Blatantly Honest and Slightly Awkward

If you've followed me over since my old blog, you'll probably notice that I don't tend to refer to that blog by name anymore. It's actually incredibly hard not to use it/type it here - I used it for years, after all - and every time I log into my main email, or my Facebook account, or any of the online groups I'm a member of, I'm reminded of it. The whole point of moving everything to an anonymous blog was to avoid popping up in Google searches and to have a little bit more freedom to blog; something I just wasn't able to do before.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I had imaged a massive following of stalkers or anything; it's just that there are people out there that I didn't particularly like having access to my inner most thoughts. I could have made my blog private, but what's the point in that? I'm a firm believer of a blog being public for a reason - because what is blogging without the interaction of fellow bloggers relating and commenting?

And so, for a while I avoided blogging about the personal stuff and things flowed along fine. But one day I stopped and realised that hey! I do want to write about personal things. I want to write about the awesome things that are happening in my life. I want to write about the mundane things too. And the not-so-good things. And I want to stop writing things in a 'stalker-proof' way, to avoid those few people finding me and having access to my rantings. Unfortunately to make sure I remained anonymous throughout the transition, I think I lost a lot of readers along the way... but I'm hoping that they'll find me again at some point - I miss them!

So now, here I am, with my first personal blog since the move.

I've been putting off writing this post until things were a little more concrete and until I was completely removed from my work environment - again, just on the off chance that people are cleverer than I'd anticipated and had found this new blog home. Yes, as of today, I've finished up at work. My days working in an office are over, and I'm feeling a whole lot of relief at the thought of not having to go back to ten hour work days for a little while. I don't have a new job, and I don't have any grand plans. I'm finishing up because I have another focus right now.

When I was back home in Sydney, I'd made it a mission to go and have a medical check-up, as I knew that things weren't right with me and wanted to visit our family doctor. I'd visited a few GP's in the UK and no real testing had been done, so I was adamant that I wanted to be checked out. To sum things up, here's a rough idea of my medical history crammed into a few giant sentences:

Unbearable pain and cramping with periods since they started when I was 12; weeks of heavy bleeding followed by months of nothing; put on birth control pills at 14 to manage odd cycle; pain, oh lots of pain. Went off birth control two years ago; periods MIA for five months at a time; pain, oh lots of pain, negative pregnancy tests taken in fits of panic when my period was missing YET AGAIN; break-outs worse than the teenage years; crazy weight gain that was impossible to get off; hair growth on chin (CHIN!) and subsequent embarrassment... and the list could go on and on.

I'm sure anyone reading those symptoms would have a rough idea that something wasn't right - but all I was told to do was to keep tracking everything and give my body time to adjust to being off the pill again. Ha. I think nearly two years is MORE than enough time. Apparently not. In the short two weeks that I was home, my doctor took blood, looked at the notes I'd made on myself for the last few years and ordered several ultrasounds to check out everything internally, and lo and behold, there was a problem.

I have Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome. My hormones are completely out of whack and I have dozens of visible cysts on each ovary; dozens! I've been put in Metformin tablets initially to try and manage my insulin resistance and to attempt to restore a more regular cycle - but as for eventually trying to fall pregnant, well, that's another story.

It's a bit of a shock to the system when you find out that you're more than likely going to struggle having children naturally. It's even more difficult to take in when you're not even ready to consider children yet - when we're not financially, emotionally or heck, even in the right country to be prepared for the responsibilities involved in falling pregnant and having a baby. Our general plan was always to get a little more stable with our lives back home, and obviously focus on the wedding first, and then look at where we stood in terms of a baby - but now that 'plan' may not be as smooth as we'd hoped.

I'm sure there are plenty of women out there with PCOS who conceive naturally. And since we haven't started trying yet, and won't be for a little while, I'm trying not to jump to conclusions and declare myself infertile. To be honest, I don't know enough about this whole thing to make judgements. I just know that it's scary and worrying and I'm glad I have an actual diagnosis now, to prove that I know my body and I know when something isn't right.

