Saturday, July 18, 2015

Huntington's Disease

My week has been filled with an array of emotions. Monday, I accompanied my mother to her neurologist appointment for him to read the results of her previously taken blood test.

A few months prior-
Mom had been off balance and fell, twice within two days. This resulted in a trip to the emergency room. She was feeling pain in her left shoulder, right ankle, had minor hip and knee pain, and bruising. The x-ray tech told Mom this was the most amount of x-rays he performed on one person, that night. While we waiting in the ER, I noticed Mom continually moving her hands and feet, so I asked why. Was she in pain? She looked down, noticed, and said she was not aware they were moving.

The ER doc cleared Mom of any fractures, but recommended follow up with her Primary Care Physician. The subsequent barrage of tests, scans and appointments for Mom's falls, and now the involuntary movement, result in a torn rotator cuff and a badly sprained ankle. They give Mom a walker to help with her balance. They send her for blood work to test for Huntington's Disease.

Back to Monday-
We arrive at the neurologist, he reads the results from Mom's blood work and confirms that Mom tested positive for Huntington's Disease. He is kind and patient, answering my many questions on how this will effect my mother long term. Huntington's is a disease that causes the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. It has a broad impact on a person. Sufferers can loose their ability to speak, swallow, and use facial muscles. It effects cognitive function and memory loss, which leads to dementia. It effects the entire body, causing muscle spasm and involuntary movement. At it's worst, as it progresses most people cannot speak, smile, swallow, write or walk.

There is no cure.

HD is diagnosed from a repeat gene. At the repeat count of 40, you have the disease. Mom's count is a 41. She has a mild case that onset late in her life, she is 74. It has taken this long to show the outwardly recognizable signs-- constant and involuntary hand and feet movement. 

When I think the doctor is done speaking words that will forever change my life, he tells me that there is a 50/50 chance I now have the rare disease. I may have been passed down the abnormal gene from my mother, or received the normal gene from my father. Doc turns to Mom and asks if she has other children, as they have the same odds.

Fear takes over. My sisters.

The doctor recommends we three siblings be tested for HD, and kindly offers to write a letter to my insurance company to try to bring the giant cost of the test down because it is now not a sporadic voluntary test, it is doctor recommended. He states we could be carriers and may ethically be effected in our decision to have children in the future. We could pass the disease down,  our children would then have a 50/50 chance of carrying the abnormal gene. Just because the disease onset with my mother late in life, it could effect each of us differently. She may be a 41 count, whereas any of us could be an 80. Once the disease onsets, life expectancy is 20 years. Doc doesn't know my 19-year-old daughter is now pregnant, and this information has come 30 weeks too late for her, and 20 years too late for me. My heart breaks as I think of my unborn grandson. 

I drive home in a daze, with tears streaming down my face. I arrive home and tell my husband that our lives may forever be altered. There is a 50% chance I will slowly lose my memory and be trapped in my head with no ability to smile or write. His response is not with panic, but rather calm. He says if I do have HD, we will live life amazingly for the next 20 years while I can remember it. We will travel the world and go on adventures. When HD truly onsets, not to worry, he is made for this (my husband had a chronically ill father he cared for).  He assures me that in the eleven years we have been together that one thing is certain, we are good at handling crazy and we will deal with whatever comes our way, together. He is my hero.

My next action is to tell my sisters. One is in Chile, and we have to message her the news. The other says she is focused on another pressing health issue and will have to deal with any panic and worry when her blood test results are in. 

I spend the next several hours trying to find out the cost of and schedule my blood test. My insurance can't find the cost without the testing code. I call my PCP who doesn't know to what "code" they refer, and recommends I call the lab. I spend half hour trying to reach someone at the lab, where they say the PCP provides the code, and recommend calling him. I am in a downward spiral and caught in the system. I have had enough of phone tag, and decide to schedule an appointment with my doctor to see him face-to-face. His first appointment is in two long days.

I am not handling any of this well and find myself in tears or yelling. (A friend once told me if I feel like yelling, I should yell. So I let it out.) I begin researching the disease on every website possible and make the mistake of searching #huntingtonsdisease on Instagram to see how the disease effects other people. One 15-second video and I am scarred for life. I watch a girl my age toddle with a walker. I am horrified at the potential future for my sisters, daughter, grandson, and myself. I find it impossible to focus at work. My boss is kind enough to free me for as many days as I need. I escape to the ranch where I volunteer. I spend up to 10 hours a day the next two days working with the animals and horseback riding. My goal: physically work my body to it's limits. Raking, cleaning, pulling horses, tacking, riding and pushing full wheel barrels until I pass out at night from exhaustion. Leaving me no time to think.

