Alright, so here’s my explanation post. Just a short note: if you’re reading this and you’re a dude or you might feel awkward reading about female reproductive problems, I suggest you just stop here. Join me at a later date for a less descriptive (or crude, whatever you want to say) blog post that won’t make you feel weird.
At 21 years old, the scariest thing for me to hear was that I would never have children. (Don’t get ahead of yourself, Monster is biologically mine in every sense of the word. He was not adopted. I carried him for every single day of 10 months plus a few extra because he was too stubborn to come out on time. Just read.) I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was sunny and chilly and I was sitting in an office across from a doctor that I barely knew. I had been here 5 times already in his exam rooms. I had ultrasound after ultrasound. Vaginal and external. I had been poked and prodded and stuck and lost plenty of blood for all the tests that had to be run. I was tired and nervous and terrified and alone. The first words that came out of his mouth were not comforting. They were not sugar-coated (which I normally like.. I appreciate bluntness in all normal scenarios.. this time I would have welcomed an easy blow..). He went straight to the point. From “Hello,” to “You’re going to die an old shriveled lady with 150 cats.” Okay, so that wasn’t what he said. His words were, “You have P-C-O-S. From the looks of things, it’ll be damn near impossible for you to have kids. In fact, I feel it’s pretty safe to say that you never will.” I was in shock. A million things ran through my mind all at once. Starting with what brought me here in the first place.
It was 7am and I was up getting ready for work. I worked at a vet clinic in the next town over. I was running slightly late because my morning coffee ritual had taken longer than it should have. It was a nice morning, Bailey (my pitbull) wanted to run around outside. I just wanted one more cigarette. And my coffee was so good. By the time I got inside again and started getting ready, I was running a few minutes behind. It took 15 minutes to get to work, I had to be there at 7:30 and it was already 7:10. My phone had died the night before so I had it plugged up in the living room. I was back in my bedroom, half dressed and brushing my teeth. I was just about to put my scrub pants on when I heard my phone go off. It was a text from my boyfriend at the time (who is now my ex husband) telling me good morning and to have a good day at work. I was walking back to the bedroom when out of absolutely nowhere I felt the worst sharp pain I had ever felt in my left side around my hip bone. I immediately fell in the floor. Passed out. I woke up about 45 minutes later, ridiculously late for work. My phone was ringing… it was my boss… great.. I explained what happened and she told me not to come to work that day but to make an appointment with my doctor or to go to the emergency room. She then added that I shouldn’t drive and that if I needed a ride she would gladly come and take me. I declined and told her bye and that I would let her know what they said. I was freaked out. I was by myself. Anything could have happened. And I had no idea what was going on. It was the second day of my period.
I “blossomed” at age 11, on Mother’s Day. My mom was so happy. I was terrified. I had no idea why I was bleeding. She had never had “the talk” with me. I can tell you what song by what band was playing when it happened and I avoided that song like the plague for months, thinking that the song must have had something to do with it and it was bad. What can I say? I was 11. Sue me. Ever since then, my periods were completely out of whack. I would have them every 2 weeks or I would go a month and a half without one. I could tell you the exact days that I ovulated because the pain was worse than the cramps that I had with periods and those were NO joke. They would last 5 days, 3 days, 8 and 9 days. Every single one was different. I didn’t know what to think or do. Mom never took me to the doctor. Her periods were weird and out of whack too so she assumed it was just a hereditary thing. It hurt. Like a bitch. But I just dealt with it. Lots and lots of Advil. Hot water bottles and heating pads. It kept getting worse. Mom knew that it was bad but nothing was ever really done about it.
I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at age 15. I had been having multiple panic attacks. They had been happening for a long time. Since I was little, I’d had problems with being around large groups of people or even one or two people who were loud. It always made me nervous. Good example; I grew up Catholic and went through First Holy Communion. I almost missed it because I turned white as a ghost and almost passed out from being so nervous about having to be in front of a bunch of people. The older I got, the more I had problems with it. I was fortunate enough to be homeschooled starting in the 3rd grade which took a huge load off me. I went to a Catholic school Pre-K-the end of 2nd grade and then the second semester of 3rd grade, my mom attempted to put me in public school. Hahahaha… This was a mistake. I freaked out! Parochial school meant that nuns patrolled the hallways with rulers (well, one nun in particular) and if you so much as cleared your throat, your desk was slapped with a ruler. It was so quiet in that school that you could literally hear a pin drop. Public school, on the other hand, was utter chaos. I mean, literally, chaos. My teacher was out of the room half the time we were in class and all the kids thought it was necessary to run around the room and yell and act insane. I lasted 3 weeks before I got down on my knees and begged my mom to stop punishing me. I can remember telling her that I would do the dishes every night and take out the trash every time the can was full if she would just let me homeschool again. That I would even go back to Parochial school and deal with Sister Scary (not her actual name..) for the remainder of the year if she would just get me out of that hellhole. (Needless to say, I punished for using the term “hellhole” but at least I got out of public school.) By the time I was a teenager, I started having panic attacks pretty often. I went to a psychologist (for more than just the panic attacks but we’ll leave that for a different day.. and trust me, this whole panic thing is relevant) and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder with bouts of depression. I have since learned how to control my panic, found my triggers and avoid them at all costs, and know when to let the panic attack happen to release what’s built up. The only ones I can’t control are the ones that come on out of nowhere when I’m sitting on the couch watching TV, writing or playing on my phone. I don’t think that I’ll ever get a handle on those. And after the panic, comes the depression.
