FIT CHALLENGE: Clark battles on without health insurance

Ellyn Clark
Jun 8, 2010

This past week (Week No. 21) of the FIT Challenge went well. I've stayed true to eating healthy and I've worked out hard.

Woo Hoo! Guess what? Gary and Annette aren't the only ones who've had to go buy new pants. I put my jeans on the other day and I just couldn't wear them. They are way too big. It feels so good to say that.

When I started this competition, I was a size 18 and climbing! Well, just the other day (June 4) I bought a size 14! I can't even remember the last time I was able to fit into a size 14 jean.

It feels so good! I can't wait to drop two more pant sizes.

I have no idea what's going on with my body. But something's going on! I've gone from losing 10 pounds the first month to losing 7 pounds per month, down to only losing 5 pounds per month.

I wonder if this is somehow related in part to the fact that I've been having hot flashes a lot more often and the episodes are getting closer and closer together. During the hot flashes, I feel miserable, irritable and sometimes feel like I just can't catch my breath.

I had a complete hysterectomy nine years ago. Thus, sending my body into instant early menopause. I was 38 years old.

To prevent one of the major symptoms of menopause — hot flashes — I was put on Premarin.

Premarin is a synthetic hormone replacement for estrogen. Estrogen is a female hormone. The importance of having estrogen is to promote the maintenance of normal brain function and development of nerve cells.

It is used synthetically to treat breast and prostate cancers and osteoporosis, and to relieve the discomforts of menopause. It is also important for healthy bones and overall health.

It's also believed to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system. Estrogen also reduces the risk of colon cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. It also plays a major role in the reproductive success of women.

But after having two TIAs (Trans Ischemic Attacks) within a three- year period — one in 2003 and the other in 2006 — I was taken off Premarin. A TIA mimics a stroke without actually being one. I was told Premarin has the possibility of being related to the cause of strokes.

So now, I have none, zippo, nada, female hormone called estrogen. Oh goody! Keep those hot flashes coming! (No sarcasm here.)

I had also been told both TIAs were neurological and to follow up with a neurologist. I never did follow up for the lack of insurance and the lack of funds. I was also told my TIAs were triggered by a tremendous amount of stress, lack of exercise and proper diet.

Through the graciousness of FIT Magazine I've been able to take care of the exercise and proper diet, which in turn has taken care of relieving some stress.

I am older now and the older I get the more my body is changing. Am I around the age early menopause usually begins to rear its ugly head? Is this why I'm having the increased episodes of hot flashes? Is this why the weight loss has slowed down? Is my body having inner-hormonal turmoil that I am totally oblivious to?

If so, I do not believe it is a good enough excuse to slow me down. So I am going to continue to leave the gym a "hot sweaty mess" and stick to my healthy eating plan and see where I am in another month.