Thursday, July 1, 2010

Food for Thought

I'm still waiting on the results of my beta, but I'm 99.9% sure that it's going to come back negative.

In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of research and a whole lot of soul-searching. I've mentioned in my previous posts that I think I have an eating disorder. It's always been in the back of my mind, but I never addressed it because I didn't fit the "typical" profile of being bulimic or anorexic.

For the past 8+ years, I have restricted my daily calorie intake to be between 1,000-1,200 calories. If I knew I was going to be having dinner with friends, I'd skip lunch so that I could eat "normally" at dinner or do an extra few miles on the treadmill. I would go to bed hungry, sometimes 4-5 nights/week. Up until about 8 months ago, my daily meals would be: one small bowl of fiber cereal (150 calories); salad with only veggies and no dressing (300 calories); small dinner usually chicken, veggies, brown rice (500-600 calories). In addition, I would exercise for a minimum of 1-2 hours 5 days/week.

After doing research on the internet, I realized that you don't have to be 5'5" and 100lbs to have an eating disorder AND that I had many of the symptoms associated with it. I have incredibly scant periods, low estrogen, bloating, brittle nails (for awhile my toe nails were falling off), thinning hair/hair loss, dark undereye circles, joint pain and chronic fatigue.

What's amazing is that no one has ever noticed...After eight years and two years of being married to a doctor, you would think that someone might take notice, but I guess I was pretty good at hiding it. Most of my meals are eaten at work and no one ever questioned my eating habits.

After the results of my last IVF retrieval and information from the internet, I finally decided to talk to Doc about it. It completely caught him by surprise and it was incredibly difficult for us. I'm such a terrible communicator and all I wanted to do was curl-up and disappear, but I made it through. Doc asked a lot of questions and we had a long, in-depth talk. He told me that there are many fully-functioning women with eating disorders. He also recommended that I talk to a nutritionist and a counselor.

The counselor is actually a good friend of Docs and when he spoke to her about me, she said that 25% of unexplained infertility cases are related to eating disorders and most of these women never disclose this to their REs! There are several studies that show the exact same thing.

The reason I'm writing all of this is because if there are other women out there with similar issues, please get help. Your RE will probably never ask if you have an eating disorder, so it's up to you to be your own advocate and make things happen for you.


sienna said...

grrr, i just wrote a long post and it disappeared. and it was so eloquent too :o(

on the one hand i'm glad that there might be a tangible reason for your fertility woes, but on the other, hate that you're going through this at all. there seems to be a huge correlation here with the immature eggs, so something to work with indeed (altho this begs the question of what's up with MY immature eggs from round 1 - perhaps overindulgence bc i'm a PIGGIE).

that's a huge step to recognize that this might be playing a role in all this and esp that you admitted it to doc. i'm really proud of you, but still hoping this is a nonissue bc i'm still holding my breath that you get a nice beta today. my confidence in my own ability to get pregnant is not as high unless you get your bfp today, so please please!!

sending you big hugs. it tooks cojones to admit all this :o)

irrationalexuberance said...

This is very brave of you to admit to yourself, your husband, and to a counselor. It really sounds as if you are doing some serious soul searching to understand what is going on, and I am totally impressed with how you are going about it.

I hope that this provides you with some answers.

Low Fat Lady said...

Very interesting. Wouldn't it be cool if you got help with your eating and that magically helped you to get pregnant? I wish you luck on both fronts.

Geochick said...

Good for you for recognizing you may need help regarding eating. If nothing else, hopefully with counseling and learning how to fuel your body you'll start feeling better and get rid of some of those nagging symptoms!