Probably a little TMI…

Every morning, when I wake up, I walk around my apartment getting ready, or when I am in the middle of doing chores on the weekend, I remind myself that I need to get back on my blog and make a life update. Since I was last here, I have traveled and got a new great job. So, friends, tuck in and let’s chat. It’s going to be a long one.

Things have happened since I have talked to you all. I spent a great week in Michigan, and a great week after with my cousin, Maiya, for her 18th birthday. We spent time at the beach and then in New Orleans. I also was able to find an amazing job, that I feel so lucky to have, after looking for only a couple weeks. I cannot say how lucky I feel.

Now, for what has been on my mind for a little while. This is what I wanted to write about for two weeks, but I have felt like I don’t have quite enough information to feel like I can write about it.  I have started and restarted this post several times, and I just do not know where or how to begin.

For as long as I can remember, I have had irregular cycles, unless I was on birth control. I thought that was normal. Sometimes I would have two cycles in 30 days, sometimes I would skip a cycle altogether. My previous gynecologist looked at a record of my cycles and said she wasn’t worried, so I tried not think about it anymore. I also suffered from severe cramps for a very long time, the worst was when I was on the Nuvaring birth control. I used that for a little less than a year, and every month, I would call out of work at least once because I would be in so much pain that I couldn’t move, let alone work. So I stopped using it. The severity of the cramps lessened, but were still painful, although after experiencing that, I have been able to tolerate what I do have for the most part. I had cystic acne, oily skin, and had some hair growing under my chin. That sucked. Since I stopped using the Nuvaring, I gained a lot of weight, although I have always struggled with my weight, and have had the hardest time losing it.

I came up with every reason to excuse away my symptoms. Maybe my cycles were irregular because of stress, or I was traveling, or my weight, or just because. The acne? It was because of my diet, maybe. Or, maybe I just wasn’t taking good enough care of my skin in general. My weight was also because of my diet, and the fact that when I changed my job, my activity level went down. The cramps, well some women just have that. I was the master of making up excuses. But I was also one of those WebMD people looking up all of my symptoms on the internet. I found that my symptoms fit best with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. The only symptom I didn’t have were cysts on my ovaries, so I was always unsure.

Also, I was scared to ask the question. If you ask the question, you may get an answer that you don’t like.

But this summer, after finding out that I have family members who have PCOS on both sides of my family, I decided it was time to officially ask. In the beginning of September, I talked to my doctor. She chuckled at me good-naturedly when I listed my symptoms and said that I wanted her opinion on whether or not she thought that maybe I had it. She asked when my last cycle started, which had been a week or two before and I gave her a history of my cycles for the last year and a half. She said “It sounds like you’ve done your research.” I had. My doctor said that given my symptoms, it was possible, but that she wanted to run blood work to check for diabetes, which goes hand-in-hand with PCOS sometimes, and to check my hormone levels. She said that sometimes PCOS shows up in a blood panel. Sometimes, it doesn’t show up. Sometimes, you will have blood work done one month, and it will be negative, and then the next month it will be positive. That was not reassuring. She said after we get the blood work back, if it was inconclusive, we would do a pelvic ultrasound. I left the doctor’s office uneasy and anxious. Because the appointment was in the middle of the day, and in all the research I had done, I never checked how they diagnosed PCOS, I didn’t anticipate needing to have blood work done, so I hadn’t been fasting for it. I went home without going to the lab and pushed it out of my mind.

A thing you should know about me: I hate needles and having my blood drawn. I put getting blood draws off as long as I possibly can. Which is why it took me a month to have the blood work done.

Well, fast forward a month, and I had, again, skipped a cycle. I was sitting on the couch, and realized “Holy cow, it’s October 1st.” I checked the app on my phone to see if I had cycled in September, and maybe forgotten it, and saw that I had not. I told myself “Well, I just started a new job. Maybe my body is just stressed from the change in my schedule. Maybe that’s what happened.” I knew I was just trying to make myself feel better. Remember, friends. I like to make excuses! I looked at the lab order sitting on my kitchen table, because I still had not gone and had my blood drawn, and knew it was time to go in. That Friday, after work, I went to the lab and let them take my blood. The following Thursday, after waiting anxiously for a week, my doctor finally called me.

