Saturday, June 29, 2013

Getting skinny so I can get fat

Over the past year and a half, I have been all-consumed by the idea of getting pregnant.  I knew it was going to be a challenge for us because I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) when I was 23.  The doctor immediately put me on birth control to help control my symptoms, but I stopped using it in February 2012in the hopes that I will conceive naturally.

I'll back up and explain PCOS for those of you who don't know what it is: basically it is a hormonal imbalance.  It can cause obesity, insulin resistance and excessive facial hair growth.  I'm sure it causes other stuff too, but those are the ones that have affected me.  The hair is no big deal, that's what wax is for.  The insulin resistance is also under control because I've been taking Metformin for it, which fortunately is safe during pregnancy.  The weight gain is what really sucks, especially because I was taking a lot of artificial hormones in the past year in the hopes I could conceive, and those really packed on the excess pounds.

I am really overweight right now.  I don't know how much I weigh and I really don't want to know, except I have a doctor's appointment in three days so I guess I'll be finding out.  This PCOS is a total Catch-22 in that the hormone imbalance causes weight gain but extra weight also causes my hormones to go wacky.  So I don't know if I'm not getting my period due to the PCOS or the weight and as we all know, no period=no pregnancy.

Like I previously said, I've already tried a few fertility treatments.  Treatments that were neither cheap nor pleasant.  I experienced a whole range of side effects, weight gain being the lesser of those.  After the last failed treatment in April 2013, I decided to stop.  My checking account was getting scarily low and I was getting more and more unhealthy each cycle.  I had an eventual "aha!" moment where I saw that doctors are more invested in getting a solution rather than treating an underlying problem.  Or, to put it in blunter terms, the health-care industry wasn't really interested in getting me healthy.  (Note: I am not knocking Reproductive Endocrinologists.  My RE is a wonderful woman with a terrific bedside manner and if the treatments had worked, I would be singing her praises for 9 months.)

So what am I doing about all this?  First of all, I refuse to accept I will never get pregnant.  I fully believe I will someday be a mother.  Keeping a positive mind about this is the key, I believe, because my mind has a tendency to over-dramatize these sorts of events.  (Remember I told you I'm also bipolar?  Yeah, the two of those together makes for a very unhappy Mannah at times.)  Anyway, I have started a lifestyle overhaul.  I hate the word "diet" because it implies that it will only be a short time, and we all know that never works.  Years ago, I stopped drinking pop, or "soda" for you Northerners, and I recently stopped drinking coffee too.  Does caffeine inhibit fertility?  I don't know, but I ain't taking any chances.  I have exchanged my beloved white breads and pastas for whole-wheat, and I've also added a lot more fruits and vegetables into my meals.  This stuff may sound like no-brainers but for me it is a pretty big deal.  My husband and I were eating a lot of crap.

The biggest change I've made was I went back to work!  I quit my job in February in anticipation of getting pregnant and being a stay-at-home mother.  And, of course, my mind just wasn't letting me concentrate properly on work.  I just finished my first official week as a preschool teacher once again and let me tell you, it is hard work.  I had actually forgotten how hard it is to care for large groups of children, silly me.  I'm on my feet just about the whole time and I have to do a lot more cleaning, which if you know me, you'd know that cleaning is not my forte.  Usually I don't care if the floor is properly mopped but if licensing says I have to mop, then I guess I'm going to do it.  Twice a day, five days a week.  That's a pretty good workout as is, but a few days a week I have started going to the gym after work.  The first day I went, I realized how hopelessly out of shape I am, so for now I'm taking it really slow, just doing 20-30 minutes on the bike or elliptical or whatever.  Over time, I hope to get my strength up so I can run for longer periods and start lifting weights.

So there's my get-healthy plan!  Eating whole foods, working and going to the gym.  And my hope is when I manage to lose some of this weight, I will regulate my hormones and start ovulating once more.  For awhile I had an attitude of, well what's the point of losing weight if I'm just going to get pregnant and gain a bunch of weight?  But now I see that I will likely never get pregnant on my own if I'm not taking care of my body and mind.  Hopefully within the year I will be normal and able to get pregnant and start worrying about the right number of pounds to be gaining instead of losing.  Stick with me as I continue this journey and feel free to tell me some of your own weight loss or gain stories!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Prayin' the gay away

As you likely know, DOMA (defense of marriage act) was shot down by the Supreme Court yesterday.  They decided it is Unconstitutional to say that marriage can only be defined as between a man and a woman.  Whenever something monumental such as this occurs, I always start to wonder why we're having this conversation to begin with.  Getting married to the person you love seems as if it would be a basic human right.  Does or does it not say in the Constitution that everyone is equal and we all have to rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?  Do we seriously want to go back to the days of separate but equal?  I sure hope not.

If you ask most people why they are against gay marriage, they will likely say because it is against the Bible.  Not taking into account that the United States are not, nor have they ever been a Christian nation, but I suppose we can just overlook that little piece of (vital) information for now.  So I began to wonder, what does the Bible actually say about gay marriage, and this is what I found:

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood upon them." Leviticus 20:13

This seems pretty straight-forward I suppose, though I'm not too sure about the use of the word "mankind."  If I was more inclined, I might look up the original translation, but instead I found the rest of Leviticus chapter 20 to be interesting.  It is all about people you shouldn't sleep with.  Evidently partner-trading was a big problem back then?  Also, five verses later, it says a man can't have sex with his wife when she's on the rag or else they have to be cut off from their people.  What?

Some of these other Bible verses just baffled me also:

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."  1 Timothy 2:9-12

Let's first assume "broided" means "braided" in which case I'm at least following this rule as I can't braid my own hair to save my life.  It is the part about women being silent and not teaching that I have a major problem with.  I've said many times that Paul was a sexist pig, but this passage just about proves it.  Here's another:

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ" Ephesians 6:5

So, if you're unlucky enough to be born into a life of servitude, you have to treat your master as you would God?  That is just bizarre.

I posted some of these quotes to show you that the Bible was written thousands of years ago.  The individual verses don't have much relevance today, so it is very odd to use one verse from the Old Testament as your only argument against a person's pursuit of happiness.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Who the heck are you anyway?

Allow myself to introduce...myself.

I am Amanda, aka Mannah.  I work with young children and they are the ones who bestowed me with that nickname, as they are usually unable to pronounce my first name.

I am a woman of many facets, some of which you will get to know over time as you read this blog.  I can be at times quite sarcastic and if my sense of humor offends, I deeply apologize.  Actually, I don't.  If you are offended, you have the option to not read it.

I decided to call this blog my musings because that's exactly what it will be.  Whatever happens to be on my mind on any given day will likely end up here.  Politics, recipes, movies, whatever.  It'll eventually all be here.

Two things to note about me: I am bipolar and infertile.  Both of these conditions will be discussed at length, as they are on the forefront of my mind most days.  But I'll try not to get into some of the weirder details.

Lastly, there are two things I love most.  My husband and my rats.  Yes, I have pet rats and I am just mad over them.  I'll leave you with an adorable picture of Lily and Violet play-fighting.

Also, please leave comments with suggestions for future blog posts!  I may or may not take your suggestion, but it will fill me with glee to be able to read them.