01 Jul Shannon needed help navigating irregular periods
Hormonology Helped Her
As part of the series, “Hormonology Helped Her”, I’m interviewing Hormonology fans to find out how they use the knowledge about their hormonal effects in their everyday life. Here’s what Shannon had to share…
Shannon needed help navigating her irregular periods
Shannon stumbled upon Hormonology while researching depression and anxiety. The 48-year-old North Bend, Washington mom of two had long struggled with these issues as well as the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which caused irregular periods. When she tried to figure out how her hormones tied into her moods, researching the link got even more complicated after her uterus needed to be removed. This took away her periods, giving her no obvious signpost to figure out where she was in her cycle.
Then, Shannon found Hormonology–and she discovered she could pinpoint where she was in her cycle based on how her hormones were impacting her. That’s when things started to turn around.
Read on to hear Shannon explain in her own words how knowledge of hormonal effects made such a big difference in her life….
How did the hormone information you learned from Hormonology impact your relationship with your menstrual cycle?
From the start of my period until about age 20, my period was always irregular. I just figured this was because I was young. However, it was because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. I started hormone birth control and finally had a predictable cycle.
But then, at the age of 35 after the birth of my son, I had an emergency hysterectomy that removed my uterus, but kept my ovaries intact. So, before Hormonology I had little to no knowledge of my period or how it was impacting me. From age 32 to about 42, I did not know when or if I was even having a period because I did not know any of the signs to look for without actual bleeding.
I also suffered from depression almost all of my life. Whenever I would have a down day, I would think that I just needed to increase my depression medicine.
However, when I started reading information on the Hormonology website, I began to keep a journal on my phone each day. It is usually just a couple of words, like “grouchy”, “super horny”, “so tired”, “migraine”, “wet”, “super sensitive”.
After keeping a daily journal for a while, I was able to figure out exactly where I was in my cycle even though it was irregular and I did not bleed. I began to notice set patterns.
After a while, I began to notice that I would be feeling 100% fine, then I would feel a pain near my left ovary. For two days after that, I would feel like I stepped off a cliff emotionally. I would have a hard time getting out of bed. I cried at anything. I truly believed that everyone would be happier without me around and that not one person on the planet liked me. Then, three days after the one-second sharp pain near my ovary, everything would be back to normal as if nothing had happened. I would be busy, active, happy, energetic and ready to conquer life.
After a couple of years of noticing this pattern, I went to my doctor. I told her that absolutely nothing had changed in my life for those two days except that I had ovulated. My family, career, kids, home, husband, friendships, workouts, eating, prayer time were all exactly the same. The only thing different on the two days when I felt so horrible was that I had just ovulated. I only knew I had ovulated from reading information the Hormonology website and keeping a short journal each day.
I told my doctor that maybe I was just super-sensitive to the estrogen plunge. She started me on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and it completely changed my life. The next cycle I went right through the two days after ovulation as if nothing had happened. There was not that sudden, dramatic jump off the cliff emotionally.
Recently, I decided to lower my estrogen dose. Within two weeks, I started having suicidal thoughts. I went back up on my estrogen, and everything returned back to normal.
Has learning about your hormones had an impact on others around you?
It has had a radical impact on my marriage and my friendships. My husband downloaded the Hormonology Female Forecaster App on his phone as well. We both have such a better understanding now of everything related to my hormones.
He loves the two days before ovulation and reminds me it is time for fun. He also has been able to offer me grace and support when I am really tired. He will remind me that I am in my Week 3 and my energy will come back soon. If I do have a down day, he will look right on the calendar on ask me if it’s after ovulation in my cycle.
As a mom of 16-year-old daughter, how have you used the knowledge you have about hormonal effects to interact with her?
Hormonology has also been a radical life-saver here. She downloaded the Hormone Horoscope Teen App. She is not, yet, on hormone birth control; so her moods are pretty intense. If she is sassing us or being super-emotional, my husband or I will just say, “Oh, she is Day 16. Give her space. Just let it go.”
