January 25, 2012

The Spoon Theory

When I started this blog I wished I could find a way to explain to people without hirsutism what it is like to live with hirsutism.  The things you deny yourself, the ways you have to plan ahead...

And a few days ago I was shown a link to this article about the "Spoon Theory," which the author came up with to explain to a friend what it was like to live with Lupus.  I haven't been about to stop thinking about it.  It's such a good way to illustrate what it's like to have a chronic challenge like that in your life.

Now, I would never compare hirsutism to Lupus.  Idiopathic hirsutism in particular, which really doesn't have any other symptoms (unlike the glucose imbalance, weight gain and difficulty conceiving that can also be part of the hairy parcel for women with PCOS), can hardly be described as a "sickness."  But it is a bodily malfunction of sorts that we can't control.  It is something that makes us budget our energy (and our shaving cream) because, let's face it, hirsutism can also prevent us from doing things.

This is a very good article.  This week, this is what I'd like people to read:  http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/

I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.”

And I think more than anything it reminds us how lucky we are.  We have more control over our lives than many, hair or no hair.  May we be empowered to take charge and made the most of each day.

January 18, 2012

6 Months on Spiro with Diane-35

I was back at the endocrinologist's last week for my six month follow-up since starting the combination of 200 mg Spiro and Diane-35.  (I am too impressed by my iPhone, taking pictures of my own feet in the waiting room...)

I was able to report to her that I am quite happy with the current treatment, so neither of us feel the need to change my meds.  The Diane keeps my periods regular with no mid-cycle spotting, and though I think it makes my stomach sour sometimes, it is very very tolerable.  And I think the little bit of cyproterone in the bcp might help... either that or being on Spiro longer is allowing me to see even more effects.  I'm not shaving my chest anymore, and the hair on my stomach is light enough that I would only trim it if I were going to wear a bikini for some reason.  The hair on my thighs is lighter and even on my face there is definitely a bit of thinning out.  The endo said she rarely sees the facial hair disappear altogether on medication, and indeed it is the most stubborn part of a hirsute woman's body.  She again mentioned that I might be happy with the result of laser hair removal now, and I am still seriously considering it.

From here, my family doctor (if we ever decide on one) can continue to prescribe the medications, and there will be no need to keep going back to the endo.  Admittedly, I was a little sad about that.  She was the one who finally helped me find answers.  Also from this point, we can even begin to start tapering off the medications and see how low we can get them before I start to notice the hair returning.  Though she says there is no cumulative risk for being on these medications and any serious side effects are rare, especially in my age, there are always risks, and it's up to each individual whether or not they feel the results are worth putting these chemicals in their bodies.

For me, right now, it's worth it.  I'm trying to stay fit and do my monthly breast exams.  Even if the prescriptions won't help me far enough to achieve my dream of one day waking up and not having a beard to shave, they are making life easier by reducing the hair, the acne, and the shine.  I know it's a temporary solution, but aren't crutches designed to support you until you can walk on your own?  I like having the little extra help now.

So, since I hope these are helpful (they help me prepare for my endo appointments)... photographic evidence, such as I can accomplish:

(Click for larger view)

Again, my stomach, as this is an area of dramatic change.  Would anyone benefit from seeing other areas, if I can figure out how to post those body parts modestly?  

From left to right:  Before any medication; 6 months on Spiro (100mg); 4 months on Spiro (200mg); 2.5 months on Finasteride; 6 months on Alesse and Spiro (200mg); 6 months on Diane and Spiro (200mg).

January 12, 2012


Whoa, gals... whoa.

The Pink Razor Project is looking for people in the U.S. (and possibly Canada) to interview for their documentary!

Please have a look at their link, and if you know someone who would be interested in participating in an interview, please share this with them:  http://pinkrazorproject.com/2012/01/10/preliminary-interviews/

So exciting to see this taking off!

January 11, 2012

"Hate isn't something we're born with"

I'm in the midst of some family health issues right now and dealing with some stress and sleeplessness.  Everything seems to be well so far, but when is surgery fun, right?  I'm also deep in some artistic deadlines right now--did I mention I quit my job to focus completely on my creativity?

So this week, there's an article from 2007 that I reblogged today on tumblr and it's worth a read.  It's by singer-songwriter and female force-to-be-reckoned with Beth Ditto, dealing with how to stop worrying about weight, but the principles about loving yourself and feeling confident are universal.

Here's the link, nothing not safe for work here, but if you go to my main tumblr page, as always there may be some nudity.

And the source, fyeahbodypositive, (also NSFW), is a great tumblr to follow if you want to see pictures of real people sharing their bodies and posting messages to boost self esteem.

January 5, 2012

"Well, if the kids have mustaches at least we can retire early!"

Some of you guys know I love the arts, and that's what I went to post-secondary for.  My favorite art form would have to be the comic.  There's no other medium that has so much narrative potential without getting into animation.

When I want to spoil myself, I'll by a Flight book.  It's the most beautiful comics anthology I've ever seen, and is now (as of this post) in its eighth volume.  I kind of buy them out of order, depending on what's available in the bookstore I happen to be in when this self-indulgent urge occurs, which is how I wound up reading Flight Volume Four last week.  Unexpectedly, I encountered a story where the punch-line was a bearded lady.

Okay, well, I guess it all depends on how you look at it.  I think the way the artist intended it to be was that the punch-line was that a desperate strong man would give up on a beautiful trapeze artist who actually agreed to a date, because he saw her shaving her chin.  But as soon as his twin brother resigns himself to the risk of furry little children, the first one wants to fight for her again.

The comic is "Little Trouble in the Big Top" by Vera Brosgol.  You'll have to forgive the scan; you can't find the bearded lady page anywhere online, probably because they don't want to ruin the twist.  I struggled with posting it, myself, but in the end, what I would want to see is the depiction of the discovery of the beard.  And I'm already talking about how the comic ends, so I think we're all spoiled to the ending now anyway.

It's really a cute story with rich colors and charming presentation, and I regret that anyone who reads it now because of this post will not be as surprised as I was when I saw the razor come out. And I love that the trapeze artist is a trapeze artist, and not in the circus as a bearded lady.  The sibling rivalry over her affection is so innocent and bull-headed, and their reaction to the truth about their chosen "bride" is just human nature.  And in the end, her secret is kind of forgotten again in the resurgence of the sibling rivalry.

It makes me want to read a comic that specifically deals with a lady with a beard, and not have her on the sidelines.  I think if I want to, though, I might have to make one myself.

Anyway, the Flight books, edited by Kazu Kibushi--highly recommend them.  If you like comics that are creator-owned, not so mainstream, with beautiful varied styles and unique stories, you'll love these books.  There's something for everyone within those pages.