Thursday is my doctor's appointment. I arrive early, and he sees me immediately. He briefly tells me they have looked into the testing, and don't know where to send me to get my blood work done. I am appalled. I ask him for a referral to my mom's neurologist, because at least he knows where the tests came from. I also ask for a referral for my sister while I am there, as we see the same PCP and she is in the same position as I. Doc complies and gives me the referral paperwork to take to the front desk. The lady there advises me it can take up to 48 hours to process the paperwork to the referring doctor, and it will take them a few days to call me. I ask if I can simply walk the papers to the building next door, where the neurologist office is located. She replies no. My anxiety is climbing, so I decide to walk over anyway and speak to the neurologist myself. Oddly, my sister is in the building finishing an unrelated appointment, and she meets me at the front desk where we plead our case together as a united front. The receptionist calls the nurse up. We tell her our situation, she relays back that their office just reads the test results and do not actually order them, but she will speak with my mom's neurologist to see what they can do for us.

More waiting.

Mom has had her shoulder surgery scheduled for Friday. I've missed much work, and thought I would feel okay letting my sister handle the outpatient surgery, and just see Mom later in the day. But, I am wrought with panic and decide to go to the hospital with them. During the two hours Mom is in surgery, my sister and I spend some time in the waiting room, talking through our feelings of panic, dread and fear. We cry together and hug to comfort each other. Everything goes well in surgery and Mom will be staying with my sister for a few days. The nurse gives at home instructions and tells us Mom cannot lift her arm up for four weeks. I ask how Mom will use her walker. The nurse says she can't use it. Mom isn't the type to sit still for four weeks, so we will have to figure out a solution. While I am waiting with Mom, I miss a call from the neurologist's nurse. She leaves a minute and a half long voice mail message. When I try to listen to it, not a word is coherent, it is as if she has called from a cell phone with poor connection. I call her back, frustrated that I missed the call and can't make out the message, only to find out from the receptionist that the nurse has left for the weekend.

When I visit Mom later in the afternoon to see how she is feeling, Mom is all smiles and lucid. She is feeling fine from the surgery, her shoulder block still working so she is feeling no pain. While I am sitting at her bedside, I open up the discussion on the disease. 

Mom tells me she has known her entire life that her family suffered Huntington's Disease. It has been passed down from the Vieira's, her father's side. Her father's mother had memory issues and once wandered from the house. A year later on Thanksgiving, hunters found her body. She had fallen into a creek. The water preserved her body and leaves covered her head. Her father's two brothers and three sisters all suffered the disease. Each unstable walking and with memory issues. We do not know if they were ever tested, or if the disease was named back then. Mom also says her sister has recently been diagnosed with the disease. I asked Mom if she knew her entire life there was a 50% chance she has HD, why she decided never to be tested? Mom replies with calm and confidence, she'd rather live a full life and if she began showing signs, she would know she had HD and deal with it then. Maybe she would be diagnosed, but the disease would onset late in life and mildly (as the case happened to be). Why spend years panicking? It isn't like cancer, where early detection can mean the difference between life and death. There is no cure for Huntington's Disease. 

This information blows me away. How could she not want to know?

I find out, via my sister, that three of my cousins know that my aunt has tested positive for Huntington's. They all have decided not to be tested either.

I digest this new information and call my father. He is surprised by the knowledge that the Vieira family had the disease. He always knew they were a bit off with their balance and memory, and secretly called it the "Vieira Quirk" not knowing it was an actual degenerative disease. Dad recalls my mother's grandmother wandering into the woods. I tell Dad that after my conversation with Mom, I am considering not being tested and ask his opinion. Dad and my Step-Mom, who is the background, whole hardheartedly agree. He says that they have been researching HD the entire week since they found out it effects us, his three daughters. He says there is no preventive measures nor cure. That we have already been affected by HD because Mom has been diagnosed, we do not need individual tests to prove that life is precious and we should live it to it's fullest.

I've opted not to get tested. Not to let this define me. I've called my sisters, and we are all in agreement. All of us refuse to live a life full of dread at the knowledge, but live differently and as if we do have HD.