My doctor informed me that losing weight can also help to kick-start cycles into gear so using the drugs as a boost, I'm taking this time to get healthy and to get fit. It will be more difficult than usual, thanks to the insulin & hormonal problems, but I'm determined. I want to have children. I want to be healthy! And thanks to my hardworking fiance and my own little pocket of savings, now is as good a time as any to take some ME time and get this sorted. Lord knows we'll have a whole stack on our plate when we return home, so it has to be now. And now it is!

So there you have it - I think this qualifies as a ripper of a personal blog.

Do you have any experiences or information about Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome that you'd like to share? I'd welcome your thoughts!

27 Comments • Labels: ,  


Fuzzy Cert said...

Apparently my mum did have it, even when two weeks ago she told me she didn't. The other night she told me that, yes, she did.
A. and I were both natural. Heck, mum didn't even know she was having me until she was nearly 6 months along. There's still hope, dear! You'll take your tablets and you'll make the very most of your 'me' time and you'll get through it. I know you will because you always do.
I heart you.

Fiona said...

Hey gorgeous girl. At least you have a 'label' even if it's not a particularly optimistic one at times. Take care of yourself.

Nathan Pralle said...

I was reading along as you started and went, "Has to be PCOS", so I'm glad I was justified in my "armchair diagnosis". :) I have several friends that have it and a lot of the symptoms you describe. Quite a few of them have had kids, too. Most either struggled a long time or had the assistance of fertility drugs such as Clomid to conceive, but the kids they popped are perfectly fine and healthy and their pregnancies were very normal.

The Metformin seems to help some for one, not much at all for another, so keep on your doctor if you don't see any results as there's other drugs out there for this. Two good books -- The PCOS Workbook and A Patient's Guide to PCOS. I've not read them but remember my friends going through them.

Good luck! It's very livable from all I can see, just requires some unique "tactics", as such.

Operation Pink Herring said...

Oh, Aly, I am so sorry. I am convinced that I am going to have trouble getting pregnant when the time comes (I love how you say "falling pregnant), although I have no actual diagnosis. I've, too, been on the pill for as long as I can remember because without it I get my period once or twice a year. Which is not normal, so I'm told. Thankfully we live in a time where there are such wonderful fertility treatments should we need them... but it sounds like a wonderful step for you to leave a stressful job and focus on your health.

Katie said...

I'm sorry to hear that you have POS - but to look on the bright side, at least you are now able to put a label on how you've been feeling and you can start moving forward in a positive and healthy way to deal with what you've discovered. Sounds like you've made a great decision - take the time to look after YOU! And of course, your bloggy friends will be here to listen (read?) whenever you need to share.

Mrs. Higrens said...

As you may be aware, I've had similar *but not the same* issues.

One online resource for more information than you may be ready for right now: Mel has assembled both an amazing world-wide community of women, and information about pretty much every fertility related issue out there.

It may be better to know now (and have confirmation that you do know your own body), but that doesn't make it any easier to process. ((hugs))

Antje said...

I have been following your blog a little on/off for a while now. Seeing the topic of todays post though, I would like to leave my first comment.

My husband and I had been struggeling to fall pregnant for a while. When we finally saw a doctor about it, the tests showed that our problems were caused by too few and too slow sperms. We decided to move on with an IVF and more testing was done. First then they discovered that I have polcystic ovaries without having developed the syndrome. Mind you my period was always punctual like a clockwork, no pains, no problems. And in the end our problems were probably solely caused by my husbands issues.

Anyway, what the IVF doc said to me then was that women with PCO/PCOS have a very good prognosis whith IVF. They develop lots of follicles of good quality so that pregnancy rates are high in that group. I'm by no means saying that you might need an IVF, but if you do remeber that your odds should be good. For now adapt a healthy lifestyle, eat well and excercise. Never ever give up! It's good you found out early when you are still young so that you don't loose valuable time!

