Monday, June 29, 2009

My experience with BHRT begins...

My girlfriends and I graduated from college in the early 80's. Recently, my old college roommate went back to school to become a dental hygienist. We had a graduation party for her, because at this point in our lives, any excuse for a party is enough reason to get together! The last 25 or so years have brought many changes to our lives, jobs, careers, marriage, a divorce or two, children, and a few health scares for some of us. Needless to say, even though we feel like it was yesterday when we were in college, just a look in the mirror, reminds us that it wasn't.

In my case, my running times are consistently slower and more painful, recovery times are longer, I can't sleep through the night, my hair is thinning and my skin is dry and splotchy. I have hot flashes several times during the night and a couple of times during the day, at least, where I feel like if I can't take my clothes off I'll just melt away. This has played havoc with my youthful appearance, in other words, I feel like I'm looking older by the minute.



So when my friend Teri walked in to the party, she was a vision! She has always been beautiful, but like most of us, she has a lot of stress in her life. But that night, her hair was golden, shiny, and healthy, her skin was luminous, and she looked like she'd lost about 10 pounds. I just chalked it up to her taking good care of herself, but marveled at how beautiful she looked. We took a lot of photos that night and she looked like she was at least 10 years younger than the rest of us. The next day, I went on a 50 mile bike ride with my friend Syndi, and was complaining about my lack of sleep, lack of energy, hot flashes, blah, blah, blah. Syndi said, "You should go see the guy Teri saw...he put her on some kind of vitamins and hormones and she's feeling like a new person!"

Now, I exercise daily, eat pretty good, and have NEVER been on the vitamin bandwagon. I don't take anything. I've always said that I eat a balanced diet and should be able to get anything I needed from food. That taking supplements and vitamins makes for expensive urine.

Never say never.

When I heard that Teri had gotten relief from menopausal symptoms from this Doctor, I was ready to sign on. I called her to ask about him, and she had nothing but glowing reviews for "Dr. Mark". He has an anti-aging practice, and I promptly called to make an appointment. I spoke with his assistant, who described the process to me. He would do an initial, hour and a half, "interview" session with me, and would order a panel of blood tests. Then I would get a personalized "dossier" with his recommendations for me. I was ready for some relief yesterday , so I decided to go ahead and get the blood tests done before my appointment.

He ordered so many tests, they had to draw FIVE huge vials of blood. I'm not good with pain, but luckily, the technician was very good and I hardly felt a thing. When I arrived at his office for the appointment a week later, I was anxious to find out what he would recommend for me. But he didn't have anything specific to my needs yet. We spoke at length about my symptoms: Hot flashes, lack of sleep, irritability, poor exercise performance, slow recovery, bloating, loss of libido...it went on and on. I felt like I was a completely different person when I had to start labeling how I felt. When I told him that I knew I was getting older (49), and I realized this was probably just normal aging stuff, he promptly disagreed. He said, "With all that we know now about the aging process, there is no need for any woman to go through menopause." He also feels like our children will never have the symptoms we have now.

So I left the office, anxious to get more information. It took a little over a week, but I received the packet of information. My "Personalized Client Dossier" was about 30 pages of information, from my projected lifespan (current: 116.7 years-potential: 133.7 years), specific measurements (height, weight, bodyfat, etc.), goals and problems, an overview of aging, hormones, and disease, to a ton of recommendations for increasing my well-being and life span.

First of all, I'm not sure I have any interest in living to be 133.7 years old, but eliminating menopausal symptoms, improving my athletic performance and energy level, improving my hair health, increasing libido, decreasing forgetfulness, etc. are all things that I would LOVE to have happen.

Last week I received the five medications from the compounding pharmacy (bi-est, progesterine, Thyroid (Armour), DHEA and Indole-3-carbinol. I bought a few of the things he recommended from Whole Foods: Vitamins B6, B12, C, D3, E, Coenzyme Q10, Omega 3, Rhodiola, Melatonin, and Calcium Citrate/Magnesium. Now every morning I'm taking a cocktail of supplements. The benefits of each range from antioxidents/disease fighting, to prevention of stress and fatigue and increasing sexual energy.

Terri says to be patient. It takes awhile. Patience is not really my virtue. Especially when I've added such a large arsenal of pills to my daily life. I can say that after taking the hormones for a little over a week, I slept last night without a single hot flash. That is the first time that has happened in over a year.

As far as the energy...still out for debate. I did stay up after midnight the other night moving exercise equipment around in the workout room, which was unlike me. I'm sleeping like a rock, due to the Melatonin. Crazy dreams, too.

I will keep you posted. I think I should start another blog just for the crazy dreams I'm having.