March 29, 2014

Ain't No Party Like a Progesterone Party

Today my speckle-headed pup and I paced my man for 2 miles of his 24 mile out-and-back run to Auburn. At 2.2, Gumbo and I panted goodbye and turned back toward the house. Barring a couple of squirrel-induced sprints toward the finish line, Gumbo spent the latter half of our run several steps behind me, periodically trotting up to butt his giant Tricerahops head into my outer thigh in a gesture of gratitude.

This slow run together is my weekend multiple miracle:

1. Gumbo is, at 10 years old, several decades my dog-yeared senior, yet his mileage build up has been remarkable the past 2 weeks.

2. I hardly coughed, just tiny gasps and throat-clearings.

3. I had been so sick the past few days that yesterday I hardly moved from the couch for fear of barfing onto my backpack and table from vertigo and nausea.

I had been dutifully taking my micronized progesterone for 4 days, and it had leveled me. It was like my health had regressed several months, and I was reacting severely to everything. My throat would instantaneously swell shut when I ate, I felt knocked out and feverish, and all I could do was lay on the couch and try to ignore the pain.

Oh, and cry. I cried a LOT yesterday.

"Are you feeling emotional today, Button?" I nodded, tears welling up in my eyes. "I think it's the Progesterone." I nodded again as the tears spilled down my face. "Shut up!" said my brain, but despite my rational protestations, there was some disconnect between my brain and my emotional reactions.

Oh, micronized progesterone. Alas, you were not to be my endocrine system's savior, as the welts spread thickly across my thighs could attest.

I'm unsure of the mechanism that caused my severe reaction to micronized progesterone. While studies have shown that increased progesterone improves sleep and decreases migraines and anxiety, my reaction was polar opposite and sadly paralleled all listed side effects to micronized P:
  1. breast discomfort
  2. anxiety
  3. depressed sexual interest
  4. unusually hunger
  5.  stomach cramping or discomfort
  6. headaches
  7. feelings of moodiness, melancholy or despair
  8.  upset stomach 
  9. water retention
  10. frequent urination
  11. barfing
What I assume I had was Progesterone Toxicity (which, conveniently, has all of the same side effects as micronized P) paired with still incredibly low levels of estrogen.

Laying on the couch late Friday night, my boyfriend crouched next to me and repeated his support for my decision, whether I wanted to continue on the P or stop. I had been hoping, if I had to be treating a symptom (lack of period) rather than my endocrine system, that for 10 days my HIT symptoms would subside and I'd have a glimpse into my future with a functioning body. I couldn't imagine another week of incapacitation; I left my meds alone that night, and woke up today after 12 hours, fully rested and ready to run.

I am, for now, done with desperate quick fixes. A woman in my HIT group has recommended an herb called Vitex to stimulate my pituitary gland, and I may look into it in the future.

Today, I have the simple pleasure of a man, a pup, and 4 slow miles in the Seattle spring sun.

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