Estrogen Sucks

It’s become very clear to me over the last several weeks that estrogen completely sucks and progesterone completely rocks. In a healthy young woman they’re ideally balanced and estrogen does important stuff in the body – especially during the reproductive years. I am done reproducing, however, and I have many of the symptoms of estrogen dominance.  I stopped taking Progest E last Wednesday in order to have my period.  I didn’t want to stop, because it had been doing such a great job of managing my typical PMS, anxiety, depression, and I just felt good.  I tried stopping a few days earlier but these symptoms came back and I caved – “Help, save me, Progest E!”  And it did. I had a 37 day cycle because I kept taking progesterone, well past the typical window of “days 14-28”.

But I did force myself to stop taking it, and ever since I’ve been experiencing the effects of all the unopposed estrogen in my body: mood swings, cramps, anxiety, depression, sore swollen breasts, even headaches which I don’t have often.  So now, 4 days into my cycle, I’m hitting the progesterone again.  I don’t care that I’m doing it wrong. I’m listening to my body, and it is begging me to to save it from the estrogen.

These last few days of estrogen-intensity have made me aware that I need to focus more on liver support in order to better clear estrogen.  I think I’m going to go back to the supplements that were recommended by Jack Kruse back when I did a consult with him.  I understand his recommendations so much more now, and they make a lot of sense.  I feel bad that I made so many bad decisions over the last year.  I wonder sometimes if I would have been able to “make it” in California if I hadn’t been taking estrogen supplements.  I think that kind of destroyed me.  I’m just glad I stopped before developing cancer or losing my mind.

Something New

New potatoes, that is.  I just ate 13 oz of them.

I’ve decided to try the potato diet.  Nothing but potatoes for a week or so…let’s see how it goes.  Why would I do this?  Because I just don’t feel good.  Ever.  Paleo seems to be letting me down.  I’m not thriving.  Despite being virtually unemployed, my life feels very disorganized.  Hell, it IS disorganized.  It’s not just a feeling.  I used to be a compulsively tidy person.  Now I’m a mess.  I feel tired all the time.  I don’t know anymore how to feel better.  Sure, it could be a cortisol problem (don’t have the money to test right now) and it could be a thyroid problem (ditto) but it could also be that eating meat and fat for over a year isn’t making my body work well.  My blood pressure and weight continue to be high.

I tried Paleo/Leptin Rx.  Felt better than eating grains but now it’s not making me feel good.

I tried Epi-Paleo.  Felt hungry, plus it was really expensive.  I could afford it I guess if I ate stuff out of a can, but I’m not sure I want to expose myself to a lot of canned goods (i.e., BPA).

I tried high fat, moderate protein, low carb.  Felt hungry.

I tried high protein, low carb, low cal.  Felt hungry and unsatisfied.

I tried juicing.  Got tired of cleaning the juicer, but more importantly I didn’t have time to get good at it.  I may try this again.

I tried CT.  Didn’t make a difference.

I tried BHRT.  It made me fatter, gave me heart palpitations, and screwed up my period.

I haven’t tried the potato diet yet.  So let’s go.

Why am I doing this?  I was swayed by this guy’s story (20 potatoes a day for 60 days).  I found myself interested in this thread over at MDA.  And I watched a documentary over the weekend about Gerson Therapy, called The Beautiful Truth.  It details the work of a dude named Gerson in the 1920s who came up with a system of treating people with various ailments, including cancer, with great success.  His method basically involves a vegan diet, lots of organic vegetables, and coffee enemas.  Yeah, sounds awesome.  Not really.  But there’s a clinic in Mexico that was highlighted in the film.  At a cost of $11,000 for a 2-week stay, attendees of this clinic get the full Gerson Therapy.  I know someone who attended this clinic and has now outlasted his life expectancy by 4 years.

I don’t see myself going full-on vegan, but I really do need to keep trying other things.  Paleo made me feel good initially, and I probably do still feel better than I did prior…but that level of good is no longer good enough.  I want to feel vibrant.  I want my mind and body to feel organized again.

So I’ll keep you updated on my ongoing experiments.

Day 1

  • Fasting Blood Glucose: 101
  • Weight: 200.2
  • Waist measurement: 43.5″
  • Blood pressure: 135/83 (the lowest its been in a while)

My goal right now is to eat only potatoes with just some simple seasonings (salt, pepper, spices).