I also have learned to take advantage of her Weeks 1 and 2 to do things like go shopping together.
I know from first-hand experience how powerful hormones are no matter how hard I try to use my mind to conquer them. They are very powerful little buggers, and the more I have had to cope with them, the more grace it has given my husband and I for her.
We even will tell our 13-year-old son to give her a little extra grace or mercy if she is particularly moody one day. She has a lot of pain during her cycle; so we are working with her doctor how best to handle that.
Have you taught your daughter about her hormonal effects?
Yes. I also have told all my nieces and all their friends. My nieces get embarrassed, and say, “Oh, great. Here goes Aunt Shannon with her hormone preaching again.”
I have two nieces who also have PCOS, and this information has radically helped them. I have a third niece who downloaded the app along with her husband. Her husband and my husband joke about what life-saver it has been for both of our marriages.
I think the thing I love the most is knowing and understanding that I am not “depressed” or “anxious”, and I don’t have to increase meds. I just have to be patient. Give it a few days, and a Week 2 will come along soon.
If it is a Week 3 or 4, I capitalize on those. For example, today I am one or two days before Day 1. I have still been in bed all day. BUT rather than beating myself up for not going at the speed of light, I have used this time to catch up on my son’s homeschool; check emails; open all my mail; and respond to this email interview 🙂
Before Hormonology, I would have been down that I was tired and not going at the speed of light. Now I embrace it.
Then, when Weeks 1 and 2 come, I use that time to really push myself in my workouts and push myself hard in my gardening efforts.
As the first generation to have this hormone knowledge early on, what’s your daughter’s take on all this?
At first, she made fun of me. Now, she really understands the power and impact of hormones. She is able to express where she is emotionally in terms of her cycle and both her dad and I are able to love her and support her.
We also are able to give her tools to be the best person she can be no matter what day she is on. We also were able to set some rules. On days right after ovulation, she used to watch puppy videos and cry for hours. Now we told her no more puppy videos in Weeks 3 and 4. 🙂
Have you had any other insight as a result of learning more about your cycle?
Rather than hate the power that they influence in my life, I have learned to harness their power to be useful for what I need at each week.
I know longer feel anxiety or panic that I am going to suffer with depression all my life. I now have 100% joy and confidence that I will have a joyful happy life every day–no matter what my hormones are doing.
I do not enjoy being bloated or tired or moody. BUT, through your work, I am learning how to put me in the driver’s seat and not my hormones.
What is something that you want other people to know about the hormonal effects in their cycles that you think is important?
I would like for others to know that they are not victims of hormones–men or women. They are so incredibly powerful–far more than I think most people give them credit for.
However, with training and education through things like your work, they can learn to work with them to be the person they want to become.
I still take medicine for depression, which I don’t like. In my dream world, I would not take medicine for anything. However, I would rather have one year happy and healthy than 10 years struggling to make it through each day.
As times passes, and people like you do more and more research, hormones will become even easier to deal with. It is kind of like having saggy breasts after childbirth. I was only ever to birth a live child one time. When they are not as perky as I would like, I remind myself that they are a visual reminder of a time and a gift in my life when I was able to have a baby. That time will never be here again.
Each day we can look for the crap in life and find it so easily. We also have the opportunity every day to look for the good and blessing in life. When my hormones are not right, I genuinely can’t see the good–no matter how hard my mind and will try. When my hormones are straight, I am able to leave the bad of each day at the cross and cherish the good of each day in my heart.
Hormones are so incredibly powerful. I want people to understand that and not just poo-poo them off. They are like a tsunami for me emotionally, and as I learn to harness their power, it is amazing.
Are you like Shannon and want to learn more about how your hormones impact you? Check out my book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Moods, Health & Potential–Updated & Expanded at Amazon.com.
You can also get an easy overview of the female cycle, download my free Hormonology eBooks (they’re short and easy to read!), download my free Hormone Horoscope App Lite (which gives you a daily short summary of how your hormones will be impacting you) or download my Hormone Horoscope App Pro (which gives you a much more detailed account of how your hormones will be impacting you every day).
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