PCOS? What is that? How do you get it? Is it curable? What does that even mean? These are questions I get asked all the time.
First, let me start off by explaining what PCOS is. Polycystic ovarian syndrome: a hormonal disorder that causes my ovaries to be enlarged with small cysts on the outer edges. It affects nearly 10% of women, some as early as the age of eleven. For me, I was diagnosed at age thirteen.
I will never forget the day I went to the doctor, thinking the black line on the back of my neck was just some weird skin problem. I left there feeling scared, upset, and curious. I had no idea what was happening to my body because I was so young. I was told about all these effects my body would have as it developed, and a year later they all hit me at once.
In the beginning, I sat there at every doctors appointment watching the fear in my mom's eyes. I was put on birth control at age 13, along with way too many different medicines. At the time I didn't understand why I had to take all these medicines, and why I was on birth control at 13 (because sex was the last thing on my mind).
As I grew older, everything became more clear to me. I learned why my body was acting the way it was and why I had all these side effects. What I also learned was that I was living in a world where people didn't understand what PCOS was, so instead they judged me. They made fun of me because of my disease instead of keeping their opinions to themselves or simply asking me why I had such different features.
I am living in a world where my side effects aren't okay to the public. People whisper about the line on the back of my neck. They used to use social media like ask.fm to anonymously point out it out to the public. People hesitate when taking something from my hands because they see the excess amount of hair on my arms. I have to hide everything from the world not to be judged.
While people love to judge me and make fun of me because of PCOS, they have no idea what is actually happening to me and my body. They have no idea that I have to shave my face every couple days because I have extra testosterone in my body, so I grow hair like men do. They also don't know about the hair on my feet or my hands and the hair on my chest. They don't know about all the medicines I have to take and the effects they have on my body, like making me nauseous and tired all the time. They don't know about the mood swings it causes me to have without it even being my time of month.
People also love to judge me because of my weight. Do they actually think I want to be this way? Probably because they don't know how hard I work to lose 3 pounds, just to see no difference. PCOS makes it impossible for me to lose weight. Someone without PCOS can take 3 months to lose 20 pounds while it takes me 7. No one accepts my accomplishments and my progress—instead they judge me because I am still not a normal size, like everyone else.
On social media, all the new trends are "gender reveals" and photos of people's babies. All around me, people are constantly talking about having kids and their future with them. They don't realize how lucky they are because I might never have kids. PCOS can prevent me from having a family. It might take me years to get pregnant and it scares me.
Although it is hard living with this disease, I have accepted it and I have learned to deal with it but the world that I am living in now, sure doesn't make it any easier.