Low Cal/Low Carb End of Day 2

I’m avoiding work so I think I’ll do another post today.  Again today had no real hunger.  Here are my stats for today:

Calories Carbs Fat Protein
1426 14% (49g) 54% (85g) 33% (119g)

I had a day of silly snacking all day – but I think I did a pretty good job of accounting for all of it.  Tried twice to go for a walk.  Managed to piece together about 30 minutes of walking, and 5383 steps.  That’s not awesome.  I’m going to have to step up the walking a little.  In my group of 5 walkers I had the fewest steps last week – about 36,000. I need to be a lot closer to 10,000 steps per day.  I think I’m just going to have to get up earlier or something.

We tried to make Paleo waffles today….not good.  Here’s a pic:

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Yes, my husband was using the chopstick to try to pry the waffles out of the waffle iron.  Oh well.

Hey I forgot to mention a couple of effects I’m noticing now that I’m no longer on the Wiley Protocol.  My bras fit again – my breasts had been all swollen up from all that progesterone.  So now even though I’m at my highest non-pregnancy weight, my shirts are fitting better.  Hooray!  Also, my one whisker has grown back.  I’m about to do the TMI thing…so gentlemen, you may want to turn away….but my period has also completely calmed down. On the hormones it was awful…I know I had fibroids while I was supplementing estrogen, and I think maybe now that I’m off of it they’ve shrunk back down, meaning less mess.  Another hooray!  Wiley was not right for me.

I guess that’s all I’ve got to report for the moment.  Cheers – till tomorrow.

New Beginnings

Don’t have a lot of time to write today.  Started hormones yesterday.  Feel better already!  (<– not really…. looking forward to it though.)   I wonder if there’s a “getting used to it” period that has to be endured?

Over the past week or two I’ve been handling my diet in a sort of sloppy manner – eating some cheese, drinking some wine (at least it was the highly touted Malbec, but I’m not supposed to be drinking any right now.  Dr. K. said.), eating snacks.  I really wanted to eat pizza on Saturday…the lowest of the low days…but I didn’t.  Instead I ate a lot of nuts, which also aren’t great for me.

I feel like I’m getting a fresh start today, having just started the BHRT.  It was discouraging doing so much “right” for so long with no results…hence my slipping with the diet protocol.  Now that there’s actually hope that something might change I feel motivated to tighten things up again.

BAB this morning:  Grassfed beef and pastured eggs cooked in coconut oil.

Dr. K. says to get your seafood in early in the day.  Maybe I’ll go eat some canned clams (that’s what we’ve got here in landlocked Illinois).

Have a great Monday.

Weaning off Dairy

My poor hormonal balance led to some severe mood swings yesterday.  I couldn’t even write, I was so fatigued and so low.  My life felt completely sucky for a day.  I know it’s the hormones now.  There was a time depression really felt like something was wrong outside of me.  Now I know when I feel that way there’s something wrong with my biology.

On Friday my Wiley Protocol BHRT hormones arrived in the mail.  I felt like this:

Only, you know, substitute the word “hormones” for “phonebook.”  Now I just need my TOM to start and we’re all set.  The data I’ve been collecting indicates that the last time I had a terrible, no good, very bad, hormonal day I got my period 2 days later.  We’ll see if that has any predictive power.

I wanted to mention….Going slow was definitely the right thing to do, as far as weaning our 2-year old off of dairy.  After my consult with Dr. K., it became clear to me that we were going to have to get her off dairy (she is already off grains), given the hormonal disruption in my lineage, which I’ve likely passed on to her.  It’s been taking time for her to learn to replace the nutrition in milk with other food.  Here’s what we’ve been doing:

  1. Discontinued cheese right away.  She liked other snacks just as much, and milk was really the bigger issue because she loves it.
  2. We reduced from unlimited milk to two 8-oz servings a day.  She got one with breakfast and one after her nap with lunch.  They were given to her regardless of whether or not she asked, and never outside these two times.  What this did is detach the delivery of the milk from her requests for it, and made it time-of-day-dependent rather than request-dependent.  The purpose of this was to remove any illusion on her part that she had control over when or how often she got milk, which should result in her requests for milk to stop.  Also, it was clear to both parents what the schedule was because it didn’t change day to day.
  3. Every other day we would reduce her total milk consumption 1 oz.  So basically the first two days she got 16 oz each day, divided into the 2 servings.  The next two days she got 15 oz each day, divided into the 2 servings.  We wrote on our kitchen calendar how many total ounces she was getting each day so there was no question regardless of which parent was there.
  4. We found a substitute that she also likes.  Ice water.  She loves playing with ice cubes.  Whenever she would ask for milk rather than just saying “no” we offer her ice water instead, which involves a whole ritual of her helping to put the ice cubes in the cup.  If regular ice cubes hadn’t been enticing enough we could have made them different colors.  Didn’t need to though.  Now she asks for ice water instead of milk about 80% of the time.  (But she still gets the 2 servings a day regardless of whether or not she asks.)
  5. Now we’re gradually reducing  her daily intake.  We started with 16 ounces (8oz 2x a day) and now we’re down to 11oz (6 oz with breakfast and 5 oz with lunch).  The reduction schedule will continue until she’s off of it completely.
  6. We’ve increased seafood, high fat meats, fruits and veggies for her, to make sure the nutrition she was getting in milk (fat, calcium, and vitamin D) are still in her diet.

