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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