Stories

It’s been a long time coming…

I’ve always known something wasn’t quite right. I was always ‘bigger’ than the other girls, started my ‘changes’ earlier than everyone else, but we just thought it was puberty. At the age of 14 I was put on the pill as I was getting such excruciating and heavy periods. Like crippling and would be in bed for minimum 2 days. I was then quickly transitioned to the Depot, I can’t really remember why. I was also pretty hairy, so shaving started quite young as did the bleaching, but a couple of my friends had ‘unwanted’ hair so I didn’t think much of it.

Anyway, I just went on my way without thinking about things much…

I was a REALLY active kid, I danced every day until the age of 17. When I had to quit because I had tendonitis around my pelvis (due to my hyper-flexibility). Which meant all of a sudden, I put on weight. Bring on University and I put on MORE weight; 2 ½ stone (about 20 pound) in under 3 months! I was still on the injection and just thought it was because I drank too much beer and ate too many burgers. Which is probably a lot to do with it to be honest! However, all my other friends weren’t putting THAT much on THAT quickly.

I battled in my second year at Uni to lose some weight. I joined the Rowing team, lost a bit, did A LOT of fad diets (the worst was the Cabbage Soup Diet! I think my housemates hated me! Lol). In my 3rd year I met my now-husband. And again, my weight increased, assuming it was just connected with getting in a comfortable relationship, where lots of alcohol and food is often involved.

We soon started hitting the gym together. But I didn’t really lose weight. Regardless of what I did at the gym, what fad diet I was giving a go. I’d lose a few pounds, but then put it back on as soon as I’d ‘fall off’ plan. My weight continued to fluctuate, then at 22 years old my GP told me I needed a blood test (and I should have been having one annually) because I was still on the contraceptive injection.

This is when they told me my estrogren levels were almost that of a menopausal woman!!! At the age of 22! Like what the heck?! I came off it straight away and my weight continued to rise, even though we were hitting the gym REALLY hard now. I was moved to the pill but my blood work never looked at again…

I then lost a lot of weight because I developed some kind of stress sickness, where I was throwing up A LOT. No one really worked out what was wrong with me and of course my PCOS continued to go undiagnosed because I wasn’t overweight. In fact, friends and family began to worry I was developing an eating disorder I was so tiny.

Roll on to early 2011 and at 25, going on 26 I was about to get married. I’d regained weight from this weird illness and wanted to get my WedBod in check. We worked out on a really strict programme and nutrition plan. I lost a load of weight and was again tiny on my wedding day. After the wedding and honeymoon however, I’d put on almost 20 pound in 2 months, just simply NOT working out crazy amounts and being super careful with what I ate.

In August 2012 I decided to come off the pill. Not because we wanted to start trying for a baby, but I just thought my body needed a break from all these synthetic hormones. I’d been on contraceptive for 15 years and my body needed a break.

Roll on to July 2013; I still hadn’t had a single period since coming off the pill. I put it down to ‘going hard’ at the gym, but my Mum convinced me to go to the Doctors. The Doctor was GREAT, she told me she thought I might have PCOS and sent me off for a scan. My bloods and the scan confirmed I had cysts on my ovaries and my levels were skew.

I had a weird experience when I had my scan…the lady who scanned me said ‘so yes, I can confirm you have cysts on your ovaries. But don’t worry you MIGHT still be able to have children’.

HUH?! WTF?! I hadn’t even googled PCOS so I knew NOTHING about it. All of a sudden, I began mourning a childless future. Things spiraled for me. I threw myself in at work, I distanced myself from my husband (he wasn’t overly keen on kids but I knew he wanted some in the future). I felt a failure as a woman. If I can’t have kids why is he still with me? I know it sounds crazy, but it was true (in my head!).

Coupled with the fact we’d been married almost a year I think I was getting asked DAILY ‘when were we going to have kids’. I’d say things like, ‘oh you know, one day’. Or ‘we’re quite happy as we are currently’. I actually started telling people I COULDN’T have kids, so they should stop asking. It used to drive me mad! We weren’t actively trying, but we weren’t actively trying to prevent it either….

I was put back on the pill (because Doctors really don’t know how to treat us ladies). But come September 2015 I was going mental. These synthetic hormones were playing havoc on my body. I was an evil cow! I would NOT have liked to be my friends, family or husband at the time. I again saw an amazing Doctor who knew LOADS about PCOS, she took me off the pill and told me to look into aromatherapy. Which I did.

I found a blend to ‘regulate periods’. And within 2 months of coming off the pill I was having (semi) regular periods! Could be a massive coincidence, however considering previously when I’d come off the pill I hadn’t had one for 18 months…. I don’t think it was coincidental.

Roll onto August 2016. To our MASSIVE shock, like huge…. I was pregnant! I had a great pregnancy, a few scares, but pretty normal. They kept an eye on my bloods and sugar levels. My baby girl is now almost 1 year old and I just cannot believe how lucky we really are. I put on A LOT of weight during pregnancy, but I’ve lost that through eating right (and finding a true purpose to be fit and healthy!).

I am testament to how someone who isn’t diagnosed until late on can lead a normal and healthy life. Can successfully get pregnant, have a baby and be happy with my condition.

How I manage my symptoms:
1. It’s in the mind – I refuse to let PCOS define me. Yes, I have it, but it is not who I am. It’s part of me but I refuse to let it dictate my life.
2. I’ve realised I cannot just eat what I want – I have to be measured in my approach and really watch my food intake. I have to manage my sugar cravings and use techniques to help me resist.
3. I have to work out DAILY. Which to be honest I LOVE anyway, but it’s tough.
4. My mood really fluctuates. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed. There is no rhyme or reason, I just feel terribly low. I’ve now found that telling someone, anyone, and then doing something about it is HOW I get through these days. It’s my coping mechanism and it works for me.
5. I go through a lot of razors and own about 10 pairs of tweezers so I’m never without! And we’ve just invested in a lazer system. Hopefully that will work!

I hope that by sharing my story it will give you hope, a little faith and a bit of an insight into a perhaps not all that standard road to diagnosis. xx

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4 thoughts on “It’s been a long time coming…

  1. I too, have a problem with PCOS and after having my baby I know what I’m looking forward too … not really but the weight is an issue. What eating habits did you get into? What did you take out or how do you control your diet? It’s nice to know I am not alone in this journey. Glad I found your blog!!

    1. Hi hun, I know exactly what you mean. I have to follow a close portion control approach with carb cycling. I’ve managed to get back to pre-baby weight and I’ve pretty much found my ‘natural weight’, although my body is now quite different than before. I think having a baby makes you want to be fit and healthy in a different way, which is a very different thinking for me. Lovely to hear from other ladies who experience the same. x

  2. PCOS here too. I have an almost 2 year old, am still breastfeeding and my periods are back, but not regular. I’m down 35 pounds since after I had my daughter. For me low carb/high fat works. I’m not as restricted as keto. Usually about 50 to 60 net carbs instead of 20.

  3. It is so sad that so many of have these same stories and doctors still dont know how to help us out or even diagnose us!

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