The past two weeks have been such a whirlwind! Teddy and I applied and were approved for a new apartment, which we’re so so SO excited about! And we have fun traveling plans coming up soon — a weekend trip to Austin to try Franklin Barbecue for the first time and a long weekend on the East coast for a friend’s wedding in June.
But while we have some really fun things going on, there’s been one big question mark that’s been hanging around in the background. I’ve been dealing with irregular periods for a few years now, but when it had been over 3 months since my last period, I knew there was something wrong. Now, countless calls to the doctor’s office, two appointments, and two blood tests later, I know that my hormone levels are seriously off, and that it’s probably PCOS. But it could be a thyroid condition. Or a benign brain tumor.
We’re waiting for the results of my last blood test, but for now we’re operating on the assumption that it’s PCOS. And since PCOS is a vicious cycle — weight gain messes with your hormones, which leads to irregular periods, and makes it harder to lose weight — I’ve had to make some big changes to how I cook and eat.
Even before the PCOS word was on the table, I had already made some big changes almost accidentally. I cut back my dairy intake so much that it’s almost nonexistent, and I cut back on sugary drinks and white flour-based bread and pasta in favor of whole wheat (which is SO much better than it was when I was a kid!). And while most of those changes happened almost without me really noticing it, the hardest thing to give up was baking. It’s always been really relaxing for me, so when I stopped baking (because funny enough, having a whole cake with just two people doesn’t really help with your weight loss goals), I really missed it.
And then came the death knell. During our research into how to deal with PCOS, we found a lot of contradictory recommendations, but they all said to cut out grains (either all grains or everything but whole grains, which is pretty confusing) and sugar. And while I’ve collected a bunch of gluten-free or whole-grain dessert recipes, finding a recipe that doesn’t have sugar or flour is really challenging. (I know there are probably lots of recipes that use artificial sweeteners, but that’s not my thing. I would much rather use honey or maple syrup than an artificial sweetener, but that doesn’t always translate well in baking.) So one day, while Teddy and I were talking about how I missed baking and the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to bake very much anymore, and I cried. It sounds silly, but it was crushing to think that I wouldn’t be able to bake again. Suddenly I couldn’t stop thinking of all the cake recipes I’d been wanting to try, and how much I would miss measuring flour, mixing the ingredients, and kneading dough.
Since then, we’ve realized that the baking embargo will probably only be temporary, but I’m honestly not sure. We’re still waiting to find out the real cause behind all of the weirdness going on, and that will tell us a lot about how we’ll go from here. (And what we’ll have to do whenever we decide to have kids, but I’m honestly trying not to think about that right now.)
This is definitely the most personal post I’ve written, and it’s kind of nerve wracking honestly. But it’s been weighing on my mind a lot lately, and so I thought I’d share in case anyone else out there is in a similar situation. I know I’m really lucky, because besides the hormonal imbalance, I’m fairly healthy, and I know that’s such a blessing. And even if it’s really silly, I think it’s good to be honest about the times we cry over cake.