It’s been nearly 6 weeks or so since my doc requested an alarming amount of body fluid for testing. Normally I would be apprehensive about it – but hey, he seems to know what he is doing. He did assure me that “yes, it is absolutely required to take that much blood” … I wasn’t really in any place to argue at that point and agreed.
This is how the hormo-pocolypse, as I am affectionately calling it, of 2015 started.
I thought maybe it was my stupid malfunctioning thyroid again. I gained 30 pounds in 2 years, subsequently around the time I divorced the ex and met the (now) wife. I noticed my ass got saggier, my belly tubbier and my arm fat floppier.
Whatever. It happens sometimes.
So I started hitting the gym. I was eating salads and working out nearly every day after work for weeks straight. Still no budging on the scale. Sure my ass lifted, my belly got a wee bit smaller and my arms flapped a tad less.
I was not budging on the scale.
Not at all.
It was depressing.
It was to the point of “screw the gym, I will eat Burger King if I want to”, cause what’s the point. It was literally depressing.
I made an appointment with a new doctor who boasted about being a miracle worker for thyroid troubles. The doc asked me a bunch of weird questions, and I answered the best I could.
It went mostly like this:
Him: Are you depressed?
Me: Well, maybe, I can’t lose any weight (I look like a cow in a dress) and that makes me sad.
Him: Are you having trouble sleeping?
Me: No. Yes. I don’t know. I want a nap right now. I want to sleep as much as possible? It stops me from crying and eating.
Him: How about sex? Desire? Do you find you orgasm easily?
Me: Yeah, no problem there, still a newlywed and all. So … yeah. I’m good besides the possible depression and desire to hide my body under the cover of total darkness and long underwear layered with flannel PJs
Doc asks me a few more odd questions and writes the answers furiously on my symptom sheet. He may as well be drawing a stick figure or writing his lunch choices.
I don’t know what he was doing but it was an uncomfortably long period of time listening to him scribble.
After what seems like a year to take all those investigative symptom probes and turn a possible diagnosis, he finishes.
Finally he looks at me with a tilted head and eyes over his glasses, in a very matter of fact way, and advises we will discuss my test results at my next appointment.
I was feeling skeptical.
No prescription except some supplements. No diagnosis. No feel better miracle. No nothing but more questions to float around in my head and pants that still don’t fit. and may never at this rate. What the hell did I just pay for?
Then came my lab results sheet in the mail. I was eager to see what they said. Kind of like a report card in a sealed envelope for an elementary student. Could be good could be bad. Could be real bad. I couldn’t wait the few hours to see them and I made the wife open the mail and take a photo to text me. Technology is pretty awesome sometimes.
I was slightly alarmed by what I could see and I hit up Google faster than you can say Web MD. It was worse than I thought. I was clearly going to die, and probably soon, based on what I was reading.
I didn’t know how I would make it to my follow-up appointment to see what I should do now. What I needed, what kind of medication I would need and how my life might change.
Finally my appointment day came around and I waited nervously in waiting room. I was called back and sat patiently waiting to see the man with all the answers. I considered grabbing my chart from the door and reading it myself but I wasn’t sure that would lead me any more near the answers I was seeking.
He came in, sat down and gave it to me straight. No frills. No hand holding.
He told me my pregnenolone was almost non-existent.
If you aren’t familiar, pregnenolone is a major building block for other hormone production. It is like the granny in a family of hormones. It doesn’t give hugs and bake cookies but it’s a big deal. This stuff helps with memory, fights the effects of aging, fights depressive moods and assists in what seems like every other important function in the body. Seriously important, mental health, stress and depression kind of important.
I had almost none. Probably just enough so that I knew my name everyday but that is about it. I really don’t know how I was getting along at all. This explained everything.
The really frightening part of all of this is that had I not received a diagnosis I may have been suffering from “irreversible diminished mental capacity by age 60”.
The rest of the doctors words were more harsh than I will share here, but they are my reality.
I cried when I left the doctor’s office, I didn’t even make it to the car before the tears started to flow.
I cried when I told my wife.
I cried quietly in my office later that day.
I cried when I thought about talking about it to anyone else at all. It has taken me some time on medication and a new sense of self-awareness to decide to write about my diagnosis at all.
It’s not been easy, it wasn’t all funny and it’s not always going to feel like something I can share.
I will share this with you, I knew something was clearly wrong with me and I should have seen a doctor much earlier.
Even if my diagnosis wasn’t what I expected.
Even if it proves I’m not perfect. Lets me honest, that’s the worst part. I thought I was invincible. I’m not hanging up my cape but I got a bit of a reality check.
My goal here is to encourage everyone to trust their instinct. If something doesn’t seem right with you or your spouse, your kid, your parent or even a friend, tell them to see a doctor about some blood work.
Tell them to get off their ass and go see their doctor for help – it will all be worth it.
Life is way too short to not live it … and laugh about it whenever possible.
I would love to hear from others with the same or a similar diagnosis – if your body is showing you who is boss and refuses to produce necessary hormones lets talk. or trash talk, whatever makes you feel better.