My blood glucose levels were normal. No diabetes. I am also not pre-diabetic. That’s the good news. But – it seems like there is always a “but” – my testosterone levels were high. Really high. Sky high, honestly. She also said that my sex hormone binding globulin (which I had never even heard of) was very low. This is how PCOS shows up in blood work. My doctor told me she could give me a prescription for a medication to combat any hair loss and the small amount of hair growth under my chin, but I told her that the hair growth is manageable on my own. It’s not bad enough that I feel like I need a medication. And the only option I have been given so far to combat all of my other symptoms is birth control. This is the common treatment for women with PCOS who are not actively trying to have a baby, which my husband I are not. But since we got married, we have not been actively avoiding pregnancy. We have operated under the idea that, if it happens, it happens. I explained this to my doctor at my initial appointment, and again over the phone when she gave me my diagnosis. She didn’t say anything when I said that. That dead air on the phone was pretty deafening. She told me to call the office if I had any other questions. That was the last time I talked to her, almost three weeks ago.

I didn’t have any questions at the time. I was at work and was still trying to process everything, as well as do my job. But the first thing I did when I got home, after telling my husband and my family my fun new news (listen for sarcasm there, friends.), I started my research. I spent hours on the computer over the next few days reading everything I could, and looking for other forms and types of treatment.

I experienced so many “Ah-ha” moments. I knew my acne was probably caused by PCOS, but my oily skin that I have been complaining about for years? That’s a symptom. Mood swings? Check. Dark skin in various areas? Yup. Hair loss from the scalp? Well, I thought maybe that was stress and because I wear my hair up too often or use too much heat, even though those had never really been issues before. But that’s a symptom too. All these little things I had noticed about myself, I had written off as normal, or stress related. Like I said, I am really good at making excuses for myself.

But now I have an actual answer.

I still have more questions than not. The biggest being: Am I going to have a hard time getting pregnant? PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women in the US, according to the many, many articles I read over the internet this weekend. It affects around 200,000 women each year nationally. I reached out to a couple friends, and it turns out, I know 4 other women who have PCOS, including two family members. It is so common, but no one talks about it.

Anyone who knows me knows how badly I have always wanted to be a mom. I have had baby-fever for years. Literally, years. Probably since my sister had her first, which was 8 years ago. Yes, I was 19. No, I was nowhere near ready to have a baby, but I would not have hated having one. (Don’t worry, family. I was not being irresponsible or trying to have a baby. I promise!) I love babies. The thought that getting pregnant will be twice as hard, and that I will be more likely to have complications during pregnancy scares the life out of me. I am a “worst case scenario” person. I assume the worst is going to happen so I can prepare. The last thing I want is to be caught off-guard and not know what my next step will be. Maybe I am an over-planner? But I don’t know how to prepare for something like this.

So before trying to start preparing for the worst case, I have decided to get a second opinion on what my treatment options are, and how we will proceed when Peter and I decide to actually start trying to get pregnant. Will they tell us to try naturally for a shorter amount of time? Will they immediately offer assistance? Or will it be business as usual – “Try for 12 months, and then come see us if you’re not pregnant.” How likely is it that I cannot get pregnant?

Right now, I have no answers. I hope no one came here looking for any. I am not an expert on PCOS, and there are far better sources to go to, if you are looking for insights. I am just another girl, joining the large group of women with a hormone disorder. If you are in the same boat, follow along. I will try to be better about updating my blog with news and how I am progressing and dealing with this. But I also do not want to turn my blog into a PCOS only blog, because I do not want my life to be about only that, even though for the last two and a half weeks, it is all I have thought about with my spare time.

This was not a fun post to write. But I do feel better after having written it. It has been on my mind for a little while now, and I just haven’t known how to write it. But, like I have said before, sometimes, you just have to start.

And sometimes, there is no good ending point for a post. So, like I have done before, I will just have to sign out.

Send some good vibes my way, friends.

Love,
Sam

 

I am still alive. I swear.

I am still alive. I swear.

Oh, my gosh. Wow. It’s been so long. I honestly don’t even have a good excuse for you guys. I just got lazy and felt like I ran out of things to write about. I am alive, I promise.

My face
Y’all, the SnapChat filters are my jam. I will be really sad when they go away.

But, hi. How are you? I’ve missed you! What is new? It’s summer, now. In some places that’s a wonderful thing. But I live in the south, and I am not by any means a summer baby, so it’s just hot to me. That’s not terribly fun for me. But what about you? Do you love summer? Have you done anything fun? Have you gone anywhere? I haven’t but I have plans. More on those later. Fill me in on all of your fun news, dear reader. Tell me everything! I am sure it is way more fun than I have had.

So, new with me. Well, not much. Oh! Since I saw you last, I went to Disney World! That was fun. I hinted at a trip in a previous post, and had planned on showing you how I was going to pack for that trip, but never did. Over Memorial Day, Peter and I drove from Mississippi to Orlando, FL to meet up with my sister and her family for a few days at the parks. I was going to put all of that into this post, but it was getting to be pretty lengthy. Honestly, I could talk about that trip for hours, it was just so perfect. So I decided to put that into its own post. I will include pictures, because obviously you guys want to see those, right? I am going to assume you said “Obviously, Sam! Duh!”

