces began to come together. Thank God for hystersisters.com, a website for ladies who had undergone hysterectomies. That is where I began to learn that a lot of the symptoms I was experiencing were the same ones that other ladies who had lost ovarian function experienced. With the help of a trusted doctor who believed enough in me to refer me to get hormone testing for the first time, I learned that my ovaries were functioning, just not enough. I learned that having my uterus removed had abruptly disrupted the hormone balance axis. Here enters the world of hormone replacement therapy…

I had never heard of HRT, let alone bio-identical hormone replacement (bHRT). During my consultation with the compounding pharmacist (pharmacist who mixes up your hormone prescription written for your own specific needs), I was instructed on the significance of hormone balance, and what happens when they are not. I learned what the hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, pregnenolone, and DHEA were (terms I had never heard, but would soon find out the brilliance behind them). I learned that my ENTIRE body has hormone receptors for estrogen and were dependent on it to work – my brain, bones, skin, heart, thyroid, nervous system, digestive system, bladder, and yes, even sex organs (more on that soon). He literally was able to look at the results of my saliva hormone results and tell me exactly what I had been experiencing without me telling him: fatigue, trouble sleeping, anxiety, feeling depressed, mood swings, hot flushes, dryness, brittle hair, brain fog, loss of drive. I learned how important progesterone was to balance estrogen, and how as you age progesterone drops drastically, leading to estrogen dominance, which can be responsible for fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, menstrual irregularity, and for some infertility. Suddenly, the lightbulb went off in my head and everything started to make sense. Is that why I had to have a breast cyst removed? Could low progesterone have played a part in why I had uterine fibroids, and the reason for my hysterectomy in the first place? Having my tubes tied at 26, could that have been the beginning of the domino effect in compromising my ovarian function? All I knew is that at age 35, my body was betraying me, and instead of being crippled by sadness, I had to get up and be proactive about my health.

I left that day not only with my compounded prescriptions in hand, but armed with the information and education I needed to further my own research. I spent hours reading up on hormone balance and how with a little supplementation, you can not only live well, but age well (a novel idea I thought was impossible). But here I sit, 5 years later, a living testament of what bio identical hormone therapy and good living can do. I thank God everyday for the wealth of knowledge He sent my way, and for His hand over my life, even through that difficult time. I would hear commercials of how it, “gave me my life back,” and although that sounds coy, it is absolutely true. I feel better at 39 than I did at 29, no lie! Stay tuned, this is just the beginning. In the blogs to come, I will be sharing information on each hormone individually, the results I experienced with each, the notion of anti-aging, as well as give you a peek into my hormone regimen. Today, I wanted to provide the backdrop to why I feel so passionately about not only my body, but my food, too. They both work synergistically. I could not focus on hormone balance without looking at other parts of my life that needed an overhaul in balance as well.

You have the power to overhaul your health too. Be your own health advocate. If you are in your 30s, I highly recommend you get hormone testing, as that is the decade in life when your hormones start shifting. Talk with your doctor to get blood lab work done, or go to compounding pharmacy where they can work with you to get saliva testing done (which I am told is more reliable, though I get both done). Get educated on the effects of hormones as you age. What you don’t know CAN hurt you. Here’s to the best years ahead of you.

Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions right here on this site. You can be a prepared woman too!

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“With eyes wide open…”

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This morning I was awakened abruptly by my daughter screaming for help.  My husband jumped out the bed and rushed to her room, only to find the emergency scream was because she saw a mouse in her room.  After we got over the initial “fight or flight” response from the panic, and the girls piled in our bed, my husband consoled them by saying he would set traps to catch it today.  Since it was close to wake time, we spent time in prayer for the needs of others…and that we catch the mouse.  Which brings me to something that made me ponder…

We were praying that we find it… with our eyes shut.  As much as we prayed to catch the rodent, no one really wanted to be the one to find it.  Sure, we are aware that we live in the country by barns and farmland, and as the weather cools one might try to find refuge in our home.  We heard noises in the attic, but were too afraid to go look.  We were praying…with our eyes closed tight.

Now you might think I’m just talking about “finding Mickey,” but what I really want to focus on is praying, but not wanting to see “it”.  Things creep in the dark whether we are watching or not.  The noises in the attic were hinting to us, whether we chose to go up and investigate or not.  Even though I might want to imagine the little critter away, if it stays long enough, it will leave evidence. Don’t be afraid to pull out the flashlight, pull back the drapes, or push back the furniture to see what might be lurking.   It took one small critter to put the whole house on alert.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.  Prepare yourself to pray with eyes wide open.

“Make some noise!” Birthday Debut

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When you made your first debut into this world, it was marked by a sound – a cry that bellowed from your lungs saying “I am here.  I have arrived.  I have a voice.”  Don’t lose it.  That is why my birthday holds a special place in my heart, an event that I go out of my way celebrating, because it marks the day I was “brought forth.”

Do you realize what it took to get you here?  It took changes, shifts, discomforts, and groans.  It took the ability to be able to position yourself and squeeze through some tight places.  While your birth was joyous, it was also difficult.  When you were pushed out, everything God had embedded in you got pushed out too! 

So make some noise!  Celebrate your birthday unabashedly.  Scream to the top of your lungs, “I am here!”  Mark that day by leaving “footprints” on your life’s legacy.  Throw your own party, balloons and all, because you are so worthy to be celebrated.  I often wonder what compels us to be so quiet and nonchalant about our birth date.  Is it because we have been conditioned to believe we are not that important to make a big fuss over?  

 The whole month of September (my birthday month), I do small gestures to celebrate my existence here on earth – whether it be purchasing that nail color I had been admiring, enjoying a new restaurant experience, going on an impromptu joy ride; just anything that brings me pure pleasure.  I relish in the idea of knowing that from conception I was watched over, incubated, and brought forth in due season.  Yes, God was anticipating my arrival.  He had a thought of me, formed me in the womb, delivered me, then swaddled me.  I was completely loved and the apple of His eye before my debut.  Heaven was filled with pink balloons on that day.

So celebrate.  Make some noise.  Let the world know you have made your entrance, and that you are alive and well!