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Life update - where I'm at now

It has been a very long time since I gave an update with where I'm at on my health journey and just life in general. 2020 was a devastating period for many of us. I myself fell into a bit of a dark period, some health issues exacerbated, and I was left lacking inspiration.

Back in 2017, I wrote a post about my previous experience of amenorrhea, of which I'm happy confirm is not the case anymore. My period has been back since March 2018 (YAY), I'm a health weight, eat well, and exercise moderately (doing exercise I love - aka yoga, pilates, and walking). I do fall in and out of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), however I feel very lucky to be getting periods monthly, even if they aren't 28 day cycles to the day. Stress is the huge driver for me in this one, but things are luckily getting better over time.

After dealing with debilitating fatigue, pain, and odd symptoms for years (which probably started around my eating disorder), last year I was given answers. My beautiful GP referred me onto a rheumatologist, who ruled out autoimmune diseases and diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. A condition that's associated with widespread pain/tenderness and fatigue, fibromyalgia really is a somatic syndrome that can present differently amongst individuals. For me, I've also presented with sleep difficulties, GI issues, and low mood. I can happily say that much of these symptoms are under control now, as I've made quite a number of helpful changes in my life including prioritising sleep and pleasure, doing the things that are enjoyable, reducing my stress load (where possible), and incorporating supplements that reduce pain and support my energy levels. I'm now practically pain free most days, my fatigue is basically non-existent, and my mood has balanced out (BIG YAY). GI issues need some work, but these have been occurring on and off for 5+ years now. I know what works and what doesn't, just another lil hiccup to work on.

Off the biggest concern for me during 2020 was my worsening period pain and bleeding, sporadic pelvic pain, and random GI flares that would only occur around ovulation and my period. Over the last 6 months, these had suddenly worsened, and being a HCP, of course you worry. There were concerns of endometriosis, and ontop of this, in January 2020 I had a hysteroscopy to remove uterine polyps that had been causing me mid-cycle spotting (there were thoughts more may have grown back). I made the decision to book in with my gynaecologist for a laparoscopy and repeat hysteroscopy, which was performed this week. I'm happy to say that there was no endometriosis found and a small raised area in my uterus that may or may not be a polyp. I'm still in quite a bit of pain and bruised, but it's getting better everyday. The biggest struggle for me is having to rest for a week, I'm so used to be active and always on the go that I'm literally going crazy.

With the surgery, I also made the tough decision to get the Kyleena IUD, to assist with reducing my heavy periods/pain, reduce my risk of polyps growing back, and provide contraception. Yes, whilst I do study Naturopathy and believe that we should be aiming to support our female cycles and keep them as natural as possible, I still feel that allopathic medicine has a role to play and this is the best decision for me during this time of my life (hello integration). The good thing about this IUD is that I will still ovulate (progesterone is so important for mental health) and get periods, it will just reduce my bleeding significantly (and hopefully the pain too). Whilst we didn't get an answer to what was causing my pain, it's likely as a result of my reoccurring GI issues and sensitivity in the pelvic area as a result of fibromyalgia. My hormones have been out of whack for quite some time, which we know is likely partially to blame. I know I'll get there, it just takes time!

With the craziness of 2020, and possibly 2021 (who knows with the current 5 day Melbourne lockdown that is in place at the time I'm writing this post), I've decided to defer uni for the trimester and focus on doing a little bit of healing. On top of this, I'm feeling drawn to working more, I want to focus on my business (that's in the works), and need to find a new place to live. Great times are ahead, I can feel in in the air ❤

If you have any questions, whether it be about my condition, practitioners I'm seeing, or just life in general, I would be more than happy to answer.

Much Love,

Ashleigh xxx

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