My husband and I went ahead with an ICSI (special kind of IVF for male infertility) and I am now 6 months pregnant!

All the very best to you!

Britt said...

A good friend of mine was just diagnosed with PCOS. I have another good friend who conceived two children with PCOS - it took a bit of trying mind you, but she did it.

Big hugs to you in this scary and uncertain time!

-R- said...

I'm glad that you got a diagnosis and that there are things you can do that might help. And I'm glad you're writing about it.

Becky said...

I know nothing about PCOS but thanks for sharing this with us - please keep us posted and I think it's awesome that you're motivating yourself and saying "this is how I can help this!"

Kerri Anne said...

Oh, babe. I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis, though it's something we now have in common. Mine is a very mild version, though my cycles are anything but regular (I once had my period for 90! days straight).

I just wrote about the wonder of acupuncture on my site last week, and it really is amazing, on so many levels, and can be used as a tool to help treat PCOS. (I don't know if you've tried acupuncture ever, but I promise it isn't scary, and doesn't hurt if it's done right, and it's really helped me a lot!)

In any case, I hope you take the steps you need to to take care of you, and put you first. Thinking of you!

Kate said...

Oh no :( I'm sorry about your diagnosis, and also about the symptoms that led to it. Periods are shitty enough without pain and weird cycles!

My sister and a few other family members have PCOS. The others family members have all conceived, though no idea if they had any trouble. Another bloggy pal was diagnosed a bit before, and has a 3 month old, no more than about 15 months later. Sister has started trying, but knows it could be hard.

I think it's helpful to know there's something notquiteright now, before you've reached the stage of trying. It means you can do all the things you need to do to up your chances, and also that (maybe) you'll find the first few months of trying easier as you won't feel quite as optimistic- if that makes sense?

I always feel like I'm going to have trouble (no reason, just me being silly), and that sister will conceive easily- but she's far more emotionally prepared for the possible struggle than I am!

elise said...

I know how scary it is when you hear that something "might" cause you problems when trying to conceive, even if the hypothetical conception is years or months off! I have gotten that news myself.

However, it does help me to know that perfectly healthy couples are EXPECTED to take up to a year to conceive, and if you (or I) know from the get-go that you have a little challenge or two, you can get the extra boost you need from the docs, and join right in with the "normal" TTC community :)

Knowing is waaay more than half the battle.

Karen said...

Oh hun, I am so sorry. I have no experience with PCOS so I have no advice to give you. But I am sure that when the time comes for you to try to conceive that it'll work out somehow. Even if you will have a harder time conceiving naturally, there are so many way in which science can help couples conceive. And who knows if that will even be necessary. However, I can absolutely understand how big of a shock this is for you, it would be for me too. While I am not yet planning a wedding (nor have anyone I'd want to get married to) I do want to have kids one day. At least, you found out now and you can work on getting more healthy, and hopefully your condition will have improved by the time you want to get pregnant.

Nic (NotPerfect) said...

I'm sorry you're going through this! I also have PCOS and know what it's like. Metformin isn't necessarily a pleasant drug, so if you have horrendous side effects, ask your doctor about an extended release version. Please let me know if you have any questions! I'm still struggling with the losing weight part so I totally know where you are with that.

Alex said...

I don't have any experience or advice, but I do have heaps of positive thoughts for you. xoxo

Lara said...

I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm glad you have a diagnosis now. I have no experience, but I wish you lots of luck in dealing with it, especially as you work towards getting healthy and adjusting to the insulin. Love you!

K said...

You know what - you are so brave to share this. I'll tell you now... I probably never would have if it was me.
It's a good opportunity for everyone to learn a bit more about it, I don't know anyone with PCOS, but I've heard bits and pieces.
And... I strongly believe, that along with everything else you set your mind to, you'll kick its butt <3

velocibadgergirl said...

