Saturday, January 25, 2020

A Change In My Journey

This quote is one I have always loved although I have to admit that when it happens to affect me so greatly it is slightly irritating.

I am 14 weeks into my cut and have decided to stop the cut and not compete in May so that I can have a hysterectomy.

This decision was incredibly difficult for me but I know it is the right choice for MY health.  This cut has been extra challenging with major issues I am having with my menstrual cycle.  If talking about women's menstrual cycles isn't for you then you may want to stop reading now.

Three years ago my period changed it became very heavy, longer and I had a lot of clots.  I went to my doctor and we discovered that I had fibroids in my uterus, one fairly large.  I got in with an OBGYN who happened to be the doctor who delivered Bella.  I was a couple months out from my competition and we decided an endometrial ablation would be my best option.  It would be limited down time and would hopefully help, if not my last option would be a hysterectomy.  My ovaries would also be removed putting me into menopause.  

Why do the ovaries need to be removed?  I am high risk for ovarian cancer and removing them is my best option.  In July 2007 my little sister Missy found out that she had breast cancer.  It was a complete shock to all of us, she was only 23 years old.  It was so scary and we have a large, close knit family so many of us went to her appointments with her.  The doctors were shocked, she was just too young to have breast cancer.  She is one of many women in my family who have survived breast cancer including my mom, my maternal grandma, many aunts and cousins.  Missy tested negative for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes but that doesn't mean myself or my sisters don't have it.  My family history is what causes me to be high risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

After the ablation it seemed like for a short while my menstrual symptoms eased up slightly.  I went on to compete and it was my best competition yet.  

My goal then became focused on growing my physique and go after my pro card in Figure.  I took a year to build and increased my caloric intake to the highest it had ever been.  My maintenance calories were 2,700!  I was so excited to see the growth I had achieved as I began my cut back in November.

I did have an appointment with my doctor before I began the cut to have my blood checked.  I found out that I was severely anemic, which explained my complete exhaustion in the gym after a simple set of warm ups.  Deep down I knew something was wrong with me, but I had associated all of the symptoms with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) which I was diagnosed with just last year.  It took me 19 years to get properly diagnosed with POTS and it was a relief but anytime I felt "off" I just excused it with that.

My doctor advised me to take an iron supplement and then we would recheck my blood in a month.  She reminded me that the next step to relief would be a hysterectomy.  It was 100% my choice to move forward with the cut.  My energy came back after taking the supplements and my iron levels vastly improved.

The problem was that my period was getting worse.  I had hoped that maybe it would improve as I went through my cut, man was I wrong.  My period would last at first about 18 days, then 23, then 26 and now I am currently on day 38.  It doesn't lighten up, the cramping is so intense I had to be prescribed medication to help me get through it and would typically not be able to go to work the first 3 days when it started again.  Thankfully I work for a truly incredible employer who is nothing but supportive and allowed for that type of rest, my incredible co-worker is an angel putting up with those crappy days I have.

One of that hardest things has been knowing how much it was hurting those closest to me who knew what I was dealing with and have had to watch me on my worst days.  Kyle is the most incredible husband and he knew as each week passed that the cut was getting harder for me.  Yet he never once told me he wanted me to change my plans, he supported me.  Bella started making comments to me that a period shouldn't last so long and we talked so she knew there was a cause for why they were so bad.  My mom and dad (I told you we are an extremely close family) support me always and they just want me to be healthy again.

In my head I continued to tell myself that I could push through.  I was halfway through my cut and seeing progress.  Even if a lot of days I was bloated I could see the progress in other areas and I was thrilled with the growth I had achieved.  But still I had moments questioning if I was making the right choice but I am STUBBORN.

This past week I experienced the worst amount of bleeding and largest clots yet.  A clot larger than my hand caused me to feel very faint after I passed it and it terrified me.  I broke down because I knew what I had to do.  Kyle didn't want me to make a rash decision which honestly kind of surprised me.  But I know he 100% understands how stubborn I am and how hard it was to admit that I truly was not ok and would not be able to continue with the cut.  My nutrition coach Chris gave me a great piece of advice, health before hobby.  She is so supportive of my decision and is going to guide me through a reverse to get my calories back up, just because she is amazing, kind and so giving.

This picture is one I stitched together last week.  The photo on the left is 16 weeks out from my 2018 competition and the photo on the right is from last week, 16 weeks out from the competition in May.

I was thrilled to see such growth and change.  Ironic I cut down just enough to really start seeing what was built after a year of consistent higher calories and lifting heavy shit!

With this speed bump in my journey I just want to share my experience throughout the crazy changes that are to come.  Speed bumps are bound to hit you at some point in your journey and you have to find a way to navigate over them and adjust your plan.  This is something I share with our members often and know that I need to take my own advice.

Although I wasn't anticipating this right now I do know that afterwards I am going to feel so much better.  I will be able to train without constant cramps and my body won't be losing a crazy amount of blood and my crazy purchases of tampons and pads will stop.  I look forward to feeling GOOD to feel more like ME again.  Although the menopause adventure might be interesting I would much rather deal with that!

My consultation with my OBGYN isn't until March 9th but I plan to get on her list in case she has any cancellations.  There is only one doctor that I want to do this and I will wait for her.  I will continue training as I have been up until surgery and we will see how everything goes.  I will compete again but only my body will let me know when the time is right.

For now be ready to read about lifting heavy things, nutrition changes for me and all about hysterectomies and menopause!