I am going to be brave, while I can still choose to do so. 
I will enjoy every little moment, while I can still remember them. 
I will write, knit, paint and remodel frequently, while I still have use of my hands. 
I will laugh and smile often, while my face muscles still react. 
I will cherish my time with my daughter and grandson. Because they may be carriers too. Each precious moment is now amplified. 
I will adore my mom's smile, letters, and hugs.
I will spend my time raising awareness and hoping to find a cure for Huntington's Disease. You can start educating yourself or donate here:  

                                   Photo taken from Instagram #HuntingtonsDisease

I will never see this test result, powerfully confirming that I do not have Huntington's Disease. Nor will I feel the immense relief associated with it. But I will also not see the flip side, and know the feeling of sheer panic and dread if those few small letters read

The suicide rate doubles for those that have been positively diagnosed with HD. I've lived 37 years without the knowledge, and oh how ignorance is bliss. I thank my mother for not telling me. I thank God for giving me the time and ability to reach this decision on my own. For not having the insurance company, doctors offices, or lab know where to send me to be tested; and for scrambling the nurse's minute and a half long voice mail message. It's contents will remain unknown. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

25 reasons why humans shouldn't populate the state of Arizona

Get out while you can (and yes, these are all personal experiences).

1) When it's 114 degrees outside, it doesn't matter if it's a dry heat

2) There is no such thing as scorpion bug spray, they love to come inside your home, at night,

3) and they run faster than Forrest Gump

4) A popular landscape rock color is beige and is used all over in front and read yards, which matches the exact color of baby rattlesnakes

5) Beige carpet is a popular color in homes, which exactly matches the color of scorpions

6) Spend enough time in the desert running your dogs, and you might be stalked/chased by an irritated coyote,

7) twice.

8) It is the number one retirement state in the U.S., so if you want to drive anywhere, you should plan on taking valium and an extra 10 minutes, because you are going to get stuck behind someone that can not see over the steering wheel, and there are no highways or freeways that run through town

9) The water in your hose is scalding hot, and burns everything for about the first minute it is on, there is never an appropriate time to check if it has cooled down

10) There are earthquakes

11) When you "kill" scorpions, and leave them in a bag, they play dead and can live for up to a week without oxygen. So you shouldn't keep the bag to teach your dogs (scent training) and children to stay away from scorpions. Because when you shake the bag, it's a really exciting time for everyone involved.

12) When you walk outside at night during monsoon season, you may find a tarantula at eye level under the front porch catching bugs

13) And along with beige carpet, beige tile is popular, which also camouflages scorpions

14) There are cactus that jump, called jumping cholla, and it lodges itself into your skin with a barbed hook at the front,

15) and because that isn't scary enough, the barbs are poisonous

16) If you forget anything in your car, it melts

17) If you have nail polish in your car, it swells open and could spill on your upholstery

18) iPhones screens overheat if left in the sun for five minutes in summer

19) During the rainy season, tarantulas live in your front and backyard, and are bold

20) Trees have thorns instead of flowers

21) Worms, lizards, and frogs are deadly poisonous (centipede, millipede, gila monster, colorado river toad)

22) Wild pigs chase you (javelina)

23) There are no amusement parks or large awesome water parks

24) Dairy Queen is a necessity, not a luxury

25) The lakes are not really lakes at all, and not fit for swimming, they are manmade are filled with chemicals, but people still fish in them

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And through all that, my eyelashes stayed glued on.

A case of the Mondays.

My 15 year old daughter had her wisdom teeth removed on Friday, the same day I take my 12 year old to the doctor, because she is on day 4 of sore throat and on-and-off fever (which was diagnosed on Monday as strep). The weekend was filled with back and forth trips from the kitchen (and store) to the couch. Ice pack, warm compress, ibuprofen, narcotics, soup, smoothies and eegee's.  My girls take it like a woman. Our new saying in the house, because if they "Take it like a man," there would have been more whining. Let's face it, women handle sickness and pain better than men. Silently suffering.

My hubby has found, in the last two days, four scorpions in the house. In between caring for the girls I buy and spray a deadly chemical at the permitter of the exterior of the house and yard, clean all of inside and our baseboards with orange oil. I also read lavender plants help, I buy a few and plant them by our doors.

