Sarah B: Charting to understand her Prolactinoma, a pituitary tumor

This story was submitted to Kindara by Sarah B.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor called a Prolactinoma. While not cancerous, the tumor threw all my hormones off kilter by producing too much of some hormones and not nearly enough of others. The tumor raged unchecked for several years before a doctor finally diagnosed it. You may wonder why it took so long to diagnose; the answer: I was on birth control pills and they masked the majority of the symptoms. Typical symptoms of a Prolactinoma include: absent or irregular periods, low sex drive and milky breast discharge and infertility.

One of the first steps after my diagnoses was to stop using birth control pills and start tracking my period. My “tracking” method consisted of marking my calendar with the first day of my period then looking ahead and noting approximately when the next one would start. It took several months of treatment before my periods returned and I was able to start “tracking.” Eventually the tumor was under control, but it refused to shrink or disappear through the normal treatment options. Basically, it was lying there dormant and my physician said the chance of re-occurrence was high. At that point I vowed never to go back on any hormonal contraceptives for fear they would keep me from detecting a re-occurrence of my tumor. I continued tracking my periods to make sure I had a regular period and my tumor wasn't acting up.

About two years ago, a friend was preparing to get married and attended Natural Family Planning class. She was telling me about NFP and I started investigating. I really had no idea about temperature fluctuations, mucus changes, etc. During my research, I discovered the Kindara App and began using it to track my basal temperature, periods and fertility. I was amazed at the wealth of knowledge I know had my fingertips. I felt like I had much better handle on understanding my body and what my hormones were doing throughout each cycle.

In July 2014, I noticed some changes in my tracking charts and shortly after I started having additional Prolactinoma symptoms. I immediately made an appointment to see my doctor. I took my Kindara chart history with me to the appointment and my doctor was very impressed. After some blood tests to check my hormone levels, it was obvious my tumor was back. Fortunately, I caught it in its very early stages and was able to begin treatment quickly. My Kindara charts have become an integral part of the treatment plan for my Prolactinoma.The medicine to treat my Prolactinoma does have some unpleasant side effects, so my doctor is trying to keep me on the minimal amount of medicine to treat the tumor. My Kindara charts give a very accurate account of how my hormones and periods are working which helps my doctor tailor my treatment. I am so grateful for the Kindara app. It empowers my healthcare decisions and gives me incredible peace of mind knowing I have a tool to detect when my hormones go awry from my pituitary tumor. Thank you Kindara Team , YOU ROCK!

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