Thursday, June 30, 2005

Got Health?

No, I don't. I don't have health. I haven't been healthy in five years. And now I'm going to complain about it. A lot. Loudly.

I don't really want sympathy (although chocolate would be nice), but as this is a blog and thus my personal thoughts and feelings, I'm going to vent.

It all began two months after I gave birth to my daughter five years ago. Tired of the side effects from the birth control pills, I decided to try something new - the Depo Provera shot. "Birth control you only have to think about four times a year!" Yeah, that sounded good, especially since I kept forgetting to take those pesky pink pills.

I was young (just turned 25) and, might I say, rather stupid of how the medical profession works. Besides, my cycle was back to normal, I was losing the pregnancy weight, and I had a beautiful, healthy baby.

But that day in the doctor's office, as I asked the nurse if this shot would cause me to gain weight ("Maybe a little, but if you watch what you eat, you'll be fine), I never knew that five minutes of convenience would bring me five years of hell.

The most noticeable of all was the weight gain. You don't go from a size 9 to a size 16 in one year. You just don't. I gained 50 pounds in a year. A year! I couldn't wear long sleeve shirts because they made me too hot - even in the winter. During the summer, I barely stepped foot outside because I just couldn't handle the heat. My cycle went haywire and I never knew when it would stop and when it would start. Sometimes it wouldn't stop - not for days and days.

I went to the doctor and he thought it was my thyroid. I told him about the shot and he said, "Yeah, I hate that shot. I tried to talk my wife out of taking it." But he never said, "Oh, yes, that is what is causing your problems." He just put me on medication for hypothroidism.

For the next year or so, I explored other alternatives as my weight continued to spiral and my self-esteem plummeted. I sought the advice of a natural doctor who charged me over $200 for a bunch of herbal supplements. Great, more pills! I went to my gynecologist and told him about the shot - he looked at me over the top of his glasses, pursed his lips, and said nothing.

Headaches, blinding headaches, irritability, hot flashes, hormone imbalance, tightness in my neck and shoulders, weird kept going.

After I moved across the state to go to graduate school, I sought out yet another doctor. She diagnosed me with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and put me on some more medication. The main components of this syndrome are 1) ovarian cysts (which I have) and 2) insulin resistance (which they've now found that Depo causes).

When I asked her if the Depo shot had anything to do with my health, she said absolutely not - she hated that shot because it messes up your cycles.

YET - as I continued to look on the internet and interact with people who had had this hot, the correlation between women with PCOS and those who had taken the Depo shot was frightening. There IS a connection - I'm positive. But getting someone in the medical community to admit it will likely never happen.

Five years after taking that shot, I am still not right. I can't wear the cute little clothes I used to, even after I had my daughter. I hate looking at my body in the mirror. I hate all the medications I take. I hate the blinding headaches I get. I hate the lack of energy I have, hate even more that I have to force myself to exercise and sometimes feel worse when I'm done. I hate the constant trips to the doctor.

But most of all...


I hate the anger. I am so angry at myself for taking that shot without doing my research. I'm so angry that it affected me so terribly, that it took my health away so quickly. I'm so angry that the medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies are getting rich off this stuff. I know some women do fine on it and that's great - but I wasn't one of them. And the more I hear, the more I know I'm not alone.

So the question remains: "What are you gonna do 'bout it, Mel?"

Y'know, it takes energy to embark on the weight loss/get healthy journey. You have to get your mind in the right place to do it. And the way I feel all the time just makes me want to curl under a blanket and sleep when I get home.

I've been trying to walk more, watch what I eat, but my eating habits are so tied in to my emotions that I blow my "lifestyle change" eating habits more often than not.

I'm looking at another visit to the doctor next week and my husband just shakes his head. He just wants me to get WELL, no matter how much it costs. And to tell you the truth, I don't even want to add up my medical expenses since that fateful day five years ago.

I've thought about going completely natural - health food kick! But you know what? I'm poor. I can't afford to go to those health food stores or even buy the stuff at Wal-Mart. Plus I've got four other mouths to feed.

Excuses, excuses, I know!

I'm not a patient person when it comes to weight loss. And I *must* get that mindset if I want to be successful.

But with my metabolism/hormones/insulin resistance/whatever-the-hell-is-wrong being out of whack, it's twice as hard to lose the weight.

Or maybe I am just a really really really big wuss.

I've lost the weight before - running stairs and working out with my brother (who was a college athlete). Ten pounds in a month. That's about right. I had the mindset then. I also wasn't working, didn't have my husband at home (who is a terrific cook), and had tons of free time.

But how do I get that mindset back?

One way or the other, I've got to figure it out.


  1. Hugs, Melissa. It's hard to lose weight under any circumstances, whether you have a lot to lose or a little, and other medical issues have to add a whole 'nother layer (or layers) of difficulty. I'm trying to lose some weight, too--not a lot, but enough that it bothers me--and the discipline I can show in my writing is so lacking when it comes to my health, it's crazy. And I don't even have other medical issues to compound the difficulties. So kudos to you for addressing it and deciding to go for change. One day at a time. Just like with the pages.

  2. Trying to lose weight can make you crazy because there are so many factors tied into it. Maybe find a way to reward yourself for small things? Good luck and hugs!

  3. Melissa - that totally sucks. I really feel for you. I was faced with the same thing a few years ago and finally just told myself I HAD to lose the weight. Put myself on an exercise regime/eating programme and managed it. But it took discipline. And, admittedly, I only had one other mouth to feed and he didn't worry too much as he just supplemented his diet.

    Does that help? Hope so. Hugs!!

  4. Hello Melissa Marsh, Although this post wasn't exactly what I was searching for, it definitely grabbed my attention. I see now why I found your web page when I was looking for health alternative medicine related information. I'm glad that I stopped by, even though I didn't find exactly what I wanted. Thanks for the very informative post!

  5. Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.

  6. My name is Janice Still and i would like to show you my personal experience with Depo-Provera.

    I am 24 years old. I have been on Depo for 9 years and did not realize that the symptoms I experienced might be related to the shot. I am now facing thousands of dollars in dental work due to bone density loss, and will probably end up with osteoporosis. I am getting off Depo and will never touch it again!

    I have experienced some of these side effects-
    Low libido, joint pain, bone density loss, dental problems, headaches, fatigue, out of control eating, gained 40 lbs., depression

    I hope this information will be useful to others,
    Janice Still


I love to hear from you!

New Digs

I've got a new home on the web - stop by if you get a chance!