PCOS and cancer: What many of us don’t know

I didn’t know that when I changed gynecologists I would be in for the shock of my life. I thought I was going to have my yearly exam. Just power through the awful pap and poking and prodding, get my mammogram order and move on.

The poking, prodding and pap happened. But not until after my new gyno, a man who looks to be about five years old and nine feet tall, broke some very disconcerting news to me. My old gyno, a man who until that very moment was the most awesome gyno I’d ever had, screwed up. Royally.

Old Gyno never told me I had something called endometrial hyperplasia (a condition in which the endometrium of the uterus just keeps growing and growing because of exposure to unchecked estrogen), something many women with PCOS are prone to. I had presented to him with heavy, 17 day long periods that were interrupted with a 5 day break, only to begin again. He evaluated me and blamed my suddenly-even-more-horrendous-than-usual periods on my recent weight loss. He gave me an endometrial ablation to stop this, a procedure where the doc burns the lining of your uterus to hedge the bleeding. 50% of women never have a period again after that. I wasn’t that lucky.

An ablation is the absolute LAST thing your doc should do to take care of that. Why? Because endometrial hyperplasia is a pre-cancerous condition. It often leads to endometrial cancer, the fourth most common cancer among women, and the most common reproductive cancer out there. An ablation covers up the biggest indicator that the hyperplasia has turned to cancer–heavy bleeding.

So, for three years my endometrium has been growing, unchecked, behind its cozy ablation-induced scar tissue. New Gyno signed me up right away for a hysteroscopy where he would go in and extract some tissue to biopsy.

That was a week ago.

Still waiting to hear if I have cancer.

Next step for me is a hysterectomy, an operation I asked for before the ablation since I was done having children.

I have to admit that I am equal parts frightened and pissed, all for the obvious reasons. This is my third cancer scare in about as many years. May this one be just another “Sorry, we overreacted” kind of thing.

Regardless, never ever let someone tell you that PCOS is not that big a deal. It rules our lives, invisible to everyone except the lady who has it.

 

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Hello 40’s, Goodbye Freewheelin’ —

What is it about entering your 40’s and the rapid decline of health? I find myself asking this question more and more as I sink deeper into the quagmire of midlife. I’ve had many health victories this past year, not the least among them a whopping 84 pound weight loss. But, alas, weight loss, awesome […]

via Hello 40’s, Goodbye Freewheelin’ —

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IWA Podcast Interview

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the International Writers Association’s Robert J. Moore. In November I joined this group and met Robert, a truly kind and, I must say, the happiest guy I’ve ever met.

Stop by the podcast and follow it to get it in your inbox. Give it a review on iTunes and pass it along to friends and others you know who might like it or benefit from the great info there. Thanks for listening! Click here to listen to the interview.

 

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Goodreads Giveaway!

Want to win a FREE, SIGNED COPY of Plus Size Mama? Here’s your chance!

Starting June 15th enter my Goodreads Giveaway!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Plus Size Mama by Miranda Gargasz

Plus Size Mama

by Miranda Gargasz

Giveaway ends June 23, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Plus Size Mama is up for sale!

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Plus Size Mama is finally here!

You can purchase it at these outlets by clicking on the logo:

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The book trailer is here!

Check out the book trailer for Plus Size Mama, out tomorrow, May 10th!

 

 

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May 10th is just around the corner!

I can’t believe that May 10th is just over a month away! In some ways it feels like I’ve been working on Plus Size Mama forever, and in others it feels like everything is moving too quickly. Regardless, I’m excited to have the book coming out, and I hope that everyone enjoys reading it as much as I loved writing it.

The awesome part, for me personally, is that I started this venture in September 2015 at my highest weight ever. I still can’t say it out loud. I was devastated and embarrassed. Here I am, seven months later, and I’m 70 pounds lighter! I know I have so much further to go, but 70 pounds is nothing to scoff at. I am hoping to be down to my goal weight this time next year.

Who knows? Maybe Plus Size Mama will sell wonderfully and be helping thousands of people find their focus, their courage, and their strength. I hope so. I hope it helps loads of people find the help they need to work toward their healthier selves, but mostly, I hope it helps them learn to accept themselves for the amazing people they already are. That matters most of all.

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Come join our Facebook page!

Want to join the budding community of folks who can’t wait to read Plus Size Mama when it’s released? Just come on over to our Facebook page and give us a “like” here.

While you’re at it, come sign up for our newsletter here. You can be one of the first to read excerpts from the book, find out behind the scenes info on the publishing journey and enter to win prizes!

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Coming in 2016

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If you’ve ever cried because someone laughed at your weight, if you’ve ever avoided going somewhere because you were embarrassed about your size, if you’ve ever felt hopeless about weight loss and felt defined by the number on the scale–this book is for you. It won’t help you shed a million pounds tomorrow and it won’t present you with the magic formula for weight loss. It will show you that you aren’t alone. It will show you that there is hope. It will show you that it is possible. Those are the things you gather on your journey. They make your goal worth reaching.

And that, friend, is the reality of weight loss.

