Dealing with PCOS
I was diagnosed with PCOS - Polycystic Ovary Syndrome - when I was 21. I was living in Barcelona at the time and had put on about 20kgs within a year. Before my diagnosis, I had assumed it was my change of lifestyle, going from mountain girl to city girl, going through a break-up and dealing with all kinds of crap which makes 30something gals relieved to no longer be 20somethings gals. I had acne for the first time as well as my weight gain which was almost more unacceptable than putting on all that weight as I'd always been proud of getting through my teens acne free.
The gynaecologist who diagnosed me with PCOS, wasn't very tactful with her delivery of all the pretty terrifying symptoms of the Syndrome (obesity, risk of miscarriage, infertility, endometriosis, acne, hirsutism, diabetes, heart disease, amongst others...), which quickly dissipated the relief I felt at knowing the reason for my weight gain and acne. My gyno shuffled me off to an endocrinologist who in turn, diagnosed me with hyperinsulinemia or insulin resistance as it's most commonly called - I explain it to others as the opposite of diabetes which probably is far from medically accurate but hey, I'm not a Dr! My endocrino (who had a memorable case of psoriasis or eczema, but who was I to judge with my zits & my love handles) promptly put me on Metformin, an insulin regulator, which can cause side effects such as vomiting & diarrhoea as well as coming with a strong restriction - you cannot drink alcohol while taking it...
I felt inadequate. I was 21, my priorities were to have fun & party, not deal with an illness, take a drug that made me sick (which led me to abandoning it pretty quickly), and have a "healthy lifestyle". So throughout my twenties, as I moved around the world living my life (and struggling to always appreciate it), I battled with the symptoms of and the stigma surrounding PCOS. For example, in London I had to deal with a gyno telling me I'd likely never have children after 30, an endocrino who stated that I was halfway there because I didn't look like I was born a fat person whereas some people do, and a string of failed attempts at losing weight... although one success: I got my acne under control by eating healthier than I used to.
By the age of 29, I was 10kgs less than I was at 25 which was a huge accomplishment without any Metformin, working 60-80hr weeks, not much in way of physical activity but motivated for a better life. I moved to Milan that year and in the three years I lived there, I managed to lose a further 12kgs - I thank my Italian gyno for her support, giving me a natural Metformin replacement (Prepart: a combo of Inositol & Maca) and at one appointment, telling me I had the most beautiful ovulation she'd ever seen, "the kind that they show you in school" she said, "to illustrate what an ovulation should look like". Losing the extra weight, what I wanted seemed accessible! Then I got my heart broken again and moved to the US for work...
I put my weight back on and more. The heartbreak, the change in lifestyle & environment, the self-esteem issues and not being on any medication (natural or otherwise) meant that I simply did not have the heart to fight back against my PCOS. I have read so many stories of women that face similar issues and it's hard not to feel like a failure.
Until now. I'm over feeling sorry for myself and I hope I'm not too late. I went to see a gyno last week and going to see an endocrino next week. I will take Metformin again if I have to (in the 15 years since I took it last, those damn Drs still haven't invented a better drug), I will eat what they tell me to eat and I will exercise. Even if it takes me 3yrs, I will achieve my desired weight and become a mom if that is what I want to do! They say healthy is the new skinny and that's what my target is. PCOS can go Brooke itself! (OTH reference - for those who don't know, Google it!)
PS: if you think you have PCOS, go see your gynaecologist.