A Wonderful Normal: Restoring Health Through NFP

This is the story of Lucy Flamiatos, SymptoPro Instructor, and how she used SymptoPro to discover legitimate healing from a debilitating menstrual cycle. 

The early years of my reproductive life were marked by immobilizing cramps, a heavy and long menstrual flow, absent days from school, zero energy, brown spotting a week before menses and cyclical depression. I was told that I would eventually grow out of it and that I could go on oral contraception to control menses. I didn’t like the second idea – my grandma had used early hormonal replacement therapy and later developed breast cancer. The evidence-based link between the two was something I didn’t want to risk experimenting with. I was miserable, I never grew out of it and, if anything, it got worse. I missed classes in college and would call in sick at work. I would miss outings with friends because I was married to my bed, the heating pad and my naproxen, Tylenol and Advil “cocktail” and even then, it only slightly gave relief to the all-out assault going on in my lower abdomen. I got to the point where I had accepted it. This was my normal.

In college, Lamaze breathing would help during waves of pain and nausea that would sweep over me. I tried to ignore most of it – I was the typical college student and life was overly busy. I had more doctor visits and endometriosis, PMDD, PCOS, thyroid and most everything fertility-related was ruled out. I was always in the range of “low normal.” The doctors had no idea what was going on with me, nor could they offer any more of a solution other than continuing to suggest I go on the pill. I thought I was going to have to live this way for the rest of my life.

I moved to Virginia after college and met a friend who informed me that brown bleeding prior to my menses was not normal and suggested that I should learn NFP. This was the first time that I even began to entertain the idea that I should seek care again. I was exhausted from years of calling my mom in hysterics and not understanding why this was happening or why I was prone to hysterics to begin with. She noticed a cyclical trend and echoed the suggestions of my friend. But I didn’t want to be the only single girl in an NFP class – I felt like I would look desperate, like a woman who was doing anything and everything to prepare for her Mrs. But, thankfully, both my mom and my friend insisted. I originally learned Creighton Model NFP (in a private class – I wasn’t that secure with not looking desperate) and was able to work with a group of local OBGYNs in Virginia who helped me realize that I may be progesterone deficient. Through various blood tests at carefully selected times during my menstrual cycle, they were able to confirm that, while my progesterone levels were normal, there weren’t enough progesterone receptors. We worked out a treatment plan and it worked for a while, buying me time to figure out what was the root cause. It proved to be just a band-aid – the reason for the lack of receptor precursors was still a mystery. 

Upon moving back to Oregon, I was introduced to Sympto-Pro Fertility Education through Northwest Family Services and quickly began the course. A few local doctors were proficient in SymptoPro and I could couple it with local healthcare providers since I needed to continue care under a doctor. Dietary changes and supplements followed. Eventually, I found that there was a connection between my progesterone imbalance, sugar consumption and lack of healthy fat intake. My prior diet of high-sugar/low-fat provided the perfect storm for my fertility health issues. At the prompting of the doctor, I started doing cardio exercise for 30 minutes every day. Through all these changes, I felt whole, renewed and my body fell into a wonderful normal that I had never known existed.

I continue to chart to this day and it has become second nature. I use it more for tracking my mood and avoiding PMS symptoms (they only surface when I eat too much sugar during the month… but I have a soft spot in my heart… and stomach for gelato). A tool that I once thought was only for the married crowd has become my lifeline to sanity and good health. SymptoPro Fertility Care has empowered me to be able to take charge of my health and lead a better, more fulfilled and healthy life. If you suffer from some kind of fertility health issue and aren’t treating it, I encourage you to learn how to chart and to take that first step in figuring out how to take back your life.