Hello, inflammation, my old friend

Did you know that it’s not just joints that become inflamed?  People who suffer from PCOS actually have organs that get inflamed as well as their joints.

When this time of the month rolls around, I feel like this when I think about my relationship with food. (Created on Bitstrips on Facebook.)

When this time of the month rolls around, I feel like this when I think about my relationship with food. (Created on Bitstrips on Facebook.)

They can experience the pain of rheumatoid arthritis without even having it.

It’s common for women to experience pain during ovulation, especially when they are prone to ovarian cysts.  I have had this problem for years, as long as I’ve been ovulating to be exact.  My problem isn’t caused by just the rupture of cysts, though.  It’s also caused by the inflammation of my reproductive organs and intestines.  When estrogen levels in my body increase (which is normal twice a month–ovulation and menstruation) my immune system kicks into overdrive and treats those parts of my body as if I was suffering from the intrusion of a foreign substance,  much like our skin gets red and inflamed because of extra blood cells being sent to the area of a splinter,  This causes a lot of pain when I move, sit, stand or lay down.  vacuuming hurts.  Going to the bathroom hurts.  I won’t even entertain sex at that time because of the pain.  Many women can combat this issue by using birth control pills, which I cannot take because of issues with depression.  My doctor also suspects that I have endometriosis which makes the hell of PCOS just that much more fun.

Inflammation is something women who suffer from PCOS don’t usually consider but must take into account when trying to lose weight.  What I’ve learned in the last few weeks is that I can’t count on that number on the scale.  When I’m good all week and feeling well, but craving salt I have to adjust my expectations.  My body craves salt for a reason:  it’s gearing up for major water retention.  I can’t rely on a number to go down when my body is purposely working against it.

This week I gained for a lot of reasons.  One, I’m ovulating.  I can’t help that.  Two, I am eating salty foods (and adding salt to my food) like a deer takes to a salt lick.  Three, cheese is the only thing I think about when I ovulate.  I want cheese and salt on everything.  Four, I can’t ride my bike when I feel like this.  It hurts, and I’m not talking “I’ve got a splinter” pain.  If you’ve been through labor you get a baby at the end that makes it worth it.  This pain is nearly as bad except I get a number on the scale that’s bigger than it should be in reward.

My point is, I have to stop obsessing about the number of pounds and look at the other health benefits I’m experiencing.  My back pain is decreasing.  Some of that pain is due to inflammation, but some is due to my weight and as I continue to lose, the better it’s getting.  My clothes are fitting better.  My knees aren’t hurting as often as they usually do.  I generally feel better.  Good stuff in begets good stuff out.

That is what I’m clinging to, for now.



About Miranda Gargasz

Miranda Gargasz is a freelance writer. Many of her essays can be found on sites like ScaryMommy, The Christian Science Monitor and The Huffington Post. In 2014, she published Lemonade and Holy Stuff and in 2016 she published Plus Size Mama: An overweight mom gets real about weight loss. She is also a contributor to Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee, and Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever. Her debut novel, Haunting Suspicion, is being sent to agents for representation. She is currently working on her second novel, Dragonfly, about learning to love what you have before it's gone.
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2 Responses to Hello, inflammation, my old friend

  1. Oh dear Sista, so sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. You are correct to not focus on the number. Amazing that you are managing to do this. It’s not easy. Damn, it’s hard–which may be an understatement. I don’t have your illness. I only know this in my own small way. But I’m cheering for you, my friend. I know you can do this! I love you and miss you. Try to give me a call this week. Sara is still in the US. She gets back here on Thursday. I can’t wait!
    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Oh my gosh! THURSDAY?!?!?!? I hate when Jim goes out of town for that long and I’m sure you are feeling that way, too! Good Lord!………I will try to give you a call shortly. Lots going on in my life personally right now and, trust me, you DON’T want to talk to me in the mood I’ve been in. Ugly, that’s all I can say about my mood.

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