A massive light bulb went off in my head when a nurse practitioner told me I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). It was as if all those questions I had asked numerous doctors over the past 9 years had finally been answered. However, once they were answered the fear of the unknown set in and more questions came about. My fate had been decided: I needed to change my lifestyle entirely if I wanted to avoid the things I feared most (i.e. diabetes, obesity, death…).
When I would tell doctors that I felt light-headed and dizzy at the drop of a hat they said it was due to my anxiety and I shouldn’t pick up an energy bar because I needed to lose weight. When I told doctors that I exercised at least four times a week, but never seemed to lose weight they said I wasn’t trying hard enough - same response after I had started working out longer and harder with hardly any weight loss. When I told my primary doctor that I had had a period for four months straight he said that it was because I was fat and needed to focus on controlling my diet more. My depression was from my weight, my anxiety was because of my weight, my acne was from my weight - my life was outlined by the fact that at my height and weight I am categorized as “obese.” My doctors only saw me as a whiny, lazy, fat girl who is probably lying about eating well and exercising regularly. She can’t be helped or listened to until she loses the weight, then we’ll take her complaints seriously.
I cannot thank that nurse practitioner enough. I will be thanking her to my grave for looking past what all those highly-honored doctors criticized and saw a girl that was on the edge of giving up entirely.
At this point you either know what I’m talking (feeling)when I say I live with PCOS, or you’re like duh fuck? I probably can’t do it justice as to what it is medically, but I can tell you that my quality of life has decreased dramatically since I was diagnosed with it. I would recommend checking out the PCOS Foundation’s website to get a good introduction to what the actual disease is before going further.
So Polycystic Ovary Syndrome comes with a bunch of fun “accessories” that make women with PCOS seem like they’re slightly high maintenance, but it isn’t like that! Here is a little list for ya:
Extra Hair Growth (we’re talking full beards to a damn good mustache)
Skin Tags! (I like to think of them as extra sprinkles)
ANDROGENS!! (wtf you might say! TESTOSTERONE AND ADRENALINE!!)
PMDD - Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (Think PMS times a million, plus a few angry T-Rex’s down south.)
It also increases the risk of:
Type 2 Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
So how to battle this “Silent Killer”? By taking it day-by-day and making sure I keep up with my new lifestyle. I do fall off the wagon sometimes, especially when I’m depressed, but I manage to pick myself back up again. Traveling and setting small goals like running 3 miles in 15 minutes etc… helps keep me motivated through the tougher days.
I’m happy to share my exercise and eating habits on this blog at some point, if people are interested! It might help me in any case…I’d be somewhat held accountable to someone else besides myself.