I know there are some hard-to-find dairy alternatives…A2 vs A1 dairy, goats milk…?   I don’t know much about these things.  What I do know is that she’s only 2 and her memory processes are still very much in development.  As long as she’s getting the nutrition she needs from other foods she isn’t likely to remember how much she liked milk and cheese.  The trick then will be to try to control other sources of dairy and grains in her life – like, from well-meaning child care providers.  Right now we’re raising her 24 hours a day, but there may come a time she’s in day care.  At that point I hope we’re no longer living in corn country.  People around here just don’t get it.  Anyway, I’ll keep updating as we go with this process.

Wednesday Updates

A couple of updates:

  • I confronted my sister who has Hashimoto’s about her diet.  I gave her my most heartfelt plea that she at least do some research on what may have caused it.  I included links to this most excellent podcast I listened to a couple days ago on autoimmunity, as well as a bunch of links and book recommendations. She emailed back at 2:00AM (hm…not sleeping well?) and made it clear that she didn’t care what I had to say and plans on continuing along.   I didn’t think she’d believe me.  After all, who would believe a non-doctor (or even a doctor for that matter) who says the medical establishment and it’s standard diet and chronic disease management strategies are all bullshit.  I said what I had to say though, and that’s all I can do.
  • My hormones are on the way.  I should have them this week.  Looking forward to starting them.  I’ve been getting a little weepy in the last 24 hours…my TOM may be around the corner.  But really…who knows.
  • BAB this morning:  Baked salmon with eggs and a few shrimp.

I have to go already.

Bye.

Moving Forward

Only have a few minutes to write today…

…so here’s what’s going on.

The PA finally responded…said the delay was someone else’s fault.  Hm…a pattern emerging?  Anyway…her reaction to my labs:  “Everything is really low.”  So she’s ordering me up some hormones from a mail-order pharmacy in Indiana today.  All signs point to my cycle not starting anytime real soon.  Lately I’m a moody crazed mess right before, so chances are I’ll get the hormones in the next couple days and be able to start this month!  Very exciting.

In unrelated medical news I had a blood draw this morning – a liver profile and a lipid panel – ordered by my PCP.  I have a pap this week.  Normally I like to put those off, being as icky as they are, but after Kruse told me I was at risk for ovarian cancer I went ahead and made an appointment.  It’s been a year since my last one.  The labs were ordered because she doubts the wisdom of my choice to abandon my Lipitor.  I guess I’ll withstand the tongue lashing on Friday in order to get some insurance-paid labs done.

I’ve been reading Sex, Lies, and Menopause in my (little) free time. Actually had a half hour to read today while waiting for the lab draw.  The book is written by T.S. Wiley, the creator of the Wiley Protocol – the BHRT system upon which I’m about to embark.  She says the same things Kruse does, about artificial light and fake food causing hormonal disruption.  She focuses much more on the evolutionary benefits of women’s natural biological tendencies, which we (or course) screw up by getting jobs and waiting till we’re 40 to procreate.  It’s hard to read this without feeling guilty…I’ve obviously done everything wrong.   I felt that way after my consult with Kruse too.  Then I remind myself I am a product of my environment and my society.  Now that I know better, I’m going to do better.

Yesterday I ate my BAB at 6:30AM and then got hungry for lunch around 2:30PM – 8 hours later.  I’m going to do the same thing again today…no eating lunch till I’m hungry.  Hopefully that’ll be around 4, and then I’ll be done eating for the day after 2 meals.  Definitely an improvement.  I remember a couple months ago thinking it was great that I could go 6 hours without eating.  In my pre-Paleo life I was hungry every couple hours or so.  8 hours is awesome.

BAB today: grass fed beef, 2 eggs fried in coconut oil, hot water with a dollop of coconut oil in it.

Labs and Docs

I thought first off I’d share my most recent hormone labs, ordered by the PA in the interest of getting baseline data before BHRT.

