PCOS: Doctors, Drugs, and Dealing With It All

Yesterday I found out that my husband and I got an appointment with a specialist that was originally booked for June bumped up to April. On the one hand this is good news because it means that we can move forward with our quest to become parents, hopefully finding a treatment that works for us and expanding our family. On the other hand I was nervous. You see, I was on Metformin for four months and a couple of weeks ago I weaned myself off of it.

For four months I was voluntarily ingesting a drug that highjacked my emotions, gave me wicked acid reflux and other digestive distress, weird dreams and a general lack of sleep, and just generally made me sick without any clear cut signs of positive progress. In those four months we didn’t get a positive pregnancy test, we didn’t see any signs that my body was behaving any better than it was when I was off of them. Every day when it came time to take the pills I would wrestle with the notion that people take medicine to make themselves better, they take medicine to get rid of symptoms and feel better. All this did was make me feel worse. I didn’t notice it taking away any of the outward signs of my condition, no reduction in hair or weight, and it definitely didn’t regulate my cycle. Every day it got harder and harder to take these pills. It didn’t help that we have been living in an apartment with almost no natural light and it’s winter. It also didn’t help that there have been ripples of change throughout our family and friends. And both physical and mental illness striking people I love have taken their tolls. So add my Metformin mood swings and I ended up having a “tantrum chair” in our apartment and I know there were things that my husband and I couldn’t even say a word about or it would turn into an argument. I was feeling buried beneath it all and choosing to make myself sick on top of that just didn’t seem… well… healthy.

I wasn’t looking at the long term plan when I made the decision to go off Metformin, and I actually didn’t even discuss it with my husband until after I had decided in my own mind that it was the right decision for me to make. He told me that he had been thinking for a while that I should stop this particular treatment, that it didn’t seem to be working for us, but he didn’t want to tell me so because he didn’t want me to feel like he was saying no to us having kids. I was really glad that we were on the same page and I felt free to turn my attention to the challenges of life that surrounded us in the short term. Like moving, work, and being there for the people I love.

Two weeks after taking my last pill, my mood seems to have mellowed, my emotional regulation has mostly regulated, and although I still get spontaneous bouts of heartburn and acid reflux there has (thankfully) been no other digestive pyrotechnics. So now I get the call about the specialist and I don’t know exactly what to do. My experience thus far has not been very good, and I worried what continuing this journey would mean for me and my husband and our (still rather new) marriage.

I turned to a friend of mine who has been through this before. I needed to organize my thoughts, figure out what I was feeling and hopefully hear from someone who has been there that I’m not alone. In the end it boiled down to this: I didn’t know what to do… If I should go back on the Metformin until I see the specialist, or do nothing until the appointment and see what the doctor would suggest, or simply cancel the appointment and keep the status-quo. I know my husband and I both want to be parents. But from where I am right now after only four months of trying, I’m not sure that I have what it takes to tolerate the side-effects of fertility treatment not knowing if there is a light at the end of the tunnel or not.

My friend took her time in responding, so that she could get a clear picture of my situation and give the best advice she could. In that time I took the time to discuss my frustrations and fears with my husband and we had a really good talk, weighing out all the options. He was really supportive. We discussed several hurdles in our fertility journey and as we were considering the pitfalls of different methods that work for “normal” women to predict fertility, my friend was asking questions like whether or not we were seeing the doc every month for an ultrasound to see if I was ovulating (we haven’t getting that type of appointment yet). In the end we all came to the same conclusion. When your dealing with fertility issues the journey to parenthood is definitely not easy. You can’t know how hard it is until you’re in the thick of it. There are so many unknowns and until it happens you really won’t know if you’ll successfully have a baby. But speaking with the specialist will give us a much clearer picture of where we stand, and what my body is doing. Hopefully this clinic will give us a structured course for treatment with plenty of monitoring so that we can see if and how whatever course of treatment I am on is working. The journey is hard and along the way it’s okay to take breaks. I’m not failing because I made the choice that at this point the treatment I was offered was not right for me.

I’m taking a breather and starting fresh in April.

As this friend of mine said, she had to go through her journey alone, and if her experiences can help me out she’d love that. As I go through my journey if my struggles, successes and experiences can help even one other person, I’d love that.

One thought on “PCOS: Doctors, Drugs, and Dealing With It All

  1. My suggestion re: Metformin would be to let the doctor that prescribed it know that the side affects were too much to handle and see if something else could be prescribed instead. Everyone reacts differently to medications and sometimes there are alternatives that could be tolerated better. Anyway, just my suggestion – take it or leave it.
    I hope that your appointment with the specialist in April goes well and helps you both with the results you are hoping for.
    Love you both <3

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