Depression. It’s not a fun subject. It’s rather, depressing, really….. (yeah, forgive me, I’m tired..) For me, depression can come on randomly. I can be perfectly happy one night and wake up the next morning so depressed that it hurts to move. It makes me so frustrated to not be in control of my emotions. It makes me feel crazy that the smallest things can make me too depressed to get off the couch. But the times that it comes out of nowhere are getting more and more rare these days. Thankfully. I think that I’m starting to ignore it more because I have my little Monster who gives me a reason to get off my ass and not feel sorry for myself. Most of my depression these days comes from my lack of energy, the fact that I can’t stand still for more than about 5 minutes at a time (I can walk around for longer, but then comes pain and a little more recovery) without having to sit down for 15. Just in case you didn’t know, not being able to stand still for long, makes it very difficult to cook or bake… which I love to do both… very dearly… which causes depression when I can’t!!!! My body sucks. And because of this, I get depressed. I can’t always play with my Monster as much as I want to. I’m in pain most every single day. I’m overly exhausted all the time. My mind is normally pretty energized and I have every intention of getting up and doing all sorts of stuff, but I just physically can’t. My body doesn’t cooperate most of the time. It sucks. I hate it. The pain I feel every day is magnified during the depression days. So much so that I can barely move. I mean, I really can’t make myself move. My brain tells my legs to work but they don’t respond. This makes being a stay-at-home mom really really difficult when Dad is at work all day. These days, I get to spend whatever free time (mostly night time) being able to let myself sink into the depression. Which means that I then can’t sleep. I end up with horrible insomnia because I wallow in my self-pity but I beat myself up soon after for being depressed. It’s a vicious cycle.
So let’s get back to PCOS, since this is what this is about. Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. This means that there are many cysts on your ovaries. (as if you couldn’t figure that out on your own…..) This also means a host of other things. PCOS can cause all kinds of problems including, but not limited to, insulin-resistance, diabetes, uncontrollable weight gain, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, acne, darkening of body and facial hair, increased growth of body and facial hair, increased risk of ovarian and uterine cancer, infertility, depression, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, pain while ovulating, pain while menstruating, pain in general…. the list goes on.. Periods that are out of whack or non-existent… it’s a lot to take in. There’s so much that doctors don’t know about PCOS. So this means there’s a lot that I don’t know about PCOS. I know that it makes it hard to get pregnant and stay pregnant. I’ve had 7 miscarriages. 6 before Monster and 1 recently. It’s not easy. It’s hard to talk about. But what makes me still have hope is that even after the first 6, I still had my Monster. I was terrified the entire time I was pregnant. I tried my best to not get attached to him before he got here in the event that something happen at any time. Now, you can’t pry me away from him. PCOS also makes you crazy. Hah. It’s totally true. That whole crazy people don’t know they’re crazy, bit? No no… If you have PCOS and you feel crazy, you KNOW you’re crazy. Hah. Because a lot of the symptoms of PCOS are unseen, a lot of people can’t understand it. A lot of people think that you’re making things up.. that you just want to be a victim. Believe me, if I had the option to have a normal life and live without PCOS, I would do it in a heartbeat. I hate this. I don’t like having to go through all this. It’s not what I pictured my life to be like.
The doctor that diagnosed me with PCOS didn’t hardly know anything about it. He put me on birth control pills to regulate my periods. They ended up doing nothing but making me sick. Physically sick and literally crazy. I mean, I was insane. And there was nothing I could do about it. I begged for different birth control pills. He changed what I was on. Tried something that wasn’t nearly as strong. Those did the exact same thing to me. I took myself off of them. He got very mad at me for doing this. I really didn’t care. At all. I just had to feel better. I heard him talking pretty badly about me for taking myself off the pills when he was outside the exam room door. That was the last time I ever went back there. I found another doctor who was even more clueless about PCOS and he ended up being my OB throughout my pregnancy with Monster.
I have worked on changing my diet based on all kinds of research and opinions from women with PCOS. Yoga helps immensely. Light exercise when I can do it. Advil for the really painful days. And a Husband who understands that cooking every night is not a possibility for me. This is the tip of the iceberg of an explanation. But maybe it gives some insight on my life.. and why I’m up at 3am most nights. It’s probably horribly disorganized and makes little to no sense.. but such is my life.. I apologize for terrible writing.. it is 3am though. And of course, as you’ve seen, my head is elsewhere.. For now, I have a date.. with my pillow (I hope..) and a Nyquil-ridden husband who is most likely so out of it that he won’t even realize I’m actually in bed with him. Until next time…
–Isabella has spoken…–