As promised, I wanted to give a more detailed update into Ryan's battle with his hormones. If you need a refresher, you can read Parts One, Two and Three first if you'd like.
It's been about 9 months since my last update. And what an 9 months it has been. After seeing the pellet treatments working well for Ryan, we were no longer able to afford or get financial assistance to afford those treatments, so I began doing lots of research to find him a new doctor. Eventually, we picked a group of practitioners who work SOLELY with hormone deficiencies. I called to set up Ryan's first appointment, and one of the partner's spent almost 40 minutes on the phone with me, discussing every little detail of the past year.
Our biggest problem with his previous treatment was that the Doctor at that practice never pushed very hard to find the CAUSE of Ryan's imbalances. And that felt very important to us. So, when we went to Ryan's first appointment with the new practitioner, we stressed our concern about that. Immediately, we were told that Ryan would need an MRI to confirm or rule out a possible growth on his pituitary gland, which is the main hub for all things hormone related. (The MRI came back all clear. No growth or mass.) He also told us that the pellet treatments that Ryan had been receiving was actually doing as much harm as good. By giving Ryan just concentrated doses of testosterone, Ryan's body had essentially stopped trying to produce any on its own. Which means, Ryan would be dependent on artificial testosterone for the rest of his life. The pellets were also causing Ryan's testosterone levels to yo-yo constantly, causing him to "crash" when the pellets began to wear off. And on a (very) personal note, it also caused Ryan's body to stop producing sperm - which is pretty important when you haven't had children yet. All of these things combined made it pretty clear that a new course of treatment was needed.
Our new team (there are 3 partners at this practice) started Ryan on a different hormone that will help re-start Ryan's natural testosterone production. We also found out that because his body had completely stopped making its own testosterone, that caused his body to INCREASE the production of Estradiol (essentially the "male version" of estrogen). While ALL hormones are important for both men and women, the most important thing here is the proper balance. And Ryan's is way off.
So, he has now started a treatment plan that includes injections 3 times a week (given by yours truly) to BOOST testosterone production, and a supplement twice a week that slows his estradiol production. The down side? It takes a while to work. So for the time being, our keyword is WAITING. Waiting for the old testosterone treatment to
completely wear off to get an accurate count of what his body is actually doing. Waiting on the new
treatment to kick in. Waiting on his body to respond (or not). And while this whole process is tough on me (it's SO hard to watch the man I love struggle), it is 10 times harder for Ryan. He is just so sick of it all. He wants to feel good, normal, like himself. Many people seem to think that once you start new meds, the problem should fixed overnight, but sadly that is not the case. So, my focus lately has been on keeping him as positive as possible. I KNOW that, eventually, we will figure all of this out and he will be back to 100%. In meantime, your good vibes, thoughts, prayers, love (whatever suits your fancy) are much appreciated. :)