Thursday, March 27, 2014

#18 - Bloodwork (Part #1)

We're more than a quarter into 2014 now, so I figure it's time to get cracking on addressing some of my goals for the year.  Several from my 20 in 14 list are in-progress, but there are a couple I can write more about at this point.  Stay tuned for additional posts as I tackle the items on my list.

DISCLAIMER:  If you are a male and not my husband, it would behoove you to not read any further through this post.  It will contain a great bit of TMI, and I assure you, you'll be happier to turn away now.  You have been warned....

About a year ago, I gathered the nerve to establish myself as a patient with the local Women's Clinic.  My last appointment with a GYN had been in November 2012, and I'd married since then, so I knew I really needed to get this done.  Plus, my cycles have always been out of whack, and I wanted to figure out if there were any underlying medical conditions before attempting to conceive.

However, I totally didn't expect for there to be a six month waiting list for new patients!  Still new at work, I didn't have a good idea of my schedule six months out, so I decided to wait until the Fall and tried again.  Fortunately, the wait list shortened to four months by then, but it wasn't until February 2014 that I was able to finally get in.

The exam was unpleasant (as all are), and when the physician suggested hormonal contraceptives as a "fix" for my irregular cycles, I nearly jumped out of my skin with frustration.  Really, people?  THIS is how you "fix" things?  UGH.  ...Precisely why I loathe "women's health" practitioners to begin with.

After vehemently insisting that "birth control" wasn't for me, I convinced her to do a lab workup to see if anything was abnormal.  She also offered to do an (internal) ultrasound as a mechanism for ruling out polycystic ovaries.  The labs were done on-site before I left the appointment, and I agreed to schedule the ultrasound for sometime in the next few weeks.

A week later, I found out my CBC, TSH (thyroid), and testosterone levels were all within the normal range, but my prolactin was not.  The labs read a prolactin level of 40, where as normal is somewhere around 25-27.  The doctor wanted the test redone because sometimes stress (re: the exam) can throw it off.  I agreed to come in on a "stress free" day for a redo.

Of course, my impatience won out, and I returned to the lab the very next day.  (Is there ever a "stress free" day, anyway?)  The second round of tests came back and my prolactin dropped to 35, but was still higher than the normal range.  From there, the physician decided to refer me to an endocrinologist, for which the first open appointment will be in July or October.  (What the heck?!)  There was some discussion about having my levels "managed" by an in-house nurse practitioner, but that was taken off the table when the NP said she didn't know much about prolactin and wouldn't be able to do anything for me.

What is prolactin anyway?  According to the interwebs (we all know how reliable those can be), it's a hormone produced by the hypothalamus (in the brain) which has to do with lactation.  But I'm not pregnant or lactating, you say?  I know.  Weirdly, my online searches indicated an affect on menstruation, so maybe there is a tie to this whole situation after all.  I guess we'll have to see what the endo says in July.

Meanwhile, I did have that ultrasound, and the tech told me she didn't see anything abnormal at the time.  Sure enough, the doctor agreed, and so we're going with the assumption of no abnormalities regarding my ovaries.  There's one more thing off the table, I suppose.

And because we have already established my lack of patience, I decided to bite the bullet and move forward with using Pregnitude rather than waiting until after the appointment in July.  Jen (and several others she knows) used it successfully after just a month or two, so we shall see.  In any case, there's one thing crossed off my list for 2014 and that makes me very happy!


Update:  Click here for Part 2 and here for Part 3. 

1 comment:

Jen said...

I wouldn't have wanted to wait until July either to move things along! That's crazy. I'm glad you were able to rule some things out, though.