I've wanting to speak about suffering from PCOS for many years but I always punked out mainly because it's something that...is...very....personal....to....me.
I do not openly speak about suffering with it because I guess I was afraid of how people would look at me and judge me. Google is not always your best friend and when you look up Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome it's not exactly pretty.
I was diagnosed with PCOS as a young teenager, I knew from early that I was not like the other girls in my school, firstly I was the biggest in terms of my weight but also I was quiet as a teenager. Hard to believe when you meet me now. But that innocence which later turned into an insecurity is something that I still struggle with many years later. I often felt like something wasn't quite right so when the doctors told me about the condition I admit that I didn't really ask much about it, all I knew was that it attributed to my weight gain, it was something to with my hormones, I would have irregular periods and throughout my adolescence it may effect in a number of ways which they couldn't predict.
1. Your period pains will make you feel pain that you have never felt before
Their first solution was to tell me to go onto the pill, but in my eyes I didn't see the need for me to be on it so young and also I wasn't even sexually active so that was a HELL NO from me thanks. Even though my period pains felt like I was having my internal organs pulled out of me without me having any form of anaesthetic or pain medication to prepare me for the pain. I kid you not, suffering with PCOS means that your period pains are on a next level. My mother tried every kind of natural remedy as we are from St.Lucia including ginger tea, hot water bottles, lemon, aloe vera you name it...I have probably tried it sometime during my adolescence and my doctors advice was just to take painkillers. When I suffer from period pains, my pains are so intense that I literally can not walk, I've been to hospital numerous times because the pain can be unpredictable and travel all the way to my stomach and my back. Stress has an affect on my period pains so it doesn't help when people want to upset my soul or make me want to kick them in the throat especially over the last 18 months so I have made a conscious effort to not end up in jail and stay positive as much as possible.
2. Hirsutism will make you insecure and less of a woman
This has hands down been my biggest insecurity when it comes to suffering with PCOS. Hirsutism is unwanted, male-pattern hair growth within women due to the rise of androgens particularly testosterone and it....is....embarrassing. Now this affects women differently, but this has been a huge issue for me. Let's be real, any kind of upkeep whether it be shaving your legs, threading your eyebrows, waxing your vagina is frigging long. If any woman out there say's that they enjoy the process of doing all those things they are LYING what they really mean is they enjoy the results of doing these things, when I am hair free I feel like you could throw water on me and I am as smooth as a slide! But suffering with this, has made me so insecure to point where I refuse to let any of my exes or my current partner touch my face. It sounds bad but it's true, and I've made a point of saying to them not to do that and made some other excuse about it. The last thing I want is for them to be aware of it and make a comment about it. When I was younger I made the huge mistake of using Nair for my problem, which ended with me practically burning my skin and scarring myself, it also didn't relieve my issue because my hair grows at a ridiculous speed and I mean so ridiculous that if I didn't shave for even 2 days that I would look like the Beast from X-Men. All jokes aside, it is something that has taken over my life, I do not like taking pictures from a certain angle as I'm worried that people would see my scars, some women have noticed it and without asking, offered their opinion on what I could do to make it better. I have researched laser hair surgery however due to my dark skin and dark hair it puts me at a higher risk of further scarring my skin, which is not a risk that I am willing to take. Besides it costs a lot of money, which until I find the right place I am not willing to fork out for something that could make it worse. As a woman, seeing your hair grow to the extent it does suffering from PCOS , can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and confidence. There has been many times I've envied many women close to me or even strangers because they don't have to go through the headache I have to go through. It's also made me insecure in terms of relationships because I fear that the men would ridicule me or stop liking me. The only positive out of this is due to me being dark skinned it is not visible on a normal day however it is something I am VERY conscious about.
3. You constantly have nightmares about your fertility
This has been the hugest fear of mine suffering from PCOS. I remember vividly when one particular doctor looked at me straight in my face and told me;
When she told me this it scared the living shit out of me. I was only 23 at the time and I was nowhere ready to even think about a child let alone have one. What really upset me was she was so matter-of-fact about it, like what she was saying was acceptable and it was just normal news. One thing you don't fuck with is a woman's fertility, to even make a joke about it or ridicule someone about their ability to have kids is a low-blow...excuse the pun. I hardly cry, but when I left the doctors I was so angry that I couldn't help but cry. I allowed this woman to break me, to silence me , to knock my confidence even further and I wanted to spartan kick her in the chest and tell her to not worry about my fertility when she had a moustache and leaning shoes. Breathe Delia-Rene. For over 15 years this has been something that I have been most fearful about. I can not tell you the amount of times that I have prayed about it, spoken to my mother and those close to me, read numerous articles, spoken to numerous doctors and consultants. Gone for numerous scans, blood samples, tests, swabs you name it and it's never been able to answer how fertile I am. They've simply told me to start trying to get pregnant. The only problem with that was I have never been in a relationship where we've both felt ready to even try to have a child. My biggest fear is having a child with someone that I really shouldn't have and then be struggling to a single mother to raise my son or daughter. I know no woman with sense aspires to be a single mother, however I do understand that with particular females their need to be a mother is greater than the need for a relationship with the father of their child or anyone else. However, I have always dreamed and wanted a family unit with the father and myself in a home. I have always worried if I could ever have a child, how fertile I am, how easy/difficult it will be for me to conceive, will my partner be sympathetic towards this or blame me, will my child be healthy, will there be complications? Let's not even start on the fact that labour scares the living SHIT out of me and I haven't even crossed that bridge yet due to me worrying about my fertility.
