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If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that the past few weeks have been a wild ride, health-wise. However, they have been a blessing in disguise because I have truly redefined what ‘living’ means to me.
As some of you know from my previous post, I was working with doctors to determine whether I have a pituitary dysfunction that is causing my amenorrhea. The last few weeks involved an MRI scare – they found a little formation on my pituitary gland, the exact classification of which was TBD – followed by several blood and urine tests (delightful, I know).
The doctors were trying to determine whether I had a pituitary adenoma – a collection of cells that form a benign (non-cancerous) tumor, which often secretes some sort of hormone – or a Rathke’s Cleft cyst. A Rathke’s Cleft cyst is also a benign condition, but unlike a pituitary adenoma it does NOT secrete anything – it is likely something I was born with and is completely harmless, unless it grows in size (and affects my vision by putting pressure on the optic nerve), which is extremely unlikely. According to my doctor 1 in 5 people have this condition and it goes un-diagnosed; people with the cyst live completely normal and healthy lives, and it is often only discovered in an autopsy.
Now let’s come back to pituitary adenoma’s and how blood / urine tests are used to diagnose an adenoma vs. a cyst. There are 4 types of pituitary adenomas:
1. Prolactinoma – secretes prolactin (hormone that produces breast milk)
2. Growth hormone-secreting (IGF) pituitary adenoma
3. Cushing’s Disease (ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma) – ACTH produces cortisol (the stress hormone)
4. Thyrotropinoma (TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma) – TSH is a thyroid hormone
AMAZING NEWS – turns out I don’t have a pituitary adenoma:
1. NOT a Prolactinoma – normal prolactin levels
2. NOT a Growth Hormone-Secreting pituitary adenoma – normal IGF levels
3. NOT Cushing’s Disease (non ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma) – normal ACTH and urine cortisol levels
4. NOT a Thyrotropinoma (TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma) – normal TSH
So the diagnosis is a cyst – it is benign and, thank GOD, will not affect me at all! I feel so INCREDIBLY blessed and grateful!
AND EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS – my estrogen and FSH levels are up, which means that I am making significant progress on the amenorrhea front too, and hope to get my period back soon!
My Life Forward
I have now learned to take a step back and put things into perspective. About a week ago, I weighed myself after a VERY long family vacation and no exercise. I was still eating between 1800 – 2000 calories per day, but had more variations – for example, I had one day of 2600, and another of 1450. I was pretty happy, because I take that this is what normal eaters do – intuitive eating with the occasional indulgence and no guilt.
However, the guilt came – I weighed myself and the scale showed 131.5 (I am about 5’6 and 3/4). Now granted (and I know this is TMI), but I have been a tad bit constipated, and fly weekly for work, so this number could have reflected water retention, but obviously I was upset. I had been maintaining at 127 for a while, and then saw a jump to 129 prior to my vacation, which I had made peace with. I did not take the 131.5 well!
That’s when I took a step back and replayed the past few weeks through my head – I had just experienced the scariest, potentially life-threatening, medical finding of my life. I had to be grateful for my normal pituitary results, and for the fact that I had made progress on the female hormone front. Sure, I’ve gained weight, but y’know what, I am NOT fat. Some people’s bodies just CANNOT handle low weights – we’re all so, so different! So I am happy; happy, grateful, and rejuvenated with positivism.
Lessons on Eating
I think I can finally say *knock on wood* that I am transitioning to becoming a ‘normal’ eater – I have days where I eat close to 2200, and others where I eat about 1600. I am LISTENING to my body and eating intuitively, without depriving myself. I am conscious of satisfying cravings when they hit, and luckily I never crave junk – my excess calories are usually from a Kit’s Organic Bar, 85% raw cacao dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, or nuts!
Here’s to being grateful for all that you have – you only have one body, so please love and respect it!