Since Chris and I arrived in Rochester, MN, my personal goal has been to focus on my health.
I went from having no time to myself, to all day to myself while Chris is at work. It took a while, and I'm still adjusting, but luckily Rochester is home to the famous Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic is recognized as the #1 best hospital in the United States, and actually holds its own zip code due to the space it takes up within downtown. Mayo Clinic also has its own underground subway system that connects all of the downtown buildings.
In April of 2018 I was assaulted by my boyfriend of 2 years in the apartment that we shared.
I moved out, bought a home and luckily ended up meeting my incredibly supportive husband.
Unfortunately, by 2020 the COVID pandemic hit, and in late 2021 I started seeing a therapist for burnout at work, and past trauma and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety, Chronic Stress, and PTSD from the trauma.
I also was officially diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in 2021, after years of symptoms that were always waved off as "normal".
PCOS is a hormonal and reproductive system disorder. Personally, it has caused multiple missed periods for months at a time, followed by heavy and painful periods that lasted 2-3 months, had to be started or stopped medically, and caused anemia.
The cause isn't known, but PCOS comes with additional health problems such as inflammation, overproduction of androgen, and insulin resistance, and if not treated can cause complications such as infertility, diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and endometrial cancer.
I, unfortunately, also experience inflammation, overproduction of androgen that causes my hair to fall out, adult acne, and struggle with insulin resistance that causes dramatic fluctuations in my weight regardless of a healthy diet and exercise, as well as sleep apnea.
Living so close to Mayo Clinic this year has given me the opportunity to see some of the best specialists for my health concerns.
A few weeks ago, I scheduled an appointment in Sleep Medicine to ensure that my treatment for Sleep Apnea was going as planned. Fortunately, Dr. Luke Ronneberg assured me that any symptoms that I am still experiencing were not due to my sleep apnea, and that my treatment was doing exactly as it is supposed to. I no longer suffer from sleep apnea with the use of my CPAP machine.
Knowing this has allowed to move toward the next step in the process, talking to additional specialists to confirm just what is the cause, and what can be done about it?
I recently started seeing a nutritionist, Krista R Kerlinske, who was able to confirm that my medittereanean diet was appropriate for my condition, and she is excited to help me on my journey along with my PCOS and Endocrine specialists to ensure I am doing all that I can to be my healthiest.
It is amazing how much information out there regarding nutrition and excersize is generalized. Everyone's bodies are different, and the proper diet, as well as exercise is different for every body.
What may work for many - does not work for me. My nutritionist went over the specific differences for me, and took into consideration what likely differences are caused by the PCOS.
I had been told by primary physicians in the past to just "cut calories" or "try the ketogenic diet", but my nutritionist explained just why MY body wasn't responding to these particular dietary changes.
I luckily also had a visit with a PCOS OBGYN specialist, who made sure that my reproductive health is on track, and that I am clear of any cervical or endometrial cancer. She also reffered me to my Endocrinologists for the remainder of my PCOS/ hormone related symptoms.
Today, I had my first visit with one facet of Endocrinology - directed primarily at the weight fluctuation, Dr. Haitham S Abu Lebdeh. He looked through my medical records and spoke with me about my diagnosis of PCOS and Sleep Apnea. After just one visit, I truly feel that we are on the right path and closer everyday to finding out the root cause of my health issues.
I am so thankful for my care team at Mayo Clinic who are truly listening to my concerns and ordering the proper testing to assure proper treatment.
One thing that was noticed today was that my cortisol levels have been elevated for some time, it is possible that with my other conditions, and the portrayed symptoms that I could be experiencing Cushing's Syndrome.
Tomorrow, I return for a Resting Energy Expenditure test, a test that will check my body's metabolism. The Resting Energy Expenditure Test requires that I get a good nights rest, and that when I wake up in the morning, I do not do anything that could be considered stressful on my body, I must be fasting, and I must have someone with me to drop me off and pick me up. Chris will have to take me to this appointment because I am not allowed to do my normal walk to the clinic, and I am not allowed to drive. I must be completely relaxed. I will also follow up that test with a number of blood tests, and a 24 hour urine collection (eww).
The hope is that these tests will allow us some insight as to what directly is causing the additional issues past those expected of PCOS and Sleep Apnea.
Across the board - whether it was from my therapist, my primary care physician, or any of my numerous specialists, one thing has been made clear... My main task is to ensure I am implementing stress management techniques, and self care.
I will be posting more regarding my physical health for those who are interested, as well as posting additional content regarding how I implement self care, and how you can too!
How do you practice self care? Leave a comment below!