Happy Wednesday Friends! I have debated whether to share this but I think it is important to raise awareness about a syndrome that affects 1 in 10 women. Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is “a hormormonal problem and is responsible for a number of symptoms that can affect the body physically and emotionally.” (PCOS Awareness Association). There is no cure for PCOS but there are many ways you can manage your symptoms. To learn more about PCOS I encourage you to visit the PCOS Awareness Association.
My PCOS journey actually started when I was a junior in college. I noticed some of the classic PCOS symptoms, weight gain, fatigue, and an irregular cycle along with several other symptoms. I told my doctor what was going on and she reassured me that everything I was experiencing was normal. She didn’t run any tests or ask any additional questions. I believed her. I assumed that a lot of my issues where because of stress due to being in college.
After I graduated I noticed that my symptoms were still sticking around. I Googled my symptoms (which I don’t recommend) and noticed that I had classic PCOS symptoms. When I asked my doctor again she reasurred me everything was normal and did not run any tests. It was frustrating but she was a doctor so I believed her. I have since learned that many women are often misdiagonsed or not diagonsed at all with PCOS.
In 2019 I started seeing a new doctor in hopes of getting some answers. Again I was told everything was normal and it was probably just related to stress. Again I had no tests done or follow up questions asked. I am a quiet person so I didn’t question her. One of the biggest lessons I have learned through this journey is the importance of self-advocay when it comes to my health.
When we moved to Maryland I researched doctors for awhile till I found one with wonderful reviews. Many women talked about her kind nature and how she took time to listen and answer questions. I quickly booked an appointment with her.
To this day I believe that one of the reasons we ended up in Maryland was so I could meet this doctor. I was nervous but I told her my whole story. I told her that other doctors told me it was normal but that I didn’t feel like it was normal. She looked at me and told me I was right. The symptoms I was experiencing were not normal. She asked me a bunch of follow up questions and we talked for a good 30 minutes. She decided that I need to get some bloodwork done but she suspected that I had PCOS.
I felt a mix of emotions when I left that appointment. I was relieved that someone had finally listened to me but sad because I knew that PCOS has some not so great side effects, one of those being struggling with fertility.
It was hard not to think about all this while I waited for the results of the bloodwork. The next appointment I had with my doctor she explained to me that I did have PCOS. I tried to hold back the tears the filled my eyes and she could tell I was upset. She answered all of my questions and explained everything to me several times. She explained to me one of the causes of PCOS is insulin resistance. Being isulin resitant is not the same as being diabetic. “Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant; their bodies can make insulin but can’t use it effectively, increasing their risk for type 2 diabetes.” (CDC)
She reasured me that my symptoms could be managed with several lifestyle changes. First she told me I needed to eat a low carb diet. I love bread and carbs so this was going to be tough one. Second, she told me I needed to workout at least 5 times a week. This one was going to be a little easier but still tough. Finally, she told me I needed to be on medication to help manage the insulin in my body. I was not happy about that one but she told me this was temporary. She told me that if I worked hard I could get off the medication.
When I asked her about fertility issues she told me not to worry about that. She told me to stop googling and reassured me that many of her PCOS patients have gone on to have healthy and beautiful families. She told me she believed that this would be the case with me as well.
I am not going to lie, I was still upset when I got off the video call with her. I cried while my husband hugged me and told me we would get through this together. He has been one of my biggest supporters. He has done the low carb diet with me and encourgages me daily. I felt bad for a couple of days but then got to work.
As of today I have lost 14 pounds. This is the best I have felt in a really long time. I still struggle with some symptoms but I see my doctor again in February and I am hopeful that she will have good things to tell me. It has not been easy and while I am at peace with my diagnosis I still have days that I struggle with it but I believe that God will provide.
I am writing this post to share with you the importance of advocating for yourself when it comes to health. If I had given up I would still be suffering from symptoms. We know our bodies best and it is important to voice our concerns when something doesn’t feel right even if that means switching doctors several times.
PCOS is something I will always have to live with but I hope by sharing my journey to shed a light on a syndrome that affects so many women and that others will be inspired to advocate for themselves when it comes to their health!