Feb 15, 2012

PCOS: The Other Reason I Went Natural, Part 1

This is a blog entry is from my blog at Nappturality.com. I wanted to post it here hoping that women would be encouraged or at least feel a connection between my journey with PCOS and their own. PCOS is not a final sentence to your health but a wake up call to treat yourself like the queen you really are!
PCOS: The Other Reason I Went Natural, Part 1

Earlier I wrote about the spiritual and societal reasons for my going natural. Now I want to tell you all the main reason I had to go natural; themedical reasons. I have a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It is the most common androgen (hormone) excess condition affecting 5-10% of all women, but it is inconsistantly diagnosed and mainly not diagnosed at all. It causes insulin resistance (prediabeties) and in some cases if it is not treated early enough can lead to cancer. For about 20 years now, I've been dealing with the symptoms of this condition. For the last 3 years I've known I had PCOS, but it wasn't until this year I found a great doctor who could properly diagnose me with the condition. I just wanted to share what I've been through. This may be something you've gone through as well. You may not have PCOS but you may have another medical condition. If anything comes from me writing this, it would be that you get informed about your symptoms, go to your doctor, ask questions, and get informed about your body. DON'T WAIT! Go as soon as you can! Mammogram, blood tests, Pap smear...whatever...DON'T DELAY YOUR HEALTH!!! You're worth it!

Just a warning, this may be graphic at some points (not really but I talk about puberty and puberty isn't pretty).

For years I have had to deal with insecurities about my body and the way that I looked. I have always felt awkward, out of place, and not comfortable in my skin. During adolescence I had problems with the whole puberty thing. At the age of 8, I was wearing a C cup, experiencing the pains of acne, and was gaining weight around my belly. By age 9, I was 115 lbs. Average 9 year olds are half that weight. Because I was developing so fast and faster than my friends I had to endure positive and negative attention. Boys were curious about my "boobies". Girls would ask me if I stuffed my bra and pass notes about me during class.

My parents would take me to doctors where they would do lengthy blood tests, prodding me, and pushing hard on my gut to see what was wrong. They would ask me uncomfortable questions about my sexual history which was nonexistant because I was only 10 (and even though this is necessary in some cases, a good doctor would see that my hymen was still in tact).

After my father died suddenly at age 11, I became angry and frustrated with the medical profession in general. I didn't want to go to another appointment if I didn't have to and if my mother made an appointment I would find a way to get plans changed. That didn't last long and when my period still had not started by 13, my mother got worried and started taking me by force to another pediatrician, one who was even worse than the first.

They blamed my non existent period on late blooming, stress, and high blood pressure. Which they said happens to alot of kids going into middle school and who face trauma. But seriously, looking back how many 12 yr olds have high blood pressure?

It came to point when the doctors just gave up on me and decided I was just a "fat" kid and I ate too much. So they sent me to a nutritionist. I thought my prayers had been answered and I would finally have an amazing diet that would help me lose weight. When I sat down in front of the nutritionist, she looked at me like I was some strange animal. She asked me a few questions about my diet and then measured my belly.

"You need to lose weight."

My eyes got big and my mouth opened wide. Maybe she's just kidding...no she isn't kidding. Seriously, is this who you send me to a nutritionist who states the obvious?

Then she asks, "Well how much weight do you hope to lose?"

"Well in hopes, 50 lbs." I replied.

"50 lbs! Well let's not go crazy here!" She laughed. Did this bitch just laugh in my face? Isn't this her job? To help me lose weight? And she laughs? I clocked out at that moment anything said after that point was not heard and I didn't care anymore. She handed me a print out about food that didn't offer any information and another about a medical study being offered for fat girls my age.

I soon realized that if I wanted to ever be done with going to doctor's offices I would have to lie and say I felt "better". So I did. I didn't really, but they believed me. So I joined the drill team in middle school. Made the cheerleading squad in high school. I was starting to lose a little weight, but not what I should have. The belly was still there. Everything else was toned...legs, arms, back, but that belly never would go away.

And then one day in tenth grade, I'll never forget it, a classmate, Quincy (he will be forever hated for doing this) pointed out a hair growing from my neck. And he kept pointing and pointing...everyday at this one hair. But a few weeks later came more hairs and I was beginning to get nervous. What the hell was happening?!?! Was I turning into a man?!!! No I wasn't but my God this isn't right! So I asked my mother and she said it's hereditary. I had to think...my aunt has a full mustache...my mom has to pluck a few hairs now and then. It must be hereditary. It'll be okay.

So for years, I worried about the hair. There was hair everywhere. Hair on my chin, on my legs, on the bottom of my belly. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME GOD? These were supposed to be the happiest years of my life as a teen and I was worried about hair removal! Dances, cheerleading, prom they all began with 2 hours of prior preparation the first hour being shaving or chemical removal of hair.

When it was time to go off to college, I had gotten my hair be gone routine down pact. It became a part of my life and I had come to accept it. People would ask me why I had all this hair and I would just reply that it was hereditary. It seemed to be the only answer that fit and made sense. People seemed to be okay with it as well. If I was going to have to go through life with this, I should be able to accept it and so will others.

After college, I reentered reality. In school I had made up this identity of a strong willed, confident, do anything young woman. Coming back home I realized how weak of a person I was when it came to accepting what I had to look at in the mirror. Throughout my childhood I had endured verbal abuse about my body, from it's size, skin color, hair length, anything and everything. And I began to believe those things. So much so when, I wasn't being complimented by others, I stopped looking in the mirror. I stopped caring about what was on the outside because on the inside I felt like crap. Depression hit (and still hits) hard. But I couldn't understand why. At that time in my life, I should have been happy! I just had graduated from college! I should be trying to take over the world! But instead I was at home in the evening watching wheel of fortune in bed. I felt alone.

To be continued...

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