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4. Weight gain is a bitch you wished you could slap the shit out of and hulk smash into the floor.
If I had bail money for every single time a doctor told me simply to lose weight to help me with some of the issues I have with PCOS, I would be in and out of jail more times than you know. The reason it upsets me is because they act like it's easy, knowing full damn well that weight gain is one of the symptoms of PCOS. How are you going to tell me to lose weight when doctors are fully aware that are hormones directly affect our weight gain. I am fully aware that weight loss would have an adverse affect on my insulin resistance, my menstrual cycle, my emotional health and reduce my risk of diabetes and heart disease but betch it is not as simple as that when you own body works against you. People assume when they see thickems like myself that we have breakfast, lunch and dinner in McDonalds or KFC that do not work out. I will be honest I enjoy the odd cheeky Nandos here and there, but I'm not a fan of fast food I don't like the taste of it and the effect it has on my body health-wise. I take what I put in my body very seriously and I have changed my diet many times sometimes not out of choice thanks to me becoming lactose intolerant out of backside nowhere, I stopped eating pork through personal choice and I enjoy trying new things. But the views around weight gain need to dramatically change especially when everyone is so quick to make judgement on those that are slightly overweight, you don't know what they are dealing with to make such an ignorant assumption. I dare anyone to tell me family/friends/foe about my weight I will sit on their chest and end their life.
5. You can never predict your periods...ever
I took Cerazette which is the progesten-only pill for 4 years because a doctor advised me to. I was at the end of my tether with irregular and painful periods and was told that this would help as it would regulate my periods. Sounds amazing right? This is when I realised that doctors are liars, doctors do not know everything, doctors can get it wrong, doctors are human. Because they are doctors, you do trust in what they are saying because that's what they get paid for and do all those years in medical school and university for, they have our lives in their hand so that best get it right! So I took Cerazette thinking that it would help and all it did was stop my periods altogether. It also affected my moods dramatically, I would be happy one moment and the next be ready to smash my room to pieces for no reason. My mother would often comment that I was "miserable" but it was that I was feeling down for no reason and just wanted to be left alone. I am somewhat of an antisocial so I do enjoy my own company but my insecurities would play a lot in my mind and in my immediate family I was the only woman I knew suffering from it so I didn't feel that my mother would understand what I was going through even though she did her best to try comfort and support me. Two years ago I decided to come off Cerazette because it was doing me no good and it was the best decision I have ever made. Not only has it has it regulated my menstrual cycle but I have seen an improvement in my mood swings, migraines, and skin. My weight gain and period pains are still a huge problem for me but I will continue to work on it to find something that works for me.
I won't lie to you suffering with PCOS is not easy, it has left me not only with physical but mental scars. It has made me question my womanhood, my attractiveness and my sex appeal. But then I remembered that despite me suffering from PCOS it hasn't stopped me from living my life. I wouldn't wish PCOS on my worst enemy, but I have learned to deal with my symptoms and I am a huge advocate for natural remedies. I have become more open in conversations with those close to me including my partner and its been refreshing to have additional support when I have days that I am ill or not feeling great and without hesitation they have come over, bought me food when I couldn't walk to the fridge or sat in the hospital with me I love you guys you know who you are and I thank God for you every single day. I am huge believer in God, and I know that I will become eventually become a mother to a healthy and beautiful child with a pain-free labour AMEN. I zone out all those that have an opinion on the fact that I'm 29 and haven't had a child or anything else when it comes to my life because they don't pay my bills or in charge of my life therefore their opinion doesn't matter. I am 100% woman and my condition doesn't define any part of me.
If you are like myself and suffering with PCOS I ask that you do not suffer in silence, speak to your friends and family that you trust and of course you can ALWAYS speak to me because trust me I know how it feels!
Are you a sufferer of PCOS or something similar? Comment below to let me know how you've found living with this condition!
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