I have this thing. This…I don’t really want to call it a disease, because that gives such a horrible connotation that it just isn’t fitting. I recently shared that I have been sick, and in a near zombie-like state for a few months. And I also recently got a diagnosis, and medication that brought me out of the zombie apocalypse.
I have PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
A big shout out and thank you to my parents, who so lovingly passed along basically every negative possible genetic feature in our family to me. Including a family favorite from my mom…being difficult to diagnose. This resulted in me being sick for months 9 years ago, I mean months (an another zombie apocalypse) upon months, of not being able to figure out what was wrong with me. My Dr. was at a complete loss, and was about to start the process of referring me to a psychologist because she thought it was a mental problem, when, during a last ditch effort to determine a physical cause, they discovered I had gallstones. What should have been a simple diagnosis took months to figure out.
Oh wait, I forgot to mention, I did get one positive genetic trait. From the dad. He didn’t noticeably get gray hair until he was 60. I have had 11 gray hairs so far. So there, I did get something good from my parents.
Anyway…when I went to the Dr. a few months ago with some abdominal pain, I wasn’t optimistic about finding the cause. Turns out, I had a cyst on my right ovary. Simple enough, with a simple enough solution. Birth control. Ok, no big deal.
I went back for a follow up 3 months later, and told my Dr. I had only started feeling like anything close to a human being a couple of weeks before. Honestly, all I was capable of accomplishing was trudging to work, and I could not wait to go home, where I was a vegetable, until I decided it was finally an acceptable time to go to bed. Even mundane tasks, like grocery shopping, felt overwhelming, and required too much energy.
My Dr. wasn’t happy in hearing that I still wasn’t feeling better, and took a look at the test results, and determined I had PCOS. And prescribed Metformin, which is normally prescribed for Type 2 Diabetes. Well, of course I have a family history of Diabetes (on both sides of the family) so there is already a good chance I’m going to end up being Diabetic. So let’s just try to prevent that as long as possible.
It took almost 2 weeks of being on Metformin for me to honestly and truly start feeling like a human being again. The first couple of days, I couldn’t believe it. I thought maybe it was a fluke, and any day I would end up feeling like a zombie again.
A little over a month later, and I’m feeling more confident that it wasn’t just a fluke.
And I also feel like this is just one more negative genetic feature my parents (my mom) have passed along to me.
My mom was never diagnosed with PCOS, and 20 years after a hysterectomy is far too late for a retroactive diagnosis. But that being said, knowing what we know now, there is a high likelihood that she did have it. One of the things that she and I have been plagued with is horrible hormonal mood swings. She has even made the comment many times that she’s amazed that she still has a family left because of how bad her hormones were. Honestly, she’s not wrong. It was tough growing up with that. And it caused a strain on our relationship. And to be honest, a great deal of my lack of self-confidence came as a result of her mood swings.
Now, don’t think I’m throwing my mom under the bus. This is something that we have dealt with. And we have a wonderful relationship now, and she is one of my best friends. And maybe we are so close now because we have appropriately dealt with our issues from when I was a kid.
But now I look back on my life, with such a different perspective than before. I have much more compassion toward my mom now, knowing that what happened wasn’t a result of her being completely unhinged and outrageous.
For many, many years I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to have children, because I didn’t want to be the same type of mom that I had growing up. I wanted something better. And I wasn’t sure if I could be such a person.
As I have gotten older, I have realized that I do, in fact, want to be a mom…and I’m hoping that at the ripe old age of 37 (and being ridiculously single) that it isn’t too late for me.
But also, maybe the fact that I haven’t had children yet is God answering my prayers from when I was younger. I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be the type of mom I had growing up. And maybe it took this diagnosis for that to truly come to fruition.
I also look back and wish that this could have been diagnosed at a much younger age, because maybe I wouldn’t have went through some of the things that I have been through in my life. Because I have felt the hormone swings before, felt completely unhinged and outrageous. When I had brought it up to Dr’s previously, the initial reaction was to put me on Prozac. Which didn’t really make sense to me at the time, but I was desperate enough to try it.
After a few months of realizing that the side effects of the medicine were horrific, in addition to the fact that it did absolutely NOTHING to solve the problem it was prescribed for, I stopped taking it.
And then I just tried to deal with the hormones.
Honestly, it is no surprise that I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Because I have moments where I just cannot eat enough food. I am a bottomless pit. And no amount of water I drink, or trying to talk myself out of eating anything has worked. So I go through a vicious cycle of eating everything under the sun, and gaining weight, and then feeling guilty for eating everything under the sun and beating myself up for doing that. Over, and over, and over, and over again.
Looking through the symptoms of PCOS…weight gain, fatigue, acne, pelvic pain, headaches, sleep problems…I can check all of those (and more) off. Irregular periods, mood swings…check and check!
So where I thought I was just crazy, and needed to spend a little more time with Jesus, now I know that there actually is something wrong with me. But even better, it can be fixed! At least, I hope it can be fixed.
So here’s the deal…this is still new. Yes, I’m starting to feel like a normal human being again. But I have a lot to learn about how to handle myself now.
For example, once I started feeling better, but still dealing with some of the hormone swings, I started eating. And eating and eating and eating. I gained back nearly all of the weight I had lost being sick. And I beat myself up over it, a lot. Hence the journey I’m currently in the middle of, banishing my scale.
But also, I have started exercising a lot more. Basically, Cheese the dog and I are walking our tails off. The weather is finally starting to swing in our favor, and between the nasty winter weather, and being sick, I have been cooped up for too long, and I hate it. So, a huge and immediate increase in working out has thrown off my nutrition. I am keeping track of my calories, and I increased (slightly) the amount of calories I have been eating daily. BUT, I don’t think I have upped that number enough. A couple of times in the past few days, I have felt shaky, and light headed. And I wondered if maybe low blood sugar was the culprit. Or if I simply am just not eating enough food to counterbalance the increase in activity level. But, I’m bound and determined not to give up. So hopefully we can figure this out. Cheese enjoys the walks, and the time spent with mommy. I enjoy the walks, and being outside. And honestly, just being active feels amazing.
But I am also smart enough to know that I am not all the way there yet, and I may need to change some things up in my daily routine before all of this is said and done.
So…here’s to more progress, even if they are baby steps.
8 days down. 34 to go.