No wise advice, but lots of hugs!

Jen said...

*hugs* A friend with PCOS just gave birth to a little girl a few weeks ago. You have no reason to think you'll be infertile just yet. Sorting your body out now is a good idea, rather than only doing anything once you're ready to try for a baby.

As for your blog, those that just had the link bookmarked might have gotten lost if they didn't check until after you deleted, if they hadn't also subscribed on a feed reader to get a new link.

Teacher A said...

Well, as others have already pointed out, at least you know now. Puts you ahead of most couples, should you have fertility problems down the road. Best wishes!

heidikins said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry to hear about your troubles. I know how hard it can be to be so personal online; I am cheering for you and hoping for the best for you.

Lots of love and hugs and cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any experience with PCOS. However, I think it is wonderful that you are taking time for yourself and doing your best to be healthy! You're so brave to share all this personal stuff... I hope you know you have lots of support here in internet-land! :)

Amanda said...

Oh hun, I'm sorry. It's a difficult condition to live with, but at least you have a "label" for it now.

I have similar problems, except in my case the tests come up slightly inconclusive-- one of the androgens that is typically elevated with PCOS was elevated in my blood tests, but not high enough to get a diagnosis. I do wonder if it would be different if I had testing now.

My biggest symptom is the irregularity of periods- often 4 or 5 months at a time with nothing. When I wasn't in a relationship, it's not a huge issue, but now I am. I've been on the pill the last 8 months, but my prescription is running out and I don't think I'm going to bother finding a UK Dr to get it reissued. It's nice to have the regularity (and the assurance that, hey, I'm not pregnant!) each month, but I've been feeling just generally crap for months, and I don't know if it's related. So I'm going to stop.

Metformin can help, I don't know much about it though. My mum went to the gynecologist for a routine appointment recently, and asked her about PCOS on my behalf. The main recommendations- exercise makes the biggest difference. Even if you're not losing weight, it helps to control the symptoms (and the associated insulin resistance). Maintaining a healthy weight helps, but as you've experienced, this is usually easier said than done when your body is battling against everything you're doing. Healthy eating, etc. From what I've read, a low GI diet is often the best at helping with weight loss/control.

I know exactly how you feel knowing that *maybe* you'll have trouble conceiving, when the idea of it is still quite a way off. But I do know several women with PCOS who've successfully conceived a number of times, so it's not the end of the line.

Let me know if you need to vent, or want to meet for coffee or something :)

Amanda said...

(Sorry about the novel, didn't realise it was so long!)

Sarah said...

Aly, there is hope! And now that you have a diagnoses, you can start to face it and deal with it. And congrats on being brave enough to put it out there.

I was diagnosed with PCOS, as was my sister, a number of years ago. I went on metformin, which may be a brilliant drug but the side effects can be horrible. At least for me. If you suffer from vague nausea, it can usually be cured by laying down for a bit or by eating something like a piece of white bread. Drink alcohol only makes it worse. So does eating any greasy food--that was guaranteed to make me sick around 3am. I eventually lost enough weight that my doctor allowed me off the metformin, which was a brilliant day--no more background level of nausea or restricted eating. If that is a possibility for you (something your doctor may recommend), I wish you luck. Or maybe just luck with not having any of the side effects I experienced.

Second, although I haven't faced the issue yet, I have a good friend with PCOS, and she is currently pregnant--there is hope. It may be harder route for us than for other women, but it is possible. Do not worry today over what tomorrow will bring--the field of medicine is improving daily, and you will find a way to achieve motherhood when you desire it.

Best of luck in coping and having your body sort it out, and I'm glad you are on track to take care of your body before it provides you with something even more fun, like diabetes.

Anonymous said...

I don't have an advice to offer but I'm glad you were able to get a label for what's going on with your body. I can't imagine how frustrating it must me to know something is wrong and not have a diagnosis.

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