Today myself and PCOS project have swapped blogs, and we are talking about ourselves and our diagnosis along with what it mean to us, the idea behind this is to encourage others to share stories and raise awareness of the different causes of infertility!
SO, i would like to introduce Morgan, she writes over at PCOS project and has a fabulous website with information and guidance for anyone with the same diagnosis. (Go check it out)
My name is Morgan and I am the creator and author of the blog PCOS Project. I wanted to share a little of my story with you so that you could get to know me a bit better and why I decided to start PCOS Project! Though I personally have not been through the process of getting pregnant at this time in my life, it is something that I think about often. As someone that has been diagnosed PCOS for over 10 years, I am keenly aware of the fact that my own fertility is greatly affected by the condition. I am a huge believer that PCOS is both a physical and emotional condition. It affects your body and your mind, and getting (and staying) healthy when living with the condition is most certainly a journey. IVF World and I decided to collaborate and swap stories because we both feel that the emotions involved with PCOS and other infertility issues are vast, and can only be described by those that have been through it. Today, I’d like to share some of my story about my journey with PCOS. Feel free to comment to either me or IVF World – we’d love to hear your stories as well!
My journey has been a long one. When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I had always been an active teenager and even played soccer for my high school team. In the course of three short months, I gained 30 lbs. I’d always eaten healthy and didn’t change any aspect of my diet, so I didn’t understand why I’d suddenly gained this weight. In addition to the weight gain, I completely lost my monthly cycle. I’d also experienced hair growth on my arms and stomach. As a girl in high school, still trying to figure out who she was, experiencing these symptoms was a lonely and difficult time. As if High School wasn’t already hard enough!
I’m the oldest child in my family and my mother has had normal Cycles her entire life. We could not figure out how it was possible to simply lose your period! With the support of my mother (I honestly don’t know if I could have done it without her), I visited several doctors who each told me to eat less and exercise more. Um, rude. Both my mom and I tried to tell the doctors about my healthy lifestyle – the weight gain and other symptoms did not make sense with how I was currently living. None of the doctors listened. This was an extremely frustrating time for me. I think about how little the doctors knew about PCOS 10 years ago, and my heart goes out to all the women who have lived through this condition for years before me. For years before I was diagnosed, when doctors were completely unaware of the condition and could provide no support- medically or emotionally. As much as I struggled, I can’t imagine what it would feel like to go undiagnosed with the condition like PCOS for an entire lifetime.
If I’ve learned anything in my own health journey, it’s that you must be the advocate for your own health and your own body. Only you know how you truly feel and what symptoms you are experiencing, regardless of what any medical professional tells you. As someone who has always been interested in research, I decided to start looking into my own symptoms. I scoured the internet, looking into the symptoms I was experiencing. At the time, I did not know that the weight gain, loss of my cycle, and hair growth were all related. I was mainly concerned with the fact that I could not seem to lose the weight that I had so quickly put on. I was still playing soccer for 2 hours every day and I seemed to be maintaining or even gaining weight. How could this be? I was frustrated, depressed, and exhausted. I would come home from soccer practice and fall asleep immediately, sleeping through the night until the next school day. Okay, maybe I’d shower first. That would be kind of gross if I didn’t. I promise I shower guys!
I wish I remembered the exact moment that I discovered PCOS. In some ways, maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t…it makes my journey more of a journey and less of a moment. One moment that could define me in such a heavy way. But, at some point in my research I remember looking into my difficulty losing weight and the correlation with insulin resistance. At this time, medicine knew very little about polycystic ovarian syndrome. Doctors did know, however, that PCOS and insulin resistance were linked. Mild weight gain and hormonal imbalances led to insulin resistance, which led to more weight gain. What a crap condition! As I read over the symptoms I started to see similarities in my own health. I had lost my period suddenly after a long while of having completely normal cycles. I was growing long black hairs on my arms and stomach. I’d even seen a few hairs on my chin (to my horror and dismay). You can’t show up to high school with hair on your chin, you just can’t. Before losing my cycle, my cramps were so painful that I had fainted several times. I often had to stay in bed because of how much pain I was in during my cycle. My skin had always been fair and because my complexion, I’d often been compared to a porcelain doll. Now my porcelain skin was covered in acne. While I thought that the acne was from a delayed wave of puberty, it seems that it had a more sinister cause.
I often think back to the days when I received my diagnosis, and all the time that has passed in between to get me to the place that I am now. The lack of awareness in both the medical and general community about PCOS still shocks me on a daily basis, but the PCOS and infertility micro-communities that have started up on social media are so incredible it knocks my socks off. The support that we give to each other is SO important, and I hope each and every one of you know that there’s someone else out there who understands what you’re going through. You are not alone. THAT’s the reason why I created PCOS Project and why we have awesome other blogs out there like Post IVF World – we want you to know that we are here as a community to love and support you, and for you to know that we understand what you are going through because we have gone through it too!
Check out my blog at www.pcosproject.com for more on my story and how I battled my condition to become a healthier version of myself!
I think its fair to say that Morgan has been through her fair share of hard times, her determination to make something positive out of it is amazing and her website really is a treasure trove of information!
Don’t forget to pop over to PCOS project, and while you are there take a look at what i wrote for her! Our stories are spookily similar!
Let me know what you think of both our stories in the comments, and let me know if you would like to do a collaboration post to raise awareness to!