Monday, July 27, 2009

If you stab me in the butt with a scalpel, do I not bleed?

About five weeks ago, I had testosterone injected into my butt. Well, not injected, really. Inserted. Wait, no, that's not what I mean, either. Lemme 'splain.

In mid-June I went to see a doctor whose name is -- I kid you not -- Linda Evans. To my knowledge, she has never dated Yanni. Dr. Evans determined that my testosterone level was incredibly low, and offered to fix me up with some hormone replacement therapy. Yes, I've read all about the dangers, so please don't lecture me. Besides, testosterone replacement doesn't come with the same risks as estrogen replacement. But I digress. You can read all that stuff on the interwebz for yourself if you want to. Let's get back to discussing my butt.

Dr. Evans told me that there are several ways to administer estrogen, and all of them are fairly effective. Testosterone, however, works best if absorbed from tiny rice-grain-sized pellets inserted under the skin. Okay, I said. How bad can THAT be?

Wow. First there was a shot of lidocaine, which set my fields afire. Then came a small incision in my right butt cheek, into which Dr. Evans literally stuffed these little pellets. This led to a bruise the size of the former Soviet Union, as well as a perfectly round, itchy welt that made me walk around for days scratching my ass. Not attractive. But then again, with a shot of testosterone in me, it's probably normal to walk around scratching, no?

The good doctor informed me that the pellets would take effect in two to four weeks, and that when they did, I would find I had more energy, less desire to sleep constantly, more ability to focus, a higher sense of well-being, and a sex drive that would, well, go through the roof (hence the increased sense of well-being?). She said it might even be possible to get off the antidepressants I've been on since I was a fetus. What's not to like about all that?

So now I'm fast approaching the five-week anniversary of my relationship with these little pellets. I wish I could tell you I'm a new woman, but so far that doesn't seem to be the case. I'll know more this week after I have my testosterone level checked again. But right now it doesn't appear that the change has been worth repeating this little surgical procedure every four months or so. Maybe I just need a bigger dose or something.

Why, you ask, did I go see Dr. Evans in the first place? I went after discussing with my mom the fact that I'm tired all the time, I have no energy and no ability to concentrate, and that I would gladly sleep 18 hours a day if I didn't have this job and this kid. I hadn't really given any thought to fixing any of this -- I had chalked it up to age, lack of exercise and chasing around a two-year-old, and figured I better just get used to it.

So Mom tells me about something she saw on "Oprah," about how women my age and younger are finding that their hormone levels are seriously messed up -- like the kind of messed-up we thought was possible only in menopausal women. They were told by doctor after doctor that there was nothing wrong with them, that it was just the result of age and being moms. Until they found doctors who agreed to test their hormone levels. Turns out all of them were seriously deficient in estrogen, testosterone or both, and that this is far more common among young women than we've ever realized.

So to make a long story longer, these women did bio-identical hormone replacement -- no synthetic hormones, no estrogen made from horse pee. These hormones are made from plant extracts, and are molecularly identical to what we produce ourselves. These ladies got some injections and/or some hormone cream compounded especially for their individual needs, and now they claim they're cured. More ability to focus, more energy, a sex drive that's back to normal. Oprah and Dr. Phil's wife are patients, too, and they say it's the wonder drug. So I got on the interwebz and started the hunt for a doctor who knows about this stuff, which led me to Dr. Evans, who told me my testosterone level should be over 100, and it was 32. Enter needles, scalpels and hormone pellets in my ass.

So, while I've seen a slight improvement, I would not, at this point, encourage all my friends and sistahs to have this done. What I WOULD encourage you to do is have your hormone levels tested. Your OB/GYN will probably do this for you if you ask, even if he or she does not do hormone replacement. You need to know if this is something you could benefit from. Then you can decide if it's worth finding a doctor who will do it.

I'll write more about this after I have my blood test this week, and as the treatment wears on, I'll let you know if I continue to see an improvement. For now, look up bio-identical hormones on Oprah's website and read about it for yourselves. I know most of you are not in the habit of taking medical advice from Suzanne Sommers, but it's worth learning about. And if you decide to check this out, keep me posted! MWAH!!

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Very interesting little one. This makes me want to go back and ask my gyno what my levels were. What is the reading for estrogen supposed to be?

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  3. Very interesting!
    Sorry about the pain in your butt!

    I have the same symptoms as you, except add insomnia in there. Some days I could sleep all day, others i cant sleep at all.
    Would love to get off the little white pill.
    I am going to get my thyroid levels checked- also seen on Oprah-to see if that is my problem.

    Hope your blood test gives you the answers you need!
    and that you feel better soon!
    :)
    Amy

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  4. are you going to grow a wee-wee too? I had to ask...

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  5. Have you read the book "It's My Ovaries, Stupid!" I read it years ago and promptly had my hormone levels tested. Everything came back within normal, which I just don't believe. BUT! The good Dr. forgot to have my progesterone levels tested. I suspect I have way too much of that relative to my estradiol, which I think contributes to my migraines and some other issues. I recently bought some of the bio-identical progesterone cream on the off chance it was actually too low, but I quit after two days because I started to feel all light headed and PMSy at the very wrong time of the month. Hopefully the testosterone will kick in for you soon, but yikes! Isn't there another way they could give it to you?

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  6. Hey Emilie,
    Love your web page! Wanted to let you know that there is a doc right here in our town where we work that is doing the bio-identical thing. I'm on progesterone cream and also went on a gluten free diet (was tired all the time, foggy thinking, etc.) and I am starting to feel like a new woman. If you want more info, let me know. Good luck! I've had quite the journey until I landed on this approach.
    jen from across the street

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  7. Hi Emilie,
    Sorry to hear that you did not have a great result from your hormones. Is it possible that hormones are really not the problem? I have had hormone pellets placed and have had an incredible response. I was tired, depressed, bitchy, foggy, overwhelmed with life and had no libido. Since having hormone pellet balancing done I feel like I have woken up again. I am 48 years old, though, and do feel that my hormones were out of balance. My kids now tell me when it is time to be redosed. My husband likes me again and I like him, too. Well, sorry it didn't work for you. It has been awesome for me. Good luck.
    Susie

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