Back in March after pulling out of San Juan 70.3 due to extreme fatigue and loss of strength, I immediately returned to Fort Worth and saw Dr. Stuntz to have blood work done. On 03/22/11 my lab tests came back showing low Iron as well as severely low testosterone, exactly 30ng/DL (normal 241-827). The gonadotrophin levels suggested Hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism.
Dr. Stunz immediately referred me to an Endocrinologist because of how severely low these levels were. The endocrinologist did another full workup and agreed measures had to be taken. We talked about the dangers of low testosterone as well as the treatment therapies for this condition. The first thing that was suggested was an injection that would be time released. I immediately turned down that idea for the fact that a testosterone injection was a banned substance.
I was put on a very low dose of Androgel which is a topical cream that I rubbed on my shoulders daily. I was still a bit unsure about the therapy but it was an easy and safe way to get my ranges back up towards the low end of normal. I had already lost a lot of muscle and not to mention I started to lose hair and was at risk of bone loss if my levels continued to remain critically low.
In April I found out that the prescription I was on was in fact a banned substance. I immediately contacted WTC about a TUE application so I could race while using this substance. I found on the WADA website that it was prohibited but could be used with a TUE similar to a puffer for Asthma. At this point I thought no big deal I will just submit my blood test results and will be good to go. WTC was very helpful in providing information for me to contact The Canadian Center for Ethics and Sport (CCES).
I immediately sent CCES lab results as well as some initial doctor information with a referral to an Endocrinologist. My first TUE application or what I thought was an application was eventually turned down for lack of information. I had an extremely hard time dealing with the representative at CCES (*no longer working there) about getting the exact paperwork that needed to be completed.
Eventually I found a TUE application on USADA website that was specific for Hypogonadism. Since that is what I was diagnosed with I “assumed” that eventually I would get a TUE granted by CCES if I could ever specifically figure out what was needed.
The biggest problem I found along the way was email communication with CCES and the fact that no one could ever tell me what I needed to provide or what I needed to fill out. All they could do was tell me that I needed more information. Well every time they needed more information it just kept costing me more and more money for Doctor’s appointments and blood work.
Doing research on my own from the USADA site I found that for Hypogonadism I needed 3 blood lab results at different times to plot certain graphs as well as a treatment plan from my doctor on medication and dosages as well as some of the obvious family history and past medical files and an MRI of my pituitary gland.
So I am now into May and I have gone on and off the medication trying to prove that even with the medication I have extremely low readings and that me taking this medication I am not putting myself at an advantage over my competitors.
The next blood test I have done I have a reading of 242ng/dl (241-827 normal range). Now that is being on the medication. After needing to go off the medication so I was able to race in June my levels where now (on the next blood test) 87ng/dl and back into a dangerous level. I continued to race so I was able to at least get in some races and points for the new WTC qualifying system.
Read the rest here at Brent’s blog.