There’s a fine line in infertility between being obsessive and being prudent.
But….When the stakes are so high it’s important for us to be able to tune into our intuition and be our own best detective.
Nobody knows your body like you do.
Sometimes it even feels a little like herding cattle through the doors at your GP with your tiny 10 – 15 minute appointment.
As I sit here now, in 2021 ready to take some matters into my own hands, I wanted to share with you 3 important lessons I’ve learnt over the years about how to be your own best detective and take your health into your own hands.
For peace of mind.
Sometimes your GP just doesn’t get it. Seek other opinions
In 2019 as I sat in the Doctor’s office, explaining that something just didn’t feel right and being fobbed off, my next remark was “I think I just need to see a Nutritionist,”
Her reply “Yes, I think that would be a good idea. And have you also had any symptoms of depression?”
I could feel my frustration rising as I felt completely unheard. My eyes rolled as I replied “I don’t have depression.”
My Nutritionist (the fabulous Jo Atkinson) recommended that I see a Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist because my hysterectomy may have left me with some physical symptoms. Until this point, I was completely unaware that there might be complications to the procedure I’d had (during Olivia’s birth when things went slightly pear-shaped) and that there were such practitioners as women’s health physiotherapists.
I visited yet another GP who flat refused to provide me with a referral to see her (which would have significantly reduced the cost), paid out of pocket and discovered a stage 2 bowel prolapse (not as gruesome as that sounds…. I promise).
And so, as much as I have some wonderful fertility specialist and OBGYN friends through the work I do now…. I’ve been a little allergic to seeing Doctors since those experiences.
I felt a little rushed.
A little dismissed.
A little unheard.
But, in looking outside the box and engaging other professionals, I was able to (quite quickly – within a handful of appointments) get an answer and solve it.
Results can (and do) change.
It reminded me of my fertility journey.
Hands down, the game changed after an appointment with (my favourite General Practitioner to date but who since retired) Dr Haston.
We’d been at our fertility clinic for more than a year.
I’d endured medicated cycles, failed IUI’s, moderate OHSS, two IVF cycles…. And a miscarriage that broke my heart.
One day my gut told me that it was worth just one more appointment with her just to run the standard tests, even though we were at a fertility clinic already.
“I’d just hate to spend another $10k on an IVF cycle, if it were something like low iron or Vitamin D,” I said.
Unbeknownst to me, she ran a big gamut of tests…. Including… an ANA test… which later came back positive.
“We’ve already run all of these tests,” my (fantastic) fertility specialist said (understandably exacerbated), explaiming that when I first landed at the clinic a year prior, they’d completed these. He then saw the positive ANA test… which, a year ago was negative. To his credit he re-ran it, along with a number of other tests. Still positive but no red flag. And although treatments across the world and at different clinics vary, I was then put on a regiment of prednisone and baby aspirin.
That next cycle we got pregnant with our Chloe.
You can get answers yourself
This year, I’ve not felt quite myself… and maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s perimenopause (my understanding is that women who’ve had hysterectomies typically go through menopause earlier), but I’ve also worried that either my thyroid is playing up or my estrogen is too high.
Things like weight that won’t budge, a lot of hair loss, muscle cramps have just left me feeling like something is amiss.
I’ll likely see my naturopath, Kirsty from Living Balance Wellness for some further guidance and support, but what I want, more than anything, is a full and proper check, in writing.
I want the tests. And I’m bypassing my Doctor. #sorrynotsorry
And many of my clients don’t know, is that it’s possible to test all sorts of things yourself. You. Can. Order. Private. Blood. Tests. And…. there are fantastic products with lab grade accuracy that you can do at home to measure your sex hormones.
So that’s what I’ve done.
Yes, it costs money, but no, if you’re feeling a little battered and bruised by past medical experiences like me, or you just feel like you’d like the reassurance of tests to answer any questions once and for all (like me), especially with things like thyroid and iron testing when Doctors will typically only order partial results, then it may be worth considering.
I-screen.com.au for my thyroid
I recently paid for a comprehensive thyroid test using i-Screen. As I mentioned above, it’s very rare for Doctors to order a full set of tests and I felt I wanted a full picture of my thyroid health (in the past some tests have been borderline). As soon as I paid, I was given a form to print and take to one of the local blood test centres (they run through the regular ones but you just have to triple check), and the results were available online a few days later (with the exception of one). So far so good, and I’ve finally felt like I can put my thyroid health to rest.
Companies like i-Screen exist all over the world. You just have to Google them. And they can test your gut microbiome, sperm levels (v. good if you’re feeling embarrassed), various micronutrients and all sorts.
Mira Fertility Tracker for my Estrogen
Back in 2020 I tested out the Mira Fertility Tracker to check on when I was ovulating and whether that synced to when I suspected I was. Since having the hysterectomy, it had been one big mystery.
At the time, I had looked up a number of trackers and tests but ultimately decided to partner with Mira because…. They were about to launch a test for Estrogen, in addition to LH… and are frantically working behind the scenes to provide the capability for their wands to also test progesterone, HSG and FSH… without having to upgrade the device.
Using it was easy, and all of the data synced with the app.
And now here I am, months later, wanting to know what my hormones are doing, Estrogen in particular, without having to engage a Doctor or travel anywhere for blood tests and without having any period to give me an indication of where in the month my cycle is.
So…. Step 2…. Getting my new Mira Fertility Tracker Wands that also test Estrogen, is in the post as we speak!
To be able to take my health into my own hands is empowering and honestly, takes things off my mental load and helps me focus on the right things, rather than sitting in the unknown and feeling like I’m in the dark.
I’ll keep you updated on what my Mira Fertility Tracker Estrogen levels come back like!
I have a coupon code if you’d like to try out the Mira Plus Fertility Starter Kit – click here and enter fertilitywarriors in the coupon area (don’t forget the plural!)
So, over to you – reach out in the DM’s and let me know your thoughts? Is it a step too far? Or is it reassuring knowing that these options are at your fingertips?
Chicken and the egg….
This post has been kindly sponsored by the Mira Fertility Tracker…. Although…. I want to let you know that has not beared any influence on me using the Mira Fertility Tracker for my estrogen or influenced my course of action in any way.
It’s just a happy promotional partnership with a company that I wholeheartedly endorse and personally use.
To look at the Mira Fertility Tracker for yourself, click here and don’t forget to use your discount code fertilitywarriors (remember the plural!)