By Sunday, probably due to the stress and exhaustion, I am feeling feverish and a sore throat coming on. I panic, because I cannot handle a week out of work. I am not able to sit still, and a week on the couch is like a week in prison to me. I am supposed to teach dog class, and do not feel I am well enough to go. I call my dog training mentor, and friend, to let her know I am not up to class. I explain my impending feeling of doom and that I'm certain I've gotten the plague. She recommends that I make a special tonic, to kick its butt before it takes me down.

I research the tonic and the necessary ingredients. Honestly, when I find it online, cannot believe it is safe for human consumption. 1 1/2 heads of garlic (not cloves, people. Heads.) onion, ginger, horseradish, peppers, and apple cider vinegar. Apparently this is the holistic approach to flu shots. The instructions says to blend everything together and let it steep for 4 weeks. My mentor mentioned ahead of time that I do not have the time to wait, she recommends that I blend it and chew it down.

I sit, restless, weighing the options of being sick for a week or consuming fire. I decide that braving the fire is a better option. I drive to the store and feel teeny panic attacks while I make my purchase.

I arrive back, and begin preparing for my own demise. I chop four serrano chiles, a full onion, about 15 cloves of garlic, ginger, horseradish and half a bottle of apple cider vinegar, and throw all the ingredients in the blender. And prepare to blend. As I stare down, psyching myself out, I begin to cry. It was the onion. I swear. I press the button, and everything mixes together. My head cannot even come within a few inches with the lid on without wanting to gag. The websites say to consume a few droplets to save yourself from flu, but if you are already sick, 6 tablespoons per day are recommended. I "chicken out" and commit to 3.

I stand for a solid minute, wondering how one goes about ingesting this concoction. It is too chunky for a shot glass and too runny for a bowl. I opt to load everything on a spoon and guzzle it down. I hold the spoon and muster up the guts (pun intended). Once it enters my mouth, I chew lightly and immediately swallow. I think that once it is past the lips that all will be right in my world. Wrong. My esophagus and stomach are now feeling exactly where the lump is traveling as it enters my unsuspecting body.

I do an amazing dance, surprising myself with new moves. Some sort of hopping and jiggling, to try and extinguish the fire. Half hour later my limbs are tingling and I can feel blood rushing around in my head. I begin sweating.

After all the excitement, I am tired but I wrestle with sleep.

The next day, I awake late. Now, I don't have a specific start time at work, but I try to be punctual. I rush around the house, shower, put my eyelashes on, and prepare my kale smoothie and lunch, and talk myself into consuming one tablespoon of the fire. Which has now begun fermenting overnight, and is waaaay worse on the second day.

As I am in process of feeding the dogs, before I go, I become aware that the two younger dogs, who happen to be litter mates, are in a mood. I have skipped our normal weekend outings because my girls are ill. My Catholic guilt takes over and I feel leaving the girls, who are mostly improved, but not 100%, all day with two rambunctious dogs, is unfair.  I decide to take them outside for a quick game of flirt pole. This game is a gift. I stand still while using a horse whip with a dog toy tied to the end of it to make my dogs chase. Imagine, large cat toy. As the game progresses, Ava and Roo become more and more frantic, I see them becoming crazed instead of calm. Right as I am about to quit the game, Ava captures the toy and Roo lunges. I catch them both mid air, teeth bared, and haul Ava in the house, to sucessfuly prevent the dog fight. I am now quickly realizing they are really pent up, and I will need to take them out. I change into my jogging clothes, throw my hair up, and take them for a run.

At least, that is my intention. It is 8:00 a.m., and thus rapidly approaching 90 degrees. I take my crew into the wide open desert behind my house, but I realize I am not up to running. I have taken my dogs off leash for years in this desert. My two "new" dogs are only 2, but my senior dog is 15, and we have gone almost daily for the better part of 10 years now. The last time I went far into the desert, Ava and Roo decided to rustle up a coyote and take chase. Predators turn into prey, and to make really long story short, I was stalked by a coyote within 10 feet, a little under a mile back to civilization. This coyote was baying and circling, trying to decide if Roo was going to be breakfast. Well, after years of dog training, I have learned enough about dog body language and behavior. I hope domestic dog behavior is similar enough to kept the wild dog at a safe distance. I walked--even though ever fiber of my being was screaming for me to run-- back to the house yelling, keeping a " I mean business" body posture, and throwing rocks near  him, when he got too close.