Here they are:

Reference Range
Lab Me Follicular Mid-Cycle Luteal Post-Menopausal
Progesterone <0.5 <1.0  2.6-21.5 <0.5
Estradiol 66 19-44 64-357 56-214 < or = 31
Lutenizing Hormone (LH) 11.5 1.9-12.5 8.7-76.3 0.5-16.9 10-54.7
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) 21.5 2.5-10.2 3.1-17.7 1.5-9.1 23-116.3

Also:

Lab Me Ref.
Testosterone 10 (2-45)

So clearly I’m a lay person and don’t know what all this means, but here’s what I’ve learned so far via Google:

  • I’m probably not far from menopause (as Dr. K. said).  Check out that FSH – that’s almost menopausal!  Apparently the higher your FSH is, the fewer number and lower quality eggs you have left.  When I got pregnant with my daughter my FSH was 3.5.  And I was struggling with infertility back then.
  • My Progesterone is non-existent this month and these were drawn on Day 17 of my cycle.  Typically women ovulate around day 14.  The non-progesterone indicates either I didn’t ovulate this month (cuz I’m old and peri-menopausal and apparently women shoot blanks for a while before menopause) or I hadn’t yet ovulated.  I was wrong yesterday when I said my cycle started (I know, right? Don’t you think I would be able to tell that?  It was just spotting.)  Soo..long story short, I don’t know if I was pre-ovulatory when this test was done or if I was non-ovulatory this past cycle.
  • Estrogen is in the very-low normal range for mid-cycle (which is probably where I was).
  • Testosterone is about normal (not high, which would be expected if I had PCOS.  I don’t seem to meet the diagnostic criteria.)

Well, that’s about it.  I’m waiting for the PA to call me.  Still.  Maybe I’ll call her today.  My email prompt yesterday did nothing.

My husband is still waiting for his email consult results from Dr. K.  I think they were misplaced or overlooked.  The turnaround time was supposed to be 24 hours.  Dr. K. needs a better business manager.  Or he needs to check his email.

I’m getting tired of everything again.  I need some hormones.  And some cortisol.  I wish my entire endocrine system wasn’t so broken and exhausted.

Plus, I’m still coughing.  This has been going on for 2 weeks now.  I’m going to the doc today, if she can see me.  That primary care physician should be good for something, right?

Standstill

Still haven’t heard from the doc.  Writing to her today to prompt a response.  Actually everything I was waiting for yesterday I’m still waiting for.  Cept my TOM.  That seems to have arrived.  Darn.  Will probably have to wait to start the BHRT.  I suppose that’s ok.  I keep wanting to rush things.

I really don’t have much more to say.  I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, so I’m continuing the Leptin Rx way of eating, seafood heavy since Dr. K. recommends it now.  Just ate salmon, eggs, and shrimp for breakfast.  Not bad.

I’m boring myself.

I need something to jar loose so I have something of consequence to say.

Cool Stuff and a Great Deal

Well, I’ve pulled out of my mood funk that was hanging over me for the last few days.  I have been coughing for a week – coughing and tired.  It seems to have run it’s course, whatever it was, and I have some energy back this morning.  Life feels friendly again.  It didn’t hurt at all that Dr. K. sent a bunch of folks here yesterday with a Facebook link.  I loved hearing the supportive comments and success stories.  I have really come to love his community too – his forum is really friendly and helpful.  Counting my blessings today that I get to be in on something so great before the rest of the world discovers it.

I’m suspecting this might be a short monthly cycle for me, which would mean I’ll have to wait another month before starting BHRT.  I’m still waiting for the doc to get my labs, contact me, decide what to do, and (hopefully) prescribe me some hormones, after which I need to mail order them and receive them, all before I get my next period.  Hm…I don’t think that’s going to happen.  Crossing my fingers though, because I’m impatient and want to move forward NOW.

Dr. Kruse is offering something really cool, just until 9PM tonight. He’s offering an email consultation for $99 – you send him your medical history and family medical history (no labs required) and he’ll email back with some recommendations including labs that he things would be important for you to get.  You also get some other stuff, including a webinar and a discounted Skype consult.  My husband is going to do this.  I’m so psyched about that.  I know he hesitates to jump into the whole Kruse thing because he realizes he will probably either need to change his lifestyle or live with the knowledge that he’s going against really good advice.  But he’s willing to do it.  I didn’t even pressure him!  Really!  So anyone who’s reading this who has thought it might be time to get some advice to get turned in the right direction, go sign up – you have to do so before 9PM CST today…after that I assume the above linky will not work.  It’s worth the money.

Ok, lovelies…off to have a day.  Cheers!