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PCOS and Carbs: a match that’s not so heavenly

PCOS and carbs. Frenemies to the end. There is nothing a person with PCOS loves more than a good carb-filled meal. Her body, however, doesn’t. Those carbs slide down her gullet and her body goes into full-out panic mode and starts storing those carbs as fat almost immediately. That’s because of two little things that follow PCOS around like little lost puppies: metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.Untitled design (1)

Metabolic syndrome is a disorder that causes problems with energy utilization and fat storage. The biggest problem is, while scientists can tell us loads about what problems are related to metabolic syndrome, it is a healthcare chicken and egg story. They don’t know what causes metabolic syndrome because the issues surrounding it are muddled.  For instance, a few things they know for a fact are that people (both men and women) who suffer from it usually have centrally located fat storage (big bellies), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, sedentary lifestyles, poor diets that are high in fructose consumption, and high fasting glucose levels. The kicker is that there is also a genetic factor at play which throws all those other previously mentioned issues up in the air. You could have a person who isn’t sedentary, doesn’t have high blood pressure, has low fasting glucose levels, and doesn’t overeat who still has metabolic syndrome. That person probably has a family member or two, or an entire side of a family, who suffered from this issue. That person would be the author of this post. To make the issue even more unclear, there is a major debate over whether some sort of metabolic problem as yet to be determined is what CAUSED the obesity and health issues, and thereby the metabolic syndrome, instead of the other way around.

Confused yet? Let’s muddy the waters some more. What else could be causing/affecting metabolic disorder? Mood problems. A family history of schizophrenia. Sleep disturbance. Problems with inflammation. High uric acid levels. Everybody’s favorite–STRESS. It all boils down to one thing–with regards to metabolic disorder, just like PCOS, we need more research. We need to learn more about what causes it. We NEED to get out from behind culturally accepted biases surrounding overweight people and get to the root of the issues. But, that, dear reader, is another set of blog posts entirely. To learn more about metabolic syndrome, click here.

Insulin resistance is just what it sounds like. Your body produces the hormone insulin and your cells resist using it. It causes a vicious cycle to begin that leaves you with high blood sugar levels. Those high blood sugar levels are what cause people with PCOS to crave carbs like a meth addict. No joke. This particular little demon that follows PCOS around causes increased hunger, which causes increased weight gain and increased fat storage. Insulin resistance also causes sleepiness, especially after a meal, because it is basically a giant sugar dump into your system. You literally experience a sugar crash. It contributes to depression and pre-diabetes and causes intestinal inflammation. To learn more about insulin resistance, click here.

These two issues make carbohydrates a PCOS sufferer’s worst nightmare. We simply need to avoid them as much as possible. And you would think that would be easy, right? Just avoid refined sugars, flours, breads, pasta, rice and potatoes. WRONG. Sure. Those are the foods that are high in carbs and, yes, avoid those items as much as humanly possible. Treat them like you would if you were addicted, because, let’s face it. If you have PCOS, you kind of are addicted to them. I know, for me, if my family and I go out to dinner, I ask them to either not bring the bread to the table or I ask the kids to keep it on the other side of the table where I can’t reach it. I want that bread like a plant wants water. I stare at it like it’s calling my name. It’s terrible, but true.

Let’s take a minute to learn a little bit about carbs in our diets. There’s some interesting facts I’ve learned since starting my diet six weeks ago.

Plus Size Mama Says- (3)

When I first went to the endocrinologist he told me to do the obvious. Cut out all pasta, bread, flour, potatoes, rice and sugar. So I did. I even cut out all soda drinks, diet or otherwise. I drink nothing but ice water. I noticed, however, that I wasn’t losing weight. How does someone not lose weight when cutting out an entire food group from their diet?

The answer was simple and I didn’t find the answer until I got the My Fitness Pal app. (No. They don’t pay me. I just think it’s an awesome app.)

This app allows you to set your daily caloric intake (for me, 1200 calories), but it also allows you to set the percentages of carbs, proteins and fats you want in your diet as well. So, I did a little research to see what the average amount of carbs were for the average person’s diet. A moderate level of carbs for one person ranges between 100 and 150 grams per day. I figured if I set mine at 90 I would be fine because my goal was to stay well below that. The app would warn me when I was getting too close. My thought process was that, if I was not consuming any of those carbs I listed above, I was never going to come close to that level of carbs even on my worst day.

Boy, was I wrong.

Why? Fruit. Okay. No brainer. Fruits have natural sugars which should translate into carbs so I became very scrooge-like in my consumption of fruit.

Still wrong.

Why? Veggies.

What?

Yes, veggies. Let me give you an example. Today I had an apple for breakfast. Super high in sugar, but I had a very small apple and that’s it. I always have a small piece of fruit for breakfast. I’m not a breakfast eater and it takes all I have to choke that down. For lunch, I had a chicken breast and some broccoli. For dinner I had some cabbage. That’s all I’ve had today. I still have to choke back 632 more calories somehow, and do you know where my carb level for the day is? 74 grams. What. The. Hell.

Can you imagine what my poor body was going through when I was consuming bread and noodles and rice like a boss? I am being as careful as I can and I’m still getting very close to the moderate carb level. My carb level must have been astronomical before getting this app. It’s been a real eye opener, that’s for sure.

All this, and I’m holding steady at 35 pounds lost. I’m not going to lie. For the last two weeks I’ve lost 0 pounds. And I’m pissed beyond belief. How do I not eat, take a diet pill that guarantees weight loss, exercise and lose NOTHING???? Ugh. Discouraged doesn’t even begin to describe me.

But, you know what?

I know I’m doing the right stuff. I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I’m eating right. I’m following the rules.

I’m trying to view this as a war. Me against carbs and my stubborn ass body.

And I’m going to win. Even if that means I have to drop that carb level to 50 and eat chicken like it’s my damn job.

So, what keeps you going when you hit a weight loss wall? What do you do to change it up and get the scale moving again? Leave your tips in the comments below!

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