Since said nightmarish situation, I have decided that Ava and Roo cannot run free anymore, until they have a reliable recall, which means another round of training classes. But as I stand looking at the peaceful desert, I decide what are the odds, after 10 issue free years, that this is going to happen again? Slim to none. Since I am wicked close to the house, I unclip the leashes. With the speed and power of a greyhound, Ava takes off, and Roo, less muscular and agile, tries to keep up, lumbering behind her. I am standing still, and watch them, keep going. I frantically begin calling them back to me, while they dash back and forth, leaving only a dust trail in their wake. The pent up frustration is too much and distraction is too great, they are gone. Wild and free.

As I stand in the sun, leashes dangling, cursing myself for this stupid situation, I watched my two have the time of their life. I try to relax, until I hear a coyote to my left begin baying. I think that there is no way this is really happening, and I begin wildly laughing. Ava and Roo are somewhere that direction, and I cannot imagine they wouldn't have learned the lesson the first time.

After a few long seconds, I hear them pounding towards me, but I cannot see them. The last time this happened, and they ran back to me, the coyote was within feet of Roo, (Ava had a 5 foot lead) and she was wild eyed and running for all she was worth to hide behind me.

My dogs hit a clearing, and I brace myself for battle number two. But, there is no coyote. Maybe it's the intense smell of garlic pouring out of me? I will never know.

I leash my brats and head back toward the house, walking calmly with the coyote out of sight, but continuously calling. The sound is deafening at this close of a distance. Again. But my inability to see him this time spooks me worse than watching him stalk. At least I could watch his behavior and make corrections to my posture. This time, I a flying blind.

I reach the sidewalk after what seems like an hour, and am exhausted. I look down at Ava and Roo and they are more wound up now then when we left the house. Gah. So I run after all.

I get back to the house with sweat pouring down my face and chest. Garlic stinging my eyes. I shower, re-dress and spruce up my makeup before trying to start my Monday a second time. I am surprised to find, that through all that my eyelashes stayed glued on.

Them lashes though. Through flood, sweat and tears, making girls feel fancy for years. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chemical Free

In the process of becoming healthier, I have found chemicals around the house extremely harmful and a completely unnecessary expense. I am not one to turn my kitchen into a potion making scene, with mixing, stirring, and bubbling pots. My recipes are simple, and require a straight forward measure and mix together. I will share the recipe dry mix laundry soap and make a recommendation for a cheaper alternative to bleach cleaners below.

Just bleach alone is a danger to our homes and our earth. When we inhale the corrosive chemical, we cough and it burns. Exposure can lead to Reactive Airways Disfunction Syndrome (RADS). RADS is a chemically induced form of asthma that can last two to twelve years. That weird slippery feeling when it touches your skin? Unnatural! The lye is reacting with oils on our skin. And yet we soak our clothes, bed sheets, toilets, bathrooms and kitchens in it. Food we consume touches countertops we think are not clean and disinfected unless scrubbed with bleach.

Ever thought of cleaning a bathroom mirror with glass cleaner and using a cleaner with bleach on countertops? Ammonia and bleach were used in chemical warfare to poison people in World War I and by the Nazi's in World War II. The combination makes chlorine gas. When inhaled, the gas tears into your nasal passage, trachea, and lungs causing massive cellular damage. It can cause permanent lung damage and painful death. Bleach in the toilet is equally as harmful. Chlorine gas is made when the bleach mixes with ammonia in our urine. We are poisoning the air we breathe in our homes. Thus poisoning ourselves and our children, and paying out the nose to do it.

I have rid my home of all chemicals. I found once I educated myself and looked outside of what is considered the norm, I felt that spraying chemicals in the air (air freshener), sprinkling them on our carpets, washing our dishes (heating and cooling them in the microwave and dishwasher), and washing our laundry and sheets, and windows with them should not be normal.

One box of Borax, a bottle of vinegar, and baking soda have replaced everything in our home and we are breathing better for it. I have made the swap to Borax for cleaning. It is $3.50, and one box lasts me up to 4 months. I just sprinkle Borax around my sink and toilet and gently rub in with a wet sponge (toilet brush), let sit for 15 minutes and rinse! No scrubbing necessary. Borax is a mineral. It is listed as a health hazard 1 on the MSDS (material safety data sheet), but on the same level as salt and baking soda.

