I’m Caitlin Elizabeth, 19 years of age, and a pre-med student hoping to become a dermatologist. I’m originally from Carthage, Mississippi, but moved to Pigeon Forge, TN my junior year in high school. I love shopping and going to see the latest movies on the big screen. Mystery books are my cup-of-tea. If I won the lottery the first thing I would buy would be a Steinway piano and a [walk-in] closet full of Steve Madden shoes.

I love to watch football, especially the Steelers and the Tennessee Vols. I stand up for what I believe in…you could ask anyone I went to high school that. I have a Chihuahua, Bentley, who I believe understands me more than the people I tell my secrets to.

I sound pretty normal right?

Far from it…

I was normal for 10 years of my life. Around my 10th birthday, I started my menstrual cycle. I already had breasts, but I smushed them into a teeny sports bra so no one would notice. I gained 60 pounds that year.

When I was 12, I weighed 180 pounds. I had unbelievable acne and to make matters worse, my grandmother (the beautician that she is) cut my long hair to an inch all over my head. My periods became scarce, but I told no one because I thought I was the “lucky one”… During this time the dandruff and “chicken skin” (small bumps on arms, aka KP) started showing up. I wore braces, glasses, and had ugly, bright red stretch marks on my stomach, legs, and under my arms. I hated myself and I cried every time I looked in the mirror.

At age 14, I had enough. My hair had grown out to my shoulders, the acne cleared up, and the braces were removed. It gave me enough confidence to start what would be a very LONG battle. I joined the cheerleading squad and was teased for being the “big one” . . I gave it my all every practice because I knew the weight had to go. I woke up at 4 in the morning to run before I went to school.

After school and cheer practice, I would go home only to run more. I was on Phentermine (sp?) and ate the NutriSystem meals. I lost 40 pounds but over the years gained it back plus more, even while exercising and eating healthy. I also gained joint pain, random facial hairs, dry and brittle hair, and extremely painful periods. (when they would come). I once again felt like a failure.

When I turned 18 my mom told me I had an appointment with a gyno. My first experience was horrible. She made it seem as though I was a street walker because I had been with one guy and bluntly told me I was fat and needed to loose weight. Because I had started shaving my face and she couldn’t “see” the hair, she thought I was lying about it. ( Why would a woman LIE about that?? )She had 4 other girls in the room while doing my pap who whispered to themselves as I spoke. I was pissed so I got dressed quickly and left during the exam. I fought with my mom for over a year before giving it another chance.

At almost 20 years old, October 2009, my periods are no where to be found and I had extreme pain in my lower abdomen when I would work out, sneeze, cough, etc. I dreaded the gyno experience, but knew it was something I had to do. A friend of the family referred me to Dr. Dana Teagarden in Knoxville. She made me completely comfortable and is an amazing doctor. On my first visit I told her about my symptoms. She did not make rude remarks and for once I had a doctor believe me. Her first assumption was that I had PCOS and showed me the skin tags on my body that I didn’t pay any attention to until then. (Now I’m finding them everywhere)

During my ultrasound, I screamed because I was in so much pain. She couldn’t see my ovaries because of a large cystic mass. On Nov. 5, 2009, I had the cyst removed along with another cyst and one of my fallopian tubes. She confirmed the PCOS along with endometriosis and high triglycerides. I’m also obese. 5’3” and 220.

I’ve almost finished my recuperation, but have another week before my post-op visit.

I didn’t feel like talking about my problems because I feel like a hypochondriac. There are so many things such as depression, skin issues, hair issues, reproductive issues, etc. etc. etc….. But I’m glad I’ve “come clean” because it saved my life.

I see that thousands of women are diagnosed with this… why isn’t there more information publicized? I never heard of PCOS until this month and have had these symptoms for years!!! Why can there not be a miracle pill or treatment???

It seems so unfair. But I’m not going to give up. This is my beginning. And as I can see, I am not alone now.


Best wishes to you all,

Want to connect with me? My name is caitlin on the SoulCysters Message Board.