Living With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Living With Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

My diagnosis doesn't make me any less of a woman.
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I remember being 17 years old when I first found out what in the world even is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

It was your typical mid-August morning. I was at the doctor's office for my annual check up, just a few weeks from starting my senior year, and I was of course excited. My mom and I also just switched doctors since the office I was previously seeing switched healthcare systems, so we were no longer covered with our insurance.

My doctor was learning about my family medical history. I had been fortunate to be a pretty healthy kid growing up with catching the occasional flu, having my tonsils and wisdom teeth taken out, and not breaking any major bones. I'm only allergic to latex and it isn't life threatening, so I've gotten through life pretty easily.

The only other major thing that happened in my life was when my mom got surgery my freshman year of high school. She had a cyst on her ovaries about the size of a tennis ball. I never thought much of it since then since she has had a clear bill of health and it wasn't malignant. It was just something that happened, and my mom stuck it out.

However, this was when I was introduced to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have always had a little bit of extra weight, but I was a very active through my life. I swam for a good portion, did varsity track and field in high school, and always did some sort of workout whether it was at the gym or at home. I just figured it was my genes.

It was then we got into the conversations about what I've noticed about my body. I've always had that little mustache above my lip, but I've gotten that waxed since eighth grade since I thought it was something all women do like waxing their eyebrows. I noticed little hairs growing out of my chin and stomach. I've also had a very heavy period flow (I'm talking about double duty, ladies - pad and tampon action). Once again, I thought it was all a part of being a woman.

My doctor sat down with me and explained that these were common traits of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) yet there is not an exact test for it. I learned that I have extra testosterone in my body which is the causation for some of my weight, unwanted hair, oily skin, and abnormal menstruation. I even found out that my depression is partly due to my diagnosis as well.

I did end up getting a glucose test for it last May, but that was only a screening for prediabetes/diabetes - a symptom. The test is not even accurate enough to give a definite answer because there is a chance I could develop it later in life or not. There is no guarantee I will even get diabetes. There isn't even a cure for PCOS either. Only birth control is a real remedy, which kind of helps.

All I remember is crying because I found out it might be difficult for me to have children in the future. It might seem a bit melodramatic, but just imagine it. I am only 17 years old, starting to get my life figured out where I want to college and ready to seize every opportunity together.

Becoming a mother was the last thing on my mind, at the time, yet being told it might not be possible is another opportunity taken away from me. I started feeling like my body had failed me. I felt less of a woman.

Like every teenager in this generation, I began googling PCOS and watching YouTube videos of stories shared by others. Of course, there is still little information about the causation and a more effective treatment. Yet, a remedy for me was listening and reading the experiences of others who have this condition and live a pretty average life.

Knowing that 1 in 10 women are affected by PCOS symptoms made me feel normal, that I wasn't some medical mystery case that had no solution. I found comfort through support groups and vloggers who showed how normal their lives are with PCOS.

I am not just a number.

I am a real woman.

I have PCOS.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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The Problem(s) With 'Autism Speaks'

As much as I would like to believe that this organization means well, I have to face the facts.

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Just about everyone has heard of Autism Speaks, a supposed "autism advocacy organization." Their familiar blue puzzle piece icon is often recalled by many. Just by looking at the name, you can tell it's a fantastic company with a great mission. Or is it?

I never really knew that much about Autism Speaks until I read an article one of my Facebook friends had shared. I was alarmed to see all the ways that they don't practice what they preach. OK, so yes, they do donate to the families of those with autism. However, the amount donated is less than two to four percent. A whopping 40-plus percent of the budget goes to advertising.

Another issue that really sparked my attention was the type of people they employ. A while back, Autism Speaks was run by a board that contained exactly zero individuals with autism or disability. They recently received a lot of criticism for this. One man, John Elder Robinson, who has autism, joined the board but quickly resigned because he discovered that the board had no respect for those with autism.

Another big red flag I discovered was the way they use that big profit to advertise autism: they don't really promote awareness, they promote fear. One mom labeled their marketing techniques as "disgusting," and I couldn't agree more. One commercial titled "I Am Autism" explains it all. It shows like a horror movie including lines like "I know where you live," and "If you're happily married, I will make sure that your marriage fails," and "You are scared, and you should be." There are also many other commercials and clips by Autism Speaks that solidify this opinion. One that really ices the cake is one where a mother states "she contemplated driving off a bridge with her child with autism, but only didn't because she also had a neurotypical child." Sickening.

As much as I love to support those with disorders such as autism, I will never support Autism Speaks. Their mission is definitely not one I could get behind. They are looking for a cure, which is not what the world needs. We need to better the lives of those who have autism instead of trying to "fix" them. Autistic individuals are still human beings, so @AutismSpeaks, please stop treating and advertising them like anything less.

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