My clothes are softer and smell way better than ever. My laundry detergent recipe is as follows: 

One cup Borax
One cup Washing Soda
One ounce grated Castille soap. I like mine scented with lavender. 

Just use two tablespoons per load. I have found our detergent now costs $.50 per month. 

If you have any homemade recipes you wish to share, please do so!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Where it all began

I had a kid at 18 and decided I wasn't doing that again. Now, I love my daughter. But being a single teen mom was a challenge. I didn't need to make it twice as hard. So, I got on depo provera, the fool (which I was) proof birth control. It is a once every three month shot, and it worked great.

I was a happy teen mom, but life was difficult. Making $4.25 an hour and trying to have school, work, and being a mom all fit into a 24 hour day. Add in one verbal and emotionally abusive baby daddy, and I began to gain weight. The first few pounds didn't bother me, and then it slid slowly out of control. I was a body builder in high school and know how to rock it out at the gym. I reluctantly joined, even though I really couldn't afford the extra $15.00 a month.

After several months of going at it -- I'm just going to be honest, maybe half at it and half a slice of cake. Hey-compromise ;) -- I couldn't get any of the weight off, and I had gained 70 debilitating pounds.

Trying to muster up the energy to go to the gym when that overweight is a killer. Tediously staring at a blank wall, sweating, lifting, and climbing to no immediately obvious goal. I went alone and what made it worse was the gym atmosphere. I take the back row (like in school) only to watch healthy people's non-jiggly butts. Amazing women with thighs that don't touch, in front of me. They seamlessly run, each step seems so light and fun for them. I was always looking around for other people my size. I would have given anything for one person, sweating to the oldies with me.

The gym is exhausting mentally and physically to me. Every time I go, I get on the treadmill and stare at nothing, going nowhere (I hate treadmills, can you tell?). This horrible method of "weight loss" gave me nothing to do but think, analyze my life. Every time the thoughts turned to how I had let myself go. I became hyper conscious on the stair master, watching and feeling every slow step I took in my oversized shoe. My sweatpants tearing in the center from the friction of thigh rubbing. Gah. Just gah.

Still no weight loss. On the contrary, continued weight gain. Now tipping the scale at 210 pounds, a total of a 90 pound gain. I hired a personal trainer. The devil himself. I worked out five times a week on Satan's "10-10-10" plan. 10 reps - 10 second break - repeat 10 times. BRUTAL I tell you. He thought wrapping cardio in light weight training was the way to go to have me shed pounds and tone up. He was worried with typical weight lifting that I would gain muscle and bulk up. I agreed to his sinister workout plan.

Around month three he was starting to notice my weight loss was less than satisfactory. We decided to ramp up the plan. Sometimes I couldn't lift my arms to brush my hair because my muscles were torn so severely. But I loved it because he cheered me on because I was working so hard.

Five months went by. I lost a total of five depressing pounds.

My trainer thought I was a closet cake and McDonald's eater, and actually shouted at me for lying to him about what I was eating. He was spending all this time helping me, but outside of the gym I couldn't help myself?

Working out this hard and only losing five pounds? What gives? After I told him that although I didn't have the best eating habits, I wasn't scarfing behind his back, he sent me to a nutrition specialist. They both really tore into my life, which was embarrassing. As a fat girl, my self esteem was already down the tubes. Now two skinny people were inspecting me with a microscope, which made me notice every workout, every calorie, every bite, every decision, every minute of every day. And still no weight loss.

Although they meant well, and were there to help, the combination of me being hyper aware, having them quiz me, and working so hard I was sore every day (and throw in a crappy ex who called me fat) sent me into depression.

My hired team could not figure out why I couldn't loose weight, so they advised I go to a doctor for a slew of tests. Thyroid was the obvious potential issue. The tests all came back fine. I was sobbing in my doctor's office, at the end of this humiliating experience. He says, "Aren't you on the birth control shot?" I say, "Yes?" and finally the truth comes out.

Doc advises me that the main side effect of depo provera is weight gain. The drug is effective in preventing pregnancy because it makes the human body think it is pregnant, and stops a woman's period altogether. Which means the body starts reserving fat for the non-existent baby.

Digest this. What a unbelievably unnatural way to mess with a woman's body. And the worst news? The drug stays active in my system for a year to year and a half after discontinued use.

Meaning- I was destined to a life stuck in this fat suit for an entire year, regardless of what I did.