Cinderella's Castle

Around the same time that we went to Disney, Peter was offered a new job in Pensacola, FL, which is where he is from originally. It was a really great opportunity, so he accepted it. Unfortunately, Pensacola is a bit of a hike from where we lived in Mississippi, so we have since moved. Leaving my job sucked, but I felt so lucky to have been there for as long as I had been. I learned so much, and I loved working with one of my oldest friends every day, but sometimes you just have to make a change. So we now live in Pensacola, Florida. We moved at the end of June, and we love it. We have a nice apartment and we live in a great part of town, so we are both really happy. I haven’t started looking for a job yet, because I have a vacation planned that will eat up about two weeks of August, so I didn’t want to accept a position and tell my new job “Oh, hey, by the way, I have a huge trip planned, so I need that time off. Thanks!” So, when I am done with my vacation, I will jump into job hunting, which I hate, but it is a necessary evil.

IMG_0762
Honestly. SnapChat filters give me life.

Okay. This vacation. I am so excited. Next Wednesday, I am flying back to Michigan to spend a week with my family. I have not been back home since January, so I am excited to see all of my family and some friends. I am looking forward to having a week to visit with people, as opposed to the long weekends that I usually have. 5 days is so much better than two. I will show how I pack for this trip. I promise! I am a master packer, although if you really want to see me do work, you want to see me pack for a long winter weekend. Usually for those trips, I would only take a backpack. And if you live someplace that there is actual cold weather, unlike what we have here, you know how bulky winter clothes are. That is a challenge. Anyway, I digress. When I leave to come home, I am bringing my cousin, Maiya, who will be turning 18 in August, home with me to Pensacola. I am so excited to be able to do this with her for such a milestone birthday. I will actually have her on her birthday, so I need to make it extra special. We are going to go to the beach, we are going to go to the zoo (because if you say you don’t like the zoo, you’re lying.) and then we are going to spend a couple of days in New Orleans. It’s about a 4 hour drive from here to New Orleans, so we are making that the end of our trip, as she is going to fly back to Michigan from there. She is pretty excited, and I am too. If you live in the Pensacola area and know of any super fun things to do, let me know!

Other than that, nothing is too new here. I found that even though I got rid of so much stuff, moving still sucks and no matter how much you get rid of, when moving, you always have too much stuff. 100% of the time. I stand by that number. We almost didn’t have enough space in our moving truck, but that also may have been because our movers kind of sucked, which I can say because we didn’t have friends help us load the truck up. So our movers were pretty terrible at packing the truck, in addition to being over an hour late. The whole moving an entire household experience totally soured me on the prospect of ever moving again. And that was just for Peter and myself! I cannot imagine if there had been kids involved.

Anyway, I think this is enough information for right now. I will come back to you with a post about our trip to Disney, and another about getting ready to travel, because I think that will be a really fun one to write.

Hey, thanks for checking back and reading this. I know I haven’t been active at all lately. I am going to try to change that.

Talk to you soon. (I promise!)

Love,
Sam

Memims

What the heck does Memims mean, and why did I choose it for a blog name?

These might be questions a curious person would ask. If you google “memims” (which I totally did, just to make sure it wasn’t actually a word.), you will get someone’s twitter account and a bunch of other random links.

What it won’t tell you is that it is actually the abbreviations of the three states that mean the most to me: ME – Maine, which is where I was born, and one of my favorite vacation spots; MI – Michigan, where I grew up and where most of my family is; and MS – where I currently live with my husband, Peter.

Memims has nothing to do with the content in this blog, but I couldn’t think of anything better to call it than something short and catchy, and that holds a lot of meaning for me.

Honestly, though. Where else do you see views like this:

298499_1900461639399_3734670_nMe in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2011

Or this:

1001852_4858578950483_898183433_nEast Lansing, Michigan, 2013.

What about this gorgeous view:

11174926_10204151818503841_7494461261043797144_n
Gulf Coast, Mississippi, 2015

Y’all. That last one is only half a mile from my apartment. I have lived in some pretty gorgeous places, and they all hold a very special place in my heart.

So, for all you curious folks out there, that is what Memims is. I hope you stay tuned. I’ve got some pretty big plans in store for this little corner of the interwebs, including Minimal Mondays, where I talk to you about my newest project in minimizing my possessions and how that is going for me. The plan is for that to be a recurring post, and once I cut things back as far as I can, it will be a way for me to check back in with you and let you know how it’s going. That will be starting this coming Monday, so make sure you check back!

Looking forward to chatting with you guys soon. Leave some comments below of your favorite vacation spots. I’d love to add them to a Travel Bucket list.

Love,
Sam