this may be long, but i figure if i’m gonna throw my story out there it may as well be complete!
i got my first period when i was about 13. it’s a rough estimate, i didn’t really keep track of that joyous transition to womanhood. my periods weren’t regular, but i was well informed and knew that was typical so i didn’t really concern myself with it.
a couple years later, i’m having skin issues. it’s not normal acne. i go to the dr and he puts me through the ringer. i tried every otc product i could find and the stuff from my dr isn’t any better. he puts me on pills (antibiotics and something called prom pills). he gives me creams (retin-a and another one i don’t remember the name of). he even tries some liquid prescription in a really strange applicator bottle. nothing works.
i do however, have some rather horrific memories of leaning against the bathroom wall while my step-mother administers whatever (often painful–she can’t help but pop them!) treatment we’re currently trying for my back and shoulders. for my 9th grade prom, my step-mother takes me to tanning beds (bad idea–turns out i can’t handle them) and uses self-tanning lotions so i can wear my white dress with off the shoulder sleeves.
of course, i still have the acne so she covers my back and shoulders with concealer in an effort to hide it. this is of course, in addition to what i need to deal with all that acne i’m sporting on my face…
jumping a few years to high school, things are much the same. my periods still aren’t regular, but i usually have one every 2 or 3 months. to be honest, i kinda think i’m lucky that i don’t have to deal with it as often as my female friends. but i am feeling a bit self-consious of my facial hair though. my step-mother noticed it and brought it up to my dr, he told us not to worry unless it turned dark.
since it was blonde and not really THAT obvious (no need to shave or wax, just a bit more there than the average gal) i didn’t concern myself. i was 5’7 and 150 lbs when i graduated high school–it was a comfortable weight (ok, secretly i wanted to lose about 15-20 lbs, but i really was ok with my size). i didn’t excercise, but i was active in school activities and living at home, i ate relatively healthy.
and now i’m in college–yay! life’s the same and i work to adjust to college life. i hit up the doctor when i’m home in the spring and mention my weight gain (15 pounds or so) and he reminds me it’s normal and likely due to my eating habits and lack of excercise. i don’t worry. my periods still aren’t regular so i go on the pill. it works great, my periods are like clockwork.
my second year, i decide i need to do something about that extra weight i put on. i’d never had weight problems but i was never a small girl either. i was now carrying about 30 more pounds than when i finished high school and it was seriously starting to show. i began working out at the gym with friends and my roommate and i began watching our food choices and eating healthier. she didn’t need to lose weight, but dropped a few pounds and really started to tone up.
my weight continued to inch upwards. i was also starting to get more concerned about that facial hair–it was still light, but definitely getting more of it. my not-so-happy-happy trail was also a growing (literally) concern. it was really getting dark and branching out–even if i got in shape, no way would i have put on a 2 piece!
so when i go back home, i make an appointment with the dr. this time, i see his nurse practitioner. i mention the kinds of food i’m eating and that i’m regularly going to the gym but still gaining weight–she tells me it’s most likely stress. i point out the hair issues (face and stomach) and she tells me it’s normal. i mention that my dr had previously said there was something that could be done about it if it started going dark and she says no, creams or wax are the way to go. she even points out that she’s had a few of those issues herself from time to time. i trust her and go back to school.
i’m increasingly frustrated about my weight. i alternate between struggling and just giving up. i become an accomplished plucker and wear my hair in a style that covers the sideburns i’m now sporting.
finally i finish college and in 4 years, i’ve gained about 80 pounds. i’m engaged and when my parents and younger sister decide to try the very popular atkins diet (because of a cousin’s great success), i jump on the bandwagon too. my dad takes up running as well in order to pass his work physical. i join him in the hopes of losing weight for my upcoming wedding. everyone starts dropping pounds after just a couple of weeks–except me.
i’ve stuck to the diet, done my excercise but my weight hasn’t budged. oh well, i must be gaining muscle! or perhaps things just haven’t kicked in yet! a few weeks later, everyone is enjoying the new “diet” and their success with weight loss…everyone that is, except me. i’m not losing weight, i’m gaining it. wtf???
so now i’m married. i’m fat, but i’m in love so whatever. i’m hairy, but he doesn’t care so whatever. we don’t decide to actively try for children (well, kinda actively…we were newlyweds!) but i go off the birth control. my periods are no longer regular. i expected as much, i had taken breaks on the pill before (as in, forgot to make appointments and the rx ran out–oops). there were a few pregnancy “hopes” to go with the previous “scares” but it wasn’t to be.
jump a few years and i’m getting divorced. i decide to make my first ever appt with an ob/gyn and tackle that other right of passage for women, and get a pap (oh goodie!). after my exam he asks me if i’ve heard of pcos. i tell him no and he writes it on a piece of paper and tells me it’s not really a big deal but that’s been going on with me all these years and suggests i look it up online. he says the pill (yasmin) should help with a lot of my symptoms. it’s unlikely i’ll have children but fertility treatments are available and you never know what medicine can do down the road…
so i go home and i google (well, was likely yahoo but whatever). in some ways, it’s a relief. but in some ways, i’m just angry. kids were in my plans and now it looked like that option wasn’t available. this bothered me a lot. part of what made divorce feel like the right decision was knowing that my husband wasn’t going to be the father i wanted for my children (to clarify, that’s obviously not what i thought when i married him). this was a lot for me to absorb and aside from being on the pill, it didn’t seem like there were a lot of treatment options unless you were trying to get pregnant.
the timing on this news was crappy. i was devastated at the thought of not having children but nobody wanted to hear it. who cares, you aren’t ready to have kids anyway–you just got divorced! the timing for my diagnosis was just bad. i didn’t want to deal with all the crap related to my divorce and deal with pcos on top of it.
so jump a couple more years and life is now stable. i’m in a great relationship but decided to go off the pill. it didn’t seem to really help my symptoms (aside from irregular periods) and i was tired of the mood swings. i had never been a real emotional person but i swear–those pills had me crying at commercials. i felt like i had no control and i’d just as soon not have a period.
i decided to try and lose weight and managed to lose about 35 lbs over about 6 months with a very strict diet and working out 1.5 to 2 hours a day. when i slacked a bit due to a move and change in work schedule, the weight started piling right back on. frustrated, i gave up.
a few more years, and here i am. still in a great relationship, still off the pill. still hairy (it only gets worse!), still fat and my periods have become even more infrequent. i do well to remember the last one. i tried keeping track but they are so far apart i forget where i’m supposed to note it. i’ve had 2 in the last year.
but i’m older and the desire to have children is starting to tug at me. i’ve tried for years to just acknowledge that it’s not in my future but i think i’m gonna have to suck it up and try. we aren’t quite ready yet, but ready enough that i feel like i really need to work on my health. i’ve put off dealing with this for a long time and if i keep it up, i know i’ll regret it.
sooo…that’s where i’m coming from. i’ll be researching pcos and new treatment options as well as dr’s in my area. and i’m thrilled to have found this place. i’ve read some of the posts and i don’t think i’d ever realized just how much i needed to know there are other women who suffer as i do. not just with fertility or weight, but the other symptoms too. who knew i’d be grateful to hear other women gripe about having hair where it shouldn’t grow? i’m so used to having to hide my symptoms i think it will be a relief to have a place i can share them.
Want to connect with me? My name is persi on the SoulCysters Message Board.