The Frustrating Hormonal Link

Written on 11/10/14

A little background info on this post is that my historical patterns of episodes seem to indicate that my changing hormones are maybe my number one trigger next to positive excitement. I cannot tolerate exogenous hormones at all, and as a result have to use non-hormonal methods of birth control. I’ve researched and am trying to get some testing done that could shed some light on the relationship between my episodes and my hormones. What I’ve learned is that hormone testing is extremely hard to come by. For a lot of reasons, some of them good, some not. The information below is the very best I have gotten so far, in many years of research. It’s not much, but at least it’s something. And something can lead to something else. So, I’m hoping to follow this lead.

I had an appointment with my gynecologist today and got her to briefly discuss more intensive hormone testing throughout the month to try to see what things look like when I’m normal, and when I’m in an episode. She says that there might be “saliva” versions of the hormones testing still available at compounding pharmacies.

Here’s how it works:

I call up a pharmacy to see if they are a “compounding” pharmacy. Most likely these WON’T be big chains like CVS or Walgreens. More likely it will be a small privately owned family pharmacy that has been around a long time. Then if they are, I will ask them if they have saliva hormones testing kits available. If they do, all I have to do is go in to the pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist about having the tests completed. I asked 5 times to make sure, but they are certain that I do not need any type of documentation or prescription or anything for this. Anyone can just walk in and ask for this. Then, I think it is up to me and the pharmacist on how often I test my hormones. I’m thinking once or twice a week until I am clued in to any patterns, then I could hone into a particular week if I have reason to suspect something.

Oh, and guess what? Insurance definitely doesn’t cover this. It will be all out of my pocket, and they had no idea what I can expect in the way of price. At least in this small town, I probably won’t have too much trouble finding an old family pharmacy that compounds. Finding one that carries the tests might prove to be more difficult. I do have a couple of good friends who are pharmacists locally, so maybe if I bark up their tree I can make some magic happen.

Another topic of discussion was a future hysterectomy if we determine that hormones are playing that kind of role in my CVS. She kept saying that at my age she would want to leave my ovaries, and I kept telling her that would defeat the purpose, and that my ovaries are what have to come out to end the hormone craziness. Then she goes on to tell me that I wouldn’t want to experience the symptoms of menopause unless I have to. I begin to shake my head and think, “here we go” in my mind. I told her that any symptoms I experience will be heavenly compared to my CVS symptoms, and that I would gladly trade them any day. She continued in this motherly voice saying “hot flashes are bad honey, etc…”… Oh my, I nearly laughed loudly in her face. Why oh why won’t the doctors learn about what happens to us in episode??!!!???!!! Instead of being an ass  about her ignorance I contained myself to chuckling at them and telling them that they must have no idea what a CVS episode entails. Bring on the hot flashes baby, bring ’em!! Because I promise I will LOVE it compared to my episodes! I can tell they didn’t understand and/or believe me, but I just lost the motivation after that. I tried, I really did. But after that I was done and ready to leave.

Ohhh, it just kills me how every single time I visit a doctor it puts me in a terrible mood. Even the best of my doctors like this one is (excluding Dr. V of course). It is so annoying to walk into an appointment, knowing that I know much more about my disorder than my doctor does, yet I’ve gone to them looking for answers about it in some fashion. Answers that I won’t get. I get my hopes up every time. I shouldn’t do that. Why do I get my hopes up? I should be used to this by now. I should know that they probably won’t know anything about CVS or be able to answer my questions, and be pleasantly surprised if they do. (I realize I got some answers today, and I am pleasantly surprised I have an answer, just not happy that it will cost me an arm and a leg.) Instead I get angry about everything. Angry about the broken medical system and the “doctors” that it has created. Angry that I waste my money every time I go. Angry that I am a doctor myself and I can’t just order myself the tests and medications I want myself to have! Sigh… Forgive me, I needed to say all that or I was about to explode.

At least this place gave me info that I didn’t previously have. They aren’t the worst. I’m just frustrated. Some of the lower points of the visit went as follows…

At the beginning of the appointment, they had obviously not refreshed their memories on my history/conditions. I had to explain it AGAIN, and wasted valuable time I could have spent asking my questions. So, I was already clued in to their lack of knowledge on the CVS. But then they tried to make me feel like a dinosaur for requesting to be fitted for a diaphragm even though we discussed how hormones and IUDs are not an option for me. No one seemed to understand that it really is my only option They kept reiterating how outdated diaphragms are, and that no pharmacies will even carry them anymore. They have to order it straight to them, and I come pick it up later. They didn’t understand why I want it, even though I was explaining that I can’t tolerate hormones. They don’t think insurance will cover it, so I had to promise to pay in full for it if they don’t. Which brings me to another rant…

Why in the hell won’t my insurance cover it when I have demonstrated that I am unable to tolerate hormones??? Why in the hell doesn’t the DOCTOR decide what I need and what the insurance has to cover for me?? Why in the hell do I have to financially break myself each month to pay for the supplements, non-hormonal BC, etc… that are helping my diagnosed medical condition when every paycheck I receive has a portion deducted for insurance. What the hell am I paying for? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, that’s what.

The most frustrating thing is that I could be on the verge of figuring something out that could help me and others. Yet there would be no possibility of it happening whatsoever if I weren’t researching, learning about, and pushing for this myself. If not for that I’d just be at everyone’s mercy who tells me that hormonal links are hard to follow. So what if it is hard??!! Do it anyway! Think of what we could accomplish if it gave us big answers for those of us with hormonal links! But, alas, it is not so… I understand why. (Money.) But understanding makes me angry!

One more rant about this experience, except this one is for your amusement….

Today was the first time I have ever been mid-exam – feet in the stirrups kind of mid-exam, and the doctor gets a beeper telling her she has to go deliver a baby NOW. She and her assistant hastily apologized and left the room with me spread-eagle alone in the room and waiting for the nurse practitioner to come in and finish. Ummmm, is this common? Surely this has happened to someone other than me…?  I chuckled about it, but I really felt very exposed and abandoned! It was a new one for me….

I hope I didn’t make too many of you men uncomfortable today, but probably not many men clicked on this post anyway [wink]