CAUTION: This post is about women’s health, PCOS and infertility issues. If you don’t want to read about periods, body-image and so on, stop right here! If you continue to read on, please remember you were fairly warned.
I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. After becoming a mother, I've tried to look at the areas of my life I can improve and I've realized that although I've had a good grasp on most things, the one thing I could never seem to get a handle on has been my health. I have avoided facing this issue head on because any time I ask additional questions, go to doctor’s appointments, or decide to research new information online, I hit a wall of frustrations and it reminds me of a deep dark place I had been a few years after being diagnosed with PCOS, Endometriosis and infertility. This is a place where I feel I have no control and very little understanding. I've managed to have a positive attitude about most things in life, but I've fooled myself into believing if I don’t focus on my health, my issues will somehow eventually go away. When I think about my declining health over the years, it makes me feel like a failure. I hate the fact that my body doesn't do what God intended it to do. I've avoided sharing this post for many months because I’m embarrassed and scared of exposing my true insecurities. The truth is once I truly face my prognosis, I feel defeated. Hopeless. Angry. I’m trying to take a different approach for once. I want to be proactive and face my condition head on. The first step of this is acceptance. In hopes of helping someone else who may be struggling with medical issues, I've decided to recap a bit of my history and how I was diagnosed.
Before getting married, I had never struggled with any major health concerns, other than the occasional cramps and headaches. Although I had never had exactly 28 days between cycles, I had a cycle every 4-5 weeks. After about 9 months of marriage, my periods became less frequent and we had been convinced we must have been pregnant. I had felt drowsy, tired, bloated and was gaining weight rapidly. After about 6 months of hit-or-miss cycles, 30 extra pounds of weight and stomach cramps, it was time to see the doctor. Eventually after numerous appointments, an additional 15 pounds and severe pelvic pain, I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis. My OBGYN had said I had a small chance of ever getting pregnant naturally, because of how severe my symptoms were. I had never heard of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome but I learned it was a condition in which levels of the hormones are out of balance. Not only would I be faced with infertility, but the additional symptoms that I had been warned about were cysts on ovaries, heart disease, diabetes, high-cholesterol, unwanted hair growth, acne, obesity and endometrial cancer. That was a bitter pill to swallow. I quickly learned there was no known cause of PCOS and no cure and my case was quickly severe. Since being diagnosed over 6 years ago, I've been pre-diabetic and have had surgery to remove the 30+ cysts and endometriosis I had on my ovaries. After surgery, I was able to find natural remedies for managing pain and preventing cysts growth but the few times in the last years I’ve gotten a period are worth celebrating. #PCOSProblems #DreamingofPMS
|A few weeks after our wedding|
This may sound shallow, but I think the most difficult part of dealing with PCOS in the first few years was dealing with my body-image after I had gained 45 pounds in a matter of 9 months. I was #stillAM terrified of being perceived as a couch potato and someone who lacks self-control. I have to admit that I may have had one too many pizzas and lattes in the last few years to contribute to my weight gain, but it all spiraled out of control with my hormone issues. I learned my appearance was extremely important to me and I hated the person I had become. Thankfully God has shown me he loves me despite of my weight and has sent people in my life who feel the same way. Later in my journey, it hit that infertility was truly going to be a problem and coping with infertility has been a process of its own (I spoke about this in my previous posts). At this point, I've accepted the side effects, although unpleasant, but I’m fed up with feeling helpless. I don’t want to go down this slippery slope and I've decided it’s time I take control and responsibility and fight this condition. I want to be the healthiest person I can be, even if that looks or feels different than others. I need to embrace that I can change the statistics. I can prove the doctors wrong. PCOS, infertility or insulin resistance don’t have to define me. I have three people in my life who think the world of me and they are worth fighting for. I want to be proactive about my health, and take back control, once and for all. I’ll follow up with additional posts explaining how I’m going to do that and write about my progress in the future.
Have you ever struggled with health concerns that made you feel helpless or overwhelmed? How did you tackle them?