My long journey to here

I got my first period when I was 9. After that my hair went from straight to curly, I gained weight and acne. When I was 12, I was put on birth control pills for my irregular, heavy, painful periods. It did nothing to help my skin breakouts or my weight, but I was having lighter, regular periods.
Through out high school, I tried multiple ways to lose weight and was successful at first, but could never make any of the changes stay. There was a sadness in me at this time that I recognize, knowing I was different than most of my very thin friends.
At 18, I started experiencing pelvic pain often. I went to the clinic at my college and had ultrasounds and blood work done. My ultrasounds came back normal and my bloodwork “showed that you may have PCOS.” I went home and googled. I called my mom in tears, shouting about how I’m going to get cancer, I may not be able to have babies and so on.
After that, I made an appointment with my family doctor. I told her about my blood work and the “maybe” diagnosis. She shooed me off and acted as if I said nothing. Then, for awhile, I forgot about it mostly. I always assumed I had it but there was no certainty and I’d rather not have a syndrome that is incurable, so I went on with my life as usual.
At 19, I stopped taking birth control and didn’t have a natural period for over a year. It came back with a vengeance, while I was on vacation, of course. After this, my period was never regular again unless I was on birth control.
At 22, after more failed diet attempts, losing my gallbladder because of low-fat, low-cal diets (I don’t recommend these), I switched from my doctor to a new nurse practitioner. The moment she saw me she said “Have you ever been told you have PCOS? You’re the Poster Child for it.” Referring to my obese abdomen, and skinny, muscular legs, she commented on my hair growth everywhere and my acne. She then sent me to an endocrinologist, which was pointless. My endocrinologist told me she didn’t believe me about my hirsutism (extra hair) because “you take care of it” and told me I had insulin resistance and nothing further wrong with me. Again, I googled. This time, all the information I found about insulin resistance was linked right back to PCOS, as I’m sure most of you readers know.
At 24, after more pelvic pain, more weight gain, cystic acne, anxiety, depression, many tears and irregular periods, my nurse practitioner sent me for more ultrasounds, including an internal one for the first time. I didn’t hear back and assumed that meant it all came back normal.
A few months later, seeing a different nurse practitioner because mine was away for an unrelated reason. She also lets me know I have the textbook appearance of PCOS. She decided to look up my ultrasound; where she saw that my follicles grow on the outside of my ovaries and form cysts. She then looked at me and said “I’m sorry that it’s been a struggle and that it’s taken this long, but this is your official PCOS diagnosis, you check all of the boxes. Maybe we should talk about fertility.” To which, I replied, “No, thank you.” She was by far, the nicest and most thorough I’ve been to, but even then, fertility was the only thing to discuss, nothing further.
For me, children have always been a toss-up on whether I want them or not. I am so thankful for this. My aunt one time said, “You’ve talked about adopting your entire life, I wonder if somehow you knew something wasn’t right and you were preparing yourself.” I don’t know if that is true, but I like to pretend that I protected myself and my heart in the simplest way.
Now, at 29, I have finally decided to make a conscious lifestyle change. I’ve finally learned to love myself, including all PCOS symptoms and now that I have, I know my health needs to start coming first. I am a registered nurse now and I see the difference medications make every day. I regularly take my anti-depressant, however both birth control and metformin make me feel sick and have had no real benefits for me. So, in the beginning of 2018, I decided to find resources on my own and utilize this PCOS Cysters community and learn everything I could to treat my PCOS naturally. I started by changing my diet; no gluten, dairy or added sugar, most of the time. I don’t think restrictive diets work long term, so I don’t like to think of my lifestyle as a “diet.” I have started practicing yoga again and a gym membership is next on my list.
I still haven’t had a period since March 2017, almost a year. But, since these changes, I also haven’t felt as exhausted, or sluggish, or bloated as I always have. My digestive system has started to work normally, my skin is evening out, my moods seem better and more even, I have more energy and a hunger for life that I’d been missing for so many years.


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