Recently I wrote a post on my life-long journey with PCOS and in that post I touched a little on the fact that I had quit sugar. I had whole hearted intentions to get this “I quit sugar” post out to you a few weeks ago but an unexpected health complication came up and I have been a little under the weather and really just needed time to process everything that has been happening with my body.
One of the biggest battles with PCOS is insulin resistance. "Insulin resistance (IR) is a condition in which the cells of the body become resistant to the effects of insulin, that is, the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to have its effects." PCOS Foundation
Insulin is produced in the body to help control blood sugar level, but in women with PCOS there are imbalances in the hormones (estrogen, testosterone and progesterone) which then also affect the body’s insulin production and in turn can cause a resistance. Meaning insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugars and dealing with glucose properly, causing a whole havoc of issues for the body, weight gain, excess hair growth, acne, trouble losing weight, imbalanced hormones, slow metabolism, fertility issues, increased risk of heart disease and can even lead to type II diabetes.
As you may know from my last post about a month ago I had a large cyst show up on one of my ovaries. This cyst was the first one to ever cause me any pain or worry and naively I had forgot about the cyst part of my PCOS. Although grateful now, this cyst also shook things up for me emotionally and physically and caused a lot of stress.
I decided I needed to take my PCOS healing to a deeper level.
First step was quitting sugar cold turkey. All sugar, including fruit and unrefined natural sugars like honey and maple syrup. Two days after my first ER visit I went out and bought Sarah Wilson’s “I Quit Sugar” book for some inspiration and started down my own path of going sugar free. I figured if one of my biggest challenges with PCOS is my insulin (whether or not it contributed to the growth of my cyst) production I may as well try and control it on my end as best as I can.
I am writing a full sugar free journey, the struggles and the feelings that came up throughout that I will post after the 8 weeks.
In between cutting out sugar and taking a harder look at my symptoms and what else I could do to try and control my PCOS I started acupuncture. This has been the absolute best decision I have ever made, although a decision that took me forever to come too. I have a pretty big fear of needles, so there was a bit lot of working up and working through that had to be done.
I heard and read so many stories of women with PCOS starting acupuncture and having amazing results, like being able to conceive, losing weight, controlling acne, achieving more flow in the ovaries as well as throughout the energy lines of the body (the chi (qi) as it is called) and even regulating menstrual cycles.
Funny enough Paul had been going to see an acupuncturist for his back and was always telling me to go just for the experience (he loves and raves about it). So when this cyst came up I decided it was about time to face my fear and get pricked. As fate would have it not only was Paul’s (and now mine) acupuncturist traditionally trained in Chinese acupuncture and herbs she also has a lot of knowledge of PCOS and has even helped clients become pregnant, regulate their periods, and lose weight.
Oh universe I love you and your sneaky, fate like ways. Divine intervention I believe.
For the past month and a half I have been going to weekly acupuncture appointments. I have also started taking some chinese natural herbs, one to help with phlegm accumulation, spleen/kidney deficiencies and qi stagnation or flow within the body; as well as one for ovulation/regulation and balancing of the yin-yang or invigorating the blood.
My acupuncturist is also doing a form of acupuncture on my tummy called Electro acupuncture, where small electrical currents/pulses are passed between pairs of acupuncture needles, stimulating flow and movement in the gut (a really important aspect in becoming pregnant, regulating the period and preventing cysts and build ups in the gut).
Mostly it comes down to energy flow within the body and my tends to be stagnate so through the herbs and acupuncture the hope is to move the energy around, thus moving my blood supply and qi around and returning my body back to her natural energetic flow.
I also finally started doing coffee enemas, something I have been wanting to do for over a year but just hadn’t gotten around too for no good reason (and yes kicking myself). They honestly might be my newest favourite regime! They are incredibly soothing, comforting and even relaxing. Plus their cleansing aspect is like nothing I have ever experienced before, I feel so light and completely detoxified afterwards. (I think a future blog post explaining the benefits and how to's is brewing, hehe brewing ;)
Earlier I mentioned another health complication, well two weeks ago I ended up in the hospital (again). One afternoon I started feeling incredibly nausea and then all of a sudden I was violently sick for over an hour. My stomach was in excruciating pain and felt like a bomb had went off inside. I am not sure I have ever been so weak, I was hardly able to walk and the second I got to the hospital I was put onto a bed and hooked up to an IV.
After tests (blood, CT scan) and the next day another ultrasound it all showed my cyst had burst. For the first couple of days I was not able to sit up the pain on my abdomen was much to strong and throughout the past two weeks I have had some on and off pains (sharp and dull and many moments of uncomfortable sitting). Apparently this is caused by the fluid (blood and mucus) that the cyst leaks into the ovaries after it has burst and until the body is able to absorb and naturally get rid of it pain is quite common.
At first I was so confused my thoughts were all over the place but I got mad, really, really mad. Here I was doing everything that I could for my health, over the past three years I have completely over hauled my life and then in the past month I had made even more changes that should have all been for the better yet I felt like my body was just throwing it back in my face, saying you haven’t done enough.
Then I had a talk with one of my besties, filled with tears and all my fears and vulnerability out in the open she turned to me and said "Maybe this was a blessing? Could you imagine if you hadn’t changed all of the things you have changed in your health over the past three years, how much worse this could have been?"
After our talk I realized it was a blessing and just how incredibly grateful I am that my my cyst ended up bursting (my body naturally taking care of the problem) and was just a regular functional cyst. The next step had it not starting going away on its own (or bursting) was going to be surgery or even worse it could have been a different type of cyst or one that could have lead to cancer.
I have and am doing all that I can for my health, she is my top priority and maybe the quitting sugar, acupuncture and coffee enemas lead to my burst and maybe not but what I am doing feels right and most importantly feels natural and in tune with what my heart is telling me I need.
Knowing I am giving my body a whole lot of love and health is an incredible feeling and seeing results amps up the love factor.
Please share with me your PCOS journey or sugar free journey down below. Every journey is important and any tip or lesson shared can truly help someone else.