Disclamer: In case you can't tell from the title, this entry contains some personal woman's health information. I know this is a little off from my basic theme of writing for children, but I do feel that it fits in with "Doing More of What Makes You Happy."
When a friend heard me complaining again of horrible PMS symptoms, she lent me a book called Womancode. I set it off to the side for several weeks, and then, my period came. Yes, Aunt Flo afforded me yet another 24 (short) cycle with seven days of heavy bleeding. It was time to read the book.
Now, I had tried other things and had struggled with period issues on and off for the last 5-8 years. I was on thyroid medication for hypothyrodism and had been treated for depression and various other illnesses. Earlier that year, my OBGYN and I had decided I should try taking birth control pills. They gave me panic attacks, a bigger behind, and other irritating symptoms. I got off of those and we tried to treat the symptoms. Medication for the heavy bleeding and bouts of insomnia were prescribed. They worked fine, but I still had PMS issues like acne, fatigue, and mood swings.
So, I read the book. Being me, I tried to read it all in about a three days AND implement it ALL AT ONCE. This meant I did the 4-day cleanse the book recommended in the third or forth protocol step, switched to eating a snack in the morning and afternoon, and cut out gluten, sugar, dairy. You can imagine the upheaval my family felt and my oldest proclaimed “Mom—if you change everything all at once, how will you know what's working?” My theory was that if I cut it all out, then I could add it back in slowly and see if there were any noticeable changes. So, breakfasts became much more substantial than the white English muffin with butter I had been eating and now included things like pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, and green smoothies. I also learned that as a 35-year old, I was now in a new stage called peri-menopause. That first month, my work paid off! My next cycle was over 28 days long with less heavy bleeding. I couldn't believe it had worked so fast!
The next month, I still worked on changing my lifestyle and diet and was very surprised when my period came in 25 days. I hadn't eaten collards and flax seeds all month to get THIS kind of response! But, my PMS symptoms were lessened, and my cycle was one day longer, so I stuck with it, dog-earing the book and looking up things on the FloLiving website.
The next two months were November and December. Being a newbie with the whole system, the holidays really wreaked havoc. I mean, you have to eat at least one frosted cookie and a some wine and.... Also, since I went against the book's advice to avoid gluten and ate up to two bowls of All-Bran a day (I thought it would help with the constipation I was struggling with!) I ended up being so exhausted and emotionally unfit that my parents had to come take care of my children.
This was not working very effectively, but it was helping. The book at been a mere $12, and I wasn't excited about forking over $300 for the Womancode class—didn't I already have it all in the book and at my disposal? But, I needed some help. So, I scheduled a free 30 minute consultation where the counselor told me I was probably struggling with adrenal fatigue (the 2nd protocol which I had kind of glossed over). Until I got that under control, she said, I may not see much success. 'Getting over it' may take 6 months to a year. She suggested some things and I really felt like I was on the right path. Of course, some of the 30 minutes was spent telling me, like the book and website did, about the class and on-line forum and how it may really help me. But, I still wasn't convinced.
I researched more and found there are functional medical doctors near me. I called to schedule—up to a 12 month wait. There was also a Womancode app—but only for Apple phones—I have an Android. What to do, what to do? Something needed to change, especially with a gum surgery and a 36th birthday coming up. So, as a present to myself, on January 4, I finally decided to sign up.
I listened to the first video and printed out the workbook pack. My gum surgery was quickly approaching and I was felt like I needed more coaching to help me through that. So, I signed up to talk to a FloLiving counselor. After an hour consultation, I was ready to go buy the supplements she recommended and make some other minor changes. I looked up the vitamins—thankfully FloLiving promotes using supplements only as a bridge to better health and not as long term solutions, or we may never have enough moolah to go on vacation again.
January continued. A middle-of-the-night trip to the ER, sick children, and gum recession surgery made me wonder how my period would be. This time, I had a 27 day cycle with only 6 days of bleeding with one or two heavy days and less PMS symptoms. Still improving.
Now in February, I am still on the path to, hopefully, better health. The “My Flo” app came out for Android with more information than the book ever had. It tells you what part of the cycle you will be in when so you can plan to do certain things during certain times of the month. For instance, in the first half of your cycle, you will feel more up to being with people, whereas during the second half you would rather stay home and deep clean the bathroom. (Okay, that hasn't happened yet, but here's to hoping?) The functional medicine doctor's office emailed to say they have openings and I scheduled an appointment. I am sleeping better. I am laughing more. I am trying to enjoy the journey and not get so stressed out.
So, dear readers—if you have PMS symptoms or other women's health problems, and you're interested go to www.floliving.com and take the test. Then, buy the app (seriously—I mean, $2.99 is less than a box of tampons) and enter your symptoms, etc. in it. If you consistently have issues, the app will give you suggestions of things to try but will also advertise (but not in an annoying pop-up window way) different courses you can buy. Hopefully this will help you 'Do More of What Makes You Happy.' Cause if you're happy, you can help make the world a better place. Here's to ovary health!
"If Mama's not happy, no one's happy!" What Brings You Happiness is a blog designed to encourage you to take better care of yourself so you can take better care of others. Click on the categories below to find how I've dealt with various situations in light of who I am.